(Continued from page 338)
Nobody can stop God preserving and delivering His Word to His chosen people
God certainly doesn't need any flawed people who claim to be His Church to preserve His Word!
TCE: Evidently the Jews shared our opinion of the Apocrypha! It also noticeable that the signs of a cult are identified by the ancient Jews and The Jewish Encyclopedia emphasises this - for to consider some writings to be so 'spiritual' that they should be kept from the ignorant masses is a pattern followed by Papal Rome for most of its history. It is naively imagined that Vatican II changed a great deal, but the reality is that only a few cosmetic changes were made, such as allowing the Mass to be in the language of the people rather than in Latin which had hidden the false ritual from 'the masses' for centuries. Nothing of the core doctrines of Rome have been changed at all, for Vatican II continually quotes from the Council of Trent and other councils and simply reaffirmed the established Catholic dogmas of the past. We have already clearly documented Papal Rome's long history of hiding true Scripture from 'lay Catholics' and her (comparatively recent) flip-flops, q.v. We will consider your attempted rebuttal later.
Returning to The Jewish Encyclopedia:
'Inasmuch, however, as this kind of literature flourished most among heretical sects, and as many of the writings themselves were falsely attributed to the famous men of ancient times, the word 'Apocrypha' acquired in ecclesiastical use an unfavorable connotation; the private scriptures treasured by the sects were repudiated by the Church as heretical and often spurious. Lists were made of the books which the Church received as sacred scripture and of those which it rejected; the former were 'canonical' (see Canon); to the latter the name 'Apocrypha' was given. The canon of the Church included the books which are contained in the Greek Bible but not in the Hebrew (see the list below, § III.); hence the term 'Apocrypha' was not applied to these books, but to such writings as Enoch, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, etc. (see below, § III.). Jerome alone applies the word to all books which are not found in the Jewish canon (see 'Prologus Galeatus'). At the Reformation, Protestants adopted the Jewish canon, and designated by the name 'Apocrypha' the books of the Latin and Greek Bibles which they thus rejected; while the Catholic Church in the Council of Trent formally declared these books canonical, and continued to use the word 'Apocrypha' for the class of writings to which it had generally been appropriated in the ancient Church; for the latter, Protestants introduced the name 'Pseudepigrapha.'
§ II. Apocryphal Books among the Jews.
Judaism also had sects which possessed esoteric or recondite scriptures, such as the Essenes (Josephus, 'B. J.' ii. 8, § 7), and the Therapeutæ (Philo, 'De Vita Contemplativa,' ed. Mangey, ii. 475). Their occurrence among these particular sects is explicitly attested, but doubtless there were others. Indeed, many of the books which the Church branded as apocryphal were of Jewish (sometimes heretical Jewish) origin. The Jewish authorities, therefore, were constrained to form a canon, that is, a list of sacred scriptures; and in some cases to specify particular writings claiming this character which were rejected and forbidden.
TCE: The Jewish Encyclopedia gives a detailed description (full of images of fonts that do not easily transfer to other pages) on their web-page to explain the finer points of distinction between Jewish Apocryphal works and those labelled Apocryphal by the 'Church Fathers'.
The Jewish Encyclopedia continued.:
'§ III. Lists of Apocrypha; Classification.
The following is a brief descriptive catalogue of writings which have been at some time or in some quarters regarded as sacred scripture, but are not included in the Jewish (and Protestant) canon. For more particular information about these works, and for the literature, the reader is referred to the special articles on the books severally.
First, then, there are the books which are commonly found in the Greek and Latin Bibles, but are not included in the Hebrew canon, and are hence rejected by Protestants; to these, as has already been said, Protestants give the name 'Apocrypha' specifically. These are (following the order and with the titles of the English translation): I Esdras; II Esdras; Tobit; Judith; The Rest of the Chapters of the Book of Esther; Wisdom of Solomon; Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus; Baruch, with the Epistle of Jeremiah; Song of the Three Holy Children; History of Susanna; Destruction of Bel and the Dragon; Prayer of Manasses; I Maccabees; II Maccabees. These, with the exception of I, II (III, IV) Esdras and the Prayer of Manasses, are canonical in the Roman Church.
Secondly, books which were pronounced apocryphal by the ancient Church. Of these we possess several catalogues, the most important of which are the Stichometry of Nicephorus; the Athanasian Synopsis; and an anonymous list extant in several manuscripts, first edited by Montfaucon (see Schürer, 'Gesch.' 3d ed., iii. 262 et seq.); further a passage in the 'Apostolical Constitutions' (vi. 16), and the so-called Decree of Pope Gelasius ('Corpus Juris Canonici,' iii. Distinctio 15). References in the Fathers add some titles, and various Oriental versions give us a knowledge of other writings of the same kind. A considerable part of this literature has been preserved, and fresh discoveries almost every year prove how extensive and how popular it once was.
A satisfactory classification of these writings is hardly possible; probably the most convenient scheme is to group them under the chief types of Biblical literature to which they are severally related - viz.:
1. Historical, including history proper, story books, and haggadic narrative.
2. Prophetic, including apocalypses.
3. Lyric; psalms.
4. Didactic; proverbs and other forms of 'wisdom.'
The assignment of a book to one or another of these divisions must often be understood as only a potiori; a writing which is chiefly narrative may contain prophecy or apocalypse; one which is primarily prophetic may exhibit in parts affinity to the didactic literature.
§ IV. Historical Apocrypha.
1. First Maccabees. A history of the rising of the Jews under the leadership of Mattathias and his sons against Antiochus Epiphanes, and of the progress of the struggle down to the death of Simon, covering thus the period from 175-135 B.C. The book was written in Hebrew, but is extant only in Greek and in translations made from the Greek.
2. Second Maccabees. Professedly an abridgment of a larger work in five books by Jason of Cyrene. It begins with the antecedents of the conflict with Syria, and closes with the recovery of Jerusalem by Judas after his victory over Nicanor. The work was written in Greek, and is much inferior in historical value to I Macc. Prefixed to the book are two letters addressed to the Jews in Egypt on the observance of the Feast of Dedication ...
3. First Esdras. In the Latin Bible, Third Esdras. A fragment of the oldest Greek version (used by Josephus) of Chronicles (including Ezra and Nehemiah), containing I Chron. xxxv.-Neh. viii. 13, in a different, and in part more original, order than the Hebrew text and with one considerable addition, the story of the pages of King Darius (iii. 1-v. 6). The book is printed in an appendix to the official editions of the Vulgate (after the New Testament), but is not recognized by the Roman Church as canonical.
4. Additions to Daniel. a. The story of Susanna and the elders, prefixed to the book, illustrating Daniel's discernment in judgment. b. The destruction of Bel and the Dragon, appended after Christian. xii., showing how Daniel proved to Cyrus that the Babylonian gods were no gods. c. The Song of the three Jewish Youths in the fiery furnace, inserted in Daniel. iii. between verses 23 and 24. These additions are found in both Greek translations of Daniel (Septuagint and Theodotion); for the original language and for the Hebrew and Aramaic versions of the stories, see Daniel.
5. Additions to Esther. In the Greek Bible, enlargement on motives suggested by the original story: a. The dream of Mordecai and his discovery of the conspiracy, prefixed to the book; the interpretation follows x. 3; b. Edict for the destruction of the Jews, after iii. 13; c., d. Prayers of Mordecai and Esther, after iv. 17; e. Esther's reception by the king, taking the place of v. 1 in the Hebrew; f. Edict permitting the Jews to defend themselves, after viii. 12. In the Vulgate these additions are detached from their connection and brought together in an appendix to the book, with a note remarking that they are not found in the Hebrew.
6. Prayer of Manasses. Purports to be the words of the prayer spoken of in II Chron. xxxiii. 18 et seq.; probably designed to stand in that place. In many manuscripts of the Greek Bible it is found among the pieces appended to the Psalms; in the Vulgate it is printed after the New Testament with III and IV Esd., and like them is not canonical.
7. Judith. Story of the deliverance of the city of Bethulia by a beautiful widow, who by a ruse deceives and kills Holophernes, the commander of the besieging army. The book was written in Hebrew, but is preserved only in Greek or translations from the Greek; an Aramaic Targum was known to Jerome.
8. Tobit. The scene of this tale, with its attractive pictures of Jewish piety and its interesting glimpses of popular superstitions, is laid in the East (Nineveh, Ecbatana); the hero is an Israelite of the tribe of Naphtali, who was carried away in the deportation by Shalmaneser ('Enemessar'). The story is related in some way to that of Ahikar.
9. Third Maccabees. (See Maccabees, Books of.) A story of the persecution of the Egyptian Jews by Ptolemy Philopator after the defeat of Antiochus at Raphia in 217 B.C.; their steadfastness in their religion, and the miraculous deliverance God wrought for them. The book, which may be regarded as an Alexandrian counterpart of Esther, is found in manuscripts of the Septuagint, but is not canonical in any branch of the Christian Church.
TCE: If Papal Rome was consistent then, having accepted 1 and 2 Maccabees, they should also accept 3 Maccabees since it 'is found in manuscripts of the Septuagint'! The anonymous author of Second Maccabees does not even claim to speak for God but, worse, does not even present his book as an original work and states that it is the abridgement of another man's writings: "All this, which Jason of Cyrene set forth in detail in five volumes, we will try to condense into a single book" (2 Maccabees 2:23 NAB). This same scam was pulled by the false prophet who founded the Mormons, Joseph Smith, in trying to excuse the inadequate preservation of the (supposedly inspired but nefarious) Book of Mormon! Careful readers notice that the God of the Bible never uses excuses when he is preserving His Word and, in the prime example (Jeremiah 36) of evil king Jehoiakim burning the scroll containing the Words brought through His prophet Jeremiah we find God simply delivered the message again but:
(v32) ... Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on it all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them.'
In a nutshell - nobody can stop God preserving and delivering His Word to His chosen people. And He certainly doesn't need flawed people who claim to be His Church to do so!
To continue from The Jewish Encyclopedia:
§ V. Historical Pseudepigrapha.
The books named above are all found in the Greek and Latin Bibles and in the Apocrypha of the Protestant versions. We proceed now to other writings of the same general class, commonly called 'Pseudepigrapha.'
10. The Book of Jubilees, called also Leptogenesis ('The Little Genesis'), probably, in distinction, not from the canonical Genesis, but from a larger Midrash, a . It contains a haggadic treatment of the history of the Patriarchs as well as of the history of Israel in Egypt, ending with the institution of the Passover, based on Genesis. and Ex. i.-xii. It is a free reproduction of the Biblical narrative, with extensive additions of an edifying character, exhortations, predictions, and the like. It gets the name 'Book of Jubilees' from the elaborate chronology, in which every event is minutely reckoned out in months, days, and years of the Jubilee period. The whole is in the form of a revelation made through an angel to Moses on Matthew. Sinai, from which some writers were led to call the book the 'Apocalypse of Moses.' (See Apocalypse, § V. 10.) It was written in Hebrew, probably in the first century B.C., but is now extant only in Ethiopic and in fragments of an old Latin translation, both made from an intermediate Greek version. Brief mention may be made here of several similar works containing Haggadah of early Hebrew history. a. 'Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum,' attributed to Philo. This was first published, with some other works of Philo, at Basel in 1527 (see Cohn, in 'Jew. Quart. Revelation.' 1898, x. 277 et seq.; Schürer, 'Gesch.' 3d ed., iii. 541 et seq., additional literature). Extends from Adam to the death of Saul, with omissions and additions - genealogical, legendary, and rhetorical - speeches, prophecies, prayers, etc. The patriarchal age is despatched very briefly; the Exodus, on the contrary, and the stories of the Judges, are much expanded. The author deals more freely with the Biblical narrative than Jubilees, and departs from it much more widely. The work is preserved in a Latin translation made from Greek; but it is highly probable that the original language was Hebrew, and that it was written at a time not very remote from the common era. Considerable portions of it are incorporated - under the name of Philo - in the Hebrew book, of which Gaster has published a translation under the title 'Chronicles of Jerahmeel' (see Gaster, l.c., Introduction, pp. xxx. et seq., and below, d). b. Later works which may be compared with this of Philo are the ..., and the ..., on which see the respective articles. c. To a different type of legendary history belongs the Hebrew Yosippon (q. v.).d. The 'Chronicles of Jerahmeel,' translated by Gaster from a unique manuscript in the Bodleian (1899), are professedly compiled from various sources; they contain large portions excerpted from the Greek Bible, Philo (see above), and 'Yosippon,' as well as writings like the Pirke de R. Eliezer, etc. e. Any complete study of this material must include also the cognate Hellenistic writings, such as the fragments of Eupolemus and Artapanus (see Freudenthal, 'Hellenistische Studien') and the legends of the same kind in Josephus.
§ VI. Books of the Antediluvians.
The Book of Jubilees makes repeated mention of books containing the wisdom of the antediluvians (e.g., Enoch, iv. 17 et seq.; Noah, x. 12 et seq.) which were in the possession of Abraham and his descendants; also of books in which was preserved the family law of the Patriarchs (compare xli. 28) or their prophecies (xxxii. 24 et seq., xlv. 16). These are all in the literal sense 'apocryphal,' that is, esoteric, scriptures. A considerable number of writings of this sort have been preserved or are known to us from ancient lists and references; others contain entertaining or edifying embellishments of the Biblical narratives about these heroes. Those which are primarily prophetic or apocalyptic are enumerated elsewhere (x., xi.); the following are chiefly haggadic:
11. Life of Adam and Eve. This is essentially a Jewish work, preserved - in varying recensions - in Greek, Latin, Slavonic, and Armenian. It resembles the Testament literature (see below) in being chiefly occupied with the end of Adam's life and the burial of Adam and Eve. According to an introductory note in the manuscripts, the story was revealed to Moses, whence the inappropriate title 'Apocalypse of Moses.' On the apocryphal Adam books see Adam, Book of. Other apocryphal books bearing the name of Adam are: The Book of Adam and Eve, or the Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan, extant in Arabic and Ethiopic; and The Testament of Adam, in Syriac and Arabic. Both these are Christian offshoots of the Adam romance. Apocalypses of Adam are mentioned by Epiphanius; the Gelasian Decree names a book on the Daughters of Adam, and one called the Penitence of Adam. Seven Books of Seth are said by Epiphanius ('Adversus Hæreses,' xxxix. 5; compare xxvi. 8; also Hippolytus, 'Refutatio,' v. 22; see also Josephus, 'Ant.' i. 2, § 3) to have been among the scriptures of the Gnostic sect of Sethians. On the apocryphal books of Enoch see Apocalypse, § V., and Enoch, Books of. The Samaritan author, a fragment of whose writing has been preserved by Eusebius ('Prep. Ev.' ix. 17) under the name of Eupolemus, speaks of revelations by angels to Methuselah, which had been preserved to his time. A Book of Lamech is named in one of our lists of Apocrypha. Books of Noah are mentioned in Jubilees (x. 12, xxi. 10). Fragments of an Apocalypse of Noah are incorporated in different places in Enoch (which see). A book bearing the name of Noria, the wife of Noah, was current among certain Gnostics (Epiphanius, 'Adv. Hæreses,' xxvi. 1). Shem transmits the books of his father, Noah (Jubilees, x. 14); other writings are ascribed to him by late authors. Ham was the author of a prophecy cited by Isidore, the son of Basilides (Clemens Alexandrinus, 'Stromata,' vi. 6); according to others he was the inventor of magic (identified with Zoroaster; Clementine, 'Recognitiones,' iv. 27).
§ VII. Testaments.
A special class of apocryphal literature is made up of the so-called 'Testaments' of prominent figures in Bible history. Suggested, doubtless, by such passages as the Blessing of Jacob (Genesis. xlix.), the Blessing of Moses (Deuteronomy. xxxiii.), the parting speeches of Moses (Deuteronomy. iv., xxix. et seq.) and Joshua (Josh. xxiii., xxiv.), etc., the Testaments narrate the close of the hero's life, sometimes with a retrospect of his history, last counsels and admonitions to his children, and disclosures of the future. These elements are present in varying proportions, but the general type is well marked.
12. Testament of Abraham. Edited in Greek (two recensions) by M. R. James, 'Texts and Studies,' ii. 2; in Rumanian by Gaster, in 'Proc. of Society of Biblical Archeology,' 1887, ix. 195 et seq.; see also Kohler, in 'Jew. Quart. Revelation.' 1895, vii. 581 et seq. (See Abraham, Testament of, called also Apocalypse of Abraham). Narrative of the end of Abraham's life; his refusal to follow Michael, who is sent to him; his long negotiations with the Angel of Death. At his request, Michael shows him, while still in the body, this world and all its doings, and conducts him to the gate of heaven. The book is thus mainly Haggadah, with a little apocalypse in the middle. The Slavonic Apocalypse of Abraham (ed. by Bonwetsch, 'Studien zur Geschichte der Theologie und Kirche,' 1897), translated from the Greek, gives the story of Abraham's conversion; the second part enlarges on the vision of Abraham in Genesis. xv.
13. Testaments of Isaac and Jacob. Preserved in Arabic and Ethiopic. They are upon the same pattern as the Testament of Abraham; each includes an apocalypse in which the punishment of the wicked and the abode of the blessed are exhibited. The moral exhortation which properly belongs to the type is lacking in the Testament of Abraham, but is found in the other two.
14. Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. The parting admonitions of the twelve sons of Jacob to their children. Each warns against certain particular sins and commends the contrary virtues, illustrating and enforcing the moral by the example or experience of the speaker. Thus, Gad warns against hatred, Issachar shows the beauty of simple-mindedness, Joseph teaches the lesson of chastity. In some (e.g., in the Testament of Joseph) the legendary narrative of the patriarch's life fills a larger space, in others (e.g., Benjamin) direct ethical teaching predominates. The eschatological element is also present in varying proportions - predictions of the falling away in the last days and the evils that will prevail; the judgment of God on the speaker's posterity for their sins (e.g., Levi, xiv. et seq.; Judah, xviii. 22 et seq.; Zebulun, ix.); and the succeeding Messianic age (Levi, xviii.; Judah, xxiv. et seq.; Simeon, vi.; Zebulun, ix. et seq.). A true apocalypse is found in the Test. of Levi, ii. et seq. (see Apocalypse). This eschatological element is professedly derived from a book written by Enoch (e.g., Levi, x., xiv., xvi.; Judah, viii.; Simeon, v., etc.). The work is substantially Jewish; the Christian interpolations, though numerous, are not very extensive, and in general are easily recognizable. A Hebrew Testament of Naphtali has been published by Gaster ('Proceedings of Society of Biblical Archeology,' December, 1893; February, 1894; see also 'Chron. of Jerahmeel,' pp. 87 et seq.), and is regarded by the editor and by Resch ('Studien und Kritiken,' 1899, pp. 206 et seq.) as the original of which the Greek Testament is a Christian recension.
15. Testament of Job. When the end of his life is at hand, Job narrates to his children the history of his trials, beginning with the cause of Satan's animosity toward him. After parting admonitions (45), he divides his possessions among his sons, and gives to his three daughters girdles of wonderful properties (46 et seq.). The book is a Haggadah of the story of Job, exaggerating his wealth and power, his good works, and his calamities, through all of which he maintains unshaken his confidence in God. There are no long arguments, as in the poem; the friends do not appear as defenders of God's justice - the problem of theodicy is not mooted - they try Job with questions (see 36 et seq.). Elihu is inspired by Satan, and is not forgiven with the others. See Kohler, in 'Semitic Studies in Memory of Alexander Kohut,' pp. 264-338 and 611, 612, and James, in 'Apocrypha Anecdota,' ii. 104 et seq.).
16. Testament of Moses. The patristic lists of Apocrypha contain, in close proximity, the Testament of Moses and the Assumption of Moses. It is probable that the two were internally connected, and that the former has been preserved in our Assumption of Moses, the extant part of which is really a Testament - a prophetic-apocalyptic discourse of Moses to Joshua. See below, § x. 2.
17. Testament of Solomon. Last words of Solomon, closing with a confession of the sins of his old age under the influence of the Jebusite, Shulamite. It is in the main a magical book in narrative form, telling how Solomon got the magic seal; by it learned the names and powers of the demons and the names of the angels by whom they are constrained, and put them to his service in building the Temple; besides other wonderful things which he accomplished through his power over the demons. (See Fleck, 'Wissenschaftliche Reise,' ii. 3, 111 et seq.) A translation into English by Conybeare was given in 'Jewish Quart. Revelation.' 1899, xi. 1-45. The Gelasian Decree names also a 'ContradictioSalomonis,' which may have described his contest in wisdom with Hiram, a frequent theme of later writers. A Testament of Hezekiah is cited by Cedrenus; but the passage quoted is found in the Ascension of Isaiah.
§ VIII. Relating to Joseph, Isaiah, and Baruch.
Other Apocrypha are the following:
18. Story of Aseneth. A romantic tale, narrating how Aseneth, the beautiful daughter of Potiphar, priest of On, became the wife of Joseph; how the king's son, who had desired her for himself, tried to destroy Joseph, and how he was foiled. The romance exists in various languages and recensions. The Greek text was published by Batiffol, Paris, 1889. A Prayer of Joseph is named in the anonymous list of Apocrypha, and is quoted by Origen and Procopius. In these fragments Jacob is the speaker.
19. Ascension of Isaiah, or Vision of Isaiah. Origen speaks of a Jewish apocryphal work describing the death of Isaiah. Such a martyrium is preserved in the Ethiopic Ascension of Isaiah, the first part of which tells how Manasseh, at the instigation of a Samaritan, had Isaiah sawn asunder. The second part, the Ascension of Isaiah to heaven in the 20th year of Hezekiah, and what he saw and heard there, is Christian, though perhaps based on a Jewish vision. Extensive Christian interpolations occur in the first part also. A fragment of the Greek text is reproduced in Grenfell and Hunt, 'The Amherst Papyri,' London, 1900.
20. The Rest of the Words of Baruch, or Paralipomena of Jeremiah. (Ceriani, 'Monumenta,' v. 1, 9 et seq.; J. Rendel Harris, 'Rest of the Words of Baruch,' 1889; Dillmann, 'Chrestomathia Æthiopica,' pp. 1 et seq.; Greek and Ethiopic.) Narrates what befell Baruch and Abimelech (Ebed-melech) at the fall of Jerusalem. Sixty-six years after, they sent a letter by an eagle to Jeremiah in Babylon. He leads a company of Jews back from Babylonia; only those who are willing to put away their Babylonian wives are allowed to cross the Jordan; the others eventually become the founders of Samaria. Jeremiah is spirited away. After three days, returning to the body, he prophesies the coming of Christ and is stoned to death by his countrymen.
§ IX. Lost Books.
Other haggadic works named in the Gelasian Decree are: the Book of Og, the Giant, 'whom the heretics pretend to have fought with a dragon after the flood'; perhaps the same as the Manichean Γιγάτειος βίβλος. (Photius, 'Cod.' 85), or τ ν Γιγάντων; The Penitence of Jannes and Jambres. (See Iselin, in 'Zeitschrift für Wissensch. Theologie,' 1894, pp. 321 et seq.) Both of these may well have been ultimately of Jewish origin.
§ X. Prophetical Apocrypha.
1. Baruch. Purporting to be written by Baruch, son of Neriah, the disciple of Jeremiah, after the deportation to Babylon. The book is not original, drawing its motives chiefly from Jeremiah and Isaiah xl. et seq.; affinity to the Wisdom literature is also marked in some passages, especially in Christian. iii. The Epistle of Jeremiah to the captives in Babylon, which is appended to Baruch, and counts as the sixth chapter of that book, is a keen satire on idolatry.
2. Assumption of Moses. See above, Testament of Moses (§ VII. 16). What now remains of this work, in an old Latin version, is prophetic in character, consisting of predictions delivered by Moses to Joshua when he had installed him as his successor. Moses foretells in brief outline the history of the people to the end of the kingdom of Judah; then, more fully, the succeeding times down to the successors of Herod the Great, and the Messianic age which ensues. It is probable that the lost sequel contained the Assumption of Moses, in which occurred the conflict - referred to in Jude 9 - between Michael and Satan for the possession of Moses' body.
3. Eldad and Medad. Under this name an apocryphal book is mentioned in our lists, and quoted twice in the 'Shepherd of Hermas' (ii. 34). It contained the prophecy of the two elders named in Numbers. xi. 26.
§ XI. Apocalypses.
Most of the prophetical Apocrypha are apocalyptic in form. To this class belong: Enoch, The Secrets of Enoch, IV Esd., the Apocalypses of Baruch (Greek and Syriac), Apocalypse of Zephaniah, Apocalypse of Elijah, and others (see Apocalypse, and the special articles). Apocalyptic elements have been noted above in the Assumption of Moses, the Ascension of Isaiah, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and others.
§ XII. Lyrical Apocrypha.
1. Psalm cli., in the Greek Bible; attributed to David, 'when he had fought in single combat with Goliath.'
2. Psalms of Solomon. Eighteen in number; included in some manuscripts of the Greek Bible, but noted in the catalogues as disputed or apocryphal. Though ascribed to Solomon in the titles, there is no internal evidence that the author, or authors, designed them to be so attributed. They were written in Hebrew - though preserved only in Greek - in Palestine about the middle of the first century B.C., and give most important testimony to the inner character of the religious belief of the time and to the vitality of the Messianic hope, as well as to the strength of party or sectarian animosity. The five Odes of Solomon in 'Pistis Sophia' are of Christian (Gnostic) origin.
3. Five apocryphal psalms in Syriac, edited by Wright ('Proceedings of Society of Biblical Archeology,' 1887, ix. 257-266). The first is Ps. cli. (supra, § 1); it is followed by (2) a prayer of Hezekiah; (3) a prayer when the people obtain leave from Cyrus to return; and (4, 5) a prayer of David during his conflict with the lion and the wolf, and thanksgiving after his victory.
§ XIII. Didactic Apocrypha.
1. The Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach (in the Latin Bible entitled Ecclesiasticus). Proverbs and aphorisms for men's guidance in various stations and circumstances; a counterpart to the Proverbs of Solomon. The author was a native of Jerusalem, and wrote in Hebrew; his work was translated into Greek by his grandson soon after 132 B.C. The Syriac translation was also made from the Hebrew, and recently considerable parts of the Hebrew text itself have been recovered. The book is included in the Christian Bible - Greek, Latin, Syriac, etc. - but was excluded from the Jewish Canon (Tosef., Yad. ii. 13 et seq.). Many quotations in Jewish literature prove, however, its continued popularity.
2. Wisdom of Solomon, Σοφία Σολομ νος.. Written in Greek, probably in Alexandria; a representative of Hellenistic 'Wisdom.' Solomon, addressing the rulers of the earth, exhorts them to seek wisdom, and warns them of the wickedness and folly of idolatry. Noteworthy is the warm defense of the immortality of the soul, in which the influence of Greek philosophical ideas is manifest, as, indeed, it is throughout the book.
3. Fourth Maccabees. The title is a misnomer; and the attribution of the work to Flavius Josephus is equally erroneous. The true title is Περὶ αὐτοκράτορος λογισμο, 'On the Autonomy of Reason.' It is an anonymous discourse on the supremacy of religious intelligence over the feelings. This supremacy is proved, among other things, by examples of constancy in persecution, especially by the fortitude of Eleazar and the seven brothers (II Macc. vi. 18, vii. 41). The work was written in Greek; it is found in some manuscripts of the Septuagint, but is not canonical.
Roman Catholic logic demands that 1, 2, 3 and 4 Maccabees should be in their Vulgate!
The Jewish Encyclopedia supports the views of Josephus, Philo, Jerome, et al, for exclusion of the Apocrypha!
TCE: Again, since 4 Maccabees 'is found in manuscripts of the Septuagint' it should obviously also join 1, 2 (and 3!) Maccabees in the fake Vulgate of Papal Rome!
§ XIV. Apocrypha in the Talmud.
There are no Jewish catalogues of Apocrypha corresponding to the Christian lists cited above; but we know that the canonicity of certain writings was disputed in the first and second centuries, and that others were expressly and authoritatively declared not to be sacred scripture, while some are more vehemently interdicted - to read them is to incur perdition. The controversies about Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon will be discussed in the article Canon, where also the proposed 'withdrawal' of Proverbs, Ezekiel, and some other books will be considered. Here it is sufficient to say that the school of Shammai favored excluding Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon from the list of inspired scriptures, but the final decision included them in the canon.
Sirach, on the other hand, was excluded, apparently as a recent work by a known author; and a general rule was added that no books more modern than Sirach were sacred scripture.
The same decision excluded the Gospels and other heretical (Christian) scriptures (Tosef., Yad. ii. 13). These books, therefore, stand in the relation of Apocrypha to the Jewish canon.
In Mishnah Sanh. x. 1, R. Akiba adds to the catalogue of those Israelites who have no part in the world to come, 'the man who reads in the extraneous books' (...), that is, books outside the canon of holy scripture, just as ἔξω, extra, are used by Christian writers (Zahn, 'Gesch. des Neutestamentlichen Kanons,' i. 1, 126 et seq.). Among these are included the 'books of the heretics' (...), i.e., as in Tosef., Yad. quoted above, the Christians (Bab. Sanh. 100b). Sirach is also named in both Talmuds, but the text in the Jerusalem Talmud (Sanh. 28a) is obviously corrupt.
Further, the writings of Ben La'anah (...) fall under the same condemnation (Yer. Sanh. l.c.); the Midrash on Ecclesiastes xii. 12 (Eccl. R.) couples the writings of Ben Tigla (...) with those of Sirach, as bringing mischief into the house of him who owns them. What these books were is much disputed (see the respective articles). Another title which has given rise to much discussion is ... or (sifre ha-meram or ha-merom), early and often emended by conjecture to (Homeros; so Hai Gaon, and others). See Homer in Talmud. The books of 'Be Abidan,' about which there is a question in Shab. 116a, are also obscure.
Texts: The Apocrypha (in the Protestant sense) are found in editions of the Greek Bible; see especially Swete, The Old Testament in Greek, 2d ed.;
separately, Fritzsche, Libri Apocryphi Veteris Testamenti Grœci, 1871. Of the Pseudepigrapha no comprehensive corpus exists;
some of the books are included in the editions of Swete and Fritzsche, above;
and in Hilgenfeld, Messias Judœorum, 1869. See also Fabricius, Codex Pseudepigraphus Veteris Testamenti, 2 vols., 2d ed., Hamburg, 1722, 1723, which is not replaced by any more recent work. For editions (and translations) of most of these writings the literature of the respective articles must be consulted. Translations: The Authorized Version may best be used in the edition of C. J. Ball, Variorum Apocrypha, which contains a useful apparatus of various readings and renderings;
the Revised Version, Apocrypha, 1895;
Churton, Uncanonical and Apocryphal Scriptures, 1884;
a revised translation is given also in Bissell's Commentary (see below). Of the highest value is the German translation, with introductions and notes, in Kautzsch, Die Apokryphen und Pseudepigraphen des Alten Testaments, 2 vols., 1899. Commentaries: Fritzsche and Grimm, Kurzgefasstes Exegetisches Handbuch zu den Apokryphen des Alten Bundes, 6 vols., 1851-60;
Wace (and others), Apocrypha, 2 vols., 1888 (Speaker's Bible);
Bissell, The Apocrypha of the Old Testament, 1890 (Lange series).
The most important recent work on this whole literature is Schürer's Geschichte des Jüdischen Volkes, 3d ed., vol. iii. (Eng. tr. of 2d ed.: Jew. People in the Time of Jesus Christ), where also very full references to the literature will be found.
The proven sloppy copying of (even) Jerome's Vulgate by Roman Catholics contrasts very badly with Judaism!
TCE: The Jewish Encyclopedia clearly supports the views expressed by Josephus, Philo and Jerome and gives clear reasons for the exclusion of the Apocrypha 'from the canon' as well as giving the tell-tale 'Gnostic knowledge' identifier of claiming that 'such writings are expressly distinguished from the twenty-four canonical books; the latter are to be published that they may be read by the worthy and unworthy alike; the former (seventy in number) are to be preserved and transmitted to the wise, because they contain a profounder teaching ... [t]he book contains revelations not to be comprehended by the masses, nor rashly published among them' and the many other clear identifiers associated with the '... kind of literature [which] flourished most among heretical sects, and as many of the writings themselves were falsely attributed to the famous men of ancient times ...'. The other 'markers' identifying tampering by Papal Roman Catholics - as admitted by The Catholic Encyclopedia and here described as 'Christian interpolations' - are clearly identified by The Jewish Encyclopedia which gives clear evidence for the early determination of the 'BIBLE CANON':
'The Greek word ... meaning primarily a straight rod, and derivatively a norm or law, was first applied by the church fathers (not earlier than 360) to the collection of Holy Scriptures, and primarily to those of the so-called Old Testament (Credner, 'Zur Gesch. des Canons,' pp. 58-68). But although the older Jewish literature has no such designation for the Biblical books, and it is doubtful whether the word was ever included in the rabbinical vocabulary, it is quite certain that the idea expressed by the designation 'canonical writings' (...), both as including and as excluding certain books, is of Jewish origin. The designation 'Apocrypha' affords a parallel instance: the word is Greek; the conception is Jewish (compare the words 'Genuzim,' 'Genizah').
Origin of Idea.
The idea of canonicity can only have been suggested at a period when the national literature had progressed far enough to possess a large number of works from which a selection might be made. And the need for such selection was all the more urgent, since the Jewish mind occupied itself in producing exclusively writings of religious import, in which category, however, were also included various historical and didactic works. Which writings were included in the recognized collection, and in what manner such collection was made, are questions belonging to the history of the canon, and are discussed in this article: the origin and composition of the separate books come under the history of Biblical literature.
The oldest and most frequent designation for the whole collection of Biblical writings is, 'Books.' This word, which in Daniel. ix. 2 means all the sacred writings, occurs frequently in the Mishnah, as well as in traditional literature, without closer definition. The expression ('Holy Books') belongs to later authors. It is employed first by the medieval exegetes; for instance, Ibn Ezra, introduction to 'Yesod Morah' and 'M'ozne Lashon ha-Kodesh'; see also Neubauer, 'Book of Tobit,' 43b, Oxford, 1878; Grätz, 'Gesch. der Juden,' 3d ed., vii. 384; Margoliouth, 'Cat. Hebr. and Samaritan Manuscripts. Brit Muslim.,' Nos. 181, 193; and elsewhere infrequently, but never in Talmud or Midrash. This fact goes to show that the ancients regarded the whole mass of the national religious writings as equally holy. The Greek translation of the term is ... used by the grandson of Sirach in the introduction to Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) to designate the whole of the Scriptures.
The canonical books, therefore, needed no special designation, since originally all were holy. A new term had to be coined for the new idea of non-holy books. The latter were accordingly called ('outside' or 'extraneous books'); that is, books not included in the established collection (Mishnah Sanh. x. 1) - a distinction analogous to that afterward made, with reference to the oral law itself, between 'Mishnah' and 'Outside-Mishnah' ( and, or its Aramaic equivalent, 'Baraita'). Possibly this designation was due to the fact that the Apocrypha, which in popular estimation ranked nevertheless with religious works, were not included in the libraries of the Temple and synagogues (for illustration of this see Books, and Blau, 'Zur Einleitung in die Heilige Schrift,' i. et seq.). Another designation, ('that which is read'), applied to the whole of Scripture, is founded upon the custom of reading the Holy Scriptures to the people on Sabbaths and holidays: it is a term frequently opposed to and, which designate oral teaching (Ned. iv. 3; ?Identity: . i., end; Abot v., end). A third designation is ('Holy Scriptures,' Shab. xvi. 1; B. B. i., end, and elsewhere), the Greek equivalents of which are ... Romans i. 2) and (II Timothy. iii. 15). This term indicates, not the writings belonging to the sanctuary, nor of Israel (Geiger, 'Nachgelassene Schriften,' iv. 12), but holy writings in contradistinction to profane works ( ... Tosef., Yom-?ob, iv.; ed. Zuckermandel, p. 207, 12), perhaps works inspired by the Holy Spirit. This interpretation is also favored by the expression ... (II Timothy. iii. 16; compare Eusebius, 'Eclogæ Propheticæ,' ed. Gaisford, p. 106).
A fourth designation for the entire Bible is ('Law') (Mek., Beshallah, 9; ed. Friedmann, pp. 34b, 40b; Pesi?. R., ed. Friedmann, 9a, and elsewhere), also found in the New Testament under the form ... (John x. 34; II Esdras xix. 21). This designation owes its origin to the opinion that the entire Holy Writ is the Word of God, and that the Prophets and the Hagiographa are included in the Torah (see below). It is also possible that, since 'Torah' was the title of the first and principal part of the Biblical writings, it was transferred to the entire collection.
In the Mishnah (compare Yad. iii. 5) the canonicity of the Holy Books is expressed indirectly by the doctrine that those writings which are canonical 'render the hands unclean.' The term connoting this quality ... thus comes very near to the technical equivalent for the word 'canonical.' The nature of the underlying conceit is not altogether clear. It is most likely that it was meant to insure greater caution against the profanation of holy scrolls by careless handling or irreverent uses (Yad. iv. 6; Zab. v. 12; Shab. 13a, 14a). It is an open question whether this capacity to render 'the hands unclean' inhered in the scroll kept in the Temple. It appears that originally the scroll in the Temple rendered food unclean; while only outside the Temple were hands made unclean (Kelim xv. 6; R. Abiba, Pes. 19a). At all events, the term was extended to all the writings included in the canon, and designated ultimately their canonical character or its effects as distinguished from non-canonical books (Yad. iii. 2-5; iv. 5, 6; Tosef., Yad. ii. 19; Blau, l.c. pp. 21, 69 et seq.; Friedmann, 'Ha-Goren,' ii. 168, but incorrect).
Contents and Divisions.
The Jewish canon comprises twenty-four books, the five of the Pentateuch, eight books of the Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Minor Prophets), and eleven Hagiographa (Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, and Chronicles). Samuel and Kings form but a single book each, as is seen in Aquila's Greek translation. The 'twelve' prophets were known to Ecclus. (Sirach) as one book (xlix. 10), and the separation of Ezra from Nehemiah is not indicated in either the Talmud or the Masorah. A Bible codex written in Spain in 1448 divides Samuel, Kings, and Ezra into two books each (Ginsburg, l.c. p. 586). These books are classified and arranged into three subdivisions, 'Torah,' 'Prophets,' and 'Hagiographa' ... The division of the Prophets into ('Earlier Prophets') and ('Later Prophets) was introduced by the Masorah.
TCE: Clearly, in opposition to your claim that the idea of 'a canon' did not exist in Jewish thought, the 'canon' of genuine Jewish Holy Books certainly existed. Regarding the Hagiographa The Jewish Encyclopedia makes clear that the Apocrypha were not part of any holy readings or used in apologetics:
'In the New-Year's prayers, ten passages of the Bible (from the Torah, Prophets, and Hagiographa) must be introduced at least three times' (Tosef., R. H. iv. 6). 'Ben Azzai connected the words of the Torah with those of the Prophets, and the latter with those of the Hagiographa' (Lev. R. xvi. 3). 'This is the progressive method of studying: first, a primer (passages of the Pentateuch) is read; then the Book ( ... Torah), then the Prophets, and finally the Hagiographa. After completing the study of the entire Bible, one took up the Talmud, Halakah, and Haggadah' (Deuteronomy. R. viii. 3). 'To be considered conversant with the Bible one had to be able to read accurately the Torah, Prophets, and Hagiographa' ... 'Just as the Torah is threefold, so Israel is threefold, consisting of priests, Levites, and Israelites ' ... 'Blessed be God, who gave the threefold teachings to the threefold nation, by three persons on the third day of the third month' (Shab. 88a). In answer to the question of the Sadducee, concerning the Biblical basis for the belief that God causes the dead to rise, the patriarch Gamaliel sought proof 'in Torah, Prophets, and Holy Writings' (Sanh. 90b). 'This doctrine is written in the Torah, repeated in the Prophets, and a third time in the Hagiographa' ...
Number of Books.
Tannaite literature makes no mention anywhere of the number of the Biblical books, and it does not seem to have been usual to pay attention to their number. This was felt to be of importance only when the Holy Writings were to be distinguished from others, or when their entire range was to be explained to non-Jews. The earliest two estimates (about 100 C.E.) differ. II Esdras xiv. 44-46 gives the number as 24; all variant readings of the passage (94, 204, 84, 974 books) agree in the unit figure, 4.
Epiphanius' division of the number 94 into 72 + 22 ('De Ponderibus et Mensuris Liber,' in Lagarde, 'Symmicta,' ii. 163) is artificial. Josephus expressly puts the number at 22, as does Origen (Eusebius, 'Hist. Eccl.' vi. 25); while Jerome (Preface to Samuel and Kings) mentions 22, but nevertheless counts 24. Since both of these church fathers studied under Jewish teachers, it is probable that some authorities within the synagogue favored counting 22 books; and the hesitation between 22 and 24 can be explained by a Baraita (B. B. 13b), according to which each book of the latter two divisions (Prophets and Hagiographa) had to be written separately as one roll. Since Ruth with Judges or with Psalms (Jerome, and Baraita B. B. 14b) might form one roll, and Lamentations with Jeremiah another, the rolls would be counted as 22, while the books were actually 24. That there were 24 books will be apparent from the classical Baraita on the question (see § 5 of this article). But in more than ten passages of the Midrash 24 books are expressly mentioned ...
For the understanding of the concept of a canon, the following passages, literally rendered, are especially important:
Eccl. xii. 12 teaches: 'And further, my son, be admonished by these [understood as reading 'against more than these, my son, be cautioned against confusion'; the Hebrew 'mehemah' (more than these) being read 'mehumah' (confusion)] that he who brings more than twenty-four books into his house brings confusion. Thus, the books of Ben Sira or Ben Tigla may be read, but not to the degree of 'weariness of the flesh'' (Eccl. R. on the passage).
'And further, by these, my son, be admonished,' saith God; 'Twenty-four books have I written for you; take heed to add none thereto.' Wherefore? Because of making many books there is no end. He who reads one verse not written in the twenty-four books is as though he had read in the 'outside books'; he will find no salvation there. Behold herein the punishment assigned to him who adds one book to the twenty-four. How do we know that he who reads them wearies himself in vain? Because it says, 'much study is a weariness of the flesh' (Eccl. xii. 12), from which follows, that the body of such a one shall not arise from the dust, as is said in the Mishnah (Sanh. x. 1), 'They who read in the outside books have no share in the future life'' (Numbers. R. xiv. 4; ed. Wilna, p. 117a; compare also Pesik. R. ix. a and Yer. Sanh. xxviii. a).
The chief difference between these two passages is that in the first only the 'weariness of the flesh,' that is, the deep study (but not the reading) of other than the Holy Writings, which were learned by heart, is forbidden; while in the second passage the mere reading is also forbidden. The older point of view is undoubtedly the milder, as the history of the book of Ecclus. (Sirach) teaches. The Babylonian teachers represented the more liberal view (compare Sanh. 100a and Yer. Sanh. xxviii. a, 18).
TCE: The idea that 'Babylonian teachers represented the more liberal view ' is also a view that was held against the Alexandrian Diaspora and their Septuagint - and is a view that is still held by many devout Jews to this day. To the 'so what?' attitude, exhibited by so many who claim to follow Christ today, we would refer them, again, to the importance of following the true Christ and His Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4ff.; Galatians 1:6-9) and using non-Canonical works and 'Tradition', as Papal Rome does, will result in erroneous versions of both.
The Jewish Encyclopedia supplies further evidence for the Jewish canon of 'The 'Twenty-four' Books':
There is probably an allusion to twenty-four books in Yer. Sanh. xx. d, 4 and Genesis. R. lxxx., beginning. The Babylonian Talmud (Ta'an. 8a) mentions 24; Targ. to the Song of Solomon v. 10 does the same. Dosa ben Eliezer, in a very old Masoretic note; Ben Asher (' ... ' pp. 5 [line 12], 56); Nissim of Kairwan (Steinschneider 'Festschrift,' Hebrew section, p. 20, below); and many medieval writers and codices count twenty-four books. The number 24 was also known in ancient times in non-Jewish circles (Strack, in Herzog, 'Real-Encyc. für Protestantische Theologie und Kirche,' ix. 3 757).
In a section titled 'Sequence' The Jewish Encyclopedia notes:
The classical passage for the sequence of the books is the Baraita in B. B. 14b. With the exclusion of interjected remarks chronicled there, it runs as follows:
'The sequence of the Prophets is Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, the 12 [minor] prophets; that of the Hagiographa is Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, Chronicles. Who wrote the books? Moses wrote his book, the section of Balaam and Job; Joshua wrote his book, and the last eight verses of the Torah; Samuel wrote his book, Judges, and Ruth; David wrote the Psalms, by the hand of the ten Ancients; namely, through Adam (Psalm cxxxix. 16, perhaps also xcii.), through Melchizedek, Ps. cx.: through Abraham, Ps. lxxxix. ( ... explained to = Abraham); through Moses, Ps. xc.-c.; through Heman, Ps. lxxxviii.; through Jeduthun, Ps. lxii.; perhaps lxxvii.; through Asaph, Ps. l., lxxiii.-lxxxiii.; and through the three sons of Korah, Ps. xlii. xlix., lxxviii., lxxxiv., lxxxv., lxxxviii. [The question whether Solomon should be included among the Psalmists is discussed in Tosafot 15a.] Jeremiah wrote his book, the Book of Kings, and Lamentations; King Hezekiah, and his council that survived him, wrote Isaiah, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes; the men of the Great Synagogues wrote Ezekiel, the Twelve Prophets, Daniel, and Esther Ezra wrote his book and the genealogy of Chronicles down to himself.'
From the fact that in this account of the authors Moses is mentioned as the author of the Torah, it may be inferred that in the collection from which the Baraita is cited the sequence also of the five books of the Torah was probably given. But it is also possible that the Pentateuch, from its liturgical use in the synagogue, was so familiar as to be regarded almost as a single book, of the separate parts of which no enumeration was necessary.
The most striking sequence in this passage is that of the Prophets, given as Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah, a sequence commented on in the Talmud. There it is explained that this is because the Book of Kings ends with destruction, Jeremiah begins and closes with destruction, Ezekiel begins with destruction and ends with consolation, while all of Isaiah consists of consolation. Thus, destruction appropriately follows upon destruction, and consolation upon consolation. The artificiality of this interpretation needs no explanation; but it must be remarked that such sequence is not chronological. The clearest explanation is that of Strack, who claims that the Baraita evidently arranged the prophetical books according to their size, a principle apparently followed also in the arrangement of the Mishnah treatises. According to their length, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the twelve Prophets stand to one another in the ratio of 41, 36, 32, and 30. The same principle is apparent in the sequence of the older Hagiographa, where the insertion of Job between the Psalms and Proverbs (the works of father, David, and son, Solomon) is particularly noticeable. Since the Baraita regarded Moses as the author of Job, this book might quite appropriately have been placed at the head of the Hagiographa, as was indeed recommended by the Talmud. Now, according to their lengths, the Psalms (with Ruth), Job, and Proverbs stand to one another in the ratio of 39, 15, and 13; and Job, therefore, follows Psalms. The sequence of the three Solomonic books, wherein the placing of Ecclesiastes before the Song of Solomon is especially remarkable, illustrates the same principle of arrangement, the largest being placed first.
The Earlier Prophets.
The author of Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) has the chronological order of the modern Bible: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve (Minor) Prophets (see Ecclus. [Sirach] xlviii. 22; xlix. 6, 8). Since the Baraita does not enumerate the books according to the succession of their origin and their age (even within the divisions of Prophets and Hagiographa), it must have considered only the order of Biblical writings so far as they belonged to the same section and were therefore to be written in one roll. Since (as is apparent from B. B. 13) the question [of] which books were permitted to be included in one roll, or whether each book had to be written separately in one roll, was much discussed in the second century, the above-mentioned Baraita, which was also current in Palestine (see Yer. Talmud, Sotah v., end), may well be assigned to the second century; and there is no justification for considering it of older date. But this much is surely ascertainable from this Baraita, that the first half of the prophetical canon (Joshua-Kings) had a fixed sequence dating from preceding times, and concerning which there was no doubt. That is to say, these four books follow one another and, continuing the story of the Pentateuch, form a consecutive narrative of Jewish history. This is seen from II Macc. ii. 13, where, in mentioning the books 'concerning the Kings and Prophets,' the prophetical canon is divided into two parts. In post-Talmudic times, also, there is no variation in relation to the sequence of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings; while the order of the Greater Prophets is irregular, the only uniformity preserved being in placing the Minor Prophets invariably at the end. Most of the manuscripts (including the St. Petersburg codices, which, dating from the years 916 and 1009, are the oldest known), and the oldest five editions, have the generally adopted chronological order, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel; three manuscripts agree with the Talmud, while two have the following peculiar order, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel (Ginsburg, l.c. p. 6).
Ginsburg (l.c. p. 7) has collected, in [a] following table (see relevant web-page of The Jewish Encyclopedia), eight varying sequences of the Hagiographa [TCE: none of which show any place for an Apocryphal work!]
The Jewish Encyclopedia continues:
A closer examination of the table reveals that actually three arrangements only are given; for Nos. i., ii., iii., and vii. differ only in regard to the position assigned to the Five Rolls, and represent the Talmudic arrangement; the five early editions also follow this sequence, but have the Five Rolls in the order followed in the liturgy, and put after the Psalms, instead of Job, Proverbs; Nos. iv. and v. vary only in regard to Ruth. No. vi., however, is entirely unique, apparently arranging the books according to their size, if Ezra and Nehemiah be considered as two books.
The Five Rolls.
The Five Rolls, however, form a class by themselves, and follow the order, in which they are employed on successive festivals, in the liturgy. Leaving out of account this last-mentioned sequence, two types remain: the Talmudic and the Masoretic. The most striking point of difference is the position assigned to the books of Chronicles, which are placed in the Talmud at the end, but in the Masoretic text at the beginning. The Talmudic sequence is chronological; the Masoretic considers the size of the books. In regard to the Five Rolls ( ... of which Ginsburg [l.c. p. 4] gives a table showing five lists of varying order), it should be noted that, in reality, they show only two sequences: one following the chronology of the authors; the other, the liturgical custom of the synagogue ('Jew. Quart. Revelation.' xii. 223). These variations in the order of the last Prophets and of the Hagiographa - particularly the latter - are significant for the history of the canon; for they show that these writings acquired canonical importance at a later period than the first Prophets and the Law. Owing to the earlier canonization of these latter, their sequence was so firmly established as never to give rise to question.
Many Rabbis of the branches of Judaism had a common canon and agreed that the Apocrypha were non-canonical!
TCE: Again, this puts the lie to claims you have made about the Jewish canon, for the Jews clearly put great thought into the constitution of the Word of God as well as preserving the written word in ways that are amply testified to by the 'Dead Sea Scrolls'! The admittedly sloppy copying (of even Jerome's Vulgate) by Papal Roman Catholics contrasts very, very badly.
The Jewish Encyclopedia (continued):
The most radical criticism agrees that the Torah is the first and oldest part of the canon. The narrative of Neh. viii.-x., which describes an actual canonization, is of prime importance for the history of the collection of the Holy Writings. It is thus generally agreed that in the middle of the fifth century B.C. the first part of the canon was extant. There is no foundation for the belief that, according to Neh. viii.-x., the Pentateuch was not fully completed until that date. The opinions of the synagogue will be discussed later; here only external testimony concerning the canonization will be considered. Perhaps the last three verses of the Book of Malachi, the last prophet, are to be considered as a kind of canonization. The warning concerning the teachings of Moses, and the unusually solemn words of comfort, make it seem probable that herein is intended a peroration not only to the speeches of the last prophets, but also to the whole twofold canon, the Law and the Prophets. These verses could not have come from Malachi; but they may very probably have been added by another anonymous prophet, or by some appropriate authority, in order to let the words of the Holy Scriptures conclude with a Divine reminder of the Torah, and with a promise of great comfort. Another example of what may be called 'canonical ending' for the entire Holy Writ may be seen (N. Krochmal, 'Moreh Nebuke ha-Zeman,' viii., No. 11) in the last three verses of the Book of Ecclesiastes. This declamation against the makers of books sounds like a canonical closing; and it was really considered such by the oldest Jewish exegetes (see above, § 4). The admonition to keep the Commandments, and the threat of divine punishment, may be compared to the reminder of the Torah and the idea of punishment in Malachi.
Evidences of the Canon.
While there are no other evidences in Holy Writ itself of a collection of the Holy Writings, there are some outside of it, which, in part, may now be mentioned in chronological order. The author of the apocryphal book Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) was a contemporary of the high priest Simon - either the first or the second of that name - who lived at the beginning or at the end of the third century B.C. He knew the Law and Prophets in their present form and sequence; for he glorifies (Christian. xliv.-xlix.) the great men of antiquity in the order in which they successively follow in Holy Writ. He not only knew the name ('The Twelve Prophets'), but cites Malachi iii. 23, and is acquainted with by far the greatest part of the Hagiographa, as is certain from the Hebrew original of his writings recently discovered.
Evidences of Sirach.
He knew the Psalms, which he ascribes to David (Ecclus. [Sirach] xlvii. 8, 9), and the Proverbs: 'There were those who found out musical harmonies, and set forth proverbs [A. V., 'poetical compositions'] in writing' (xliv. 5). An allusion to Proverbs and probably to the Song of Solomon is contained in his words on King Solomon: 'The countries marveled at thee for thy songs, and proverbs, and parables [or 'dark sayings'], and interpretations' (xlvii. 17); the last three words being taken from Prov. i. 6, while the Song of Solomon is alluded to in 'songs.' He would have had no authority to speak of 'songs' at all from I Kings v. 12; he must have known them. While he had no knowledge of Ecclesiastes, his didactic style proves that he used Job, as is also indicated by the words ... (xliv. 4, and afterward, ... ). Ecclesiastes, Esther, and Daniel are not included in his canon (see Halévy, 'Etude sur la Partie du Texte Hébreux de l'Ecclésiastique,' pp. 67 et seq., Paris, 1897); he considers Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah as Holy Scripture (xlix. 12 = Ezra iii. 2; xlix. 13 = Neh. iii. and vi.; compare Neh. vi. 12); he mentions distinctly 'the laws and prophets' (xxxix. 1); in the following sentences there are allusions to other writings; and verse 6 of the same chapter leads to the supposition that in his time only wisdom-writings and prayers were being written.
The grandson of Sirach (132 B.C.), who translated his ancestor's wisdom from Hebrew into Greek, tells in his preface no more about the canon than is apparent from the book itself; but he tells it more clearly. He mentions three times the Torah, Prophets, and 'other writings;' he knew no 'terminus technicus' for the canon's third part, as one was not coined until two hundred years later. In the original these passages are respectively as follows ...
In the Second Book of Maccabees (124 B.C.; Niese, 'Kritik der Beiden Makkabäerbücher'), written only a few years later than the Greek Sirach, the following is stated: 'The same things also were reported in the records, namely, the memoirs of Neemias: and how he, founding a library, gathered together the books concerning the kings, and the prophets, and those of David, and the epistles of the kings concerning holy gifts. And in like manner also Judas gathered together all those books that had been scattered by reason of the war we had, and they are with us. If now possibly ye have need thereof, send such as will bring them unto you' (II Macc. ii. 13-15). The Torah is not mentioned; its general circulation rendered its 'collection' unnecessary. The second part of the canon is unmistakably intended by 'books concerning the kings' (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings) and by 'prophets' (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Minor Prophets). Since the Hagiographa had not yet received a definite name, they are mentioned as 'those of David' (the Psalms), as the first and most important book - a custom followed in the New Testament even at a time when there was no doubt concerning the existence of collected Hagiographa. The expression, 'the books of the kings concerning holy gifts,' seems to refer to the royal letters mentioned in Ezra and Nehemiah, and if this be so, then the Hagiographa do find mention; viz., Psalms and Chronicles, their first and last books.
It should also be noted that Nehemiah and not Ezra is named: a circumstance which indicates the age of these statements; since the son of Sirach likewise glorified Nehemiah and made no mention of Ezra, whereas even the oldest rabbinical authorities consider Ezra as a writer far superior to Nehemiah, the aristocrat.
Philo, in his extant works, makes no mention of Ezekiel, Daniel, or the Five Rolls. Since, however, even Sirach mentions Ezekiel, Philo's silence about him is undoubtedly accidental; consequently, his failure to name the other books can not be taken as a proof that they were not in his canon. Moreover, the Laws, Prophets, Psalms, and other books are referred to by title in his 'De Vita Contemplativa,' § 3. It is true, Lucius ('Die Therapeuten,' Strasburg, 1880) doubts the genuineness of this work; but Leopold Cohn, an authority on Philo ('Einleitung und Chronologie der Schriften Philo's,' p. 37, Leipsic, 1899; 'Philologus,' vii., suppl. volume, p. 421), maintains that there is no reason to do so. Consequently, Siegfried's opinion ('Philo,' p. 61, Jena, 1875) that Philo's canon was essentially the same as that of to-day, is probably correct (H. E. Ryle, 'Philo and Holy Scripture,' London, 1895).
The New Testament shows that its canon was none other than that which exists to-day. None of the Apocrypha or Pseudepigrapha is ever quoted by name, while Daniel is expressly cited in Matthew xxiv. 15. Matthew xiii. 35 (= Luke xi. 51) proves that Chronicles was the last canonical book. The statement, 'That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias,' contains a reference to II Chron. xxiv. 20. The three chief divisions are enumerated in Luke xxiv. 44 - 'Law,' 'Prophets,' and 'Psalms' - as they are in Philo. Usually, however, only the Law and the Prophets are mentioned (Matthew v. 17; Luke xvi. 16); but by them the three divisions are intended just as the Talmudic teachers include the Hagiographa under Prophets (see § 3). This usage is to be attributed, on the one hand, to the lack of a current technical term for the Hagiographa, and on the other to the opinion that the collected books of the Holy Writings were written by the Prophets. In view of these facts, the silence of the writers of the New Testament concerning Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Esther, and Ezra has no bearing on the question whether these writings were or were not included in the canon (see Strack, l.c. p. 750).
TCE: Thus we see that, despite your attempts to attribute Jewish bias against Christianity and the New Testament canon that is proven to be that which is accepted by 'Protestant' groups, The Jewish Encyclopedia supports our view! They then give the same evidence we have already detailed from Josephus:
Josephus 38-95) enumerates 22 books, which he divides as follows: 5 books of Moses; 13 histories, containing the history of Israel from Moses' death down to Artaxerxes I., written by the Prophets; and 4 remaining books consisting of hymns and admonitions. '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: and how firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one hath been so bold as either to add anything to them, to take anything from them, or to make any change in them' ('Contra Ap.' i. 8). It is evident that Josephus, instead of counting Ruth and Lamentations as separate books, combined them with Judges and Jeremiah, respectively. As historical books he considered all that narrated anything historical, and thus included Job. He considered Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes non-historical. No other arrangement would have been possible for Josephus; for it is known from Talmudic and Midrashic literature that in his time, when the Tannaites flourished most, all the now familiar books were considered canonical. For various interpretations of Josephus' narrative, see Strack, l.c. p. 752.
The evidence of the church fathers, such as Melito of Sardis (about 170; in Eusebius, 'Hist. Eccl.' iv. 26) and Origen (died 253; in Eusebius, l.c. vi. 25), both of whom count 22 books, but mention 24, is unimportant; since they invoke the authority of their Jewish teachers, whose canon is known from the Tannaite literature. Of still less weight is the evidence of Jerome (died 420), who also had Jewish instruction, and simply repeats what was current opinion among the Amoraim ('Prologus Galeatus' and preface to Daniel).
The Prophetical Canon.
In addition to the written evidence mentioned above, the circumstance that the Samaritans (who considered themselves Jews) accepted only the Pentateuch and part of Joshua is of great importance in determining the historical development of the canon. It brings out the momentous fact that a recognized canon of the Prophets did not exist in the middle of the fifth century B.C.; while, on the other hand, it is certain from Sirach (see § 6 of this article) that the prophetical canon was completed by 200 B.C. at the very latest. Since Sirach considered prophecy as long since silenced, and had no recollection of any authoritative close of this canon, the view that the list of the Prophets was completed at least one hundred years before his time is very plausible. Consequently, the prophetical canon must have been closed, at the very latest, at the beginning of the era of the Seleucids (312). Zunz ('G. V.' ed. i., p. 14) says with reason: 'The holy books, containing the Law and the Prophets, must have been collected a few generations after Nehemiah. Their age extends back far beyond that epoch. The decided predilection shown toward this part of the Biblical books, still visible in later times and in all religious institutions, must be explained by the fact that it had long been honored as the only surviving monument of the Jewish state at a time when the latter no longer existed, and other national writings, whether of earlier or later time, were attracting attention' (compare also ib. p. 33). Ryle ('Canon of the Old Testament,' p. 123) assumes that the prophetical canon was completed during the high priesthood of Simon II. (219-199 B.C.). He adduces in proof the prophetical books themselves, which, according to him, contain many additions of a late date, showing that previous to this period they had not been canonized; K. Marti (commentary on Isaiah, in 'Kurzgefasstes Handbuch') even argues that in Hillel's time the canon was not yet closed. However, the fact that Daniel is not included in the Prophets is of importance, and demonstrates that the prophetical canon must have been closed before 165 B.C.; for the best of criticism is agreed that Daniel belongs to the Maccabean era; it would have been included in the Prophets had at that time the canon still been open.
Determination of the Hagiographa.
While Sirach (see § 6) knew and made use of most of the books of the Hagiographa, his chapters contain no allusion whatever to Ecclesiastes, Esther, or Daniel. It does not follow from this that he did not know these books, but that he simply did not consider them Holy Writings; moreover, it is certain that in 200 B.C. the canon of the Hagiographa did not exist in its present form. A second foundation for this theory would be the date of the Book of Daniel, which in its present form, and with its allusion to Antiochus Epiphanes, was not known before 165. A third argument is deduced from the fact that while the translator of Sirach in 132 knew no technical name for the Hagiographæ, he nevertheless speaks plainly of a third part of Holy Writ. Accordingly, there is no sound reason to doubt the statement in II Macc. ii. 14 (see § 6 of this article) that Judas Maccabee collected the books scattered during the wars.
No doubt, the Syrians in their persecutions had diligently searched for scrolls of the Torah, and (since they knew no difference between the various Hebrew writings) for other Biblical books (I Macc. iii. 48). Under the circumstances, it is quite comprehensible that the warlike Maccabean and his pious followers took special care to collect the Holy Books. On the other hand, under the rule of the princes who followed Simon, most of whom sided with the Sadducees, circumstances were unfavorable for determining a canon for the third portion of Scripture by agreement as to which books should be included and which excluded. It was impossible to determine the canon in the post-Maccabean period, because then the various schools of tradition began to flourish. So important a matter as the canon would not have been easily settled, as the controversies of 65 and 90 C. E. show (see § 11), and indeed there are no traces of a discussion of the subject. In view of all these circumstances, one is warranted in assuming as most probable that not long after the Maccabean wars of freedom the Jewish community had reached an agreement as to the books of the third canon.
Everything points to the correctness of the opinion of Zunz (l.c. p. 34) 'that long before the destruction of the Temple, and not long after Sirach was translated, the Holy Writings comprised the present cycle.' Ryle (l.c. pp. 184 et seq.), also, believes that the Hagiographa were completed before the death of John Hyrcanus (106 B.C.). To be sure, he distinguishes two periods: that from 160-105 B.C. for the admission, and that from 90-110 C.E. for the final ratification of the complete canon. But this distinction makes no difference as to the principal matter in issue.
Principle of Canonization.
Jewish tradition adopts the view that every word of Holy Writ was inspired by the Divine Spirit. This Spirit is believed, in every case, to have rested upon a prophet; and, consequently, every Biblical book was said to have been written by a prophet. The chronicler attributes the authorship of the Book of Samuel, which he designates as 'the acts of David' (I Chron. xxix. 29) to Samuel, Nathan, and Gad. The oldest Baraita (see above, § 3; B. B. 14b), dealing with the sequence and authors of the Biblical writings, assumes the author of every book to have been a prophet, and finds him either in the titles or the sequence of the books themselves. Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Ezra, and the Prophets wrote their own books; Moses wrote Job, the hero of which was his contemporary; Joshua wrote the last eight verses of the Pentateuch ('so Moses, the servant of the Lord, died,' etc.); Samuel wrote Judges and Ruth; Jeremiah the Books of Kings, which preceded his own book, and Ezra the Chronicles (see Blau, l.c. p. 33). There is thus an unbroken chain of prophets from Moses to Malachi; the chain of tradition in Abot i. 1 mentions prophets but no priests: 'Forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses prophesied for Israel. None of them took from or added anything to the Law, except the reading of the roll of Esther' (Baraita Meg. 14a; compare 'Seder 'Olam,' xx., xxi.).
Not only the Patriarchs, but David and Solomon also were considered prophets. Thus the Psalms, written by David; Proverbs, Canticles, and Ecclesiastes, written by Solomon ('Seder 'Olam,' xv.; compare Cant. R. i. 35; Lam. R. xi. 1; and B. B. 15a); Ruth, by Samuel; Lamentations, by Jeremiah; Daniel, by Daniel and Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah, by Ezra (who is identified with Malachi, Meg. 15a), are all of prophetic origin. Esther alone apparently is without a prophetic author. For this reason, 'Seder 'Olam' (end of Christian. xx.) considers that Mordecai was a prophet who, contemporary with Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, prophesied at the time of Darius; while Daniel (who in Esther R. iv. 5 is identified with Hatach), according to his own book, lived as early as the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Josephus - who believes that prophecy ceased in the time of Artaxerxes I - considers as divine only the books written by prophets (see the passage, 'Contra Ap.' i. 8, quoted above; compare Grätz, 'Monatsschrift,' xxxv. 281 et seq.). Thus only works regarded as having been inspired by the Holy Spirit were included in the canon. Neither the Talmud nor Midrash knew the difference between prophecy and the Holy Spirit, as drawn in the Middle Ages. Take the following examples:
Esther was a prophetess; for it is said (Esther ix. 29): 'Esther wrote' ('Seder 'Olam,' l.c.). Chajes ('Torat Nebiïm,' last page, Zolkiev, 1836) has rightly inferred from this passage that, according to tradition, every written word was of prophetic origin. Rabbi Levi says. 'Formerly, if man did anything of importance, a prophet came and wrote it down; but now ...' (Lev. R. xxxiv. 8). David prays in Psalm xix. 15 (A. V. 14): 'Let the words of my mouth be acceptable': that is, 'may they be transcribed for later generations, and may the latter not read them as Homer is read, but let them meditate upon them and be rewarded for doing so, as they are for studying Nega'im and Ohalot (Midrash Tehillim, i. 8, ed. Buber, p. 5a). Of Ps. xlii. 5 it is said (Lam. R. Introduction, p. 24): 'There were 600,000 or even 1,200,000 prophets. Every prophecy which was of importance for its own time or later generations was published; but, on the other hand, those prophecies having significance for their own, but not for future times, were not published' (Cant. R. vi. 11). 'God said to Moses, 'copy the Torah, Prophets, and Hagiographa, that you may have them in writing; Halakot, Midrash, Haggadot, and Talmud, however, are to be preserved only verbally' (Ex. R. xlvii. 154a). R. Isaac considered that 'all that the prophets foretell in every generation, they learned on Matthew. Sinai' (ib. xxviii. 100a). 'The entire Holy Writ is really the word of God, so that the authors are to be considered merely as media.' 'When Haggai, Zachariah, and Malachi died, the Holy Spirit left Israel' (Tosef., Sotah, xiii. 2; Yer. Sotah, end; Sanh. 11a).
TCE: Note how Rabbi Levi's opinion is clearly at odds with Papal Rome's 'tradition': 'Formerly, if man did anything of importance, a prophet came and wrote it down; but now ...'
Therefore, whatever is in the Holy Writ must have been written, at the very latest, during the time of these last three prophets, frequently mentioned in Talmud and Midrash. The Great Synagogue had many prophets among its members, and therefore had the right to have the Esther scroll written down (Shab. 104a; Meg. 2a; Yoma 80a; Tem. 15b).
Ben Sira and Other Apocrypha.
It was due to the principle referred to in the preceding section that the Wisdom of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), which was used as a school-book many centuries after the completion of the canon (hence called ..., whence the Jewish 'Alphabets' of Ben Sira), either found no place in the canon, or was excluded from it. Since, in his work, the author names himself and the high priest Simon, the post-prophetic origin of the work was evident:
In the Tosefta it is stated (Yad. ii. 13, ed. Zuckermandel, p. 683): 'Neither the books of Ben Sira nor any of the books written thereafter [that is, in post-prophetic times] render the hands unclean,' [that is, are canonical]. The Mishnah (Sanh. x. i) adduces this dictum in the name of R. Akiba: 'He who reads the outside books (...) shall have no share in the life to come.' To this the Palestinian Talmud adds: 'for example, the books of Ben Sira and Ben La'ana.' But the reading of Homer and all other books written thereafter shall be accounted as the reading of a letter. On what ground? They may be read, but not to weariness' (Sanh. 28a). This passage is usually considered incomprehensible. In the first place, its severity against Ben Sira is not intelligible; secondly, it is not clear why the books of Homer should be preferred to Ecclesiasticus (Sirach); thirdly, in one of the Baraitot (Sanh. 100a) it is said that the books of heretics are meant (...), and only Joseph, a Babylonian amora of the beginning of the fourth century, states: 'The book of Ben Sira also is not to be read.' This prohibition is indeed contradicted by historical facts; for since Sirach's wisdom is frequently cited by the Talmudists (compare the latest compilation of citations in Cowley and Neubauer, 'The Original Hebrew of a Portion of Ecclesiasticus,' Oxford, 1897), the reading of his work can not have been forbidden. Moreover, as the context clearly shows, passages of Ben Sira are twice cited as though they were part of the Hagiographa ('Er. 65a, by Rab from Sirach vii. 10, and B. K. 92b by Rabba bar Mari; see also 'Jew. Quart. Revelation.' x. 241). Even if it be supposed that these two cases arose from a confusion due to lack of memory, the two Talmudic teachers thinking the verses quoted by them to be from a Biblical book, withal it clearly follows that Sirach was read, and so high an authority as Akiba could not possibly have declared that whoever read in Ben Sira would destroy his future salvation. As a result of these difficulties it has been decided to amend the passages of the Jerusalem Talmud in question (Joel, 'Black in die Religionsgeschichte,' i. 71 et seq.; Grätz, 'Monatsschrift,' xxxv. 287). It would seem that all these difficulties might be obviated by keeping clearly in mind the fact that the Talmudic teachers distinguished two kinds of reading: (1) reading in public and aloud, or zealous study, and (2) private reading. The Midrash on Eccl. xii. 12 (see above, § 4) forbids adding another book such as that of Ben Sira or Ben Tigla to the twenty-four books; but says they may be read, expressing this opinion in the same way as does the Talmudic passage under discussion. The whole passage therefore bears out the following construction: Akiba maintains that not only he who denies the divine origin of the Torah forfeits his share in the future life, but also he who reads the outside books as though they were Holy Writings; that is, who treats them as such either by reading them aloud or by interpreting them before the community. This or a similar penalty is not threatened in the case of apocryphal works in general, but only in connection with a well-known and highly prized book; consequently Akiba's statement must have been directed exclusively against Ben Sira's collection of proverbs, concerning which, Epiphanius also states (l.c. in Lagarde, 'Symmicta,' ii. 157) that it does not belong to the Holy Writings. The Talmud adds: 'but the ... and other works written in post-prophetic times may be read [that is, read privately]; for, according to Ecclesiastes xii, 2, they may be read, but not to the extent and in the manner of wearying the flesh.'
From these passages it is evident that no attempt was made to stamp out the Apocrypha; on the contrary, an influence was certainly exerted which was not altogether unfavorable to them (see above, § 4). In conclusion, be it remarked that Maimonides ('Hilkot 'Ab. Zarah,' ii. 2) holds Akiba's expression, 'outside books,' to refer to idolatrous, non-Jewish, extra-canonical writings, and that in the fourth century, in the passage in Sanh. 100a, a reason was sought for forbidding the reading of Sirach. Accordingly, the prohibition against reading non-canonical works generally can not have been old.
TCE: Thus we see clear evidence of the attitude towards un-Canonical books to the extent that the loss of eternal life was feared as a result of 'over zealous' reading of them to the point of 'wearying the flesh'. The following section ('Controversies About Separate Books') reveals the arguments put forward by rabbis of the many branches of Judaism, but all the suggestions fail to over-turn the canon recognised by many and the recognition of the Apocrypha as non-canonical ('But no controversy arose concerning the Apocrypha: all were agreed that they were non-canonical').
Controversies About Separate Books.
There were controversies concerning the admission into the canon of the Book of Ezekiel, Solomon's three books (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon), and Esther. But no controversy arose concerning the Apocrypha: all were agreed that they were non-canonical. The opposition to Ezekiel was only temporary; owing to its contradictions of the Pentateuch, many wished to hide it away (that is, to prevent its use); but 'Hananiah ben Hezekiah ben Garon spent three hundred jars of oil to release it.' Others wished to prohibit its use because a child in school, having read the first chapter, made a picture of the 'hashmal' (A. V., 'color of amber') which then emitted flames; nevertheless, Hananiah championed it (Hag. 13a; Shab. 13b; Men. 45a). The opposition to Proverbs, because they contained contradictions, was very slight. For the same reason, it was contended that Ecclesiastes ought not to be read (Shab. 30b). Apparently the opponents belonged to the strict school of the Shammaites (Bacher, 'Ag. Tan.' i. 21). Others wished to prohibit the reading of Ecclesiastes on the ground that it expressed heretical ideas (Lev. R. xxviii., beginning, and elsewhere).
(Continued on page 340)