02.02.01 Introduction. This study contains dozens of quotations from ancient extra-biblical sources. The importance of these writings lies in the fact that they aid in the understanding of the problems of daily first century life, including theological discussions, major cultural, historical events, and the reaction of rulers and people to various problems. A brief description of each source is given so the reader will understand why some extra-biblical writings are more reliable and significant than others. For example, books such as the Didache (a first century church document) and Mishnah (the written version of the Oral Law) are important while other works, such as the Gnostic writings, hold almost no historical value and are theologically worthless and possibly deceptive.
As stated previously, for the purpose of this study, the ideal writer of yesteryear quoted herein was one who lived in the land of Jesus and at the time of Jesus. The further in time and geographical distance an ancient writer was from the life of Christ, the more suspect his manuscript becomes. That does not negate it – but it raises the bar for discerning critique. Scholars universally discount writings after the sixth or seventh centuries. There are hundreds of old manuscripts in the possession of universities and museums pretending to provide additional detail to the life and ministry of Jesus, and nearly all of them are fanciful stories that should never have been written.
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02.02.01.V The Significance of Inter-Testamental Writings. Dr. Douglas Finkbeiner summarizes seven important classifications of Inter-Testamental writings and their contributions to understanding first century Jewish life. (45:37)
. Two examples are: 1) Ron Charles, who has gathered scores of fanciful legends and myths, mostly written between the sixth and sixteenth centuries, that pertain to the life of Christ in his book titled, The Search: A Historian’s Search for Historical Jesus. (Self-Published, 2007). 2) Nicholas Notovich, whose book, The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ. Trans. (Virchand R. Gandhi, Dover Pub.) is a so-called historical account of when Jesus went to Asia to study between the ages 13 and 29.