Texts – Earliest manuscripts found at Qumran where five manuscripts have been found, four in Aramaic and one in Hebrew. Indicates it was originally written in a Semitic language (not Greek).
Author, Date and Setting – Anonymous author, a pious Jew seeking to maintain Jewish identity in the midst of gentile culture in the diaspora. Journey described shows lack of familiarity with actual geography. Scholars believe it might have been written someplace in Mesopotamia or even in the land of Israel. Since it refers to the Book of Moses,” it post dates the composition of the Torah in the fifth Century BCE. Qumran indicate a date before 100 BCE. Lack of references to Maccabean revolt suggests a date of between 250-175 BCE.
Formative influences – Reflects Deuteronomy’s philosophy: the righteous will be blessed for their righteousness, Misfortune of the Jewish people came from their disobedience. Also, the Genesis narratives of Jacob’s journey to find a wife are literary allusions.
Ethical Values and Theology of Second Temple Judaism—
Almsgiving and charity to the poor, along with the respectful burial of the dead are key values.
Loyalty to kin and extended family. Your family will “watch your back.”
Marriage is meant for partnership.
Marry a nice Jewish woman or man.
Obedience to Torah will result in prosperity in the end, even though you may suffer hardship for doing so.
Assumes the activity of angels and demons, part of Hellenistic Jewish period as well as New Testament.
Confidence that there will be a renewed Israel one day, even though the gentiles currently have control.
Influence in New Testament – NT shares importance of prayer, fasting , and almsgiving. Some language seems similar – ascent of Raphael, “I am going to him who sent me,” is language seen in John’s frequent use of the same language. Binding of demons also reflected in Gospels and Revelation. Case study the Sadducees bring to Jesus of a woman who had seven husbands all who died probably comes from this story.
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