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Old Testament Apocrypha


 
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  • THE APOCRYPHA OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

    • Old Testament Apocrypha - The Apocrypha Proper of the non-Canonical Jewish literature from 200 B.C. to A.D. 100 constitutes the excess of the Vulgate over the Hebrew Old Testament, which excess was in turn borrowed from the LXX. But this listing follows The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the old Testament in English, Volume i, Apocrypha edited by R.H. Charles and differs from the Apocrypha Proper at once in the way of excess and in the way of defect. 3 Maccabees has been added after 2 Maccabees, since it is contained in many MSS. of the LXX, and 4 Ezra has been transferred to Volume ii, Pseudepigrapha, since it is essentially a Pseudepigraph.

      How the term 'Apocryphal Books' arose has not yet been determined. It did not, as Zahn (Gcscli. dcs Nciitcstamcntlichen Kaiioiis I. i. 123 sq.), Schurer, Porter, N. Schmidt, and others maintain, originate in the Late Hebrew phrase designating 'hidden books.' But Talmudic literature knows nothing of such a class. The Hebrew word ganaz does not mean 'to hide', but 'to store away' things in themselves precious. Indeed, so far is it from being a technical term in reference to non-Canonical writings, that it is most frequently used in reference to the Canonical Scriptures themselves. When writings were wholly without the pale of the Sacred books — such as those of the heretics or Samaritans — they were usually designated hisonim, i.e. 'outside' (Sanh. x. i).

      The term "apocrypha" comes from the Greek word meaning "hidden" or "secret." Originally, the term was applied to sacred books whose contents were too exalted to be made available to the general public. Gradually, the term "apocrypha" took on a disparaging connotation, since the orthodoxy of these hidden books was often questionable.

      Deuterocanonical is a term first coined in 1566 by the theologian Sixtus of Siena to describe scriptural texts of the Old Testament whose canonicity was explicitly defined for Catholics by the Council of Trent. Their acceptance among early Christians was not universal, but regional councils in the West published official canons that included these books as early as the fourth and fifth centuries.

      The Catholic deuterocanonical scriptural texts as defined by the Council of Trent follow the listing in The New English Bible except for 3 Maccabees and 4 Ezra as noted above for this listing.





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