Book Notice: T&T Clark Encyclopedia of Second Temple Judaism

Daniel M. Gurtner and Loren T. Stuckenbruck, eds. T&T Clark Encyclopedia of Second Temple Judaism. Vols. 1–2. London: T&T Clark, 2019. 556; 881 pages. $400 (hardcover).

Prompted by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the last sixty years or so have witnessed a burgeoning interest in the study of Second Temple Judaism. Amidst the growing interest, Daniel M. Gurtner (Ernest and Mildred Hogan Professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) and Loren T. Stuckenbruck (Professor of New Testament and Second Temple Judaism at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany) have provided a comprehensive reference work that is certain to become the standard for years to come. The two-volume T&T Clark Encyclopedia of Second Temple Judaism represents a massive project comprising 642 essays by 407 contributors, who are leading specialists in the field, spanning 26 countries and representing 264 academic institutions. The editors approach Judaism in the Second Temple period—designated as the time between Alexander the Great and the Bar Kokhba revolt—from many diverse perspectives including archaeology, languages, texts, events, people, places, practices, movements, and ideas. As a reference work, the Encyclopedia aims to orient readers to the breadth of Second Temple traditions, social life, and material heritage.

The Encyclopedia is divided into four parts (Vol. 1: Parts 1–3; Vol. 2: Part 4). In Part One, Stuckenbruck introduces Second Temple Judaism by locating the discipline in relation to other related fields including Hebrew Bible, Rabbinics, and Christian Origins. He also orients readers to the current landscape of scholarly inquiry by providing a history of major developments in the field. In Part Two, Gurtner provides an overview of respective contexts of Second Temple Judaism: Social/Cultural, Literary, Linguistic, Geographical, Political, and Religious. Gurtner sets this section within a broad framework of historical chronology beginning with the conquests of Alexander (332–323 bce) and ending with the Romans from Pompey to Hadrian (63 bce–136 ce). Parts Three and Four represent the heart of the encyclopedia (188 and 452 entries, respectively). Part Three consists of an anthology of essays covering a wide range of primary-source literature from the Hebrew Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls and other Judean Desert texts, writings in the New Testament and related material, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, and Philo. Part Four covers an extensive breadth of topics, which includes ancient secondary sources that refer to Judaism from the outside but are not treated as primary sources (e.g., Tacitus and Plutarch). The Encyclopedia also includes a wealth of supplementary resources, including 13 periodized color maps and a considerable number of images.

Gurtner and Stuckenbruck are to be commended for putting together such a comprehensive collection of articles and resources in a single reference work. The intersection of literary and material analysis is certain to inform readers about the diversity of Judaism in the Second Temple period. The Encyclopedia will serve as the standard reference work for Second Temple Judaism for decades and provide an indispensable resource for scholars across many disciplines. Students of the New Testament, in particular, will want to refer to the Encyclopedia for the most up-to-date research on a given topic in the study of Second Temple Judaism.

CBS book notices provide brief descriptive summaries and assessments of new publications in biblical studies and biblical theology. The present book notice was written by Jimmy Roh, a Ph.D. student at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Content Manager for the Center for Biblical Studies.


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