I. APOCRYPHA - (A neuter plural noun) and means "something hidden, secret, or concealed." It refers to the works which were written for an inner circle of people, sometimes a heretical sect. Therefore, it had the force of secrecy like a mysterious occult. In this sense the word, is practically the same as "esoteric," meaning for the initiated alone--a term of dignity and respect, in their eyes.
A. It was used by early Christian writers to denote a class of writings now called "apocalyptic", rather than the class now known as Apocrypha.
B. From the thought of concealment and connected with darkness, came the second meaning, i.e., spurious, forged, of unknown or fraudulent authorship or contents, heretical.
C. In the fourth century A.D., and possibly by Jerome himself, the word came to be used in the sense of "uncanonical, unrecognized," and to be applied to those religious books which were inferior in authority and not worthy of the inspired Scriptures.
D. These books, written after the canonical books were written, were not admitted into the canon. The following are the 14 in order as they appear in some English versions: (1). 1 Esdras, (2). 2 Esdras, (3). Tobit, (4). Judith, (5). The Rest of Esther, (6). The Wisdom of Solomon, (7). Ecclesiasticus, (8). Baruch, with the Epistle of Jeremiah, (9). The Song of the Three Holy Children, (10). The History of Susanna, (11). Bel and the Dragon, (12). The Prayer of Manassas, (13). 1 Maccabees, (14). 2 Maccabees.
E. BACKGROUND. The great Reformation had shaken Europe. Luther had translated the Scriptures into German and had confirmed that only the Hebrew Canon of the Old Testament should be acknowledged as authoritative, which excluded the Apocrypha. The Roman Catholic Church knew that something had to be done to offset the Lutherans. It was settled at the Council of Trent held in 1546. After a long and highly controversial session, the decree was passed that: 1. The 14 Apocryphal books were included in the canon, 2. That unwritten traditions are of God and to be received as the Word of God. Should anyone reject these decrees "Let him be Anathema?” It should be noted that at this council there were only 53 prelates present. Not one was a German. Not one was a scholar distinguished for historical learning. Not one had made any special study of the subject from the standpoint of antiquity.
F. REASONS FOR REJECTING THE APOCRYPHA.
(1). They were never quoted in the New Testament by Christ, the Apostles, or any New Testament writer, even though they were in existence at that time.
(2). Josephus, the great Jewish historian, expressly excludes them.
(3). Philo, the great Jewish philosopher of Alexandria (20 B.C. to 50 A.D.) wrote prolifically and quoted largely from the Old Testament, yet never quoted from the Apocrypha, nor even mentioned them.
(4). They are not found in any catalog of canonical books made during the first four centuries.
(5). Divine inspiration and authority is not claimed by any of the writers and is definitely disclaimed by some of them.
(6).The books contain many geographical and chronological distortions of the Old Testament, contradicting themselves, the Bible and secular history.
(7). They teach doctrines and uphold practices which are directly contrary to the canonical Hebrew Scriptures. Lying is, sanctioned, suicide and assassination are justified, salvation by works and by almsgiving, magical incantations, prayer of the dead for the dead, and etc. are taught and approved.
(8). The books were written much later those of the Old Testament, long after its canon was closed.
(9). The spiritual and moral level is, as a whole, far below that of the Old Testament. When you read the Old Testament and then read the Apocrypha, you feel as though you are in another world.
(10). Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome (590 to 604 A.D.) and other distinguished men from the 4th Century held to the Hebrew Scriptures and opposed the Apocrypha.
(11). All the 14 apocryphal books exist in the Greek language, not the Hebrew, as do the Old Testament books.
(12). The Jews in all parts of the world accept the same canon or Hebrew Bible without variation. No apocryphal book ever found its way into the Jewish canon.
CONCLUSION: In Psalm 118:8, It is better to trust in the Lord than to put your confidence in man. The Hebrew Old Testament had been recognized as complete before 400 B.C. Neither Christ, Himself, the Apostles, or any New Testament writer ever acknowledged any of the 14 apocryphal books as part of the Old Testament. For a group of 53 men in 1546, of whom many disagreed, to say now after 1846 years that these 14 books are to be part of the Holy Scriptures is totally absurd! They would be placing themselves above Christ, the Apostles, the Apostolic Fathers, the Church Fathers, and all the New Testament writers and great Biblical scholars, from Christ to the Council of Trent in 1546, where they made this bizarre decision. Who are we going to believe? God, or a handful of men.
II. THE TARGUMS. A targum is a translation or a paraphrase of some part of the Old Testament Scripture into the Aramaic language. The word comes from the Aramaic "targem" (to interpret, explain, translate); therefore, the passive participle METHURGAM, interpreted ref. Ezra 4:7, a methurgeman was a translator; he was also called a "targoman."
III. ARAMAIC LANGUAGE is derived from ARAM, one of the 5 sons of Shem (Gen. 10:22), and ARAMA is the word translated "Syria." The same word with and adjective ending is translated, with reference to the language, "Syrian" 5 times: (2 Kings 18:26; Ezra 4:7 twice; Isaiah 36:11; Daniel 2:4). The Aramaic language, therefore, was the language of Syria.
VI. TALMUD & MIDRASH. Neither are translations or paraphrases, but are important Jewish Literature.
A. The Talmud is a Jewish work which contains the civil and religious laws not found in the Pentateuch, with commentaries upon and illustrations of these laws. The foundation of the Talmud was the "Torah", or Law. The Jews believed the Law contained two parts: 1. The written law as found in the Pentateuch, 2. The oral law, which came to be considered equally binding.
B. The Talmud consists of two parts: 1. the MISHNA, or Oral Law, 2. The GEMARA, the commentaries and illustrations.
A. GNOSTICISIM -- from Greek "Ginosko" meaning to take in knowledge, understand completely, superior knowledge. In 1 Timothy 6:20, Paul warns Timothy against science (Gr. gnosis or knowledge), falsely so-called. Gnosticism is the philosophy of being too intelligent as to believe the Word of God. These are your liberal preachers and intellectuals of today, who deny God's Word.
B. THE SEPTUAGINT. A translation of the Hebrew Testament into the Greek language for Greek speaking Jews of Alexandria, Egypt, perhaps the surrounding countries. The abbreviation is LXX, and is sometimes called the Alexandrian Version.
C. CODEX - is a manuscript, usually in book form instead of the ordinary roll.
D. A BIBLICAL MANUSCRIPT - is a copy written by hand in the original Biblical languages, Hebrew or Greek. There are two kinds of Biblical manuscripts:
1. UNCIAL manuscript a manuscript written in capital letters, each formed separately. They extend from the 4th (or earlier) to the 10th Century A.D.
2. MINISCULE manuscript is one written in small letters. The word means "rather small." They extend from the 9th to the 15th Century. It is sometimes called a CURSIVE, meaning "a running hand".
E. POLYGLOT - means "many tongued". It is an edition of the Scriptures which shows in a comparative view the originals and one, or more, ancient versions which possess critical authority.
VII. TESTING THE OLD TESTAMENT CANON?
There are 4 classes of books to be identified: After the Old Testament Canon was closed, questions arose among some Jews: (p. l06 BI).
A. Concerning certain books already contained in the Canon,
B. Other books written later and seeking admission into the Canon,
C. This gave rise to 4 classes of books.
1. The HOMOLOGOUMENA. (homologeo, confessed, undisputed). These books were received as canonical without dispute, and whose right to a place in the Canon was not afterwards disputed.
2. The ANTILEGOMENA. ("anti-lego," spoken against). They are those books whose right to a place in the Canon, after admission, was disputed by certain Jews. There were 5: (a). Song of Solomon - because it seemed to be a poem of merely human love. (b). Ecclesiastes - because they thought it contained contradictory statements. (c). Esther - because it does not mention any name of God. (d). Ezekiel because they thought in several points it apparently contradicts the requirements of the Mosaic Law in the Pentateuch. (e). Proverbs - certain of its maxims contradict each other, and that it seems to favor the heretical party.
CONCLUSION: The question was, whether these should be allowed to remain in the Canon. The objections were of such that they would have no weight today. They did not touch on any of the great tests of canonicity, nor of the genuineness, or the age of the books. They were only the OPINIONS of individual rabbis, personal doubts and scruples. These were soon settled by councils and no book was ever withdrawn from the Canon.
3. The APOCRYPHA (hidden, secret). Those books written after the canonical books were written and not admitted into the Canon.
4. The PSEUDEPIGRAPHA. These books were written by unknown persons sometime between 200 B.C., and 200 A.D.. These were false or spurious writings; written under false names, falsely ascribed to Biblical characters and to Biblical times. They have never been accepted as canonical by any branch of the Christian Church. They are sometimes called Apocalyptic Literature" because they are largely composed of apocalypses, revelations and visions.
VI. BIBLICAL CRITICISM. The science which seeks, by careful and detailed inquiry, to secure the exact words of the original manuscripts of the Bible. There are two branches:
A. HISTORICAL CRITICISM. Seeks to determine the age (date), authorship, composition, sources, character and historical value of the documents, as judged by internal evidence. It will not hesitate to use the sciences of History, Geography, Ethnology , and Archaeology. This is known as HIGHER CRITICISM.
B. TEXTUAL CRITICISM. Seeks to determine the exact and correct text of the Scriptures as it existed in the original documents, when freed from errors, corruptions, and variations which have come into it during the long process of copying and recopying. It is called LOWER CRITICISM.
VII. DEFINITIONS THAT AID UNDERSTANDING.
A. CANON. It is from the Greek word, "KANON," which is probably derived from the Hebrew word, "KANEH," meaning "a measuring rod , a rule". Secularly it could be applied to carpenters or masons using a line to keep things straight. As applied to Scripture, it is the measuring rod or straight-edge, the testing rule, or critical standard, by which each book of the Bible must be tested before it may be admitted a part of the Sacred Scriptures.
B. PENTATEUCH. The first five books of the Bible.
C. CUNEIFORM. The oldest Semitic language known, It means "wedge form" from the Latin "CUNEUS", a wedge. The very ancient race called Sumerians, a non-Semitic people of unknown origin is thought to have occupied Babylonia before the Babylonians came. They had a stylus with a triangular-shaped end. They had 560 signs, each representing a syllable or a word, a group of sounds, but never a letter. The latest document known is dated 68 B.C. It was used by the Babylonians, Assyrians, the great Hittite Empire (from 2000 to 800 or more B.C.). It spread throughout the world, reaching even Palestine and Egypt as an important commercial and diplomatic language, having an extensive and powerful influence for more than 3,000 years. For one of the archaeological discoveries, check your encyclopedia for the Tel-el-Amarna Tablets written in cuneiform.
D. VELLUM. A fine quality of leather, especially and carefully prepared for writing on both sides. This was from the skins of conies and antelopes.
16. PARCHMENT. Practically no difference from vellum, except it used skins from sheep and goats.
E. PAPYRI FRAGMENTS. Single sheets, or fragments of sheets, of papyrus, upon which are written, in Greek, parts--often very small parts of the Bible. Most of the papyri have been found in Egypt because the dry climate has preserved them from decay. Papyri are found in 3 classes: (1). Literary , (2). Biblical and Theological,(3). Non-literary, such as civil documents.
F. LECTIONARIES. Service books, or volumes containing sections from parts of the New Testament to be read throughout the year services, especially on special days.
G. OSTRACA & INSCRIPTIONS. Ostracas are pieces of broken pottery upon which small portions of Scripture were written. They were often used by poor Christians who could not afford papyri.
H. An ANCIENT VERSION or translation. In general, one which was made before the invention printing; before 1450.
I. A MODERN VERSION, generally after 1450 this term is used.
J. PSALTER. A book containing the Psalms.
K. OCTAVO. Edition, a book size of about 6" x 9".
L. ASCETICISM. One who abstains from the normal pleasures of life or denies himself material satisfaction for religious or other purposes.
M. MASORAH. A collection of critical and explanatory notes and writings, carefully guarded, of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament.
N. ESOTERIC. Understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest. Private, secret, and confidential.
O. ANTIQUITY. The quality of being ancient. Ancientness.
P. HEDONISM. The doctrine that pleasure and happiness is the highest good. Devotion to pleasure as a way of life based on a belief that no act is sinful.
Q. EXTANT. In existence, still existing.
R. LXX. The abbreviation for the Septuagint.
S. MANUSCRIPT "B" - the Vaticanus.
T. MANUSCRIPT "ALEPH." - the Sinaiticus.
W. FACSIMILE. An exact copy of a book, painting, or manuscript.
X. FOLIO. A sheet of paper folded once to make two (2) leaves (4 pages) of a book.
Y. MONISM. A theory that there is only one basic substance or principle as the ground of reality.
Z. TETRAGRAMMATON. The Hebrew word for God that consists of the four Hebrew letters "YOD" = "Y," "HE" = "H," "VAR" = "V," "HE" = "H," and appears YHVH (Jehovah). "Tetra" meaning four (4) and "grammatos," meaning letters.
A1. PANTHEISM. Denial of God's personality, but says that nature is God.
B1. ANTISEMETIC. A person who is hostile toward the Jews.
C1. SYNTAX. A study of the rules for the formation of grammatical sentences in a language.
D1. EPITOME. A summary, or condensed account of a literary work. Abstract.
E1. AMANUENSIS. A person employed to write what another person dictates or writes. Secretary.
F1. ETYMOLOGY. The study of historical, linguistic account of individual words.
G1. MEGILLOTH. "The Five Rolls," so-called because each book was written on a separate roll for reading at the Hebrew feasts.
1. Song of Solomon - Feast of Passover
2. Ruth - Feast of Pentecost
3. Ecclesiastes - Feast of Tabernacles
4. Esther - Feast of Purim
4. Lamentations - Feast of the Anniversary of the Destruction of Jerusalem.