Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/684

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APOCRYPHA
APOCRYPHA
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170, and is a disguised attack on some of the leading errors of Cinosticism. This correspondence long had an independent circulation, but recently it has been proved that the document was incorporated into the Acts of St. Paul (q. v.).—Pseudo-EpiMle to the Laod- icean^. In the genuine Epistle to the Colossians, Paul, after instructing them to send their Epistle to Laodicea, adds: "read that which is from the Laodi- ceans". This most probably regards a circular letter, the canonical "Ephesians"; but it has been held to be a lost letter to the Laodicean Christians. The apocryphal epistle is a transparent attempt to supply this supposed lost sacred document. It consists of twenty short lines and is mainly made of matter taken from Philippians and other Epistles, and pieced together without sequence or logical aim. Our apoc- ryphon exists only in Latin and translations from the Latin, thougli it gives signs of a Greek original. It can hardly be the pseudo-Laodicean letter said by the Muratorian Fragment to have been invented by the heresiarch Marcion. Pespite its insipid and sus- picious 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 L.odice..) The Muratorian Fragmentist mentions together with a spurious epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans, one to the .Alexandrians, which was forged imder the aus- pices of Marcion. We have no other certain knowl- edge of this apocryphon. Pseudo-Correspondence of St. Paul and Seneca. This consists of eight pre- tended letters from the Stoic philosopher Seneca, and six replies from St. Paul. They are identical with a correspondence alluded to by Jerome (de Viris lUustr., xii), who without passing judgment on their value, notes that they are read by many. These letters, therefore, could not have been com- posed after the second half of the fourth century. They are based on the early traditions of Seneca's leanings towards Christianity and the contemporary residence at Rome of Paul and the philosopher. 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).

Besides the oft-mentioned works of Bardenhewer, etc.; Vetter, Der apokn/pke dritte Korintherbrief (Vienna, 1894); Harnack, Vntersuctlungen iiber den apokryphen Briefwechsel der Korinlher mit dem Apostel Paulus (Berlin, 1905); Id., Die apokryphen Briefe des Paulus an die Laodiceiier und Korinther, Germ, trans. (Berlin, 1905); Lightfoot, St. Paul's Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon (2d ed.. London, 1876), contains Latin text of Laodiceans. For the Seneca Letters: Khaus, Seneka, in Theologische Quartalschrift (IS67), XLI; Apocryphal New Testament, anon. (Philadelphia. 1890, 1901); Lightfoot, ,S(. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians (3d ed., Lon- don, 1873).

(6) Christian Apocryphal Apocalypses. — Apoca- lypse of the Testamentum D. N. Jesu Chrisli. (See the section on the Testamentum above.) The Apoca- lypse of Mary is of medieval origin, and is proljably merely the outcome of an extravagant devotion. It describes the Blessed Mother's descent to Limbo, and exists in (Jreek MSS. It has been printed in the Tischendorf collection (Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti). — Apocalypses oj St. Peter. The Mura- torian Fragment, written at Rome in the latter part of the .second century, names the apocalypses of John and Peter side by side as the only ones received in the Cliurch, remarking that some do not acknowl- edge the latter. There is abundant evidence that the Petrine apocalypse was believed aiithcntic in many quarters of the early Church, and enjoyed in a cer- tain mea.sure canonical autliority. Clen"ient of Alex- andria, always credulous with regard to apocrypha, even honoured it with a commentary; Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., VI, xiv, 1), places it almost on an equality with the antiltyomcna or better class of dispited writings; Jerome rejects it flatly. Notwith- standing this, as late as the middle of the fiftli century it was publicly read in some churches of Palestine. The few citations of patristic writers were unable to convey an idea of its contents, but fortunately a con- siderable fragment of this ancient document was discovered at Aklmiin, Egypt, together with the pseudo-Petrine Gospel in the language of the original, viz., Greek. 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. The passage relates to a vision granted by Clirist to the Twelve on a mountain, exhibiting the glory of two departing bretliren, the splendour of heaven, and a gruesome picture of hell. The lan- guage has a Jewish-Christian savour. The apocrj'- phon is attributed by critics to the first quarter of the second century, and is therefore one of the earliest specimens of non-canonical literature. There exist under the names Apocalypse of St. Peter, Apocalypse of St. Peter through Clement, Liber Clementis, va- rious Arabic and Ethiopic recensions of a"- apocalypse which has nothing in common with the ancient Greek one. — The Apocalypse of St. Paul. A prefatory no- tice pretends that this work was found in a marble case under the house of Paul at Tarsus, in the reign of King Theodosius (a. d. 379-39.5), and upon in- telligence conveyed by an angel. This indicates the date of the apocalypse's fabrication. It purports to reveal the secrets seen by the Apostle in his trans- port to the third heaven, alluded to in II Cor., xii, 2, and was composed in Greek. From this Pauline apocalypse must be distinguished a Gnostic work en- titled the "Ascension of Paul", referred to by St. Epiphanius, but of which no remains have survived. There is a spurious "Apocalypse of John", of com- paratively late origin. Regarding the so-called Apoc- alypse of St. Bartholomew see Gospel of St. Bartholomew.

See the histories of Bardenhewer, Harnack, Zafin, cited in the first bibliographies. English translations of the pseudo- Apocalvpses of Peter and John are found in Ante-Xieene Fathers (New York, 1906), VIII. — Special for the Apocalypse of Peter: Gebhardt, Das Evangrlium und die Apokalypse des Petrus (Leipzig, iS93), texts of the Harnack and Geb- hardt's Teite und Untersuchungen; Dieterich. Nikyia, Bei- trage zur Erklarung der neuentdeckten Petrusapokalypse (Leip- zig); SI.MMS, art. in Expositor, Dec. 1898, 460-471. — Special for Apocalypse of Paul: Tischkn'dorf, Apocalypses Apocryphee (Leipzig, 1866), Greek and part of English; James, Apocrypha Anecdota (Cambridge, 1893), Latin and English. English translations of the .pocalypses of St. Paul and St. John are found in Walker, .pocryphal Gospels, Acts, and Revelations (Edinburgh, 1873); Ante-Nicene Fathers (New York, 1906), VIII.

IV. The Apocrypha and the Church.—At a very early period orthodox writers and, presimiably, eccle- siastical authorities found it necessary to distinguish between the genuine inspired books and a multitude of spurious rivals — a fact which is a verj' im|)ortant element in the formation of the Christian canon. Thus as early as about a. d. 170, the author of the descriptive Latin catalogue known as the "Murato- rian Fragment" mentioned certain works!vs fictitious or contested. At the same time St. Irentrus called attention to the great mass of heretical pseudo- graphic writings (inenarrabili.'i multitudo apocryphorum et perperam scripturarum , Adv., Har., I, xx). Un- doubtedly it was the large use heretical circles, es- pecially the Gnostic sects, made of this insinuating literature which first called fortli the animadversions of the official guardians of doctrinal purity. Even in the East, already the home of pscudograpliic litera- ture, Origen (d. 254) exhibits caution regarding the books outside the canon (Comment, in Mattli.. serm. 28). St. Athanasius in 307 fovmd it neces.sary to warn his flock by a pastoral epistle against Jew- ish and lieretical apocryplia (P. G., XXVI.M.3SV Another Greek Fatlier, Epiphanius (312-403) in " Ha'reses ", 2C, could c()mi)lain that copies of Gnostic