In this volume, a leading biblical scholar helps readers rediscover the ancient books of the Old Testament Apocrypha. Invitation to the Apocrypha provides a clear, basic introduction to these important but often neglected ancient books.
Using the latest and best scholarship, yet writing for those new to the Apocrypha, Daniel Harrington guides readers through the background, content, and message of each book. A distinctive feature of this primer is that it focuses throughout on the problem of suffering, highlighting what each book of the Apocrypha says about this universal human experience.
Delve into God’s Word like never before! With the Logos edition of Invitation to the Apocrypha, Scripture references link directly to the Bibles in your library—both to the original-language texts and to the English translations. Double-clicking any word automatically opens your lexicons to the relevant entry, making Hebrew words instantly accessible.
“It is more a book about wisdom—its benefits, nature, and role in history—than a wisdom book giving practical advice (like Proverbs and Sirach). It is an exhortation to seek wisdom and to live by it.” (Page 55)
“A reading of these books according to their literary-historical order might proceed as follows: Psalm 151, Wisdom of Solomon, Prayer of Manasseh, Tobit, Letter of Jeremiah, Additions to Daniel, Esther, Baruch, 1 Esdras, 3 Maccabees, Ecclesiasticus/Sirach, 2 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, 1 Maccabees, and 2 Esdras.” (Page 7)
“It is very much a biblical story in the sense that it reflects the theological program of the book of Deuteronomy, especially its emphases on reward for righteous actions and on the Jerusalem temple as the central shrine for all Israel.” (Page 12)
“The book is best understood as historical fiction, a work of literary imagination based on biblical precedents and perhaps commenting on events in Jewish history in the second century b.c.e.” (Pages 28–29)
“The book of Sirach is not quoted directly in the New Testament. The strongest parallel is Matthew 11:28–30 (see Sirach 6:24–25; 51:26–27). But even there it may be a matter of common terminology and conceptuality. Yet Sirach is a precious resource for understanding the presuppositions of Judaism in the late Second Temple period and for discerning what was or was not innovative about Jesus and early Christianity.” (Page 90)
One of the best and most readable introductions to the books of the Apocrypha which has so far been produced.
—Society for Old Testament Study Booklist
This is an introductory book, designed for nonspecialists, but presenting the best of contemporary biblical scholarship. As such, it stands as a model for showing how the fruits of technical biblical studies can be applied for the benefit of the educated by nontechnical reader.
—Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Harrington’s careful scholarship and clear writing is evident throughout. Intended as a college or seminary introduction, anyone interested in the topic or in these very interesting but less known books will be richly rewarded in the reading.
—The Bible Today
As one would expect from Harrington, the volume is clearly written, meticulously researched, and balanced and sensible in its critical judgments. At every stage there are excellent bibliographies to guide those who would move on to further study.
—Sewanee Theological Review
Daniel J. Harrington is professor of New Testament at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Among his many other books are Who Is Jesus? Why Is He Important? and How to Read the Gospels.