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XV. The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs: Christian and Jewish

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with the problem whether the Testaments of twelve patriarchs are Jewish or Christian a question hotly debated during the past hundred years. The considerations made in the chapter do not enable us to solve the question whether the now Christian Testaments ever existed in a Jewish form. We are not able to prove that the Testaments were composed in Christian circles in the second half of the second century; they may also be the outcome of a thorough and to a considerable degree consistent redaction of an earlier Jewish writing. But it is extremely difficult to find convincing proof for the existence of such a document, nor are we in a position to determine its contents. The strongest argument in favour of a Christian redaction of an existing Jewish text remains the great diversity and complexity of the passages dealing with the future.

Keywords: Jewish writing; twelve patriarchs



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