The Apocrypha are books of the Old Testament included in Roman Catholic and Orthodox Bibles as deuterocanonical (added to the earlier canon), but excluded from the Hebrew Bible and from most Protestant Bibles. It is not certain why the term apocrypha (hidden things) was originally applied to them, but they were considered less authoritative than the other biblical books because of their relatively late origin (c. 300 BC - AD 100). Except for 2 Esdras, which was in Latin, they were part of the Septuagint. The other books placed after the Old Testament in the Revised Standard Version are the following: 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Additions to the Book of Esther, Wisdom, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch and the Letter (Epistle) of Jeremiah, Additions to Daniel (Prayer of Azariah, Song of the Three Hebrew Children, History of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon), the Prayer of Manasseh, and 1 and 2 Maccabees.
Roman Catholic Bibles also list 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh as apocryphal. The Greek Orthodox Bible omits 2 Esdras but adds 3 Maccabees and Psalm 151, with 4 Maccabees as an appendix. The Apocrypha are important sources for Jewish history and religious developments in the 1st and 2d centuries BC.
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B M Metzger, An Introduction to the Apocrypha (1957); B L Mack. Wisdom and the Hebrew Epic: Ben Sira's Hymn in Praise of the Fathers (1986); R H Pfeiffer, History of New Testament Times, with an Introduction to the Apocrypha (1949).
Apocrypha (Greek apokryphos,"hidden") is a word coined by the 5th-century biblical scholar Saint Jerome for the biblical books received by the church of his time as part of the Greek version of the Old Testament (see Septuagint), but that were not included in the Hebrew Bible. In the Authorized, or King James, Version, the books are either printed as an appendix or are omitted altogether; they are not considered canonical by Protestants.
The Septuagint was received by the Christian church from Hellenistic Judaism. The books included in the Septuagint that were excluded by the non-Hellenistic Jews from their canon were Judith, the Wisdom of Solomon, Tobit, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, and the two books of Maccabees. Of these, Judith and Tobit are best described as edifying historical fiction, and Baruch, as an appendage to the Book of Jeremiah, written in the person of Jeremiah's secretary. Wisdom and Sirach are testimonies to the wisdom tradition of Israel otherwise represented in the books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. The books of Maccabees are historical works in the tradition of the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. Also generally included with the Apocrypha are the two books of Esdras, additions to the Book of Esther (Esther 10:4-10), the Song of the Three Young Men (Daniel 3:24-90), Susanna (Daniel 13), Bel and the Dragon (Daniel 14), and the Prayer of Manasseh.
Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians still follow the Septuagint and include in the canon of the Bible all the Apocrypha, except the two books of Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh. They generally refer to the Protestant Apocrypha as deuterocanonical books, however, and reserve the term Apocrypha for those books entirely outside the biblical canon, which Protestants call the pseudepigrapha.
With the growth of a historical perspective in biblical studies during the 19th century, the value of the Apocrypha as historical sources came to be generally recognized. Derived from the period 300BC to New Testament times, the Apocrypha shed valuable light on the period between the end of the Old Testament narrative and the opening of the New Testament. They are also important sources of information on the development of belief in immortality, the resurrection, and other questions of eschatology, as well as the increasing impact of Hellenistic ideas on Judaism.
Rev. Bruce Vawter
Apocrypha; hidden, spurious, the name given to certain ancient books which found
a place in the LXX. and Latin Vulgate versions of the Old Testament,
and were appended to all the great translations made from them in the
sixteenth century, but which have no claim to be regarded as in any
sense parts of the inspired Word.
The Old Testament Apocrypha consists of fourteen books, the chief of which are the Books of the Maccabees (q.v.), the Books of Esdras, the Book of Wisdom, the Book of Baruch, the Book of Esther, Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), Tobit, Judith, etc.
The New Testament Apocrypha consists of a very extensive literature, which bears distinct evidences of its non-apostolic origin, and is unworthy of regard as being comparable in importance to the Bible.
(Easton Illustrated Dictionary)
The word "apocrypha" is from the Greek ta apokrypha, "the hidden things," although there is no strict sense in which these books are hidden. Some thirteen books comprise the Apocrypha: I and II Esdras, Tobit, Judith, the Rest of Esther, the Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (which is also entitled the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach), Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, the Additions to Daniel, the Prayer of Manasses, and I and II Maccabees. Both the status of these books and the use of the term "apocrypha" have been in confusion since the early days of the church. In the restricted sense the word denotes the above-named books in contradistinction to the Pseudepigrapha, or false writings; but in the broader sense the word refers to any extracanonical scripture. Sometimes the term takes on a disparaging meaning, especially when used of the "apocryphal" gospels; this is to say they are spurious or heterodoxical. A further difficulty attending the restricted use of the term is that some of the Apocrypha are pseudonymous, whereas some of the Pseudepigrapha are not pseudonymous. R. H. Charles broke the accepted order by including III Maccabees in the Apocrypha and transferring II Esdras to the Pseudepigrapha. The acient rabbinic practice was to regard all such writings as "outside books," and his designation was continued by Cyril of Jerusalem, who used Apocrypha in the same sense, i.e., scriptures outside the canon. In modern times C. C. Torrey has revived this signification so that all such books, including the Pseudepigrapha, are called Apocrypha. Therefore to use the term Pseudepigrapha is a concession to an unhappy usage.
How did the Apocrypha secure a place in some of our English Bibles? The Jews uniformly denied canonical status to these books, and so they were not found in the Hebrew Bible; but the manuscripts of the LXX include them as an addendum to the canonical OT. In the second century A.D. the first Latin Bibles were translated from the Greek Bible, and so included the Apocrypha. Jerome's Vulgate distinguished between the libri ecclesiastici and the libri canonici with the result that the Apocrypha were accorded a secondary status. However, at the Council of Carthage (397), which Augustine attended, it was decided to accept the Apocrypha as suitable for reading despite Jerome's resistance to their inclusion in the Vulgate. In 1548 the Council of Trent recognized the Apocrypha, excepting I and II Esdras and the Prayer of Manasses, as having unqualified canonical status. Moreover, anyone who disputed this ecclesiastical decision was anathematized. The Reformers repudiated the Apocrypha as unworthly and contradictory to the doctrines of the uncontroverted canon; however, Luther did admit that they were "profitable and good to read." The Coverdale and Geneva Bibles included the Apocrypha but set them apart from the canonical books of the OT. After much debate the British and Foreign Bible Society decided in 1827 to exclude the Apocrypha from its Bibles; soon afterward the American branch concurred, and this action generally set the pattern for English Bibles thereafter. Among Protestant communions only the Anglican Church makes much use of the Apocrypha today.
Many literary genres appear in the Apocrypha: popular narrative, religious history and philosophy, morality stories, poetic and didactic lyrics, wisdom literature, and apocalyptic. Most of these books were written in Palestine between 300 B.C. and A.D. 100, and the language of composition was either Hebrew or Aramaic, and occasionally Greek. They generally reflect the Jewish religious viewpoint of late OT times with certain additions which were emphasized. Almsgiving became an expression of good works meritorious to salvation (see Tob. 12:9). The Apocrypha, and to a greater extent the Pseudepigrapha, evince an amplified doctrine of the Messiah beyond what the OT reveals. Two types of messianic expectation predominate: the heavenly Son of man, taken from Daniel and embellished by Enoch, and the earthly Davidic king described in the Psalms of Solomon. The doctrine of resurrection of the body, so seldom mentioned in the OT, is ubiquitous in the Apocrypha and shows an advance over the OT idea of Sheol. The hope for immortality was greatly influenced by Greek thought. Throughout the Aprocrypha is a highly developed angelology which is a natural consequence of the impact of dualism upon Jewish religious thought after the Exile. The NT cites none of the books of the Apocrypha, although there are frequent parallels of thought and language, as in the case of Eph. 6:13-17 and Wisd. Sol. 5:17-20, and Heb. 11 and Ecclus. 44. But to admit these parallels is not necessarily to admit dependence by NT authors upon the Apocrypha, and even if a clear case of dependence can be made, it does not follow that the NT author regarded these books as authoritative.
D H Wallace
(Elwell Evangelical Dictionary)
R. H. Charles, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, I; B. M. Metzger, An Introduction of the Apocrypha; W. O. E. Oesterley, The Books of the Apocrypha; R. H. Pfeiffer, A History of NT Times with an Introduction of the Apocrypha; E. J. Goodspeed, The Story of the Apocrypha; C. C. Torrey, The Apocryphal Literature; H. M. Hughes, The Ethics of Jewish Apocryphal Literature; H. Wace, ed., Apocrypha, 2 vols; J. H. Charlesworth, ed., The OT Pseudepigrapha, Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments.
The usage here adopted is based on that of Jerome. The Apocrypha in this translation consists of fifteen books or parts of books. They are:
These works are outside the Palestinian canon; that is, they form no part of the Hebrew Scriptures, although the original language of some of them was Hebrew. With the exception, however, of the Second Book of Esdras, they are all in the Greek version of the Old Testament made for the Greek-speaking Jews in Egypt. As such they were accepted as biblical by the early Church and were quoted as Scripture by many early Christian writers, for their Bible was the Greek Bible.
In Greek and Latin manuscripts of the Old Testament these books are dispersed throughout the Old Testament, generally in the places most in accord with their contents. The practice of collecting them into a separate unit, a practice which dates back no farther than A.D. 1520, explains why certain of the items are but fragments; they are passages not found in the Hebrew Bible, and so have been removed from the books in which they occur in the Greek version. To help the reader over this disunity and lack of context the present translators have resorted to various devices. We have added the name Daniel to the titles of the stories of Susanna and of Bel and the Snake as a reminder that these tales are to be read with the Book of Daniel. A note we have inserted after the title, The Song of the Three, indicates that this item is to be found in the third chapter of the Greek form of Daniel. And the six additions to the Book of Esther are so disjointed and unintelligible as they stand in most editions of the Apocrypha that we have provided them with a context by rendering the whole of the Greek version of Esther.
The text used in this translation of the Apocrypha is that edited by H. B. Swete in The Old Testament in Greek according to the Septuagint. In places Swete includes two texts, and we have chosen to translate the Codex Sinaiticus text of Tobit and Theodotion's version of the additions to the Book of Daniel, namely, The Song of the Three, Daniel and Susanna, and Daniel, Bel, and the Snake. For Ecclesiasticus we have used, in addition to Codex Vaticanus as printed in Swete's edition, the text edited by J. H. A. Hart in Ecclesiasticus: the Greek Text of Codex 248, and constant reference has been made to the various forms of the Hebrew text. For the Second Book of Esdras, which apart from a few verses is not extant in a Greek form, we have based our translation on the Latin text of R. L. Bensly's The Fourth Book of Ezra. Throughout we have consulted the variant readings given in critical editions of the Greek, the texts of the versions, and the suggestions of editors and commentators.
Alternative readings cited from Greek manuscripts (referred to as witnesses) and the evidence of early translations (Vss., that is Versions) are given, as footnotes, only when they are significant either for text or for meaning. In a few places where the text seems to have suffered in the course of transmission and in its present form is obscure or unintelligible we have made a slight change in the text and marked our rendering of it probable reading, and we have indicated any evidence other than the evidence afforded by the context. Where an alternative interpretation seemed to deserve serious consideration it has been recorded as a footnote with Or as indicator.
In order to preserve the verse numbering of the Authorized (King James) Version of 1611 we have, when necessary, added at the foot of the page those passages which are found in the manuscripts on which the Authorized Version ultimately rests but which are absent from the earlier manuscripts now available. We have not sought to achieve consistency in the treatment of proper names any more than did our predecessors. We have continued to use familiar English forms, especially when the reference is to well-known Old Testament characters or places. Sometimes as an aid to the correct pronunciation we have had recourse to such expedients as the affixing of an acute accent to the word Sido or the introduction of a diphthong, as in our Soud for Sud. In general it may be said that Greek spellings have been Latinized, but the Greek forms of place-names have not been brought into line with the Hebrew.
We have not aimed at consistency in our treatment of weights and measures. We have rendered terms into the nearest English equivalents only when these seemed suitable and natural in the context.
In the text of the First and Second Books of the Maccabees the dates given it reckoned according to the Greek or Seleucid era. As a help to the reader we added at the foot of the page the nearest dates according to the Christian era.
This translation of the Apocrypha shares with other parts of The New English Bible the aim of providing a rendering which will be both faithful to the text translated and genuinely English in idiom. The translators have endeavoured to convey the meaning of the original in language which will be the closest natural equivalent. They have tried to avoid free paraphrase on the one hand and, on the other, formal fidelity resulting in a translation which would read like a translation. It is their hope that by their labours these documents, valuable in themselves and indispensable for the study of the background of the New Testament, have been made more intelligible and more readily accessible.
Written between 200 (or somewhat earlier)-50 B.C., certain of the books contain doctrines not uniformly accepted at that time by Jews, namely a clear teaching on the resurrection of the body (2 Macc.7.9-12) and angelology (Tob. 12.15), both of which were opposed by the powerful party, the Sadducees (Acts 23.6-8). Questions concerning the Apocrypha raised among Jews were also raised in the same or divergent form in Christian circles, especially by those church writers who were in contact with the Hebrew tradition. Some Christian writers, Augustine among them, put these books on a par with the rest of the Old Testament and quoted them equally. Jerome, who in 390 A.D. was commissioned to make a new translation of the whole Bible into Latin, studied Hebrew with a rabbi. His avowed purpose was to translate the Old Testament according to the "Hebrew original" (secundum Hebraicam veritatem), with the result that he was opposed to translating the Apocrypha because they were not in the Hebrew. In the end, he yielded to the pressure of the bishops and included these writings in the translation which came to be known as the Vulgate and which remained the official translation of the Latin church for many centuries. Paradoxically, Jerome himself often quoted the Apocrypha without distinguishing them from the books of the Hebrew canon.
Following the decrees by the synods of Hippo (393 A.D.) and Carthage (397 A.D.), the Apocrypha were uniformly included in the canon of the Latin church. Nevertheless, questions concerning them continued to be raised right up to the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century.
It had been natural for the leaders of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, with their emphasis on the supremacy and the purity of the Bible, to reject the Apocrypha, especially because an appeal was made for these books by Catholics against some of the basic positions of the Reformation. In 1546 A.D. the Council of Trent published a list of books to be received "with equal devotion and reverence," which included the Apocrypha, with the exception of 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh. In time, the Apocrypha came to be designated by Roman Catholics as "deuterocanonical," in distinction to the "protocanonical" books of the Hebrew canon. This special designation is not intended to suggest an inferior status, but simply a reception into the canon later than the protocanonical books. For the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Synod of Jerusalem (1672 A.D.) affirmed the validity of the longer canon; however, a universally binding conciliar decision has not been made, and hence a diversity of opinion still exists.
Today, the question of the canonical status of the Apocrypha is no longer so vehemently argued either in Protestant or Catholic circles. Scholarly biblical criticism has shown the presence of the same literary forms in both proto- and deuterocanonical writings. One of the results of biblical scholarship in the second half of the twentieth century has been to reduce the controversy, while not completely eliminating it, as witnessed by the inclusion of these books in the present Bible, though in a location and sequence different from those in Bibles published exclusively under Catholic auspices. Theologians now find themselves comfortable with a much more flexible concept of scriptural inerrancy, and consequently of inspiration, than was possible after the great religious controversies of the sixteenth century and before the era of modern biblical scholarship in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The usefulness of a book is less likely to be judged on the basis of its inclusion in, or exclusion from, the canon, but rather by the light it sheds for understanding the rest of the Bible. The Apocrypha have something in common with what came before them and with what followed them; they therefore act as a link between the Old and the New Testaments and so help us to understand both.
The story of Susanna is told in the Book of Susanna in the Apocrypha. Falsely accused of adultery by elders who had failed in their attempt to seduce her, and condemned to death, Susanna is rescued by the divinely inspired Daniel, whose clever cross-examination exposes her accusers.
As the first attempt in this direction, first in order, if not always in time, we mark the so-called Apocryphal literature, most of which was either written in Greek, or is the product of Hellenising Jews. [1 All the Apocrypha were originally written in Greek, except 1 Macc., Judith, part of Baruch, probably Tobit, and, of course, the 'Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach.']
Its general object was twofold. First, of course, it was apologetic, intended to fill gaps in Jewish history or thought, but especially to strengthen the Jewish mind against attacks from without, and generally to extol the dignity of Israel. Thus, more withering sarcasm could scarcely be poured on heathenism than in the apocryphal story of 'Bel and the Dragon,' or in the so-called 'Epistle of Jeremy,' with which the Book of 'Baruch' closes. The same strain, only in more lofty tones, resounds through the Book of the 'Wisdom of Solomon,' [b Comp. x. xx.] along with the constantly implied contrast between the righteous, or Israel, and sinners, or the heathen.
But the next object was to show that the deeper and purer thinking of heathenism in its highest philosophy supported, nay, in some respects, was identical with, the fundamental teaching of the Old Testament. This, of course, was apologetic of the Old Testament, but it also prepared the way for a reconciliation with Greek philosophy. We notice this especially in the so-called Fourth Book of Maccabees, so long erroneously attributed to Josephus, [1 It is printed in Havercamp's edition of Josephus, vol. ii. pp. 497-520. The best edition is in Fritzsche, Libri Apocryphi Vet. Test. (Lips. 1871).] and in the 'Wisdom of Solomon.'
The first postulate here would be the acknowledgment of truth among the Gentiles, which was the outcome of Wisdom, and Wisdom was the revelation of God. This seems already implied in so thoroughly Jewish a book as that of Jesus the Son of Sirach. [a Comp. for ex. Ecclus. xxiv. 6.] Of course there could be no alliance with Epicureanism, which was at the opposite pole of the Old Testament. But the brilliancy of Plato's speculations would charm, while the stern self-abnegation of Stoicism would prove almost equally attractive. The one would show why they believed, the other why they lived, as they did. Thus the theology of the Old Testament would find a rational basis in the ontology of Plato, and its ethics in the moral philosophy of the Stoics.
Indeed, this is the very line of argument which Josephus follows in the conclusion of his treatise against Apion. [b ii. 39, 40.] This, then, was an unassailable position to take: contempt poured on heathenism as such, [c Comp. also Jos. Ag. Ap. ii. 34.] and a rational philosophical basis for Judaism.
They were not deep, only acute thinkers, these Alexandrians, and the result of their speculations was a curious Eclecticism, in which Platonism and Stoicism are found, often heterogeneously, side by side. Thus, without further details, it may be said that the Fourth Book of Maccabees is a Jewish Stoical treatise on the Stoical theme of 'the supremacy of reason', the proposition, stated at the outset, that 'pious reason bears absolute sway over the passions,' being illustrated by the story of the martyrdom of Eleazar, and of the mother and her seven sons. [d Comp. 2 Macc. vi. 18-vii. 41.]
On the other hand, that sublime work, the 'Wisdom of Solomon,' contains Platonic and Stoic elements [2 Ewald (Gesch. d. Volkes Isr., vol. iv. pp. 626-632) has given a glowing sketch of it. Ewald rightly says that its Grecian elements have been exaggerated; but Bucher (Lehre vom Logos, pp. 59-62) utterly fails in denying their presence altogether.], chiefly perhaps the latter, the two occurring side by side. Thus [e Ch. vii. 22-27.] 'Wisdom,' which is so concretely presented as to be almost hypostatised, [3 Compare especially ix. 1; xviii. 14-16, where the idea of passes into that of the.
Of course the above remarks are not intended to depreciate the great value of this book, alike in itself, and in its practical teaching, in its clear enunciation of a retribution as awaiting man, and in its important bearing on the New Testament revelation of the.] is first described in the language of Stoicism, [f Vv. 22-24.] and afterwards set forth, in that of Platonism, [g Vv. 25-29.] as 'the breath of the power of God;' as 'a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty;' 'the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of His goodness.' Similarly, we have [a In ch. viii. 7.] a Stoical enumeration of the four cardinal virtues, temperance, prudence, justice, and fortitude, and close by it the Platonic idea of the soul's pre-existence, [b In vv. 19, 20.] and of earth and matter pressing it down. [c ix. 15.] How such views would point in the direction of the need of a perfect revelation from on high, as in the Bible, and of its rational possibility, need scarcely be shown.
But how did Eastern Judaism bear itself towards this Apocryphal literature? We find it described by a term which seems to correspond to our 'Apocrypha,' as Sepharim Genuzim,' 'hidden books,' i.e., either such whose origin was hidden, or, more likely, books withdrawn from common or congregational use. Although they were, of course, carefully distinguished from the canonical Scriptures, as not being sacred, their use was not only allowed, but many of them are quoted in Talmudical writings. [1 Some Apocryphal books which have not been preserved to us are mentioned in Talmudical writings, among them one, 'The roll of the building of the Temple,' alas, lost to us! Comp. Hamburger, vol. ii. pp. 66-70.]
In this respect they are placed on a very different footing from the so-called Sepharim Chitsonim, or 'outside books,' which probably included both the products of a certain class of Jewish Hellenistic literature, and the Siphrey Minim, or writings of the heretics. Against these Rabbinism can scarcely find terms of sufficient violence, even debarring from share in the world to come those who read them. [d Sanh 100.] This, not only because they were used in controversy, but because their secret influence on orthodox Judaism was dreaded.
For similar reasons, later Judaism forbade the use of the Apocrypha in the same manner as that of the Sepharim Chitsonim. But their influence had already made itself felt. The Apocrypha, the more greedily perused, not only for their glorification of Judaism, but that they were, so to speak, doubtful reading, which yet afforded a glimpse into that forbidden Greek world, opened the way for other Hellenistic literature, of which unacknowledged but frequent traces occur in Talmudical writings. [2 Comp. Siegfried, Philo von Alex. pp. 275-299, who, however, perhaps overstates the matter.]
To those who thus sought to weld Grecian thought with Hebrew revelation, two objects would naturally present themselves. They must try to connect their Greek philosophers with the Bible, and they must find beneath the letter of Scripture a deeper meaning, which would accord with philosophic truth. So far as the text of Scripture was concerned, they had a method ready to hand. The Stoic philosophers had busied themselves in finding a deeper allegorical meaning, especially in the writings of Homer.
By applying it to mythical stories, or to the popular beliefs, and by tracing the supposed symbolical meaning of names, numbers, etc., it became easy to prove almost anything, or to extract from these philosophical truths ethical principles, and even the later results of natural science. [1 Comp. Siegfried, pp. 9-16; Hartmann, Enge Verb. d. A. Test. mit d. N., pp. 568-572.] Such a process was peculiarly pleasing to the imagination, and the results alike astounding and satisfactory, since as they could not be proved, so neither could they be disproved. This allegorical method [2 This is to be carefully distinguished from the typical interpretation and from the mystical, the type being prophetic, the mystery spiritually understood.] was the welcome key by which the Hellenists might unlock the hidden treasury of Scripture.
In point of fact, we find it applied so early as in the 'Wisdom of Solomon.' [3 Not to speak of such sounder interpretations as that of the brazen serpent (Wisd. xvi. 6, 7), and of the Fall (ii. 24), or of the view presented of the early history of the chosen race in ch. x., we may mention as instances of allegorical interpretation that of the manna (xvi. 26-28), and of the high-priestly dress (xviii. 24), to which, no doubt, others might be added.
But I cannot find sufficient evidence of this allegorical method in the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach. The reasoning of Hartmann (u. s., pp. 542-547) seems to me greatly strained. Of the existence of allegorical interpretations in the Synoptic Gospels, or of any connection with Hellenism, such as Hartmann, Siegfried, and Loesner (Obs. ad. N.T. e Phil. Alex) put into them, I cannot, on examination, discover any evidence. Similarity of expressions, or even of thought, afford no evidence of inward connection. Of the Gospel by St. John we shall speak in the sequel. In the Pauline Epistles we find, as might be expected, some allegorical interpretations, chiefly in those to the Corinthians, perhaps owing to the connection of that church with Apollos. Comp here 1 Cor. ix. 9; x. 4 (Philo, Quod deter. potiori insid. 31); 2 Cor. iii. 16; Gal. iv. 21. Of the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Apocalypse we cannot here speak.]
But as yet Hellenism had scarcely left the domain of sober interpretation. it is otherwise in the letter of the Pseudo-Aristeas, to which reference has already been made. [4 See p. 25.] Here the wildest symbolism is put into the mouth of the High-Priest Eleazar, to convince Aristeas and his fellow-ambassador that the Mosaic ordinances concerning food had not only a political reason, to keep Israel separate from impious nations, and a sanitary one, but chiefly a mystical meaning. The birds allowed for food were all tame and pure, and they fed on corn or vegetable products, the opposite being the case with those forbidden.
The first lesson which this was intended to teach was, that Israel must be just, and not seek to obtain aught from others by violence; but, so to speak, imitate the habits of those birds which were allowed them. The next lesson would be, that each must learn to govern his passions and inclinations. Similarly, the direction about cloven hoofs pointed to the need of making separation, that is, between good and evil; and that about chewing the cud to the need of remembering, viz. God and His will. [1 A similar principle applied to the prohibition of such species as the mouse or the weasel, not only because they destroyed everything, but because they latter, from its mode of conceiving and bearing, symbolized listening to evil tales, and exaggerated, lying, or malicious speech.]
In such manner, according to Aristeas, did the High Priest go through the catalogue of things forbidden, and of animals to be sacrificed, showing from their 'hidden meaning' the majesty and sanctity of the Law. [2 Of course this method is constantly adopted by Josephus. Comp. for example, Ant. iii. 1. 6; 7. 7.]
This was an important line to take, and it differed in principle from the allegorical method adopted by the Eastern Jews. Not only the Dorshey Reshumoth, [3 Or Dorshey Chamuroth, searchers of difficult passages. Zunz. Gottesd. Vortr. p. 323. note b.] or searches out of the subtleties of Scripture, of their indications, but even the ordinry Haggadist employed, indeed, allegoric interpretations. Thereby Akiba vindicated for the 'Song of Songs' its place in the Canon. Did not Scripture say: 'One thing spake God, twofold is what I heard,' [a Ps. lxii. 11; Sanh. 34 a.] and did not this imply a twofold meaning; nay, could not the Torah be explained by many different methods? [4 The seventy languages in which the Law was supposed to have been written below Mount Ebal (Sotah vii. 5).
I cannot help feeling this may in part also refer to the various modes of interpreting Holy Scripture, and that there is an allusion to this Shabb. 88 b, where Ps. lxviii. 12. and Jer. xxiii. 29, are quoted, the latter to show that the word of God is like a hammer that breaks the rock in a thousand pieces. Comp. Rashi on Gen. xxxiii. 20.] What, for example, was the water which Israel sought in the wilderness, or the bread and raiment which Jacob asked in Bethel, but the Torah and the dignity which it conferred? But in all these, and innumerable similar instances, the allegorical interpretation was only an application of Scripture for homiletical purposes, not a searching into a rationale beneath, such as that of the Hellenists.
The latter the Rabbis would have utterly repudiated, on their express principle that 'Scripture goes not beyond its plain meaning.' [5 Perhaps we ought here to point out one of the most important principles of Rabbinism, which has been almost entirely overlooked in modern criticism of the Talmud. It is this: that any ordinance, not only of the Divine law, but of the Rabbis, even though only given for a particular time or occasion, or for a special reason, remains in full force for all time unless it be expressly recalled (Betsah 5 b). Thus Maimonides (Sepher ha Mitsv.) declares the law to extirpate the Canaanites as continuing in its obligations. The inferences as to the perpetual obligation, not only of the ceremonial law, but of sacrifices, will be obvious, and their bearing on the Jewish controversy need not be explained. Comp. Chief Rabbi Holdheim. d. Ceremonial Gesetz in Messasreich, 1845.]
They sternly insisted, that we ought not to search into the ulterior object and rationale of a law, but simply obey it. But it was this very rationale of the Law which the Alexandrians sought to find under its letter. It was in this sense that Aristobulus, a Hellenist Jew of Alexandria, [b About 160 B.C.] sought to explain Scripture. Only a fragment of his work, which seems to have been a Commentary on the Pentateuch, dedicated to King Ptolemy (Philometor), has been preserved to us (by Clement of Alexandria, and by Eusebius [a Praepar. Evang. vii. 14. 1 ; vii. 10. 1-17; xiii. 12.]). According to Clement of Alexandria, his aim was, 'to bring the Peripatetic philosophy out of the law of Moses, and out of the other prophets.'
Thus, when we read that God stood, it meant the stable order of the world; that He created the world in six days, the orderly succession of time; the rest of the Sabbath, the preservation of what was created. And in such manner could the whole system of Aristotle be found in the Bible. But how was this to be accounted for? Of course, the Bible had not learned from Aristotle, but he and all the other philosphers had learned from the Bible. Thus, according to Aristobulus, Pythagoras, Plato, and all the other sages had really learned from Moses, and the broken rays found in their writings were united in all their glory in the Torah.
It was a tempting path on which to enter, and one on which there was no standing still. It only remained to give fixedness to the allegorical method by reducing it to certain principles, or canons of criticism, and to form the heterogeneous mass of Grecian philosophemes and Jewish theologumena into a compact, if not homogeneous system. This was the work of Philo of Alexandria, born about 20 B.C. It concerns us not here to inquire what were the intermediate links between Aristobulus and Philo. Another and more important point claims our attention.
If ancient Greek philosophy knew the teaching of Moses, where was the historic evidence for it? If such did not exist, it must somehow be invented. Orpheus was a name which had always lent itself to literary fraud, [b As Val. Kenaer puts it, Daitr. de Aristob. Jud. p. 73.] and so Aristobulus boldly produces (whether of his own or of others' making) a number of spurious citations from Hesiod, Homer, Linus, but especially from Orpheus, all Biblical and Jewish in their cast. Aristobulus was neither the first nor the last to commit such fraud. The Jewish Sibyl boldly, and, as we shall see, successfully personated the heathen oracles. And this opens, generally, quite a vista of Jewish-Grecia literature. In the second, and even in the third century before Christ, there were Hellenist historians, such as Eupolemus, Artapanus, Demetrius, and Aristeas; tragic and epic poets, such as Ezekiel, Pseudo-Philo, and Theodotus, who, after the manner of the ancient classical writers, but for their own purposes, described certain periods of Jewish history, or sang of such themes as the Exodus, Jerusalem, or the rape of Dinah.
The mention of these spurious quotations naturally leads us to another class of spurious literature, which, although not Hellenistic, has many elements in common with it, and, even when originating with Palestinian Jews is not Palestinian, nor yet has been preserved in its language. We allude to what are known as the Pseudepigraphic, or Pseudonymic Writings, so called because, with one exception, they bear false names of authorship. It is difficult to arrange them otherwise than chronological, and even here the greatest difference of opinions prevails.
Their general character (with one exception) may be described as anti-heathen, perhaps missionary, but chiefly as Apocalyptic. They are attempts at taking up the key-note struck in the prophecies of Daniel; rather, we should say, to lift the veil only partially raised by him, and to point, alike as concerned Israel, and the kingdoms of the world, to the past, the present, and the future, in the light of the Kingship of the Messiah. Here, if anywhere, we might expect to find traces of New Testament teaching; and yet, side by side with frequent similarity of form, the greatest difference, we had almost said contrast, in spirit, prevails.
Many of these works must have perished. In one of the latest of them [a 4 Esdras xiv. 44, 46.] they are put down at seventy, probably a round number, having reference to the supposed number of the nations of the earth, or to every possible mode of interpreting Scripture. They are described as intended for 'the wise among the people,' probably those whom St. Paul, in the Christian sense, designates as 'knowing the time' [b Rom. xiii. 11.] [1 The of St. Paul seems here used in exactly the same sense as in later Hebrew. The LXX. render it so in five passages (Ezr. v. 3; Dan. iv. 33; vi. 10; vii. 22, 25).] of the Advent of the Messiah. Viewed in this light, they embody the ardent aspirations and the inmost hopes [2 Of course, it suits Jewish writers, like Dr. Jost, to deprecate the value of the Pseudepigrapha.
Their ardour of expectancy ill agrees with the modern theories, which would eliminate, if possible, the Messianic hope from ancient Judaism.] of those who longed for the 'consolation of Israel,' as they understood it. Nor should we judge their personations of authorship according to our Western ideas. [3 Comp. Dillmann in Herzog's Real-Encykl. vol. xii. p. 301.] Pseudonymic writings were common in that age, and a Jew might perhaps plead that, even in the Old Testament, books had been headed by names which confessedly were not those of their authors (such as Samuel, Ruth, Esther). If those inspired poets who sang in the spirit, and echoed the strains, of Asaph, adopted that designation, and the sons of Korah preferred to be known by that title, might not they, who could no longer claim the authority of inspiration seek attention for their utterances by adopting the names of those in whose spirit they professed to write?
The most interesting as well as the oldest of these books are those known as the Book of Enoch, the Sibylline Oracles, the Paler of Solomon, and the Book of Jubilees, or Little Genesis. Only the briefest notice of them can here find a place. [1 For a brief review of the 'Pseudepigraphic Writings,' see Appendix I.]
The Book of Enoch, the oldest parts of which date a century and a half before Christ, comes to us from Palestine. It professes to be a vision vouchsafed to that Patriarch, and tells of the fall of the Angels and its consequences, and of what he saw and heard in his rapt journeys through heaven and earth. Of deepest, though often sad, interest, is what it says of the Kingdom of Heaven, of the advent of Messiah and His Kingdom, and of the last things.
On the other hand, the Sibylline Oracles, of which the oldest portions date from about 160 B.C., come to us from Egypt. It is to the latter only that we here refer. Their most interesting parts are also the most characteristics. In them the ancient heathen myths of the first ages of man are welded together with Old Testament notices, while the heathen Theogony is recast in a Jewish mould. Thus Noah becomes Uranos, Shem Saturn, Ham Titan, and Japheth Japetus.
Similarly, we have fragments of ancient heathen oracles, so to speak, recast in a Jewish edition. The strangest circumstance is, that the utterances of this Judaising and Jewish Sibyl seem to have passed as the oracles of the ancient Erythraean, which had predicted the fall of Troy, and as those of the Sibyl of Cumae, which, in the infancy of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus had deposited in the Capitol.
The collection of eighteen hymns known as the Psalter of Solomon dates from more than half a century before our era. No doubt the original was Hebrew, though they breathe a somewhat Hellenistic spirit. They express ardent Messianic aspirations, and a firm faith in the Resurrection, and in eternal rewards and punishments.
Different in character from the preceding works is The Book of Jubilees, so called from its chronological arrangement into 'Jubilee-periods', or 'Little Genesis.' It is chiefly a kind of legendary supplement to the Book of Genesis, intended to explain some of its historic difficulties, and to fill up its historic lacunae. It was probably written about the time of Christ, and this gives it a special interest, by a Palestinian, and in Hebrew, or rather Aramaean. But, like the rest of the Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphic literature which comes from Palestine, or was originally written in Hebrew, we possess it no longer in that language, but only in translation.
If from this brief review of Hellenist and Pseudepigraphic literature we turn to take a retrospect, we can scarcely fail to perceive, on the one hand, the development of the old, and on the other the preparation for the new, in other words, the grand expectancy awakened, and the grand preparation made. One step only remained to complete what Hellenism had already begun. That completion came through one who, although himself untouched by the Gospel, perhaps more than any other prepared alike his co-religionists the Jews, and his countrymen the Greeks, for the new teaching, which, indeed, was presented by many of its early advocates in the forms which they had learned from him. That man was Philo the Jew, of Alexandria.
(Both Old and New Testaments)
The scope of this article takes in those compositions which profess to have been written either by Biblical personages or men in intimate relations with them. Such known works as the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Didache (Teaching) of the Twelve Apostles, and the Apostolic Canons and Constitutions, though formerly apocryphal, really belong to patristic literature, and are considered independently. It has been deemed better to classify the Biblical apocrypha according to their origin, instead of following the misleading division of the apocrypha of the Old and New Testaments. Broadly speaking, the apocrypha of Jewish origin are coextensive with what are styled of the Old Testament, and those of Christian origin with the apocrypha of the New Testament. The subject will be treated as follows:
The original and proper sense of the term apocryphal as applied to the pretended sacred books was early obscured. But a clue to it may be recognized in the so-called Fourth Book of Esdras, which relates that Estrus (Era) by divine inspiration composed ninety-four books. Of these, twenty-four were restorations of the sacred literature of the Israelites which had perished in the Captivity; they were to be published openly, but the remaining were to be guarded in secret for the exclusive use of the wise (cf. Dan., ix, 4, 9, where the prophet is bidden to shut up and seal an inspired book until an appointed time). Accordingly it may be accepted as highly probable that in its original meaning an apocryphal writing had no unfavorable import, but simply denoted a composition which claimed a sacred origin, and was supposed to have been hidden for generations, either absolutely, awaiting the due time of its revelation, or relatively, inasmuch as knowledge of it was confined to a limited esoteric circle. However, the name Apocrypha soon came to have an unfavourable signification which it still retains, comporting both want of genuineness and canonicity. These are the negative aspects of the modern application of the name; on its positive side it is properly employed only of a well defined class of literature, putting forth scriptural or quasi-scriptural pretensions, and which originated in part among the Hebrews during the two centuries preceding Christ and for a space after, and in part among Christians, both orthodox and heterodox, in the early centuries of our era.
The body of the work is undoubtedly Judaic, but there are many interpolations of an unmistakably Christian origin, presenting in their ensemble a fairly full Christology, but one suspected of Docetism. Recent students of the Testaments assign with much probability the Jewish groundwork to the Hasmonean period, within the limits 135-63 B.C. Portions which extol the tribes of Levi and Juda are interpreted as an apology for the Hasmonean pontiff-kings. The remaining ten tribes are supposed to be yet in existence, and are urged to be faithful to the representatives of the priestly and royal power. In this defence of the Machabean dynasty, and by a writer with Pharisaic tendencies, probably a priest, the Testaments are unique in Jewish literature. True, there are passages in which the sacerdotal caste and the ruling tribes are unsparingly denounced, but these are evidently later insertions. The eschatology is rather advanced. The Messias is to spring from the tribe of Levi (elsewhere, however, from Juda); he is to be the eternal High-Priest -- a unique feature of the book -- as well as the civil ruler of the nation. During his reign sin will gradually cease. The gates of paradise are to be opened and the Israelites and converted Gentiles will dwell there and eat of the tree of life. The Messianic kingdom is therefore to be an eternal one on earth, therein agreeing with the Ethiopic Henoch. The Testaments exist complete in Greek, Armenian, Latin, and Slavonic versions. Aramaic and Syriac fragments are preserved.
This purports to be the description by Isaias of a vision in which he was rapt up through the seven heavens to the presence of the Trinity, and beheld the descent of the Son, "the Beloved", on His mission of redemption. He changes his form in passing through the inferior celestial circles. The prophet then sees the glorified Beloved reascending. The Martyrdom is a Jewish work, saving some rather large interpolations. The rest is by Christian hands or perhaps a single writer, who united his apocalypse with the Martyrdom. There are tokens that the Christian element is a product of Gnosticism, and that our work is the same with that much in favour among several heretical sects under the name of the "Anabaticon", or "Ascension of Isaias". The Jewish portion is thought to have appeared in the first century of our era; the remainder, in the middle of the second. Justin, Tertullian, and Origen seem to have been acquainted with the Martyrdom; Sts. Jerome and Epiphanius are the earliest witnesses for the Ascension proper. The apocryphon exists in Greek, Ethiopic, and Slavonic manuscripts.
Probably with this second class are to be included the "Testaments of Job" and "Zacharias", the "Adam Books", the "Book of Creation", the "Story of Aphikia" (the wife of Jesus Sirach). These works as a rule appeared in the East, and in many cases show Gnostic tendencies. Further information about some of them will be found at the end of articles on the above personages.
The Narrative of Joseph of Arimathea -- furnishing imaginary details of the two thieves crucified with Christ, and the begging of the body from Pilate -- seems to have enjoyed popularity in the Middle Ages in the Byzantine East, judging from the number of Greek manuscripts which remain. The oldest of those published belongs to the twelfth century. The relation is appended to some Latin texts of the Acta Pilati, under the title "Historia Josephi". It may be read in English in Walker's and the Ante-Nicene Fathers' collection of the apocrypha.
Blessed are you because you have believed in Me without seeing Me. For it is written that those who have seen Me, will not believe Me; and that those who have not seen Me will believe and love Me. But as to your prayer that I come to you, it is necessary that I fulfil here all that for which I have been sent, and that after I have fulfilled it, that I be taken up to Him who has sent Me. But after my taking up I shall send you one of My disciples, who will heal your pains, and keep life for you and yours.
Accordingly, after the Ascension, "Judas Thomas" an Apostle, despatches to Edessa Thaddeus, one of the seventy Disciples, who cures the King of his disease, and preaches Christ to the assembled people. This, adds Eusebius, happened in the year 340, i.e. of the Seleucid era; corresponding to A.D. 28-29. The pleasing story is repeated with variations in later sources. The "Teaching of Addai", a Syrian apocryphon (q.v. infra), reproduces the correspondence with additions.
The authenticity of the alleged letter of Christ has always been strongly suspected when not absolutely denied. As early as the sixth century the Gelasian Decretum brands this correspondence as spurious. Its legendary environment and the fact that the Church at large did not hand down the pretended epistle from Our Lord as a sacred document is conclusive against it. As for the letter of Abgar, its genuineness was formerly favoured by many skilled in this literature, but since the discovery of the "Teaching of Addai", published in 1876, the presumption against the authentic character of Abgar's epistle, owing to the close resemblance of a portion to passages in the Gospels, has become an established certainty. Lipsius, a high authority, is of the opinion that the Abgar correspondence goes back to the reign of the first Christian ruler of Edessa, Abgar IX (179-216), and that it was elicited by a desire to force a link uniting that epoch with the time of Christ.
(See APOSTOLIC CHURCHES; ANDREW, ST., APOSTLE.)
Lipsius regards the journey section as a ninth-century addition; Bardenhewer will have it to belong to the original document. This section begins with Paul's departure from the island of Mileto, and is evidently based on the canonical narrative in Acts. The Jews have been aroused by the news of Paul's intended visit, and induce Nero to forbid it. Nevertheless the Apostle secretly enters Italy; his companion is mistaken for himself at Puteoli and beheaded. In retribution that city is swallowed up by the sea. Peter receives Paul at Rome with Joy. The preaching of the Apostles converts multitudes and even the Empress. Simon Magus traduces the Christian teachers, and there is a test of strength in miracles between that magician and the Apostles, which takes place in the presence of Nero, Simon essays a flight to heaven but falls in the Via Sacra and is dashed to pieces. Nevertheless, Nero is bent on the destruction of Peter and Paul. The latter is beheaded on the Ostian Way, and Peter is crucified at his request head downward. Before his death he relates to the people the "Quo Vadis?" story. Three men from the East carry off the Apostles' bodies but are overtaken. St. Peter is buried at "The place called the Vatican", and Paul on the Ostian Way. These Acts are the chief source for details of the martyrdom of the two great Apostles. They are also noteworthy as emphasizing the close concord between the Apostolic founders of the Roman Church. The date (A.D. 55) of composition is involved in obscurity. Lipsius finds traces of our Acts as early as Hippolytus (c. 235), but it is not clear that the Fathers adduced employed any written source for their references to the victory over Simon Magus and the work of the Apostles at Rome. Lipsius assigns the kernel of the Martyrdom to the second century; Bardenhewer refers the whole to the first half of the third. The Acts of Peter and Paul undoubtedly embody some genuine traditions. (See PETER, ST., APOSTLE; PAUL, ST., APOSTLE; SIMON MAGUS).
There are Latin, Coptic, Ethiopic, and Armenian histories of the missions and death of St. James the Greater, the son of Zebedee. Lipsius assigns the Latin to about the third century. Coptic and Armenian Acts and Martyrdom of St. James the Less depend mostly on the Hegesippus tradition, preserved by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., IV, xxii).
Regarding the so-called Apocalypse of St. Bartholomew see Gospel of St. Bartholomew.
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES are extensive, and are in a separate listing in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
George J. Reid
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I
NOTE: This extensive article from the Catholic Encyclopedia contains numerous external references to other articles. Those references all are directed toward other articles in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Nevertheless, the BELIEVE web-site contains separate presentations on the majority of those subjects.
Apocrypha may have different meanings depending on how it is applied to the Old or New Testaments and whether it is being used by Catholics, Protestants or Orthodox Christians. For the most part, the term apocrypha refers to any collection of scriptural texts that falls outside the canon. Since most English language bibles are from non-Orthodox sources, they sometimes are subtitled with Apocrypha meaning that it includes the Old Testament, so called Deuterocanonical Books that in the Orthodox Church are considered to be genuine parts of the Bible.
Since mostly all of Christianity accept the same 27 books of the New Testament, the term apocrypha is used for both apocryphal books, and pseudoepigrapha books.
The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books are books of the Old Testament that are accepted by the Orthodox Christian Church but are not accepted by Protestants as part of its official canonical contents, but of close association with the Bible.
The word Deuterocanonical comes from the Greek words Deutero and canona meaning "second canon." The word apocrypha comes from the Greek word ἀπόκρυφα, meaning "hidden." They are included in the Orthodox Bible because they were included in the Septuagint which was in use at the time of Jesus, and the authors of the New Testament. They are not called apocrypha by the Orthodox Church.
The Psalms are also numbered and divided up differently.
In an Orthodox Bible there are 49 books in the Old Testament canon. Roman Catholics only accept seven so called Deuterocanonical books, so their Old Testament has a total of 46 books (sometimes counted as 47). Because Protestants mistakenly reject the Septuagint altogether, their Old Testament canon has only 39 books.
There are examples of false books from the Old Testament, there books are: Assumption of Moses, Ascension of Isaiah, Apocalypse of Elijah, Book of Enoch, Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, and another Book of Maccabees. These books are not in the Old Testament canon of any church.
Books of the apostolic times that were not included in the canon of scripture, but may have reputed apostolic or prophetic authorship, are called Apocryphal. These writings of the early Christian church give accounts of the teachings of Jesus, aspects of the life of Jesus, accounts of the nature of God, or the teachings of his apostles and of their lives. These writings often have links with those books which are regarded as canonical. According to Orthodox teaching they may be read for personal edification but are not authoritative for doctrine.
At the turn from the first century, many false writings about Christ were produced. These were the so-called apocryphal writings (not to be confused with the Old Testament apocrypha), also called pseudoepigrapha. These false writings carried the names of the apostles and introduced into Christian circles many fanciful and legendary stories about the childhood of Christ, the life of the Virgin Mary and the activities of the apostles.
With the pseudoepigrapha, there also appeared the false teachings of gnosticism, the Christian heresy which transformed Christianity into a kind of spiritualistic, dualistic, intellectualistic philosophy. The Christians of the Orthodox faith had to contend with these false teachings.
§ II. Apocryphal Books among the Jews.
§ III. Lists of Apocrypha; Classification.
§ IV. Historical Apocrypha.
§ V. Historical Pseudepigrapha.
§ VI. Books of the Antediluvians.
§ VII. Testaments.
§ VIII. Relating to Joseph, Isaiah, and Baruch.
§ IX. Lost Books.
§ X. Prophetical Apocrypha.
§ XI. Apocalypses.
§ XII. Lyrical Apocrypha.
§ XIII. Didactic Apocrypha.
§ XIV. Apocrypha in the Talmud.
The most general definition of Apocrypha is, Writings having some pretension to the character of sacred scripture, or received as such by certain sects, but excluded from the canon (see Canon). The history of the earlier usage of the word is obscure. It is probable that the adjective ἀπόκρυφος "hidden away, kept secret," as applied to books, was first used of writings which were kept from the public by their possessors because they contained a mysterious or esoteric wisdom too profound or too sacred to be communicated to any but the initiated. Thus a Leyden magical papyrus bears the title, Μωϋσήως ἱερἁ βίβλος ἀπόκρυφος ἐπικαλουμήν ὀγδόη ἢ ἁγία, "The Secret Sacred Book of Moses, Entitled the Eighth or the Holy Book" (Dietrich, "Abraxas," 169). Pherecydes of Syros is said to have learned his wisdom from τἁ φοινίκων ἀπόκρυφα βιβλία, "The Secret Books of the Phenicians" (Suidas, s.v. φερκύδης). In the early centuries of our era many religious and philosophical sects had such scriptures; thus the followers of the Gnostic Prodicus boasted the possession of secret books (ἀποκρύφους) of Zoroaster (Clemens Alexandrinus, "Stromata," i. 15 [357 Potter]). IV Esdras is avowedly such a work: Ezra is bidden to write all the things which he has seen in a book and lay it up in a hidden place, and to teach the contents to the wise among his people, whose intelligence he knows to be sufficient to receive and preserve these secrets (xii. 36 et seq.). (see Dan. xii. 4, 9; Enoch, i. 2, cviii. 1; Assumptio Mosis, x. 1 et seq.) In another passage such writings are expressly distinguished from the twenty-four canonical books; the latter are to be published that they may be read by the worthy and unworthy alike; the former (seventy in number) are to be preserved and transmitted to the wise, because they contain a profounder teaching (xiv. 44-47). In this sense Gregory of Nyssa quotes words of John in the Apocalypse as ἐν ἀποκρύφοις ("Oratio in Suam Ordinationem," iii. 549, ed. Migne; compare Epiphanius, "Adversus Hæreses," li. 3). The book contains revelations not to be comprehended by the masses, nor rashly published among them.
Inasmuch, however, as this kind of literature flourished most among heretical sects, and as many of the writings themselves were falsely attributed to the famous men of ancient times, the word "Apocrypha" acquired in ecclesiastical use an unfavorable connotation; the private scriptures treasured by the sects were repudiated by the Church as heretical and often spurious. Lists were made of the books which the Church received as sacred scripture and of those which it rejected; the former were "canonical" (see Canon); to the latter the name "Apocrypha" was given. The canon of the Church included the books which are contained in the Greek Bible but not in the Hebrew (see the list below, § III.); hence the term "Apocrypha" was not applied to these books, but to such writings as Enoch, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, etc. (see below, § III.). Jerome alone applies the word to all books which are not found in the Jewish canon (see "Prologus Galeatus"). At the Reformation, Protestants adopted the Jewish canon, and designated by the name "Apocrypha" the books of the Latin and Greek Bibles which they thus rejected; while the Catholic Church in the Council of Trent formally declared these books canonical, and continued to use the word "Apocrypha" for the class of writings to which it had generally been appropriated in the ancient Church; for the latter, Protestants introduced the name "Pseudepigrapha."
§ II. Apocryphal Books among the Jews.
Judaism also had sects which possessed esoteric or recondite scriptures, such as the Essenes (Josephus, "B. J." ii. 8, § 7), and the Therapeutæ (Philo, "De Vita Contemplativa," ed. Mangey, ii. 475). Their occurrence among these particular sects is explicitly attested, but doubtless there were others. Indeed, many of the books which the Church branded as apocryphal were of Jewish (sometimes heretical Jewish) origin. The Jewish authorities, therefore, were constrained to form a canon, that is, a list of sacred scriptures; and in some cases to specify particular writings claiming this character which were rejected and forbidden. The former-so the distinction is expressed in a ceremonial rule (Yad. iii. 5; Tosef., Yad. ii. 13)-make the hands which touch them unclean-; the latter do not (see Canon). Another term used in the discussion of certain books is , properly "to lay up, store away for safe-keeping," also "withdraw from use." Thus, Shab. 30b, "The sages intended to withdraw Ecclesiastes"; "they also intended to withdraw Proverbs"; ib. 13b, "Hananiah b. Hezekiah prevented Ezekiel from being withdrawn"; Sanh. 100b (Codex Carlsruhe), "although our masters withdrewthis book" (Sirach), etc. It has frequently been asserted that the idea and the name of the Greek "Apocrypha" were derived from this Hebrew terminology. (See Zahn, "Gesch. des Neutestamentlichen Kanons," i. 1, 123 et seq.; Schürer, in "Protestantische Realencyclopädie," 3d ed., i. 623, and many others; compare Hamburger,"Realencyklopädie," ii. 68, n. 4.) "Apocrypha" (ἀπόκρυφα βιβλία) is, it is said, a literal translation of , "concealed, hidden books." Closer examination shows, however, that the alleged identity of phraseology is a mistake. Talmudic literature knows nothing of a class of -neither this phrase nor an equivalent occurs -not even in "Ab. R. N." i. 1, though the error appears to have originated in the words used there. Nor is the usage identical: does not mean "conceal" (ἀποκρύπτειν translates not , but and its synonyms), but "store away"; it is used only of things intrinsically precious or sacred. As applied to books, it is used only of books which are, after all, included in the Jewish canon, never of the kind of literature to which the Church Fathers give the name "Apocrypha"; these are rather (Yer. Sanh. x. 1, 28a), or . The only exception is a reference to Sirach. The Book of (magical) Cures which Hezekiah put away (Pes. iv. 9) was doubtless attributed to Solomon. This being the state of the facts, it is doubtful whether there is any connection between the use of and that of ἀπόκρυφος.
§ III. Lists of Apocrypha; Classification.
The following is a brief descriptive catalogue of writings which have been at some time or in some quarters regarded as sacred scripture, but are not included in the Jewish (and Protestant) canon. For more particular information about these works, and for the literature, the reader is referred to the special articles on the books severally.
First, then, there are the books which are commonly found in the Greek and Latin Bibles, but are not included in the Hebrew canon, and are hence rejected by Protestants; to these, as has already been said, Protestants give the name "Apocrypha" specifically. These are (following the order and with the titles of the English translation): I Esdras; II Esdras; Tobit; Judith; The Rest of the Chapters of the Book of Esther; Wisdom of Solomon; Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus; Baruch, with the Epistle of Jeremiah; Song of the Three Holy Children; History of Susanna; Destruction of Bel and the Dragon; Prayer of Manasses; I Maccabees; II Maccabees. These, with the exception of I, II (III, IV) Esdras and the Prayer of Manasses, are canonical in the Roman Church. Secondly, books which were pronounced apocryphal by the ancient Church. Of these we possess several catalogues, the most important of which are the Stichometry of Nicephorus; the Athanasian Synopsis; and an anonymous list extant in several manuscripts, first edited by Montfaucon (see Schürer, "Gesch." 3d ed., iii. 262 et seq.); further a passage in the "Apostolical Constitutions" (vi. 16), and the socalled Decree of Pope Gelasius ("Corpus Juris Canonici," iii. Distinctio 15). References in the Fathers add some titles, and various Oriental versions give us a knowledge of other writings of the same kind. A considerable part of this literature has been preserved, and fresh discoveries almost every year prove how extensive and how popular it once was.
A satisfactory classification of these writings is hardly possible; probably the most convenient scheme is to group them under the chief types of Biblical literature to which they are severally related-viz.:
1. Historical, including history proper, story books, and haggadic narrative.
2. Prophetic, including apocalypses.
3. Lyric; psalms.
4. Didactic; proverbs and other forms of "wisdom." The assignment of a book to one or another of these divisions must often be understood as only a potiori; a writing which is chiefly narrative may contain prophecy or apocalypse; one which is primarily prophetic may exhibit in parts affinity to the didactic literature.
§ IV. Historical Apocrypha.
1. First Maccabees. A history of the rising of the Jews under the leadership of Mattathias and his sons against Antiochus Epiphanes, and of the progress of the struggle down to the death of Simon, covering thus the period from 175-135 B.C. The book was written in Hebrew, but is extant only in Greek and in translations made from the Greek.
2. Second Maccabees. Professedly an abridgment of a larger work in five books by Jason of Cyrene. It begins with the antecedents of the conflict with Syria, and closes with the recovery of Jerusalem by Judas after his victory over Nicanor. The work was written in Greek, and is much inferior in historical value to I Macc. Prefixed to the book are two letters addressed to the Jews in Egypt on the observance of the Feast of Dedication ().
3. First Esdras. In the Latin Bible, Third Esdras. A fragment of the oldest Greek version (used by Josephus) of Chronicles (including Ezra and Nehemiah), containing I Chron. xxxv.-Neh. viii. 13, in a different, and in part more original, order than the Hebrew text and with one considerable addition, the story of the pages of King Darius (iii. 1-v. 6). The book is printed in an appendix to the official editions of the Vulgate (after the New Testament), but is not recognized by the Roman Church as canonical.
4. Additions to Daniel.
a. The story of Susanna and the elders, prefixed to the book, illustrating Daniel's discernment in judgment.
b. The destruction of Bel and the Dragon, appended after ch. xii., showing how Daniel proved to Cyrus that the Babylonian gods were no gods.
c. The Song of the three Jewish Youths in the fiery furnace, inserted in Dan. iii. between verses 23 and 24. These additions are found in both Greek translations of Daniel (Septuagint and Theodotion); for the original language and for the Hebrew and Aramaic versions of the stories, see Daniel.
5. Additions to Esther. In the Greek Bible, enlargement on motives suggested by the original story:
a. The dream of Mordecai and his discovery of the conspiracy, prefixed to the book; the interpretation follows x. 3;
b. Edict for the destruction of the Jews, after iii. 13;
c., d. Prayers of Mordecai and Esther,after iv. 17;
e. Esther's reception by the king, taking the place of v. 1 in the Hebrew;
f. Edict permitting the Jews to defend themselves, after viii. 12. In the Vulgate these additions are detached from their connection and brought together in an appendix to the book, with a note remarking that they are not found in the Hebrew.
6. Prayer of Manasses. Purports to be the words of the prayer spoken of in II Chron. xxxiii. 18 et seq.; probably designed to stand in that place. In many manuscripts of the Greek Bible it is found among the pieces appended to the Psalms; in the Vulgate it is printed after the New Testament with III and IV Esd., and like them is not canonical.
7. Judith. Story of the deliverance of the city of Bethulia by a beautiful widow, who by a ruse deceives and kills Holophernes, the commander of the besieging army. The book was written in Hebrew, but is preserved only in Greek or translations from the Greek; an Aramaic Targum was known to Jerome.
8. Tobit. The scene of this tale, with its attractive pictures of Jewish piety and its interesting glimpses of popular superstitions, is laid in the East (Nineveh, Ecbatana); the hero is an Israelite of the tribe of Naphtali, who was carried away in the deportation by Shalmaneser ("Enemessar"). The story is related in some way to that of AḦiḳar.
9. Third Maccabees. (See Maccabees, Books of.) A story of the persecution of the Egyptian Jews by Ptolemy Philopator after the defeat of Antiochus at Raphia in 217 B.C.; their steadfastness in their religion, and the miraculous deliverance God wrought for them. The book, which may be regarded as an Alexandrian counterpart of Esther, is found in manuscripts of the Septuagint, but is not canonical in any branch of the Christian Church.
§ V. Historical Pseudepigrapha.
The books named above are all found in the Greek and Latin Bibles and in the Apocrypha of the Protestant versions. We proceed now to other writings of the same general class, commonly called "Pseudepigrapha."
10. The Book of Jubilees, called also Leptogenesis ("The Little Genesis"), probably , in distinction, not from the canonical Genesis, but from a larger Midrash, a . It contains a haggadic treatment of the history of the Patriarchs as well as of the history of Israel in Egypt, ending with the institution of the Passover, based on Gen. and Ex. i.-xii. It is a free reproduction of the Biblical narrative, with extensive additions of an edifying character, exhortations, predictions, and the like. It gets the name "Book of Jubilees" from the elaborate chronology, in which every event is minutely reckoned out in months, days, and years of the Jubilee period. The whole is in the form of a revelation made through an angel to Moses on Mt. Sinai, from which some writers were led to call the book the "Apocalypse of Moses." (See Apocalypse, § V. 10.) It was written in Hebrew, probably in the first century B.C., but is now extant only in Ethiopic and in fragments of an old Latin translation, both made from an intermediate Greek version. Brief mention may be made here of several similar works containing Haggadah of early Hebrew history.
a. "Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum," attributed to Philo. This was first published, with some other works of Philo, at Basel in 1527 (see Cohn, in "Jew. Quart. Rev." 1898, x. 277 et seq.; Schürer, "Gesch." 3d ed., iii. 541 et seq., additional literature). Extends from Adam to the death of Saul, with omissions and additions-genealogical, legendary, and rhetorical-speeches, prophecies, prayers, etc. The patriarchal age is despatched very briefly; the Exodus, on the contrary, and the stories of the Judges, are much expanded. The author deals more freely with the Biblical narrative than Jubilees, and departs from it much more widely. The work is preserved in a Latin translation made from Greek; but it is highly probable that the original language was Hebrew, and that it was written at a time not very remote from the common era. Considerable portions of it are incorporated-under the name of Philo-in the Hebrew book, of which Gaster has published a translation under the title "Chronicles of Jerahmeel" (see Gaster, l.c., Introduction, pp. xxx. et seq., and below, d).
b. Later works which may be compared with this of Philo are the , and the , on which see the respective articles.
c. To a different type of legendary history belongs the Hebrew Yosippon (q. v.).
d. The "Chronicles of Jerahmeel," translated by Gaster from a unique manuscript in the Bodleian (1899), are professedly compiled from various sources; they contain large portions excerpted from the Greek Bible, Philo (see above), and "Yosippon," as well as writings like the Pirḳe de R. Eliezer, etc.
e. Any complete study of this material must include also the cognate Hellenistic writings, such as the fragments of Eupolemus and Artapanus (see Freudenthal, "Hellenistische Studien") and the legends of the same kind in Josephus.
§ VI. Books of the Antediluvians.
The Book of Jubilees makes repeated mention of books containing the wisdom of the antediluvians (e.g., Enoch, iv. 17 et seq.; Noah, x. 12 et seq.) which were in the possession of Abraham and his descendants; also of books in which was preserved the family law of the Patriarchs (compare xli. 28) or their prophecies (xxxii. 24 et seq., xlv. 16). These are all in the literal sense "apocryphal," that is, esoteric, scriptures. A considerable number of writings of this sort have been preserved or are known to us from ancient lists and references; others contain entertaining or edifying embellishments of the Biblical narratives about these heroes. Those which are primarily prophetic or apocalyptic are enumerated elsewhere (x., xi.); the following are chiefly haggadic:
11. Life of Adam and Eve. This is essentially a Jewish work, preserved-in varying recensions-in Greek, Latin, Slavonic, and Armenian. It resembles the Testament literature (see below) in being chiefly occupied with the end of Adam's life and the burial of Adam and Eve. According to an introductory note in the manuscripts, the story was revealed to Moses, whence the inappropriate title "Apocalypse of Moses." On the apocryphal Adam books see Adam, Book of.
Other apocryphal books bearing the name of Adam are: The Book of Adam and Eve, or the Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan, extant in Arabic and Ethiopic; and The Testament of Adam, in Syriac and Arabic. Both these are Christian offshoots of the Adam romance. Apocalypses of Adam are mentioned by Epiphanius; the Gelasian Decree names a book on the Daughters of Adam, and one called the Penitence of Adam.
Seven Books of Seth are said by Epiphanius ("Adversus Hæreses," xxxix. 5; compare xxvi. 8; also Hippolytus, "Refutatio," v. 22; see also Josephus, "Ant." i. 2, § 3) to have been among the scriptures of the Gnostic sect of Sethians.On the apocryphal books of Enoch see Apocalypse, § V., and Enoch, Books of.
The Samaritan author, a fragment of whose writing has been preserved by Eusebius ("Præp. Ev." ix. 17) under the name of Eupolemus, speaks of revelations by angels to Methuselah, which had been preserved to his time. A Book of Lamech is named in one of our lists of Apocrypha.
Books of Noah are mentioned in Jubilees (x. 12, xxi. 10). Fragments of an Apocalypse of Noah are incorporated in different places in Enoch (which see). A book bearing the name of Noria, the wife of Noah, was current among certain Gnostics (Epiphanius, "Adv. Hæreses," xxvi. 1). Shem transmits the books of his father, Noah (Jubilees, x. 14); other writings are ascribed to him by late authors. Ham was the author of a prophecy cited by Isidore, the son of Basilides (Clemens Alexandrinus, "Stromata," vi. 6); according to others he was the inventor of magic (identified with Zoroaster; Clementine, "Recognitiones," iv. 27).
§ VII. Testaments.
A special class of apocryphal literature is made up of the so-called "Testaments" of prominent figures in Bible history. Suggested, doubtless, by such passages as the Blessing of Jacob (Gen. xlix.), the Blessing of Moses (Deut. xxxiii.), the parting speeches of Moses (Deut. iv., xxix. et seq.) and Joshua (Josh. xxiii., xxiv.), etc., the Testaments narrate the close of the hero's life, sometimes with a retrospect of his history, last counsels and admonitions to his children, and disclosures of the future. These elements are present in varying proportions, but the general type is well marked.
12. Testament of Abraham. Edited in Greek (two recensions) by M. R. James, "Texts and Studies," ii. 2; in Rumanian by Gaster, in "Proc. of Society of Biblical Archeology," 1887, ix. 195 et seq.; see also Kohler, in "Jew. Quart. Rev." 1895, vii. 581 et seq. (See Abraham, Testament of, called also Apocalypse of Abraham). Narrative of the end of Abraham's life; his refusal to follow Michael, who is sent to him; his long negotiations with the Angel of Death. At his request, Michael shows him, while still in the body, this world and all its doings, and conducts him to the gate of heaven. The book is thus mainly Haggadah, with a little apocalypse in the middle. The Slavonic Apocalypse of Abraham (ed. by Bonwetsch, "Studien zur Geschichte der Theologie und Kirche," 1897), translated from the Greek, gives the story of Abraham's conversion; the second part enlarges on the vision of Abraham in Gen. xv.
13. Testaments of Isaac and Jacob. Preserved in Arabic and Ethiopic. They are upon the same pattern as the Testament of Abraham; each includes an apocalypse in which the punishment of the wicked and the abode of the blessed are exhibited. The moral exhortation which properly belongs to the type is lacking in the Testament of Abraham, but is found in the other two.
14. Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. The parting admonitions of the twelve sons of Jacob to their children. Each warns against certain particular sins and commends the contrary virtues, illustrating and enforcing the moral by the example or experience of the speaker. Thus, Gad warns against hatred, Issachar shows the beauty of simple-mindedness, Joseph teaches the lesson of chastity. In some (e.g., in the Testament of Joseph) the legendary narrative of the patriarch's life fills a larger space, in others (e.g., Benjamin) direct ethical teaching predominates.
The eschatological element is also present in varying proportions-predictions of the falling away in the last days and the evils that will prevail; the judgment of God on the speaker's posterity for their sins (e.g., Levi, xiv. et seq.; Judah, xviii. 22 et seq.; Zebulun, ix.); and the succeeding Messianic age (Levi, xviii.; Judah, xxiv. et seq.; Simeon, vi.; Zebulun, ix. et seq.). A true apocalypse is found in the Test. of Levi, ii. et seq. (see Apocalypse). This eschatological element is professedly derived from a book written by Enoch (e.g., Levi, x., xiv., xvi.; Judah, viii.; Simeon, v., etc.). The work is substantially Jewish; the Christian interpolations, though numerous, are not very extensive, and in general are easily recognizable.
A Hebrew Testament of Naphtali has been published by Gaster ("Proceedings of Society of Biblical Archeology," December, 1893; February, 1894; see also "Chron. of Jerahmeel," pp. 87 et seq.), and is regarded by the editor and by Resch ("Studien und Kritiken," 1899, pp. 206 et seq.) as the original of which the Greek Testament is a Christian recension.
15. Testament of Job. When the end of his life is at hand, Job narrates to his children the history of his trials, beginning with the cause of Satan's animosity toward him. After parting admonitions (45), he divides his possessions among his sons, and gives to his three daughters girdles of wonderful properties(46 et seq.). The book is a Haggadah of the story of Job, exaggerating his wealth and power, his good works, and his calamities, through all of which he maintains unshaken his confidence in God. There are no long arguments, as in the poem; the friends do not appear as defenders of God's justice-the problem of theodicy is not mooted-they try Job with questions (see 36 et seq.). Elihu is inspired by Satan, and is not forgiven with the others. See Kohler, in "Semitic Studies in Memory of Alexander Kohut," pp. 264-338 and 611, 612, and James, in "Apocrypha Anecdota," ii. 104 et seq.).
16. Testament of Moses. The patristic lists of Apocrypha contain, in close proximity, the Testament of Moses and the Assumption of Moses. It is probable that the two were internally connected, and that the former has been preserved in our Assumption of Moses, the extant part of which is really a Testament-a prophetic-apocalyptic discourse of Moses to Joshua. See below, § x. 2.
17. Testament of Solomon. Last words of Solomon, closing with a confession of the sins of his old age under the influence of the Jebusite, Shulamite. It is in the main a magical book in narrative form, telling how Solomon got the magic seal; by it learned the names and powers of the demons and the names of the angels by whom they are constrained, and put them to his service in building the Temple; besides other wonderful things which he accomplished through his power over the demons. (See Fleck, "Wissenschaftliche Reise," ii. 3, 111 et seq.) A translation into English by Conybeare was given in "Jewish Quart. Rev." 1899, xi. 1-45.
The Gelasian Decree names also a "ContradictioSalomonis," which may have described his contest in wisdom with Hiram, a frequent theme of later writers.
A Testament of Hezekiah is cited by Cedrenus; but the passage quoted is found in the Ascension of Isaiah.
§ VIII. Relating to Joseph, Isaiah, and Baruch.
Other Apocrypha are the following:
18. Story of Aseneth. A romantic tale, narrating how Aseneth, the beautiful daughter of Potiphar, priest of On, became the wife of Joseph; how the king's son, who had desired her for himself, tried to destroy Joseph, and how he was foiled. The romance exists in various languages and recensions. The Greek text was published by Batiffol, Paris, 1889.
A Prayer of Joseph is named in the anonymous list of Apocrypha, and is quoted by Origen and Procopius. In these fragments Jacob is the speaker.
19. Ascension of Isaiah, or Vision of Isaiah. Origen speaks of a Jewish apocryphal work describing the death of Isaiah. Such a martyrium is preserved in the Ethiopic Ascension of Isaiah, the first part of which tells how Manasseh, at the instigation of a Samaritan, had Isaiah sawn asunder. The second part, the Ascension of Isaiah to heaven in the 20th year of Hezekiah, and what he saw and heard there, is Christian, though perhaps based on a Jewish vision. Extensive Christian interpolations occur in the first part also. A fragment of the Greek text is reproduced in Grenfell and Hunt, "The Amherst Papyri," London, 1900.
20. The Rest of the Words of Baruch, or Paralipomena of Jeremiah. (Ceriani, "Monumenta," v. 1, 9 et seq.; J. Rendel Harris, "Rest of the Words of Baruch," 1889; Dillmann, "Chrestomathia Æthiopica," pp. 1 et seq.; Greek and Ethiopic.) Narrates what befell Baruch and Abimelech (Ebed-melech) at the fall of Jerusalem. Sixty-six years after, they sent a letter by an eagle to Jeremiah in Babylon. He leads a company of Jews back from Babylonia; only those who are willing to put away their Babylonian wives are allowed to cross the Jordan; the others eventually become the founders of Samaria. Jeremiah is spirited away. After three days, returning to the body, he prophesies the coming of Christ and is stoned to death by his countrymen.
§ IX. Lost Books.
Other haggadic works named in the Gelasian Decree are: the Book of Og, the Giant, "whom the heretics pretend to have fought with a dragon after the flood"; perhaps the same as the Manichean Γιγάτειος βίβλος. (Photius, "Cod." 85), or τῶν Γιγάντων; The Penitence of Jannes and Jambres. (See Iselin, in "Zeitschrift für Wissensch. Theologie," 1894, pp. 321 et seq.) Both of these may well have been ultimately of Jewish origin.
§ X. Prophetical Apocrypha.
1. Baruch. Purporting to be written by Baruch, son of Neriah, the disciple of Jeremiah, after the deportation to Babylon. The book is not original, drawing its motives chiefly from Jeremiah and Isaiah xl. et seq.; affinity to the Wisdom literature is also marked in some passages, especially in ch. iii. The Epistle of Jeremiah to the captives in Babylon, which is appended to Baruch, and counts as the sixth chapter of that book, is a keen satire on idolatry.
2. Assumption of Moses. See above, Testament of Moses (§ VII. 16). What now remains of this work, in an old Latin version, is prophetic in character, consisting of predictions delivered by Moses to Joshua when he had installed him as his successor. Moses foretells in brief outline the history of the people to the end of the kingdom of Judah; then, more fully, the succeeding times down to the successors of Herod the Great, and the Messianic age which ensues. It is probable that the lost sequel contained the Assumption of Moses, in which occurred the conflict-referred to in Jude 9-between Michael and Satan for the possession of Moses' body.
3. Eldad and Medad. Under this name an apocryphal book is mentioned in our lists, and quoted twice in the "Shepherd of Hermas" (ii. 34). It contained the prophecy of the two elders named in Num. xi. 26. § XI. Apocalypses.
Most of the prophetical Apocrypha are apocalyptic in form. To this class belong: Enoch, The Secrets of Enoch, IV Esd., the Apocalypses of Baruch (Greek and Syriac), Apocalypse of Zephaniah, Apocalypse of Elijah, and others (see Apocalypse, and the special articles). Apocalyptic elements have been noted above in the Assumption of Moses, the Ascension of Isaiah, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and others.
§ XII. Lyrical Apocrypha.
1. Psalm cli., in the Greek Bible; attributed to David, "when he had fought in single combat with Goliath."
2. Psalms of Solomon. Eighteen in number; included in some manuscripts of the Greek Bible, but noted in the catalogues as disputed or apocryphal. Though ascribed to Solomon in the titles, there is no internal evidence that the author, or authors, designed them to be so attributed. They were written in Hebrew-though preserved only in Greek-in Palestine about the middle of the first century B.C., and give most important testimony to the inner character of the religious belief of the time and to the vitality of the Messianic hope, as well as to the strength of party or sectarian animosity. The five Odes of Solomon in "Pistis Sophia" are of Christian (Gnostic) origin.
3. Five apocryphal psalms in Syriac, edited by Wright ("Proceedings of Society of Biblical Archeology," 1887, ix. 257-266). The first is Ps. cli. (supra, § 1); it is followed by (2) a prayer of Hezekiah; (3) a prayer when the people obtain leave from Cyrus to return; and (4, 5) a prayer of David during his conflict with the lion and the wolf, and thanksgiving after his victory. § XIII. Didactic Apocrypha.
1. The Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach (in the Latin Bible entitled Ecclesiasticus). Proverbs and aphorisms for men's guidance in various stations and circumstances; a counterpart to the Proverbs of Solomon. The author was a native of Jerusalem, and wrote in Hebrew; his work was translated into Greek by his grandson soon after 132 B.C. The Syriac translation was also made from the Hebrew, and recently considerable parts of the Hebrew text itself have been recovered. The book is included in the Christian Bible-Greek, Latin, Syriac, etc.-but was excluded from the Jewish Canon (Tosef., Yad. ii. 13 et seq.). Many quotations in Jewish literature prove, however, its continued popularity.
2. Wisdom of Solomon, Σοφία Σολομῶνος. Written in Greek, probably in Alexandria; a representative ofHellenistic "Wisdom." Solomon, addressing the rulers of the earth, exhorts them to seek wisdom, and warns them of the wickedness and folly of idolatry. Noteworthy is the warm defense of the immortality of the soul, in which the influence of Greek philosophical ideas is manifest, as, indeed, it is throughout the book.
3. Fourth Maccabees. The title is a misnomer; and the attribution of the work to Flavius Josephus is equally erroneous. The true title is Περὶ αὐτοκράτορος λογισμοῦ, "On the Autonomy of Reason." It is an anonymous discourse on the supremacy of religious intelligence over the feelings. This supremacy is proved, among other things, by examples of constancy in persecution, especially by the fortitude of Eleazar and the seven brothers (II Macc. vi. 18, vii. 41). The work was written in Greek; it is found in some manuscripts of the Septuagint, but is not canonical.
§ XIV. Apocrypha in the Talmud.
There are no Jewish catalogues of Apocrypha corresponding to the Christian lists cited above; but we know that the canonicity of certain writings was disputed in the first and second centuries, and that others were expressly and authoritatively declared not to be sacred scripture, while some are more vehemently interdicted-to read them is to incur perdition. The controversies about Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon will be discussed in the article Canon, where also the proposed "withdrawal" of Proverbs, Ezekiel, and some other books will be considered. Here it is sufficient to say that the school of Shammai favored excluding Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon from the list of inspired scriptures, but the final decision included them in the canon.
Sirach, on the other hand, was excluded, apparently as a recent work by a known author; and a general rule was added that no books more modern than Sirach were sacred scripture.
The same decision excluded the Gospels and other heretical (Christian) scriptures (Tosef., Yad. ii. 13). These books, therefore, stand in the relation of Apocrypha to the Jewish canon. In Mishnah Sanh. x. 1, R. Akiba adds to the catalogue of those Israelites who have no part in the world to come, "the man who reads in the extraneous books" (), that is, books outside the canon of holy scripture, just as ἔξω, extra, are used by Christian writers (Zahn, "Gesch. des Neutestamentlichen Kanons," i. 1, 126 et seq.). Among these are included the "books of the heretics" (), i.e., as in Tosef., Yad. quoted above, the Christians (Bab. Sanh. 100b). Sirach is also named in both Talmuds, but the text in the Jerusalem Talmud (Sanh. 28a) is obviously corrupt.
Further, the writings of Ben La'anah () fall under the same condemnation (Yer. Sanh. l.c.); the Midrash on Ecclesiastes xii. 12 (Eccl. R.) couples the writings of Ben Tigla () with those of Sirach, as bringing mischief into the house of him who owns them. What these books were is much disputed (see the respective articles). Another title which has given rise to much discussion is or (sifre ha-meram or ha-merom), early and often emended by conjecture to (Homeros; so Hai Gaon, and others). See Homer in Talmud. The books of "Be Abidan," about which there is a question in Shab. 116a, are also obscure.
Crawford Howell Toy George F. Moore
Jewish Encyclopedia, published between 1901-1906.
Texts: The Apocrypha (in the Protestant sense) are found in editions of the Greek Bible; see especially Swete, The Old Testament in Greek, 2d ed.; separately, Fritzsche, Libri Apocryphi Veteris Testamenti Grœci, 1871. Of the Pseudepigrapha no comprehensive corpus exists; some of the books are included in the editions of Swete and Fritzsche, above;
and in Hilgenfeld, Messias Judœorum, 1869. See also Fabricius, Codex Pseudepigraphus Veteris Testamenti, 2 vols., 2d ed., Hamburg, 1722, 1723, which is not replaced by any more recent work. For editions (and translations) of most of these writings the literature of the respective articles must be consulted. Translations: The Authorized Version may best be used in the edition of C. J. Ball, Variorum Apocrypha, which contains a useful apparatus of various readings and renderings;
the Revised Version, Apocrypha, 1895; Churton, Uncanonical and Apocryphal Scriptures, 1884; a revised translation is given also in Bissell's Commentary (see below). Of the highest value is the German translation, with introductions and notes, in Kautzsch, Die Apokryphen und Pseudepigraphen des Alten Testaments, 2 vols., 1899. Commentaries: Fritzsche and Grimm, Kurzgefasstes Exegetisches Handbuch zu den Apokryphen des Alten Bundes, 6 vols., 1851-60; Wace (and others), Apocrypha, 2 vols., 1888 (Speaker's Bible); Bissell, The Apocrypha of the Old Testament, 1890 (Lange series). The most important recent work on this whole literature is Schürer's Geschichte des Jüdischen Volkes, 3d ed., vol. iii. (Eng. tr. of 2d ed.: Jew. People in the Time of Jesus Christ), where also very full references to the literature will be found.T. G. F. M.
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