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"para-biblical literature"

Someone recently asked me, did Garcia Martinez coin the term
"para-biblical literature"? My impression is "No," but I don't have any
clear idea of who might have done so. (The Oxford English Dictionary
researchers will want to know!) Unfortunately, it wasn't me -- although
the idea has been around (and growing) for some time, once "rewritten
bible" quickly outlived its usefulness as a comprehensive category. 

In his "Foreword" to the Englished DSS, Garcia Martinez gives the
following explanation (xxvii): "Some of these [texts] are compositions
parallel to the biblical text, approximating the original text [sic!] in
different degrees. Others represent independent traditions developed
around biblical personages. Others again reveal to us literary creations
of the same type as the biblical narratives which by chance were not
included in the bible, although a few of them, such as the <t>Book of
Jubilees</>, seem to have enjoyed truly biblical authority within the
community." I would want to add that some of the texts may reflect
traditions/materials that survived INDEPENDENTLY from what came to be
"biblical," that is, they deal with subjects LIKE what came to be
"biblical," without necessarily DERIVING from "biblical" sources.
Indeed, in my use of "para-biblical," the possibility of pre-biblical
survivals is entertained (e.g. what lies behind Genesis 6.1-4?). 

The explanation given by Garcia-Martinez on p.218, at the start of the
"para-biblical literature" section proper, is much less satisfactory to
my way of thinking (perhaps the Spanish is less problematic): "...all
the compositions from which this material comes could be classed as ...
literature that begins with the Bible, which retells the biblical text
in its own way, intermingling it and expanding it with other, quite
different traditions. Every one of these compositions has its starting
point in specific texts of the Torah or of the Prophets but, unlike the
exegetical literature, rather than interpreting the biblical text, they
elaborate on it, augmenting it with other material." He does allow that
a few of the texts (e.g. "proto-Esther") have a "more tenuous and
remote" relationship, being "parallel to, earlier than, or simultaneous
with, the biblical text, but with no direct connection to it." I would
argue that such considerations deserve more prominence in the general

So is it useful to attempt a simplified definition of "para-biblical
literature" to enhance communication about early Jewish materials such
as the DSS preserve (sort of)? I would look for the following

(1) "Biblical" literature broadly defined is by definition the
touchstone, arbitrary 'though that may be, for "para-biblical";

(2) Materials that characteristically resemble, in content or in form 
(or in authority?!),  what came to be considered "biblical" in the
course of time, without falling within the normally accepted limits of
textcritical development, qualify as "para-biblical." 

Initially, I'm inclined to include the "authority" category -- that is,
literature that was considered "scriptural" (of special authority) by
its users (if that can be determined) -- although it does muddy the
waters perhaps excessively insofar as it opens the doors to
"non-biblical" contents and forms such as "foundational" sectarian
writings (Manual of Discipline, 4QMMT, etc.). Perhaps it is best to use
"para-biblical" for whatever is left over after other categories such as
"foundational but not biblical" are established. But this may tell us
more about our own perspectives than about the producers and users of
the materials we seek to describe and understand. It is not beyond
imagination that a community would consider EVERY written text that they
chose to preserve as special and authoritative, in a world in which
written texts in general may have played a much more special role than
they do for us (or should I say me?).

Bob Kraft, UPenn