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APOCRYPHA


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APOCRYPHA


the seven Machaliean brothers as examples of the (lorainion of pious reason. The aim of the Hellen- istic Jewish autlior was to inculcate devotion to the Law. He is unknown. The work was erroneously ascribed to Josephus by Eusebius and others. It appears to ha\e been produced before the fall of Jerusalem, but its date is a matter of conjecture.

For TFiE text: Old Testament in Greek. (Cambridge. 1S94, 1899) 111' For an English version: Churton, Uncanum- cat and Apocryphal Scriptures (London, 1884); For Intro- duction: SCHURER, History oi the Jewish People (Edinburgh, 188C) div II, vol. Ill; Fairweather in Hast., Diet, of the Bible.

II. Apocrypha of Jewish Origin with Christian Accretions. — (a) Sihylline Oracles. See the separate article under this title, (b) Testaments of the Twelve Patriarclis. This is an extensive pseudograph, con- sisting of (1) narrations in which each of the twelve sons of Jacob relates his life, embellished by Mid- rashic expansions of the Biblical data; (2) exhorta- tions 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 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 prob- ability the Jewish groundwork to the Hasmonean period, within the limits 13.5-6.3 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 ex- istence, and are urged to be faithful to the repre- sentatives 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, how-ever, 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. ,

(c) Tlie Ascension of Isaias consists of two parts: (1) The Martyrdom of Isaias, in which it is told that the prophet was sawn in tw^o by the order of the wicked King Manasses. (2) The Ascension proper. 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 througli the inferior celestial circles. The prophet then sees the glorified Beloved reaseending. The Martyrdom is a Jewish work, saving some rather large interpolations. The rest is by Christian hands or perhaps a single WTiter, who united his apocalypse witli the Martyrdom. There are tokens that the ChrLstiari 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 " Analiaticon ", or "Ascension of Isaias". The Jewish portion is thought to have appeared in the first cen- tury of our era; the remainder, in the middle of the second. Justin, TertuUian, and Origen seem to have iMjen acquainted with the Martyrdom; Sts. Jerome and Epiphunius are the earliest witnesses for the Ascen-


sion proper. The apocrj'phon exists in Greek, Ethi- opic, and Slavonic MSS.

((/) Minor Jewish-Christian Apocrypha. — Space wilt permit only an enumeration of unimportant speci- mens of apocryphal literature, extant in whole or part, and consisting (1) of Jewish originals recast or freely interpolated by Christians, viz., the "Apoca- lypses of Elias" (Elijah), "Sophonias" (Zephaniah), the "Paralipomenon of Baruch"; and (2) of Chris- tian compositions whose material was supplied by Jewish sources; the so-called "Apocalypse of Moses ", the "Apocalypse of Esdras", the "Testament of Ab- raham", the "Testament of the Three Patriarchs", the "Prayer of Joseph", the "Prayer of Aseneth", the "Marriage of Aseneth", (the wife of Joseph). 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.

ScHCRER, History of the Jewish People (Edinburgh. 1886). div. II, vol. III. — Special for Testaments of the Twelve Patri- archs: Sinker, introduction and tr. in vol. VIII of The Ante- Nicene Fathers (New York, 1906; reprint of Edinburgh ed.); Charles, art. in Hibberl Journal (1905), III; also in Hast., Diet, of the Bible; Schnapp. Die Trstamente der zwilf Pa- triarchen untersucht (Halle, 1S84). — Special for Ascension of Isaias: Dillman, .\scensio Isaur athiopice et latine (Leipzig,. 1877); Robinson m H.\st., Diet, of the Bible.

III. Apocrypha of Christian Origin. — The termi Christian here is used in a comprehensi^-e sense and embraces works produced both by Catholics and heretics; the latter are chiefly members of the va- rious branches or schools of Gnosticism, which flour- ished in the second and third centuries. The Chris- tian apocryphal writings in general imitate the books- of the New Testament and therefore, with a few ex- ceptions, fall under the description of Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses.

(1) Apocryphal Go.'^pels.—'The term apocryphal in connection with special Gospels must be under- stood as bearing no more unfavourable an import than "uncanonical ". This applies to the Gospel of the Hebrews and in a less degree to that of the Egyptians, which in the main seem to have been either embodiments of primitive tradition, or a mere- recasting of canonical Gospels with a few variations- and amplifications. It is true, all the extant speci- mens of the apocrj^phal Gospels take the inspired evangelical documents as their starting-point. But the genuine Gospels are silent about long stretches of the life of Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, and St. Joseph. Frequently they give but a tantalizing glimpse of some episode on which we would fain be- more fully informed. This reserve of the Evangelists did not satisfy the pardonable curiosity of many Christians eager for details, and the severe and dignified simplicity of their narrative left unappeased imaginations seeking the sensational and the mar- vellous. When, therefore, enterprising spirits re- sponded to this natural craving by pretended Gospels full of romantic fables and fantastic and striking details, their fabrications were eagerly read and largely accepted as true by common folk who were devoid of any critical faculty and who were predis- posed to believe what so luxuriously fed their pious curiosity. Both Catholics and Gnostics were con- cerned in writing these fictions. The former had no other motive than that of a pious fr;uul. being some- times moved by a real thougli misguided zeal, as witness the autlior of the Pseiido-.Matthew: Amor Chri.'iti p.st cui satisfccimus. But the heretical apocryphists, wliile gratifying curiosity, composed spurious Gospels in order to trace backward their beliefs and peculiarities to Christ Himself. The