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Texts and Historical Context

December 11, 2017

Some readers have asked for guidance on what texts are relevant as historical context for the NT, Jesus and Christian origins, and what editions or scholarly works on them there are.  The list is considerable, so here is a handy resource:

Craig A. Evans, Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies:  A Guide to the Background Literature (original edition: Peabody, MA:  Hendrickson, 2005; updated/revised edition, Grand Rapids:  Baker, 2012).  The publisher’s page on the more recent edition here.

The texts include “Old Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, the “Dead Sea Scrolls,” “Versions of the Old Testament” , Philo and Josephus, Targums, Rabbinic literature, early Christian apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, early church “Fathers”, gnostic texts, and “other writings” (including pagan texts, Corpus Hermeticum, Samaritian texts, and others.

Under each section there is an introduction, and bibliographies of editions, translations and scholarly works.

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  1. Miguel Castellón permalink

    Professor Hurtado Could you answer me this,

    Let me first to thank you for your future answer and all what I haver learnt from your books and podcast.

    Now here I go with the question:

    If I am not wrong in the dead see scrolls (4q242) we got Nabonidus prayer saying that an unnamed jewish carismathic forgave his sins and healed his disease. This could be related to Mark chapter 2 when we see Jesus forgiving sins and healing. 1

    If I keep in Mind that Jesus answers to the crew that he has authority for forgivness of sins, In John 20 23, when Jesus said to apostles that he was sending them as he was sent by the father and gave them “authority” for the forginess of sins. Then Could be that the christian denominations which has sacrament of confession got it right and we evangelicals not??

    I would like to know you opinion on that.

    1 Geza Vermes, Early Christian beginnings, page 15.

    • Miguel: More precisely, 4Q242 portrays Nabonidus saying that, after appealing to various deities, he then prayed to the Jewish god, and a Jewish exorcist forgave his sins and healed him. So, the exorcist in question is portrayed as acting as the agent of God in answering Nabonidus’ prayers.

      To address your final question, yes, I think that there is more room for human agents of divine forgiveness than some Protestant groups allow for.

      • Miguel Castellón permalink

        Thank you so much for you reply Mr.Hurtado. Cheers!

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