Common Themes in the Books of the Apocrypha
The conclusion presents some common themes of the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha mainly reflect genres found in the Hebrew Bible, albeit in developed forms; these texts assume biblical precedents and play upon the forms of biblical literature. The fact that they were composed within a few hundred years means that similar themes are encountered: Deuteronomic theology, penitential theology, a focus on Jewish identity and competition with the nations roundabout, the personified role of Woman Wisdom, prayer, resurrection and immortality, and the reverence of Jewish heroes and heroines. The Apocrypha differ most markedly from each other in respect to whether they are Deuteronomic in their outlook and simply counsel the audience to strengthen their commitment to God’s law (Ben Sira, 1 and 2 Maccabees), or look to God for a solution (Jubilees, 1 Enoch, 4 Ezra, 2 Baruch). In addition, the word that has come to be translated as Jew, Yehudi in Hebrew and Ioudaios in Greek, is used in some of these texts as a means of asserting a now-threatened Jewish identity. The term Apocrypha and the texts that are included often reflect a boundary situation. They are texts that command our attention today.
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