The motive of the book is the problem lying heavily upon Jewish patriots after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. It is a tasteless and bombastic effort, and seems to date from about the fourth century. Apocalypse of the Testamentum D. N. Jesu Christi. But in the extant Thomas Gospel there is no formal or manifest Gnosticism. The originally Gnostic apocryphal Acts were gathered into collections which bore the name of the periodoi (Circuits) or prakeis (Acts) of the Apostles, and to which was attached the name of a Leucius Charinus, who may have formed the compilation. The influence of Daniel is easily traceable here, but the figure of the Messias is sketched much more fully, and the idea developed to a degree unparalleled in pre-Christian literature. The probabilities favor the hypothesis that the Baruch apocryphon is an imitation of that of Esdras and therefore later. It is probable that the eudographic letter was forged as an offset to these. It is natural to attempt to trace a resemblance between this pseudograph and certain references of ecclesiastical writers to Acta or Gesta of Pilate. He belonged neither to the Pharisees of the type of Christ’s epoch, nor to the Sadducees, since he excoriates both alike. ).—Pseudo-Epistle to the Laodiceans. The Syriac is a translation from the Greek; the original was written in Hebrew. The Greek text recounts the marvels by which the Apostle overthrew idolatry and converted a king and his subjects in “India“. Another MS., bearing the name “Actus Petri cum Simone”, contains a superior translation with several passages from the original narrative preceding the Martyrdom. It professes to give a prophetic vision of the events of the world-weeks, centring about Israel. (See Thecla. This is a collection of eighteen psalms composed in Hebrew, and, as is commonly agreed, by a Pharisee of Palestine, about the time of Pompey’s capture of Jerusalem, 63 B.C. Apocrypha is a relative term. The aim of the Hellenistic Jewish author was to inculcate devotion to the Law. It is full of legendary but interesting material describing the relations between Jesus and King Abgar of Edessa. We have no other testimony of it. The Messianism of Fourth Esdras suffers from the discouragement of the era and is influenced by the changed conditions produced by the advent of Christianity. But critics unanimously refuse to accord a high antiquity to the Testament, dating it in the fourth or fifth century, and inverting the dependence mentioned. A quotation of Clement of Alexandria from the recovered parts enables us to identify the MS. with certainty as a portion of the apocalypse of antiquity. Yet, withal, no apocryphal work found official recognition in the Western Church. These are on one side c. 300 B.C., the latest time assigned to Paralipomenon-Esdras-Nehernias, and on the other, c. A.D. 100, the era of Josephus, who employed Third Esdras. We are warranted in saying that while this extracanonical material probably has as its starting point primitive tradition, it has been disfigured in the interests of a Judaizing Church. It speaks in the person of Baruch, the secretary of Jeremias. The relief into which abstention fron the marriage bed is brought in these Acts makes it difficult to escape from the conclusion that they have been colored by Encratite ideas. The Elect One, or Son of Man, existed before the sun and stars were created, and is to execute justice upon all sinners who oppress the good. The apocalyptic opening has been found in a Latin MS. of the eighth century, and published by M. R. James, “Apocrypha Anecdota” (Cambridge, 1893). 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 MSS. His guide in the celestial realms is Jael, an angel distinct from God, but possessing divine powers in certain regards. In other cases, where the assumed name did not stand as a symbol of a type of a certain kind of literature, the intention was not without a degree of at least objective literary dishonesty. The date of composition is not ascertainable except within very wide limits. Much additional light has been thrown on this document by the discovery of a long fragment of it at Akhmin in Upper Egypt, in the winter of 1886-87, by the French Archmological Mission. The Apocalypse of Abraham has recently been translated from Slavonic into German. Pseudo-Epistles of the Blessed Virgin. Both Greek and Latin Fathers cite it as prophetical, while some, as Ambrose, were ardent admirers of it. The motive of these nonheretical apocrypha was primarily to gratify the pious curiosity of the faithful regarding the Apostolic founders of the Church; sometimes local interests instigated their composition. It presents a bewildering mass of revelations concerning the movements of the heavenly bodies, given to Henoch by the angel Uriel. St. Jerome testifies that the original was in Hebrew. At His word the palm trees bow their heads that the Holy Family may pluck their fruit. This was in part because the Apocrypha contained material which supported certain Catholic doctrines, such as purgatory, praying for the dead, and the treasury of merit. Besides the original Greek text, which has not survived, the book has appeared in Latin, Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopic, and Arabic versions. At a very early period orthodox writers and, presumably, ecclesiastical authorities found it necessary to distinguish between the genuine inspired books and a multitude of spurious rivals—a fact which is a very important element in the formation of the Christian canon. 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. Yet it must be confessed that the early Fathers, and the Church, during the first three centuries, were more indulgent towards Jewish pseudographs circulating under venerable Old Testament names. Of these 1-7 are a farrago of various legends, each, it would seem, with an independent history; 8-14 is a unit, which forms a parasitic growth on the ancient but somewhat confused traditions of the missionary activity of an Apostle Philip in Hierapolis of Phrygia. Such is the age of fourteen in which Mary was betrothed to Joseph. Pseudo-Correspondence of St. Paul and Seneca. Gospel According to the Egyptians.—It is by this title that Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Hippolytus, and Epiphanius describe an uncanonical work, which evidently was circulated in Egypt. The early detachment of these as well as the Martyrdom from the Acts of St. Paul may be accounted for by ecclesiastical use as festal lections. Both are tainted with Nestorianism, and seem to have come from a single Bartholomew legend. The Christian apocryphal writings in general imitate the books of the New Testament and therefore, with a few exceptions, fall under the description of Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses. The original text, iii-xiv, is of one piece and the work of a single author. Notable is the story of the painting of Jesus made at the instance of Abgar’s envoy to the former. This correspondence long had an independent circulation, but recently it has been proved that the document was incorporated into the Acts of Saint Paul (q.v. The pleasing story is repeated with variations in later sources. However there are miracles, said to have occurred in Egypt, not found related in any other Gospel, spurious or genuine, among them the healings of leprosy through the water in which Jesus had been washed, and the cures effected through the garments He had worn. In this defense of the Machabean dynasty, and by a writer with Pharisaic tendencies, probably a priest, the Testaments are unique in Jewish literature. The author was a Pharisee, but one who, while adopting a distinctly Jewish view, was probably acquainted with the Christian Scriptures and freely laid them under contribution. The apocryphon is attributed by critics to the first quarter of the second century, and is therefore one of the earliest specimens of noncanonical literature. 28). Later, Third Machabees was admitted into the canon of the Greek Church, but seems never to have been known to the Latins. With respect to sacred Scripture, the Apocrypha are those religious books written in the Old and New Testaments eras that claimed a sacred origin but were ultimately judged by the Catholic Church as not inspired by the Holy Spirit. However, the kernel of the narrative is drawn from older sources. For a long time a Latin fragment, chapters lxxviii-lxxxvii, of this pseudograph had been known. There exists a puerile correspondence consisting of a pretended Letter of Herod to Pilate and Letter of Pilate to Herod. What are these additional writings? This favor Is to be explained mainly by the romantic and spirited flavor of the narrative. 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. 1 It is not uncommon to read an apologetic against the Deuterocanon that … The prototype was evidently expurgated by a Catholic hand, who, however, did not succeed in eradicating all traces of its original taint. The surviving fragments prove that there were close literal resemblances. A patriarchal origin is ascribed to the great Jewish feasts. Ancient literature, especially in the Orient, used methods much more free and elastic than those permitted by our modern and Occidental culture. The surviving specimens lack the simplicity and dignity of the inspired writings; some even savor of the grotesque. The Psalms of Solomon are of value in illustrating the religious views and attitudes of the Pharisees in the age of Our Lord. A narrative of the flight into Egypt is adorned with poetic wonders. The Jewish-Christian Church, which early developed un-Catholic tendencies in the form of Ebionitism, seems first to have produced apocryphal histories of the Apostles, though of these we have very few remains outside the material in the voluminous Pseudo-Clement. He must have been either a Zealot, that is an ultra-Nationalist and Messianist, or a fervid Essene. ), The Acts and Martyrdom of St. Matthew are in literary dependence on the Acts of St. Andrew (q.v., supra), and hence the reading “Matthew” may be an error for “Matthias”, since evidently the companion of Peter and Andrew is intended. In the apocryphal Acts of Peter and Paul there is embodied a letter purporting to have been sent by Pontius Pilate to the Emperor Claudius. Expert opinion is not united on the date of the composite older portion, i.e. It presupposes the latter work, and could not have been composed before the middle of the fifth century. And yet there need be no hesitation in relegating the Fourth Book of Esdras to the ranks of the apocrypha. They are extant in the original Greek and in a Latin version. In addition, for more on the apocryphal books, see this article from The Catholic Encyclopedia. But a clue to it may be recognized in the so-called Fourth Book of Esdras, which relates that Esdras (Ezra) by divine inspiration composed ninety-four books. One of the Latin versions is prefaced by a spurious letter of Melito, Bishop of Sardis, explaining that the object of the work was to counteract a heretical composition of the same title and subject. In the following outline of contents, Charles’s analysis, which is supported by cogent reasons, has been adopted. Arabic Gospel of the Infancy. However, there are grains of historical material in the Thecla story. It is four lines in length.—Pseudo-Epistles of St. Paul. The fragment narrates part of the Passion, the Burial, and Resurrection. A wider view of world-politics and a comprehensive cosmological speculation are among the distinctive traits of Jewish apocalyptic. From this Pauline apocalypse must be distinguished a Gnostic work entitled the “Ascension of Paul”, referred to by St. Epiphanius, but of which no remains have survived. The prophet then sees the glorified Beloved reascending. Deuteronomy and the Apocrypha | Catholic Answers The book of Deuteronomy is one of the five first books of the Old Testament and part of what is sometimes called the ‘Hebrew canon” of Scripture. (See Saint Matthew, Apostle. Justin, Tertullian, and Origen seem to have been acquainted with the Martyrdom; Sts. They abound in extravagant and highly colored marvels, and were interspersed by long pretended discourses of the Apostles which served as vehicles for the Gnostic predications. Baumstark assigns it to the fifth century. All agree that it was employed by heretical sects—for the most part Gnostics. The Apocrypha continued in common use among Christians until the Reformation, when the Hebrew canon was chosen as the Protestant Old Testament. However, the name Apocrypha soon came to have an unfavorable signification which it still retains, comporting both want of genuineness and canonicity. But even when it is transcendent and mystic it is intensely, almost fanatically, national, and surrounded by fanciful and often extravagant accessories. Sometimes the Messianic realm is placed upon the transfigured earth, centering in a new Jerusalem; in other works it is lifted into the Heavens; in some books the Messias is wanting or is apparently merely human, while the Parables of Henoch with their preexistent Messias mark the highest point of development of the Messianic concept to be found in the whole range of Hebrew literature. This is an extensive pseudograph, consisting of (1) narrations in which each of the twelve sons of Jacob relates his life, embellished by Midrashic expansions of the Biblical data; (2) exhortations by each patriarch to the practice of virtues, or the shunning of vices illustrated in his life; (3) apocalyptic portions concerning the future of the twelve tribes, and the Messianic times. The newly-discovered document contains material hitherto unknown as well as the above-noted sections, long extant. It could scarcely have been composed later than the middle of the second century and it is not at all impossible that it retouched some primitive material not represented in the canonical Gospels. The Book of Daniel is the one book of the Old Testament to which the noninspired apocalypses bear the closest affinity, and it evidently furnished ideas to several of the latter. It was the translation commissioned for use by the Church of England. The fragments which remain betray no signs of heterodox origin. of the Psalms. Third Esdras enjoyed exceptional favor in the early ages of the Church, being quoted as Scripture with implicit faith by the leading Greek and Latin Fathers (See Cornely, Introductio Generalis, I, 201). The origin of evil is explained by man’s free will. The second part of the book exhibits the sufferings of Eleazar and the seven Machabean brothers as examples of the dominion of pious reason. The rest is by Christian hands or perhaps a single writer, who united his apocalypse with the Martyrdom. The Church and the Fathers were hostile even towards the narratives of orthodox authorship. Baruch announces the doom of the city and temple of Jerusalem of the Babylonian epoch. For this end there will be a resurrection of all Israel and a judgment in which the Son of Man will render to everyone according to his deeds. The same is true of MSS. In 1876 an ancient Syriac document, entitled “The Teaching of Addai, the Apostle”, was published for the first time. I … It spoke in St. Peter’s name and represented him above all as a teacher of the Gentiles. Testamentum Domini Nostri Jesu. Scholars favor the first quarter of the second century. But after my taking up I shall send thee one of My disciples, who will heal thy pains, and keep life for thee and thine.” 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. in Matth. The use of the singular, “Apocryphon”, is both legitimate and convenient, when referring to a single work. "Apocrypha" is a Protestant term for the deuterocanonical books. Solid evidence that the "Apocrypha" is actually canonized scripture - addressing Protestants and Evangelicals on the deuterocanonical books. The Abdias Passio places St. Matthew’s martyrdom in Abyssinia. It is said that there are many such references. These pseudographs may be as old as the fifth century. The relation is appended to some Latin texts of the Acta Pilati, under the title “Historia Josephi”. It was composed by a Catholic presbyter about 160-170, and is a disguised attack on some of the leading errors of Gnosticism. But in their effort to adjust this future to the history that lay within their ken the apocalyptic writers unfolded also a philosophy of the origin and progress of mundane things. View all posts by Jimmy Akin Pseudo-Peter is intermediate in character between the genuine Evangels and the purely legendary apocrypha. This holds good for the so-called “Wisdom of Solomon“, written in Greek and belonging to the Church‘s sacred canon. 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. Nevertheless, all through the Middle Ages it maintained an intermediate position between canonical and merely human compositions, and even after the Council of Trent, together with Third Esdras, was placed in the appendix to the official edition of the Vulgate. It is evident that neither of Herod‘s sons, Philip and Antipas, had yet reigned thirty-four years, since the writer, hazarding a prediction that proved false, says that the sons should enjoy shorter reigns than their father. which remain. There are evident points of contact between the Testament and the ancient ecclesiastico-liturgical Canones Hippolyti, Apostolic Constitutions, and Apostolic Canons. of the Septuagint contain at the end of the canonical Psalter a short psalm (cli), which, however, is “outside the number”, i.e. It describes the triumph of St. Peter over Simon Magus at Rome, and the Apostle’s subsequent crucifixion. We must suppose that it was subsequent to the above Scriptures, since it was evidently composed in Greek and by an Alexandrian Jew. Both Catholics and Gnostics were concerned in writing these fictions. It was known to Origen under the name of the “Book of James”. ; xxxvii—lxx, lxxxiii-xc, written between 166-161 B.C. The KJV was never a Catholic Bible. The Book of Henoch and the Assumption of Moses had been cited by the canonical Epistle of Jude. NAME AND NOTION., Etymologically, the derivation of Apocrypha is very simple, being from the Greek apokruphos, hidden, and corresponding to the neuter plural of the adjective. Epiphanius, Jerome, and others quote a work under the title “The Jubilees” or “The Little Genesis“. The Martyrdom is a Jewish work, saving some rather large interpolations. 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. The body of the work is undoubtedly Judaic, but there are many interpolations of an unmistakabl… Their case is usually presented as follows: A Gospel of Thomas was known to many Fathers. The spirit of these psalms is one of great moral earnestness and righteousness, but it is the righteousness of the Pharisees, consisting in the observance of the legal traditions and ceremonial Law. In retribution that city is swallowed up by the sea. It is true, all the extant specimens of the apocryphal Gospels take the inspired evangelical documents as their starting point. The Elect, or Messias, will gather the dispersed tribes, but God alone will punish the enemies of Israel. From this catalog it is evident that in the Latin Church by this time, apocrypha in general, including those of Catholic origin, had fallen under the ecclesiastical ban, always, however, with a preoccupation against the danger of heterodoxy. No Apostolic apocryphon has reached us in a completeness equal to that of the Thomas Acts. The motive which first prompted the fabrication of spurious Acts of the Apostles was, in general, to give Apostolic support to heretical systems, especially those of the many sects which are comprised under the term Gnosticism. A work which was so well accredited in the days of Clement of Alexandria (c. 140-215), and which was known to the Gnostic Heracleon (c. 160-170), must have come from almost Apostolic antiquity. I asked a pastor via e-mail about this question and … ), Bartholomew, Simon, and Jude. Hitherto it was supposed that he referred to the “Acts of Paul and Thecla”. The Acts of St. Thomas are mentioned by Epiphanius and Augustine as in use in different heretical circles. After that we hear no more of it until it was found in an Ethiopic MS. in the last century. Catholic and many Orthodox Bibles have 7 more books in their Old Testaments than most modern Protestant translations of the Bible. Eastern Orthodox Old Testament "Apocrypha" In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the Old Testament Apocrypha comprises books such as the Assumption of Moses, Ascension of Isaiah, Apocalypse of Elijah, Book of Enoch, and the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs. This Gospel seems to have been read as canonical in some non-Palestinian churches; the Fathers who are acquainted with it refer to it with a certain amount of respect. The so-called Epistle of Barnabas twice cites Henoch as Scripture. This find has established the fact that the long-known Acts of Paul and Thecla and the apocryphal correspondence of St. Paul with the Corinthian Church, as well as the Martyrdom of St. Paul, are really only excerpts from the original Pauline Acts. They are found in Greek, Syriac, and Ethiopic recensions. St. Cyril of Jerusalem says it was employed by the Manichans; Eusebius rejects it as heretical and spurious. The original and proper sense of the term apocryphal as applied to the pretended sacred books was early obscured. 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. Peter and Paul. This apocalypse has with solid reasons been assigned to the early years after Herod‘s death, between 4 B.C. The preaching of the Apostles converts multitudes and even the Empress. Such known works as the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Didache, or Teaching, of the Twelve Apostles, and the Apostolic Canons and Constitutions, though formally apocryphal, really belong to patristic literature, and are considered independently. The attribution of a great name of the distant past to a book by its real author, who thus effaced his own personality, was, in some cases at least, a mere literary fiction which deceived no one except the ignorant. The date cannot be determined. The term Christian here is used in a comprehensive sense and embraces works produced both by Catholics and heretics; the latter are chiefly members of the various branches or schools of Gnosticism, which flourished in the second and third centuries. There is a very systematic chronology according to the years, weeks of years, and jubilees. It has been recognized that the historical setting of these Acts agrees remarkably with what is known of the conditions in the Parthian empire in the first century after Christ.—The Acts of St. Barnabas appear to have been composed toward the end of the fifth century by a Cypriot. The dragons, lions, and other wild beasts of the desert adore the infant Jesus. In the first, lxxxiii-lxxxiv, is portrayed the dreadful visitation of the flood, about to fall upon the earth. A Gospel of Matthias is mentioned by Origen and Eusebius among the heretical literature along with the Peter and Thomas Gospels. Aramaic and Syriac fragments are preserved. The New Oxford Annotated Apocrypha, third edition, New Revised Standard Version, Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 4, for a list of the Apocrypha. The relation of the Transitus to the tradition of Mary’s Assumption has not yet been adequately examined. 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