with the other books, and with no marks of distinction, they were practically employed by the Greek Fathers in the same way as the other books; hence Origen, Clement and others often cite them as “scripture,” “divine scripture,” “inspired,” and the like. On the other hand, teachers connected with Palestine, and familiar with the Hebrew canon, rigidly exclude all but the books contained there. This view is reflected, for example, in the canon of Melito of Sardis, and in the prefaces and letters of Jerome. Augustine, however (De Doct. Christ. ii. 8), attaches himself to the other side. Two well-defined views in this way prevailed, to which was added a third, according to which the books, though not to be put in the same rank as the canonical scriptures of the Hebrew collection, yet were of value for moral uses and to be read in congregations,—and hence they were called “ecclesiastical”—a designation first found in Rufinus (ob. 410). Notwithstanding the decisions of some councils held in Africa, which were in favour of the view of Augustine, these diverse opinions regarding the apocryphal books continued to prevail in the church down through the ages till the great dogmatic era of the Reformation. At that epoch the same three opinions were taken up and congealed into dogmas, which may be considered characteristic of the churches adopting them. In 1546 the council of Trent adopted the canon of Augustine, declaring “He is also to be anathema who does not receive these entire books, with all their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church, and are found in the ancient editions of the Latin Vulgate, as sacred and canonical.” The whole of the books in question, with the exception of 1st and 2nd Esdras, and the Prayer of Manasses, were declared canonical at Trent. On the other hand, the Protestants universally adhered to the opinion that only the books in the Hebrew collection are canonical. Already Wycliffe had declared that “whatever book is in the Old Testament besides these twenty-five (Hebrew) shall be set among the apocrypha, that is, without authority or belief.” Yet among the churches of the Reformation a milder and a severer view prevailed regarding the apocrypha. Both in the German and English translations (Luther’s, 1537; Coverdale’s, 1535, &c.) these books are separated from the others and set by themselves; but while in some confessions, e.g. the Westminster, a decided judgment is passed on them, that they are not “to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings,” a milder verdict is expressed regarding them in many other quarters, e.g. in the “argument” prefixed to them in the Geneva Bible; in the Sixth Article of the Church of England, where it is said that “the other books the church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners,” though not to establish doctrine; and elsewhere.
Old Testament Apocryphal Books
We shall now proceed to enumerate the apocryphal books: first the Apocrypha Proper, and next the rest of the Old and New Testament apocryphal literature.
1. The Apocrypha Proper, or the apocrypha of the Old Testament as used by English-speaking Protestants, consists of the following books: 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Additions to Esther, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Epistle of Jeremy, Additions to Daniel (Song of the Three Holy Children, History of Susannah, and Bel and the Dragon), Prayer of Manasses, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees. Thus the Apocrypha Proper constitutes the surplusage of the Vulgate or Bible of the Roman Church over the Hebrew Old Testament. Since this surplusage is in turn derived from the Septuagint, from which the old Latin version was translated, it thus follows that the difference between the Protestant and the Roman Catholic Old Testament is, roughly speaking, traceable to the difference between the Palestinian and the Alexandrian canons of the Old Testament. But this is only true with certain reservations; for the Latin Vulgate was revised by Jerome according to the Hebrew, and, where Hebrew originals were wanting, according to the Septuagint. Furthermore, the Vulgate rejects 3 and 4 Maccabees and Psalm cli., which generally appear in the Septuagint, while the Septuagint and Luther’s Bible reject 4 Ezra, which is found in the Vulgate and the Apocrypha Proper. Luther’s Bible, moreover, rejects also 3 Ezra. It should further be observed that the Vulgate adds the Prayer of Manasses and 3 and 4 Ezra after the New Testament as apocryphal.
It is hardly possible to form any classification which is not open to some objection. In any case the classification must be to some extent provisional, since scholars are still divided as to the original language, date and place of composition of some of the books which must come under our classification. We may, however, discriminate (i.) the Palestinian and (ii.) the Hellenistic literature of the Old Testament, though even this distinction is open to serious objections. The former literature was generally written in Hebrew or Aramaic, and seldom in Greek; the latter naturally in Greek. Next, within these literatures we shall distinguish three or four classes according to the nature of the subject with which they deal. Thus the books of which we have to treat will be classed as: (a) Historical, (b) Legendary (Haggadic), (c) Apocalyptic, (d) Didactic or Sapiential.
The Apocrypha Proper then would be classified as follows:—
- i. Palestinian Jewish Literature:—
- (a) Historical.
- 1 (i.e. 3) Ezra.
- 1 Maccabees.
- (b) Legendary.
- Book of Baruch (see Baruch).
- (c) Apocalyptic.
- 2 (i.e. 4) Ezra (see also under separate article on Apocalyptic Literature).
- (d) Didactic.
- Sirach (see Ecclesiasticus).
- ii. Hellenistic Jewish Literature:—
- Historical and Legendary.
- Book of Wisdom (see Wisdom, Book of.)
Since all these books are dealt with in separate articles, they call for no further notice here.
2 (a). Other Old Testament Apocryphal Literature:—
- (a) Historical.
- History of Johannes Hyrcanus.
- (b) Legendary.
- Book of Jubilees.
- Paralipomena Jeremiae, or the Rest of the Words of Baruch.
- Martyrdom of Isaiah.
- Pseudo-Philo’s Liber Antiquitatum.
- Books of Adam.
- Jannes and Jambres.
- Joseph and Asenath.
- (c) Apocalyptic.
- (See separate article.)
- (d) Didactic or Sapiential.
- Pirke Aboth.
(a) Historical.—The History of Johannes Hyrcanus is mentioned in 1 Macc. xvi. 23-24, but no trace has been discovered of its existence elsewhere. It must have early passed out of circulation, as it was unknown to Josephus.
(b) Legendary.—The Book of Jubilees was written in Hebrew by a Pharisee between the year of the accession of Hyrcanus to the high-priesthood in 135 and his breach with the Pharisees some years before his death in 105 B.C. Jubilees was translated into Greek and from Greek into Ethiopic and Latin. It is
- Thus some of the additions to Daniel and the Prayer of Manasses are most probably derived from a Semitic original written in Palestine, yet in compliance with the prevailing opinion they are classed under Hellenistic Jewish literature. Again, the Slavonic Enoch goes back undoubtedly in parts to a Semitic original, though most of it was written by a Greek Jew in Egypt.