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The radical signification of apocryphal ἀπόκρυφος from ἀποκρύπτειν, is that of hidden.

In our judgment the first signification of the term as applied to our books, was to denote that the origin and authorship of the book were unknown. By its etymological force it would extend to all books of unknown authorship. But language is a living growth, and can not be bound by etymology.

The books which, though of an uncertain author, were certainly of an inspired author, were thus preserved immune from this appellation. So that the term became exclusively applied to books whose real character was hidden.

At all events the use of the term to-day is to signify a book which by its title seems to lay claim to divinity, but which has no sufficient data to substantiate this claim. Perhaps we could not better the definition of Origen: Books which were produced under the names of the saints (biblical personages), but which are outside the Canon.

Not all the Apocrypha are of the same character. Some are impious; others are composed of legends and pious reflections intended for the edification of the faithful.

The Apocrypha are of two great classes, those of the Old Testament, and those of the New. We know from the testimonies of the Fathers that a vast multitude of Apocrypha existed in the early ages of the Church. The pious fictions of Christians, the fictions of the Jews, and the forgeries of the heretics conspired to augment the number.

The first official enumeration of the Apocrypha is in the following Canon of Gelasius, sanctioned in a council at Rome in 495–496.

List of apocryphal books which are not received

The Itinerary under name of Peter the Apostle, which is entitled of Clement, eight books, apocryphal.

The Acts of Andrew the Apostle, apocryphal.

The Acts of Thomas the Apostle, apocryphal.

The Acts of Peter the Apostle, apocryphal.

The Acts of Philip the Apostle, apocryphal.

The Acts of Thaddæus the Apostle, apocryphal.

The Gospel of Thaddæus, apocryphal.

The Gospel of Mathias, apocryphal.

The Gospel of Peter the Apostle, apocryphal.

The Gospel of James the Apostle, apocryphal.

The Gospel of Barnabas, apocryphal.

The Gospel of Thomas, used by the Manicheans, apocryphal.

The Gospel of Bartholomew the Apostle, apocryphal.

The Gospel of Andrew the Apostle, apocryphal.

The Gospel corrupted by Lucian, apocryphal.

The Book of the Infancy of the Saviour, apocryphal.

The Gospels corrupted by Hesychius, apocryphal.

The Book of the Nativity of the Lord and Mary and the Wise Woman, apocryphal.

The Book called Pastor, apocryphal.

All the books made by Lucius, the disciple of the devil, apocryphal.

The Book called The Foundation, apocryphal.

The Book called The Treasure, apocryphal.

The Book of the Daughters of Adam, or the Little Genesis, apocryphal.

The Book called the Acts of Thecla and Paul, apocryphal.

The Book called of Nepos, apocryphal.

The Book of Proverbs, written by heretics, and circulated under the name of S. Sixtus, apocryphal.

The Apocalypse, which bears the name of Paul the Apostle, apocryphal.

The Apocalypse which bears the name of Thomas the Apostle, apocryphal.

The Apocalypse which bears the name of Stephen the Apostle, apocryphal.

The Book called Transitus, that is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, apocryphal.

The Book called the Penance of Adam, apocryphal.

The Book of Ogias, who is supposed by the heretics to have combated with the dragon after the deluge, apocryphal.

The Book called the Testament of Job, apocryphal.

The Book called the Penance of Origen, apocryphal.

The Book called the Penance of St. Cyprian, apocryphal.

The Book called the Penance of Jamne and Mambre, apocryphal.

The Book called The Lots of the Holy Apostles, apocryphal.

The Book called The Praise of the Apostles, apocryphal.

The Book called The Canons of the Apostles, apocryphal.

The Letter of Jesus to King Abgar, apocryphal.

The Letter of Abgar to Jesus, apocryphal.

The Book called The Contradiction of Solomon, apocryphal. (Mansi. Coll. Conc. Tom. VIII.)

A minor list of apocryphal books appears in the works of Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople (†828).

Psalms and Canticles of Solomon, 2,100 verses.

Apocalypse of Peter, 300 verses.

Epistle of Barnabas. 1,360 verses.

Gospel according to the Hebrews, 2,200 verses.

Henoch, 4,800 verses.

The Patriarchs, 5,100 verses.

The Prayer of Joseph, 1,100 verses.

The Testament of Moses, 1,100 verses.

The Assumption of Moses, 1,400 verses.

Abraham, 300 verses.

Eldad and Modad, 400 verses.

Elias, the Prophet, 316 verses.

Sophonias, the Prophet, 600 verses.

Zachary, the father of John, 500 verses.

Baruch, Habacuc, Ezechiel, and Daniel, Pseudepigrapha.

The Itinerary of Peter, 2,750 verses.

The Itinerary of John, 2,600 verses.

The Itinerary of Thomas, 1,700 verses.

The Gospel of Thomas, 1,300 verses.

The Doctrine of the Apostles, 200 verses.

The I. and II. Epistle of Clement, 2,600 verses.

Ignatius, Polycarp, and the Pastor. of Hermas.—(Opusc. Hist. ed. Boor.)

A list of apocryphal books published from different manuscripts by Montfaucon, Cotelier, Hody and Pitra contains the following:


              Apocalypse of Ezra.


              History of James.


              Apocalypse of Peter.


              Voyage and Doctrine of the Apostles.

Prayer of Joseph.


Eldad and Modad.

              Epistle of Barnabas.

Testament of Moses.

              Acts of Paul.

Assumption of Moses.

              Apocalypse of Paul.

Psalms of Solomon.

              Doctrine of Clement.

Apocalypse of Elias.

              Doctrine of Ignatius.

Vision of Elias.

              Doctrine of Polycarp.

Vision of Isaias.

              Gospel of Barnabas.

Apocalypse of Sophonias.

              Gospel of Matthew.

Apocalypse of Zachary.


(Pitra Jur. Eccles. Graec. Hist.)

It is not within the scope of our work to give an extended notice of all these apocryphal books. We shall only speak of those of greater importance in their bearing upon the Holy Scriptures, We shall first speak of those which the Church permitted to be printed outside the Canon in the Vulgate.

Outside the Canonical books in the edition, of the Vulgate, are found the third and fourth Books of Ezra, and the Prayer of Manasses.

The Third Book of Ezra, sometimes called Ezra Græcus, is largely made up of passages taken literally from the canonical I. Ezra and II. Chronicles. It has only the third, fourth, and six first verses of the fifth chapter original. In many codices of the Greek text, it precedes the canonical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which are comprised in one volume. It also occupies the same place in the old versions derived from the Septuagint.

Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius, Athanasius, Basil, Chrysostom, Cyprian, Ambrose, Augustine, and Prosper have quoted the third and fourth chapters, but the quotations are scattering, and feeble in mode of enunciation. It gradually lost credit, till after the fifth century it disappears in the recorded use of Scripture in the Church.

The book was not absolutely rejected by the Church in the Council of Trent, and she permits its reading. There would be no difficulty in approving its portions wherein it accords with the aforesaid canonical books, but there are internal defects in its original chapters in point of doctrine, which will probably forever prevent it from entering upon the estate of canonical books.

Though less entitled to credit than the former, the FOURTH BOOK OF EZRA had more influence on early traditions. It was upon the data of this book that the role of Ezra as promulgator of the Canon was founded.

Up to the eighteenth century, the Greek text of the book was not known, and the Latin text alone was in the possession of the world.

Since then Whiston published a translation of the Arabic text (Primitive Christianity Revived, London, 1711); Ewald, in 1863, published the Arabic text; Lawrence, in 1820, published the Ethiopian text; Ceriani published, in 1860, a Latin translation of the Syriac text; and the Armenian Bibles of Venice, 1805, contain the Armenian translation.

These show that the Latin work has suffered mutilations and interpolations. The aforesaid versions do not contain the two first and two last chapters of the text as found in the Latin, and they insert a long passage between the thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth verses of the seventh chapter. It is evident from the context, and the references of the Fathers, that these versions are more in accord with the original.

The original book consisted of seven visions, in which the last judgment is said to impend, and men are exhorted to prepare for it. The original work seems to have been the work of a Jew, writing soon after the fall of Jerusalem. The first two chapters and also the last two are, doubtless, the interpolations of a Christian.

Aside from the influence that the book had on the traditional role of Ezra, the only certain evidence that the book was known to the Greek Fathers, is in Strom. III. 16, of Clement of Alexandria:

4 Ezra. 5:35.

              Clem. Strom. III. 16.

And I said: Why, O Lord? For what was I born? or why did not the womb of my mother become my tomb, that I might not see the affliction of Jacob and the travail of my people, Israel?

              Why was not the womb of my mother my tomb, that I might not see the affliction of Jacob, and the tribulation of Israel? saith Ezra, the Prophet.

Among the Latin Fathers, Ambrose often quotes it as Scripture.

The Latin Church also has incorporated certain passages from it into its Liturgy.

4 Ezra 2:37.

              Introit of Feria III. after Pentecost.

Commendatum donum accipite et jucundamini, gratias agentes ei, qui vos ad cœlestia regna vocavit.

              Accipite jucunditatem gloriæ vestræ, alleluja; gratias agentes Deo, alleluja; qui vos ad cœlestia regna vocavit.

In the Sixth Responsorium in the Office of the Apostles, we find the following:

4 Ezra 2:45.


Hi sunt qui mortalem tunicam deposuerunt, et immortalem sumpserunt, et confessi sunt nomen Dei; Modo coronantur, et accipiunt palmas.

              Isti sunt triumphatores et amici Dei, qui contemnentes, jussa principum meruerunt præmia æterna: modo, coronantur et accipiunt palmam.

4 Ezra 2:35.

              Responsorium IV. of Paschal Office of Martyrs.

Parati estote ad præmia regni quia lux perpetua lucebit vobis per aeternitatem temporis.

              Lux perpetua lucebit sanctis tuis, Domine, et æternitas temporum.

These extrinsic data for the approbation of the book, in nowise, effect an argument in its favor. It never entered into the sacred literature of the Church. I found only this one reference in Clements works, and it is not strange that he should have given some notice to the book; for he browsed on every pasture where he could feed his hunger for knowledge. Ambrose is more pious than critical, and the visions of the pseudo Ezra pleased him.

The reception of a passage into Missal or Breviary adds but little to its historical claim to authenticity. Both Missal and Breviary could very profitably be revised again. Moreover, the passages quoted are in themselves true, and well expressed, and appropriate to the theme for which used.

Although the book is not absolutely condemned by the Church, it is certainly not of divine origin. In fact it is not free from doctrinal errors regarding the state of the souls after death, and contains many Rabbinic fables.

We know upon the authority of 2 Chronicles 33:12, 18, that Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, when a captive in Babylon in punishment for his sins, was moved to penance, and prayed to God. But we have no means of knowing whether the prayer of Manasseh of the Latin Vulgate be that authentic prayer. There is very little in its favor; the work is unimportant, and it probably will always remain one of the unsettled points of history.

In editions of the Greek text of the Old Testament, we find the CLI. Psalm atttributed to David. St. Athanasius (Epist. ad Marcell. 15) and Euthemius (In Ps. Proem.) regarded it as authentic. The import of the Psalm is to celebrate Davids victory over Goliath. It was never received in the Latin version, but it has place in the Ethiopian, Armenian, Syriac, and Arabic. It is not lacking in grace of thought and diction, but no good authority warrants its inspiration.

In some good codices of the Septuagint, Eighteen Psalms are found entitled Ψαλμοὶ καὶ ᾠδαὶ Σαλομῶντος. They were unknown in the West, till de la Cerda in 1626, published them from a Codex of Constantinople, which had been brought into Germany. The burden of the Psalms is the fallen estate of Israel, and the cry for the Messiah. It is evident that the original was Hebrew or Aramaic. As it is natural for parents to love their children, de la Cerda stoutly advocated the cause of his work, claiming that these Psalms were either of Solomon or some one who, with pious intent, wrote in Solomons name. But the very nature of the argument precludes the authorship of Solomon. Under him Israel reached the zenith of her glory. They were probably written by some Jew, after Israel had begun to suffer the subjugation of foreign foes.

In the Alexandrian, Sinaitic, and other good codices, there is found a work which is known as the Third Book of Maccabees. It narrates a persecution of the Alexandrine Jews by Ptolemy IV., Philopator. Other history is silent concerning this persecution. The book is in no way connected with the Maccabees or their history, and seems to have acquired its name from its position immediately after the books of Maccabees. The Eighty-fifth Canon of the Apostles enumerates it among the canonical books, and it finds an occasional mention from some anonymous or obscure Greek writer, but it is but little known in the West, and never found its way into a Latin codex. Its apocryphal character is an assured fact.

The Fourth Book of Maccabees is a sort of essay to prove that reason should rule the movements of the soul. It appeals to the history of Eleazar, and the seven martyr sons of the woman mentioned in II. Maccabees. It is evident from a marked similarity that the author used the Second Book of Maccabees in the construction of his work. Eusebius, Jerome, and Philostorgius attribute the work to Flavius Josephus. The book obtained some slight recognition from Gregory Nanz. and Ambrose. There is nothing either extrinsic or intrinsic to prove its divinity. In fact, it seems to favor the errors of the Stoics and other errors, and is placed as apocryphal by all.

We mention now in the second class, the apocryphal books to which allusions are said by some to be found in the New Testament. The most notable of these is the Book of Henoch.

In Gen. 5:24, it is said of Henoch that he walked with God. This expression was interpreted to mean not only that he led a godly life, but also that he had been vouchsafed the privilege of divine intercourse, and of receiving divine revelations. Jewish antiquity regarded him therefore as a prophet, equally familiar with heavenly things and the future fortunes of the human race. These views of his character gave occasion for attributing to Henoch the apocryphal writing which constitutes one of the principal monuments of the apocalyptic literature of later Judaism.

The Book of Henoch acquired much of its fame from a supposed reference made to it by Jude in his Epistle, V. 14: Prophetavit autem et de his septimus ab Adam Henoch dicens: Ecce venit Dominus in sanctis millibus suis. The words of the Book of Henoch are: Et ecce venit cum decem millibus sanctorum, ut judicium exerceat de iis et disjiciat improbos, etc.

Moved especially by this passage of Jude, Tertullian was much inclined to receive the book. His words, however, show that he was conscious that tradition was not with him. The joint basis of Catholic faith in tradition does not consist of the stray voices of men, who, through the frailty of human reason, at times lapsed into unsupported vagaries. No man representing the Christian thought of the time ever said that the Book of Henoch was divine. Augustine and Jerome forcibly repudiate it.

It was conceded by those two Fathers and by many others that the Apostle Jude quoted this book in his Epistle. The Fathers argue that such use of the book did not necessarily canonize the book. Provided the apocryphal book did, in the referred passage, contain a real statement by Henoch, I am not disposed to either affirm or deny this position. But there is no sufficient evidence for the application of such theory to the matter in question. It is far more probable that both the reference of Jude and the apocryphal book are based upon some common traditional or documentary data, available in that early age, or perhaps the apocryphal book took its passage from the Epistle of Jude, since much moves us to ascribe to the book a later origin than the date of the Epistle. In fact the passage in the Ethiopian exemplar seems like an interpolation, being not in harmony with the context.

All things considered, we must conclude that the book is evidently a spurious product of unknown causes.

THE ASSUMPTION OF MOSES according to Origen, Didymus, and Oecumenius is cited by St. Jude, 1:9. (Orig. De Prin. III. 2; Didym. et Oecum. in Epist. Jud.) It is mentioned by Clement of Alexandria and others. The original, which seems to have been Aramaic Hebrew, is lost, as also the Greek translation. All that is preserved to us is a fragment of the Latin translation, found by Ceriani in a palimpsest of the Ambrosian Library, and published by him in his Monumenta Sacra in 1861.

There is no foundation for the opinion that Jude cited this book. Certain data respecting the death of Moses existed with the Jews, and these formed the common source from which both authors drew.

THE APOCALYPSE OF MOSES is a small book first published by Tischendorf, in Greek, in 1866. The work is a Jewish romance of the fifth century. It is unimportant, and almost unknown to the older writers. Certain later Greek writers have tried to find in it one of the sources of Pauls Epistle to the Galatians (Gal. 5:6; 6:15). If there be any resemblance between the two documents, it must have resulted from the use which the author of the spurious document made of Pauls Epistle.

In 1819 Lawrence published the Ethiopian text of the ASCENSION OF ISAIAH. In 1828 Card. Mai discovered and published two fragments of an ancient Latin version of the same work. A third Latin fragment was brought out in 1878 by Gebhardt.

St. Jerome narrates (in Is. 64:4) that some derived what Paul writes, 1 Cor. 2:9, from this apocryphal book, while others derive them from the APOCALYPSE OF ELIAH. Origen conjectured that Math. 27:9, was derived from an apocryphal book of Jeremiah. Both these works and these opinions are unimportant, and have no influence on Christian thought, and we turn to more important things.

Chief among the apocryphal books of the New Testament are the Letter of Abgar, King of Oshroene, to Jesus Christ, and Jesus response. The two documents, as preserved for us by Eusebius, are as follows:


Abgarus, prince of Edessa, sends greeting to Jesus, the excellent Saviour, who has appeared in the borders of Jerusalem. I have heard the reports respecting thee and thy cures, as performed by thee without medicines and without the use of herbs. For as it is said, thou causest the blind to see again, the lame to walk, and thou cleansest the lepers, and thou castest out impure spirits and demons, and thou healest those that are tormented by long disease, and thou raisest the dead. And hearing all these things of thee, I concluded in my mind one of two things: either that thou art God, and having descended from heaven, doest these things, or else doing them, thou are the Son of God. Therefore, now I have written and besought thee to visit me, and to heal the disease with which I am afflicted. I have, also, heard that the Jews murmur against thee, and are plotting to injure thee; I have, however, a very small but noble state, which is sufficient for us both.


Blessed art thou, O Abgarus, who, without seeing, hast believed in me. For it is written concerning me, that they who have seen me will not believe, that they who have not seen, may believe and live. But in regard to what thou hast written, that I should come to thee, it is necessary that I should fulfill all things here, for which I have been sent. And after this fulfilment, thus to be received again by Him that sent me. And after I have been received up, I will send to thee a certain one of my disciples, that he may heal thy affliction, and give life to thee and to those who are with thee.

The continuation of the account in Eusebius narrates that after the resurrection of Jesus, Thaddeus the Apostle, went to the king, healed him of his infirmity and converted his people. The celebrated historian of Armenia, Moses of Khorene, testifies to the substantial facts of Eusebius account.

Several other accounts of the legend are in existence, some of them containing additional data. According to Moses of Khorene, the ambassador sent to Jesus by Abgar brought back a portrait of the Lord which was venerated at Edessa up to the fifth century. The Syriac account of the correspondence affirms that the answer of Jesus was not by writing, but by oral declaration delivered to the ambassador of the king. The whole legend appears in the celebrated Doctrine of Addai. It is, of course, legendary; a curious monument of Oriental literature. It is, as we have seen, declared apocryphal in the decree of Gelasius, De Recipiendis Libris (Migne, Patrol. Lat. 59, 164).

St. Ephrem fully believed in the authenticity of the recital, and Baronius declared that the recital was worthy of a certain veneration, but a critical examination of the history reveals a certain element of the impossible and the incredible, which plainly stamps it as fiction.

Fabricus, in his Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti, Tom. I. p. 843 et. seqq., exhibits three letters of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first is addressed to St. Ignatius of Antioch, and is as follows:

The letter of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Ignatius of Antioch.

The humble handmaid of Jesus Christ salutes Ignatius, the beloved disciple. What things you have heard of John concerning Jesus, and believed, are true. Believe them; cleave to them, and firmly cling to the doctrine of Christianity, which thou hast received, and conform thy acts and thy life thereto. I shall come with John to visit thee and those that are with thee. Stand fast in faith, and work manfully. Let not the acerbity of persecution move thee, but let thy spirit wax strong, and exult in God, thy Saviour. Amen.

The second is to the people of Messina, the text of which is as follows:

The Virgin Mary, daughter of Joachim, the most humble handmaid of God, the mother of the crucified Jesus, of the tribe of Juda, of the line of David, sends greeting and the blessing of the Almighty God to all of Messina.

It is attested by public document that ye in great faith sent to us messengers and legates, (vos omnes fide magna legatos et nuncios per publicum documentum ad nos misisse constat). Being taught the way of truth through the preaching of Paul, ye confess that our Son is the begotten of God, God and man, and that after his resurrection, he ascended into Heaven. Wherefore, we bless you and your city, and profess ourselves its perpetual protector.

In the year of our Son forty-two, the Nones of July, the seventeenth moon, the fifth day of the week, at Jerusalem,


Any one that has ever read the Magnificat, or Marys history in the Gospel, has no need of other proof than the mere reading to pronounce this a forgery. Critics wisely concur in placing these letters as supposititious, and assign to them a quite recent date.

In the Cathedral Church in Messina, there exists an exemplar of this letter, and on the fifth of June, the yearly commemoration of it is celebrated, called by the people Festa della Sacra Lettera. Rev. Father Inchofer published in 1631 an erudite defense of the authenticity of the letter. It is an evidence of the strange uses to which a man may devote talents of a high order.

A third letter of the Blessed Virgin is directed to the Florentines: Florence, dear to the Lord Jesus Christ, my Son, and to me. Hold to the faith, be instant in prayer, be strong in patience, for by these will you obtain eternal salvation with God. In some texts there is added: and glory with men.

This letter is of the same character as the former, and its origin is similar.

The same Fabricus and Sixtus of Sienna, have preserved for us six letters of the Apostle Paul to Seneca, and eight letters of Seneca to Paul. They at least have the credit of antiquity, since Jerome (De Vir. Ill.) and Augustine (Epist. 54 ad Maced.) praise them. The drift of the letters is moral, and they contain nothing contrary to doctrine, but, from internal evidence critics agree that they are supposititious. They contain nothing of Pauls vigor of thought. The opinion is well founded, however, that relations of esteem existed between Seneca and Paul, and some have held that there did exist some letters of their correspondence, of which these are forged imitations.

Liturgies exist of St. Peter, St. James, St. Matthew and St. Mark. That they are not of the authorship of these is plain. It is probable, however, that they were written during the Apostolic epoch or soon after, but have suffered later interpolations and additions.

In the founts of tradition we find mention of the Doctrine of the Apostles, The Constitutions of the Apostles, The Canons of the Apostles, and The Two Ways or Judgment of Peter. These seem to be different forms of one composite work, composed of the Constitutions and Canons of the Apostles. Concerning these, we find the following facts.

About 500 A. D., Dionysius Exiguus, a Roman monk of great learning, at the request of Stephen, Bishop of Salona, made a collection of Greek Canons, translating them into Latin. At the head of this collection he placed fifty canons, with this title, Incipiunt Regulæ Ecclesiasticæ sanctorum Apostolorum, prolatae per Clementem Ecclesiæ Romanæ Pontificem. At the same time, however, Dionysius says in the preface to his work, In principio itaque canones, qui dicuntur Apostolorum, de Græco transtulimus quibus quia plurimi consensum non prœbuere facilem, hoc ipsum vestram noluimus ignorare sanctitatem, quamvis postea quædam constituta pontificum ex ipsis canonibus assumpta esse videantur.

These words obviously point to a difference of opinion prevailing in the Church, though it has been doubted by some whether the dissentients spoken of rejected the Canons altogether, or merely denied that they were the work of the Apostles. And with regard to the last clause, it is much disputed whether previous popes can be shown to have known and cited these Canons. Hefele denies that Pontifices means popes, and would understand it of bishops in their synodical constitutions.

About fifty years after the work of Dionysius, John of Antioch, otherwise called Johannes Scholasticus, patriarch of Constantinople, set forth a σύνταγμα κανόνων, which contained not fifty but eighty-five Canons of the Apostles. And in the year 692 these were expressly recognized in the decrees of the Quinisextine Council, not only as binding Canons, but (it would seem) as of Apostolic origin. They are therefore in force in the Greek Church.

How it came to pass that Dionysius translated only fifty does not appear. Some writers have supposed that he rejected what was not to be reconciled with the Roman practice. But, as Hefele observes, this could hardly be his motive, inasmuch as he retains a canon as to the nullity of heretical baptism, which is at variance with the view of the Western Church. Hence it has been suggested that the MS. used by Dionysius was of a different class from that of John of Antioch (for they vary in some expressions, and have also a difference in the numbering of the Canons), and that it may have had only the fifty translated by the former. And an inference has also been drawn that the thirty-five later Canons are of a later date. Indeed, according to some, they are obviously of a different type, and were possibly added to the collection at the same time that the Canons were appended to the Constitution.

Both in the collection of John of Antioch, and in that of Dionysius they are alleged to have been drawn up by Clement from the directions of the Apostles. In several places the Apostles speak in the first person, and in the eighty-fifth canon Clement uses the first person singular of himself:

For you, both clergy and laity, let these be, as books to be reverenced and held holy, in the Old Testament—five of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy—of Jesus the son of Nun, one; of Judges, one; Ruth, one; of Kings, four; of Paralipomena the book of days, two; of Esdras, two; of Esther, one; of Maccabees, three; of Job, one; of the Psalter, one; of Solomon, three—Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs; of the Prophets thirteen; of Isaiah, one; of Jeremiah, one; of Ezekiel, one: of Daniel, one. Over and above is to be mentioned to you that your young men study the Wisdom of the Learned Sirach. But of ours, that is of the New Testament, let there be four gospels, Matthews, Marks, Lukes, Johns; fourteen Epistles of Paul; two Epistles of Peter; three of John; one of Jude; two Epistles of Clement; and the regulations addressed to you bishops through me, Clement, in eight books, which it is not right to publish before all, on account of the mysteries in them; and the Acts of us, the Apostles.

THE APOCRYPHAL GOSPEL OF THE HEBREWS is often spoken of in early tradition. Its origin appears from the following data. Out of the Judaizing tendencies of the first century arose the sects of the Nazirites and the Ebionites. Both these sects strove to bring the rites of the Old Law into the Christian dispensation, and it is quite certain that the Ebionites rejected the divinity of Jesus Christ. Both sects used a Gospel in Hebrew, which each mutilated and adapted to their theories.

The existence of this Gospel of the Hebrews as a distinct work, differing from our canonical Gospel of St. Matthew, is first put on record by Clemens Alexandrinus (Strom. II. 9; p. 453 Potter) and by Origen who makes several citations from it (in Joann. Tom. II. 6; in Jerem. XV. 4; in Matt. Tom. XV. 14). Hegesippus is also reported to have borrowed some things from the Gospel of the Hebrews (Euseb. H. E. IV. 22). According to Origin (Hom. I. in Luc.) and Jerome (in Matth. prœf; c. Pelag. III. 1.) it also bore among the Ebionites the title of Gospel according to the Apostles.

THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE LAODICEANS is mentioned in Muratoris fragment, and by Jerome and Theodoret. (Hier. De Vir. Ill. V.; Theod. in Coll. IV. 16.) Both these Fathers repudiate it. In the Codex of Fulda, the text of such a letter exists. From Colossians, 4:16, it is highly probable that Paul wrote to the Church of Laodicea, but it is evident from an inspection of the text of Fulda that it is supposititious. The same judgment must be passed on the third letter to the Corinthians, which the Armenians retain in their bibles.

THE EPISTLE OF BARNABUS, before mentioned, was in much favor in the early Church. Clement of Alexandria and Origen considered it authentic. Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. III. 25,) places it among the spurious books. It is found in the Codex of Mt. Sinai. Some of those who have denied the inspiration of the book have maintained that it was of Barnabas authorship. But the internal evidence disproves its divinity and its authorship. The matter is trifling and excessively allegorical, ill fitting the son of consolation, the co-laborer of Paul. The writer reveals complete ignorance of the Jewish Law and rites; whereas Barnabas was a Levite, who had lived long in Jerusalem. Moreover, the writer is opposed to the Jewish Law, even to deal with it unjustly. These reasons moved Hefele to reject the authorship of the Epistle, and we believe them conclusive. As to date, though we may not be certain, it is most probably a product of the first century.

In the latter half of the second century there was in circulation a book of visions and allegories, purporting to be written by one Hermas, and which was commonly known as The Shepherd. This book was treated with respect bordering on that paid to the canonical Scriptures of the New Testament, and it came into the public reading of different churches. A passage from it is quoted by Irenaeus (IV. 20, p. 253) with the words, Well said the Scripture, a fact taken notice of by Eusebius (H. E. v. 8). That Irenæus did not place the book on a level with the canonical Scriptures may be inferred from his having quoted it but once, not appealing to it in his discussion of Scripture testimonies in his third book. The mutilated commencement of the Stromateis of Clement of Alexandria, opens in the middle of a quotation from The Shepherd, and about ten times elsewhere he cites the book, always with a complete acceptance of the reality and divine character of the revelations made to Hermas, but without any explanation of his opinion, who Hermas was or when he lived. In the next generation Origen, who frequently cites the book, says (in Rom. XVI. 14, Vol, IV. p. 683) that it seems to him very useful, and he gives it as his individual opinion that it was divinely inspired. He further makes a guess, which was repeated by others after him, but which appears to rest on no earlier authority, that it was written by the Hermas mentioned at the end of the Epistle to the Romans. His other quotations show that less favorable views of the book were current in his time. His quotations from The Shepherd are carefully separated from those from the canonical books; he generally adds to a quotation from The Shepherd a saving clause, giving the reader permission to reject it; he speaks of it (in Matt. XIX. 7, Vol. III. p. 644) as a writing current in the Church, but not acknowledged by all, and (De Princ. IV. 11) as a book despised by some. Eusebius (II. 25), places the book among the νόθα with the Acts of Paul, Revelation of Peter, Epistle of Barnabas, etc. Elsewhere (III. 3), while he is unable to place it among the ἀντιλεγόμενα as being rejected by some, he says that it had been publicly used in churches, that some of the most eminent writers had employed it, and that it was judged by some most necessary for those who have particular need of elementary instruction in the faith. Athanasius, too (Ep. Fest. 39, Vol. I. pt. II. p. 963), classes The Shepherd with some of the canonical books of the Old Testament and with the teaching of the Apostles, as not canonical, but useful to be employed in catechetical instruction. The Shepherd is found in the Sinaitic MS. following the Epistle of Barnabas, as an appendix to the books of the New Testament. After the fourth century the book rapidly passed out of ecclesiastical use in the East.

External evidence shows Rome to have been its place of composition, Foremost comes the writer of the MURATORIAN FRAGMENT on the Canon, who tells us that the book had been written during the episcopate of Pius, by Hermas, a brother of that bishop, in a period which the writer speaks of as within then living memory. He concludes that the book ought to be read, but not to be publicly used in the Church among the prophetic writings, the number of which was complete, nor among the apostolic.

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