School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures

Inventory of Structurally Important Literary Features in the Anonymous and Pseudepigraphic Jewish Literatures of Antiquity

A corpus-based list of generically defined literary features occurring in at least one text of the Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, the Apocrypha of the Old Testament, the near-complete large Dead Sea Scrolls, or Rabbinic Literature.

Work in progress, version -355, 25 February 2011. Please cite information from this document as: A. Samely, P. Alexander, R. Bernasconi, R. Hayward, "Inventory of Structurally Important Literary Features in Ancient Jewish Literature (Version -355)" (Manchester:, 2010), plus Inventory Point number.

This Inventory is part of the outcomes of the Project Typology of Anonymous and Pseudepigraphic Jewish Literature of Antiquity (TAPJLA) Manchester-Durham 2007-2011, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK).

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H. Contents labels

11. Dominant contents

Definition of the literary feature Selected texts illustrating the feature
11.1. The non-narrative text projects its thematic concern as being mainly one or more of the following:  
11.1.1. Description of a reality, including a physical reality. Sefer Yetsirah
11.1.2. Moral values or value judgments, including practical instructions on proper behaviour or self-preservation. Sirach, 1QpHab, 4Mac, 4Ezra, mAvot, 1Bar, bHor, Wisdom
11.1.3. Law, commandments or norms of behaviour. 4Mac, 1Bar, Tractates of Mishnah and Tosefta, 4QMMT, Temple Scroll, Wisdom, Bavli Tractates,
11.1.4. A discourse on or inquiry into a field of knowledge, with self-referential treatment of the limits, sources or nature of knowledge. Epistola Anne, 4Mac, [extraneous example: Marcus Aurelius, To Himself]
11.1.5. The meaning of another text. 1QpHab, GenR, LevR, Sifra, Bavli, Yerushalmi
11.1.6. Reports of the speech of named characters. most of rabbinic literature
11.1.7. Future events or future reward and punishment. 4Ezra
11.2. The text is dominated by the reporting of emplotted events, whether or not in an overarching narrative format (as profiled in section 4).  
11.2.1. The reported events are those of a biblical past, or of a biblically foretold future. LAB, Jubilees, GenApoc, Wisdom, 1Bar, BerR, Targum Genesis Onkelos, QohR, Targum Esther Sheni
11.2.2. The reported events are not biblical, but are related to a biblical past/future. 1Mac, Judith, Tobit, 4Mac, 1Bar
11.2.3. The reported events have no strong links to biblical events. Ahiqar (narrative part-text), QohR
11.3. The text is directly or indirectly addressed to God. Its specific contents are self-reflective regarding the governing voice, thematic in a diffuse manner or narrative (see also 3). Prayer of Manasseh, Psalms of Solomon, Hodayyot

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