Apocrypha composed and transmitted throughout Christian history

Apocryphal letter of Sultan Mohammed II to the Pope (“Notes et extraits pour servir à l’histoire des croisades au XVe siècle”) / published by Nicolas Jorga. Series 4: 1453–1476, Paris; Bucarest, 1915, pages 126–127

We do have some works in which by some are considered part of biblical literature whilst others consider them as works outside an accepted canon of scripture. Those many writings form a body of esoteric writings that were at first prized, later tolerated, and finally excluded. In its broadest sense apocrypha has come to mean any writings of dubious authority.

For millennia, it was thought that the Christian apocrypha were rejected, suppressed and destroyed by leaders of the early church. But today, scholars of the Christian apocrypha are challenging this view, claiming that the apocrypha were composed and transmitted throughout Christian history – and that they were valued not only by “heretics,” but also by writers within the church who did not hesitate to promote and even create apocryphal texts to serve their own interests.

5 thoughts on “Apocrypha composed and transmitted throughout Christian history

    • You may find interesting to read:

      Einteilung in das Alte Testament, (1964 Eng.transl. The Old Testament: an Introduction 1965)
      The Cambridge History of the Bible (CHB) 3 Vol (1963-1970)µThe Canon Frannts Buhuhl, Kanon und Text des alten Testaments (1891) Eng .Trans. Canon and Text of the Old Testament (1892)Max L. Margolis The Hebrew Scriptures in the making (1922)
      Herbert E. Ryle, The canon of the Old Testament 2nd Ed. (1895)
      Solomon Zeitling An Historical study of the canonisation of the Hebrew Scriptures
      The apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in english (1913)
      Emil Kautsch die Apocryphen und Pseudepigraphen des Alten testamnets (1900)
      Paul Riessler Altjüdisches Schrifttum ausserhalb der Bibel (1928) (is indeispensable because it contains translations of the fullest number of writings)
      Albert-Marie Denis Introduction aux Pseudégraphes grecs d’Ancien Testament (1970) (does not treat the apocrypha but is important mainly forits biography)
      R.H. Pfeifer History of New Testament Times, with introduction to the Apocrypha (1949)
      Robert travers Herford Talmud and Apocrypha (1933) (repr. 1971)

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    • You are welcome.

      The Apocrypha. Plainly stated, some Christian denominations — specifically, the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and some Protestants — add six or seven books to the Old Testament canon, as well as additions to the books of Esther and Daniel. These additions are called the “Deuterocanon” (second canon) by those denominations, and the “Apocrypha” (hidden writings) by nearly all others. These additional books and edits to Esther and Daniel are normally included in the Revised Standard Version and the New American Bible, and include:

      1. The First Book of Esdras
      2. The Second Book of Esdras
      3. Tobit
      4. Judith
      5. Additions to the Book of Esther
      6. The Wisdom of Solomon
      7. Ecclesiasticus (also called Sirach)
      8. Baruch
      9. The Letter of Jeremiah (often combined with Baruch as a single book)
      10. The Prayer of Azariah (normally added to Daniel 3)
      11. Susanna (normally added as Chapter 13 to the book of Daniel)
      12. Bel and the Dragon (normally added as Chapter 14 to the book of Daniel)
      13. The Prayer of Manasseh
      14. The First Book of the Maccabees
      15. The Second Book of the Maccabees

      These books range from 300 BC (The Letter of Jeremiah) to about 30 BC (The Wisdom of Solomon), are not included in the Hebrew Bible, but remain in dispute. Even this list itself is not agreed upon by all. For example, the Roman Catholic Church accepts this list as canon, with the exception of 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh. Eastern Orthodox accepts the list as canon, but includes both books of Esdras and Manasseh. This expanded (“second”) canon was proclaimed as the divinely inspired Word of God at the Council of Trent in 1546, though previous councils (including some in the first four centuries) rejected them.

      But are these books Scripture? Are they inspired, are they canonical? This is the question. The answer is we simply don’t know, and there are reasonable arguments on both sides of the debate. Some of the early church fathers accepted the Apocrypha as canonical (Augustine, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement), others rejected them (Athanasius, Josephus, Cyril, Origen, Jerome). Our earliest Greek manuscripts — Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Siniaticus, and Codex Vaticanus — include portions of the Apocrypha, interspersed throughout the Old Testament. Some believe that the tortures mentioned in Hebrews 11:35 are referring to the torture of the Maccabees recorded in 2 Maccabees 7 and 12, so advocates have at least one potential New Testament reference to the Apocrypha. However, the New Testament never directly quotes from any book of the Apocrypha, and never refers to any of them as Scripture, authoritative, or canonical.

      Modern scholarship remains sharply split, largely along Catholic/Protestant lines. Great Protestant theologians and scholars (Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, Bruce Metzger, William Nix, F. F. Bruce) continue to strongly reject the Apocrypha, citing many of the reasons here. Geisler, in particular, vehemently rejects these additional books based more on their content, which he calls unbiblical, heretical, extra-biblical, fanciful, sub-biblical, and even immoral.

      For those interested in further study, find included a further bibliography below

      Bruce, F.F., The Canon of Scripture, InterVarsity Press, Downer’s Grove, IL, 1988
      Geisler, Norman and Nix, William, A General Introduction to the Bible, Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1986
      Hauer, Christian and Young, William, An Introduction to the Bible: A Journey into Three Worlds, Second Edition, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1990
      Metzger, Bruce, An Introduction to the Apocrypha, Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 1977


  1. Pingback: Lost gospels or apocryphal writings | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher

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