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2 Esdras (88 1-4).

The second book of Esdras in the English Apocrypha corresponds to 4 Ezra in the Vulgate. Chapters iii. xiv. constitute what is known as the Ezra-Apocalypse, “ the most profound and touching of all the Jewish Apocalypses," says Charles. The original language of the book was Greek, but we possess it only in versions.

Chapters i. and ii. are anti-Jewish in spirit, and contain a sharp rebuke to Israel for abandoning Jehovah, together with a threat to transfer to Gentiles the privileges of the “ chosen ” people. The concluding chapters denounce the world in general, in the style of the Old Testament prophets.

The apocalyptic section consists of seven visions given to Ezra by an angel.

The book is, on the face of it, no work of Ezra's day; its date may be put about the reign of Domitian (i.e., somewhere between A.D.70 and 96). Cf. Thackeray in Hastings's Dict. Bible, i. 763-766. i Baruch (88 5, 6).

This book claims to be the work of Jeremiah's secretary, but it clearly was not so. Its origin, however, may have been early, parts of it being assigned by scholars to the second century B.C., though other portions belong to the Christian era.

It consists of four divisions: (a) historical preface; (b) confession of national sin; (c) eulogy of wisdom; (d) message of consolation. See Whitehouse in Charles's Apoc and Pseudepigr. i. 569-595. Manasses (8 7).

This fine penitential psalm—to which some have assigned a Greek, others on Aramaic, original—was perhaps written between the years A.D. 100 and 130, but several scholars (e.g., Ball) favour a Maccabæan date. See Ball in Speaker's Commentary on the Apocrypha, ii. 361-367.

Tobit (88 8, 9).

This most interesting and instructive book was, according to Charles, written in Hebrew or Aramaic, about the close of third century B.C. Sayce, however, prefers to place it in the time of the Maccabees. Throughout the book the restoration of the Temple is assumed. The connection between Tobit and the story of Ahikar is significant. Cf. Charles's Apoc. and Pseud., vol. ii.

Like Judith, it is obviously a piece of Haggadic literature, and is not to be taken as ħistory, though it may perhaps contain historical material. The book should be read and studied as a whole (not least for its curious“ demonology”). See Erbt's exhaustive article in Encycl. Biblica, iv. Judith (s 10).

Originally written in Hebrew, towards the close of the second century B.C. Of this original no trace survives; all known versions go back through the Greek to the lost original (Charles).

The story-which is not history, but fiction devised for patriotic ends—is placed at the time of the return from the Captivity; the names used are pseudonymous, but stand for real persons (thus Nebuchadnezzar =Antiochus Epiphanes). The way in which Judith, the Jael of her day, contrived to murder Holofernes, the commander-in-chief of the enemy's forces, is related with great animation and dramatic vigour. The religious value of the book, like that of the canonical Esther, is slight. Oesterley, Books of Apocr., pp. 372-384; Ball in Speaker's Commentary, i. 241-360. Wisdom (88 11-18).

A pseudepigraph: it was no more written by Solomon (despite its title) than the Old Testament books ascribed to do that uxorious king.' Scholars have long wrangled over the authorship and composition of the book, but have reached no final conclusions. They differ about the date: some put it as early as 150 B.C., others as late as A.D. 40. The earlier date is probably correct. It was originally written in Greek. St. Paul knew and used the book.

The book falls into three parts: (1) eschatology; (2) glori-, fication of wisdom; (3) Jewish “ midrash.” Like Ecclesiasticus, it belongs to that wisdom literature which includes such writings as Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes. Fairweather, (Background, p. 81) has pointed out that the golden age of the Hebrew wisdom literature was somewhere between 350 and 180 B.C. See Farrar in Speaker's Commentary, i. 403-534; and Goodrick's valuable edition (1913).

Ecclesiasticus (88 19-41).

Ecclesiasticus (=the “ Church” book-a title which came into use about the third century A.D.*) was originally entitled The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach," and was written (in Hebrew) by a Palestinian Jew in the first quarter of the second century B.c.“ His work,” says Archdeacon Charles, “is invaluable as exhibiting the thoughts and views of a cultured Jew, and the main questions of his day, from the standpoint of the ruling Sadducean priesthood.” From the end of the second century of our era Ecclesiasticus was regarded as an edifying book; and it was not till the Council of Trent pronounced it canonical that Protestant orthodoxy discovered those signs of spiritual deficiency of which the Reformers seem to have been unaware (Chambers, Encycl., s.v.). See Oesterley's edition, Camb. Bible for Schools, 1912. 1 Enoch (8 42).

There are two books of “Enoch," the first called the Ethiopic, the second the Secrets of Enoch. 1 Enoch is the most important of all pseudepigraphs for the history of theological development in the two centuries before Christ.

It is a composite work written at varying periods (no part later than the Christian era), and was, according to Charles, composed partly in Aramaic, partly in Hebrew. Its influence on the Book of Revelation has been considerable. See Charles's edition, 1912, and the same writer's Revelation (1920).

For the story of the Fallen Angels in Enoch-briefly alluded to in Gen. vi. 1-4, and introduced by Jude into his epistle (5-8)-see Mayor's edition of Jude and 2 Peter, chap. x. The Books of Maccabees (88 43-49).

1 Maccabees covers the period from 175-135 B.C. - viz., from the accession of Antiochus Epiphanes to the death of Simon the Maccabee. It is the chief source of our information for the heroic period of Jewish history, when the Maccabees revolted against the tyrannical efforts of the Syrian monarch to destroy their religion. The original Hebrew or Aramaic is lost, and the book is now extant only in versions.

* Cf. Cyprian, testim. ii. 1; Rufinus in symb. 38. C.'s date is A.D. 200-258; R.'s 344-409.

† See the preface to the Greek version made by his grandson during a visit to Alexandria.

The author is held to have been a religiously minded Sadducee; and the date of its composition somewhere between the years 130 and 100 B.C.

2 Maccabees (written by a member of the Pharisaic party) is not a sequel to 1 Macc., but a separate work covering the period from 176 to 160 B.C. Its history is faulty, and the truer view is to be sought for in 1 Macc. Date: first half of first century B.C.

The scene of 3 Maccabees is laid in the time of Ptolemy Philopator (217 B.c.), while 4 Maccabees is a philosophical homily (to Jews only) on the supremacy of wisdom; the philosophy is coloured by Stoicism. See Charles, Between the Old and New Testaments, 1914; Swete, Introduction to Old Testament in Greek, pp. 276 sq.


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