The Lives of the Prophets.

Ancient biographical sketches.


Attributed author(s).
Anonymous.

Text(s) available.
Online Critical Pseudepigrapha.
Summa Scriptura: Lives of the Prophets (English only).

Useful links.
Lives of the Prophets at Wikipedia.
EJW (Peter Kirby).

Jewish background texts (Jim Davila).

The Lives of the Prophets are biographical sketches of the ancient Hebrew prophets.


Peter Kirby (Early Jewish Writings).

Peter Kirby surveys scholars writing on the Lives of the Prophets:

Raymond F. Surburg writes: "The Lives of the Prophets is an account of the Hebrew prophets, each of whom is portrayed as telling where he was born, to what tribe he belonged, and where he was buried. The Biblical materials about the prophet's life are not repeated but supplemented. Many legendary stories have been added. This holds true in the biographies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jonah, and Habakkuk, while those of other prophets are short and as a rule contain extra-Biblical material." (Introduction to the Intertestamental Period, p. 135)

James Charlesworth writes: "The original text was probably composed from diverse and ancient oral traditions sometime just prior to or in the first century A.D. (T. Schermann, Peropheten- und Apostellegenden nebst Jüngerkatalogen des Dorotheus und verwandter Texte [TU 31.3] Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1907; pp. 119, 126; Torrey, Lives, p. 11; idem, Apoc. Lit., p. 135; R. H. Pfeiffer, IB 1 [1952] 425). The original language is probably Hebrew (Schermann in TU 31.3, pp. 130-33; Torrey, Lives, pp. 1, 7, 16f.; idem, Apoc. Lit., pp. 135-40; Pfeiffer in IB 1 [1952] 425. Schermann noted it might be Syriac and Hall argued for a Syriac original, JBL 7 [1887] 38f.), or possibly Greek (cf. A.-M. Denis, no. 24, p. 89; M. E. Stone, no. 1229). The author, who was apparently more a compiler of legends—some of which he missed (cf. L. Ginzberg, Legende, ad. loc. cit.)—probably lived in Jerusalem, since there is convincing evidence that he was intimately familiar with Jerusalem, Judaean, and Palestinian topography and geography. The Jeremiah legends, however, betray an Egyptian provenance. Christian additions abound in the various recensions, but the only ancient ones are in the life of Jeremiah, verses 7-8 and 10 (cf. only vaguely possible Christian interpolations in Hosea, vs. 2, and in Habakkuk, vss. 11-14)." (The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, pp. 178-177)