Home » Apocrypha Stuff » Second Temple Period Literature and English Translations:

Second Temple Period Literature and English Translations:


A friend of mine had asked more if he could find copies of 1 Enoch and Jubilees online, I told that I would send him an email and it became the basis for this post, I ended up adding some other literature which I though would be of help, and a wee bit of information about the books, in any case please enjoy:

Second Temple Literature:

The first two works seen here the Book of Jubilees and 1 Enoch, these two were translated/edited by R.H. Charles, and likely when someone, especially an earlier work (before the Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls) quotes from either book they’ll be quoting from his translation.  Both had pieces found within the Dea Sea Scrolls Community and help to show at least one strain of Jewish thought.  Jubilees for example helps fits nicely with the Essences community view of years and the temple.  Enoch itself shows the widespread fame of the figure who appears in Genesis

The Book of Jubilees

The Book of Enoch or 1 Enoch

Here are the other 2 more important  Enochic books, these aren’t as useful, I feel to New Testament Background, as the both are often dated to the AD era, but 2 Enoch is placed often prior to the destruction of the temple (the earliest I have seen is AD 50), while the other is is more commonly thought to have been composed around 132 AD, if not later.  They do reflect some important Jewish thought that shouldn’t be question, but at least with 3 Enoch, it becomes difficult if the writer was influenced by Christianity or Zoratarism.  So while they do most likely show Jewish thought at the time of Christ, they may also show Jewish reaction so to speak to the new Christian faith.  Metatron’s appearance within 3 Enoch is of special note however.

The Book of the Secrets of Enoch or 2 Enoch

The Hebrew book of Enoch or 3 Enoch

Another work of interest is that of the Apocalypse of Abraham where the figure “Yahoel” appears, again this is dated after the Destruction of the Temple, usually later first century to early second, but earlier enough that at least seems to show Jewish thought at the time of Christ.  Also interesting enough the first English translation  of this work seems to have been done with the Mormon church around 1898 when it appeared in their magazine “Improvement Era.”

The Apocalypse of Abraham

The Next two texts, “The Ascension of Isaiah,” and “Joseph and Aseneth,” were both originally Jewish works, but which have been persevered only through the hands of Christians, thus dating each becomes difficult.  The Jewish originals are often dated from the last century BC up to the 2nd Century AD, with the Christian texts has we have them often from again First or Second centry AD, up to the Fifth century.  These works thus help to exhibit not only early Jewish legends of the Characters of Isaiah and Joseph, and Jewish thoughts, but also Christian thoughts.  For example, one sees in Jospeh and Aseneth, Aseneth’s very interesting conversion story which is with scholars split on if the story is undoubtly Christian to perhaps a view of Jewish proselytism.

The Ascension of Isaiah

Joseph and Asenath and A Newer Translation (1984)

The next two, which were also edited by R.H. Charles were for many years the standard texts to get, I don’t think they were really replace until, the two voulume work “The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha,” edited by James H. Charlesworth came out. (H. F. D. Sparks, “The Apocryphal Old Testament” should also be noted as well).  So they’re quite useful, if a little dated.  So while Charlesworth would taking into account the Dead Sea Scrolls, Charles didn’t have access to them.  Although honestly the only real works affected by this are Jubilees, more background for 1 Enoch, more findings of Ben Sira’s Hebrew original, the Masada finds might have been found by this time, and portions of Tobit.  Other Discoveries of course could be noted, for example some of the Testaments have been found in fuller forms, or for example the Syriac Church has been found to have preserved some of these works.

But in any case this should often be more than enough for most people.

The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English Volume 1

The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English Volume 2

There are of course many other pieces of Literature from the Second Temple Period which could be noted, but I felt these would be of more interest than some others, that and I was able to provide a free and full translation to accompany each.

– Le Bel Inconnu


1 Comment

  1. Gurjinder says:

    I want a dictionary which can give me translation of a line from english to hindi

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