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Any study of the scholarly concept of the so-called Old Testament

pseudepigrapha should begin with Johann Albert Fabricius’s Codexpseud-
epigraphusVeterisTestamenti, which was first published three hundred
years ago, in 17131. Whereas, of course, the term “pseudepigraph” was
already used in Antiquity, the term and category “Old Testament pseud-
epigrapha” were created by Fabricius and are a modern invention2. Fabri-
cius’s two compilations of New Testament apocrypha (Codexapocryphus
NoviTestamenti)and Old Testament pseudepigrapha actually created two
categories and two new separated corpora, which still challenge us till the
present time, and which have created two distinct fields of scholarship
which rarely interact3.
Fabricius, as well as subsequent protestant scholars, used the term “Old
Testament Pseudepigrapha”, rather than “Old Testament Apocrypha”, since
the latter was used by Protestants for those writings found in the Septua-
gint but not in the Jewish Bible, which in the Roman Catholic tradition had
come to be known as Deutero-Canonical4. In English language scholar-
ship this differentiation between “apocrypha” and “pseudepigrapha” is
common, and the term “Old Testament pseudepigrapha” is still recurrent5.

1. On the historical background of Fabricius’ concept of pseudepigrapha, and the

subsequent use of the term, see the historiographical article of A.Y. REED, TheModern
Inventionof“OldTestamentPseudepigrapha”, in JTS20 (2009) 403-436.
2. Thus explicitly REED, The Modern Invention (n. 1). See also J.R. DAVILA, Pseud-
epigrapha,OldTestament, in J.J. COLLINS – D.C. HARLOW(eds.), TheEerdmansDictionary
ofEarlyJudaism,Grand Rapids, MI, Eerdmans, 2010, 1110-1114, col. 1110b (“a modern
3. Reed therefore does not seem to be aware of a partially overlapping, and enlightening
historiographical article by J.-C. PICARD, L’apocrypheàl’étroit:Noteshistoriographiques
surlescorpusd’apocryphesbibliques, in Apocrypha1 (1990) 69-117; repr. in ID., Leconti-
nent apocryphe: Essais sur les littératures apocryphes juive et chrétienne (Instrumenta
patristica, 36), Turnhout, Brepols, 1999, 13-51.
4. For details, see L.T. STUCKENBRUCK, ApocryphaandPseudepigrapha, in TheEerd-
mansDictionaryofEarlyJudaism(n. 2), 143-162.
5. See, e.g., the titles of the following collections: R.H. CHARLES, TheApocryphaand
PseudepigraphaoftheOldTestamentinEnglish.Volume I:Apocryphaand Volume II:
Pseudepigrapha,Oxford, Clarendon, 1913 (henceforth APOT); J.H. CHARLESWORTH, The

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In the Romance languages, spoken in traditionally Roman Catholic cul-

tures, the term “pseudepigrapha” is rarely used, whereas “Apocrypha of
the Old Testament” is a more preferred one6.
Fabricius’s introduction of the term “pseudepigraph” is clearly con-
nected to the concern with forgery and false attribution, and with the use
and abuse of “authorial” claims in his own time. This appears from Vincent
Placcius’s catalogue of anonymous and pseudonymous works, to which
Fabricius wrote an introduction7. In later times, the association of the
“pseud-” prefix, indicating false authorial claims, has bothered scholars.
As an anecdote, Annette Reed refers to an 1891 collection of discus-
sions of “Old Testament pseudepigrapha”8. The main title of the book is
Pseudepigrapha, but the author hastens to explain that the name “pseud-
epigraphic” does not imply that these texts are forgeries or fraudulent
at all. Reed shows that throughout the last century multiple scholars and
compilers of collections have used this conventional term “Old Testament
pseudepigrapha” while at the same time critiquing this term as either not
helpful or as downright problematic.

Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols., New York, Doubleday, 1983-1985; R. BAUCK-

HAM – J.R. DAVILA – A. PANAYOTOV (eds.), OldTestamentPseudepigrapha:MoreNonca-
nonical Scriptures. Vol. 1, Grand Rapids, MI, Eerdmans, 2013 (henceforth: MOTP). A
conscious departure from this terminology is found in H.F.D. SPARKS, TheApocryphalOld
Testament,Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1984, the title of which reflects the idea that
it presents a companion to M.R. JAMES, TheApocryphalNewTestament,Oxford, Oxford
University Press, 1924. A similar distinction as in English is reflected in E. KAUTZSCH (ed.),
DieApokryphenundPseudepigraphendesAltenTestaments.1. Band:DieApokryphenand
2. Band:DiePseudepigraphen,Tübingen, Mohr [Siebeck], 1900; repr. Darmstadt, Wissen-
schaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1975. Later German projects avoided the term. Cf. P. RIESS-
LER, AltjüdischesSchrifttumaußerhalbderBibel,Tübingen, Filser, 1928, and the series
JüdischeSchriftenaushellenistisch-römischerZeit,Gütersloh, Mohn, 1973.
6. Cf. the Italian collection edited by P. SACCHI, Apocrifidell’AnticoTestamento,2 vols.,
Torino, UTET, 1981-1989, and the Spanish edited by A. DÍEZ MACHO, Apócrifos del
AntiguoTestamento,4 vols., Madrid, Cristiandad, 1982-1987. The parenthesized subtitle of
A.-M. DENIS (ed.), Introductionàlalittératurereligieusejudéo-hellénistique(Pseudépigraphes
del’AncienTestament), 2 vols., Turnhout, Brepols, 2000, reflects the use of his terminol-
ogy. Already in earlier publications, e.g., A.-M. DENIS, Les genres littéraires dans les
pseudépigraphesd’AncienTestament, in JSJ13 (1982) 1-5, he uses “pseudepigrapha” as a
broad umbrella term for Jewish literature between the Bible and rabbinic literature.
7. See discussion in REED, The Modern Invention (n. 1). Note how R. HUNTER, The
Sense of an Author: Theocritus and [Theocritus], in R.K. GIBSON – C. SHUTTLEWORTH
KRAUS (eds.),TheClassicalCommentary:Histories,Practices,Theory(Mnemosune Sup-
plementum, 232), Leiden, Brill, 2002, 89-108, p. 94 comments in this respect on modern
commentators (and one may add those in Fabricius’s time) being “the heir of the ancient.
In considering the authorship of literary works, ancient scholars, for whom questions of
authenticity, interpolation, plagiarism, and literary fraud were endlessly fascinating …”.
8. REED, TheModernInvention (n. 1), pp. 403-404. She refers to W.J. DEANE, Pseud-
epigrapha: An Account of Certain Apocryphal Sacred Writings of the Jews and Early
Christians,Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1891.

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One of those many voices was heard here in Leuven, eleven years ago,
during the 50th colloquium which dealt with TheBiblicalCanons. Sur-
prisingly, very few of the papers at that conference mentioned noncanon-
ical texts at all. The main exception was Marinus de Jonge. In the Dutch
seminar he discussed how some “Old Testament pseudepigrapha” were
used in the early Christian church as witnesses to the authority of the Old
Testament. In the English published edition of his paper he added an
introduction and appendix explaining why the term “pseudepigrapha of
the Old Testament” is not very useful9.
This reminds us that “Old Testament pseudepigrapha” is not an onto-
logical category, but a heuristic one. Indeed, Reed repeatedly raises the
issue of the past and present heurism of the concept and category of “Old
Testament pseudepigrapha”. Therefore, this colloquium “Old Testament
pseudepigrapha and the Scriptures” attempts to address the concept and
category as it has developed from Fabricius to our present time in a con-
structive manner. I will discuss briefly, based on the work of some who
are present in this colloquium, the problems of the category. But after
that, we will have to move forward, regardless of the terminology we use.



In the recently published Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism,

Loren Stuckenbruck sums up several problems of the term “pseud-
epigrapha”10. He points out that there is no clear correspondence between
the narrow literary concept of pseudepigraphy and the broad category of
“Old Testament pseudepigrapha”. There are canonical and deuteroca-
nonical works which are ascribed to figures who are not the real author,
but which are not included in the category of “Old Testament pseud-
epigrapha”. On the other hand, modern collections of pseudepigrapha like
those of Charlesworth include works that are anonymous, or are associ-
ated with the actual authors’ names11. Stuckenbruck observes that the term
“often refers today to an ever-growing and fluid corpus of documents
preserved from antiquity”. In the same dictionary, James Davila describes

9. M. DE JONGE, The Authority of the “Old Testament” in the Early Church: The
Witnessofthe“PseudepigraphaoftheOldTestament”, in J.-M. AUWERS – H.J. DE JONGE
(eds.), TheBiblicalCanons(BETL, 163), Leuven, Peeters, 2003, 459-486.
10. STUCKENBRUCK, ApocryphaandPseudepigrapha (n. 4).
11. J.H. CHARLESWORTH, TheOldTestamentPseudepigrapha,2 vols., New York, Dou-
bleday, 1983-1985.

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this phenomenon succinctly as follows: “the category is a modern crea-

tion, and even as such it identifies no definite corpus of writings but
a variety of collections with different criteria for inclusion”12. Let us
briefly consider possible criteria for both inclusion and exclusion.
A simple approach would be to look at exclusion. In his AnIntroduc-
tiontoEarlyJudaism,Jim VanderKam discusses Charlesworth’s exten-
sive collection of The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha13. He credits the
volume for showing more of the full extent of Second Temple literature,
but, he concludes that, “the definition of pseudepigraphathat underlines
the collection is so vague that the word has become almost a catch-all for
whatever is left after one eliminates the books of the Bible, the writings
of Philo and Josephus, and the Dead Sea Scrolls”. However, VanderKam
does not mention that the range is much larger than only Second Temple
Judaism. According to the dates given in Charlesworth, the oldest text,
Ahiqar, is from the seventh or sixth century BCE, and the latest one, an
“Apocalypse of Daniel”, from the ninth century CE. VanderKam is cor-
rect in observing which corpora have been left out, but this does not yet
explain which have been included.
What then are the various collections with different criteria for inclu-
sion which Davila mentions? For the purpose of this colloquium, I will
briefly discuss six criteria or features14.
(1) Literary forms of pseudepigraphy. This is, as we will see, a prob-
lematic criterion, since there is no uniform agreement about the feature
of pseudepigraphy. Anyhow, some of the texts included in the collections
are clearly not pseudepigraphic from a literary point of view, whatever
criterion one uses.
(2) Noncanonicity. This is only a criterion for exclusion of canonical
books, as appears from the subtitle of the Bauckham-Davila-Panayotov
volume: More Noncanonical Scriptures. Some canonical and deutero-
canonical or apocryphal books like Daniel, Qohelet, Wisdom of Solomon,
or Baruch, which share multiple features with other collections, are gen-
erally excluded on account of their canonical status. Note, by the way,
that we are talking here about the Western Christian canon. However,
secondly, this aspect may also imply some kind of relationship between
the “Old Testament pseudepigrapha” and the canon.

12. DAVILA, Pseudepigrapha,OldTestament (n. 2), col. 1110b.

13. J.C. VANDERKAM, AnIntroductiontoEarlyJudaism,Grand Rapids, MI, Eerdmans,
2001, p. 58 (also referenced by Annette Reed).
14. See now also MOTP (n. 5), pp. xxvii-xxx.

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(3) Relation to the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible stories. For

H.F.D. Sparks, who avoided the label “Old Testament pseudepigrapha”
and entitled his collection The Apocryphal Old Testament, the “single
criterion for inclusion has been whether or not any particular item is
attributed to (or is primarily concerned with the history or activities of)
an Old Testament character or characters”. Likewise, we might apply
Éric Junod’s definition of Christian apocrypha with minor changes to
“Old Testament pseudepigrapha” as follows: writings, anonymous or
pseudepigraphical, which have some relation to the books of the Old
Testament because they concern events which occur in the continuation
of the events recounted or alluded to in those books, because they con-
centrate on persons who appear in these books, or because their literary
genre resembles those of the biblical writings15.
(4) Provenance. Jean-Claude Picard describes how in between 1830
and 1850 the Fabrician concept of Old Testament pseudepigrapha as
referring to all traditions concerning Old Testament figures or events was
radically transformed to encompass only intertestamental texts16. Hence,
Charles claims that his “Old Testament pseudepigrapha” contained all
noncanonical Jewish texts in between 200 BCE and 100 CE, and also Emil
Kautzsch explicitly limits the collection to Jewish books17. Recent decades
have seen a partial shift back towards Fabricius: some “Old Testament
pseudepigrapha” are more likely to be Christian than Jewish, and often
it is difficult to ascertain their provenance.
(5) Date. Fabricius did not limit his catalogue and collection to a
specific period. Yet, the 19th and 20th-century scholars connected “Old
Testament pseudepigrapha” to a certain period: roughly 200 BCE to 100 or
200 CE, a period also referenced as the Second Temple Period, or between
Tenakhand Mishnah. Charlesworth already included texts from a much
broader period, and Bauckham, Davila, and Panayotov take as their upper
limit the period of the rise of the Islam18.

15. Discussed in W. RORDORF, Terra Incognita: Recent Research on the Christian
ApocryphalLiterature,especiallyonSomeActsofApostles, in E.A. LIVINGSTONE(eds.),
BibliaetApocrypha,Orientalia,Ascetica(Studia Patristica, 25), Leuven, Peeters, 1993,
142-158, esp. pp. 144-145.
16. PICARD, L’apocrypheàl’étroit (n. 3), p. 91.
17. KAUTZSCH (ed.), Die Apokryphen und Pseudepigraphen des Alten Testaments.
1. Band:DieApokryphen (n. 5), p. xiv.
18. MOTP (n. 5), p. xxviii, “with a few exceptions to be noted, we are limiting the
corpus to texts for which a reasonable – if not necessarily conclusive – case can be made
for a date of composition before the rise of Islam in the early seventh century C.E.”. For
those exceptions, including the Cave of Treasures, the Palaea Historica, as well as
Hebrew and Aramaic texts published by Moses Gaster, see MOTP, p. xxx.

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(6) Transmission. To a very large extent the texts included in the

existing collections of “Old Testament pseudepigrapha” were not trans-
mitted by Jewish tradition. As Michael Stone says in the introduction to
the JewishWritingsoftheSecondTemplePeriod: “Part was preserved
by the various Christian churches and part was uncovered by archeolog-
ical chance”. Exceptions are the inclusion of the Mishnah treatise (Pirqe)
Avothin the Charles edition19, and the so-called Third(orHebrewApoc-
alypseof)Enochin the Charlesworth edition.


The meaningof “pseudepigraphy” is less straightforward than it seems.

Semantically, it may refer to the incorrect ascription of anonymous works
to specific authors, as happened, for example, in some manuscripts of the
LiberAntiquitatumBiblicarumwhich ascribe the work to Philo. It may
refer to texts which present themselves as the words of a specific figure,
but without any specific connection between the words and the figure. This
would hold true, for example, for the so-called TestamentofQahatfound
at Qumran. Or, it refers, for example, to works that are consciously com-
posed from the perspective of an ancient figure. Because of those differ-
ences, scholars have proposed to differentiate between various categories
of pseudepigraphy, or to use the term only for one of those. For example,
Moshe Bernstein proposed tentatively to differentiate between external
and internal pseudepigraphy, and between the categories of authoritative
pseudepigraphy, convenient pseudepigraphy, and decorative pseudepigra-
phy20. But then, he also distinguishes between stronger and lighter forms
of pseudepigraphy, and between attribution to authoritative figures or to
nonauthoritative ones. In the end, Bernstein’s observations serve well to
demonstrate varieties of what we call “pseudepigraphy”, but in my opin-
ion they should not lead to the creation of a series of new categories and
subcategories. I took Bernstein as an example, but many other scholars,
e.g., David Aune, also provide lists of different kinds of pseudepigraphy21.

19. CHARLES, APOT(n. 5), p. 2.iv argues that though it cannot be rightly designated a
pseudepigraph, it was used by Jewish readers in the period covered by the book.
20. M.J. BERNSTEIN, PseudepigraphyintheQumranScrolls:CategoriesandFunctions,
in E.G. CHAZON – M.E. STONE (eds.),PseudepigraphicPerspectives:TheApocryphaand
PseudepigraphainLightoftheDeadSeaScrolls(STDJ, 31), Leiden, Brill, 1999, 1-26.
21. D.E. AUNE, Reconceptualizing the Phenomenon of Ancient Pseudepigraphy: An
Epilogue, in J. FREY, etal. (eds.), PseudepigraphieundVerfasserfiktioninfrühchristlichen
Briefen(WUNT, 246), Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, 2009, 789-824, p. 794.

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The conceptof “pseudepigraphy” is problematic because of its pejo-

rative overtone and the “use of common antithetical models that reflect
modern ethical values”, such as “genuine”/“counterfeit”. Aune argues
that “in reality, these are concepts at opposite ends of a continuum con-
sisting of subtle gradations”22. In fact, one single concept of “pseud-
epigraphy” can hardly take into account the different attitudes towards
authorship both in ancient cultures and in modern scholarship. Recently,
a number of scholars have emphasized the different modes of Hebrew-
Aramaic literature in which writing in one’s own name was exceptional,
as opposed to Greco-Roman culture which valued authorship23. Also,
the view of the author has changed in modern scholarship, for example in
the work of Foucault, who distinguishes between author and writer, or,
more specifically, between “author function” and producer of texts24.
Such different meanings of pseudepigraphy, as well as the different
concepts of authorship in antiquity and in modern scholarship, demon-
strate that pseudepigraphy is not a homogeneous cultural or literary phe-
nomenon, something which is becoming more and more accepted. There-
fore, instead of focusing on the classical scholarly question of authenticity
versus inauthenticity, with its theological or ethical implications, we see
a move towards literary approaches.
Here I call attention to three literary aspects, that are interrelated in
some way. First, the recent Manchester based “Inventory of Structurally
Important Literary Features”, of which some first discussions and results
were published recently in Aramaic Studies discusses amongst other
things “narrative”. Alexander Samely calls attention to the additions of
new direct speech of biblical figures in the Targums and draws a paral-
lel to those pseudepigraphic texts which appear as exercises of a change
inperspectivefor material which in the biblical books is told from the
perspective of an anonymous third-person narrator25. Also Wyrick cau-
tions that one should not “overly emphasize the notion of person” since

22. Ibid., p. 823.

23. L.G. PERDUE, PseudonymityandGraeco-RomanRhetoric:MimesisandtheWisdom
of Solomon, in FREY, et al. (eds.), Pseudepigraphie und Verfasserfiktion (n. 21), 27-59;
E. TIGCHELAAR, Forms of Pseudepigraphy in the Dead Sea Scrolls, in ibid., 85-101;
J. WYRICK, Pseudepigraphy, in TheEerdmansDictionaryofEarlyJudaism (n. 2), 1114-
1117. See also his The Ascension of Authorship: Attribution and Canon Formation in
Jewish,Hellenistic,andChristianTraditions,Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press,
24. M. FOUCAULT, WhatIsanAuthor? Translation from French. Most easily accessible
in P. RABINOW (ed.), TheFoucaultReader,New York, Pantheon, 1984, pp. 101-120.
25. A. SAMELY, TheTargumswithinaNewDescriptionofJewishTextStructuresin
Antiquity, in AramaicStudies9 (2011) 5-38, p. 20.

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some texts switch from one person to another, or employ the first person
as a literary device. Moreover, authorial ascription could also be intended
in works composed in the third person26. Tigchelaar pointed at the strong
correlation between pseudepigraphic texts with a first person voice and
the Aramaic language, and suggested that the specific voice of books
would be related to genre and language27.
Second, Foucault’s famous notion of “author function” forces us to not
only discuss the relationship between producer of texts and authors as
appearing in texts, but also to relate the function of the author to the entire
universe of discourses in a cultural system. One of the many possible
forms of author function described by Foucault, namely that one can be
“the author of a theory, tradition, or discipline in which other books and
authors will in their turn find a place” has been taken up and adjusted by
Najman into a concept of “discourses that are linked to their founders”28.
In more literary terms: the “author function” as present in a text is one of
the features of the genre, which may explain why some texts are anony-
mous and other ones pseudepigraphs. Or, as I put it earlier, “the phenom-
enon of pseudepigraphy is part of a larger phenomenon of parascriptural
literature, where new texts contribute to a discourse that has been initi-
ated by already existing texts”29.
Finally, a literary approach of the phenomenon of pseudepigraphy would
also require a neutral literary terminology, rather than one with negative
overtones. Interestingly, the title of the 2009 volume Pseudepigraphieund
Verfasserfiktion in frühchristlichen Briefen, presents both perspectives.
Alongside the ethically laden “pseudepigraphy” the editors also present
the neutral Verfasserfiktionor “author fiction”. Another suggestion for
a new terminology comes from I. Howard Marshall who suggests “all-
onymity”, expressing that the writer takes the name of another person30.


In his brief introduction to the pseudepigrapha, Charles proposed

a hypothesis for the phenomenon of pseudepigraphy. I only quote his
concluding summary: “All Jewish apocalypses, therefore, from 200 BC

26. WYRICK, Pseudepigraphy (n. 23), col. 1115b.

27. TIGCHELAAR, FormsofPseudepigraphy (n. 23), p. 99.
28. H. NAJMAN, Seconding Sinai: The Development of Mosaic Discourse in Second
TempleJudaism(SupplJSJ, 77), Leiden, Brill, 2003.
29. TIGCHELAAR, FormsofPseudepigraphy (n. 23), p. 100.
30. I.H. MARSHALL, ThePastoralEpistles(International Critical Commentary), Lon-
don, T&T Clark, 1999; repr. 2004, pp. 84, 92.

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onwards were of necessity pseudonymous if they sought to exercise any

real influence on the nation; for the Law was everything, belief in inspi-
ration was dead amongst them, and their Canon was closed”31. This was
more than one century ago, and our knowledge and evaluation of Early
Judaism has changed considerably since then. See, e.g., the develop-
ments described by John Collins in his essay “Early Judaism in Modern
Scholarship”32. With respect to Charles’s quote, two things have consid-
erably changed. First, the view that revelation, prophecy, or inspiration
had ceased after the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, being expressed in Rab-
binic literature, is not supported by Second Temple texts. On the contrary.
The author of the Hodayot explicitly ascribes those hymns to the holy
spirit that has been placed in him, to insight given, and revealed to the
mind33. Second, the idea of a closure of the Canon, or at least of “Torah”
and “Prophets”, by the time of Ben Sira, suffers from the imposition of
a later concept of canon on earlier times. Instead, many scholars now
favor a model of a gradual process of authorization which eventually
resulted in a fixed canon, also referred to as the “canonical process”.
In order to avoid the connotations of an anachronistic concept of canon,
many therefore prefer terms like “scriptures” or “authoritative texts”,
when speaking about Early Judaism.
There is no consensus about the details of this so-called canonical
process. On the basis of the literary evidence of Ben Sira, the books of
the Maccabees, and Josephus, Arie van der Kooij argued at the 2001
Colloquium Biblicum that the Hasmoneans were involved in establishing
a highly authoritative collection of literary works in the Temple, which
would be the basis of the later canon34. However, on the basis of the
manuscript and literary evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls, others argued

31. R.H. CHARLES, TheApocryphaandPseudepigraphaoftheOldTestamentinEng-

lish.Volume II:Pseudepigrapha,Oxford, Clarendon, 1913, p. ix.
32. J.J. COLLINS, EarlyJudaisminModernScholarship, in TheEerdmansDictionary
ofEarlyJudaism (n. 2), 1-23.
33. Here I read together: (1) 1QHa 20:14-16, 35-37 and (2) 1QHa 19:6-9: (1) And I,
the Instructor, I know you, my God, by the spirit that you have placed in me. Faithfully
have I heeded your wondrous secret counsel. By your holy spirit you have opened up
knowledge within me through the mystery of your wisdom … As for me, I remain silent.
What could I say concerning this? According to my knowledge I have spoken, a creature
mixed from clay. What can I say unless you open my mouth? How can I understand unless
you give me insight? What can I speak unless you reveal it to my mind? (2) What am
I … that you have given me insight into your wondrous deeds, that you have put thanks-
giving into my mouth, praise upon my tongue, and made the utterances of my lips as the
foundation of jubilation, so that I might sing of your kindness and reflect on your strength
all the day.
34. A. vAN DER KOOIJ, CanonizationofAncientHebrewBooksandHasmonaeanPolitics,
in AUWERS – DE JONGE(eds.), TheBiblicalCanons (n. 9), 27-38.

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for a larger collection of authoritative texts, including some of the texts

now seen as Old Testament pseudepigrapha, such as some of the Enochic
booklets or the AramaicLeviDocument35. Attempts to determine which
texts were authoritative for the communities responsible for the Dead
Sea Scrolls36, still suffer, in my opinion, from an anachronistic dichotomy
of texts into two categories, and a lack of reflection on the concept of
authoritativeness. For now, I prefer, with Florentino García Martínez, the
model of a broad spectrum of different degrees and kinds of authoritative-
ness of texts in Early Judaism, rather than that of a simple dichotomy37.
The idea of ongoing inspiration and revelation in some strands of Early
Judaism, and the indications of more open collections of authoritative
texts, disqualify Charles’s hypothesis of the necessityof pseudepigraphy.
This invites us to reconsider the different possible relations between Old
Testament pseudepigrapha and the Scriptures. One implication is that we
should not project back into Early Judaism the criterion of noncanonicity
of Old Testament pseudepigrapha. Rather, we should carefully analyze
the relationships between such pseudepigraphic literature and other liter-
ature, in order to assess their position at any given time. One would
expect that the relationship between the “scriptures” and pseudepigraphic
texts would change, according to the progress of the canonical process.
That is, distinctions would grow sharper and more dichotomous when
canons became more fixed. However, those expectations may be false,
and such hypothesized relationships need to be assessed.



Much of the Dead Sea Scrolls material relevant to this colloquium

was only published as part of the Qumran Cave 4 materials in the 1990s.
In the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series, four volumes appeared

35. E.g., cautiously, E. ULRICH, Canon, in L.H. SCHIFFMAN – J.C. VANDERKAM(eds.),

Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, New York, Oxford University Press, 2000, 117-
120; more outspoken: J. VANDERKAM – P. FLINT, TheMeaningoftheDeadSeaScrolls,
London, T&T Clark, 2002, pp. 177-180.
36. P.W. FLINT, Scriptures in the Dead Sea Scrolls: The Evidence from Qumran, in
S.M. PAUL, etal. (eds.), Emanuel:StudiesinHebrewBible,Septuagint,andtheDeadSea
Scrolls(SupplVT, 94), Leiden, Brill, 2003, 269-304.
37. For example, F. GARCÍA MARTÍNEZ, BeyondtheSectarianDivide:The“Voiceof
theTeacher”asanAuthority-ConferringStrategyinSomeQumranTexts, in S. METSO –
H. NAJMAN – E. SCHULLER (eds.),TheDeadSeaScrolls:TransmissionofTraditionsand
ProductionofTexts(STDJ, 92), Leiden, Brill, 2010, 227-244, p. 229.

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with so-called Parabiblical texts, as well as two additional volumes with

largely parabiblical or pseudepigraphic Aramaic texts38. In view of the
major differences between the Hebrew and the Aramaic texts, they will
be subject of two distinct lectures at this Colloquium, by Devorah Dimant
and García Martínez.
Of course, the term “parabiblical”, which is largely used in Scrolls
scholarship, but much less so in other fields, has its own problems, which
we need not discuss here. Nonetheless, most of the Dead Sea Scrolls
published in these volumes can be grouped in two categories. One cate-
gory can be described as “interpretative rewritings of earlier scriptures,
sometimes with expansions based on older traditions or coming from
the author’s interpretation”; the other one consists of new compositions
that are not based on specific scriptural texts, but which are attributed,
or closely related to scriptural figures. I adopt the terminology of Daniel
Falk39, and refer to those two categories as extensions, respectively expan-
sions, of scripture40. I do not claim that these two categories neatly cover
all the pertinent Dead Sea Scrolls, let alone the bulk of the later Old Tes-
tament pseudepigrapha. I merely wish to point out some correspondences
and differences.
Much of the discussion about the nature of the “interpretative rewrit-
ings” has focused on the so-called Reworked Pentateuch manuscripts,
Jubilees, and the TempleScroll. The first group of manuscripts, originally
viewed by its editors, Emanuel Tov and Sidnie White Crawford, as para-
biblical texts, but now by Tov as literary versions of the Pentateuch, mainly
consist of reworkings of the biblical text (e.g., through re-arrangement)
and some additions of both narrative and halakic material41. Jim Vander-
Kam argued that basically the same, be it more extensively, holds true
for Jubileesand the TempleScroll, even though the mode of presentation

38. H. ATTRIDGE, et al., Qumran Cave 4 VIII Parabiblical Texts. Part 1 (DJD, 13),
Oxford, Clarendon, 1994; M. BROSHI, et al., Qumran Cave 4 XIV Parabiblical Texts.
Part 2 (DJD, 19), Oxford, Clarendon, 1995; G. BROOKE, et al., Qumran Cave 4 XVII
ParabiblicalTexts. Part 3(DJD, 22), Oxford, Clarendon, 1996; D. DIMANT, QumranCave
4XXIParabiblicalTexts. Part 4:Pseudo-PropheticTexts(DJD, 30), Oxford, Clarendon,
2001; É. PUECH, Qumrân Grotte 4 XXII Textes araméens. Première partie (DJD, 31),
Oxford, Clarendon, 2001; ID., QumrânGrotte4XXVIITextesaraméens.Deuxième partie
(DJD, 37), Oxford, Clarendon, 2009.
39. D.K. FALK, TheParabiblicalTexts:StrategiesforExtendingtheScripturesamong
theDeadSeaScrolls,London, T&T Clark, 2007.
40. TIGCHELAAR, FormsofPseudepigraphy(n. 23).
41. See, e.g., E. TOV, From4QReworkedPentateuchto4QPentateuch(?), in M. POPO-
VIĆ (ed.),AuthoritativeScripturesinAncientJudaism(SupplJSJ, 141), Leiden, Brill, 2010,

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and the narrative frameworks change42. Though both of these works have
been referred to as pseudepigraphic, Hindy Najman has pointed out that
the figure of Moses is largely missing from the TempleScroll, and that
in both texts authorization is not accomplished through attribution of
authorship to Moses, but by describing the revelation in authorized forms.
By rewriting in different ways existing texts, the new texts affirm the
authority of the earlier ones, but also provide new interpretive contexts
for the older scriptures43.
From a literary view, it seems that such rewritten texts generally adopt
the literary forms of the older texts, including the narrative choice. This
may explain the third person narrative in the ApocryphonofJoshua, the
first person voice in the Pseudo-Ezekiel texts, and the anonymous first
person voice in sapiential literature. The difference in perspective in the
TempleScrolland Jubileesare explained by Samely as examples of the
replacement of the perspective of the third person anonymous narrator
by that of a scriptural character.
The second group, in which new texts are ascribed to scriptural fig-
ures, most often use first person narratives. This is the typical form of
pseudepigraphy as found in 1Enochor the second part of Daniel. In the
history of scholarship, 1Enochhas become paradigmatic for understand-
ing apocalyptic pseudepigraphy: apocalyptic prophecy was placed in the
mouth of an ancient figure, which also enabled the device of exeventu
prophecy. However, this kind of ex eventu prophecy is not found in
the earliest Enochic writings. Instead, the attribution to Enoch of those
writings describing Enoch’s contacts with angels and otherworldly tours
to Enoch may have been triggered by the terse comments on Enoch in
Genesis, or go back to earlier traditions. The use of the first person in the
early Enochic writings, the BookofWatchers(though not in all sections!)
and the AstronomicalBook, may be seen as part of the pseudepigraphic
device. But it may also go back to the literary forms used by the author:
the journey reports follow patterns of Ezek 40–48 and of Zechariah’s
night visions in chs. 1–6 which also use first person voice. George Nick-
elsburg argued that the first collection of 1Enochwas organized accord-
ing to the testament genre44.
Among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the majority of those new texts ascribed
to scriptural figures are written in Aramaic, and I have wondered whether

42. J.C. VANDERKAM, QuestionsofCanonViewedThroughtheDeadSeaScrolls, in

L.M. MCDONALD – J.A. SANDERS(eds.), TheCanonDebate,Peabody, MA, Hendrickson,
2002, 91-109.
43. NAJMAN, SecondingSinai (n. 28).
44. G.W.E. NICKELSBURG, 1Enoch1(Hermeneia), Minneapolis, MN, Fortress, pp. 22-26.

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the preference for first person narrative is characteristic of Aramaic. But

then, many of those Aramaic texts are attributed to pre-Mosaic figures,
and have elements of the testament genre. In some of these cases, like the
Testamentor AdmonitionsofQahat, of which we only have the beginning,
the function of the pseudepigraphal attribution may be exactly the oppo-
site of what is expected. Both the known content of the Admonitionsof
Qahatas well as the attribution of this text to Qahat, underline the com-
pleteness of the priestly traditions throughout the generations.
I am not sure to what extent these specific categories, which are help-
ful to explain different kinds of pseudepigraphic texts amongst the Dead
Sea Scrolls, are useful for later pseudepigrapha. It does urge us, however,
to consider both for individual pseudepigraphic texts, and for groups of
pseudepigraphs, the different possible relationships to scriptural texts.


The question of provenance has generally focused on the Jewish or

Christian provenance of specific Old Testament pseudepigrapha. Marinus
de Jonge, Robert Kraft, and James Davila45 have explored the possibilities
of a Christian origin of some Old Testament pseudepigrapha. The deter-
mination of this issue is important. To what extent can the Testaments
oftheTwelvePatriarchsbe used to illuminate second or first-century BCE
Judaism, or should it be used to reconstruct second-century CE early
Christian theological discussions? The question of provenance might also
focus on geography or sociology. Perhaps not much can be said about
the provenance of Second Temple Old Testament pseudepigrapha, except
that those written in Hebrew probably were composed in Palestine. Inter-
estingly, the transmission and also production of Old Testament pseud-
epigrapha in Christian churches seems to have been uneven, with only a
limited number, like 4 Ezra, having been popular in Western Europe.
It would be important to have a comparative study of the backgrounds of
Christian Old Testament pseudepigrapha.
Another issue is to what extent specific types of pseudepigrapha or
pseudepigraphic figures might be connected to groups in Early Judaism
or Christianity. One kind of approach was that of Gabriele Boccaccini
who constructed from the Enoch pseudepigrapha an Enochic Judaism.
Michael Stone observed the complete absence of Adam pseudepigrapha

45. J.R. DAVILA, TheProvenanceofthePseudepigrapha:Jewish,Christian,orOther?

(SupplJSJ, 105), Leiden, Brill, 2005.

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as well as Ezran ones at Qumran, as opposed to the many pseudepigrapha

and other texts related to Enoch, Noah, and the priestly line through Levi
up to Qahat or Moses46. He correlated that to the different views of evil
expressed in the Adam and Ezra-pseudepigrapha, and the Enoch ones.
In the same volume John Collins compared prophetic announcements
of the rise of an elect group in various pseudepigrapha with the milieu of
the Qumran community47. He concludes that there is a distance between
the Qumran milieu and the future groups described in the Enochapoca-
lypses and in the texts connected with Daniel. Two Moses pseudepigrapha,
Jub. 23, and 4Q390, are closer to the cultural milieu of Qumran, than those
other pseudepigrapha. This proposal needs to be analyzed in greater detail,
both with respect to the interpretation of 4Q390 and to the connection of
the DamascusDocumentwith the Qumran milieu48.
It makes little sense to directly connect pseudepigraphic figures with
concrete groups. Instead, as Hindy Najman indicated, specific discourses
can be connected to pseudepigraphic authors. And, in turn, the nature of
those discourses might be related more or less to specific groups.


The traditional association of Old Testament pseudepigrapha with the

Second Temple Period has proven to be incorrect. Some of the papers at
this colloquium will deal with texts that are considerably younger. More
generally many questions can be posed, although most probably will not
be touched upon at this colloquium. What determines the creation of new
Old Testament pseudepigrapha? Is the creation of this form of literature
conditioned by other literary forms, or by specific historical or social
circumstances. Does it depend on a culture of apocrypha and the trans-
mission of earlier pseudepigrapha? These questions lead us farther away
from the period of the Bible, and Early Judaism and Christianity, but
may broaden our perspectives on the issue.

46. M.E. STONE, TheAxisofHistoryatQumran, in CHAZON – STONE (eds.),Pseud-

epigraphicPerspectives (n. 20), 133-149.
47. J.J. COLLINS, Pseudepigraphy and Group Formation in Second Temple Judaism,
in CHAZON – STONE (eds.),PseudepigraphicPerspectives (n. 20), 43-58.
48. See on 4Q390 most recently D. DIMANT, Pseudo-EzekielandtheApocryphonof
JeremiahCinPerspective, in RevQ25/97 (2011) 17-39; E. TIGCHELAAR, Classifications
of the Collection of Dead Sea Scrolls and the Case of Apocryphon of Jeremiah C, in
JSJ43 (2012) 519-550.

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Scholars tend to study texts, and often in the forms presented to us by

earlier scholars. Not only the category of Old Testament pseudepigrapha
is a modern invention, but also the collections of Old Testament pseud-
epigrapha. This means that we consciously, but often unconsciously, draw
new connections between texts many of which never existed together at
a specific time and place. It also may mean that we ignore or disrupt exist-
ing connections with texts that once were transmitted together. This holds
true, for example, for the relationship between Old Testament pseud-
epigrapha and New Testament apocrypha in Christianity, for which reason
Junod prefers to simply refer to Christian apocrypha. It may also hold true
for the differentiation between canonical and noncanonical works, where
collections, and even the manuscript traditions do not display the rigid
distinction we make. Well-known examples are the PsalmsofSolomon,
and 3and4Maccabees which are included in the Codex Alexandrinus
but not in the Vaticanus, or 4Ezra which appears after Nehemiah and
before either Tobit, Judith, or Esther in many medieval Latin Vulgate


The fact that our collections of Old Testament pseudepigrapha are

ever-growing reflects developments in modern scholarship, and is also
the result of the discovery or rediscovery of new manuscripts49. But it
also bears witness to the vast numbers of texts from different periods and
locations that are related to stories, figures, or genres of what came to be
Old Testament or Hebrew Bible. In the past decades this increase of texts
has come especially from the finally published Early Jewish manuscripts
from Qumran Cave 4, and from the Byzantine Christian Slavonic, and
later Serbian manuscripts which were hardly known to Western scholars.
This diversity means that we have to acknowledge more than before the
heterogeneity of the collection. This also necessitates that we discard the
suggestion that this collection as a whole is potentially important for the
understanding of Early Judaism, or that it belongs to the background of
the New Testament.
Incorporation of texts in a specific modern collection merely creates
an additional, scholarly, context to those texts. We first should study
those texts in their other, earlier, material, literary, cultural, and religious

49. Some of the texts included in Charlesworth’s edition have also been incorporated
in MOTPbecause of new manuscript finds. Cf. MOTP (n. 5), p. xxix.

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contexts. However, the expansion of our modern concept of Old Testament

pseudepigrapha beyond a relatively small confined group of texts also
challenges us to ask broader literary, cultural, and religionswissenschaft-
One set of questions, which I wanted to put in the center of this col-
loquium, concerns the various ways and levels in which pseudepigrapha
relate to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, or, phrased more cautiously,
to religious texts considered more or less authoritative. This relates to the
composition of the pseudepigraphic text – how it deals with the text,
narratives, or genres of the scriptures. To what extent does the new text
implicitly or explicitly interpret scripture, or does it offer an expansion.
One may also ask broader transcultural questions: are there specific cul-
tures, periods, or groups, which are more likely to produce or to transmit
pseudepigrapha than others, and to what extent is this related to the fixity
or to the factual importance of canonical books in society?
An associated aspect is to what extent there are clear boundaries,
fluid boundaries, or vague boundaries, between authoritative or canonical
scriptures and other texts like our Old Testament pseudepigrapha. How
do such boundaries work, and what effect do they have? Or, to put it in
the words of the prospectus written for this colloquium: what internal and
external evidence do we have for a formal or qualitative differentiation
between pseudepigrapha and scriptures? Given the wide chronological
and cultural range of Old Testament pseudepigrapha, the kinds of evi-
dence may vary broadly. For the Dead Sea Scrolls, for example, the
question may be posed whether the phenomenon of interpretive rewriting
only applies to the scriptures, or also to other texts which in turn become
In addition to these general questions regarding Old Testament pseud-
epigrapha and the scriptures, I want to raise three different issues for
discussion here or elsewhere.
First, the phenomenon of pseudepigraphy which is found in some but
not all Old Testament pseudepigrapha needs an approach which takes
account of different explanations which may vary per text or per context.
These have to be discussed in full and detail, with a more subtle approach
than one which offers us the two options of deceit versus literary con-
vention. Wyrick, for one, has clearly demonstrated that the conventions
of authorship – or should one say with Foucault “author function”? – are
in the Greek and Latin speaking cultures clearly different from the Hebrew
and Aramaic ones. However, as Stuckenbruck argued on the basis of
1Enoch104,10-11, this does not mean that there was no concern about
authenticity and fraud in those texts.

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Second, Najman’s approach of texts, not according to the usual cate-

gorizations, but according to types of discourse, including the aspect of
discourses that are linked to their founders of to other figures, includes
an alternative way of approaching pseudepigraphy, and has been adopted
in de past decade by several Second Temple Judaism scholars. Yet, as
Najman demonstrated in later work, the dominant aspect of the discourse
of some texts need not be the “author function” but another feature. Hence,
we may have a Mosaic discourse, a Davidic discourse, or an Ezra discourse
– but in other cases the discourse need not be linked to the presumed
first-person author. The idea of specific discourses linked to the “author
function” becomes even more intriguing in the case of fragmentary man-
uscripts where the identity of the first person author has not been pre-
served. Does it matter for our understanding of the text whether Jacob or
Ezekiel would be the first person figure in the AramaicNewJerusalem
text50? Or whether 4Q390 is a Moses or a Jeremiah apocryphon?
A third issue, relating to the concept of Old Testament pseudepigrapha
in general, is to what extent there is a correspondence between what some
scholars of Early Christianity have called the apocryphity of texts, and
their textual transmission and variation. As characteristics of apocryphity,
to be understood as opposed to canonicity, are the principal openness of
the collection, as well as the lack of fixity of the text and literary version
of apocrypha. Or, as Enrico Norelli summarizes the position of Picard,
“ces modifications appartiennent à la vie du texte apocryphe, toujours
ouvert à des réécritures et à de nouvelles utilisations”51. This observa-
tion touches a larger question about the different kinds of transmission
of texts within one and the same culture. Within Rabbinic tradition the
oppositions are best illustrated by the different textual developments of,
for example, Seder Olam on the one hand, and the Hekhalot literature
on the other. The question here is to what extent this idealtypical textual
feature of apocryphity also holds true of Old Testament pseudepigrapha.
Should the relative fixity of texts like Jubileesand 1Enochin the Ethi-
opic tradition be attributed to their authoritative status in the Ethiopic
church? And may the larger textual and literary variations of for example
the LifeofAdamandEvebe compared to that of many of the Christian

50. Cf. E. TIGCHELAAR, TheCharacteroftheCityandtheTempleoftheAramaicNew

Jerusalem, in T. NICKLAS, etal. (eds.), OtherWorldsandTheirRelationtoThisWorld:
EarlyJewishandAncientChristianTraditions(SupplJSJ, 143), Leiden, Brill, 2010, 117-
51. E. NORELLI, Mariedesapocryphes:EnquêtesurlamèredeJésusdanslechris-
tianismeantique,Genève, Labor et Fides, 2009, p. 20 n. 4.

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For this colloquium I requested the speakers to present us concrete

exegetical or literary samples, which show how specific pseudepigrapha
interact or intersect with scriptures, but also to spread out more general
and historical visions, such as how the phenomena of pseudepigraphy and
pseudepigraphic texts relate to issues of scripturalization and canoniza-
tion. The proceedings of this colloquium present us varied tours, taking
us through and along the edges of the pseudepigraphical worlds.

Faculty of Theology Eibert TIGCHELAAR

and Religious Studies
KU Leuven
St.-Michielsstraat 4/3101
B-3000 Leuven

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