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Jewish Pseudepigrapha In Jacob Of Edessa’s Letters And Historical Writings

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Chapter Summary

In a letter to John of Litarba examining a wide range of issues associated with biblical interpretation, Jacob of Edessa takes up a question put to him by John and his fraternity: ?Is it true, as it is said, that neither writing nor books existed before the time of Moses?? In his reply, Jacob insists that writing, indispensable for human development and prosperity, must have been discovered long before Moses? time. Jacob?s defense of Enoch illustrates a point often overlooked in studies of the Christian appropriation and use of the Jewish pseudepigrapha. Jacob?s Jewish Histories, like many later works fashioned out of narrative in Jubilees, functioned in much the same way that the various versions of Jubilees did in Greek sources, that is, as a supplement to Genesis, and as narrative raw material for universal history.

Keywords: historical writings; Jacob of Edessa; Jewish Histories; Jewish pseudepigrapha



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