A Christian work of the 2nd cent. CE, though the core of it is a Jewish document containing doctrines found also in the Dead Sea scrolls (e.g. a belief in two Messiahs) and therefore in existence before 70 CE. The content, exhortations supposedly given by Jacob to his sons on his death-bed, is a compendium of ethical instructions, but the Jewish traditions have been reinterpreted in the Christian interest.