Bags of Bran

Since Chuck Asked: Resources for the Intertestamental Period
January 2, 2016, 11:21 am
Filed under: Biography

How do I go about studying the intertestamental period? An Orchard-Keeping friend asked what resources I’ve found helpful, so I’ll try to remember the ones that stood out according to their relative usefulness. Now, you might be more of a researcher than I am, or you might be less. Your mileage with these resources will vary from mine, no doubt.

Here’s my approach: I deliberately shy away from the heavy, scholarly works; mostly because the more time I spend bogged down in such works, the more I start to sound like them. As a pastor, that’s no good. But I also want to stay away from popular fluff that mishandles or neglects to interact with the source materials. Finding a middle way can be difficult: look for books with footnotes (aaah!) or endnotes (BOOO!) that point you to source material (Josephus, Philo, Qumran, Mishnah, etc.) and chances are, you’ve found a responsible piece of work. Then, go and check it out in the original source!

So then, here are a few sources that I found helpful in my studies.

  • Michael Satlow’s podcast, From Israelite to Jew. When Satlow is talking Bible, it’s going to be predictably dismissive; but he’s a good historian and speaks engagingly on his subject. I would not recommend this for people who don’t have a strong filter against academic unbelief.
  • Trever, John C. The Untold Story of Qumran. New York: F.H. Revell Co, 1965. What a story it is! Absolutely riveting, especially if you’re familiar with the difficulties that Tischendorf experienced with Codex Sinaiticus. Spoiler: the good guys win.
  • Wikipedia. Yes, Wikipedia. The articles in Wikipedia will give you a basic outline that you can verify through other sources. As long as you’re not using it for interpretation, you should be fine.
  • The Apocrypha, especially 1 and 2 Maccabees. Here is a boots-on-the-ground interpretation of the intertestamental period from Jewish perspective. Invaluable.
No doubt I’ve forgotten a bunch of things that were helpful week to week (though I try to keep accurate lists of works consulted in my presentations), but this should get you started if you’re thinking about teaching on the background of the New Testament.

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Celebrating Revivalism and Other Noxious Pieties


\"If I am immoderate, I am immoderate to God.\" - Bengel


Like sawdust, but edible.

Broad Meadow

I have spoken the truth coldly; who cares for the truth? To be useful, one must be charming, and my pen has lost that art.

Planting churches with the Baptist Confession in one hand and Tolkien in the other

Orchard Keeper

Plucking fruit from the grove of biblical and theological studies

Jubilate Deo

Music in the service of the church


Theology, apologetics, ramblings

Towards Conservative Christianity

Promoting true conservative Christianity


"Action often eliminates the need for reflection as well as the opportunity." - Antonia Fraser

%d bloggers like this: