Monday, January 4, 2016
The Apocrypha - Hebrew Holy Forgeries by Joseph Wheless 1930
The Apocrypha - Hebrew Holy Forgeries by Joseph Wheless 1930
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SUNDRY HOLY HEBREW men of old, we are told on the authority of the name of the pseudo-first Jewish-Christian Pope, "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter, i, 21). These literary movings of the Spirit were sometime reduced to writing in "Sacred Scriptures"; and again later Christian authority assures: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim. iii, 16),-though this is a falsified rendition: the true reading is: "Every scripture suitable for edification is divinely inspired," as the original Greek text is quoted by Father Tertullian. (ANF. iv, 16.)
It is the popular supposition that the 66-(Catholic Bible 73)-"little books" which comprise the Bible as we know it, are the whole sum of Hebrew and Christian "sacred writings," which have claimed and have been accorded the sanction of Divine inspiration and "treated by the Church as canonical." The term "canonical" in ecclesiastical parlance means Books accepted as divinely inspired; books which "were definitely canonized, or adjudged to have a uniquely Divine or authoritative quality," as is the authorative definition. (CE. iii, 267.) "Canonicity depends on inspiration." (EB. i, 653.) The holy Hebrew "canon" was closed, or the last inspired Book of the Old Testament written, according to Jewish "Tradition," by Ezra, about 444 B.C. (Ib. i, 658, 662.) In truth, however, several of the Books of the Old Testament were written much later, and were never heard of by Ezra; and "some found their way in, others not, on grounds of taste-the taste of the period," says Wellhausen. (Einleitung, p. 652, 6th Ed.)
The popular idea is that when the "moving" of the above inspired 66 sacred writings was ended, the moving Spirit retired from the field of Hebrew, and later of Christian literature, and thus closed the "sacred canon" of the respective Hebrew and Christian Testaments. This will be seen to be a mistake, in the judgment of the True Christian Church, according to which the Jews evidently did not know their own inspired writings, and curiously omitted from their "canon" a number of divinely "moved" books and scraps of books, which the better-instructed Christian Church has adopted as full of inspiration into its own present official Bible, as we shall notice in its place. There is also a much greater number of such books, of both Hebrew and Christian origin, which the inspired Church formerly and for ages regarded as inspired and "canonical," but which it now repudiates as "apocryphal" and acknowledges as forgeries; as we shall also duly note.
There is, indeed, an eminence mass of religious writings, the work of Jewish or Christian priests or professional religious persons, or composite productions of both sets of forgers, which are generally known as "apocrypha" or pious forgeries; but which each and all have been held by the Church through many ages of faith as of the highest inspired sanctity and accredited with the full rank of "canonical" truth of God.
The term apocryphal or forged "takes in those compositions which profess to have been written either by Biblical personages or men in intimate relation with them." (CE. i, 601.) "Since these [apocryphal] books were forgeries, the epithet in common parlance today denotes any story or document which is false or spurious, ... apocryphal in the disparaging sense of bearing names to which they have no right; all come under the definition above, for each of then has at one tine or another been treated as canonical." (EB. i, 249-250.)
That the above 66 (or 73) Books of the accepted Bible of Christianity come exactly, both as to manner of spurious origin and matter of fictional content, within the above definition of apocrypha or forgery, shall be made exceedingly evident. A brief review of these acknowledged religious forgeries in the name of God and of his inspired biographers, will afford a curious and instructive study of the workings of the fervid, credulous and contorted priestly mind, reckless of truth, and shed a floodlight of understanding on the origins and incredibility of the so-called "canonical" Books of the Bible, Hebrew and Christian alike.
While speaking here immediately of the Jewish Apocrypha or pious forgeries, it is to be noted and borne in mind that it is the Holy-Ghost-guided True Christian Church which alone has accepted and cherished these spurious productions of Jewish priestcraft-(scornfully repudiated by the Jews), has adulterated and re-forged them to more definite deceptive purposes of Christian propaganda, and has outdone Jewry by adding innumerable like forgeries,-"a whole literature" of fabrications-to its own spurious hagiography, or sacred writings. There will thus occur some necessary and unavoidable over-lappings of Jewish and Christian forgeries in the course of our treatment.
"It must be confessed," admits the Catholic Encyclopedia, "that the early Fathers and the Church, during the first three centuries, were more indulgent towards Jewish pseudograph [i.e. forged writings] circulating under venerable Old Testament, names. The Book of Henoch [Enoch] and the Assumption of Moses had been cited by the canonical Epistle of Jude. Many Fathers admitted the inspiration of Fourth Esdras. Not to mention the Shepherd of Hermas, the Acts of St. Paul (at least in the Thecla portion) and the Apocalypse of St. Peter were highly revered at this and later periods. ... In the Middle Ages ... many pseudographic [i.e. forged] writings enjoyed a high degree of favor among both clerics and laity." (CE. i, 615.)
A curious and edifying side-light on the chronic clerical flair for forgery is thrown by a sentence from the paragraph above quoted from the Catholic Encyclopedia. The earliest papal decree condemning certain of these pious forgeries is itself a Christian forgery! "The so-called 'Decretum de recipiendis et non recipiendis libris,' which contained a catalogue of some half-hundred works condemned as apocryphal, was attributed to Pope Gelasius (495), but, in reality is a compilation dating from the beginning of the Sixth century." (CE,. i, 615.)
And, be it noted, these Christian forgeries were not at all condemned by the Church as forgeries and pious lies, but simply because they contained some dogmatic doctrines which were regarded by the Orthodox as "heresies" they were condemned "always, however, with a preoccupation against heresy." And again in the same article: "Undoubtedly it was the large use heretical Circles, especially the Gnostics made of this insinuating literature which first called out the animadversions of the official guardians of doctrinal purity." (Ib. p. 615.)
The same authority cautiously and clerically explains, that "ancient literature, especially in the Orient, used methods much more free and elastic than those permitted by our modern and occidental culture. Pseudographic [falsified] compositions was in vogue among the Jews in the two centuries before Christ and for some time later. This holds good for the so-called 'Wisdom of Solomon,' written in and belonging to the Church's sacred cannon.-[This admits that this book of the Catholic Bible is spurious.] In other cases, where the assumed name did not stand as a symbol of a type of a certain kind of literature, the intention was not without a degree of at least literary dishonesty." (Ib. p. 601.)
Apocryphal religious literature consists of several classes, one of the most important subdivisions being that designated as "apocalyptic," and which consists of "pretended prophecies and revelations of both Jewish and Christian authorship, and dating from about 200 B.C. to about 150 A.D.," the latter being the approximate date of the new "canonical" Books of the New Testament, Their general subject is the problem of the final triumph of what is called the Kingdom of God. Speaking particularly of the apocalypses, the best known of which are the Hebrew Book of Daniel, written about 165 B.C., and the Jewish-Christian Book of Revelation imputed to the Apostle John of Patmos, a recent secular authority (corroborated at all points by clerical authorities) points out that many if not all of the Jewish apocalypses are adulterated with "alterations and interpolations by Christian hands, making the alleged predictions, point more definitely to Jesus," which pious tempering "gave certain of these Jewish works a very wide circulation in the early Church. ... The revelations and predictions are set forth as though actually received and written or spoken by ancient worthies, as Enoch, Moses, etc. ... They were once widely accepted as genuine prophecies, and found a warm reception in Jewish and early Christian circles." (The New International, Encyclopedia, vol. i, p. 745.) This form of pious fraud is admitted as quite the expected thing: "Naturally basing itself upon the Pentateuch and the Prophets, it clothed itself fictitiously with the authority of a patriarch or prophet who was made to reveal the transcendent future" (CE. i, 602),-most usually long ex post facto.
The vast and varied extent of Jewish-Christian forgery of religious books is shown by the groupings under which the several kinds of apocrypha forgeries are quite exhaustively considered in the technical works treating of them, such as the Catholic Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia Biblica, as well as the more popular Britannica and New International Encyclopedias, where the subject is fully discussed. "Speaking broadly," says the first, "The Apocrypha of Jewish origin are coextensive with what are styled of the Old Testament, and those of Christian origin the apocrypha of the New Testament. The subject will be treated ["according to their origin"]-as follows: (I) Apocrypha of Jewish origin: (II) Jewish Apocrypha with Christian accretions; (III) apocrypha of Christian origin, comprising (1) apocryphal Gospels; (2) Pilate literature and other apocrypha concerning Christ; (3) apocryphal Acts of Apostles; (4) apocryphal doctrinal works; (5) apocryphal Epistles; (6) apocryphal Apocalypses, (IV) the apocrypha and the Church." (CE. i, 601.)
What a catalogue of confessed ecclesiastical forgers, and fraud in the name of God, Christ and his Apostles, and the Church of God, for the propaganda of priestly frauds as "our Most Holy Faith"!
What will probably-In view of the foregoing and what is yet to come-be appreciated by many as a peculiarly rare bit of apocrypha (in its secondary sense) is the following, uttered apparently with the due and usual ecclesiastical solemnity, in the celebrated Dictatus of Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085), stating the presumptuous pretenses of the Papacy:
"The Roman Church has never erred, nor will it err to all eternity. No one may be considered a Catholic Christian who does not agree with the Catholic Church. No book is authoritative unless it has received the papal sanction. ... The pope is the only person whose feet are to be kissed by all princes"; "the Pope may depose emperors and absolve subjects from allegiance to an unjust ruler." (Cited by Robinson, 'The Ordeal of Civilization, pp. 126, 128; Library of Original Sources, vol. iv, p. 126-321.)
This puts the stamp of canonical inspiration and verity on some dozen Jewish books and parts of books of the Catholic Bible which the Jews and the whole body of otherwise discordant sects of Protestants hesitate not unanimously to pronounce apocryphal and forged. These "apocrypha" are either entire rejected Jewish books, all doubtless with Christian "interpolations," or apocryphal chapters or parts, interpolated probably by the same industry into the equally apocryphal books of the accepted Jewish canon. The names of these books, original and interpolations, and which are not included in the Hebrew Old Testament, -- but are in the True Church Bible,-are: Tobit, Judith, Baruch, with the Epistle of Jeremiah, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach (or Ecclesiastics), I and II Maccabees, Prayer of Manasseh, Additions to Esther, and Additions to the Book of Daniel, consisting of the Prayer of Azarias, the Song of the Three Holy Children (in the Fiery Furnace), the History of Susannah, the History of Bel and the Dragon, and sundry such precious fables. (See CE. iii, pp. 267, 270; iv, 624, passim.) These are all included in the Greek Septuagint and in the Latin Vulgate, were read as Scripture in early Christian Church, and were declared by the Council of Trent, at its Fourth Session, in 1546,-under the Curse of God on all skeptical doubters,-to be "inspired and canonical"; and they are so held by the Roman, and some of the Greek and Oriental Catholic Churches, but are declared "apocrypha" and forged by Jewry and all the rest of Christendom. To several of these extra-revelations of Judaism included in the Christian True Bible, head-notes apologetic for their inclusion are attached, of which that to the celebrated Book of Tobit or Tobias is typical: "Protestants have left it out of their modern Bibles, alleging that it is not in the canon of the Jews. But the Church of Christ, which received the Scriptures not from the Jews, but from the Apostles of Christ,-[who were all Jews, to believe the Christian record]-by traditions from them, has allowed this book a place in the Christian [sic] Bible from the beginning." (See Cath. Bible, Tobit, et passim).
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