How We Got the Bible Apocryphal Writings General Outline 1. 2. 3. 4. Introduction, Canon, & Inspiration Oral Transmission & Early Forms “Discovering” the Law (Josiah & Ezra) Apocryphal Writings Conclusions From Last Week • Scribes are custodians of the Scriptures. • Editors of the Scriptures acted according to God’s will. • Editors of the Scriptures did not have liberty to alter the Scriptures upon human whim. • Stories can be told in different ways to emphasize different points. Alterations of a story do not necessarily mean that either way is “untrue.” The Old Testament Canon So why just these 39 books? • Josephus: “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;” • What happened next? After Persia • After the Persian period, Alexander the Great conquered Palestine (and much more). • The Jews offered no military resistance, and the Greeks allowed the Jews religious freedom. • The increased use of the Greek language led to the need for a translation of scripture into that language. The Septuagint (LXX) was produced about 250 BC. • Antiochus III wrestled control of Palestine from the Ptolemies in 198 BC. Antiochus Epiphanies • Thirty years later, his son Antiochus IV Epiphanies was on the throne. • Antiochus Epiphanies tried to conquer the Ptolemies in Egypt but was forced out by upstart Rome. • He retreated through Palestine and vented his anger upon the Jews. For two years, he murdered, plundered, and enslaved. • On December 16, 167 BC, Antiochus Epiphanies even offered a pig on the altar of the temple. The Maccabean Revolt • Matthias, a Jewish priest, and his sons led a revolt against the Antiochus in 166 BC. • Matthias died the following year and leadership passed to his son Judas, nicknamed Maccabeus (“the hammer”). • Judas Maccabeus took control of Jerusalem and refurbished the temple. • He rededicated the temple to the Lord on December 14, 164 BC. Hanukkah (Feast of Lights) is the annual celebration of this event. The Rise of Rome • During the Maccabean reign, three groups came to prominence that would have great influence on Palestine in Jesus' day. • The Maccabees (priests) became the Hasmonean Priests. • The Hasidim became the Pharisees. • The Hellenists became the Sadducees. The Rise of Rome • Under the Maccabees, Palestine made a treaty with Rome (139 BC). • Rome fully took control of Palestine under Pompey (63 BC). • Palestine was governed by Antipater, first of the Herodian dynasty. • After Antipater, Herod the Great reigned over the Jews (37 BC - 4 AD). • After Herod the Great’s death, Palestine was divided to his three sons - Philip, Antipas, and Archileus. Apocryphal Books • Books from this period were labeled by Jerome (347-420 AD) as “Apocrypha” to indicate that they were doubtful or spurious. • apocrypha – hidden, secret • Today, Catholics call these books “deuterocanonical” to avoid the term. • Not one of them is in the Hebrew language, unlike other texts of the Old Testament. Apocryphal Books • These books were not accepted as canon by the Jews at any time. • These books were not quoted by Jesus, the apostles, or other New Testament writers (possible exception of an allusion to Sirach). • These books were not officially accepted by the Roman Catholic Church until the Council of Trent on April 8, 1546. What Do They Say • I & II ESDRAS: History of Judah from Josiah through Ezra. Concludes with prophetic 400 year rule of the Messiah. • TOBIT: The blind Tobit, a captive in Nineveh, sends his son Tobias to collect a debt in Media. Tobias marries the seven times widowed virgin and dispatches the demon who had killed her husbands. He collects the debt, returns, and the father's sight is restored. TOBIT What Do They Say JUDITH: Holophernes, a general, acting for Nebuchadnezzar, besieged Bethulia. Judith, a pious widow, enters his camp, and while he is drunk, beheads him. What Do They Say • ADDITIONS TO ESTHER: Additional accounts of Esther including dreams of Mordecai. • THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON: Contrasts the righteous and the ungodly. Heroes of wisdom from Adam to Moses -- contrasted with the wicked. • ECCLESIASTICUS (Wisdom of Jesus the Son of SIRACH): One of the best of the Old Testament Apocrypha -- compares with Proverbs and Ecclesiastics. What Do They Say • BARUCH, secretary to Jeremiah: Repentance of Jews. Promise of return from Babylonian exile. • THE EPISTLE OF JEREMY: A sarcastic denunciation of the folly of idolatry. • SONG OF THE THREE HOLY CHILDREN (The Prayer of Azariah): Inserted into Daniel 3. • SUSANNA: Susanna, wife of wealthy exile, repulses advances of two Jewish elders. They accuse her of adultery and she is condemned to death. Daniel convicted the elders of false testimony. What Do They Say • BEL AND THE DRAGON: Daniel traps the priests of Bel by ashes on temple floor -showing they ate the food, not Bel. Daniel poisons the Dragon and is cast into the lion's den. Habakkuk was flown from Judea by angels to bring him his dinner. • THE PRAYER OF MANASSEH: A penitential psalm composed to go along with 2 Chr. 33:11-13. What Do They Say • I & II MACCABEES: First and Second Maccabees present reliable history. The Maccabees won independence for the Jews from 166-63 BC. The history tells the story of Antiochus Epiphanes. Odd Bits of Sirach • Sirach 22:3 (NRSV) It is a disgrace to be the father of an undisciplined son, and the birth of a daughter is a loss. • Sirach 11:14-19 (NRSV) … The Lord’s gift remains with the devout, and his favour brings lasting success. One becomes rich through diliegence and self-denial, and the reward allotted to him is this: when he says, “I have found rest, and now I shall feast on my goods!” he does not know how long it will be until he leaves them to others and dies. • Compare Luke 12:16-19 Concerning Judith • The Catholic Church claims the Judith is both inspired AND fictional. New Jerome Biblical Commentary: • “Judith is a dramatic fictional narrative …” • “Because Judith is fiction replete with historical and geographical inaccuracies, it is difficult to date its composition.” Apocryphal Books & Canon First Maccabees makes it sound as though the time of prophets had come and gone. • 1 Maccabees 4:46 (NRSV) and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until a prophet should come to tell what to do with them. • 1 Maccabees 9:27 (NRSV) So there was great distress in Israel, such as had not been since the time that prophets ceased to appear among them. Apocryphal Books & Canon Second Maccabees openly admits that at least a part of the contents are an abridged version of a five volume set of historical records. • 2 Maccabees 2:23 (NRSV) all this, which has been set forth by Jason of Cyrene in five volumes, we shall attempt to condense into a single book. Also, read the prologue to Sirach and compare it to the calls of the prophets. Review & Conclusions • The Apocryphal books date to the period between the testaments. • They were not accepted as Scripture by the Jews or the Early Church. • They were not formally added to any kind of Bible until 1546 AD. • If the Roman Catholic Church claims that these books are canonical when in fact they are not, then the Roman Catholic Church is fallible.