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APOCATASTASIS—APOCRYPHAL LITERATURE

sustinebo in his quae inique exercent, that is נשׂא ב: in 9 vindicans vindicabo: in 22 non parcet dextera mea super peccatores = φείσεται ... ἐπί = יחמול ... על. In verses 9, 19 the manifest corruptions may be explicable from a Semitic background. There are other Hebraisms in the text. It is true that these might have been due to the writer’s borrowings from earlier Greek works ultimately of Hebrew origin. The date of the book is also quite uncertain, though several scholars have ascribed it to the 3rd century.

Christian Sibyllines.—Critics are still at variance as to the extent of the Christian Sibyllines. It is practically agreed that vi.-viii. are of Christian origin. As for i.-ii., xi.-xiv. most writers are in favour of Christian authorship; but not so Geffcken (ed. Sibyll., 1902), who strongly insists on the Jewish origin of large sections of these books.

Apocalypses of Paul, Thomas and Stephen.—These are mentioned in the Gelasian decree. The first may possibly be the Ἀναβατικὸν Παύλου mentioned by Epiphanius (Haer. xxxviii. 2) as current among the Cainites. It is not to be confounded with the apocalypse mentioned two sections later.

Apocalypse of Esdras.—This Greek production resembles the more ancient fourth book of Esdras in some respects. The prophet is perplexed about the mysteries of life, and questions God respecting them. The punishment of the wicked especially occupies his thoughts. Since they have sinned in consequence of Adam’s fall, their fate is considered worse than that of the irrational creation. The description of the tortures suffered in the infernal regions is tolerably minute. At last the prophet consents to give up his spirit to God, who has prepared for him a crown of immortality. The book is a poor imitation of the ancient Jewish one. It may belong, however, to the 2nd or 3rd centuries of the Christian era. See Tischendorf, Apocalypses Apocryphae, pp. 24-33.

Apocalypse of Paul.—This work (referred to by Augustine, Tractat. in Joan. 98) contains a description of the things which the apostle saw in heaven and hell. The text, as first published in the original Greek by Tischendorf (Apocalypses Apocr. 34-69), consists of fifty-one chapters, but is imperfect. Internal evidence assigns it to the time of Theodosius, i.e. about A.D. 388. Where the author lived is uncertain. Dr Perkins found a Syriac MS. of this apocalypse, which he translated into English, and printed in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1864, vol. viii. This was republished by Tischendorf below the Greek version in the above work. In 1893 the Latin version from one MS. was edited by M.R. James, Texts and Studies, ii. 1-42, who shows that the Latin version is the completest of the three, and that the Greek in its present form is abbreviated.

Apocalypse of John (Tischendorf, Apocalypses Apocr. 70 sqq.) contains a description of the future state, the general resurrection and judgment, with an account of the punishment of the wicked, as well as the bliss of the righteous. It appears to be the work of a Jewish Christian. The date is late, for the writer speaks of the “venerable and holy images,” as well as “the glorious and precious crosses and the sacred things of the churches” (xiv.), which points to the 5th century, when such things were first introduced into churches. It is a feeble imitation of the canonical apocalypse.

Arabic Apocalypse of Peter contains a narrative of events from the foundation of the world till the second advent of Christ. The book is said to have been written by Clement, Peter’s disciple. This Arabic work has not been printed, but a summary of the contents is given by Nicoll in his catalogue of the Oriental MSS. belonging to the Bodleian (p. 49, xlviii.). There are eighty-eight chapters. It is a late production; for Ishmaelites are spoken of, the Crusades, and the taking of Jerusalem. See Tischendorf, Apocalypses Apocr. pp. xx.-xxiv.

The Apocalypse of the Virgin, containing her descent into hell, is not published entire, but only several portions of it from Greek MSS. in different libraries, by Tischendorf in his Apocalypses Apocryphae, pp. 95 sqq.; James, Texts and Studies, ii. 3. 109-126.

Apocalypse of Sedrach.—This late apocalypse, which M. R. James assigns to the 10th or 11th century, deals with the subject of intercession for sinners and Sedrach’s unwillingness to die. See James, Texts and Studies, ii. 3. 127-137.

Apocalypse of Daniel.—See Vassiliev’s Anecdota Graeco-Byzantina (Moscow, 1893), pp. 38-44; Uncanonical Books of the Old Testament (Venice, 1901), pp. 237 sqq., 387 sqq.

The Revelations of Bartholomew.—Dulaurier published from a Parisian Sahidic MS., subjoining a French translation, what is termed a fragment of the apocryphal revelations of St Bartholomew (Fragment des révélations apocryphes de Saint Barthélemy, &c., Paris, 1835), and of the history of the religious communities founded by St Pachomius. After narrating the pardon obtained by Adam, it is said that the Son ascending from Olivet prays the Father on behalf of His apostles; who consequently receive consecration from the Father, together with the Son and Holy Spirit—Peter being made archbishop of the universe. The late date of the production is obvious.

Questions of St Bartholomew.—See Vassiliev, Anec. Graeco-Byzantina (1893), pp. 10-22. The introduction, which is wanting in the Greek MS., has been supplied by a Latin translation from the Slavonic version (see pp. vii.-ix.). The book contains disclosures by Christ, the Virgin and Beliar and much of the subject-matter is ancient.  (R. H. C.) 

APOCATASTASIS, a Greek word, meaning “re-establishment,” used as a technical scientific term for a return to a previous position or condition.

APOCRYPHAL LITERATURE. The history of the earlier usage of the term “Apocrypha” (from ἀποκρύπτειν, to hide) is not free from obscurity. We shall therefore enter at once on a short account of the origin of this literature in Judaism, of its adoption by early Christianity, of the various meanings which the term “apocryphal” assumed in the course of its history, and having so done we shall proceed to classify and deal with the books that belong to this literature. The word most generally denotes writings which claimed to be, or were by certain sects regarded as, sacred scriptures although excluded from the canonical scriptures.

Apocrypha in Judaism.—Certain circles in Judaism, as the Essenes in Palestine (Josephus, B. J. ii. 8. 7) and the Therapeutae (Philo, De Vita Contempl. ii. 475, ed. Mangey) in Egypt possessed a secret literature. But such literature was not confined to the members of these communities, but had been current among the Chasids and their successors the Pharisees.[1] To this literature belong essentially the apocalypses which were published in fast succession from Daniel onwards. These works bore, perforce, the names of ancient Hebrew worthies in order to procure them a hearing among the writers’ real contemporaries. To reconcile their late appearance with their claims to primitive antiquity the alleged author is represented as “shutting up and sealing” (Dan. xii. 4, 9) the book, until the time of its fulfilment had arrived; for that it was not designed for his own generation but for far-distant ages (1 Enoch i. 2, cviii. 1.; Ass. Mos. i. 16, 17). It is not improbable that with many Jewish enthusiasts this literature was more highly treasured than the canonical scriptures. Indeed, we have a categorical statement to this effect in 4 Ezra xiv. 44 sqq., which tells how Ezra was inspired to dictate the sacred scriptures which had been destroyed in the overthrow of Jerusalem: “In forty days they wrote ninety-four books: and it came to pass when the forty days were fulfilled that the Highest spake, saying: the first that thou hast written publish openly that the worthy and unworthy may read it; but keep the seventy last that thou mayst deliver them only to such as be wise among the people; for in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom and the stream of knowledge.” Such esoteric books are apocryphal in the original conception of the term. In due course the Jewish authorities were forced to draw up a canon or book of sacred scriptures, and mark them off from those which claimed to be such without justification.

  1. Judaism was long accustomed to lay claim to an esoteric tradition. Thus though it insisted on the exclusive canonicity of the 24 books, it claimed the possession of an oral law handed down from Moses, and just as the apocryphal books overshadowed in certain instances the canonical scriptures, so often the oral law displaced the written in the regard of Judaism.