Old Testament Apocrypha vs Pseudepigrapha
- I wonder if someone would mind providing me with easy
to understand and distinguishable definitions for
these two words. They seem to overlap somehow and I am
trying to get an understanding of when it is
appropriate to use one term and the other.
OT Apocrypha, all 15 or 18 of the books, seems to have
a less pejorative meaning. They are almost like well
written historical, religiously significant books
used/written by Jews in the centuries before Christ.
While Pseudepigrapha seems to denote some kind of
deception in which the author is trying to give
his/her book some sense of authority by giving it the
name of some ancient biblical figure (but is
obviously, upon evaluation, fraudulent). Anyway, good
definitions that would help me understand their
similarities and differences would be greatly appreciated.
- On May 27, 2008, at 12:44 AM, Eddie Mishoe wrote:
> I wonder if someone would mind providing me with easyThe short answer is that Old Testament Apocrypha refers to those
> to understand and distinguishable definitions for
> these two words. They seem to overlap somehow and I am
> trying to get an understanding of when it is
> appropriate to use one term and the other.
books and portions of books that are accepted by scripture by
Orthodox and Catholic communities but not those who follow the Hebrew
based canon. These books and book portions are included in most
Septuagint scripture lists. There are some minor variations even
within this categorization. For example, most Orthodox accept 3
Macabbees but the Catholics do not.
Pseudepigrapha are those Old Testament like books that have not been
accepted as scripture by anyone.
A notable exception here is that the Ethiopian Orthodox church does
accept 1 Enoch into their canon. The most complete English
translation of these available is the two volume collection by
Charlesworth, James H. The Old Testament pseudepigrapha. 2 vols.
Garden City: Doubleday, 1983.
This parallel collection of Old Testament literature is specifically
of Jewish origin. The collection is of literature that widely
circulated at the time of Christ. The books of Enoch and the Odes of
Solomon were particularly popular with early Christians. The
Ethiopian Church includes 1 Enoch in their Old Testament canon.
MA, Theology Duquesne University
Cantor Holy Ghost Church
Mckees Rocks, PA