APOCRYPHA The meaning of the term apokryphos

APOCRYPHA. The meaning of the term apokryphos secret seems to come not from Jewish but from gnostic and pagan literature, where it often indicated a doctrine or secret teaching see Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. I,13-20; see 20.1, where it says that gnostic followers of Marcus the magician introduced a number of spurious and apocryphal scriptures that they wrote themselves; see also Clem. Alex., Strom. III, 29.1. In the Gospel of Thomas, a mid-2nd-c. gospel used among gnostics, we read: These are the secret words that the living Jesus said, and that Didymus Judas Thomas wrote down. And he said: The one who finds the interpretation of these words will not taste death.’ For gnostics, therefore, the term apocrypha indicated a book, the reading of which was reserved for initiates. More over, utmost secrecy was required regarding the teaching contained in the various gnostic writings, as well as regarding any doctrines learned. Only two ancient writings part of the writings of Nag Hammadi containing gnostic doctrine have an apocryphal i.e., secret character declared in the title: Apokryphon Iohannis and Apokryphon Iacobi. The former, thanks to evidence from Irenaeus, is dated ca. 150, whereas the latter is thought to be mid-2nd to early 3rd c. In the Gospel of Thomas, the frequently recurring expression Jesus said indicates as with many other so-called apocrypha a claim to refer to a proclamation of the Lord himself. Such claims may stem from a desire to convey ancient traditions, or those believed to be so, handing them down as sayings of Jesus; or from the desire to fill in the silence of the by-then canonical gospels on the thirty years of Jesus’ hidden life; or to enrich the known and accepted data of faith with clarifications helpful for popular understanding; or to put forth one’s own doctrine with words attributed to Jesus, secretly revealed to the initiates of a particular group. Precisely for this last reason the term apokryphos used to indicate writings accepted in some churches even into the 2nd and 3rd c. and later recommended for private i.e., secret reading rather than public reading as done with the Bible already a practice in the Jewish world later became, in the church at large, a synonym for falsification. This change in the evaluation of apocryphal literature the negative connotation given to many writings, very different from each other in literary genre and content, and due also to the continual comparison of this literature with what had become canonical to the extent that from the 17th c., with Fabricius, one spoke of NT apocrypha has led, esp. in the last 30 years, to a new approach to the literature known until now as NT apocrypha. Many studies see J.D. Ka«stli, Norelli, Jounod, Gori and Di Berardino, among others have led to the recognition of the appropriateness of calling these writings pseudepigrapha, or texts of ancient Christian literature, or better, ancient Christian apocrypha, indicating the need to consider writings so different from one another not as a block but as writings that each require their own particular study, and to the extent possible not always conditioned by comparison with the canonical writings. This procedure may in fact influence the reading, interpretation and use of some apocryphal writings that, from a historical perspective, could become important fragments of the early Christian message parcelles importants du message chrtien primitive L. Leloir, Utilit ou inutilit de l’tude des apocryphes: RTL 19 1988 70, enriching our knowledge of the canonical writings themselves. Canonicity does not depend on the greater or lesser antiquity of the texts; there are other reasons ancient and apostolic tradition, authenticity, doctrine, not all known to us, which led the first Christian communities to consider certain specific writings to be inspired and others not. Some of these so-called apocrypha, whose authors did not have the intention of creating false or heretical works, may in fact preserve ancient traditions on Christ the preacher or Christ preached, in harmony with the canonical writings with regard to the essence of the truth of the faith, but differently transmitted, according to the geographical or cultural environment in which those traditions were received and transmitted. Some apocrypha could have had an important role in the transmission of cultural and religious traditions see C. Paupert, L’Apocryphe, fable cat- chtique: Apocrypha 7 1996 249-251. In the research and analysis of ancient Christian apocrypha one must also bear in mind and not undervalue the judgment of ancient Christian writers on the various works, distinguishing in each case preunderstanding from prejudice. We have seen how Irenaeus, on a number of occasions when indicating particular aspects of gnostic doctrine, emphasizes their character of error and falsehood. Tertullian Resurr. Mort. 63,6, addressing the Marcionites and Valentinians, accuses them of having added the secret doctrines of the apocrypha, blasphemous fables to the Word of God. By this Tertullian shows that he has made a comparison between the Word of God and the writings he calls apocrypha. Between the late 2nd and early 3rd c., these so-called apocrypha were considered to be part of a literature that was not included in the list of the sacred books, which, as the late-2nd-c. Muratorian Canon itself shows, was still in formation and not yet definitively closed. In the fathers of the church the following are called apocrypha: writings whose origin is unknown and attribution to this or that author is false Jerome, Ep. 107; Aug., Civ. Dei XV, 23; Faust. XI, 2; writings that contain doctrinal errors alongside useful information Orig., Prol. In Cant.; Comm. in Mt. Serm. 28; Aug., Faust. XI, 2; writings not admitted to public reading in churches because not canonical Ruf., Symb. 38; Jerome, Ep. 96; Prol. in Gal.; heretical writings or those used by heretics Iren., Adv. haer. 1, 20; Tertull., De resur. 63; Clem. Alex., Strom., 1, 15; III, 4; Hipp., Philos. VII, 20. In Origen the term apocrypha is primarily used to indicate writings not approved by the church and that use names of OT figures. He presents a canon of 22 books of the first revelation. Origen does not use the concept of apocrypha univocally; at times he judges some writings to be apocryphal because he thinks elements of truth can be found in them; at other times he openly declares the heretical character of other apocrypha. A first classification between OT and NT apocrypha is based precisely on the text’s title, which may refer to an OT or NT figure. Normally OT apocrypha were composed by Jews, though there are instances of Christian interpolation see the citations referring to the incarnation in The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Apocalypse of Esdras etc., whereas Christian apocrypha were those that made explicit reference to the NT. OT apocrypha were usually divided into two large groups: those of Palestinian and those of Hellenistic origin J.B. Frey, DBS. The Fathers refer to some of these apocrypha, but their evaluations of them differ. The Book of Enoch is cited as Sacred Scripture in Barn. 15-16 and Origen Princ. I,3,3; IV,4,8; Hom. in Num.28,2. The Ethiopian church accepts it as a scriptural text, whereas the Apostolic Constitutions 6,16 explicitly condemn it R.H. Charles, Apocrypha  , 163-281. Origen knows an Assumption of Moses, which he says is cited in Jude 9 Princ. III 2,1. The Ascension of Isaiah is known to Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Cyprian of Carthage Ep. 74,9, Origen, Commodian, Lactantius, Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose, Jerome etc. see E. Tisserant, Ascension  , 62-74, and the study of E. Norelli, L’Ascension of Isaiah. Studi su un apocrifo al crocevia dei cristianesimi, Bologna 1994; the III Book of Esdras on the canonicity of which some Fathers seem favorable is cited by Justin Dial. 72, Theophilus of Antioch Autol. III, 25, Clement of Alexandria Strom. I,21,124, Gregory of Nazianzus Or. 23, Dionysius of Alexandria in Athan., Dion. 25, Basil of Caesarea Eun. 5, 4 and Augustine Civ. Dei, XVIII, 36. Uncertainties remain on patristic references to the Apocalypse of Esdras or IV Esdras see Jerome, Praef. in Ezech.: PL 28, 1403, which seem to be attested in Barn. 12,1 and Justin see G. Otranto, Esegesi biblica e storia in Giustino, Bari 1979, 123-136. The Slavic Book of Enoch appears certainly only in a citation of Origen Princ. I,3,2. The Christian literature of the first centuries passed down various fragments of an apocrypha of Ezekiel 1 Clem. 23,2-3; Clem. Al., Quod dives 40,2; Paed. I,10; Tertull., De res. carn. 23; Athan., Vita Ant. 16; Epiph., Haer. 64, 70. Regarding NT apocrypha, the first major division is based on literary genre. We have apocryphal gospels, acts, epistles and apocalyptic. Apocryphal gospels are those extracanonical writings that deal with the earthly teachings of Jesus, his life and that of his family. Origen Hom. 1 in Lk. listed a number of gospels that did not enjoy the same authority in the various churches as did the four canonical gospels. These writings were in turn divided into three groups: synoptic-type apocryphal gospels, those containing heterodox teaching and those that use imagination to fill in the gaps in the canonical gospels. The first group contains the gospels used among Jewish Christians for the problem of the agraphon, see entry. Included are: the Gospel of the Hebrews, already mentioned in Ignatius of Antioch Smyrn. 3, 12. Numerous references to this text are in the works of other fathers: Orig., Jo., 12, 87; Hom. 15,4 in Jer.; Comm. in Mt. XV, 14; Clem. Alex., Strom. II, 9,45; V, 14,96; Eus., HE III, 25, 5; 27, 4; 39, 17; IV, 22, 8; VI, 17; Jerome, In Mt. I; Vir. ill. 3; Adv. Pelag. III, 2; In Ezech. 18, 7; the way the various fathers refer to it indicates that the text must have been used without qualms in orthodox Jewish Christian communities. Quite different is the Gospel of the Ebionites, used by Jewish Christian communities that, according to Irenaeus, did not accept St. Paul Adv. haer. I, 26; Eus., HE III, 27 and had an inexact knowledge of the Lord Iren., Adv. haer. III, 11, whose genealogy in Matthew they had suppressed Epiph., Haer. XXX, 13,2; 14,3. Some passages of this gospel are found in Eusebius of Caesarea HE III, 39; IV, 22 and in Epiphanius of Salamis Haer. XXX, 3,7; 13,2.4.6.7. The Gospel of the Nazarenes was used in orthodox Jewish Christian communities. It is thought to be the Hebrew Gospel frequently mentioned by Jerome Comm. I in Mt. 6,11; 12,13; Comm IV in Mt. 23,35; 27,16; Comm. in Is. 18 praef. and also mentioned by Epiphanius Haer. XXIX 9,4 and Theodoret Haer. II 1; II 2. The Gospel of the Egyptians, mentioned by Origen Hom. 1 in Lk. and a few fragments of which are given in Clement Strom. III, 9,63.64; 13,92, seems dominated by Encratism. The Gospel of Peter, an incomplete account of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ found in the Akhm®m MS in 1887, is mentioned by Origen In Mt. comm. X, 17 and Eusebius HE VI, 12,2. The affinities between this text and other patristic writings Ign.; Barn.; Polyc., Ep. 7,1; Just., I Apol. 33,5; 2 Clem. 5; etc., esp. Melito of Sardis’s Peri Pascha, have been fully studied, as have its historical and theological position M.G. Mara, ‰vangile ; and Id., Gospel ; for the Gospel of Peter, see Apocrypha Petrine. Another group is composed of clearly heterodox gospels, in which either an important NT person is entrusted with imparting heterodox teaching or the founder of a heretical tendency uses Scripture, reworking its data to present it as a confirmation of his position. According to Hippolytus Philos. V, 7,20, the Naassenes made wide use of a gospel attributed to Thomas; this is confirmed by Origen Hom. 1 in Lk. and Eusebius HE III, 25,6. According to Cyril of Jerusalem Catech. IV, 36; VI, 31 the authors of this gospel were Manichees. The discovery in 1945, among the Coptic texts of Khenoboskhion, of the Gospel of Thomas, previously known only in a few fragments, allows us to identify it as a gnostic text. A gospel of which Clement cites several fragments is attributed to the apostle Matthias Strom. II, 9,45; IV 6,35; VII, 13,82; 17,108. According to Hippolytus, the followers of Basilides claimed to have received secret teachings from a revelation of the Lord to Matthias. Other gnostic gospels are the so-called Pistis Sophia, mentioned by Irenaeus Adv. haer. I,31 and Epiphanius Haer XXVI, 13, and the Gospel of Judas, mentioned by Epiphanius Haer. XXXVIII, 1. The Gospel of Marcion is amply cited by Tertullian Adv. Marc. IV 2,4, etc. and Epiphanius Haer. 42, 9, 1-3. The apocrypha concerned with supplying wider information on the lives of Jesus and his family are very different. This literature provides a history of Christ’s childhood, rich in detail, from his birth to the flight into Egypt and the miracles worked there and at Nazareth. The Arabic Infancy Gospel is the most characteristic text of this cycle, often using the Protevangelium of James, not only for its information on Jesus’ birth and childhood, but also for its information on Mary, from the story of her birth to her role in her Son’s early years. Further information on Mary is given in the work which seems to close the cycle dedicated to her: the Transitus Mariae. Both the Protevangelium of James and the Transitus have found their way into the liturgy, esp. in the East, not based on any attribution of canonicity to the texts but simply based on their devout and simple popular religiosity. References to the Protevangelium seem to be present in Justin Dial. 5, Clement Strom. VII, 93 and Origen Comm. in Mt. X, 17. An apocrypha is also dedicated to the life and death of Joseph: the History of Joseph the Carpenter. The cycle dedicated to Pilate Gospel of Nicodemus or Acts of Pilate recounts Jesus’s trial, passion, death and resurrection in detail. Popular interest in the mysteries of the afterlife was richly satisfied by its account told by once-dead, now-risen eyewitnesses of Jesus’ descent into hell to save the just. We owe the apocryphal Acts largely to the wish to know more about the lives, journeys and preaching of the apostles. Some of these, however, are attributed to heretical circles and their aim was to confirm heterodox opinions: the Acts of Andrew, John and Paul seem to have circulated among the Manichees and Priscillianists Eus., HE III, 25; that of Thomas among the Encratites Epiph., Haer. XLVII, 1, Manichees Aug., Contr. Faust. 22,79 and Priscillianists Turibio, Epist. Idacio: PL 54, 694. Harnack Altchristiche Lit., 116ff.; on the apocryphal Acts see var. aus., Les Actes Apocryphes des Ap´tres, Geneva 1981 gives a vast picture of the presence of the apocryphal Acts in the Fathers. Not to dispel curiosity but to avoid the dangers of heterodoxy, from the 4th c. on the apocryphal Acts were expurgated and rewritten so they could be accepted and read by believers. This occurred, e.g., with the Acts of Paul cited from the 3rd c. by Tertull., Bapt. 17; Orig., Princ. I 2,3; Comm. in Jo. XX, 12; Pas. 36-37, 1; on this last reference see F. Bovon, Une nouvelle citation des Actes de Paul chez Orig¨ne: Apocrypha 5 1994 113- 117, the Acts of Peter see L. Vouaux, Les Actes de Pierre, 110ff., of Thomas M.R. James, Apocrypha anecdota, II, 28-45 and of Andrew see P.M. Peterson, Andrew . Another group of apocryphal Acts that deal with the adventures of a single apostle Acts of Philip, Barnabas, Thaddaeus or of two apostles together Acts of Andrew and Matthias, Peter and Andrew, Paul and Andrew, Andrew and Bartholomew appears clearly as edifying literature from the late 4th c.. Worthy of special note are the PseudoClementine Homilies, whose author and hero is no longer an apostle but Clement of Rome see O. Cullmann, Le probl¨me . There are also apocryphal Pauline letters like the III Epistle to the Corinthians, the Epistle to the Laodiceans and To the Alexandrians see the bibl. in L. Vouaux, Les actes de Paul. Under the title of kerygma or predicatio, fragments have reached us attributed to the preaching of Peter and Paul see E. Hennecke – W. Schneemelcher, II; for the Kerygma Petri see M.G. Mara, Kerygma Petrou . Among apocryphal Apocalypses, setting aside a significant number of texts that have not survived except in title, Eusebius calls the Apocalypse of Peter a falsification HE III, 3,2; 25,4, while Methodius of Olympus calls it an inspired text Symp. II,6; according to Sozomen HE VII,19, the text was read on Good Friday in some Palestinian communities. Various scholars have claimed to see an influence of the Sibylline Oracles in Theophilus, Clement and in the Cohortatio ad Graecos of ps.-Justin on this work and its problems see A. Pincherle, Gli oracoli . In summary we can say: 1 in some ancient documents, called apocrypha, the desire emerges to fix in writing what oral traditions in various regions ascribed to Christ and his disciples; 2 other apocrypha respond by the free and imaginative use of scriptural data and information, answering the needs of local communities to the demands of popular curiosity about human destiny, about Jesus and about his family; 3 still other apocrypha seek to legitimate heresy through the manipulation of canonical texts; 4 late apocrypha mirror the apologetic or dogmatic problems of the time when they were written. Besides this, apocrypha were responsible for fixing a form of preaching and catechesis which, differing in part from the canonical, nevertheless exercised considerable influence on literature, art, devotion and liturgy. It is enough to recall that the names and information about Mary’s parents, her presentation in the temple, Jesus’ birth in a cave with ox and ass, the names and number of the magi, and many other details entered the history of Christian devotion through these texts. Also, in the field of liturgy, some parts of the Mass pro eligendo Pontifice are taken from the III Book of Esdras. The first publication of an apocrypha at Basel in 1552 was followed by collections guided by increasingly scientific criteria, the most complete and philologically sound being that of J.A. Fabricius 17031719, even if conditioned by comprehensive judgments on the apocrypha. The first translation into a modern language was by J. Jones 18th c. From the 19th c. to our own day, interest in the analysis, critical edition and translation of apocrypha has continually grown. Even if apocryphal literature seems to add nothing to our knowledge of biblical revelation, it is also true that the historical value of apocrypha is considerable, and sometimes irreplaceable, for our knowledge of the moral and religious currents of early Christianity or broad strata of it. At times the apocrypha complete or correct what we have from other sources; at other times they make up for their silence. That this historical value was considered secondary by the majority of the Fathers shows that their primary interest in these apocrypha was to collect and transmit the revelation contained in Scripture. This explains 1 the concern of some fathers Iren., Haer. 3,1; Orig. Praef. in Lk. from the 2nd c. on to denounce some writings as apocryphal; 2 the drawing up of the so-called Muratorian fragment Antiquitates Italicae Medii aevi III, 851-854, which divides books into sacred, disputed and apocryphal; 3 Eusebius’s four-part list books accepted by all the churches, disputed books, adulterated but not heretical books, heretical books HE III,25; and 4 the official lists of the Great Church from the 5th- 6th c. on, in which texts are classified as canonical, disputed and apocryphal. The fullest list of NT apocrypha is in the so-called Decretum gelasianum Mansi VIII, 150-151. Some writings are declared apocryphal in the letter Consulenti tibi, sent 20 February 405 by Pope Innocent I to Exuperius, bishop of Toulouse Ep. 6 PL 20, 501-502. Three Greek catalogs should be mentioned: the Stichometric Catalog of Nicephorus, patriarch of Constantinople 806818 PG 100, 1055-1060; the Pseudo-Athanasian Catalog Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae, PG 28, 431; and the anonymous catalog published by Montfaucon Cotelier Pitra see Pitra, Juris ecclesiastici graecorum Historia et monumenta, Rome 1864, vol. I, 100. J.B. Frey, Apocryphes de l’Ancien Testament: DBS, I, 354-460; E. Amman, Apocryphes du Nouveau Testament: DBS 1, 460-533; G. Bardy, Apocryphes   tendance encratite Actes des Ap´tres: DSp 1, 752-765; J.A. Fabricius, Codex apocryphus Novi Testamenti, 2 vols., Hamburg 1703-1719; C. Tischendorf, Acta Apostolorum apocrypha, Leipzig 1851-1903 latest ed. edited by R.A. Lipsius and M. Bonnet; Evangelia apocrypha, Leipzig 1852 1876; Apocalypses apocryphae, Leipzig 1866; M.R. James, Apocrypha Anecdota, TSt, 1893-1897; A. Harnack, Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur, I, Leipzig 1893; E. Tisserant, Ascension d’Isa¯e, Paris 1909; L. Vouaux, Les Actes de Paul, Paris 1913; R.H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, New York 1914; L. Vouaux, Les Actes de Pierre, Paris 1922; A. Pincherle, Gli oracoli sibillini giudaici, Rome 1922; O. Cullmann, Le probl¨me littraire et historique du roman pseudoclmentin, Paris 1930; P.M. Peterson, Andrew, Brother of Simon Peter: His History and His Legends, Leiden 1958; E. Hennecke – W. Schneemelcher, Apokryphen des NT, T¼bingen 41968; M.G. Mara, Il Kerygma Petrou: Studi in onore di A. Pincherle, Rome 1967; Id., Evangile de Pierre, SC 201, Paris 1973; M. Erbetta, Gli apocrifi del NT, 4 vols., Turin 1966- 1981; var. aus., Les Actes Apocryphes des Ap´tres, Geneva 1981; F. Bovon, Canonical and Apocryphal Acts of Apostles: JECS 11 2003 165-194; F. Gori, Gli Apocrifi e i Padri, in Complementi di Patrologia, Rome 1989; E. Junod, Apocryphes du Nouveau Testament: Une appellation errone et une collection artificielle: Apocrypha 3 1992; A. Di Berardino, Gli apocrifi cristiani e il loro significato, in Storia della Teologia I, Casale Monferrato 1993; an exhaustive bibl. in L. Moraldi, Apocrifi del Nuovo Testamento, 3 vols., Turin 1994; E. Norelli, L’Ascensione di Isaia. Studi su un apocrifo al crocevia dei cristianesimi, Bologna 1994; J.-D. Ka«stli, Les crits apocryphes chrtiens. Pour une approche qui valorise leur diversit et leurs attaches bibliques, in J.-D. Ka«stli – D. Marguerat, Le myst¨re apocryphe. Introduction   une littrature mconnue, Geneva 1995; the journal Apocrypha, published annually since 1990.Lost Books of the Bible Gospel Truth travelquaz

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