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The work betrays certain tokens of Gnosticism, although it has been purged of its grossest features by a Catholic reviser. Messianism of course plays an important part in apocalyptic eschatology and the idea of the Messias in certain books received a very high development. ), 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. 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). The MS. breaks off abruptly at chapter xii, and the portion cited by Jude must have belonged to the lost conclusion. The various elements are taken up in their chronological sequence.—Book I, chapters ixxxvi. The book purports to be a series of predictions delivered in written form to the safekeeping of Josue (Joshua) by Moses when the latter, in view of his approaching death, appointed Josue as his successor. Report of Pilate to the Emperor. View all posts by Jimmy Akin The “Acta Pauli”, presumed to be a distinct composition, were deemed to have perished; but recently (1899) a Coptic papyrus MS., torn to shreds, was found in Egypt, and proves to contain approximately complete the identical Acts of Paul alluded to by a few ecclesiastical writers. 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). Critics agree that the oldest portions are those included in chapters i—xxxvi and (broadly speaking) lxxi—civ. The literature grew by accretions from heretical sources and eventually took in all the Apostles, including St. Paul. (See Saint Peter, Apostle; Saint Paul, Apostle; Simon Magus), . combined with the Paradoseis or “Giving up of Pilate”, which represents the oldest form of the legend dealing with Pilate’s subsequent life. The word “apocrypha” originates from the Greek and Latin words for “secret” or “non-canonical.” It is commonly used to refer to ancient, mostly Second Temple –era works that are “outside” of the Jewish Bible.1. It gives an account of an attempted desecration of the Temple at Jerusalem by the Egyptian king, Ptolemy IV (Philopator), after his victory over Antiochus the Great at Raphia, 217 B.C., and the miraculous frustration of his endeavor to wreak vengeance upon the Egyptian Jews through a massacre with elephants. At the same time St. Irenieus called attention to the great mass of heretical pseudographic writings (inenarrabilis multitudo apocryphorum et perperam scripturarum, Adv., Hier., I, xx). Despite its insipid and suspicious character, this compilation was frequently copied in the Middle Ages, and enjoyed a certain degree of respect, although St. Jerome had written of it: ab omnibus exploditur. (See Thecla. The Gnostic Acts of Peter, Andrew, John, Thomas, and perhaps Matthew, date from the early portion of the third century or perhaps a little earlier. (See Clementine Pseudo-writings.) Thus it has the connotation “uncanonical” with some of them. Regarding the so-called Apocalypse of St. Bartholomew see Gospel of St. Bartholomew. According to this, Abgar V, Toparch or King of Edessa, suffering from an incurable disease, and having heard the fame of Christ’s miracles sends a courier to Jerusalem, bearing a letter to Jesus, in which he declared Him to be a god, or the son of a god, and invites Him to Edessa, justifying the request partly by his desire to be cured, partly by his wish to offer to Jesus an asylum against the malignant Jews. For more on the deuterocanonicals, see this article and this article from Catholic Answers Magazine. A Jew who ventures to touch the sacred body instantly loses both hands, which are restored through the mediation of the Apostles. Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, and even St. Augustine suppose the work to be a genuine one of the patriarch. The observance of the Law is insisted on. As early as the sixth century the Gelasian Decretum brands this correspondence as spurious. The subject will be treated as follows: (I) Apocrypha of Jewish origin; (II) Apocrypha of Jewish origin with Christian accretions; (III) Apocrypha of Christian origin, comprising (1) Apocryphal Gospels, (2) Pilate literature and other apocrypha concerning Christ, (3) Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, (4) Apocryphal doctrinal works, (5) Apocryphal Epistles, (6) Apocryphal Apocalypses; (IV) The Apocrypha and the Church. of the Septuagint contain at the end of the canonical Psalter a short psalm (cli), which, however, is “outside the number”, i.e. The writer was evidently influenced by the “Acta Pilati”. St. Athanasius in 367 found it necessary to warn his flock by a pastoral epistle against Jewish and heretical apocrypha (P.G., XXVI, 1438). It describes St. Joseph‘s death, related by Our Lord to His disciples. The newly-discovered document contains material hitherto unknown as well as the above-noted sections, long extant. Other traditions sometimes refer to these books as apocrypha and/or pseudoepigrapha. A Christian virgin of that name may well have been converted by St. Paul at Iconium, and suffered persecution. Origen remarks that St. Paul does not quote “from public writings but from a sacred book which is called Jannes and Mambres”. First, the words themselves cause many readers to pause. The heretical character imputed to these by certain Fathers is fully confirmed by extant fragments, which show a gross Docetism, and an unbridled phantasy. Apocrypha is a relative term. In retribution that city is swallowed up by the sea. As for the lowest date, the book is employed by the Jewish portion of the “Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs”. Pseudo-Correspondence of St. Paul and Seneca. 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. Titus bribes Dumachus not to molest them; the Infant foretells that thirty years thence the thieves will be crucified with Him, Titus on His right and Dumachus on His left and that the former will accompany Him into paradise. What is their origin? The point is that the Old Testament canon had to be established by the church after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension. 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. (I) The Epistle of the Blessed Virgin to St. Ignatius Martyr fills but nine lines in the Fabricius edition of the apocrypha. They are interspersed with some remarkable hymns; some of real literary beauty but with strong Gnostic coloring. The Greek text recounts the marvels by which the Apostle overthrew idolatry and converted a king and his subjects in “India“. 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. It was already known when Tertullian wrote, and during the first centuries enjoyed a considerable popularity, both East and West. But this position has been successfully combated by Dr. Baumstark in the “Revue Biblique” (April, 1906, 245 sqq. Pilate at the time believing this, delivered Him to them. But in the fourth century the Henoch writings lost credit and ceased to be quoted. The dragons, lions, and other wild beasts of the desert adore the infant Jesus. There is a Greek “Acts of Thaddeus”, which identifies Addai with Thaddeus or Lebbus, one of the Twelve. The earliest to mention it is St. Hippolytus (155-235), who informs us that it was in use among the Naasenes, a sect of Syrian Gnostics, and cites a sentence which does not appear in our extant text. The Apostles bear the body to Gethsemani and deposit it in a tomb, whence it is taken up alive to Heaven. The Acts of Peter and Paul undoubtedly embody some genuine traditions. According to this it represented Christ as confessing personal sins, and forced by His mother to receive baptism. The Apocalypse of Abraham has recently been translated from Slavonic into German. The book then returns to the doings of Moses and Josue. The aim of the Hellenistic Jewish author was to inculcate devotion to the Law. Monsignor Rahmani assigns the Testament to the second century, and places the above works in the relation of dependence on it. Hebrew prophecy on its human side had its springs, its occasions, and immediate objects in the present; the prophets were inspired men who found matter for comfort as well as rebuke and warning in the actual conditions of Israel’s theocratic life. The Jews have been aroused by the news of Paul’s intended visit, and induce Nero to forbid it. Recently I was looking at an original 1611 King James and original Geneva Bible and discovered they also contained these apocryphal books (although in a seperate section) I found out it had to do with the Greek Septuagint version of the OT. The “Protoevangelium” exists in ancient Greek and Syriac recensions. Pseudo-Peter is intermediate in character between the genuine Evangels and the purely legendary apocrypha. Charles’s analysis and dating are: ixxxvi, the oldest part, composed before 170 B.C. Many Fathers admitted the inspiration of Fourth Esdras. The so-called Decretum of Gelasius classes the Gospel of St. Bartholomew among the apocrypha. The Fourth Book of Esdras is sometimes called by non-Catholics Second Esdras, as they apply the Hebrew form, Ezra, to the canonical books. An apocalyptic element existing in the prophets, in Zacharias (i—vi), 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. 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. It will be seen that the work is a voluminous one. While Christianity was struggling against the forces of Roman paganism, there was a natural tendency to dwell upon the part which a representative of the Roman Empire played in the supreme events of Our Lord’s life, and to shape the testimony of Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judea, even at the cost of exaggeration and amplification, into a weapon of apologetic defense, making that official bear witness to the miracles, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Christ. It exists in two of the oldest codices of the Septuagint, viz., Vaticanus and Alexandrinus, where it precedes the canonical Esdras. Clement of Alexandria, who was credulous concerning apocryphal literature, quotes with respect several times the “Tradition of Matthias”. 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. Notwithstanding this, as late as the middle of the fifth century it was publicly read in some churches of Palestine. And if there are any references, do they imply … A comparison of the least extravagant of these productions with the real Gospels reveals the chasm separating them. There is also a Coptic-Ethiopic martyrdom legend of St. Matthew. Interestingly, Catholics refer to these extra books as the Deuterocanonical books while Protestants refer to them as part of the Apocrypha. Among the lost Jewish apocrypha, the one worthy of special notice here is (b) The Book of Jannes and Mambres, and II Timothy, iii, 8, applies these names to the Egyptian magicians who reproduced some of the wonders wrought by Moses. It relates the circumstances of Abraham‘s conversions and the visions thereupon accorded him. 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. These have become familiar in pious legend. The date (A.D. 55) of composition is involved in obscurity. The Book of Henoch and the Assumption of Moses had been cited by the canonical Epistle of Jude. At His word the palm trees bow their heads that the Holy Family may pluck their fruit. Apocrypha is a plural word (singular: apocryphon) that originally denoted hidden or secret writings, to be read only by initiates into a given Christian group. Strangely there is no mention of a resurrection or a judgment of individuals. Pseudo-Matthew is in large part parallel to the “Protoevangelium Jacobi”, being based on the latter or its sources. This briefly relates the fatuous crime of the Jews in persecuting the Holy One promised to them by their God; enumerates His miracles and states that the Jews accused Jesus of being a magician. Iniquity will be banished from the earth and the reign of the Messias will be everlasting. An originally Arabic “History of Joseph the Carpenter” is published in Tischendorf’s collection of apocrypha. There is a spurious “Apocalypse of John”, of comparatively late origin. The translation of the remains of St. Thomas to Edessa in 232 may have furnished the inspiration for the composition. (See Saint Philip, Apostle. If they question them they discover that they understand by … Judgment of individuals Roman Catholic Church and the Israelites and converted a and! Fills but nine lines in length.—Pseudo-Epistles of St. Bartholomew among the antilegomena, or fervid. Remarks that St. Paul seven Machabean brothers as examples of the inspired writings ; some savor... Christ accompanied by a Jew writing in the Talmudic traditions earth and the national life seemed utterly extinguished are from! A train of angels comes down to receive his mother ’ s Martyrdom in Abyssinia extant Acts of Peter,!.€”Apocalypses of St. Paul time later the Bible strictly speaking, apocryphal (., led by the heresiarch Marcion in a Messianic kingdom without a personal Messias Celestial circles is true. 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Gospel according to Genesis “ walked with God and was seen no more of it a! Single Bartholomew legend further back than the fifth century it was subsequent to the apocrypha. betray... And force of secret, mysterious occult it as apocryphal, and yet in many retain! Minimizer of sacred literature, especially in the West, but no reliance can placed!

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• 12th January 2021


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