Books of the Apocrypha Class -- Coming this Fall!
This Fall, Al Zimmer of PSPC will lead a discussion group class on the books of the Apocrypha, a class he has taught several times over the years. The location of the class is to be determined: parlor, outdoors, or on Zoom.
In the meanwhile, each week Al will provide background on the Apocrypha. Read below and return later for another installment.
Are the books of the Apocrypha scripture? For some yes, and others no. The word apocrypha is Greek meaning "hidden or secret." Those who do not accept these books as canon call them Apocrypha. But those who accept them call them the Deuterocanon books, "belonging to the second canon."
Modern Jews, Orthodox Jews, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox churches, Latter Day Saints, and Protestants have different books in their bibles.
Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians as well as Protestants generally agree on the canon of the New Testament. The Ethiopian Orthodox Christians have in the past included two apocryphal books,1 & 2 Clement and Shepherd of Thomas, in their New Testament canon.
In our Bible, the Old Testament ends with Malachi; the New Testament starts with Matthew. The books of the Apocrypha are thought to cover the period between the Old and New Testaments.
What is in the Apocrypha? 1 & 2 Esdras. Tobit. Judith. Additions to Esther. Wisdom of Solomon. Baruch. Wisdom of Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus). Letter of Jeremiah. Additions to Daniel, including the story of Susanna. Prayer of Manasseh. 1 & 2 Maccabees.
In his 1534 German translation of the Bible, Martin Luther included seven books in an 'Apocrypha' section, books then accepted by the Catholic Church as part of the Old Testament. Luther said the Apocrypha “are not held equal to the Sacred Scriptures and yet are useful and good for reading.”
After the late 1600s, essentially all Protestant bibles excluded the Apocrypha. Roman Catholics include all but three books of the Apocrypha in their Old Testament.
I do not digress here, but add that some scholars consider the Dead Sea Scrolls as part of literature between the Old and New Testaments. Discovered in 1947 in a cave, The Dead Sea Scrolls have been studied by many with various interpretations.
The complete book of Isaiah, plus other manuscripts that reflect on early Christian thinking, are found in the scrolls. Jesus is not mentioned, but some of his teachings can be found in the scrolls. The 25,000 fragments and 9 books are dated between 250 BC and 68 AD.
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.