).âPseudo-Epistle to the Laodiceans. The Apocrypha includes, but is not limited to, works such as Sirach (Ben Sira), Maccabees, Judith, the book of Enoch, Jubilees, the story of Susanna, and Baruch. The whole is a legendary tissue. In general their details are scientifically worthless, unless confirmed by independent authorities, which rarely happens. (See Laodicea.) An apocalyptic element existing in the prophets, in Zacharias (iâvi), in Tobias (Tobias, xiii), can be traced back to the visions of Ezechiel which form the prototype of apocalyptic; all this had its influence upon the new literature. 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. Pseudographic composition was in vogue among the Jews in the two centuries before Christ and for some time later. It is problematic, however, whether this is to be identified with our recast Transitus or not. The prototype was evidently expurgated by a Catholic hand, who, however, did not succeed in eradicating all traces of its original taint. (See Canon of the Old Testament.) A considerable Latin fragment has also been recovered. 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. Origen and Eusebius expressly name the prakeis Paulou; Tertullian speaks of writings falsely attributed to Paul: “Quod si Pauli perperam inscripta legunt.” He is cautioning his readers against the tale of Thecla preaching and baptizing herself. It describes the Blessed Mother’s descent to Limbo, and exists in Greek MSS. We will merely note the existence of a spurious Letter of St. John, the Apostle, to a dropsical man, healing his disease, in the Acts of St. John by the pseudo-Prochorus; one of St. James, the Bishop of Jerusalem, to Quadratus, in Armenian (Vetter, Litterarische Rundschau, 1896). The word apocrypha, like many other words, has undergone a major change in meaning throughout the centuries. The relation between the Gospel according to the Hebrews and our canonical Matthew Gospel is a matter of controversy. Coptic and Armenian Acts and Martyrdom of St. James the Less depend mostly on the Hegesippus tradition, preserved by Eusebius (Hist. They are of value in indicating the veneration paid to Mary at a very early age. The victory is awarded to Zorobabel (Zerubbabel), who defends Truth as the strongest force, and the audience shouts: “Great is Truth and powerful above all things!” (Magna est veritas et prtsvalebit.) It it found in the Abdias collection. in Matth. It pretends to have derived the history of the Apostle’s career from a Hebrew MS. (See Saint Matthias, Apostle.). What is their origin? 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. Lipsius opines that the work as we have it is a Catholic retouching of a Gnostic compilation. It may be read in English in Walker’s and the Ante-Nicene Fathers’ collection of the apocrypha. The apocalypse is composed of seven visions. He must have been either a Zealot, that is an ultra-Nationalist and Messianist, or a fervid Essene. For a long time a Latin fragment, chapters lxxviii-lxxxvii, of this pseudograph had been known. Some of the details throw interesting light on various obscure allusions in Holy Writ, such as the superimposed heavens, the presence of evil powers “in heavenly places”, Ezechiel‘s strange creatures full of eyes. The Johannine Acts of the Pseudo-Prochorus (compare the canonical Acts, vi, 5) are a Catholic working-over of Gnostic material.âActs of St. Andrew. Recent researches have revealed elements of truth in the historical setting of the narrative. 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 heretical character imputed to these by certain Fathers is fully confirmed by extant fragments, which show a gross Docetism, and an unbridled phantasy. The work, therefore, has been ascribed to the second century. i-xxxvi, lxxi-civ. Criticism recognizes, scattered here and there, interpolations from a lost apocalypse, the Book of Noe. The pseudograph was probably suggested by the text, II Peter, I, 5. 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. There are also Armenian and Latin translations. The Apocrypha & Luther via Catholic Answers Here is my recent brief discussion on Luther and the apocrypha from the Catholic Answers forum: I know why Martin Luther removed the book of Macabees because of its support for praying for the dead, but Im trying to find something that explains the reasons he took out the other 6 books in the OT. Between this and the body of the work there is a very loose connection, as the main portion represents Christ as enacting, even to small details, laws for the governance and ritual of the Church. In addition, for more on the apocryphal books, see this article from The Catholic Encyclopedia. Arabic Gospel of the Infancy. The apocryphon exists in Greek, Ethiopic, and Slavonic MSS. the inhabitants of Messina, Sicily, is equally brief; it conveys an exhortation to faith, and a blessing. The complete text was thought to have perished when it was discovered in two Ethiopic MSS. Notable is the story of the painting of Jesus made at the instance of Abgar’s envoy to the former. It begins with a pretended flight of St. Paul from Antioch of Pisidia, and ends with his martyrdom at Rome. The idols of Egypt are shattered when the Divine Child enters the land. Naturally, Catholics refuse to admit such a denomination, and we employ "deuterocanonical" to designate this literature, which non-Catholics conventionally and improperly know as the "Apocrypha". (See Agrapha.). C. Schmidt thinks he has found traces of what is perhaps a second Gospel of Peter in some ancient papyri (Schmidt, Sitzungsberichte der koniglichen preuss. It must suffice to mention “Acts of St. Mark”, of Alexandrian origin, and written in the fourth or fifth century; “Acts of St. Luke”, Coptic, not earlier than end of fourth; “Acts of St. Timothy”, composed by an Ephesian after 425; “Acts of St. Titus”, of Cretan origin, between 400-700; “Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena”, connected with the legends about St. Paul and St. Andrew. The Roman Catholic Church did not officially canonize the Apocrypha until the Council of Trent (1546 AD). It exhorts to faith and courage. Frequently they give but a tantalizing glimpse of some episode on which we would fain be more fully informed. It relates the circumstances of Abraham‘s conversions and the visions thereupon accorded him. “The Book of the Secrets of Henoch” contains passages which satisfy allusions of Origen to which there is nothing corresponding in the Ethiopic Henoch. St. Peter is buried at “The place called the Vatican“, and Paul on the Ostian Way. There exists a puerile correspondence consisting of a pretended Letter of Herod to Pilate and Letter of Pilate to Herod. Origen, “De Principiis”, III, ii, 1, names the Assumption of Mosesâ’Analepsis Mouseosâas the book cited by the Epistle of Jude, 9, where there is an allusion to a dispute between Michael and Satan over the body of Moses. It speaks in the person of Baruch, the secretary of Jeremias. Ancient literature, especially in the Orient, used methods much more free and elastic than those permitted by our modern and Occidental culture. It is based on the canonical Gospels which it expands with legendary and imaginative elements, which are sometimes puerile or fantastic. The author did not pose seriously as an evangelist, since he explicitly quotes from the fourth canonical Gospel. The work exists in Greek and a later Latin. 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 personage serving as the screen of the real author of this book is Esdras (Ezra), the priest-scribe and leader among the Israelites who returned from Babylonia to Jerusalem. What the Protestant churches call apocrypha, the Catholic Church calls the deuterocanonicals (or "second canon"), but it considers three books held as canon by the Eastern Orthodox churches as apocrypha. 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. The so-called Apocrypha in Protestant bibles are those books not written in Hebrew in our extant manuscripts. The Greek has the superscription: “The Account of St. John the Theologian of the Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God“. This apocryphon abounds in absurdities and psychological impossibilities, and is a very weak piece of fiction written in Greek by an Alexandrian Jew, and probably designed to encourage its countrymen in the midst of persecutions. Its body contains an account of the fall of the angelic “Watchers”, their punishment, and the patriarch’s intervention in their history. The most important and valuable of the extant Jewish apocrypha are those which have a large apocalyptic element; that is, which profess to contain visions and revelations of the unseen world and the Messianic future. Free will and the resurrection are taught. Only Protestant Bibles place the deuterocanonical books (the correct Catholic term for these seven books) in a segregated middle section which they call the âApocryphaâ â though, as you say, they commonly omit these books altogether. 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