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INTRODUCTORY NOTE

1. The word APOCRYPHA was originally used to denote the secret books (αποκρύφους βίβλους) which contained the esoteric doctrines of a sect. The secondary sense, “ spurious, was derived from the general character of these writings, which were sometimes forgeries employed by heretics to disseminate their opinions (see Lightfoot, Ignatiusa, i. 350 899.; James, Encycl. Bibl. i. 249).

In what sense was this term applied to the books commonly called the “ Apocrypha"? Originally the term had no evil signification; nor does the noun imply any sinister meaning now, when applied to the deutero-canonical books which we find bound up in many of our Bibles, though the adjective “apocryphal” is generally used to-day in the sense of “sham," "false," “ of doubtful authenticity." What we mean by the Apocrypha is those books included in the LXX (Septuagint) or Vulgate, but not counted genuine by the Jews, and excluded from the canon of Scripture by the Protestant Reformers.

In the fourth century* of our era the attempt

* The great Augustine habitually quotes the apocryphal books of O.T. as of equal authority with the canonical, though he was aware that they were not received by the Jews (de civit. Dei, xviii. 36). The chain of writers who maintain what is substantially the Jewish canon includes Melito, Origen (in theory, at any rate), Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Jerome. Cf. Ryle, Canon of 0.T., chap. ix.

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was made to distinguish between (1) canonical books, and (2) books which, though read for edification, were not regarded as “inspired " (in the sense in which the recognized canonical books were inspired), and therefore could not be used to establish any doctrine: see Oesterley, Books of the Apocrypha, chap. ix.; G. F. Moore, Literature of O.T., chap. i.

2. The orthodox Old Testament Apocrypha proper (distinct from the Pseudepigrapha) consists of the following books, arranged here according to their approximate dates:*

200-100. B.C.—Ecclesiasticus; Tobit; Judith; additions to Daniel (Song of the Three Holy Children, Susannah, Bel and the Dragon).

100-1. B.C.-1, 2, 3 Maccabees; Wisdom; i Esdras; additions to Esther (Manasses, Epistle of Jeremy).

A.D. 1-100.--1 Baruch, 2 Esdras, 4 Maccabees.

These may be classed under four categories: (a) Historical, (6) Legendary, or Haggadic, (c) Apocalyptic, (d) Didactic.

“Thus the Apocrypha proper constitutes the surplusage of the Vulgate (or Bible of the Roman Catholic Church) over the Hebrew Old Testament." The Church of Rome declared these books to be canonical at the Council of Trent, A.D. 1546 (see C. Smith's work, An Inquiry into the Catholic

* I have adopted this arrangement from Charles, Between the Old and New Testaments. In the present volume of selections no passage has been taken from any but the orthodox Apocrypha—with a single exception, the passage from 1 Enoch. The reason is obvious: a portion of this passage is quoted, by name, in the canonical Epistle of Jude.

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Truths Hidden under certain Articles of the Creed of the Church of Rome, vol. i.).

3. There was a considerable amount of discussion among the Reformers on the question of admitting the Apocrypha into Bibles. The French Bible of Calvin, like the English version of Coverdale, admitted the books between the Old and New Testaments; in the Zurich Bible they are printed as an appendix; in Cranmer's Bible (of 1541) they appear as “the fourth part” of the Scriptures; and the A.V. of 1611 contains these writings, but marked off from the rest of the canonical books. The Synod of Dort (1618) endeavoured-without success

to expel them altogether; and the Westminster Confession (1648) gave its verdict against their admittance. Among non-episcopal bodies they are not now recognized; only as late as 1827 did the British and Foreign Bible Society decide to exclude the Apocrypha from its reprints of the Bible.-For full information see Porter's article in Hastings's Dictionary of the Bible, vol. i.

These books are certainly not to be regarded as, in any sense, rivals of the orthodox canonical scriptures; indeed, no unprejudiced reader can fail to see how, in the main, they fall short of these scriptures in originality, depth, moral sublimity, beauty, and spiritual power; but they should possess great interest for every student, and their importance whether on historical or even doctrinal grounds—is very great. We neglect them to our own loss.

4. The history of the Jews from the death of Ezra till the coming of Jesus Christ includes what is, in some ways, the most interesting portion of their national life. After the stern discipline of the Exile, the Hebrews returned to Judæa no more to exist as a political power, as they had done in the spacious days of Solomon, but to gather themselves into a “Church.” Four hundred years, not of silence but of manifold activities and often of bitter struggles, welded them into what we know as the “Jews" of history.

of history. First there came a period of quiet development (roughly from 415 to 175 B.c.), during which took shape those forms of religious thought and speculation with which the New Testament has made us familiar. It was followed by the great Maccabæan revolt, and the establishment of the Hasmonean dynasty, a rule of priest-kings almost unique in history. The end of that dynasty (69 B.C.) was involved in the rise of the Herodian family to power. Herodnot unjustly termed “the Great”—was indeed a striking figure in Oriental history; to the Jews, who hated him, he loomed large as the rebuilder, on a colossal and magnificent scale, of the Great Temple.

Beyond the days of Herod it is not necessary to go. With his death the influence of Rome asserted itself finally; and the end of it all was that most tragic event, the destruction of the Holy City by Titus in the memorable year A.D. 70.

The student is referred to E. R. Bevan's illuminating book Jerusalem under the High Priests

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