The Bible you are reading is an abridged version.

Whether it is the Jewish Bible or the Catholic Bible or the Protestant Bible, and regardless of the language you are reading, the edition is an abbreviated one. With no disrespect to any faith’s determination of its sacred canon, the community of ancient Israel that produced these scriptures created many more texts that were left out. Moreover, our forbearers never did agree on precisely what should be included or excluded.

I want to bring to your attention a project from the Jewish Publication Society called Outside the Bible. This 3-volume anthology is nearing publication with 3,301 pages of key texts of ancient Jewish literature from the Second Temple period. It includes extensive commentary from more than 70 world-renowned experts and 29 new translations. This unprecedented collection of texts is an indispensable reference for scholars and students of the Bible, early Rabbinic Judaism, early Christianity, and the history of the Second Temple Period.

Editors James Kugel and Lawrence Schiffman and Director of Jewish Publication Society Rabbi Barry Schwartz are available for interviews.

The Jewish Publication Society and the University of Nebraska Press will be attending the AAR/SBL conference November 23–26, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland and invite you to visit booth #228. Advance copies of Outside the Bible and the editors will be available at the booth.

More on the project: Outside the Bible is the most comprehensive collection of texts comprising ancient Israel’s excluded scriptures and earliest biblical commentary. More than just the translations— some for the first time in English—Outside the Bible includes commentary about the history of these texts, placing them in context and explaining what they mean for Jews and Christians alike. From the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Septuagint, the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, and the texts of Josephus and Philo, Outside the Bible brings together the texts that transformed Jews and Christians at the turn of the first millennium.

“We cannot fully understand what is in the Bible without also appreciating what was excluded.”


Acacia Gentrup, Publicity Manager
(402) 472-5938


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