Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs Collection
During the crusades, Latin translations of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs began to circulate in Western Europe, which were considered to be authentic testaments written by the children of Jacob until the Protestant reformation.The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs continued to be viewed as authentic in orthodox countries, and were integrated into the Armenian Orthodox Bible in 1666. More
During the crusades, Latin translations of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs began to circulate in Western Europe, which were considered to be authentic testaments written by the children of Jacob until the Protestant reformation. During the Protestant reformation the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs were generally been discredited as Christian era forgeries, and stopped being used by Catholics and Protestants. The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs continued to be viewed as authentic in orthodox countries, and were integrated into the Oskan Armenian Orthodox Bible in 1666. Scholarly analysis of the testaments in the 1800s led to the conclusion that the testaments began as Pharisee texts, written in Hebrew, sometime the before 200 AD, when they were expanded by the Christian monks on Mount Athos. Since the discovery of fragments of four of the testaments among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Pharisee view has been generally discredited. The oldest fragments discovered so far date to between 135 and 37 BC, and are written in Aramaic, which make it unlikely that they were written by a Pharisee. Additionally, the contents of the testaments are no longer viewed as being consistent with the Pharisee's theology, as they include a number of references to Greek gods, making the testaments more likely to be a Sadducee text, or from another Jewish sect.
A number of references within the testaments point to an origin in the Seleucid Empire. The testaments repeatedly reference the Book of Enoch, or the Watchers from the Book of Enoch, as well as the Book of Job, and Satan as an individual instead of a descriptive term, which is consistent with the Book of Job, the likely source is the Tobian Jews (Τουβιανοὺς Ιουδαίους) mentioned in 2nd Maccabees, that lived in Seleucid controlled regions. It is unclear where the Tobian Jews lived, however, according to Eusebius, writing circa 300 AD, in local lore Job lived in the Arabian town of Karnaia. The location of Karnaia is unknown today, however is believed to have once been in what is modern southern Syria, and would have been in the Seleucid Empire when the testaments were likely written. The original work appears to be an anti-Levitical text, which dismissed the Levitical priesthood, and pointed to an alternative priesthood, which is consistent with the division between the priesthood of Ezra and Tobiah referred to in the Septuagint's 1st Ezra.
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