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The Apocrypha: Including Books From The Ethiopi...

There is ample evidence from the medieval period to the present of both Beta Israel Jews and Tewahedo Christians accepting more books within their canons than other communities. The biblical canons for Beta Israel and Tewahedo Christians include all of the Hebrew Bible as well as several other books considered deuterocanonical or apocryphal in other communities:

The Apocrypha: Including Books from the Ethiopi...


Translations of a selection of Geʽez texts revered by the Beta Israel Jews (including those based on the Apocalypse of Paul) may be found in Wolf Leslau, Falasha Anthology: Translated from Ethiopic Sources, Yale Judaica Series 6 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1951). Leslau provides bibliography for editions of the Geʽez texts he bases his translations on.

Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha are two separate groups of works dating primarily from the period of the Second Temple. The name "Apocrypha" is applied to a collection of books not included in the canon of the Bible although they are incorporated in the canon of the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. In the *Vulgate, in the versions of the Orthodox Church, and in the Septuagint before them, they are found interspersed with the other books of the Old Testament. The Protestant Church denied their sanctity but conceded that they were worthy of reading. Apart from Ecclesiasticus (Wisdom of *Ben Sira), there are no references to these books in talmudic literature.

Pseudepigrapha under the name Sefarim Ḥiẓonim ("extraneous books"). (See table: Diagram of the Apocrypha.) The Apocrypha, for the most part, are anonymous historical and ethical works, and the Pseudepigrapha, visionary books attributed to the ancients, characterized by a stringent asceticism and dealing with the mysteries of creation and the working out of good and evil from a gnostic standpoint.

The books of the Pseudepigrapha are more numerous than those of the Apocrypha, and only the better known will be mentioned here. Probably the most important work in pseudepigraphal literature deals with *Enoch the son of Jared, whom, according to Genesis 5:24, "God took" (i.e., he ascended to heaven). The Book of *Enoch is an account, mainly in the first person, of the visions revealed to him in the heavens. It deals in part with astronomical phenomena, establishing the "correct" calendar at 364 days comprising 52 weeks, and contains some *eschatology on the subject of the preexistent Messiah. Intermingled with the above are stories of how the fallen angels brought evil into the world. The book most similar to it, *Jubilees, is in the form of a conversation between the Angel of the Presence and Moses on Mount Sinai. Unlike Enoch it is a mixture of halakhah and aggadah, but in a spirit completely different from that of the Talmud. Its halakhah is far more stringent than that of the Talmud. The fundamental basis both of the halakhah and aggadah in the book is its historicism: everything is predetermined in the "heavenly tablets," and was revealed much earlier than the time of Moses, to the patriarchs and even to their predecessors, Noah, Lamech, and the like. The book is presented within a framework of exact dates, reckoned by sabbatical periods and jubilees. It lays special emphasis (even more than Enoch) upon the solar calendar and upon ensuring (as did the Boethusians) that Shavuot always fall on a Sunday. The remaining books are smaller: The Ascension of *Isaiah is an account (also found in the Talmud) of the unnatural death of the prophet. The Assumption of *Moses is a history in retrospect of the Jews, from Moses to the death of Herod and his son. The Book of *Adam and Eve is an aggadah concerning their sin and the death of Adam, who is the handiwork of God. The Testaments of the Twelve *Patriarchs is a valuable ethical work in which each of Jacob's sons exhorts his children, particularly against the sin in which he himself has been ensnared. This book is important because of the idea, most fully developed in the *Dead Sea Scrolls, of the coming of two messiahs, one from the tribe of Judah and one from Levi. In addition to these there once existed another large series of books, attributed to Adam, Lamech, Abraham, Joseph, Eldad, Moses, Solomon, Elijah, Zechariah, Ezra, and others.

Literary activity continued to flourish during the Persian era (probably Tobit, Judith, the additions to Daniel, Song of the Three Children, and iii Esdras, for example, can be ascribed to this time) and, more so, during the Hellenistic period. It was during this period that the books of the Apocrypha were composed. The common thread linking all of these works is their concern with Israel as a whole, and their complete ignoring of sectarian schisms. Only later, after the sectarian schism in the beginning of the Hasmonean period (Ant., 13:171 ff.), did the composition of the pseudepigraphical works begin to appear. The Book of Jubilees was written (as is indicated by its historical allusions to the conquest of the cities of "Edom" and the coastal region) in the reign of *John Hyrcanus, the essence of Enoch (alluded to in the Book of Jubilees) a little before it, and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs sometime after the above works. In any event, most of the known Pseudepigrapha (both those in Greek or Ethiopian translation, and those from the Qumran caves) originated between this period and the destruction of the Temple. Philo's characterization of the books of the Therapeutae as "allegorical" interpretations, or "psalms" to God, apply in equal measure to the books of the Qumran community.

Maybe with this information we can come to understand two things at once. First, once we get the fuller story, we can appreciate why ancient Jews shied away from reciting these books or even otherwise elaborating on the details of the revolt when celebrating Hanukkah. How can one celebrate a one-sided victory in a civil conflict? Would the defeated or their descendants want to celebrate their loss? In the effort of encouraging all Jews (even those who had taken the losing side) to celebrate the new festival, lapses in historical memory may have served a use. So the civil war goes unmentioned; the holiday celebrates only the defeat of the foreign enemies.

The JAA differs from prior editions of the Apocrypha in a number of ways. First, as befits a Jewish Annotated Apocrypha, the volume excludes certain texts that are widely agreed to be of Christian origin. Second, it expands the scope of the volume to include Jubilees, an essential text forunderstanding ancient Judaism, and a book that merits inclusion in the volume by virtue of the fact that it was long considered part of the canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (the text is also revered by Ethiopian Jews). Third, it has restructured the order of the books so that the sequencingfollows the logic that governs the order of the books in the Jewish canon (Law, History, Prophecy, Wisdom and Poetry).

The Apocrypha is a collection of pre-New Testament works by Jewish writers, many collected in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of Hebrew texts including the 39 canonical books of the Old Testament. These books are considered Scripture by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, but not by Protestant denominations.

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.

Depending on which Bible translation you read which included the Apocrypha, these additions may be printed separately from Esther, Daniel, and the Psalms, or they may be published within those books. Some versions, such as the Catholic Living Bible, print them within the books but use italics or a different font to set them apart.

G. Connor Salter is a writer and editor, with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing from Taylor University. In 2020, he won First Prize for Best Feature Story in a regional contest by the Colorado Press Association Network. He has contributed over 1,000 articles to various publications, including interviews for Christian Communicator and book reviews for The Evangelical Church Library Association. Find out more about his work here.

Yes, you may be shocked to know the original King James Version of the Bible (1611) included the Apocrypha. About two hundred years later the books of the Apocrypha were removed from the KJV. (This officially started in 1796 but took until the mid-1800s to effectively occur).

We will look at the Dead Sea scrolls, when we look at what the Apocrypha tells us about Jesus between his being in the Temple at age 13 and the starting of his ministry at age 31. And we will look at the latest updates from Hershel Shanks, who has written several books on the scrolls, and was responsible for making them available to the public.

The Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) consists of a collection of writings dating from approximately the 13th - 3rd centuries BCE. These books were included in the Jewish canon by the Talmudic sages at Yavneh around the end of the first century CE, after the destruction of the Second Temple. However, there are many other Jewish writings from the Second Temple Period which were excluded from the Tanakh; these are known as the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha.

The Apocrypha (Greek, "hidden books") are Jewish books from that period not preserved in the Tanakh, but included in the Latin (Vulgate) and Greek (Septuagint) Old Testaments. The Apocrypha are still regarded as part of the canon of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, and as such, their number is fixed. 041b061a72


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