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The Apocrypha Essay Sample

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The Apocrypha Essay Sample

            The Apocrypha pertains to the collection of writings of indecisive validity or texts where the authorship is inquired (Desilva). The term apocrypha, in Judeo-Christian Theology, pertains to any compilation of scriptural writings that falls remote from the traditional and conventional standard.  Since various quantities or values holds a range of ideas regarding what comprises typical scripture, there are more than a few diverse editions of the apocrypha.

Because of the rise of controversies which were directed towards the biblical canon during the sixteenth century, a negative connotation was attributed to the word apocrypha. Furthermore, it has turned out to be a synonym for the adjectives bogus and false (Desilva). Such practice engrosses fictitious or legendary accounts that are plausible enough to commonly be considered as truth. The account of George Washington (the Parson Weems) and the cherry tree, for example, is deemed apocryphal.

            The term apocryphal was first employed to texts which were maintained undisclosed because it was believed that they were the means of abstruse knowledge regarded as too divine and too philosophical to be revealed to anyone other than the instigated. Indeed, the word apocryphal was primordially used in positive sense because it describes or pertains to collections or anthologies of sacred writings.

            In essence, the term apocryphal can be said to imply writings or workings which were hidden from common man because of its severe sacredness. On the contrary, apocrypha was used to texts that were secreted not because of their holiness but mainly because of their disputed value to the religious institutions. Various Protestant customs mention Revelation 22:18-19 as a probable nuisance for those who append any canonical power to texts like the Apocrypha (Cooke). Nevertheless, a severe exegesis of this writing would signify that it was intended merely for the Book of Revelation. Generally, the term apocrypha means heretical, spurious and false. Such connotations also come out in Origen’s introduction to his annotations on the Song of Songs.

Further applications of the word apocrypha expanded over the account of Western Christianity. The Gelasian Decree pertains to the spiritual writings done by church friars Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Eusebius as apocrypha (Cooke). The term apocrypha was also defined by Augustine simply as the anonymity of cause which implies that any writings of unidentified authorship or disputed validity would be deemed as apocrypha. Conversely, all writings external to the Hebrew tradition were considered apocryphal as declared by Jerome in Protogus Galeatus.

In reality, some writings external to the Hebrew tradition were treated by Jerome just like they were canonical. As a result, the Western Church did not admit the definition that Jerome has attributed to the word apocrypha. In its place, the Church retained its original connotation. Hence, different and several church authorities tagged various published writings as apocrypha, taking them with unstable intensities of consideration.

A number of apocryphal texts were incorporated in the Septuagint having modest difference made among them and the all other parts of the Old Testament. Clement, Origen, and others mentioned various apocryphal writings as scriptural works and the like (Cooke). However, educators linked with Palestinian traditions and proverbial with the Hebrew practice barred from the canon all parts of the Old Testament that were not located there. This inspection is revealed in the tradition of Melito of Sardis as well as in Jerome’s prologue and letters (Cooke). Another perspective was that the writings were not as precious as the traditional scriptures of the Hebrew anthology, but were of worth for ethical applications, as preliminary writings for novel switched since paganism, and to be converted in parishioners.

These different perspectives concerning the apocryphal writings existed in anticipation of the Protestant Reformation, when the concept of what comprises canon turned out to be a matter of chief regard for the Protestants and Roman Catholics similarly. The Catholic Council of Trent reproved Augustine’s canon (from the second up to the third centuries) in 1546 (Cooke). The entirety of the writings in inquiry was affirmed canonical at Trent. The Protestants, on the other hand, unanimously embraced the principle that only the writings in the Hebrew anthology were canonical. A 14th century reformer named John Wycliffe had affirmed in his edition of the Bible that only the twenty-five books of the Old Testament would be deemed as part of the canon and those writings which are not one of those twenty- five books would be labeled as apocryphal which would mean that they lack authority or belief (Desilva).

Works Cited:

Desilva, David. Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance. Baker            Academic, 2004.

Cooke, Patrick. The Lost Books of the Bible: The Real Apocrypha. Oracle Research Publishing,            2005.

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