I came across some writings of Philo, which I found very interesting, and wondered if there are any Jewish writings either around his time (circa 20 BCE to circa 50 CE) or before. I looked around and all I found were writings after Philo's time. My question is this: Are there any writings in Judaism say after Moses to the time of Philo? For those of you familiar with Christianity, it would be analogous of asking about the writings of the Church Fathers.

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    Is the whole Old Testament part of Moses? – Dr. Shmuel Jan 3 '19 at 11:33
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    Welcome to MiYodeya Tomas. Great to have you learn with us! – mbloch Jan 3 '19 at 12:01
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    Have you looked at the Apocrypha? – Double AA Jan 3 '19 at 20:45
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    @TomasPalamas Yes, tons. All the writings (ketuvim) and the Prophets (navi'im) -- in short, the rest of the Old Testament -- were written before Philo. From around the same time as Philo there are Josephus and Rashbi, and, like, Maccabees – SAH Jan 3 '19 at 20:58
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    @TomasPalamas Most of these, though, are considered "inspired" – SAH Jan 3 '19 at 21:00

Depending how far back you want to go, all of the Jewish Bible (Tanakh, incl the Prophets and Writings) takes place from Moses's death until 500 BCE.

Closer to Philo's time, the Mishna, compiled by R Yehuda HaNasi, is a collection of halakhic principles and sayings quoting Sages, including some living in the first two centuries CE, e.g., for the period which interests you

If you want to read a part of the Mishna more easily understandable without background, the Mishna tractate Ethics of the Fathers would be a very good place to start, (e.g., here or there). Its beginning actually lists the order of transmission of the Torah from Moses to later Sages, starting with Moshe, Joshua, the Elders, the Prophets, the Men of the Great Assembly and Shimon HaTzadik (ca. 300 BCE)

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    I don't see how the Mishnah (which was published around 200 CE) is a "Jewish writing either [from] around [Philo's] time (circa 20 BCE to circa 50 CE) or before" (paraphrasing from the question), not in the sense that Philo's writings are. – Tamir Evan Jan 3 '19 at 13:14
  • Because it is a compilation of sayings from people from these ages, passed from teacher to student, and compiled in writing later – mbloch Jan 3 '19 at 13:16
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    I've never heard about the Ethics, thanks. However, Tamir Evan is correct. I want writings from the time period I specified. Also, I mentioned non-inspired, which means outside the Jewish Bible. – Barsanuphius Jan 3 '19 at 16:08

How about Ben Sira? It was composed around ~200 BCE, and is not considered part of the Jewish Bible.

  • Well as a Catholic, we accept that as canon. Do you know of any other writings around that time? – Barsanuphius Jan 4 '19 at 20:19
  • hmm... pretty much any widely known work from that time was canonized by someone (e.g. Enoch, Macabees, Tobit). What about some of the relatively recently uncovered Dead Sea scrolls (e.g. the "War Scroll" or "Community Rule")? – Nic Jan 7 '19 at 19:48

There is also the Book of Enoch, composed between 300 BCE to 100 BCE, which is (as well as Ben Sira) not considered part of the biblical canon for Jews.

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