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Biblical Archaeology Review 49:3, Fall 2023

Epistles: Define Intervention

Biblical Archaeology Review

What are Pseudepigrapha?

1. Texts with false attributions

2. Forged Moabite artifacts

3. Anonymous sculptures

4. A collection of Greek curses

5. The fear of plagiarism

Answer: (1) Texts with false attributions

Pseudepigrapha are texts whose named authors are not the real authors. They are usually attributed to famous or authoritative figures of a distant past, such as Enoch from the Bible. In the realm of biblical studies, Pseudepigrapha also carries the more specific meaning of Jewish writings of anonymous or dubious authorship that date to a period of about 400 years (c. 200 BCE–200 CE) and that are excluded from the biblical canon.

Apocryphal (or deuterocanonical) texts, on the other hand, are related to the Apocrypha, a defined group of Jewish and Christian religious writings excluded from the Hebrew canon but found in many Christian canons. For example, the Book of Judith is apocryphal, whereas the Book of Enoch is pseudepigraphic, as the latter is not included in most Jewish and Christian Bibles.

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