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Theology

The Apocrypha

From:  (Nigel B. Mitchell)
Newsgroups: aus.religion.christian
Subject: Re: The Apocrypha
Date: Wed, 05 Aug 1998 23:13:44 GMT

On Wed, 05 Aug 1998 23:59:04 +0900, Michael Smith
<> wrote:

>[Jude 1:9]  But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with
>the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous
>accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
>
>I recollect being told that this passage is a reference to an Apocryphal
>book, though I've forgotton which one.  
>
>Nigel, do you know this????
>

Hi, Mike.

Jude 1:9 is a reference to a work called the Assumption of Moses.
This was written by a (probably Pharisee) Jewish author during
the 1st century, and it speculates on what happened next after
the death of Moses (Deuteronomy 34). AFAIK the Assumption of
Moses is not regarded as canonical by anyone. 

The passage in Jude is definitely a direct quote - there is no
mention of Michael or any other angels, Satan etc. in Deuteronomy
34. This is a good example of our need to read the Bible in
context, and our need for more than just the Bible. Without a
knowledge of the Assumption of Moses, we cannot really understand
what Jude 1:9 is on about.

Qotation in a canonical book is not an indicator of canonicity,
otherwise we would have to look carefully at the works of the
Greco-Roman philosophers Epimenedes and Aratus, quoted by Paul in
Acts 17:28.

There are no direct quotations of the Apocryphal books in the NT,
although it is obvious that these books did influence both Jewish
and Christian thought in the period. Some of the places where
allusions to apocryphal material have been identified include:
Romans 1:20-29 // Wisdom 13:5,8; 14:24,27
Romans 9:20-23 // Wisdom 12:12,20
2 Corinthians 5:1,4 // Wisdom 9:15
James 1:19 // Sirach 5:11
James 1:13 // Sirach 15:11-12

>
>I would be hesitant to build any doctrine on the contents of the
>Apocrypha - but they can provide literary and historical background. 
>While they are less important that the Cannonical books, they are not
>completely valueless.
>

Spoken like a true Anglican. 

Cheers
N+

Nigel B. Mitchell

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