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JPS forthcoming publication “Outside the Bible”

January 17, 2013

The Jewish Publication Society’s forthcoming collection of non-canonical works, Outside the Bible, is reportedly going to appear at the end of the year. 

In a fund-raising e-mail, Barry Schwartz announces “JPS’s groundbreaking three-volume, three thousand page collection of Second Temple literature will go to press in March” and gives the following description:

About Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture
Edited by: Lawrence Schiffman, James Kugel and Louis Feldman:

Outside the Bible is the most comprehensive collection of texts comprising ancient Israel’s excluded scriptures and earliest biblical exposition, accompanied by modern commentary from seventy of the world’s leading Second Temple scholars that places them in context and explains their significance for Jews and Christians alike.

"Breathtaking in its scope and eminently satisfying in its execution, Outside the Bible will prove to be an indispensable reference for every scholar of Hebrew Bible, second- temple Judaism, New Testament, and early Christianity. With introductions to and translations of the mass of non-canonical Jewish writings produced from the Exile up until the Mishnah, by an eminent group of internationally renowned scholars, here we have a resource that will meet scholarly needs for generations to come."– Bart D. Ehrman, James A. Gray Professor, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

JPS has released samples from the forthcoming work, including a table of contents.  From the page samples, it appears that the translations will be heavily annotated.   The page samples also indicate a publication date of December 2013 (while mentioning it will be “available at SBL, November 23, 2013.”)   The price is $275; although the page sample mentions a 25% pre-publication discount (see the last page of the page sample for details).

The number of pages seems in dispute – in JPS’s e-mail mentioned above, the work is “three thousand pages”; on the publisher’s web page, the work is 2,640 pages; while the page sample mention 1,406 pages.

JPS also has released a promotional interview with one of the editors, Larry Schiffman of Yeshiva University, formerly of NYU.  This was a happy occasion for me, since it gave me a chance to discover Larry Schiffman’s blog.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2013 8:09 pm

    :bounce: How exciting!!

    …but ouch, that price tag. :wince: Looks like I will have to rely on my friendly library for this one.

  2. January 17, 2013 11:47 pm

    One can only hope that a cheaper paperback edition will be forthcoming in due course ….

    Think of it this way, though — at least it is cheaper than Brill.

  3. January 23, 2013 12:38 pm

    To bible theologians what is the difference between the forthcoming publication and Pseudepigraph that OT apchrypha that can be found online? Let me take a look at the sample.. -zan (

  4. January 23, 2013 12:43 pm

    okay my question was answered by reading this from the Sample’s introduction: “From the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Septuagint, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, and Philo, this
    anthology brings together the texts that transformed Jews and Christians at the turn of the first millennium.” I figured, this makes sense. I’d like to get this then because I’m looking for apochrypha. I’m iffy about pseudepigrapha and I’m not touching gnostic books with a ten foot pole. -zan

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