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Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period: A Guide for New Testament Students

InterVarsity Press / 2002 / Paperback

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Product Description

The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Josephus and Philo, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Mishnah---Helyer offers a fascinating examination of works produced between the Babylonian exile and the rise of rabbinic Judaism. His lucid study is ideal for students, scholars, and pastors who desire greater understanding of Jesus' words and actions, and Paul's conversion and writings. 425 pages, softcover from InterVarsity.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 425
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2002
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0830826785
ISBN-13: 9780830826780
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

From the crisis of the Babylonian exile to the rise of rabbinic Judaism--a span of over six hundred years--the Jewish people produced a wealth of literature that lies outside the Hebrew Bible. Today it goes under names such as apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, Josephus and Philo, apocalyptic literature and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Mishnah and targums. But line by line, scroll by scroll, it represents the history and theology, the hopes and prayers of a living and diverse Judaism. It is an engrossing subject in and of itself, but for students of the New Testament it offers an invaluable context for understanding the words and actions of Jesus as well as the conversion and thinking of Paul. Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period is an introduction to this literature and places it within its historical context. Riding the explosive growth of knowledge of this period, Larry R. Helyer guides students to the heart of the matter. What were the pressures and realities, the questions and dreams that nurtured and provoked these written expressions? And how does this literature throw light on the text of the New Testament and origins of Christianity?

Author Bio

For twenty nine years Larry R. Helyer was professor of biblical studies at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. Now retired, he continues to write on theological topics and serve as an adjunct professor in the United States and abroad. He is the author of .

Editorial Reviews

"In this comprehensive and well-informed volume, Larry Helyer provides an exemplary introduction to the world of Second Temple Judaism, its history and its literature. What is distinctive about Helyer's work is his deliberate reading of this material with the New Testament in mind. In so doing he is able to show how deeply Jewish the New Testament is and how knowledge of this material can enrich our reading of the New Testament. This book is impressive not only for the high quality of its scholarship but also for its exceptional clarity and judiciousness. Especially commendable are Helyer's positive attitude to things Jewish and his adamant rejection of anti-Semitism. Highly recommended!"
"There are many useful books on Second Temple Jewish literature, for which reason I nearly passed this book by. But once I began actually examining it, I recognized the thoroughness of Larry Helyer's acquaintance with the sources and how carefully he has prepared this book with New Testament students in mind. I believe it will provide an excellent resource for those who want access to the most important materials for New Testament study."
"The literature of Second Temple Judaism is so vast that few college or seminary students ever receive a decent introduction to it at all. Here, in one volume, are references to judicious samplings from every major corpus, complete with introduction and background, and detailed explanation of relevance for New Testament studies. A wonderful gift for students and professors alike. Perhaps many will now actually teach, and teach substantially, on the topic!"

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  1. Michigan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    An Indispensable Tool for New Testament Studies!!
    April 24, 2016
    John M Kight
    Michigan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Larry R. Helyer (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary) is Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at Taylor University, Upland, Indiana. Helyer has published numerous articles and reviews and has authored several books, including, Yesterday, Today and Forever: The Continuing Relevance of the Old Testament (Sheffield, 2004), The Witness of Jesus, Paul and John: An Exploration in Biblical Theology (IVP, 2008), and The Life and Witness of Peter (IVP, 2012). Still, it is within the present volume, Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period: A Guide for New Testament Students (IVP, 2002), that Helyer has offered the reader his most notable investment and contribution to the study of the New Testament.

    Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period begins with a brief introduction outlining the history and importance of the Second Temple period for NT studies. While the information in this section may be considered foundational for the incoming reader, it is quite brief and could easily be ignored without consequence. However, the content that follows this section exhibits a much different story. Helyer systematically introduces the reader to the wealth of literature produced between the Babylonian exile and the rise of rabbinic Judaism. It is here that Helyer examines literary works generally categorized within groups such as the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, Philo, Dead Sea Scrolls, Mishnah, Targums, etc. Within each of the sections, the reader is carefully guided through various literary pieces, including information such as genre, sources, purpose, date, composition, structure and outline, content and characteristics, as well as a section devoted to the significance of the particular book to NT studies.

    The examination of literature in this volume is impressive and includes such works as Tobit, Enoch, 2 Enoch, 4 Ezra, Thanksgiving Hymns, Damascus Document, Testament of Moses, Jubilees, and much, much more. Each major section of the book ends with helpful discussion questions for small groups or personal reflection, as well as a select bibliography for further study. One of the most impressive aspects of this volume is the sheer number of footnotes that accompany each section. This volume is both comprehensive and well-informed in its examination and research, and Helyers familiarity with the literature and context is evident with the turn of every page. Additionally, while the thoroughness of this volume will be enough to warrant its inclusion in your library, the readability will guarantee that it is met with equally good use.

    If you are someone with even a remote interest in the study of the New Testament, Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period: A Guide for New Testament Students by Larry R. Helyer is an indispensable resource. I recommend a cover-to-cover read the first time around for familiarization with the content, and then the consultation of the various indexes for future reference. Regardless, this will be a volume you will use often. It comes highly recommended!

    I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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