Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Notice: The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism

John J. Collins and Daniel C. Harlow (eds.)
The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism
Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010.
Available at

This is a pretty monumental reference resource on ancient Judaism that people working with Jewish and Christians texts should know about. The book contains a series of opening essays (see below) and an A-Z of dictionary articles from "Aaron" to "Zerubbabel". At a brief glance there were good articles on "election" (Simon Gathercole), "exile" (Allison Schofield), "Enoch, Similitudes" (Michael A. Knibb), "Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism" (M.H. Williams), "Luke-Acts" (David Moessner), "Mediator Figures" (Larry Hurtado), and "Purity and Impurity" (Hannah Harrington) to name a few. I couldn't think of any topics that were missing, though in some cases I found myself wanting to know more than just the facts and statistics, but what the author thought about stuff like the purpose of 1 Esdras, etc. But if you're a student and you want to know who the heck is "Metratron" or want a run down on "Tobit, Book of", this is a good place to look. Among the essays, I found Loren Stuckenbruck's on "Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha" to be the most informative, esp. on the purpose and function of pseudepigraphy.

Essays include:

Early Judaism in Modern Scholarship
John J. Collins

Jewish History from Alexander to Hadrian
Chris Seeman and Adam Kolman Marshak

Judaism in the Land of Israel
James C. VanderKam

Judaism in the Diaspora
Erich S. Gruen

The Jewish Scriptures: Texts, Versions, Canons
Eugene Ulrich

Early Jewish Biblical Interpretation
James L. Kugel

Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
Loren T. Stuckenbruck

Dead Sea Scrolls
Eibert Tigchelaar

Early Jewish Literature Written in Greek
Katell Berthelot

Archaeology, Papyri, and Inscriptions
Jürgen K. Zangenberg

Jews among Greeks and Romans
Miriam Pucci Ben Zeev

Early Judaism and Early Christianity
Daniel C. Harlow

Early Judaism and Rabbinic Judaism
Lawrence H. Schiffman

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