(Continued from page 319)
Thus in the Early Fathers is at times seen between them a slight interchangeability between their Homologoumena and Antilegomena; and less so the exclusion of spuriously-deemed texts.
The early writings of the Apostolic Fathers were venerated and respected as divine scripture and incorporated into the Homologoumena. Other writings were placed in the Antilegomena. Till to this day, some of the Eastern Churches still retain them - though the Western Church does not place them to canonical usage and rank as She formerly did. Their canons are much more extensive. The Armenians have one uncanonical letter to the Corinthians and two from the same. The Coptic-Arabic Church include with the canonical Scriptures the Apostolic Constitutions and the Clementine Epistles. The Ethiopic New Testament also contains the so-called 'Apostolic Constitutions'.
So at the close of the first decade of the fifth century the entire Western Church was in possession of the full correct Canon of the New Testament with certainty. For the Church as a whole the content of the New Testament was definitely fixed, and the discussion closed.
The final process of the NEW TESTAMENT Canon's development had been twofold: positive, in the permanent inclusion of several writings which had long hovered on the line between canonical and quasi-canonical; and negative, by the definite elimination of certain privileged writings (such as the Shepherd of Hermas and the Apocalypse of Peter, etc.,) that had enjoyed here and there a canonical or quasi-canonical standing.
The criterion of inspiration (less correctly known as the criterion of canonicity) is simple. The Church is the ultimate criterion. It's been demonstrated that the Church is the test and standard for the inspiration of the New Testament exclusive of any other criterion. This external guarantee is the sufficient, universal, and ordinary proof of inspiration. Moreover, by its very nature inspiration eludes human observation and is not self-evident, being essentially superphysical and supernatural. Its sole absolute criterion, therefore, is the Holy inspiring Spirit, witnessing decisively to Itself, not in the subjective experience of individual souls, as Calvin maintained, neither in the doctrinal and spiritual tenor of Holy Writ itself, according to Luther, but through the constituted organ and custodian of Its revelations, the Church. All other evidences fall short of the certainty and finality necessary to compel the absolute assent of faith.
It is false and inaccurate history for you to allege St. Jerome never accepted the Deutero-canonical books. This is untrue. In fact, he strenuously defended their status as inspired Scripture and in fact, calls people like you, foolish sycophants for alleging such; writing, 'What sin have I committed if I followed the judgment of the churches? But he who brings charges against me for relating the objections that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the story of Susanna, the Son of the Three Children, and the story of Bel and the Dragon, which are not found in the Hebrew volume (ie. canon), proves that he is just a foolish sycophant. For I wasn't relating my own personal views, but rather the remarks that they [the Jews] are wont to make against us' (Against Rufinus 11:33 [A.D. 402]).
In earlier correspondence with Pope St. Damasus, St. Jerome did not call the deuterocanonical books unscriptural, he simply said that Jews he knew did not regard them as canonical. But for himself, he acknowledged the authority of the Church in defining the canon. When Pope St. Damasus and the Councils of Carthage and Hippo included the deuterocanon in Scripture, that was good enough for St. Jerome. He 'followed the judgment of the churches.' And he calls persons such as you, sycophants. So your claim is mooted. All 'church fathers' accepted the Catholic Canon - so your position is Protestant and needs serious revision.
You were correct in saying that Sola Scriptura is not found in the Bible, but your fallacy in demanding a parallel passage in the Bible stating the Tri-unity of God, is unfounded. The Bible not only teaches that, but also, additionally, Christians do not believe in Sola Scriptura as the protestant community unfortunately does; but rather accepts this doctrine through the Oral Gospel - the Apostolic Tradition handed down through the ages. You yourself admit there is no such verse in the Bible teaching Sola Scriptura, hence, it's unbiblical. You also made the laughable claim that if you put all parts of the bible together, it supposedly teaches Sola Scriptura. Not only is that false, but you presented no evidence of this because there isn't any. Anybody can make the same claim too, for their beliefs which you reject.
You also cited Jewish historians (Flavius Josephus and Philo) as 'authorities' to 'justify' your rejection of the Bible. Why are you not then Jewish if you consider these to be your 'scriptural' and 'spiritual' authority? They reject Christianity and the New Testament. Also, they are just part of one denomination in the Jewish 'religion', and not all the Jewish denominations reject what is called the deuterocanonical books. You amply reflect the double mind, the profoundly disturbed mind at war with itself. You purport to accept a Jewish council held by a certain group of Jews in the 2nd century, yet you partially reject their council and their unbelief in Christianity. You also reject all the Councils of Christianity. It seems you only embrace what is convenient for yourself.
The Lord Jesus Christ makes sure the earth stays in its place and not spinning on itself 1000 miles per hour while at the same time traveling for some reason at 67,000 + miles per hour towards the sun, according to present day doctrinairisms. The Lord Jesus Christ works marvelously even on the most intricately tiny details of creation with His mind and it is stunning. He makes sure that the sun and the moon do their service and give us their light - while going about the earth. Heliocentrism is a pagan myth, and major false religion of the masses. This myth is unprovable because it is already discredited scientifically. It is a useless fiction. The Church's decisions and acts against Galileo (who by the way, fathered children out of wed lock, and deserted 2 of them, so you are dealing with and defending an immoral character here) were 100% correct. Also, one must note that you exaggerate the events surrounding Galileo. He was in fact treated cordially; he lived in the Papal apartments and was treated with the utmost amenities of a king. The only aspect of his life that had changed was his being barred from publishing anything publically, because he had agreed under oath never to publish his heliocentric mythology, but betrayed that trust, 15 years later. Lastly, he recanted his mythology and in fact, professed his belief in Geocentrism (without duress), and only called heliocentrism a silly fantasy that he wanted to make sense out of, recreationally, while exercising foolish empty vanity. So he never even believed in it in the first place. If you want me provide scientific evidence for Geocentrism, you may request for me to provide it. I did not want to make this communication too long due to your short attention span.
Now, regarding your false allegations of Christianity supposedly suppressing the Bible; it is simple. The Bible is a Catholic Book, and when protestants put their own spin on what this is -chapter and verse - they are distorting and doing violence to the word of God both the written word and the Living Word as in the Blessed Lord Himself. Christianity must offset erroneous protestant claims about scripture. The Bible is a Catholic work from first to last. It was given to the Church, for the Church and only the Church is its proper interpreter. No one has the right to lay claim to the Church's possessions and claim them for themselves. That's called stealing. The Church has the right to suppress and destroy counterfeits of its works. The Bible is the intellectual and spiritual property of the Church. When the protestant community and other deviants began bootlegging the Sacred Works of the Church and not only plagiarizing them, but also claiming them for their own and the accompaniment royalties, the Church had the right to enforce official action towards such dangerous activities on its Sacred property. When the bootlegger deviants began counterfeiting the Scriptures, they so often interspersed their own fables, beliefs, errors, preconceived notions, and errant presuppositions. The bootleggers had no rightful authority to commit the crimes they did. Only the Church is infallible in its entire works and in the translation of holy works; the bootleggers do not possess such a gift or power, so their works were by that fact, dangerous to the Faith and the Morals of people. The bootleggers perverted the scriptures and utilized the name and fame already given to the Bible by the Church, for their corrupted works. False information leads to false ideas, and false ideas lead to illicit and immoral actions; 'error had no rights' as the saying went. The idea that no one knew anything about the Gospel during the time of Christianity's reign in the Christian countries of Europe is erroneous at best and blindness at worst. The idea that nobody ever heard of Christianity until 1500 years after Christ is laughable and ridiculous. The Bible was always widely disseminated and available since the beginning. However, the English people were not without the Bible in those early years, as the Latin Vulgate was widely disseminated and in daily use (Latin was the primary language in the modern world at the time and known by the English and civilized world). In addition, numerous paraphrases, translations, and commentaries of various Bible stories were well known through scop and gleeman, the popular storytellers of their day.
The Bible assumed the name 'Vulgate' before the people, which means the 'disseminated' or people's Bible. The Bible was in wide circulation and nobody believed in Sola Scriptura as you allege. Church Latin is the Divinely constituted and appointed language of Christianity. The idea that none of the English speaking peoples had the Bible in their language is a fantasy. Also, the first Bible in English was disseminated by Aidan, Bishop of Landisfarne, who died in 651, encouraged his flock to read the Scriptures in their own tongue. Also, Bishop of Sherborne until his death in 709, translated the Bible into the Saxon language. Between 721 and 901 various writers, including Venerable Bede, Eadfrith, Alcuin, and King Alfred translated parts of all the Bible stories into Old English. English is a profane language and went through great periods of transitions as is wont to happen to profane languages. The translations made by Aelfric, Archbishop of Cantebury from 994 to 1005, were in circulation. There were many English translations in existence after and during his time. It was not until the 15thcentury that English emerged as a definite language. The alleged work of Wyclif in 1380, an English translation, was actually not his and he was not responsible for it and mush historical doubt has been cast on the work alleged to be Wyclif's. The translation was largely Catholic in tone and diction and most of the manuscripts of this version were found in the possession of notably Catholic families. There are over 150 manuscripts of this type, and the translation was made from the Vulgate. In 1582 the Douay Rheims Bible was translated by Catholic English Scholars who had fled to France from the virulent Anglican persecutions. The Bible in English was revised from time to time and brought up to date, since English is a changing language. Bishop Challoner of England undertook the task and published a complete revision of the Douay Rheims in 1750, and several less revisions appeared between that time and the 20th century.
It is better that you don't even try to quote Catholic Teaching, theology, principles, sources; because it doesn't seem like you have even a most basic rudimentary grasp of Catholic Theology and Teaching. It seems too lofty and above your poor comprehension level. You demonstrate a basic common ineptitude concerning Scripture as is common to the protestant community. This is so well known to the world and is indeed a cause of making the protestant community the laughing stock of the world. In regard to your comments about the Jesuits being suppressed, you must not understand the difference between the Church's Dogmatic and Disciplinary Laws. Also, you criticize and misunderstand indulgences. You might want to learn some basic concepts before purporting to speak upon them, because you really don't have any knowledge on these things. To you belongs in no way the ability to make moral lectures. The cult of protestantism believes that one can sin all they want as long as they 'believe' they'll be saved. There is no such thing as 'sin' according to protestant cults, but only 'believing' in their false personalized gods.
The illogicalities of the protestant hermeneutic stem from the protestant chimera and hermeneutical which states that the 'holy spirit' will allegedly guide the individual 'believer' while perusing the bible, but yet there are continual doctrinal disputes among them. The conclusion that one reaches upon closer examination of protestant hermeneutics is that they must hold each of their 'holy spirits' to be different from everybody else's 'holy spirit' in the Protestant community. This Protestant illogic is too well known even to their fellow pagans and is a source of criticism for them.
Another illogicality of protestantisms lies in an absence of a continuity of Apostolic Succession. The 16th century Protestant outbreak was never commissioned by the Apostles. Their self appointed 'ministers' cannot trace their lineage back to the time of the Apostles. The protestant rebels simply sent themselves upon whim and rebellion against Our Lord. They abandoned the exegetic patrimony of the Church; and shunned the unanimous consent of the Fathers.
The cult of Protestantism is ever a prey of party disputes, dissensions, and rivalries. There are over 50,000+ heretical faiths in the protestant cult and each disagree with the other on the most fundamental points of doctrine. They cannot agree and keep dividing and subdividing by the year. Their only similarity appears to be their opposition to the Catholic Church. Today the divisions and subdivisions of protestantism are too well known to need comment. The concept of the One True Religion, One True God, and One True Faith are based on the philosophical law known as the Law of noncontradiction. Two propositions which contradict each other cannot both be true. This is one of the 3 laws of thought. Therefore, various pagan religions such as protestant cult traditions offering contradictory doctrines cannot be affirmed as true. They are all false. To deny this is to violate the Law of noncontradiction, because you falsely and basely believe that all cults in the protestant community believe in the same 'basic' doctrines, when they obviously don't, as is clearly evident in their divisions. It is the same as asserting oxymorons such as: 'I am a sodomite ('gay') Christian' or 'I am a Christian Devil worshiper.'
The Church and her Popes, Cardinals, Primates, Patriarchs, Metropolitan Archbishops, Archbishops, Monsignors, Vicar Apostolics, Titular Bishops, Nuncios, Apostolic Delegates, Coadjutors, Auxiliary Bishops, Bishops, Ordinaries, Vicar Foranes, Vicar Generals, Curates, Urban and Rural Deans, Priests, the Major Orders, the Minor Orders, Monks, Hermits, Abbots, Prioresses, Mother Superiors, Brothers, Nuns, Third Order Religious, Secular and Parish Priests, and all her ecclesiastics are perfect and never make mistakes. Holiness is a mark of the true Religion, and this is only found in the Church and its Religion called Christianity. You present protestant sources for your anticlerical mythology; this is not evidence. It brings you grief to see the unconquerable holiness and unity of Christianity, and yet you realize and notice the cult of protestantism is dead in immoralities and is ever a prey to unending party disputes. There is a new denomination in the protestant cult being formed by the day. You seem to be a fan of popular fiction. This is not a surprise since protestants are pagans that are driven to and fro with myths. Anticlericalism and Antimonasticism has always taken the form of the popular fiction of the day. Your - quite frankly - disturbing fantasies reflects a mind that is marred in 'sins of the flesh' (impurity). You envy us, the Christians, and to find momentary comfort for your unhappiness and uneasiness you go about and look for the most ridiculous and sinful fantasies ever conceived by the mind of man. These, you readily embrace with an unparalleled fanaticism, worship, and idolatry.
It seems that the up and coming self appointed leaders of the protestant community and daily springing denominations feel the need to establish their intellectual and 'theological' bona fides of protestant 'legitimacy' by engaging the greater part of their time in stirring their congregations in polemics towards what they perceive to be Catholicity; after throwing in a few straw men and many other misconceptions against the Catholic Faith, it would almost seem that the newly springing denominations exist and find this as their only purpose. Instead of arguing and criticizing their parent denomination from which they broke, they align their deadly emotions towards Catholicity. The last time I checked, only the Anglicans and Lutheran Protestants left directly from the Catholic Church. The others however, are just break-offs from their variant parent denominations (pun intended). Actually, it would seem that basically all the denominations have an inherent characteristic of unifying and attacking the Church through lies and half truths, rather than attacking their fellow protestant parent denomination's doctrines, because that's where their sympathies lie. Additionally, you risk being alienated by the protestant community if you decided to attack one of its cults, since you are a part of it and seek their camaraderie and community support.
The protestant community was founded by Martin Luther in Germany in 1520. Christ established here on earth only one church. There can only be one [true church] not many. The other communities are not churches because they do not have Apostolic Succession - the ability to trace their Bishops back to Christ's original Apostles. They lack an internal constitutive principle of what Christianity truly is. Many sources indicate there is an excess of 50,000 protestant denominations alone. However, this figure rises daily in view of man's penchant for creating new faiths, new denominations. Do a Google search and you'll see the figures yourself. The disunity of these communities is no secret despite some seeing this lack of harmony as a celebration of (their) diversity, the true Church points out that this expressly contradicts what Christ repeatedly spoke of to the Church (regarding indefectibility and unity). The protestants are deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of Salvation. Sadly, they are without the means of salvation and this is something the protestant must be aware of, if not implicitly, at least explicitly. The protestant community originates from a weak chain of hermeneutics, a thread they chose to explore as an avenue of interpretation that is right under man's desires - instead of the word of God. They ascribe to sola scriptura (scripture alone); this protestant hermeneutic is of quite recent historical development/times and its inauthenticity is easily demonstrable in consequence of its hermeneutic of discontinuity (of Apostolic exegetics and Tradition) and its devastating results; whose value derives from that fullness of opposition and luxurious pertinacity of private hermeneutics. The Church is one. The Church has unity in doctrine, worship, and government; Christians have One Lord. One Faith, One Baptism; unlike the protestants. There has never been any other society, 'religion', or government whose members are so closely united. The Church is truly 'one fold' and 'one shepherd', its unity standing out unequaled in all history. The Church is Universal; however, in the protestant cults their denominations are national or localized. The Church is Holy because of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit alive in its members. Its inexhaustible holiness is too well known to need recomment here. The Church has the gift of miracles. The Lord Jesus Christ promised His Church the gift of miracles, a sign of holiness. 'He who believes in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these he shall do' (John 14:12). The Church carries out numberless works of holiness. The Church shines in her children, Saints and Martyrs as a light to the world. The Church is Apostolic and derives Her Holy Orders, doctrines, and mission from the Apostles. It is 'built upon the foundation of the Apostles,' of which Christ is the corner-stone (Ephesians. 2:20). It holds intact the doctrine and traditions of the Apostles, to whom Christ gave authority to teach. Those denominations that broke away from the Church thus lost their connection from the Apostles. They were all began by individuals who could never have had any authority from either Christ or the Apostles. Most of them came some 1500 years too late. Sola Scriptura is a sham and a crutch for weak minded people who need strength in numbers; Sola Scriptura - bible alone - is the crutch upon which protestants have rallied upon since their founding over 400 year back; 'wrestling it to their destruction.'
Impossible for Papal Rome to prove that true believers in Israel did not always consider Apocrypha with suspicion!
TCE replies: 20th October 2012
Dear Clark Henry
thank you for your return missive and the predictable ad hominem attacks.
Let us see if you have answered a single point?
You write: 'Your first statement under 'Luther threw 7 books out of the Bible' is indecipherable verbiage. It also seems that you set up, a straw man, your own question, and (then) answered it.'
TCE: In your rush to be insulting you prove yourself incapable of even reading our clear introduction in which we explained that the 'first statement' you call 'a straw man' was made in reply to another Papal Roman Catholic! If you are going to continue to throw out insults about intellectual abilities you need to take more care with your own 'expertise' in the English written language, e.g.:
'These books treat largely of the incidents and events during the life of Christ not related in the books of the Bible'? 'Treat largely of the incidents ...' - what kind of grammar is that - 'indecipherable verbiage'?
Researching the source(s) of your material we easily discovered words and phrases that you have omitted - and other phrases you added - in order to try and paint a different picture of the 'Apocrypha'!
Since you are so fond of using The Catholic Encyclopedia (while attempting to adjust the thrust of passages that do not present the picture as you wish to see it) we will therefore have a thorough look at the rest of their treatment of the subject and high-light in bold red (with added italics as necessary!) some of the sentences you chose to omit from the original material while also adding TCE comments, as in these examples from:
The Catholic Encyclopedia: Etymologically, the derivation of Apocrypha is very simple, being from the Greek apokryphos, hidden, and corresponding to the neuter plural of the adjective. The use of the singular, 'Apocryphon', is both legitimate and convenient, when referring to a single work. When we would attempt to seize the literary sense attaching to the word, the task is not so easy. It has been employed in various ways by early patristic writers, who have sometimes entirely lost sight of the etymology.
TCE: You use these words to attempt a switch to: 'It seems you have entirely lost sight of the meaning and origin of this word and in consequence relegated it to an incorrect usage.' We are hardly flattered to be lumped in with 'early patristic writers' but, as careful research reveals, and even The Catholic Encyclopedia admits, 'apocrypha' is not used in a separate, solitary manner and they admit determination of 'the literary sense attaching to the word ... is not so easy'.
The Catholic Encyclopedia [continued]: Thus it has the connotation 'uncanonical' with some of them. St. Jerome evidently applied the term to all quasi-scriptural books which in his estimation lay outside the canon of the Bible, and the Protestant Reformers, following Jerome's catalogue of Old Testament Scriptures - one which was at once erroneous and singular among the Fathers of the Church - applied the title Apocrypha to the excess of the Catholic canon of the Old Testament over that of the Jews. Naturally, Catholics refuse to admit such a denomination, and we employ 'deuterocanonical' to designate this literature, which non-Catholics conventionally and improperly know as the 'Apocrypha'. (See CANON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.)
You write: However, protestants stole the linguistic designation from the Church (specifically from the Council of Hippo) and conventionally and improperly use the name Apocrypha to denote an unfavourable signification, comporting both want of genuineness and canonicity. This is an incorrect usage of your protestant [sic] and erroneous application of the name. It is properly employed only of a well defined class of literature, putting forth scriptural or quasi-scriptural pretensions concerning the New Testament.
The Catholic Encyclopedia: 'The original and proper sense of the term apocryphal as applied to the pretended sacred books was early obscured'
TCE: The evidence reveals that no one 'stole' anything but, rather, Papal Rome and associated heterodox groups embraced these works (called 'apocrypha', meaning 'hidden' or 'doubtful', by those who acknowledge the historical record which shows that they are un-canonical) and preferred to call them 'deuterocanonical,' or books of 'the second canon.' The Catholic Encyclopedia actually wrote:
'Accordingly it may be accepted as highly probable that in its original meaning an apocryphal writing had no unfavorable import, but simply denoted a composition which claimed a sacred origin, and was supposed to have been hidden for generations, either absolutely, awaiting the due time of its revelation, or relatively, inasmuch as knowledge of it was confined to a limited esoteric circle. However, the name Apocrypha soon came to have an unfavourable signification which it still retains, comporting both want of genuineness and canonicity. These are the negative aspects of the modern application of the name; on its positive side it is properly employed only of a well defined class of literature, putting forth scriptural or quasi-scriptural pretensions, and which originated in part among the Hebrews during the two centuries preceding Christ and for a space after, and in part among Christians, both orthodox and heterodox, in the early centuries of our era.
So, contrary to your doctoring of the paragraph, The Catholic Encyclopedia actually speculates unconvincingly that, when speaking of 'the term apocryphal', 'it may be accepted as highly probable that in its original meaning an apocryphal writing had no unfavorable import'. These terms would have to be admitted, by The Catholic Encyclopedia, to be speculative and by no means conclusive. It further admits that the term 'simply denoted a composition which claimed a sacred origin, and was supposed to have been hidden for generations, either absolutely, awaiting the due time of its revelation, or relatively, inasmuch as knowledge of it was confined to a limited esoteric circle'.
The claim that 'knowledge of it was confined to a limited esoteric circle' fools only 'the ignorant and unstable' (2 Peter 3:16) for it is another 'Emperor's New Clothes scam' that must obviously be accepted by blind faith and not via facts - because, obviously, only this invented (completely unknown!) 'esoteric circle' would know about their existence!
If anything, these statements by The Catholic Encyclopedia support the viewpoint we have stated - apart from their frequent use of unprovable phrases, such as: 'soon came to have' and 'the negative aspects of the modern application of the name'. It is impossible for Papal Rome to prove that true believers in Israel did not always hold these works with utter suspicion!
While objecting to 'etymology' that does not square with its own agenda, The Catholic Encyclopedia has to agree that 'St. Jerome' held a view that is not consistent with the Papal Roman Catholic Ekklesia. However, while claiming that Jerome's list was 'erroneous' and ignoring that it was accepted for such a long period of Rome's history, it glides over the fact that there were other 'Church Fathers' who also debated which apocryphal books were canonical - so they dissemble when they claim his view was 'singular' for, while his view was more emphatic than the other 'Fathers' would confess, it was hardly unique! And, obviously, the fact that the 'Church Fathers' were not unanimously in agreement over the apocryphal works causes severe damage to any view that the doctrines of 'Apostolic Succession' and 'Papal Infallibility' - both of which have proven to be false - would lead to the correct assessment of the canon in every corner of the Christian world. Obviously, if Peter was the first pope and his successors were equally infallible, there would never, ever, have been any dispute over the canon!
Indisputably the word Apocrypha is from the Greek, meaning hidden things, but is used by ecclesiastical writers for matters which are: (1) secret or mysterious; (2) or unknown in origin, forged, or spurious; or, (3) unrecognized, or uncanonical. The evidence we have already presented reveals the fact that these terms are fully applicable for good reason - and it is also a fact that these books had this name before they were officially approved by the Council of Trent, and so it is not a name given them by Protestants so your attempt to defame non-Papists fails utterly. Notice that The Catholic Encyclopedia also admits that the 'Protestant Reformers ... applied the title Apocrypha to the excess of the Catholic canon of the Old Testament over that of the Jews' - i.e. they admit that the Jews did not accept the apocrypha in their canon (see the futility of your later 'arguments')!
Whether you choose to admit it, or not, the record shows that you cannot conclusively prove your claims and our earlier statements stand. It appears that you cannot recognise that your final sentence, regarding the use of 'the name Apocrypha', summarises a large part of the truth recognised by the best scholars and even Jerome!
A fairly recent book 'A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture' (Orchard, B., & Sutcliffe, E. F. [Eds.], Toronto; New York; Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson, 1953) made telling comments on the Old Testament canon in Palestine and Alexandria. But first note the following acknowledgment of the copy of the Catholic Commentary presented to Pope Pius XII (on page ii):
SEGRETERIA DI STATO DI SUA SANTITA
Dal Vaticano, li
January 29, 1954
Dear Dom Orchard
I have the honour to acknowledge, at the August direction of the Holy Father, the copy of A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture which you in the name of the Editorial Committee presented to Him in the Audience of August 26th last, and also the specially bound copy of the same volume which was subsequently received by His Holiness. The Sovereign Pontiff would have me convey to you and to all those associated with you in the preparation and publication of this volume, His sentiments of paternal gratification. In the accomplishment of the difficult task of editing a scientific commentary, in small compass, on the entire Bible, you have succeeded in producing a most useful work for all English-speaking countries. It is to be presumed that scholarly research and the zeal for accuracy of the Editorial Committee will further enhance this usefulness by the incorporation of necessary or opportune improvements in the future editions of so valuable a publication. With the prayer that this Commentary may serve through its diffusion among English-speaking Catholics as an aid towards an increased knowledge and love of the Sacred Scriptures, the Sovereign Pontiff imparts to you, to the members of the Editorial Committee, and to all your associates, His special Apostolic Blessing.
With sentiments of esteem, I remain, Devotedly yours in Christ, J. B. MONTINI, Prosecr.
Note these comments on the canon:
§ 13a Protocanonical and Deuterocanonical Books - The picture is as yet by no means complete. We must remember that besides the Palestinian Jews, there was a large flourishing community of Greek-speaking Jews, whose principal centre was at Alexandria. These Jews played a most important and far-reaching part in the history of the Canon, because their practice differed from that of Palestine. It was for their benefit that the Greek translation of the Scriptures known as the Septuagint (LXX) was made, which contained together with the books found in the present Hebrew Bible additional books and passages now known as deuterocanonical books and passages.
§ b In view of the important place these parts of the Bible occupy in the succeeding pages and discussion, we ought to consider the meaning of the phrase a little more carefully before proceeding further. All the books found in the Hebrew Bible are called protocanonical, those found only in the Greek are called deuterocanonical. These phrases were first used by Sixtus of Siena, in 1566, protocanonical denoting those books whose inspired character had always been accepted, and deuterocanonical denoting those whose inspiration was recognized throughout the Universal Church after it had been doubted in some places, and which consequently came to occupy, in point of time, the second place in the Canon. Anglicans always refer to the deuterocanonical books as the Apocrypha, and in their Bibles they are printed separately under that heading, though nonconformist Bibles omit these altogether in accordance with the general Protestant rejection of them. Confusion may easily arise, unless it is borne in mind that for the Catholic apocryphal means that a work is neither inspired nor authentic, i.e. is not the work of the author to whom it is ascribed, or, if it is anonymous, does not belong to the date to which it is assigned. For the Protestant it might, according to context, have this meaning or it could refer to a deuterocanonical work. Because of the double use of the word apocryphal Catholics avoid applying it to the deuterocanonical books.
§ c Reason for Difference - What is the explanation of this discrepancy between the books accepted by the Palestinian and Hellenistic Jews? Some suppose that the facts prove the existence of two Canons, a shorter Palestinian one and a more extensive Alexandrian one. Others maintain that prior to the Christian era the limits of canonicity were more widely drawn, and embraced all the books of both Canons, and that later the deuterocanonical books were rejected by the application of narrow and rigid pharisaical criteria. The question is not an easy one to answer. First of all, it is unlikely that the Alexandrian Jews would go so far as to set up a different official Canon from that of Jerusalem, and, secondly, there is no trace of dissension between the communities upon this point. What is really more probable is that the Hellenistic Jews conceived a broader view of inspiration, not restricting it either to the Hebrew language or to the centuries preceding Esdras (cf. Wis 7:27), and that they used a larger number of books without troubling about whether they had received any formal sanction. In a word, then, the Alexandrians would accept books as inspired which might not be acceptable to the doctors in Jerusalem; but even in Palestine some of the deuterocanonical books seem to have been received and used before and after the Christian era, e.g. Baruch seems to have been used in the synagogues in commemorating the fall of the Holy City (cf. Apostolic Constitutions; PG 1, 896), and, according to Irenaeus and Origen, appears at one time to have been united with Jer (cf. Adv Haer 5, 35; PG 7, 1219; Com in Ps I 12, 1084). Ecclus too was held in high esteem and was frequently quoted in rabbinical literature (cf. JE 3, 148). § d Similar evidence is available for the other deuterocanonical writings. Doubts and differences were reduced for the Palestinian Jews towards the end of the first century A.D. when they seem to have accepted as sacred and canonical only those books distinguished by certain characteristics. It is suggested that these were: (I) Conformity with the Law of Moses (cf. Josephus c Apion 1:8), (ii) Antiquity, i.e. written not later than the time of Esdras (ibid.), (iii) Hebrew language (cf. *E. Schuerer, A History of the Jewish People, Eng. Tr. 1898, Div 2, vol 1, p 9 f.; Div 2, vol. 2, p 81 f.), (iv) Palestinian origin, as illustrated by the attempts to place the writing of Ezechiel in Palestine (cf. *H. E. Ryle, The Canon of the OT, 1892, p 263 f.). The deuterocanonical books did not meet these strict requirements, and despite the great spiritual value of some of them and the esteem in which they had been held, they were ultimately rejected. Wis and 2 Mac, for instance, were written in Greek, Ecclus and 1 Mac after the time of Esdras, Baruch outside Palestine, the rest probably in Aramaic, both of Palestinian and non-Palestinian origin. (On the whole question, cf. Zarb, op. cit. pp 71-78.)
§ e Closing of Palestinian Canon - Josephus and 4 Esd, towards the end of the 1st cent. A.D., give us the earliest estimates of the number of sacred books, but they do not actually name them. 4 Esd implies that the number is 24 (cf. § 11e supra, JE 3, 142); Josephus gives it as 22, which is probably an artificial modification suggested by the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and obtained by joining Ru to Jg and Lam to Jer (cf. JE 3, 151; c Apion 1:8). He appears to leave it an open question whether there might not also be other sacred writings besides these 22: 'It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time', c Apion, 1:8.
§ f At Jamnia - At the Synod held here decisions were reached which greatly influenced the opinion of Palestinian Jewry, but in the light of the discussions which continued long after it, one would hardly be justified in holding that the Palestinian Canon was finally settled then. For various reasons objections continued to be raised against several of the protocanonical books, e.g. Prov, Ru, Est, Eccl and Cant (cf. HDB 1, 773; 3, 606 f.), which were not completely eliminated even at the end of the 2nd cent. At the same time there are signs that some at least of the deuterocanonical books found acceptance in Palestine (cf. supra, § 13c and JE 3, 148). The available evidence points to the end of the 2nd cent. as the time when the shorter Canon was virtually settled. The earliest explicit testimony which is to be found in the Talmudic treatise Baba Bathra dates back to that time. 'In the course of the 2nd cent. of the common era a fixed group of hagiographa, to which a relatively less importance was ascribed than to the prophets, was constituted. The earliest testimony as to the contents of this group is B.B., 14b' (JE 3, 153). The Canon of Jewry, then, which finally excluded the deuterocanonical books, is later than the apostolic age, after which no Christian revelation was made, and during which, therefore, the Christian Canon must have been fixed in principle.
Your authority - The Catholic Encyclopedia - speaks approvingly of works clearly produced by dangerous heretics!
TCE: This commentary shares the usual hopeful view of Papal Rome towards the canon - a view that we repeatedly show to be at odds with the view of the Lord Jesus Christ regarding the work of the Holy Spirit who would lead all true believers 'into all truth' (John 14:26; 16:7ff. etc.) while the popes floundered from one heresy to another.
Note also the comment from The Catholic Encyclopedia: The original and proper sense of the term apocryphal as applied to the pretended sacred books was early obscured.
Now why would The Catholic Encyclopedia use the word 'pretended' of the apocryphal books? Is this a slip of the pen or mind? And why did you omit this word!?
The Catholic Encyclopedia: But a clue to it may be recognized in the so-called Fourth Book of Esdras, which relates that Estrus (Era) by divine inspiration composed ninety-four books. Of these, twenty-four were restorations of the sacred literature of the Israelites which had perished in the Captivity; they were to be published openly, but the remaining were to be guarded in secret for the exclusive use of the wise (cf. Daniel 12:4, 9, where the prophet is bidden to shut up and seal an inspired book until an appointed time).
TCE: Firstly, it is a claim from the apocryphal book - and without any kind of support from genuine Scripture - that it was written 'by divine inspiration'. Likewise the claim that Estrus' work composed of 'restorations of the sacred literature of the Israelites which had perished in the Captivity' is without support! To try and use the Daniel quote to support the idea that some material had been 'guarded in secret for the exclusive use of the wise' is a typical cultic ploy - and equally without support. Such postulations give rise to the kind of wild speculation that is meat and drink to cult leaders and the 'Dan Brown's' of the world!
The Catholic Encyclopedia: 'Ancient literature, especially in the Orient, used methods much more free and elastic than those permitted by our modern and Occidental culture. Pseudographic composition was in vogue among the Jews in the two centuries before Christ and for some time later. The attribution of a great name of the distant past to a book by its real author, who thus effaced his own personality, was, in some cases at least, a mere literary fiction which deceived no one except the ignorant. This holds good for the so-called 'Wisdom of Solomon', written in Greek and belonging to the Church's sacred canon. In other cases, where the assumed name did not stand as a symbol of a type of a certain kind of literature, the intention was not without a degree of at least objective literary dishonesty.'
TCE: Again, to claim dubious works were 'in vogue among the Jews' is an attempt to fool us that ALL the Jews accepted such works. The Catholic Encyclopedia also posits another foolish claim that it might be acceptable to follow error by some Jews and accept works that were not genuinely and provably Scripture! To make a statement that such works were 'in some cases at least ... mere literary fiction which deceived no one except the ignorant' is to admit to the obvious - no sane theologian can accept books of such dubious origin for, as The Catholic Encyclopedia admits (of some books at least - even if they were not the ones that were of use to Papal Rome!): 'the intention was not without a degree of at least objective literary dishonesty. The difference between claiming that 'Ancient literature, especially in the Orient used methods much more free and elastic than those permitted by our modern and Occidental culture' betrays the clear tendency of Papal Rome to take a very different view from the orthodox Christian belief in accepting only the clearly attested Word of God as worth following on the basis of Scripture itself. When we read Acts 17:11: 'These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so' we must recognise that the Bereans made diligent and earnest inquiry, but not only on the Sabbath or in the synagogue but as a daily employment proving that it was common to have the Scriptures amongst Jewish families (in contrast to Rome's proven attempts to keep the Word of God from the laity)! They received the Old Testament as the standard of truth and with no indication that the Apocrypha played any part in their reckoning, instead they took their guidance from the known Scripture, e.g. Isaiah 34:16:
Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.
The Catholic Encyclopedia: Under their title - 'Jewish apocalypses' - we read:
The most important and valuable of the extant Jewish apocrypha are those which have a large apocalyptic element; that is, which profess to contain visions and revelations of the unseen world and the Messianic future. Jewish apocalyptic literature is a theme which deserves and has increasingly received the attention of all interested in the development of the religious thought of Israel, that body of concepts and tendencies in which are fixed the roots of the great doctrinal principles of Christianity itself, just as its Divine Founder took His temporal generation from the stock of orthodox Judaism. The Jewish apocalypses furnish the completing links in the progress of Jewish theology and fill what would otherwise be a gap, though a small one, between the advanced stage marked by the deuterocanonical books and its full maturity in the time of Our Lord; a maturity so relatively perfect that Jesus could suppose as existing in the popular consciousness, without teaching de novo, the doctrines of future retribution, the resurrection of the body, and the existence, nature, and office of angels. Jewish apocalyptic writing is an attempt to supply the place of prophecy, which had been dead for centuries, and it has its roots in the sacred oracles of Israel. Hebrew prophecy on its human side had its springs, its occasions, and immediate objects in the present; the prophets were inspired men who found matter for comfort as well as rebuke and warning in the actual conditions of Israel's theocratic life. But when ages had elapsed, and the glowing Messianic promises of the prophets had not been realized; when the Jewish people had chafed, not through two or three, but many generations, under the bitter yoke of foreign masters or the constantly repeated pressure of heathen states, reflecting and fervent spirits, finding no hope in the actual order of things, looked away from earth and fixed their vision on another and ideal world where God's justice would reign unthwarted, to the everlasting glory of Israel both as a nation and in its faithful individuals, and unto the utter destruction and endless torment of the Gentile oppressors and the unrighteous. Apocalyptic literature was both a message of comfort and an effort to solve the problems of the sufferings of the just and the apparent hopelessness of a fulfilment of the prophecies of Israel's sovereignty on earth. But the inevitable consequence of the apocalyptic distrust of everything present was its assumption of the guise of the remote and classic past; in other words, its pseudonymous character. Naturally basing itself upon the Pentateuch and the Prophets, it clothed itself fictitiously with the authority of a patriarch or prophet who was made to reveal the transcendent future. But in their effort to adjust this future to the history that lay within their ken the apocalyptic writers unfolded also a philosophy of the origin and progress of mundane things. A wider view of world-politics and a comprehensive cosmological speculation are among the distinctive traits of Jewish apocalyptic. The Book of Daniel is the one book of the Old Testament to which the non-inspired apocalypses bear the closest affinity, and it evidently furnished ideas to several of the latter. An apocalyptic element existing in the prophets, in Zacharias (i-vi), in Tobias (Tobias, xiii), can be traced back to the visions of Ezechiel which form the prototype of apocalyptic; all this had its influence upon the new literature. Messianism of course plays an important part in apocalyptic eschatology and the idea of the Messias in certain books received a very high development. But even when it is transcendent and mystic it is intensely, almost fanatically, national, and surrounded by fanciful and often extravagant accessories. It lacks the universal outlook of some of the prophets, especially the Deutero-Isaias, and is far from having a uniform and consistent physiognomy. Sometimes the Messianic realm is placed upon the transfigured earth, centering in a new Jerusalem; in other works it is lifted into the Heavens; in some books the Messias is wanting or is apparently merely human, while the Parables of Henoch with their pre-existent Messias mark the highest point of development of the Messianic concept to be found in the whole range of Hebrew literature.
TCE: Any orthodox Bible student will recoil at the foolishness of this paragraph in which clear admissions of the falseness of the 'extant Jewish apocrypha' are found (e.g. they 'profess to contain visions and revelations of the unseen world and the Messianic future ...'), yet it is suggested that these works fill gaps in the revelation ('Jewish apocalypses furnish the completing links') God gave through His inspired prophets! The writer even glibly suggests that 'Apocalyptic literature was both a message of comfort and an effort to solve the problems of the sufferings of the just and the apparent hopelessness of a fulfilment of the prophecies of Israel's sovereignty on earth.' An 'effort to solve'?! What could be clearer evidence of the sad, un-Scriptural, view held by any whose spiritual outlook is polluted by Papal Rome? Even when he admits that the apocrypha 'clothed itself fictitiously with the authority of a patriarch or prophet who was made to reveal the transcendent future' and that they were 'non-inspired apocalypses', he still has the gall to claim that 'the Parables of Henoch with their pre-existent Messias mark the highest point of development of the Messianic concept to be found in the whole range of Hebrew literature.' Clearly, the genuine inspired Word of God is insufficient for the Papal writer of The Catholic Encyclopedia, just as it is for the popes who had to try and lever apocryphal works alongside the true Word to support their equally 'fanciful and ... extravagant accessories'! Truly, this paragraph alone sinks every attempt by Papists to smuggle the apocrypha into the Bible - QED (quod erat demonstrandum)!
The Catholic Encyclopedia: (a) The Book of Henoch (Ethiopic)
See the separate article under this title.
(b) Assumption of Moses
Origen, 'De Principiis', III, ii, 1, names the Assumption of Moses - Analepsis Mouseos - as the book cited by the Epistle of Jude, 9, where there is an allusion to a dispute between Michael and Satan over the body of Moses. Aside from a few other brief references in patristic literature, nothing more was known of this apocryphon until the Latin manuscript containing a long portion of it was discovered by Ceriani in the Ambrosian Library, at Milan, and published by him in 1861. Its identity with the ancient work is established by a quotation from the latter in the Acts of the Nicene Council. The book purports to be a series of predictions delivered in written form to the safe-keeping of Josue (Joshua) by Moses when the latter, in view of his approaching death, appointed Josue as his successor. The ostensible purpose of these deliverances is to confirm the Mosaic laws and the admonitions in Deuteronomy. The entire history of Israel is outlined. In a vehement and glowing style the book delineates under its prophetic guise the impiety of Israel's Hasmonean rulers and Sadducean priests. The historical allusions come down to the reign of an insolent monarch who is plainly Herod the Great, and a powerful ruler who shall come from the West and subjugate the people - a reference to the punitive expedition of Quintilius Varus, 4 B.C. But the Messias will intervene and execute Divine wrath upon the enemies of the nation, and a cataclysm of nature, which is depicted with truly apocalyptic sublimity, will forerun the beginning of the new era. Strangely there is no mention of a resurrection or a judgment of individuals. The book then returns to the doings of Moses and Josue. The manuscript breaks off abruptly at chapter xii, and the portion cited by Jude must have belonged to the lost conclusion. This apocalypse has with solid reasons been assigned to the early years after Herod's death, between 4 B.C. and A.D. 10. It is evident that neither of Herod's sons, Philip and Antipas, had yet reigned thirty-four years, since the writer, hazarding a prediction that proved false, says that the sons should enjoy shorter reigns than their father. Thus the latest possible date of composition is fixed at A.D. 30. The author was a Jew, and in all likelihood a Palestinian one. He belonged neither to the Pharisees of the type of Christ's epoch, nor to the Sadducees, since he excoriates both alike. He must have been either a Zealot, that is an ultra-Nationalist and Messianist, or a fervid Essene. He wrote in Hebrew or Aramaic. The Latin text is translated from a Greek version.
TCE: Again, we have a clear admission of the uninspired nature of these works - and the guesswork involved in accepting them by the repeated use of 'must have' - while even admitting that the work contains a false prophecy!
The Catholic Encyclopedia: Book of the Secrets of Henoch (Slavonic Henoch)
In 1892 attention was called to Slavonic manuscripts which on examination proved to contain another Henoch book differing entirely from the Ethiopic compilation. 'The Book of the Secrets of Henoch' contains passages which satisfy allusions of Origen to which there is nothing corresponding in the Ethiopic Henoch. The same may be said about citations in the 'Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs'. Internal evidence shows that the new Henoch was composed by an Alexandrian Jew about the beginning of our Era, and in Greek. The work is sharply marked off from the older book by the absence of a Messias and the want of reference to a resurrection of the dead. It mingles many bizarre details concerning the celestial realm, the angels, and stars, with advanced ideas on man's destiny, moral excellence, and the punishment of sin. The patriarch is taken up through the seven heavens to the very throne of the Eternal. Some of the details throw interesting light on various obscure allusions in the Bible, such as the superimposed heavens, the presence of evil powers 'in heavenly places', Ezechiel's strange creatures full of eyes.
TCE: admission of 'bizarre details' and supposedly being 'taken up through the seven heavens' is clear evidence of extra-Biblical (false!) revelation of the kind loved by all deceivers!
The Catholic Encyclopedia: (d) Fourth Book of Esdras
The personage serving as the screen of the real author of this book is Esdras (Ezra), the priest-scribe and leader among the Israelites who returned from Babylonia, to Jerusalem. The fact that two canonical books are associated with his name, together with a genuine literary power, a profoundly religious spirit pervading Fourth Esdras, and some Messianic points of contact with the Gospels combined to win for it an acceptance among Christians unequalled by any other apocryphon. Both Greek and Latin Fathers cite it as prophetical, while some, as Ambrose, were ardent admirers of it. Jerome alone is positively unfavourable. Notwithstanding this widespread reverence for it in early times, it is a remarkable fact that the book never got a foothold in the canon or liturgy of the Church. Nevertheless, all through the Middle Ages it maintained an intermediate position between canonical and merely human compositions, and even after the Council of Trent, together with Third Esdras, was placed in the appendix to the official edition of the Vulgate. Besides the original Greek text, which has not survived, the book has appeared in Latin, Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopic, and Arabic versions. The first and last two chapters of the Latin translation do not exist in the Oriental ones and have been added by a Christian hand. And yet there need be no hesitation in relegating the Fourth Book of Esdras to the ranks of the apocrypha. Not to insist on the allusion to the Book of Daniel in xii, 11, the date given in the first version (iii, 1) is erroneous, and the whole tenor and character of the work places it in the age of apocalyptic literature. The dominant critical dating assigns it to a Jew writing in the reign of Domitian, A.D. 81-96. Certainly it was composed some time before A.D. 218, since it is expressly quoted by Clement of Alexandria. The original text, iii-xiv, is of one piece and the work of a single author. The motive of the book is the problem lying heavily upon Jewish patriots after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. The outlook was most dark and the national life seemed utterly extinguished. In consequence, a sad and anxious spirit pervades the work, and the writer, using the guise of Esdras lamenting over the ruin of the first city and temple, insistently seeks to penetrate the reasons of God's apparent abandonment of His people and the non-fulfilment of His promises. The author would learn the future of his nation. His interest is centred in the latter; the universalism of the book is attenuated. The apocalypse is composed of seven visions. The Messianism of Fourth Esdras suffers from the discouragement of the era and is influenced by the changed conditions produced by the advent of Christianity. Its Messias is mortal, and his reign merely one of happiness upon earth. Likewise the eschatology labours with two conflicting elements: the redemption of all Israel and the small number of the elect. All mankind sinned with Adam. The Fourth Book of Esdras is sometimes called by non-Catholics Second Esdras, as they apply the Hebrew form, Ezra, to the canonical books.
TCE: Again, the writer thoroughly condemns the work by his own analysis yet admits 'some Messianic points of contact with the Gospels combined to win for it an acceptance among Christians unequalled by any other apocryphon'! This admission, coupled with the proven fact that 'Jerome alone [was] positively unfavourable', fully supports our view of apocryphal works and the inability of Papal Rome to exhibit any genuine guidance on the church within its jurisdiction. Another damning admission is made: 'Notwithstanding this widespread reverence for it in early times, it is a remarkable fact that the book never got a foothold in the canon or liturgy of the Church. Nevertheless, all through the Middle Ages it maintained an intermediate position between canonical and merely human compositions, and even after the Council of Trent, together with Third Esdras, was placed in the appendix to the official edition of the Vulgate'. To admit the book was held in such a high position yet was not accepted 'in the canon or liturgy of the Church', and then held this 'intermediate position' until it was embraced again 'after the Council of Trent' being 'placed in the appendix to the official edition of the Vulgate' proves that claims that the Papal Roman Catholic Church determined the canon in any logical or authoritative manner can never be taken seriously. Careful research supports the admissions here - that 4 Esdras is full of post-Christian additions - and also never appears in any manuscript of the Septuagint.
The Catholic Encyclopedia: (e) Apocalypse of Baruch
For a long time a Latin fragment, chapters lxxviii-lxxxvii, of this pseudograph had been known. In 1866 a complete Syriac text was discovered by Monsignor Ceriani, whose researches in the Ambrosian Library of Milan have so enriched the field of ancient literature. The Syriac is a translation from the Greek; the original was written in Hebrew. There is a close relation between this apocalypse and that of Fourth Esdras, but critics are divided over the question, which has influenced the other. The probabilities favour the hypothesis that the Baruch apocryphon is an imitation of that of Esdras and therefore later. The approximate dates assigned to it range between A.D. 50 and 117. The 'Apocalypse of Baruch' is a somewhat artificial production, without the originality and force of Fourth Esdras. It deals in part with the same problems, viz., the sufferings of the theocratic people, and their ultimate triumph over their oppressors. When certain passages are freed from evident Christian interpolations, its Messianism in general is earthly, but in the latter part of the book the Messias's realm tends unmistakably towards a more spiritual conception. As in Fourth Esdras, sin is traced to the disobedience of Adam. Greater importance is attached to the law than in the related composition, and the points of contact with the New Testament are more striking. The author was a Pharisee, but one who, while adopting a distinctly Jewish view, was probably acquainted with the Christian Scriptures and freely laid them under contribution. Some recent students of the 'Apocalypse of Baruch' have seen in it a composite work, but the majority of critics hold with better reason to its unity. The book is lengthy. It speaks in the person of Baruch, the secretary of Jeremias. It opens with a palpable error of chronology. Baruch announces the doom of the city and temple of Jerusalem of the Babylonian epoch. However, not the Chaldeans, but angels, will bring about the destruction. Another and pre-existent Holy City is reserved by God, since the world cannot exist without a Jerusalem. The artificiality and tediousness of the apocalypse are redeemed by a singular breadth of view and elevation of doctrine, with the limitation noted.
TCE: Yet again - the uninspired, error-strewn nature of the work is admitted!
The Catholic Encyclopedia: (f) The Apocalypse of Abraham
The Apocalypse of Abraham has recently been translated from Slavonic into German. It relates the circumstances of Abraham's conversions and the visions thereupon accorded him. His guide in the a celestial realms is Jael, an angel distinct from God, but possessing divine powers in certain regards. The work has affinities with Fourth Esdras and the 'Apocalypse of Baruch'. The origin of evil is explained by man's free will. The Elect, or Messias, will gather the dispersed tribes, but God alone will punish the enemies of Israel. Particularism and the transcendence of the last cosmic stage are the notes of this apocalypse. Its data, however, are so vague that it is impossible to fix the time of its composition.
TCE: There is nothing in this analysis that approves the work as inspired in any way.
The Catholic Encyclopedia: (g) The Apocalypse of Daniel
The Apocalypse of Daniel is the work of a Persian Jew of the twelfth century, and is unique in foretelling two Messiases: one, the son of Joseph (Christ), whose career ends in his failure and death; the other the son of David, who will liberate Israel and reign on earth gloriously.
TCE: An admission of an uninspired and late heretical work!
The Catholic Encyclopedia: Legendary apocrypha of Jewish origin
(a) Book of Jubilees or Little Genesis
Epiphanius, Jerome, and others quote a work under the title 'The Jubilees' or 'The Little Genesis'. St. Jerome testifies that the original was in Hebrew. It is cited by Byzantine authors down to the twelfth century. After that we hear no more of it until it was found in an Ethiopic manuscript in the last century. A considerable Latin fragment has also been recovered. The Book of the Jubilees is the narrative of Genesis amplified and embellished by a Jew of the Pharisee period. It professes to be a revelation given to Moses by the 'Angel of the Face'. There is a very systematic chronology according to the years, weeks of years, and jubilees. A patriarchal origin is ascribed to the great Jewish feasts. The angelology is highly developed, but the writer disbelieved in the resurrection of the body. The observance of the Law is insisted on. It is hard to fix either the date or the religious circle in which the work arose. Jerusalem and the Temple still stood, and the Book of Henoch is quoted. As for the lowest date, the book is employed by the Jewish portion of the 'Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs'. Estimates vary between 135 B.C. and A.D. 60. Among the lost Jewish apocrypha, the one worthy of special notice here is;
(b) The Book of Jannes and Mambres
2 Timothy 3:8 applies these names to the Egyptian magicians who reproduced some of the wonders wrought by Moses. The names are not found in the Old Testament. Origen remarks that St. Paul does not quote 'from public writings but from a sacred book which is called Jannes and Mambres'. The names were known to Pliny, and figure in the Talmudic traditions. Recently R. James in the 'Journal of Theological Studies', 1901, II, 572-577, claims to have found a fragment of this lost apocryphon in Latin and Old English versions.
TCE: Timothy relates that 'Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses' - and Origen was well known for his fanciful interpretations which even Papal Rome eventually baulked at accepting! Jannes and Jambres, one or both, were mentioned by Pliny (23-79 AD) and Apuleius (circa 130 AD), but both speak of Moses and Jannes as famous magicians of antiquity. The Pythagorean philosopher Numenius (2nd century AD) also spoke of Jannes and Jambres as Egyptian hierogrammateis, or sacred scribes. The many curious Jewish traditions regarding Jannes and Jambres are found in the Targum and elsewhere and are full of contradictions, impossibilities and anachronisms to the effect that they were sons of Balaam, the soothsayer of Pethor. Notwithstanding this anachronistic impossibility they were said to have withstood Moses forty years previously at the court of Pharaoh to whom, it was also said, they interpreted a dream of that king foretelling the birth of Moses and caused the oppression of the Israelites. Somehow they are also said to have become proselytes, left Egypt at the Exodus among the mixed multitude, and then instigated Aaron to make the golden calf. The traditions of their death are also given in a varying fashion: they were said to have been drowned in the Red Sea, or to have been put to death after the making of the golden calf, or during the slaughter connected with the name of Phinehas.
According to Origen (Commentary on Matthew 27:8) there was an apocryphal book which had not yet been rediscovered called 'The Book of Jannes and Jambres' and he claimed that, in 2 Timothy 3:8, Paul is quoting from that book. In the Targumic literature 'Mambres' occurs as a variant reading instead of 'Jambres' and it is thought that Jambres is derived from an Aramaic root, meaning 'to oppose,' the participle of which would be Mambres (the meaning of either form being 'he who opposes').
This is clearly another work that has no claims to canonicity!
The Catholic Encyclopedia: Third Book of Esdras
This is also styled by non-Catholics the First Book of Esdras, since they give to the first canonical Esdrine writing the Hebrew form Ezra. Third Esdras is one of the three uncanonical books appended to the official edition of the Vulgate. It exists in two of the oldest codices of the Septuagint, viz., Vaticanus and Alexandrinus, where it precedes the canonical Esdras. The same is true of manuscripts of the Old Latin and other versions. Third Esdras enjoyed exceptional favour in the early ages of the Church, being quoted as Scripture with implicit faith by the leading Greek and Latin Fathers (See Cornely, Introductio Generalis, I, 201). St. Jerome, however, the great minimizer of sacred literature, rejected it as apocryphal, and thenceforward its standing was impaired. The book in fact is made up for the most part of materials taken from the inspired books of Paralipomenon, Esdras, and Nehemias, put together, however, in great chronological confusion. We must suppose that it was subsequent to the above Scriptures, since it was evidently composed in Greek and by an Alexandrian Jew. The only original part of the work is chapters iii-v, 6. This recounts a contest between three young Hebrews of the bodyguard of King Darius, each striving to formulate the wisest saying. The victory is awarded to Zorobabel (Zerubbabel), who defends Truth as the strongest force, and the audience shouts: 'Great is Truth and powerful above all things!' (Magna est veritas et proevalebit.) The date of composition is not ascertainable except within very wide limits. These are on one side c. 300 B.C., the latest time assigned to Paralipomenon-Esdras-Nehemias, and on the other, c. A.D. 100, the era of Josephus, who employed Third Esdras. There is greater likelihood that the composition took place before our Era.
TCE: The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that this is 'one of the three uncanonical books appended to the official edition of the Vulgate' and the admission of its 'great chronological confusion' makes clear the nature of these materials and why they are, as in this case, so easily rejected! When unprovable claims that 'implicit faith by the leading Greek and Latin Fathers' was involved and the vague, incomplete phrase - 'the era of Josephus, who employed Third Esdras' - occurs, readers can only marvel at the gullibility of accepting Papist claims for such obvious, non-canonical books.
The Catholic Encyclopedia: (d) Third Book of Machabees
Third Book of Machabees is the title given to a short narrative which is found in the Alexandrine codex of the Septuagint version and various private manuscripts. It gives an account of an attempted desecration of the Temple at Jerusalem by the Egyptian king, Ptolemy IV (Philopator) after his victory over Antiochus the Great at Raphia, 217 B.C., and the miraculous frustration of his endeavour to wreak vengeance upon the Egyptian Jews through a massacre with elephants. This apocryphon abounds in absurdities and psychological impossibilities, and is a very weak piece of fiction written in Greek by an Alexandrian Jew, and probably designed to encourage its countrymen in the midst of persecutions. It rests on no ascertainable historical fact, but apparently is an extravagant and varying version of the occurrence related by Josephus, 'Against Apion', 1I, 5. The date cannot be determined. Since the book shows acquaintance with the Greek additions to Daniel, it cannot be earlier than the first century B.C., and could scarcely have found such favour among Christians if composed later than the first century after Christ. The Syrian Church was the first to give it a friendly reception, presumably on the strength of its mention in the Apostolic Constitutions. Later, Third Machabees was admitted into the canon of the Greek Church, but seems never to have been known to the Latins.
TCE: Again - a massively flawed, self-condemned, non-Canonical work that reveals the foolish contradictions of Papal Rome!
The Catholic Encyclopedia: Apocryphal psalms and prayers
(a) Psalms of Solomon
This is a collection of eighteen psalms composed in Hebrew, and, as is commonly agreed, by a Pharisee of Palestine, about the time of Pompey's capture of Jerusalem, 63 B.C. The collection makes no pretensions to authorship by Solomon, and therefore is not, strictly speaking, apocryphal. The name of the wise king became associated with it later and doubtless was the means of preserving it. The spirit of these psalms is one of great moral earnestness and righteousness, but it is the righteousness of the Pharisees, consisting in the observance of the legal traditions and ceremonial law. The Hasmonean dynasty and the Sadducees are denounced. A Messianic deliverer is looked for, but he is to be merely human. He will reign by holiness and justice, and not by the sword. Free will and the resurrection are taught. The Psalms of Solomon are of value in illustrating the religious views and attitudes of the Pharisees in the age of Our Lord. The manuscripts of the Septuagint contain at the end of the canonical Psalter a short psalm (cli), which, however, is 'outside the number', i.e. of the Psalms. Its title reads: 'This psalm was written by David himself in addition to the number, when he had fought with Goliath.' It is based on various passages in the Old Testament, and there is no evidence that it was ever written in Hebrew.
TCE: As before - non-Canonical and self-condemned!
The Catholic Encyclopedia: (b) Prayer of Manasses (Manasseh)
A beautiful Penitential prayer put in the mouth of Manasses, King of Juda, who carried idolatrous abominations so far. The composition is based on II Paralipomenon, xxxiii, 11-13, which states that Manasses was carried captive to Babylon and there repented; while the same source (18) refers to his prayer as recorded in certain chronicles which are lost. Learned opinion differs as to whether the prayer which has come down to us was written in Hebrew or Greek. Several ancient manuscripts of the Septuagint contain it as an appendix to the Psalter. It is also incorporated in the ancient so-called Apostolic Constitutions. In editions of the Vulgate antedating the Council of Trent it was placed after the books of Paralipomenon. The Clementine Vulgate relegated it to the appendix, where it is still to be found in reprints of the standard text. The prayer breathes a Christian spirit, and it is not entirely certain that it is really of Jewish origin.
TCE: Rejected again - why else would the 'Clementine Vulgate relegate it to the appendix' in agreement with Jerome?!
The Catholic Encyclopedia: Jewish philosophy
(a) Fourth Book of Machabees
This is a short philosophical treatise on the supremacy of pious reason, that is reason regulated by divine law, which for the author is the Mosaic Law. In setting up reason as the master of human passion, the author was distinctly influenced by Stoic philosophy. From it also he derived his four cardinal virtues: prudence, righteousness (or justice), fortitude, temperance; phronesis, dikaiosyne, andreia, sophrosyne, and it was through Fourth Machabees that this category was appropriated by early Christian ascetical writers. The second part of the book exhibits the sufferings of Eleazar and the seven Machabean brothers as examples of the dominion of pious reason. The aim of the Hellenistic Jewish author was to inculcate devotion to the Law. He is unknown. The work was erroneously ascribed to Josephus by Eusebius and others. It appears to have been produced before the fall of Jerusalem, but its date is a matter of conjecture.
TCE: The admission that 'Stoic philosophy' influenced 'early Christian ascetical writers' is accepted by The Catholic Encyclopedia without the batting of an eyelid - but is an immediate warning of heretical material to be avoided by the orthodox Christian! Interesting that, while admitting that the author is 'unknown', the Encyclopedia can insist that 'The work was erroneously ascribed to Josephus by Eusebius and others'? While the writer of the canonical Book to the Hebrews is unknown the material is so clearly utterly orthodox and consistent with the rest of the genuine New Testament that Christians are content to wait and see whether it was inspired through the apostle Paul, or another. That The Catholic Encyclopedia can adopt such a laissez faire approach with apocryphal works speaks volumes about the scholarship 'enjoyed' by Papal Roman Catholics!
The Catholic Encyclopedia: Apocrypha of Jewish origin with Christian accretions
(a) Sibylline Oracles
See the separate article under this title.
(b) Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. This is an extensive pseudograph, consisting of;
narrations in which each of the twelve sons of Jacob relates his life, embellished by Midrashic expansions of the Biblical data exhortations by each patriarch to the practice of virtues, or the shunning of vices illustrated in his life 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 probability the Jewish groundwork to the Hasmonean period, within the limits 135-63 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 existence, and are urged to be faithful to the representatives 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, however, 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.
Catholics and Gnostics were concerned in writing these (non-canonical/apocryphal) fictions!?
TCE: Again, to speak approvingly of 'many interpolations' in a work connected with Docetism (the heretical doctrine associated with the Gnostics that Jesus had no human body and his sufferings and death on the cross were 'apparent' rather than real), to accept that 'later insertions' are evident in writing of a 'Messias' to spring from two alternative tribes (only one of which is true to Scripture!), and then to claim that identifying Him as the 'eternal High-Priest' is a 'unique feature of the book' is to suggest that The Catholic Encyclopedia finds it very difficult to recognise true Scripture!
Such is the massive self-contained evidence against the acceptance of the 'apocrypha' that we will severely limit our comments on the material which follows:
The Catholic Encyclopedia: The Ascension of Isaias
The Ascension of Isaias consists of two parts:
The Martyrdom of Isaias, in which it is told that the prophet was sawn in two by the order of the wicked King Manasses.
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 through the inferior celestial circles. The prophet then sees the glorified Beloved re-ascending. The Martyrdom is a Jewish work, saving some rather large interpolations. The rest is by Christian hands or perhaps a single writer, who united his apocalypse with the Martyrdom. There are tokens that the Christian 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 'Anabaticon', or 'Ascension of Isaias'. The Jewish portion is thought to have appeared in the first century of our era; the remainder, in the middle of the second. Justin, Tertullian, and Origen seem to have been acquainted with the Martyrdom; Sts. Jerome and Epiphanius are the earliest witnesses for the Ascension proper. The apocryphon exists in Greek, Ethiopic, and Slavonic manuscripts.
(d) Minor Jewish-Christian Apocrypha
Space will permit only an enumeration of unimportant specimens of apocryphal literature, extant in whole or part, and consisting of
Jewish originals recast or freely interpolated by Christians, viz., the 'Apocalypses of Elias' (Elijah), 'Sophonias' (Zephaniah), the 'Paralipomenon of Baruch'; and Christian compositions whose material was supplied by Jewish sources; the so-called 'Apocalypse of Moses', the 'Apocalypse of Esdras', the 'Testament of Abraham', 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.
Apocrypha of Christian origin
The term Christian here is used in a comprehensive sense and embraces works produced both by Catholics and heretics; the latter are chiefly members of the various branches or schools of Gnosticism, which flourished in the second and third centuries. The Christian apocryphal writings in general imitate the books of the New Testament and therefore, with a few exceptions, fall under the description of Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses.
The term apocryphal in connection with special Gospels must be understood 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 specimens of the apocryphal 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 marvellous. When, therefore, enterprising spirits responded 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 predisposed to believe what so luxuriously fed their pious curiosity. Both Catholics and Gnostics were concerned in writing these fictions. The former had no other motive than that of a pious fraud, being sometimes moved by a real though misguided zeal, as witness the author of the Pseudo-Matthew: Amor Christi est cui satisfecimus. But the heretical apocryphists, while gratifying curiosity, composed spurious Gospels in order to trace backward their beliefs and peculiarities to Christ Himself. The Church and the Fathers were hostile even towards the narratives of orthodox authorship. It was not until the Middle Ages, when their true origin was forgotten even by most of the learned, that these apocryphal stories began to enter largely into sacred legends, such as the 'Aurea Sacra', into miracle plays, Christian art, and poetry. A comparison of the least extravagant of these productions with the real Gospels reveals the chasm separating them. Though worthless historically, the apocryphal Gospels help us to better understand the religious conditions of the second and third centuries, and they are also of no little value as early witnesses of the canonicity of the writings of the four Evangelists. The quasi-evangelistic compositions concerning Christ which make no pretensions to be Gospels will be treated elsewhere. They are all of orthodox origin. (See AGRAPHA.)
TCE: To review 'Apocrypha of Christian origin' and then state that 'The term Christian here is used in a comprehensive sense and embraces works produced both by Catholics and heretics' makes it clear that The Catholic Encyclopedia can, unblushingly, give the impression that the two natures are in some way compatible. To then conclude: 'quasi-evangelistic compositions concerning Christ which make no pretensions to be Gospels ... are all of orthodox origin' is another completely unsupportable opinion that also betrays the mind-set of Papal Rome.
The Catholic Encyclopedia: Apocryphal gospels of Catholic origin
The Protoevangelium Jacobi, or Infancy Gospel of James
It purports to have been written by 'James the brother of the Lord', i.e. the Apostle James the Less. It is based on the canonical Gospels which it expands with legendary and imaginative elements, which are sometimes puerile or fantastic. The birth, education, and marriage of the Blessed Virgin are described in the first eleven chapters and these are the source of various traditions current among the faithful. They are of value in indicating the veneration paid to Mary at a very early age. For instance it is the 'Protoevangelium' which first tells that Mary was the miraculous offspring of Joachim and Anna, previously childless; that when three years old the child was taken to the Temple and dedicated to its service, in fulfilment of her parents' vow. When Mary was twelve Joseph is chosen by the high-priest as her spouse in obedience to a miraculous sign - a dove coming out of his rod and resting on his head. The nativity is embellished in an unrestrained manner. Critics find that the 'Protoevangelium' is a composite into which two or three documents enter. It was known to Origen under the name of the 'Book of James'. There are signs in St. Justin's works that he was acquainted with it, or at least with a parallel tradition. The work, therefore, has been ascribed to the second century. Portions of it show a familiarity with Jewish customs, and critics have surmised that the groundwork was composed by a Jewish-Christian. The 'Protoevangelium' exists in ancient Greek and Syriac recensions. There are also Armenian and Latin translations.
(Continued on page 321)