Citing Text Collections 3: OTP

James Charlesworth’s two-volume Old Testament Pseudepigrapha is in some respects similar to Pritchard’s ANET (see here): both provide English translations to well-defined groups of texts from the ancient world. The main difference between the two is obvious: whereas ANET includes texts primarily from ancient Israel’s neighbors, OTP focuses on Jewish and Christian texts dated to 200 BCE–200 CE that often are attributed to ideal figures from Israel’s past and that claim to convey a divine message for their original audiences (see Charlesworth’s “Introduction for the General Reader,” OTP 1:xxv).

The varied texts of OTP are conveniently arranged into two volumes: Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments (twenty-five texts); and Expansions of the “Old Testament” and Legends, Wisdom and Philosophical Literature, Prayers, Psalms, and Odes, Fragments of Lost Judeo-Hellenistic Works (thirty-eight texts).

As was the case with ANET, referencing OTP is relatively simple.

1. A simple pointer to a text within OTP may include only the abbreviation and the volume and page. OTP is a multivolume work, so no comma appears between the abbreviation and the volume number. Note further the use of a colon between the volume and page numbers.

13. For an example of an apocalypse likely written 100 BCE–70 CE, see the Apocalypse of Zephaniah (OTP 1:508–15).

Because the titles of the ancient works included in OTP were well-established long before they came to be included in this collection, they are not enclosed in quotations marks. This differs from the style followed with ANET, whose titles were frequently given to a work by their translators.

2. It is good practice to identify the name of the translator when quoting from OTP.

13. The imagery of flying angels blowing trumpets was common to apocalyptic literature, as in Apoc. Zeph. 9.1: “Then a great angel came forth having a golden trumpet in his hand, and he blew it three times over my head” (trans. O. S. Wintermute, OTP 1:514).

3. In addition to locating a text within OTP by volume and page, one should identify the specific passage using the internal numbering system of the work as given within OTP. Some works are divided into books, some into chapters and verses, some into lines, and some into a combination of these.

27. For a Christian insertion, see Sib. Or. 12.30–34 (OTP 1:445). [book + lines]

31. Moses addresses God at the burning bush in Ezek. Trag. 90–95 (OTP 2:812) [lines]

17. For the account of Levi attempting to save Pharaoh’s son, see Jos. Asen. 29.1–6. [chapter + verses]

4. Referencing OTP by abbreviation assumes, of course, that the work is properly listed in an abbreviations list:

OTP Charlesworth, James H., ed. Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. 2 vols. New York: Doubleday, 1983–1985.

Since the volumes are listed in the abbreviations page, there is no need to include them in the bibliography.

Old Testament Pseudepigrapha has proven to be so valuable to and popular with those interested in ancient noncanonical works that it has recently been joined by a new collection, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures (MOTP), which will be the focus of the following post.

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