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SELECTED AND ANNOTATED BY
E. H. BLAKENEY, M.A.
NEW YORK AND TORONTO: THE MACMILLAN CO.
“These books (good reader) which be called Apocrypha, are not judged among the Doctors to be of like reputation with the other scripture, as thou mayest perceive by S. Jerome in Epistola ad Paulinum. And the chief cause thereof is this: there be many places in them that seem to be repugnant unto the open and manifest truth in the other books of the Bible. Nevertheless, I have not gathered them together to the intent_that I would have them despised, or set little by, or that I should think them false; for I am not able to prove it: yea, I doubt not verily, if they were equally conferred with the other open scripture, they should neither seem contrary, norbe untruly and perversely alleged.”—From COVERDALE's Preface to the Apocrypha, 1585.
“The other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine.”-From the ARTICLES OF RELIGION, vi.
“God created man to be immortal, and made him to be the image of His own eternity.”-BOOK OF WISDOM.
“ God, who giveth light to all things, whom all things in heaven and earth adore, whose shadow is immortality.”RIG-VEDA.
“As Thou, O Lord, hast thought and spoken and brought to pass what is good, therefore do we offer unto Thee our praises, and worship before Thee; therefore would we direct our prayers to Thee, with confession of our sin. Of Thy bounty and tenderness do Thou bestow Thyself upon us for this world and the next, that we may attain to fellowship with Thee and Thy righteousness for evermore.” AVESTA, Yasna xxxix., xl.
The object of this little book is very simple: it is to familiarize English readers with the treasures contained in the deutero-canonical writings which we call the Apocrypha. The Church of England, it is true, in her lectionary, requires certain passages of these writings to be read in churches; but, as these passages are not read on Sundays, few people know much about them.
I have made the Authorized Version the basis of the text here printed; but, in places where it is plainly faulty, I have tried to mend its defects, relying largely on the material supplied by the notes in C. J. Ball's Variorum Apocrypha (an invaluable book), Charles's two sumptuous volumes, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (1913), and on the help afforded by the Revised Version of the Apocrypha (1895), * though I have used the last somewhat sparingly.
The Notes are drawn from the best sources available; all they are intended to do is to clear up some of the more difficult passages: further information must be sought for in the various books I have named either in the Notes or the Index.
E. H. B. New Year's Day, 1922. * The discovery of the Hebrew of Ecclesiasticus has, in some places, revolutionized our views of the true text since the Revised Version was published. I have, however, not thought it necessary to note these passages, as matters of textual criticism lie outside the scope of this little volume.