Dating the hebrew bible
This is a complex work, written in the third (or perhaps even the late fourth) century BCE, after the return from the Babylonian Exile and the establishment of the Second Jewish Commonwealth (6th-5th centuries BCE) and before the Maccabean revolt in 172 BCE.
The oldest copies of the Book of Enoch, dating from the third century BCE, were discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls (see below).
Thus forms of the Books of Judith, Maccabees and Ben Sira, as well as parts of Wisdom of Solomon were familiar to Jewish scholars.
But these works never achieved wide acceptance in Judaism and remained, to a greater or lesser extent, curiosities.
However, there are many other Jewish writings from the Second Temple Period which were excluded from the Tanakh; these are known as the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha.
The Apocrypha (Greek, "hidden books") are Jewish books from that period not preserved in the Tanakh, but included in the Latin (Vulgate) and Greek (Septuagint) Old Testaments.
In this context, interest developed in Jewish documents which could help illuminate the New Testament.
They provide essential evidence of Jewish literature and thought during the period between the end of biblical writing (ca.