The Pseudepigrapha are among the most important non-canonical texts for biblical study, second only to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Students of the Bible engage the literature of the Pseudepigrapha (Greek portions as well as those in Hebrew and Aramaic) because this material provides sharp insight into how the Jewish community of Jesus’ day approached and interpreted the Hebrew Scriptures.
...an invaluable resource for the study of both early rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. —Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible Old Testament Greek Pseudepigrapha with Morphology includes morphologically tagged and lemmatized Greek texts for 81 books, letters, and fragments, making it the most complete electronic assemblage of Greek pseudepigraphal texts available! Currently, people who want to study the OT Greek Pseudepigrapha must track down and acquire dozens of critical editions in hard copy, scattered across libraries and publishers around the globe.
The Greek running text in the Logos edition is drawn from the best available scholarly editions in the public domain. All Greek texts have been morphologically tagged and lemmatized by Dr. Ken M. Penner, a project director and general editor for The Online Critical Pseudepigrapha project. Dr. Penner also helped prepare a number of the texts.
A complete list of included texts can be found below. The list of public domain Greek texts in the Logos edition essentially mirrors what you'd find in Charlesworth’s The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (2 Vols., Doubleday) and M. Denis’s Concordance grecque des pseudépigraphes d’Ancien Testament. Concordance, corpus des texts, indices (Louvain-la-Neuve, 1987). We have also been supplied with Greek texts from the Online Critical Pseudepigrapha project to ensure that we have the best public domain editions available.
Several texts left out of other electronic editions on the market (e.g., Apocalypse of Daniel and the Psalms of Solomon) are included in the Logos edition! The Logos edition also includes brand new introductions, written by Michael Heiser, Ph.D. (see samples below). These introductions provide a summary of the significant features of each text and explain how each plays a role in biblical studies.
The Pseudepigrapha are key documents for biblical study, cited broadly in the literature of the field. A simple search for references to the Books of Enoch, for example, returns over 1,100 hits in the Word Biblical Commentary, and over 440 hits in Anchor Bible Dictionary. That's more than 1,500 references in just two sets of books—just for Enoch!
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible summarizes the significance of the Pseudepigrapha as follows:
Though not included in any of the major Western canons of Scripture, these texts, along with the Dead Sea Scrolls, are important for any attempt to understand the religious, political, and social world at the turn of the eras. They represent the multifaceted Jewish responses to the encroachment of Hellenism, the establishment of Maccabean power, Roman conquest and hegemony, the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, and the rise of Christianity. Christian preservation and adaptation of nearly all of these texts also enhance our knowledge of Jewish-Christian relations in the first several centuries C.E. In addition, many theological notions present in embryonic form in the OT are explored and expressed with increased sophistication within the Pseudepigrapha, making this literature an invaluable resource for the study of both early rabbinic Judaism and Christianity.
It is common for Christian pastors and students to assume that they can best understand early Judaism through rabbinical material like the Talmud and Mishnah. These works are a useful tool for contextualizing the New Testament, but the Pseudepigrapha offer unparalleled insight into the diversity and nature of Jewish doctrinal beliefs during the pre-Christian era.
In addition to doctrinal issues, the Greek Pseudepigrapha are essential for the light they shed on lexigraphical and grammatical issues in NT studies. If you're familiar with BDAG you've seen the frequency with which the authors cite pseudepigraphical material. Having a searchable Greek Pseudepigrapha resource makes it possible to very quickly track down these citations and read the broader context...or find examples of your own!
If you are a scholar or a student who has reasonable facility in Greek, Logos Bible Software’s collection of Greek Pseudepigrapha will come as a welcome tool. Not only is this the most complete collection of morphologically-tagged Greek Pseudepigrapha available in any computer platform, but Logos has added to its value by including short introductions for each book. Background information includes discussion of genre, date, authorship, original language, content summary, and relevance for those who do exegesis in the canonical material of the Old and New Testament. The total output of these introductions exceeds 50,000 words, easily the equivalent of an introductory book on the subject. Bibliography for each book is also included.
Read the article The Value of the Pseudepigrapha for Biblical Studies to learn more...
Michael S. Heiser earned his Ph. D. in Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before going to the UW-Madison, Mike earned an M.A. in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania (major fields were Ancient Israel and Egyptology), and another M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Hebrew Studies). He also attended Dallas Theological Seminary. Mike’s undergraduate degree is from Bob Jones University, but he also attended Bible college for three years.
Mike’s dissertation was entitled, "The Divine Council in Late Canonical and Non-Canonical Second Temple Jewish Literature.” The dissertation sought to discern the ancient Canaanite and Israelite roots of Jewish binitarian monotheism and the early Church’s high Christology. Because of his course work, Mike can do translation work in roughly a dozen ancient languages, among them Biblical Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Ugaritic cuneiform. He has also studied Akkadian and Sumerian independently.
Mike’s main research interests are Israelite religion (especially Israel’s divine council), contextualizing biblical theology with Israelite and ancient Near Eastern religion, Jewish binitarianism, biblical languages, ancient Semitic languages, textual criticism, comparative philology, and Second Temple period Jewish literature.
As Academic Editor for Logos, Mike is responsible for targeting and evaluating potential data projects for scholarly products, overseeing existing academic projects, and the creation of written content. Mike’s varied academic background enables him to operate in the realm of critical scholarship and the wider Christian community. His experience in teaching on the undergraduate level and writing for the layperson contributes directly to the company’s goal of adapting scholarly tools for non-specialists.
Before coming to Logos, Mike taught on the undergraduate level for twelve years, six of which were in Christian colleges. He currently teaches for Liberty University's distance education program. He has taught over twenty different courses covering both testaments, systematic theology, ethics, and biblical languages. He also taught world civilization for five years through Marian College in Fond du Lac, WI, and public speaking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Mike has an active ministry to people whose worldview is molded by occult, paranormal, and esoteric beliefs. He observed that many who have adopted “alternative” worldviews were formerly traditional theists and Christians who left the faith when their questions on difficult passages and topics went unanswered, or when spiritual leaders failed to address experiences they had had. Mike seeks to fill these gaps as a Christian scholar and has become well known in these circles through writing, speaking, and numerous radio appearances.
Lastly, Mike is originally from Lebanon, PA. He and his wife Drenna married in 1987. They have four children.
1 Enoch provides insight into a Jewish theology that took the canonical text quite literally. There was no attempt to sidestep the reality or implications of Genesis 6:1-4. As scholars have noted for some time, in 1 Enoch the blame for the evil condition of the antediluvian world is placed squarely upon the Watchers and their offspring, not humanity (cf. Gen. 6:5). As Nickelsburg states, “Enochic authors attributed a significant part of the evils in this world to a hidden demonic world, and the corpus devotes considerable space to myths that trace the origins of that world to an angelic rebellion that took place in the heavenly realm and the hidden primordial past” (Anchor Bible Dictionary, 2:515). Such a literal view of antediluvian events was commonplace in Judaism and the early church. There is no evidence that any Jewish or Christian writer held any other interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4 than the literal understanding prior to Julius Africanus (ca. 160-240 C.E.), and he appears alone in this regard before Augustine. It was only with Augustine (354-430 C.E.) that a non-literal understanding of this pericope is put forth with vigor...
Life of Adam and Eve
The Life of Adam and Eve contains several items that would be of interest to both Old and New Testament exegetes. The merkabah (divine throne chariot) description in Apoc. Moses 8, 22, 33, 38 can inform us as to Jewish conceptions of the appearance and significance of the throne chariot of Ezekiel 1, 10. There is a tiered angelology, with cherubim and seraphim holding high rank (Apoc. Moses 22, 33, 36). Of specific interest with respect to the angelic realm is Vita 12-16, where Satan describes the circumstances of his own fall, noting that it was his refusal to worship Adam at God’s command after the human had been created. Satan can also disguise himself as an “angel of light” (Vita 9:1, 3; 12:1). Additionally, it is interesting to note that the Life of Adam and Eve has Eve as the source of sin and death, an idea contradicted by Rom 5:12-21, but perhaps echoed in other Pauline passages, like I Tim 2:13-14 and II Cor 11:3. Elsewhere Paul relates that he was caught up to the “third heaven,” the same description of the location of the heavenly Paradise, the throne room of God, where Adam was taken according to Vita 25-29.
Testament of Adam
The Testament of Adam has relevance for biblical exegesis on several counts. First, it is not dualistic in its outlook. God is credited for creating all things, even demons. They must worship him. There is also a definite time frame for the existence of life on earth. This work is an early witness to the idea that the earth was intended to last for six thousand years after the Flood, presumably to make the entire created enterprise be of duration for seven thousand years, a time span of numerical completion from a numerological perspective.
By far the two most significant content points for exegesis is the work’s angelology and the promised deification of Adam. Regarding the former, while pseudepigraphical works are known for their complex angelology, it should not be forgotten that the New Testament has an array of terms for inhabitants of the heavens, many of which are referenced in this work and other pseudepigraphical texts (e.g., archons, thrones, dominions). The Testament of Adam includes the concept of the guardian angel, and certain angelic beings (dominions) over political kingdoms. The idea of divine beings ruling over political geographies is an important part of the Old Testament worldview described in Deut. 32:8-9 (reading with LXX and Qumran; cp. Deut. 4:19-20; 17:3; 29:25) and Daniel 10 (see Heiser, Bib Sac and dissertation; Stevens). Concerning the latter, the Testament of Adam affirms that God’s original intention was to make Adam a god, but this glorification was ruined by the Fall and now has to await the final consummation of Christ’s victory. This too is an important, but often overlooked, biblical concept, one that has strong roots in ancient Judaism. As God’s imagers (cf. the beth of predication [“essentiae”] in the Hebrew phrase “in the image of God”), all humans were destined to be in God’s family, human sons and daughters of God, exalted over even the divine sons of God referenced elsewhere in Scripture (cf. Job 38:7-8; see Charlesworth, Dimant, Rakestraw, Risenfeld, Tabor).