The Story Of Pontius Pilate
The Great Courses: You mentioned Pontius Pilate. Some of the Apocrypha portray him, even though he was the Roman governor who sends Jesus to death, as a saint. Why would Christians write such a thing, even when the ideas of Christianity were still taking shape?
David Brakke: This is a really interesting thing about Pilate. You would think that he would be seen as kind of the great villain of the Jesus story since hes the one who ordered Jesus to be killed, but in fact the great villain of the Jesus story ends up being Judas who betrays Jesus, the disciple of Jesus who goes bad.
Secondarily, Jewish leaders of the time become kind of seen by Christians as the bad people. According to Christians, the Jews should have recognized that this was their Messiah and not turned him over to Pilate.
What happens is that Christians increasingly see Pilate, at first in a kind of ambivalent way. They see that he was wrong to put Jesus to death, but they kind of say, Well, he had no choice. The Jews and Judas kind of put him in this situation.
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As time goes on and we end up in the second, third, and fourth centuries of Christianity, more and more Christians began to think that Pilate must have at some point realized his error. Or that he represents the idea that nonbelievers, non Jews, Romans, Gentiles like Pilate would eventually become Christians.
Now Jump Ahead About A Thousand Years
It turns out God finally did show up, calling Moses and the rescuing Israel. The people entered a new land and gained kings and princes and worship and wars. God had come down and made his home right in the midst of his people. Jerusalemthe city of the Great Kingwas built up and fortified, and right there on the eastern edge was the glorious Temple, Gods own dwelling place.
Then, devastatingly, all thiswas lost. Israel squandered her freedom, land, purpose, and apparently, evenher story. This tribe that had its origins in the ancient story of Babel wasnow crushed and killed and those who remained were exiled back to Babylon.
In its main features, thissituation of Israel in the years after the great Exile is not unlike that ofthe years of Abrahams clans before the great Exodus. All that had been gainedwas now lost. If God is there, hes stopped talking and stopped acting.
What has happened to their dreams, their divine election, their story? What has happened to their God?
Prophecy has ended. Israelhas, at best, second-hand rulers appointed by foreign oppressors. After Babyloncame Persia, then a succession of Greek kings, followed by Roman generals.Israel is trying for all shes worth to keep it together under extremecultural, political, and military pressure. Its tenuous.
For their part, the Jews arestubborn. They are hanging on. But doesnt everyone eventually reach theirlimit?
Where/how Can I Read The Apocrypha Today
If your Bible doesnt include the Apocrypha, you might be wondering where/how you can read the Apocrypha today.
- The easiest thing to do would be to read a translation that features the Apocrypha via a website such as BibleGateway.
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The Bible And The Puritan Revolution
The British Puritan revolution of the 1600s brought a change in the way many British publishers handled the apocryphal material associated with the Bible. The Puritans used the standard of Sola Scriptura to determine which books would be included in the canon. The Westminster Confession of Faith, composed during the British Civil Wars , excluded the Apocrypha from the canon. The Confession provided the rationale for the exclusion: ‘The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings’ . Thus, Bibles printed by English Protestants who separated from the Church of England began to exclude these books.
History Of The Apocrypha
The Apocrypha in the Septuagint
In the third century B.C., Jewish scholars translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek, resulting in the Septuagint. Several books were included in the Septuagint that were not considered divinely inspired by Jews but were included in the Jewish Talmud, which is a supplement, of sorts, or interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.
That version incorporated a number of works that later, non-Hellenistic Jewish scholarship at the Council of Jamnia identified as being outside the authentic Hebrew canon. The Talmud separates these works as Sefarim Hizonim , according to Britannica.
Jerome Doubts the Apocrypha
In the late fourth century A.D., St. Jerome was tasked with translating the Greek Septuagint into Latin , but he also based his translations on the original Hebrew in the Old Testament. Referring to the original Hebrew in translation was highly against common practice at the time and even discouraged. In the translation process, St. Jerome doubted that the apocryphal books were divinely inspired.
According to Don Stewart on BlueLetterBible.org:
Jerome explicitly denied that they should have the status as Scripture. Jerome said they were not books of the canon but rather books of the church. He believed they could be helpful to people, but he clearly stated his belief that they were not divinely authoritative. His assessment of the Apocrypha was ignored.
The Apocrypha Printed in Bibles
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How Did The Old Testament Apocrypha Get Included In Some Of Our English Bibles
The answer to this question is a bit complicated. Heres how D.H. Wallace summarizes the history, again from the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology:
The Jews uniformly denied canonical status to these books , so they were not found in the Hebrew Bible but the LXX manuscripts include them as an addendum to the canonical OT. In the second century AD, the first Latin Bibles were translated from the Greek Bible and so included the Apocrypha. Jeromes Vulgate distinguished libri ecclesiastici and libri canonici , with the result that the Apocrypha were accorded secondary status .
What about the Reformers of the 16th century? What did they think about the Apocrypha?
The Reformers repudiated the Apocrypha as unworthy and contradictory to the doctrines of the uncontroverted canon Luther, however, admitted that they were profitable and good to read
The inclusion of the Apocrypha in English Bibles was quite common at first, but then fell off.
The Coverdale Bible , the Geneva Bible , and the King James Bible included the Apocrypha but set them apart from the OT canonical books. After much debate, the British and Foreign Bible Society decided in 1827 to exclude the Apocrypha from its Bibles soon afterward the American branch concurred, and this action set the pattern for English Bibles thereafter .
And yet! Among Protestant communions, only Anglicans make much use of the Apocrypha today .
The New Testament Doesnt Refer To The Apocrypha As Scripture
When reading the New Testament, you will find hundreds of quotations from the Old Testament. According to one count, Jesus and his apostles quote various portions of the Old Testament as Scripture 295 times.3 Not once, however, do they quote a text from the Apocrypha.
The absence of references to the Apocrypha speaks volumes. After all, if these books were from God, why wouldnt Jesus or his apostles quote from them? They dont, because they believed the Old Testament canon was closed, and it didnt include the Apocrypha.
We see a couple hints of this in the New Testament. Jesus indicates in Luke 24:44 that the Jewish Scripture include, The Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms. In other words, Jesus breaks down the Jewish canon into three sections the law, the prophets, and the writings . Notice he doesnt mention the Apocrypha.
Jesus gives another indication of a closed Jewish canon in Luke 11:51. When talking to the Jewish leaders, Jesus says the Jews will be held accountable for all the martyrs from Abel to Zechariah. At first glance, it might appear that Jesus is making an alphabetical list, but thats not what hes doing. Remember, his alphabet was different from ours. Instead, Jesus makes a chronological list. Abel was the first martyr in Genesis , and Zechariah was the last martyr in Chronicles . Note, the Jewish Bible contains all the same books as our present Old Testament, but their ordering of the books is different.
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What Books Are In The Apocrypha
Different scholars included different apocryphal books in their Bible translations before the official list we have today, which was ratified by several Roman Catholic councils and appeared in the King James Bible. The list is as follows:
· The First Book of Esdras
· The Second Book of Esdras
· The Book of Tobit
· Additions to the Book of Esther
· The Book of Wisdom
· Additions to the Book of Daniel
· The Prayer of Manasses
· The First Book of Maccabees
· The Second Book of Maccabees
· The Third Book of Maccabees
· The Fourth Book of Maccabees
Most of these books have separate storylines and characters from the other books of the Bible. For example, the books of the Maccabees come after the Old Testament canon and describe the Maccabees revolting against empires that controlled Israel.
Three of these books are sections of text included in the Septuagint as part of biblical texts but not in earlier versions: Additions to Esther, Additions to Daniel, and the Additional Psalm.
Additions to the Book of Esther are extra scenes in the story of Esther, including Esther giving a long dramatic prayer to God before she goes to see the king, and her fainting when she goes to see King Xerxes.
The Additions to the Book of Daniel are three extra stories about Daniel:
The Additional Psalm is a psalm that doesnt appear in earlier translations of the Psalms.
Dr Tim And Mrs Noreen Muehlhoff
Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution. Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biolas Center for Marriage and Relationships where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast.
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Identifying Triggers In Your Marriage
They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lias story, youll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!
Tactics 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan For Discussing Your Christian Convictions
In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. Youll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, youll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.
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Who Wrote The Book Of Enoch
The Hebrew Enoch, also known as 3 Enoch, is a Rabbinic text originally written in Hebrew and usually dated to the fifth century CE. Some experts believe it was written by Rabbi Ishmael , who was familiar with both 1 and 2 Enoch.
New Testament Apocrypha Vs Old Testament Apocrypha
Apocryphal writings exist that are related to both the Old Testament and the New Testament. However, the New Testament Apocrypha, as H.F. Vos notes in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, refers to
a substantial collection published under the names of apostolic writers during the second and subsequent centuries . For the most part they were deliberate fabrications and never had any serious claim to canonicity. In this connection, apocrypha means untrue or spurious .
Therefore, when were talking about taking the Apocrypha seriously today, its important to clarify that we mean the Old Testament Apocrypha.
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Why Do Some Bibles Have A Section Called The Apocrypha
During the period between the completion of the Old Testament and the first writings included in the New Testament , many essays, psalms and historical accounts circulated throughout the synagogues and early churches. Some of these documents gradually came to be regarded by certain of the believers as actually inspired and deserving of a place in the canon.
We usually date the first definite listing of the accepted books of the Bible as occurring around 367 AD. However, a second set of booklets had been assembled through the years, and these were given the name Apocrypha . Though they are all from the time before the birth of Christ, they were never included in the Hebrew Bible. However, many Christians regarded them as valuable for reading and edification, and in some editions of the Bible they were interspersed among the Old Testament books.
Then Martin Luther, in his Bible translation of 1534, extracted the apocryphal books from their usual places in the Old Testament, and had them printed at the end of the Old Testament. He stated that they are not held equal to the Sacred Scriptures and yet are useful and good for reading. After that, many Protestant Bibles omitted them completely. However, in 1546 the Roman Catholic Council of Trent specifically listed the apocryphal books approved by the Roman Catholic Church as inspired and they are always included in Roman Catholic Bibles and are usually interspersed among the books of the Old Testament.
Summary Question 1 What Is The Old Testament Apocrypha
Although the Jews and Protestants have the same Old Testament, there are certain books that have been rejected by both Jews and Protestants as Holy Scripture, but that the Roman Catholic Church, as well as some other Christian communities, considers them to be divinely authoritative. These are known as the Apocrypha, or the Old Testament Apocrypha. These books were written between the completion of the Old Testament, and the beginning of the New Testament era from about 300 B.C. to 100 B.C. The Old Testament Apocrypha is part of a larger group of writings known as the Septuagint plus.
In many Protestant translations of Scripture, the Apocrypha is placed as one unit of books between the testaments. Other translations do not have them at all. Roman Catholic translations place the books of the Apocrypha in various places in the Old Testament. Therefore, the Roman Catholic translation would add six or seven extra books to the Old Testament. The difference between six and seven depends upon whether the Letter of Jeremiah is added to Baruch or stands on its own.
The real issue, however, is not how these books are divided or where they are placed in printed Bibles. The real issue is this: do these writings belong to the Old Testament Scripture, or are they merely human works?
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The Spiritual Battle For Your Marriage
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Development Of The Christian Canons
The Old Testament canon entered into Christian use in the Greek Septuagint translations and original books, and their differing lists of texts. In addition to the Septuagint, Christianity subsequently added various writings that would become the New Testament. Somewhat different lists of accepted works continued to develop in antiquity. In the 4th century a series of synods produced a list of texts equal to the 39, 46, 51, or 54-book canon of the Old Testament and to the 27-book canon of the New Testament that would be subsequently used to today, most notably the Synod of Hippo in 393 CE. Also c. 400, Jerome produced a definitive Latin edition of the Bible , the canon of which, at the insistence of the Pope, was in accord with the earlier Synods. With the benefit of hindsight, it can be said that this process effectively set the New Testament canon, although there are examples of other canonical lists in use after this time.
The New Testament writers assumed the inspiration of the Old Testament, probably earliest stated in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God”.
Ethiopian Orthodox canon
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