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Book of Jashar
JASHAR, BOOK OF (jā’shar). Quoted in
JASHAR, BOOK OF jā’ shər (סֵ֣פֶר הַיָּשָׁ֑ר; LXX ΒιΒλίου του̂ εὐθου̂ς, book of the upright one).
An ancient writing, no longer extant, mentioned in
On the basis of the quotations in the OT, it has been inferred by some scholars that the book was poetical in nature, which contained songs of a national character. The references in the OT to the book are made in such a way as to imply that it was well known and respected, and consequently other references, though not positively identified, could be present in the OT. The origin of the book is a matter of speculation, and it is generally believed that it was the result of a gradual compilation of material. On the basis of the Biblical references, it appears that it was a written collection, not oral, that was begun in the early period of Israel’s history. As time went on it was expanded, and at the time of the institution of the monarchy it prob. became a part, and perhaps was the beginning, of the literary archives that formed the official records of the period of the monarchy.
The uncertain and mysterious character of the missinghas led to attempts to reproduce, imitate, or falsify it. One of the last compositions of the haggadic lit. of Judaism, called the “Book of Jashar,” is a falsification of the missing book in an attempt to reproduce it. It is written in good Heb. and has to do with the era from Adam to Judges. The greater part of this work is concerned with pre-Mosaic material. Much of the material is invention, interpolated between Biblical texts, in the author’s desire to reconstruct the original book of Jashar. Many legends are added to the Biblical narrative. The account of Abraham is given in elaborate detail, including stories of his two journeys to see his son Ishmael, and of an apparition of a star. It contains a detailed explanation of the murder of Abel by Cain.
It is believed by some scholars that this attempt to reconstruct the OT Book of Jashar originated in southern Italy. The author was familiar with Italian place names. The Arab. names in the book are due to the strong influence of Arab. culture on southern Italy.
L. Goldschmidt, The Book of Jashar (1923); E. Nielson, Oral Tradition (1954).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
ja’-shar, jash’-ar (cepher ha-yashar; the, margin "the book of the upright"): The title of an ancient Hebrew national song-book (literally, "book of the righteous one") from which two quotations are made in the :
(3) Some conjecture a third extract in