Reading Apocrypha

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mab | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Apr 22 2020 9:56 PM

I thought I would make an addition to my Horner reading plan and develop an extra reading from the Apocrypha. The question would be which version should I pick. I was kind of leaning towards the Lexham English Septuagint but someone with more insight and experience might suggest some other version. I have an RSV on the shelf, everything else would have to come via Logos. What say you?

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

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Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 22 2020 10:44 PM

In before M.J. chimes in with much fuller information--

I make it a habit of reading through the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals every few years. In my current Bible reading program, I'm presently in the Apocrypha. I'm reading it in the REB; the NEB, and I just found out, the CEB also have it.

RSV/NRSV is good for a more literal translation. My favorite "alternative" Bible version (alternative from my standards: ESV, NIV, NASB, etc.) is the New American Bible. I love its notes and translations. It only has the Roman Catholic deuterocanonicals though. From my library, the modern English versions that have the fuller edition including books like 2 Esdras (ugh) are:

  • NRSV/RSV
  • Cambridge Paragraph Bible & other editions of KJV (okay not exactly modern but you know)
  • NEB/REB
  • CEB (Common English Bible)

(The LES doesn't include those books either.)

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 23 2020 8:41 AM

I'd hope you include in-depth commentary exploring.  More so, than the NT books, knowing the 'why' of the deutero's really makes the reading more significant. Tobit quickly comes to mind as an odd anchor to the future.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 23 2020 10:11 AM

I decided to first rearrange my priority on my Bibles that have the additional books. And I agree with Denise that having a commentary would be helpful. I haven't figured out which ones would be most helpful, maybe Anchor. I might link to that. 

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 23 2020 4:46 PM

I always place a Bible that includes the ecumenical canon as my top priority Bible - in Logos this means NRSV for me. For reading purposes, the LES is a very acceptable translation. Reading plans are something I'm still thinking about. For commentary on the apocrypha I like Hermeneia.

Once the deuterocanonicals are "under your belt", exploring other books that have been in a canon at some point in time is an interesting expansion.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Don Kolafa | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 24 2020 8:07 AM

Although I have not yet embarked upon a serious study, these parallel books are in my Logos library, and on my bookshelf:

https://www.logos.com/product/179900/the-apocrypha-the-lutheran-edition-text

https://www.logos.com/product/28436/the-apocrypha-the-lutheran-edition-with-notes

When I prepare to dig into the Apocrypha in serious study, I realize that I have too large an audience for the original 66 books. Maybe now is the right time.

Posts 2605
mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 24 2020 9:49 AM

Wasn't aware of the Lutheran work. Something for my wish list.  I do think putting a high or higher priority on a Bible with the Apocrypha makes complete sense. There's a lot of cross-referencing for Septuagint usage in what I use. Might as well be near top. 

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

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David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 24 2020 11:25 AM

I am new to the Apocrypha. 

As my guide to the Apocrypha I plan on using “Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance, 2nd ed.” By David A. deSilva.  I was thinking of reading that from the introduction until it got to the first book.       [Hermeneia seems to be out of my price range]

Then what am I to do?

I have been told to always first read the text, then ponder it, and finally read the commentaries.

Is that good advice here?

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 24 2020 11:48 AM

David Ames:
I have been told to always first read the text, then ponder it, and finally read the commentaries.

I would say yes - as long as you have a bit of familiarity for the historical context and literary forms involved. From the sections of the first edition of the deSilva, you should have enough basic understanding to do this.

And, of course, digging into any texts like these can turn into a life-long process.

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 24 2020 11:49 AM

David Ames:

have been told to always first read the text, then ponder it, and finally read the commentaries.

Is that good advice here?

I think that's always a good idea. The one big add would be the cross-references to Scripture in canon or not and other related literature. Much of that comes in commentaries but you shouldn't have to rely on a commentary to do it.

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 24 2020 12:51 PM
Invitation to the Apocrypha Is my preferred book for introduction... I am not saying that deSilva is not ok just prefer Harrington. -Dan
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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 24 2020 1:43 PM

David Ames:
I have been told to always first read the text, then ponder it, and finally read the commentaries.

That's like wandering around a dark cave, until you hit your head. In the NT, chances are good a person has 10-15 years 'already' with the NT text.  The Deutero is a completely different time and culture. The early church barely used it for good reason (specific to their Messiah arguments). Just reading it creates a modern-day filter before you get started.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 2672
David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 24 2020 1:49 PM

Dan Francis:
 Invitation to the Apocrypha Is my preferred book for introduction... I am not saying that deSilva is not ok just prefer Harrington. -Dan

Added to my readings.  Thanks 

Denise:

That's like wandering around a dark cave, until you hit your head. In the NT, chances are good a person has 10-15 years 'already' with the NT text.  The Deutero is a completely different time and culture. The early church barely used it for good reason (specific to their Messiah arguments). Just reading it creates a modern-day filter before you get started.

More like 50 years but some state that the early church used it much.  But thanks for the warnings.  Am quite used to hitting my head.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 24 2020 2:21 PM

Denise:
 The Deutero is a completely different time and culture. The early church barely used it for good reason (specific to their Messiah arguments).

This may be a first - I believe you are incorrect. How do you define early church? And how do you define "barely"? I would expect some like "at a rate per thousand words considerably below the rate in later eras." The Deuterocanonical texts are used in:

  • First Epistle of Clement
  • The Epistle of Barnabas (barely)
  • Epistle of St. Polycarp to the Philippians
  • The Shepherd of Hermas (barely - allusions only)
  • The Didache
  • Second Clement (barely - allusions only)
  • Justin Martyr
  • Athenagoras
  • Irenaeus of Lyons
  • Catecomb art
  • Tertullian
  • Hippolytus of Rome

When looking for the Deuterocanon in the early church, keep your eyes out for Sirach and Wisdom as the most popular with Maccabees thrown in as a solid third.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 24 2020 2:26 PM

Don Kolafa:

https://www.logos.com/product/179900/the-apocrypha-the-lutheran-edition-text

https://www.logos.com/product/28436/the-apocrypha-the-lutheran-edition-with-notes

Just an FYI - in print these are a single volume; the split into two parts is a Logos feature. The translation is the ESV.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 11312
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 24 2020 3:03 PM

MJ. Smith:
This may be a first - I believe you are incorrect. How do you define early church?

Well, indeed, maybe a first. You know me (referring to restoration vocabulary), and I'm learning about you. I knew when I wrote that, that I should clarify. But I didn't, I guess because maybe I'm tired. I was expecting a Paul/Wisdom disagreement .. the book I recently finished had trouble with tagging Paul vs his Wisdom connects.

But you're right, regarding the 'later Church' ... note the capital (recognizing restoration never recognized the capital). The problem there (later Church)  is whether the Palestine 'early church' ever signed on to the LXX.

So, we're not disagreeing ... just vocabulary?

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 591
Pam Larson | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 24 2020 4:39 PM

Years ago I was taking a class which required us to mark up as many NT quotations & allusions of the OT as we could find and cross-reference them. We were using an NRSV Bible that included the apocrypha/deuterocanonical books. I found close to 20 in the apocrypha: Wisdom 5:15, 5:18, 9:15, 13:1-9; Sirach 1:28, 5:11, 7:14, 11:18, 15:16, 24:21, 28:2, 29:11, 43:26; 1 Macc 3:60; 2 Macc 3:22, 7:28, 7:32. All these should ring a bell when you read them.

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mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 24 2020 9:38 PM

Just a heads up. I almost forgot about the New Jerusalem Bible and Notes which just came off of pre-pub. Those notes are also good from what I can tell. 

I very much think I might work up a layout for Apocrypha use although my reading is definitely going to be on my iPad. 

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

Posts 660
Ted Weis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 25 2020 11:00 AM

Dan Francis:
Invitation to the Apocrypha Is my preferred book for introduction... I am not saying that deSilva is not ok just prefer Harrington. -Dan

I would agree. I use Harrington first, before reading the apocryphal text itself, to get an overview of what I was about to read. When I come across something I don't understand, I refer back to it. Afterwards, I go to DaSilva, who has a lot of terrific insight. Both of these books are excellent resources.

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