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Jacob, Testament of

JACOB, TESTAMENT OF

JACOB, TESTAMENT OF , apocryphal work based on Genesis 49. Reference to an apocryphal book of Jacob is perhaps to be found in the Apostolical Constitutions 6:16 which speaks of "apocryphal books of… the three patriarchs." A testament of Jacob is to be found together with the testaments of Abraham and Isaac in Arabic, Ethiopic, and Coptic. This work is a patchwork of biblical verses, based substantially on Genesis 47:29–49:1. It was doubtless composed as a supplement to the extant testaments of Abraham and Isaac, both of which, and especially the former, contain important original material. This apocryphal work appears in a Paris Greek manuscript of the 12th century as a separate work under the title "Testament of Jacob." In Jerusalem, there is an Armenian manuscript 939, in which Gen. 47:27–50:26 precedes the Testaments of the 12 patriarchs, and under the same title as the preceding. The Testament was a common literary form in the period of the Second Temple, and doubtless the fact that Jacob is the one patriarch to whom the Bible assigns a last testament played a role in this development.

bibliography:

M.R. James, Testament of Abraham (1892), 6, 131–61; idem, The Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament (1920), 18f.; G.H. Box, Testament of Abraham (1927), 55–89; Stone, in: Revue des Etudes Arméniennes, N.S., 5 (1968), 261–70.

[Michael E. Stone]

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