Talk:Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

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Incorrect introduction[edit]

The information on the page is hopelessly outdated, stating scholarly opinions from the beginning on the 20th century as fact. This is my reworking of the introduction with the outdated information removed. I would suggest using this, and adding to it:

Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs is an important constituent of the apocryphal scriptures connected with the Old Testament, comprising the dying commands of the twelve sons of Jacob. It is part of the Oskan Armenian Orthodox Bible of 1666. Fragments of similar writings were found at Qumran, opinions are divided if these are the same texts. It is considered Apocalyptic literature.

The testaments were written in Greek, probably by a hellenised Jew. The books were later (first or second century) thoroughly reworked by a Christian author/editor. For several centuries it was wholly lost sight of, and it was not till the 13th century that it was rediscovered through the agency of Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln, who translated it into Latin, under the misconception that it was a genuine work of the twelve sons of Jacob, and that the Christian interpolations were a genuine product of Jewish prophecy.

The advent of the Reformation brought in critical methods, and the book was unjustly disparaged as a mere Christian forgery for nearly four centuries. Scholarly opinions are divided if the books are Christian rewritings of earlier Jewish writings, or Jewish writings with Christian interpolations.

Note: The above unsigned comment was made by User: (talk). And I've gotta say: good job! I just noticed that you made changes to the page itself too, & it does look liked you've improved the article. Although I'm not knowledgeable about this particular book of the Apocrypha, I'm pretty knowledgeable about biblical topics in general (actually, I've got an undergrad degree in Religion), & looks like you know your stuff. Thanks for your contribution. --Yksin 17:39, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

The advent of the Reformation brought in critical methods;... this sentence in a POV and it is not related with the topic. It should by replaced by In the XVI century... A ntv (talk) 15:18, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Comments about Joseph Testament posted by User:Roseyjoey[edit]

The posted comments are relative to Genesis 39-41 not to the Testament of Joseph that is a section of the apocryphal text Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, where for example there is no mention of the dream of the Pharaoh. Article Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs is only about such apocryphal text, not about Genesis narrative of Joseph. Comparison with Revelation shall be placed in Articles about Christianity. These comments are also unreferenced and look like original research. These are the reasons I deleted Them. Please dont do edit war, but explain here, in talk page, your point of view. A ntv (talk) 09:14, 24 December 2008 (UTC)


Sorry folks, I just removed the biased and incoherent statements about Charles being "annull"ed. As a scholar specializing in the study of these texts I can safely say that there *is* no scholarly consensus on the nature or origin of the Testaments. Check out Lawrence H. Schiffman's "Understanding Second Temple & Rabbinic Judaism", Lester L. Grabbe's "Judaic Religion in the Second Temple Period", and Doron Mendel's "The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism." Many scholars, particularly those involved in the study of Judaism in Late Antiquity, still agree with Charles that the text has simply been edited by Christians. Others (especially those with a vested interest in Christian history) do follow Marinus de Jonge's arugment that the text is a Christian work which borrowed from Jewish traditions (such as David Frankfurter who actually argues that the text should be read "holistically"), but it is still up for debate. (talk) 04:40, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree. The whole Article would need to some update with current scholarship. Also its relation with 1 Enoch shall be explained. If you can add the references on the pages of the texts you cited, you can place your above comment in the Article itself and not only in talk page. Is the introduction on the Charlesworth edition updated and reliable? A ntv (talk) 06:15, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Suitability of vocabulary[edit]

This article contains a number of words that are not readily understandable. Whilst I may not be a bible scholar I suspect I have a better command of the relevant vocabulary than the average person. Yet comprehending much of this article is next to impossible. There is much use of specialised language that a person unfamiliar with the subject could not understand nor look up. I have done the edits of which I am capable and I now suggest that someone with more specialised knowledge replaces the following words using everyday language or references them to an article explaining the term:

  • Interpolate (Wikipedia has an article on interpolation in mathematics, it is, however, not relevant to Bible scholarship.)
  • Vorlage
  • SER
  • LJ
  • Monition
  • Pseudepigraphon

Daffodillman (talk) 10:01, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

fixed. (well, all the Article would need an 'interpolation..) A ntv (talk) 16:29, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
IMHO, terms like "interpolate" and "interpolation" are almost indispensable when discussing manuscripts of this type - at least, the concept they cover is. On the other hand, they might be explained, and there should always be at least one link to our article Interpolation (manuscripts) somewhere in an article employing these terms. The reader should thus have a chance to get the concept explained. JoergenB (talk) 01:40, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

John Hyrcanus[edit]

I've overhauled the Testament of Levi, to differentiate it from Aramaic Levi. In so doing I deleted the reference to John Hyrcanus; based on the debunking in VanderKam, From Joshua to Caiaphas: high priests after the Exile, 306-7. --Zimriel (talk) 21:48, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Section on Benjamin was a Copyright Violation[edit]

The paragraph/section relating to Benjamin was copied verbatim from , so I removed that section. Heathhunnicutt (talk) 05:23, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Russell: A history of western philosophy[edit]

It may be worth mentioning some of what Bertrand Russell wrote about 'Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs' in his book 'A history of western philosophy'. For example he states that it was written between 109 and 107 BC and that it highly influenced Paul's writing. See this link Aberdeen01 (talk) 09:30, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

I suggest that the following line be removed because it lacks a citation and firmly disagrees with what Russell says ( see the link above):

Current consensus is that, while there is similarity of thought, the New Testament authors do not utilise the Testaments in any way

If the relevant citations are provided indicating a clear current consensus, then I'm happy for the sentence to be reinstated. However, if just one or two authors are cited, that does not constitute a consensus. Aberdeen01 (talk) 14:34, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Well Russel was high estimated philosopher, but perhaps now there are more specialized scholars to rely upon. A ntv (talk) 20:19, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

Judah's marriage[edit]

However, it goes on to present a xenophobic focus, criticising his marriage to a non-Israelite. This is weird, considering that the only Israelite women in Judah's time would have to have been his sisters (of whom only one is named). Did the author of the Testaments really believe the sons of Jacob (= Israel) were obliged to commit incest? Koro Neil (talk) 20:26, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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