In this Appendix to the series on Non-Biblical Literature and the Bible, we want to give you a brief annotated list of books that can help you get started reading some of the material we have discussed. The lists are in order of the posts, with priority given to more general resources first. Any alphabetizing occurs only after we put books in our own personal order of importance. Let’s get to it.
Many book icons are clickable. Of course, it goes without saying that you should shop around if you want to buy something.
GENERAL (introductions to various writings and authors)
Craig A. Evans, Noncanonical Writings and New Testament Interpretation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Pub., 1992). My favorite brief introduction to the Apocrypha, OT Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo and Josephus, the Targums, Rabbinic Literatures, NT Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Early Church Fathers, and Gnostic Writings. This book has a little introduction to just about everything. Evans has an updated version of this book called Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature.
Joseph A. Fitzmyer, A Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008). From Amazon: This aid to navigating the Dead Sea Scrolls lists specifically where readers can find each of the scrolls and fragmentary texts from the eleven caves of Qumran and all the related sites. The book includes a fully searchable CD-ROM.
Introduction and Biographical Information, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005). Brief biographies for nearly every Church Father. This resource comes with the complete Ancient Christian Commentary series, but I cannot find it available in a single volume online.
Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Pederson, Meet the Puritans: With a Guide to Modern Reprints (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2006). From Amazon: This encyclopedic resource provides biographical sketches of all the major Puritans as well as bibliographic summaries of their writings and work. Meet the Puritans is an important addition to the library of the layman, pastor, student and scholar.
APOCRYPHA (Read Post Here)
The Apocrypha Online. http://apocrypha.org/. Read the Apocrypha free in different English translations here.
The New Oxford Annotated Apocrypha: Augmented Third Edition, ed. Michael D. Coogan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). This is a short but good collection of the Apocrypha that gives a bare-bones introduction to each of the books for readers that know little to nothing about them. The English text follows the RSV translation of the Apocrypha.
PSEUDEPIGRAPHA (Read Post Here)
Pseudepigrapha Online. http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/. A great online resource for texts of the pseudepigrapha (both OT and NT), as well as the Apocrypha and a few other things.
OT Pseudepigrapha Studies. http://www.4enoch.org/wiki3/index.php?title=OT_Pseudepigrapha. This page is a reference site, billed as an encyclopedia of the pseudepigrapha.
James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: 2 Vols (New York; London: Yale University Press, 1983). This has become the standard introduction to around seventy different Pseudepigrapha texts. Each book comes with an introduction and notes. This work is a upgrading of Robert Henry Charles, ed., Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament: 2 Vols (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2004). Originally published by Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1913, which was the first major collection of Pseudepigrapha into English. This links to the cheaper paperback version, but it is available in hardcover and from Logos.
Richard Bauckham, James Davila, Alex Panayotov, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, Volume 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2013). This new collection includes many texts not found in Charlesworth. Like Charlesworth, each book has a helpful introduction and notes. Volume 2 is not yet out. This is also available at Logos, but is super expensive.
Steve Delamarter, A Scripture Index to Charlesworth’s The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002). A fascinating index! “This book is a complete index to the nearly 8000 references to the protestant scriptures in the margins and footnotes of James Charlesworth’s 2-volume work, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. The information in the index will assist those studying the influence of the Hebrew Bible on the pseudepigrapha and the influence of the pseudepigrapha on the New Testament.” (From the blurb on Google Books, which this link takes you to. It can also be purchased at Amazon).
Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 8 (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886). Many NT pseudepigrapha or apocrypha were put into the great Ante-Nicene Church Father’s collection that many have in book form and can be found for free on the internet. They are contained in Volume 8. This links to the CCEL free online version.
OTHER SECOND TEMPLE LITERATURE (Read Post Here)
Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English (New York: HarperOne, 1999). This is the definitive English translation of the Hebrew Scriptures as found at Qumran. A great resource. It is available as a book or on Logos platform.
Florentino Garcı́a Martı́nez and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition [translations] (Leiden; New York: Brill, 1997–1998). This collection has many of the texts found at Qumran translated into English. It is a great starter collection and is available in book or on the Logos platform along with the transcriptions edition, if you want to read the original language.
Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987) and Charles Duke Yonge with Philo of Alexandria, The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995). These volumes speak for themselves. Read the Jewish historian and philosopher in their collected works. These are invaluable first century complements to the New Testament culture and worldview.
The Mishnah: A New Integrated Translation and commentary: http://www.emishnah.com/
Targum Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Targum. Targums are expensive, but the wiki on Targums has a list of a few available in English online. If you are super crazy, you can buy the full set at Logos. Click the link and gasp. Then be good and beg Santa for a Christmas present, unless of course you don’t believe in Santa or don’t like Christmas.
APOSTOLIC FATHERS (Read Post Here)
Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 3rd Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007). This text has short introductions to each of the books in the collection as well as both Greek and Holmes’ English translation. An earlier edition is available at Logos. You can also find an older version of the Apostolic Fathers in the Ante-Nicene Fathers collection Volume 1.
CHURCH FATHERS (Read Post Here)
Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, eds., The Church Fathers in 38 Volumes (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886). This is the classic (and cheapest) version of the Church Fathers. The collection includes the Apostolic Fathers and various NT apocrypha/pseudepigrapha, and Church Fathers both prior to and after the Council of Nicaea. The link (on the picture) will take you to the CCEL free version online.
Fathers of the Church Series (127 Vols.) (Catholic University of America Press). For the uber-ambitious (and insanely rich), check out this mega series of Church Fathers. It contains vast amounts of information and is available from Logos so that you don’t have to buy a new house (though you may have to take out a mortgage on the one you already own).
GNOSTIC TEXTS (Read Post Here)
Malcolm L. Peel The Nag Hammadi Library in English, ed. James M. Robinson, 4th rev. ed. (Leiden; New York: E. J. Brill, 1996). This collection of Gnostic texts comes with short introductions to each of the various books. There are other translations of the collection available, and some of the books can be found for free in the internet.
ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN LITERATURE (Read Post Here)
William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, The Context of Scripture in 3 Vols. (Leiden; New York: Brill, 1997–). This is a fantastic starter collection of ANE literature. It also comes standard in many base packages of Logos Software. It contains many writings from the Egyptians, Hittites, Sumerians, and Akkadians.
James Bennett Pritchard, ed., The Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3rd ed. with Supplement (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969). As the title suggests, it contains many ANE texts, but its introductions focus on their relationship to biblical material. It also comes with many Logos base packages.
Mark S. Smith and Simon B. Parker, Ugaritic Narrative Poetry: English Translations and Introductory Material (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1997). This has many of the epics found at Ugarit, including the Baal Cycle. The Baal Cycle can also be read online. I’m pretty sure that Smith’s two volume Baal Cycle commentary is the most expensive modern set of any literature ever made.