Old Testament History and Early Jewish Writings

Questions about the Old Testament and Jewish History:

Why is it important to understand Old Testament history?

About the resources below:

Much of Jewish history is found in the Old Testament and can be found in the Jewish Tanakh.  Additional history is found in the Deutrocanonical books most commonly found in the Catholic versions of the Bible, which Protastent Bibles omit.  Below you will also find writings of famous Jewish writers and historians Philo of Alexandria and Josephus.


Genesis Ezekiel Psalms
Exodus Hosea Proverbs
Leviticus Joel Job
Numbers Amos Song of Solomon
Deuteronomy Obadiah Ruth
Joshua Jonah Lamentations
Judges Micah Ecclesiastes
1 Samuel Nahum Esther
2 Samuel Habakkuk Daniel
1 Kings Zephaniah Ezra
2 Kings Haggai Nehemiah
Isaiah Zechariah 1 Chronicles
Jeremiah Malachi 2 Chronicles


1 Esdras Wisdom of Solomon Susanna
2 Esdras Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach Bel and the Dragon
Tobit Baruch Prayer of Manasseh
Judith Letter of Jeremiah 1 Maccabees
Additions to Esther Prayer of Azariah 2 Maccabees

Pseudepigrapha (some not Jewish)

Apocalypse of Abraham Eupolemus 3 Maccabees
Testament of Abraham Pseudo-Eupolemus 4 Maccabees
Apocalypse of Adam Apocryphon of Ezekiel 5 Maccabees
Testament of Adam Ezekiel the Tragedian Syriac Menander
Life of Adam and Eve Greek Apocalypse of Ezra Testament of Moses
Ahiqar Questions of Ezra Book of Noah
Letter of Aristeas Revelation of Ezra Orphica
Aristeas the Exegete Vision of Ezra Philo the Epic Poet
Aristobulus Fragments of Pseudo-Greek Poets Pseudo-Philo
Artapanus Pseudo-Hecataeus Pseudo-Phocylides
2 Baruch Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers The Lives of the Prophets
3 Baruch Testament of Isaac History of the Rechabites
4 Baruch Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah Apocalypse of Sedrach
Cleodemus Malchus Ladder of Jacob Treatise of Shem
Apocalypse of Daniel Prayer of Jacob Sibylline Oracles
More Psalms of David Testament of Jacob Odes of Solomon
Demetrius the Chronographer Jannes and Jambres Psalms of Solomon
Eldad and Modad Testament of Job Testament of Solomon
Apocalypse of Elijah Joseph and Aseneth Thallus
1 Enoch History of Joseph Theodotus
2 Enoch Prayer of Joseph Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
3 Enoch Jubilees Apocalypse of Zephaniah

Dead Sea Scrolls – coming soon*

Philo of Alexandria – see Introduction to Philo

On the Creation On the Migration of Abraham On the Virtues
Allegorical Interpretation, I Who is the Heir of Divine Things? On Rewards and Punishments
Allegorical Interpretation, II On Mating Every Good Man is Free
Allegorical Interpretation, III On Flight and Finding On the Contemplative Life
On the Cherubim On the Change of Names On the Eternity of the World
On the Birth of Abel On Dreams Flaccus
Worse is Wont to Attack Better On Abraham Hypothetica: Apology for the Jews
On the Posterity of Cain and His Exile On Joseph On Providence: Fragment I
On the Giants On the Life of Moses, I On Providence: Fragment II
On the Unchangableness of God On the Life of Moses, II On the Embassy to Gaius
On Husbandry The Decalogue Questions and Answers on Genesis, I
Concerning Noah’s Work as a Planter The Special Laws, I Questions and Answers on Genesis, II
On Drunkenness The Special Laws, II Questions and Answers on Genesis, III
On Sobriety The Special Laws, III Appendix 1: Concerning the World
On the Confusion of Tongues The Special Laws, IV Appendix 2: Fragments

Flavius Josephus – see Introduction to Josephus

Antiquities Book I Antiquities Book XI Wars Book I
Antiquities Book II Antiquities Book XII Wars Book II
Antiquities Book III Antiquities Book XIII Wars Book III
Antiquities Book IV Antiquities Book XIV Wars Book IV
Antiquities Book V Antiquities Book XV Wars Book V
Antiquities Book VI Antiquities Book XVI Wars Book VI
Antiquities Book VII Antiquities Book XVII Wars Book VII
Antiquities Book VIII Antiquities Book XVIII Life of Josephus
Antiquities Book IX Antiquities Book XIX Against Apion Book I
Antiquities Book X Antiquities Book XX Against Apion Book II

Talmud – see Introduction to Talmud


*Information Taken from earlyjewishwritings.com – a scholarly compilation of Jewish writings.