Apocrypha Writings

The discussion of the exclusion or inclusion of the apocrypha writings in the Judeo-Christian canon of scripture focuses on several key points. First, the apocrypha writings never appeared in the Hebrew scriptures (or Masoretic Text) in the form of “the Law” “the Prophets” and “the Writings”, whereas the Septuagint (the greek translation of the Hebrews scriptures) included them in some early manuscripts (copies). Thus, from an ancient Jewish perspective they were never considered holy scripture, but as the septuagint gained influence in the greek speaking world, the canon of holy scripture began to blur. As more and more copies and translations were developed from the septuagint, some faith traditions (i.e. Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox) began to accept the apocrypha writings as part of the holy scriptures.[1]

Second, Jewish tradition taught that beginning in c. 400 BCE the prophetic presence of God was absent, meaning that throughout the following years, God was silent and no other holy writings were added to the Hebrew scriptures. Since the apocrypha writings appear to have been written during the silent years, it would not have been considered holy scripture.[2] Therefore, based on these arguments, the apocrypha writings should not be included in the Judeo-Christian canon of scripture.

[1]Paul D. Wegner, The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible. (Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Academic, 1999), 120-126.

[2]Wegner, The Journey, 105-106.

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