are the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha?
Bible is a wonderful source of inspiration for those who don't understand
religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination,
11.1 The Roman Catholic Church on the Apocrypha.
The word apocrypha means
hidden or concealed. The early church father Jerome first used this
term in the fourth century to address a collection of books written between
300 BC and AD 100. These fourteen books were rejected by the Jews as not
being inspired, and thus excluded from the Hebrew Old Testament. It was
not until the sixteenth-century AD that the apocryphal writings received
official recognition by the Roman Catholic Church as being equal to Scripture.
However, Protestant churches as a whole, like the Jews, reject the inspiration
of the Apocrypha.
The Roman Catholic Church,
a.k.a. Church of Rome, favors apocryphal writings on several points including
1) their appearance
in the LXX (Septuagint) - the Greek translation of the Old Testament,
2) the fact that the
LXX was accepted by the early church, and
3) the agreement of
Augustine that they be included in the Old Testament canon.
In response to this,
it is noteworthy that the only ancient collection of Scripture to include
apocryphal works was the LXX and the translations derived thereof. The apocrypha
never enjoyed broad support as did the canonical books of the Old Testament.
Gleason Archer finds,
Even in the case of
the Septuagint, the apocryphal books maintain a rather uncertain existence.
The Codex Vaticanus (B) lacks 1 and 2 Maccabees (canonical, according
to Rome), but includes 1 Esdras (non-canonical, according to Rome). The
Sinaiticus (Aleph) omits Baruch (canonical, according to Rome), but includes
4 Maccabees (non-canonical, according to Rome)... Thus it turns out that
even the three earliest MSS or the LXX show considerable uncertainty as
to which books constitute the list of the Apocrypha, and that the fourteen
accepted by the Roman church are by no means substantiated by the testimony
of the great uncials of the fourth and fifth centuries. 1
11.2 Problems with the Apocrypha.
Clearly not all copies
of the Septuagint included the same apocryphal books. In spite of their
appearance along side the traditional canon of the Old Testament, as sporadic
as their inclusion was, it was Jerome's belief that occasional apocryphal
works were included because they were considered edifying - not because
they were inerrant. 2
Edward Young notes the following concerning the apocryphal books:
"Both Judith and Tobit
contain historical, chronological and geographical errors. The books justify
falsehood and deception and make salvation to depend upon works of merit...
Ecclesiasticus teaches that giving of alms makes atonement for sin (3:3),
and in I Maccabees there are historical and geographical errors." 3
The apocryphal books
neither make the claim that they are inspired of God, nor is there evidence
that Christ or any of the apostles regarded the writings with such authority:
There is no record
that Christ or any of the apostles ever quoted from the Apocryphal books
or that they made any reference to them, although they undoubtedly knew
of them. There are in the New Testament about 260 direct quotations from
and about 370 allusions to passages in the Old Testament; yet among all
of those there is not a single reference either by Christ or any of the
apostles to the Apocryphal writings. They quote from every major book
of the Old Testament and from all but four of the smaller ones. 4
...the testimony of
the New Testament is most decisive against the canonicity of the fourteen
books of the Apocrypha. ...While it has just been pointed out that mere
quotation does not necessarily establish canonicity, nevertheless it is
inconceivable that the New Testament authors could have considered the
fourteen books of the Roman Catholic Apocrypha canonical and never once
quoted from or alluded to any of them. 5
endorsement of the Apocrypha is not without some question:
On the one hand he
threw his influence at the Council of Carthage (397) in favor of including
the entire fourteen as canonical; on the other hand, when an appeal was
made by an antagonist to a passage in 2 Maccabees to settle an argument,
Augustine replied that his cause must be weak if he had to resort to a
book not in the same category as those received and accepted by the Jews.
The ambiguous advocacy
of the Apocrypha on the part of Augustine is more than offset by the contrary
position of the revered Athanasius (who died in 365), so highly regarded
by both East and West as the champion of Trinitarian orthodoxy. In his
Thirty-ninth Letter he discussed the 'particular books and their number,
which are accepted by the church.' In paragraph 4 he says, 'There are,
then, of the Old Testament twenty two books in number,' and he proceeds
to enumerate the same books as are found in the MT in approximately the
same order as in the Protestant Bible. In paragraphs 6 and 7 he states
that the extrabiblical books (i.e., the fourteen of the Apocrypha) are
'not included in the canon,' but merely 'appointed to be read.' 6
11.3 First century rejection of the Apocrypha.
Though apocryphal works
are generally agreed upon to have some historical value, their authority
was rejected in the first century by the Council of Jamnia, the Jewish historian
Josephus and the Alexandrian Jewish philosopher Philo. Philo's rejection
is notable because if the Apocrypha had early acceptance, it would have
begun in Alexandria - a fact that cannot be reconciled by Philo's writings.
Neither is there any support for the Apocrypha in early targums (those are
basically sermon notes, commentaries, and teachings based on the Old Testament
Even though the details
are disputed among historians, there may have been no acceptance whatsoever
of the inspiration of apocryphal books until the fourth century. The early
church fathers Origen, Athanasius, Tertullian, and Cyril all spoke out against
the Apocrypha. As mentioned earlier, even Jerome, translator of the Catholic's
official Latin version of the Bible, denied their canonicity. Although the
books can be found in Jerome's translation today, they were added only after
11.4 The Apocrypha today.
In the year 1546, the
Roman Catholic Church officially pronounced the Apocrypha as always having
been equated to Scripture (more
on Rome's position on Scripture) 7.
According to Loraine Boettner, this was a reaction in an attempt to defend
Roman practices which the Protestant Reformation charged as having no scriptural
Prior to the Reformation,
the Apocrypha was reportedly rejected by the Catholic church's own Pope
Leo X, Cardinal Zomenes, Cardinal Cajetan, Pope Clement VII as well as many
of its own scholars. Today, only Protestant churches, as a whole, remain
faithful to the original rejection of the Apocrypha as not being inspired
11.5 What is the pseudepigrapha?
meaning false writings, were written largely in the second century
by men using the names of the apostles. Some of these writings were created
to pass as the apostles' writings, though many may have been produced as
an expression of respect or flattery for the apostles' gospels. Seldom contested
as scriptural, yet of some historical value, the pseudepigraphal works are
replete with factual errors and conflicting statements.
next: Introduction to Veracity
The prehistory of English
Infallibility and the
Church of Rome
Is the Bible complete?