Christian Apocryphal Writings

In this post, I am going to mention some of the books that specific early Christian writers deemed to be inspired and/or canonical. I also include Enoch in this list since this is a writing that has been cherished by Christians for the most part, not the Jews. All bold and underline emphasis will be mine.

ENOCH

“Enoch, of the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied also about them when he said, ‘Behold, the Lord has come with his countless holy ones to execute judgment on all and to convict everyone for all the godless deeds that they committed and for all the harsh words godless sinners have uttered against him.’” Jude 1:14-15 New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE)

Jude is citing 1 Enoch 1:9:

“And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of ⌈His⌉ holy ones To execute judgement upon all, And to destroy ⌈all⌉ the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all the works ⌈of their ungodliness⌉ which they have ungodly committed, And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners ⌈have spoken⌉ against Him.”

Tertullian used Jude’s citation to argue for Enoch’s canonicity:

Chapter 3. Concerning the Genuineness of The Prophecy of Enoch.

I am aware that the Scripture of Enoch, which has assigned this order (of action) to angels, is not received by some, because it is not admitted into the Jewish canon either. I suppose they did not think that, having been published before the deluge, it could have safely survived that world-wide calamity, the abolisher of all things. If that is the reason (for rejecting it), let them recall to their memory that Noah, the survivor of the deluge, was the great-grandson of Enoch himself; and he, of course, had heard and remembered, from domestic renown and hereditary tradition, concerning his own great-grandfather’s grace in the sight of God, and concerning all his preachings; since Enoch had given no other charge to Methuselah than that he should hand on the knowledge of them to his posterity. Noah therefore, no doubt, might have succeeded in the trusteeship of (his) preaching; or, had the case been otherwise, he would not have been silent alike concerning the disposition (of things) made by God, his Preserver, and concerning the particular glory of his own house.

If (Noah) had not had this (conservative power) by so short a route, there would (still) be this (consideration) to warrant our assertion of (the genuineness of) this Scripture: he could equally have renewed it, under the Spirit’s inspiration, after it had been destroyed by the violence of the deluge, as, after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian storming of it, every document of the Jewish literature is generally agreed to have been restored through Ezra.

But since Enoch in the same Scripture has preached likewise concerning the Lord, nothing at all must be rejected by us which pertains to us; and we read that every Scripture suitable for edification is divinely inspired. By the Jews it may now seem to have been rejected for that (very) reason, just like all the other (portions) nearly which tell of Christ. Nor, of course, is this fact wonderful, that they did not receive some Scriptures which spoke of Him whom even in person, speaking in their presence, they were not to receive. To these considerations is added the fact that Enoch possesses a testimony in the Apostle Jude. (On the Apparel of Women https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0402.htm)

And:

Chapter 10. Tertullian Refers Again to the Question of the Origin of All These Ornaments and Embellishments.

It was God, no doubt, who showed the way to dye wools with the juices of herbs and the humours of conchs! It had escaped Him, when He was bidding the universe to come into being, to issue a command for (the production of) purple and scarlet sheep! It was God, too, who devised by careful thought the manufactures of those very garments which, light and thin (in themselves), were to be heavy in price alone; God who produced such grand implements of gold for confining or parting the hair; God who introduced (the fashion of) finely-cut wounds for the ears, and set so high a value upon the tormenting of His own work and the tortures of innocent infancy, learning to suffer with its earliest breath, in order that from those scars of the body — born for the steel!— should hang I know not what (precious) grains, which, as we may plainly see, the Parthians insert, in place of studs, upon their very shoes! And yet even the gold itself, the glory of which carries you away, serves a certain race (so Gentile literature tells us) for chains! So true is it that it is not intrinsic worth, but rarity, which constitutes the goodness (of these things): the excessive labour, moreover, of working them with arts introduced by the means of the sinful angels, who were the revealers withal of the material substances themselves, joined with their rarity, excited their costliness, and hence a lust on the part of women to possess (that) costliness. But, if the self-same angels who disclosed both the material substances of this kind and their charms — of gold, I mean, and lustrous stones — and taught men how to work them, and by and by instructed them, among their other (instructions), in (the virtues of) eyelid-powder and the dyeings of fleeces, have been condemned by God, as Enoch tells us, how shall we please God while we joy in the things of those (angels) who, on these accounts, have provoked the anger and the vengeance of God? (Ibid.)

Other references to Enoch include the following:

“It therefore behooves us, who inquire much concerning events at hand, to search diligently into those things which are able to save us. Let us then utterly flee from all the works of iniquity, lest these should take hold of us; and let us hate the error of the present time, that we may set our love on the world to come: let us not give loose reins to our soul, that it should have power to run with sinners and the wicked, lest we become like them. The final stumbling-block (or source of danger) approaches, concerning which it is written, as Enoch saysFor for this end the Lord has cut short the times and the days, that His Beloved may hasten; and He will come to the inheritance. And the prophet also speaks thusTen kingdoms shall reign upon the earth, and a little king shall rise up after them, who shall subdue under one three of the kings. In like manner Daniel says concerning the same, And I beheld the fourth beast, wicked and powerful, and more savage than all the beasts of the earth, and how from it sprang up ten horns, and out of them a little budding horn, and how it subdued under one three of the great horns…” (Epistle of Barnabas, Chapter 4. Antichrist is at hand: let us therefore avoid Jewish errors https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0124.htm)

3. That all things were created by God, and that there is no creature which exists but has derived from Him its being, is established from many declarations of Scripture; those assertions being refuted and rejected which are falsely alleged by some respecting the existence either of a matter co-eternal with God, or of unbegotten souls, in which they would have it that God implanted not so much the power of existence, as equality and order. For even in that little treatise called The Pastor or Angel of Repentance, composed by Hermas, we have the following: First of all, believe that there is one God who created and arranged all things; who, when nothing formerly existed, caused all things to be; who Himself contains all things, but Himself is contained by none. And in the Book of Enoch also we have similar descriptions. But up to the present time we have been able to find no statement in holy Scripture in which the Holy Spirit could be said to be made or created, not even in the way in which we have shown above that the divine wisdom is spoken of by Solomon, or in which those expressions which we have discussed are to be understood of the life, or the word, or the other appellations of the Son of God. The Spirit of God, therefore, which was borne upon the waters, as is written in the beginning of the creation of the world, is, I am of opinion, no other than the Holy Spirit, so far as I can understand; as indeed we have shown in our exposition of the passages themselves, not according to the historical, but according to the spiritual method of interpretation.(Origen, De Principiis, Book I, Chapter 3. On the Holy Spirit https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04121.htm)

Origen seems to cast doubt on Enoch in his response to Celsus:

Chapter 54

In the next place, he proceeds to answer himself as he thinks fit in the following terms: And so he is not the only one who is recorded to have visited the human race, as even those who, under the pretext of teaching in the name of Jesus, have apostatized from the Creator as an inferior being, and have given in their adherence to one who is a superior God and father of him who visited (the world), assert that before him certain beings came from the Creator to visit the human race. Now, as it is in the spirit of truth that we investigate all that relates to the subject, we shall remark that it is asserted by Apelles, the celebrated disciple of Marcion, who became the founder of a certain sect, and who treated the writings of the Jews as fabulous, that Jesus is the only one that came to visit the human race. Even against him, then, who maintained that Jesus was the only one that came from God to men, it would be in vain for Celsus to quote the statements regarding the descent of other angels, seeing Apelles discredits, as we have already mentioned, the miraculous narratives of the Jewish Scriptures; and much more will he decline to admit what Celsus has adduced, from not understanding the contents of the Book of Enoch. No one, then, convicts us of falsehood, or of making contradictory assertions, as if we maintained both that our Saviour was the only being that ever came to men, and yet that many others came on different occasions. And in a most confused manner, moreover, does he adduce, when examining the subject of the visits of angels to men, what he has derived, without seeing its meaning, from the contents of the Book of Enoch; for he does not appear to have read the passages in question, nor to have been aware that the books which bear the name Enoch do not at all circulate in the Churches as divine, although it is from this source that he might be supposed to have obtained the statement, that sixty or seventy angels descended at the same time, who fell into a state of wickedness. 

Chapter 55

But, that we may grant to him in a spirit of candour what he has not discovered in the contents of the book of Genesis, that the sons of God, seeing the daughters of men, that they were fair, took to them wives of all whom they chose, we shall nevertheless even on this point persuade those who are capable of understanding the meaning of the prophet, that even before us there was one who referred this narrative to the doctrine regarding souls, which became possessed with a desire for the corporeal life of men, and this in metaphorical language, he said, was termed daughters of men. But whatever may be the meaning of the sons of God desiring to possess the daughters of men, it will not at all contribute to prove that Jesus was not the only one who visited mankind as an angel, and who manifestly became the Saviour and benefactor of all those who depart from the flood of wickedness. Then, mixing up and confusing whatever he had at any time heard, or had anywhere found written — whether held to be of divine origin among Christians or not — he adds: The sixty or seventy who descended together were cast under the earth, and were punished with chains. And he quotes (as from the Book of Enoch, but without naming it) the following: And hence it is that the tears of these angels are warm springs,a thing neither mentioned nor heard of in the Churches of God! For no one was ever so foolish as to materialize into human tears those which were shed by the angels who had come down from heaven. And if it were right to pass a jest upon what is advanced against us in a serious spirit by Celsus, we might observe that no one would ever have said that hot springs, the greater part of which are fresh water, were the tears of the angels, since tears are saltish in their nature, unless indeed the angels, in the opinion of Celsus, shed tears which are fresh. (Against Celsus, Book V https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04165.htm)

APOCALYPSE OF PETER

4. The Epistle of Jude, indeed,37and two belonging to the above-named John-or bearing the name of John-are reckoned among the Catholic epistles. And the book ofWisdom, written by the friends of Solomon in his honour. We receive also the Apocalypse of John and that of Peter, though some amongst us will not have this latter read in the Church. The Pastor, moreover, did Hermas write very recently in our times in the city of Rome, while his brother bishop Plus sat in the chair of the Church of Rome. And therefore it also ought to be read; but it cannot be made public38 in the Church to the people, nor placed among the prophets, as their number is complete, nor among the apostles to the end of time. Of the writings of Arsinous, called also Valentinus, or of Miltiades, we receive nothing at all. Those are rejected too who wrote the new Book of Psalms for Marcion, together with Basilides and the founder of the Asian Cataphrygians.39 (Muratorian Canon, Translated by Roberts-Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5 http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/muratorian.html)

Chapter 14. The Scriptures mentioned by Him.

1. To sum up briefly, he [Clement of Alexandria] has given in the Hypotyposes abridged accounts of all canonical Scripture, not omitting the disputed books, — I refer to Jude and the other Catholic epistles, and Barnabas and the so-called Apocalypse of Peter. Eusebius, Church History, Book VI, Chapter 13. The Writings of Clement https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250106.htm)

 

EPISTLE OF BARNABAS

“… Rightly, therefore, the Apostle Barnabas says, From the portion I have received I have done my diligence to send little by little to you; that along with your faith you may also have perfect knowledge. Fear and patience are then helpers of your faith; and our allies are long-suffering and temperance. These, then, he says, in what respects the Lord, continuing in purity, there rejoice along with them, wisdom, understanding, intelligence, knowledge. The fore-mentioned virtues being, then, the elements of knowledge; the result is that faith is more elementary, being as necessary to the Gnostic, as respiration to him that lives in this world is to life. And as without the four elements it is not possible to live, so neither can knowledge be attained without faith. It is then the support of truth.” (Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, Book II, Chapter 6. The Excellence and Utility of Faith)

Let us see what terrors the law announces. If it is the things which hold an intermediate place between virtue and vice, such as poverty, disease, obscurity, and humble birth, and the like, these things civil laws hold forth, and are praised for so doing. And those of the Peripatetic school, who introduce three kinds of good things, and think that their opposites are evil, this opinion suits. But the law given to us enjoins us to shun what are in reality bad things — adultery, uncleanness, pederasty, ignorance, wickedness, soul-disease, death (not that which severs the soul from the body, but that which severs the soul from truth). For these are vices in reality, and the workings that proceed from them are dreadful and terrible. For not unjustly, say the divine oracles, are the nets spread for birds; for they who are accomplices in blood treasure up evils to themselves. How, then, is the law still said to be not good by certain heresies that clamorously appeal to the apostle, who says, For by the law is the knowledge of sin? Romans 3:20 To whom we say, The law did not cause, but showed sin. For, enjoining what is to be done, it reprehended what ought not to be done. And it is the part of the good to teach what is salutary, and to point out what is deleterious; and to counsel the practice of the one, and to command to shun the other. Now the apostle, whom they do not comprehend, said that by the law the knowledge of sin was manifested, not that from it it derived its existence. And how can the law be not good, which trains, which is given as the instructor (παιδαγωγός) to Christ, Galatians 3:24 that being corrected by fear, in the way of discipline, in order to the attainment of the perfection which is by Christ? I will not, it is said, the death of the sinner, as his repentance. Now the commandment works repentance; inasmuch as it deters from what ought not to be done, and enjoins good deeds. By ignorance he means, in my opinion, death. And he that is near the Lord is full of stripes. Judith 8:27 Plainly, he, that draws near to knowledge, has the benefit of perils, fears, troubles, afflictions, by reason of his desire for the truth. For the son who is instructed turns out wise, and an intelligent son is saved from burning. And an intelligent son will receive the commandments. And Barnabas the apostle having said, Woe to those who are wise in their own conceits, clever in their own eyes, Isaiah 5:21 added, Let us become spiritual, a perfect temple to God; let us, as far as in us lies, practice the fear of God, and strive to keep His commands, that we may rejoice in His judgments. Whence the fear of God is divinely said to be the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 1:7 (Ibid., Chapter 7. The Utility of Fear. Objections Answered)

“… For Ask, and it shall be given you, Matthew 7:7 it is said to those who are able of themselves to choose what is best. And how we say that the powers of the devil, and the unclean spirits, sow into the sinner’s soul, requires no more words from me, on adducing as a witness the apostolic Barnabas (and he was one of the seventy, and a fellow-worker of Paul), who speaks in these words: Before we believed in God, the dwelling-place of our heart was unstable, truly a temple built with hands. For it was full of idolatry, and was a house of demons, through doing what was opposed to God.” (Ibid., Book II, Chapter 20. The True Gnostic Exercises Patience and Self-Restraint)

Chapter 63

And since Celsus has termed the apostles of Jesus men of infamous notoriety, saying that they were tax-gatherers and sailors of the vilest character, we have to remark, with respect to this charge, that he seems, in order to bring an accusation against Christianity, to believe the Gospel accounts only where he pleases, and to express his disbelief of them, in order that he may not be forced to admit the manifestations of Divinity related in these same books; whereas one who sees the spirit of truth by which the writers are influenced, ought, from their narration of things of inferior importance, to believe also the account of divine things. Now in the general Epistle of Barnabas, from which perhaps Celsus took the statement that the apostles were notoriously wicked men, it is recorded that Jesus selected His own apostles, as persons who were more guilty of sin than all other evildoers. And in the Gospel according to Luke, Peter says to Jesus, Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man. Moreover, Paul, who himself also at a later time became an apostle of Jesus, says in his Epistle to Timothy, This is a faithful saying, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief. And I do not know how Celsus should have forgotten or not have thought of saying something about Paul, the founder, after Jesus, of the Churches that are in Christ. He saw, probably, that anything he might say about that apostle would require to be explained, in consistency with the fact that, after being a persecutor of the Church of God, and a bitter opponent of believers, who went so far even as to deliver over the disciples of Jesus to death, so great a change afterwards passed over him, that he preached the Gospel of Jesus from Jerusalem round about to Illyricum, and was ambitious to carry the glad tidings where he needed not to build upon another man’s foundation, but to places where the Gospel of God in Christ had not been proclaimed at all. What absurdity, therefore, is there, if Jesus, desiring to manifest to the human race the power which He possesses to heal souls, should have selected notorious and wicked men, and should have raised them to such a degree of moral excellence, that they became a pattern of the purest virtue to all who were converted by their instrumentality to the Gospel of Christ? (Origen, Contra Celsum https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04161.htm)

6. He makes use also in these works of testimonies from the disputed Scriptures, the so-called Wisdom of Solomon, and of Jesus, the son of Sirach, and the Epistle to the Hebrews, and those of Barnabas, and Clement and Jude. (Eusebius, Church History, Book VI, Chapter 13. The Writings of Clement https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250106.htm)

Chapter 14. The Scriptures mentioned by Him.

1. To sum up briefly, he has given in the Hypotyposes abridged accounts of all canonical Scripture, not omitting the disputed books, — I refer to Jude and the other Catholic epistles , and Barnabas and the so-called Apocalypse of Peter. (Ibid.)

 

1 CLEMENT

 3. The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles. In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome dispatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spoke with Moses, set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolic tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another god beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things. To this Clement there succeeded Evaristus. Alexander followed Evaristus; then, sixth from the apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telephorus, who was gloriously martyred; then Hyginus; after him, Pius; then after him, Anicetus. Soter having succeeded Anicetus, Eleutherius does now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the episcopate. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth. (Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, Book III, Chapter 3 https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm)

Chapter 17. Passages from Clement’s Epistle to the Corinthians on Martyrdom

Moreover, in the Epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle Clement also, drawing a picture of the Gnostic, says: For who that has sojourned among you has not proved your perfect and firm faith? And has not admired your sound and gentle piety? And has not celebrated the munificent style of your hospitality? And has not felicitated your complete and sure knowledge? For you did all things impartially, and walked in the ordinances of God; and so forth. (Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, Book IV https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02104.htm)

Chapter 16. The Epistle of Clement.

There is extant an epistle of this Clement which is acknowledged to be genuine and is of considerable length and of remarkable merit. He wrote it in the name of the church of Rome to the church of Corinth, when a sedition had arisen in the latter church. We know that this epistle also has been publicly used in a great many churches both in former times and in our own. And of the fact that a sedition did take place in the church of Corinth at the time referred to Hegesippus is a trustworthy witness. (Eusebius, Church History, Book III https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250103.htm)

THE SHEPHERD OF HERMAS

A prominent online Catholic Encyclopedia states:

(First or second century), author of the book called “The Shepherd” (Poimen, Pastor), a work which had great authority in ancient times and was ranked with Holy Scripture. Eusebius tells us that it was publicly read in the churches, and that while some denied it to be canonical, others “considered it most necessary”. St. Athanasius speaks of it, together with the Didache, in connection with the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament, as uncanonical yet recommended by the ancients for the reading of catechumens. Elsewhere he calls it a most profitable book. Rufinus similarly says that the ancients wished it to be read, but not to be used as an authority as to the Faith. It is found with the Epistle of Barnabas at the end of the New Testament in the great Siniatic Bible Aleph (fourth century), and between the Acts of the Apostles and the Acts of Paul in the stichometrical list of the Codex Claromontanus. In accordance with this conflicting evidence, we find two lines of opinion among the earlier Fathers. St. Irenæus and Tertullian (in his Catholic days) cite the “Shepherd” as Scripture. Clement of Alexandria constantly quotes it with reverence, and so does Origen, who held that the author was the Hermas mentioned by St. Paul, Romans 16:14. He says the work seems to him to be very useful, and Divinely inspired; yet he repeatedly apologizes, when he has occasion to quote it, on the ground that “many people despise it”. Tertullian, when a Montanist, implies that Pope St. Callistus had quoted it as an authority (though evidently not as Scripture), for he replies: “I would admit your argument, if the writing of the Shepherd had deserved to be included in the Divine Instrument, and if it were not judged by every council of the Churches, even of your own Churches, among the apocryphal and false.” And again, he says that the Epistle of Barnabas is “more received among the Churches than that apocryphal Shepherd” (On Pudicity 10 and 20). Tertullian was no doubt right, that the book had been excluded at Rome from the Bible Instrumentum, but he is exaggerating in referring to “every council” and to a total rejection, for the teaching of the “Pastor” was in direct contradiction with his own rigid views as to penance. His earlier use of it is paralleled by the Acts of Sts. Perpetua and Felicitas, before the end of the second century, but there is no trace of it in St. Cyprian, so that it would seem to have gone out of use in Africa during the early decades of the third century. Somewhat later it is quoted by the author of the pseudo-Cyprianic tract “Adv. aleatores” as “Scriptura divina”, but in St. Jerome’s day it was “almost unknown to the Latins”. Curiously, it went out of fashion in the East, so that the Greek manuscripts of it are but two in number, whereas in the West it became better known and was frequently copied in the Middle Ages. (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, “Hermas” https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07268b.htm)

Here’s what Irenaeus wrote concerning Hermas:

2. Truly, then, the Scripture declared, which says, “First of all believe that there is one God, who has established all things, and completed them, and having caused that from what had no being, all things should come into existence. He who contains all things, and is Himself contained by no one.” [Book 2, First Commandment, of the Shepherd of Hermas]. Rightly also has Malachi said among the prophets: “Is it not one God who hath established us? Have we not all one Father?” Malachi 2:10 In accordance with this, too, does the apostle say, There is one God, the Father, who is above all, and in us all. Ephesians 4:6 Likewise does the Lord also say: All things are delivered to Me by My Father; Matthew 11:27 manifestly by Him who made all things; for He did not deliver to Him the things of another, but His own. But in all things [it is implied that] nothing has been kept back [from Him], and for this reason the same person is the Judge of the living and the dead; having the key of David: He shall open, and no man shall shut: He shall shut, and no man shall open. Revelation 3:7 For no one was able, either in heaven or in earth, or under the earth, to open the book of the Father, or to behold Him, with the exception of the Lamb who was slain, and who redeemed us with His own blood, receiving power over all things from the same God who made all things by the Word, and adorned them by [His] Wisdom, when the Word was made flesh; that even as the Word of God had the sovereignty in the heavens, so also might He have the sovereignty in earth, inasmuch as [He was] a righteous man, who did no sin, neither was there found guile in His mouth; 1 Peter 2:23 and that He might have the pre-eminence over those things which are under the earth, He Himself being made the first-begotten of the dead; Colossians 1:18 and that all things, as I have already said, might behold their King; and that the paternal light might meet with and rest upon the flesh of our Lord, and come to us from His resplendent flesh, and that thus man might attain to immortality, having been invested with the paternal light. (Adversus Haereses, Book IV, Chapter 20 https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103420.htm)

And note how Clement of Alexandria treats Hermas:

Divinely, therefore, the power which spoke to Hermas by revelation said, The visions and revelations are for those who are of double mind, who doubt in their hearts if these things are or are not. (The Stromata, Book I, Chapter 29. The Greeks But Children Compared with the Hebrews https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02101.htm)

“… For the power that appeared in the vision to Hermas said, Whatever may be revealed to you, shall be revealed.” (Ibid., Book II, Chapter 1. Introductory https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02102.htm)

“… Let your love be without dissimulation, it is said; and abhorring what is evil, let us become attached to what is good, to brotherly love, and so on, down to If it be possible, as much as lies in you, living peaceably with all men. Then be not overcome of evil, it is said, but overcome evil with good. And the same apostle owns that he bears witness to the Jews, that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. Romans 10:2-3 For they did not know and do the will of the law; but what they supposed, that they thought the law wished. And they did not believe the law as prophesying, but the bare word; and they followed through fear, not through disposition and faith. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, Romans 10:4 who was prophesied by the law to every one that believes. Whence it was said to them by Moses, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are not a people; and I will anger you by a foolish nation, that is, by one that has become disposed to obedience. Romans 10:19; Deuteronomy 32:21 And by Isaiah it is said, I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest to them that inquired not after Me, Isaiah 45:2; Romans 10:20-21 — manifestly previous to the coming of the Lord; after which to Israel, the things prophesied, are now appropriately spoken: I have stretched out My hands all the day long to a disobedient and gainsaying people. Do you see the cause of the calling from among the nations, clearly declared, by the prophet, to be the disobedience and gainsaying of the people? Then the goodness of God is shown also in their case. For the apostle says, But through their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy Romans 11:11 and to willingness to repent. And the Shepherd, speaking plainly of those who had fallen asleep, recognises certain righteous among Gentiles and Jews, not only before the appearance of Christ, but before the law, in virtue of acceptance before God — as Abel, as Noah, as any other righteous man. He says accordingly, that the apostles and teachers, who had preached the name of the Son of God, and had fallen asleep, in power and by faith, preached to those that had fallen asleep before Then he subjoins: And they gave them the seal of preaching. They descended, therefore, with them into the water, and again ascended. But these descended alive, and again ascended alive. But those, who had fallen asleep before, descended dead, but ascended alive. By these, therefore, they were made alive, and knew the name of the Son of God. Wherefore also they ascended with them, and fitted into the structure of the tower, and unhewn were built up together; they fell asleep in righteousness and in great purity, but wanted only this seal. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things of the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves, Romans 2:14 according to the apostle.” (Ibid., Chapter 9. The Connection of the Christian Virtues)

“… And if you consider the truth, you will find man naturally misled so as to give assent to what is false, though possessing the resources necessary for belief in the truth. The virtue, then, that encloses the Church in its grasp, as the Shepherd says, is Faith, by which the elect of God are saved; and that which acts the man is Self-restraint. And these are followed by Simplicity, Knowledge, Innocence, Decorum, Love, and all these are the daughters of Faith. And again, Faith leads the way, fear upbuilds, and love perfects. Accordingly he says, the Lord is to be feared in order to edification, but not the devil to destruction. And again, the works of the Lord — that is, His commandments — are to be loved and done; but the works of the devil are to be dreaded and not done. For the fear of God trains and restores to love; but the fear of the works of the devil has hatred dwelling along with it. The same also says that repentance is high intelligence. For he that repents of what he did, no longer does or says as he did. But by torturing himself for his sins, he benefits his soul. Forgiveness of sins is therefore different from repentance; but both show what is in our power.” (Ibid., Chapter 12. Twofold Faith)

“… For who of those who are wise would not choose to reign in God, and even to serve? So some confess that they know God, according to the apostle; but in works they deny Him, being abominable and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate. Titus 1:16 And these, though they confess nothing but this, will have done at the end one good work. Their witness, then, appears to be the cleansing away of sins with glory. For instance, the Shepherd says: You will escape the energy of the wild beast, if your heart become pure and blameless. Also the Lord Himself says: Satan has desired to sift you; but I have prayed. Luke 22:31-32” (Ibid., Book IV, Chapter 9. Christ’s Sayings Respecting Martyrdom https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02104.htm)

If, then, He preached only to the Jews, who wanted the knowledge and faith of the Saviour, it is plain that, since God is no respecter of persons, the apostles also, as here, so there preached the Gospel to those of the heathen who were ready for conversion. And it is well said by the Shepherd, They went down with them therefore into the water, and again ascended. But these descended alive, and again ascended alive. But those who had fallen asleep, descended dead, but ascended alive. Further the Gospel Matthew 27:52 says, that many bodies of those that slept arose,— plainly as having been translated to a better state. There took place, then, a universal movement and translation through the economy of the Saviour. (Ibid., Book VI, Chapter 6. The Gospel Was Preached to Jews and Gentiles in Hades https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02106.htm)

“But as the work advances, we shall in each section, noting the figures of speech mentioned above by the prophet, exhibit the gnostic mode of life, showing it systematically according to the rule of the truth. Did not the Power also, that appeared to Hermas in the Vision, in the form of the Church, give for transcription the book which she wished to be made known to the elect? And this, he says, he transcribed to the letter, without finding how to complete the syllables. And this signified that the Scripture is clear to all, when taken according to the bare reading; and that this is the faith which occupies the place of the rudiments. Wherefore also the figurative expression is employed, reading according to the letter; while we understand that the gnostic unfolding of the Scriptures, when faith has already reached an advanced state, is likened to reading according to the syllables. Further, Esaias the prophet is ordered to take a new book, and write in it Isaiah 8:1 certain things: the Spirit prophesying that through the exposition of the Scriptures there would come afterwards the sacred knowledge, which at that period was still unwritten, because not yet known…” (Ibid. Chapter 15. Different Degrees of Knowledge)

FURTHER READING

Gregory of Nazianus’ Biblical Canon

The Old Testament of the Early Church

The Biblical Books of the Apostolic Canons

The Synod of Laodicea’s Biblical Canon

John of Damascus’ Biblical Canon

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