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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 27 | volume V | July-August, 2002



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 27July-August, 2002

Apocryphal Literature

p. 1
Dobrila Milovska

     The apocryphal scriptures originate from the early Hebraic religious literature, in which the subject term was used for the secret books that elaborated themes same as those of the Old Testament. In the 2nd century B.C. those scriptures, along with the rest of the Hebraic Old Testament books, were translated into Greek language, and, since they were considered as secret, hidden books, they were given the name Apocrypha (from Gr. apocryphos – hidden away, secret). The first Christians took on The Apocrypha by use of those translations, which started playing a significant role in the Christian literature ever since. The contemporaries of the initial centuries of Christianity showed great interest in some of the main personalities and events of the history depicted in the Old Testament, wanting to learn far more details than those found in the Bible. As a result, spreading of numerous anonymous apocryphal books, which re-elaborated and supplemented the Bible legends, took place at that time. The Apocrypha, which further built on, in an equivalent way, the events and the personalities of the New Testament, emerged simultaneously with the Old Testament scriptures. There was a particular need for the second type of Apocrypha, which contained many incomprehensible and abstract points, plenty of symbolism and allegories, poorly attainable to the vast majority. The writers of those Apocrypha of the Old Testament and of the New Testament remained anonymous; however, sometimes, in order to grant better reliability to their writings, they used to sign them with the names of the earliest Christian writers, with those of some of the apostles and of their scholars.
     The number of those “fake” apocryphal texts started increasing during feudalism, when Christianity became an official Church, as a response to which various heresies featured their resistance towards Christianization and the further imposing of the feudal system. Therefore, in the 2nd century the representatives of Christianity set apart the canonical from the scriptures they categorized as non-canonical, and formed an index of “fake” apocryphal books. This procedure was applied in the case of the Apocrypha of the Old Testament, which we got to know through their translation from Hebrew. Those translations were sometimes too free since the translators didn’t know Greek/ Hebrew well. The most diligent copysts and users of the apocrypha were the Bogomils. As a result, certain episodes on their teaching, which do not exist in the scripture that was translated, can

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