Coming from CPH — The Apocrypha: Lutheran Edition with Notes – A Tantalizing Tidbit of the Feast to Come

I found this posted over on Cyberbrethren — Pastor Paul McCain speaking:

I received today yet another packet of The Apocrypha: Lutheran Edition with Notes. This one happened to contain the Table of Contents I thought I would tantalize and, yes, tease you, with a look at it. As you can see, this is a very substantial and highly significant presentation of the Apocrypha. Frankly, there is no other edition of the Apocrypha like this one available from any publisher or church body of which I’m aware. I think this is really going to be a well received volume and generate a lot of interest. It will be out Fall 2012. Be sure to hit the “read more” link to see the entire Table of Contents.

Here is the menu of the feast that awaits you…..

The Engravings
Editor’s Preface
Preface to ESV Apocrypha
Features of The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes
An Introduction to the Apocrypha and the Time Between the Testaments
Getting Started
The Holy Scripture and Other Ancient Writings
The Apocrypha in Modern Bible Publications by Edwin Cone Bissel
The Historical Setting of the Apocrypha by Raymond F. Surburg
The Judeans under Persian Rule (538–330 BC)
The Persian Empire [TLSB map, p. 1396]
Diagram of Zerubbabel’s temple [TLSB, p. 730]
The Judeans and Alexander the Great (330–323 BC)
The Empire of Alexander [TLSB map, p. 1554]
Divided Rule: The Judeans under the Ptolemies (323–181 BC)
Map of the Jewish Diaspora [Charles]
Divided Rule: The Judeans under the Seleucids (312–164 BC)
The Ptolemies and the Seleucids [TLSB p. 1421]
The Judeans under the Maccabees (164–134 BC)
The Judeans under the Hasmoneans (134–63 BC)
The Hasmonean Conquest [TLSB map, p. 1555]
The Judeans under the Romans (63 BC–AD 135)
The Kingdom of Herod [TLSB Map, p. 1576]
The Roman Empire [TLSB Map, p. 1895]
Diagram of Herodian Dynasty [Edersheim, p. 701]
Herod’s Temple [TLSB diagram, p. 1710]
Theological Teachings of the Time Between the Testaments
Chart of references to explicit prayers in the Apocrypha
Chart of references regarding the Messiah
Reading Guide
Reference Guide [Banding]
Transliteration Guidelines
Articles and Charts List
Map List
Place Names of the Apocrypha and Ancient Empires
Apocrypha Topics
Apocrypha Chronology and World History
Persons and Groups in the Apocrypha and Early Judaism
Key Terms and Phrases in the Apocrypha
The Offerings [Article/Chart]
OT and Jewish Feasts [chart]
Names for God in the Apocrypha [Article/Chart]
The Apocrypha in Lutheran Worship

The Apocrypha [Arabic Numeration; TLSB style notes on these books]
The Arrangement of Books [Article]
The Wisdom of Solomon
Ecclesiasticus [aka Sirach]
The Letter of Jeremiah
1 Maccabees
Josephus and 1 and 2 Maccabees Compared [chart]
1 and 2 Maccabees: A Detailed Comparison [chart]
2 Maccabees
Old Greek Esther
Bel and the Dragon
The Prayer of Azariah
The Song of the Three Holy Children
The Prayer of Manasseh

The Apocryphal Books in Other Christian Traditions
Canonicity and Use of the Apocrypha [Article]
The Apocrypha and the Old Testament Scriptures [deSilva Article]
The Apocrypha and the New Testament [deSilva Article]

1 Esdras
2 Esdras
3 Maccabees or Ptolemaika
4 Maccabees
Psalm 151
Assumed Settings for Apocryphal Books [chart]

Appendix 1: The Elephantine Papyri
Appendix 2: The Cairo Geniza Documents
Appendix 3: The Dead Sea Scrolls
Appendix 4: Discoveries of Other Early Jewish Manuscripts
Appendix 5: Philo and His Writings
Appendix 6: Josephus and His Writings
Appendix 7: Pseudepigrapha of the OT
Appendix 8: Rabbinic Literature
Appendix 9: New Testament Apocrypha or Pseudepigrapha
Appendix 10: The Nag Hammadi Codices

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Coming from CPH — The Apocrypha: Lutheran Edition with Notes – A Tantalizing Tidbit of the Feast to Come — 91 Comments

  1. >>I probably could find some devotionally edifying phrases here and there in the Book of Mormon

    It seems to me you are conflating the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.

    >>I would also state that such books are NOT, in any way, to be considered as canon or inspired, even ever so slightly, by the Holy Spirit.

    This is a mischaracterization of my statement above. I did not indicate that the Apocrypha is to be considered “as canon or inspired,” which it most certainly is not.

    Since ancient times the Church has recongized a hierarchy of Canonical and non-Canonical writings. However, the titles used to describe these categories are fluid and can lead to misunderstanding. All my books are packed away because our entire community including our church has been evacuated for three months due to flooding of the Missouri River. But I believe it is Wilhelm Schneemelcher in the introduction to his “New Testament Apocrypha” [I myself would not use “Apocrypha” to refer to these books, but rather “Pseudipigrapha”] who discusses at length the history, usage, and possible import of these terms.

    In order to avoid misunderstanding, defining these terms at the outset will be very important for the projected new work from CPH. I myself prefer the following:

    Homologoumena–Inspired, canonical writings which have first rank for doctrinal, historical, and devotional purposes. There is also somewhat of an informal hierarchy within the Homologoumena, with the Gospels, and in particular the words of Christ, taking precedence.

    Antilegomena–Inspired, canonical writings which have rank for doctrinal, historical, and devotional purposes. Doctrines generally are not derived solely from the Antilegomena, and the Homologoumena is used to interpret the Antilegomena, not vice versa.

    Apocrypha–A specific collection of non-inspired, non-canonical books dating from the Biblical era and used to varying degrees in the Church of both the Old and New Testaments. Have no role in determining doctrine but are nevertheless “useful and good to read” for historical and devotional purposes, as found for example in The Lutheran Hymnal, hymns 36 and 581, and the first canticle on page 120.

    Pseudepigrapha–Purposely intended by their authors to deceive and mislead. Rejected by the Church. No use for doctrinal, historical, or devotional purposes within the life of the Church. May have interest for scholarly purposes.

  2. @Joe #48
    Drop the other, be free, be un-assimilated…

    I’m quite sure that you’ll find my camp further down that side of the spectrum than you might think. However, I’m beginning to understand what these Confessionals are up to and I rather like it. Compared to popular alternatives their vision of worship is (to quote a favorite poem) “all things counter, original, spare, strange…” And no, it’s not my cup of tea either but I have a great deal of respect for vision and for bucking of trends.

  3. “This is a mischaracterization of my statement above. I did not indicate that the Apocrypha is to be considered “as canon or inspired,” which it most certainly is not.”

    I agree. But the last half of my sentence, which you quoted, was not even a characterization of your statement. Instead, in #16, immediately after I quoted your statement about the Apocrypha, I asked a question.

    In the last half of the sentence quoted, Rev. Vogts, the phrase, “such books,” refers to the two Mormon books I mentioned in the first half of that sentence.

    As for the question I asked about whether the Apocrypha is canonical, I appreciate your answer that “it most certainly is not.”

    I agree with your comment regarding the “fluidity” of hierarchy categories. In looking at a number of articles, I’ve seen that the fluidity sometimes can be fast and loose! And your categories are in agreement with the quote from Robert Preus and from explanations by Pieper and [whisper] John Mueller [/whisper].

  4. @Rev. Kevin Vogts #51

    I really appreciate your view of the classification of writings. Personally, I would not want them as part of the lectionary readings. But I can see a base for prayers and hymns. They could be better then the prayer example from the other thread.

    I side a bit more with Holger and Carl on a view of them. Great for background but not authoritative. I am uncomfortable with the amount of cheerleading some here have been posting. I myself would probably value Walther’s Law and Gospel more then a good chunk of what is in the Apochrypha.

    All that said, I will very likely buy the book when it is realeased. (I think it is absolutely great the Essential Library CPH is doing) I love learning and I view it as a resource of high value. Just not quite as high as some.

  5. @Pr. H. R. Curtis #30
    Besides, we also grant that the angels pray for us. For there is a testimony in Zech. 1:12, where an angel prays: O Lord of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on 9] Jerusalem?

    Zech. 1:12 refers to “the angel of the Lord” which I have been taught may refer, in the OT to the Son of God. No?

  6. Pr. H. R. Curtis :
    Why not actually see what the Confessions do with the Apocrypha? That might help you in your quest.
    The Apology clearly places 2 Macc in the category of “the Scriptures:” 8] Besides, we also grant that the angels pray for us. For there is a testimony in Zech. 1:12, where an angel prays: O Lord of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on 9] Jerusalem? Although concerning the saints we concede that, just as, when alive, they pray for the Church universal in general, so in heaven they pray for the Church in general, albeit no testimony concerning the praying of the dead is extant in the Scriptures, except the dream taken from the Second Book of Maccabees, 15:14.
    And then the Apology treats Tobit in the same way it treats the other Scriptures, “So also the address of Tobias 4:11, ought to be received: Alms free from every sin and from death. We will not say that this is hyperbole, although it ought thus to be received, so as not to detract from the praise of Christ, whose prerogative it is to free from sin and death. But we must come back to the rule that without Christ the doctrine of the Law 157] is of no profit.”

    Hence my “apologetics” observation. It’s not “mind reading” or any such thing on my part. It’s simply based on the observation that references to the Apocrypha are absent from the Augsburg Confession, the positive presentation of Lutheran doctrine, but then are presented in that writing of Melanchthon’s in which he defends (“apologetics”) the Lutheran position also by reinterpreting with the clear biblical gospel in mind what the opponents might have said against that position quoting from what at the time was still widely recognized as “Scripture,” namely, the Latin Vulgate.

    But no one needs to believe me on this. On the other hand, I’m still waiting for a better explanation.

    And take just the two texts referenced in the quotes above: what does a Christian gain from learning from 2 Maccabees 15:14 about the prophet Jeremiah praying for his people and Jerusalem? Do we accept this as sure doctrine now, based on one reference in an admittedly apocryphal book? Note that Melanchthon here merely makes a concession to reverent church tradition and custom (since no reference in undisputed canonical scripture can be shown) which I take to be less than a wholehearted confession.

    Also note that Luther said about 2 Macc: “I am so great an enemy to the second book of the Maccabees, and to Esther, that I wish they had not come to us at all, for they have too many heathen unnaturalities.” “Useful and good to read”? — hmm…

    Also, what does a Christian gain from learning from Tobit, which Luther considered a “comedy” about the house government, that alms cover a multitude of sins? Note that this is a statement whose proper interpretation took a skilled exegete like Melanchthon several paragraphs because the old Adam’s inborn legalism naturally latches on to the obviously unscriptural interpretation which was / is prevalent in Catholicism to this day.

    Taking all this into account, I submit this for your kind consideration:

    1. The OT apocrypha were part of the traditional OT canon of the Vulgate which the Lutheran reformers inherited and with which they worked.

    2. As such, they — as “conservative reformers” — treated these writings with some respect.

    3. Hence they are at times also called, by common theological parlance, “Scripture.”

    4. However, because they were not part of the normative Hebrew canon, the Reformers felt freed to criticize these writings, unlike the writings of that canon.

    5. Because their Catholic opponents worked also with the Apocrypha — which the Catholics to this day consider part of the OT canon — to defeat Lutheran arguments, Lutheran theologians defensively had to engage these writings in terms of both classifying them properly in relation to canonical scripture and interpreting them properly in accordance with the analogy of faith established from the canonical scriptures alone. For, as Luther put it, only God’s biblical Word may establish articles of faith — not pious writings, dreams, etc.

    6. The NT analogy that comes to mind are Luther’s harsh words about the straw epistle of James, which later Lutheran theologians did not share in this way (they rather chose to engage also this writing in the manner pattered in Melanchthon’s Apology) without, however, being able to remove James from the list of antilegomena — due to the reasons set forth by Chemnitz in his examination of the council of Trent.

    7. In relation to the writings of the post-NT orthodox church fathers, the OT Apocrypha obviously stand out because at one time a significant portion of the visible Church considered them to be canonical.

    8. However, they are practically treated by Lutheran theologians according to Luther’s rule for interpreting the church fathers: if they can be interpreted to agree reasonably with canonical scripture, one may use them; if they cannot be interpreted and reconciled in such a way, Christians are forced to disregard them. After all, at best, they are the pious writings of good men, no more “inspired” by the Spirit than a good writing of Augustine or Luther.

    9. For to them, as man’s word, applies what Paul writes in 1 Cor. 3:12: some of it in them is precious gold, some of it is mere straw.

    10. Therefore, while canonical scripture, both OT and NT, is God’s Word authored verbally by the Holy Spirit himself, the Apocrypha like any other writings authored by fallible men at best only contain God’s Word.

    11. At any rate, and analogously, Lutheran theologians also had to engage apologetically the church fathers’ writings in their disputes with Rome and the Calvinists because the father too were considered by all parties involved in the disputes as an important authority, even if only to show that one’s own interpretation of the Scriptures (e.g., in the doctrine of the person of Christ and the Lord’s Supper, see the Catalog of Testimonies in the Book of Concord) was one that is not “new.”

    12. The fact that the OT Apocrypha were written prior to the incarnation of Christ makes them, from a gospel-standpoint, of lesser value than the best writing of the post-NT fathers. Their best portions, in Luther’s judgment, seem to be wise exhortations for the benefit of the worldly affairs of government and household.

    13. While we gratefully appreciate the good taught by them — as well as in pagan writers like Cicero whom Luther did appreciate highly — for worldly affairs, we understand that this is not the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.

    14. The best writings among the canonical writings, in Luther’s judgment, are, surprisingly, not simply the gospels even though they are filled with Christ’s words. The best writings are the gospel of John, Galatians, the letters of John, the First Letter of Peter. In them the gospel is set forth most clearly. He was, in other words, not employing a merely formal criterion to arrive at this judgment (thus unlike the editors of some bibles who print all the words of Jesus in red).

    Ok, fire away.

  7. I was sad to learn in this thread that, when my son earlier this year visited the seminary in St. Louis and was allowed to sit in on a class, I gave him the money to buy there a copy of John T. Mueller’s Christian Dogmatics (amongst other works), it was a mistake.

    Next I will probably learn that, after he returned, when the pastor of the church here made arrangement to give him out of the estate of a parishioner a copy of Pieper, that also was a mistake, since Pieper says:

    “Some have argued that since there are antilegomena, we cannot determine exactly the extent of the canon and hence cannot know exactly what is the principium cognoscendi and norma of the Christian doctrin, but such have got their accounts mixed.” vol I, p. 336.

    What’s a layman to do? Can we buy a dogmatics text or treatise from CPH and take it as good Lutheranism, or not? If not, where shall we go?

    Appeals to the likes of Chemnitz only add confusion for the layman, because we can find what are supposed to be quotations from him like the following in Heinrich Schmid, Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, p. 88:

    “The reason why those books have been denied canonical authority is obvious. For some of them were written after the time of the prophets, when the people of Israel no longer had prophets, such as the ancient onces were; and they were written by those who had not the divine testimonies as the prophets had, concerning the truth and authority of their doctrine. Some of these books, indeed, bear the names of prophets, but do not possess certain proofs of having been written by those to whom they are attributed. This is the manifest reason why they have been removed from the canon of Scripture.”

    Chemnitz might be wrong in that statement. Whether he is right or wrong is not my point. My point is that he may be quoted both for and against the canonicity of these books, which zeroes out his influence on a layman like as to this question. I note, however, that when he speaks for canonicity, it is by a strained argument, whereas when he speaks against it, he says the reasons are “obvious.”

  8. T. R.,

    Keep and refer to your copy of Mueller’s Christian Dogmatics, and copies of Pieper’s volumes, if you have them. (The same goes for Mueller’s translation of Walther’s Kirche und Amt.)

    Spurious allegations against these Lutheran theologians, with not one iota of evidence, but with unsubstantiated innuendoes and ad hominems should be dismissed. Such attempts to defame these authors and denigrate their books is shameful and unChristian when coming from a member of the Synod, especially an employee of a publishing house that still sells the synodically-approved books by these authors.

    One should also be cautious about snarky remarks made about Lutheran theologians and their associated books long in print at about the time of announcements for new upcoming publications that would compete with such books or provide newly translated editions. This is not to say that such new publications aren’t good, but that they, even with desirable extra features, don’t automatically make old publications bad.

  9. @T. R. Halvorson #59

    I am interested in knowing who Rev. McCain thinks represents the “high point of Lutheranism in our Synod”? This is the first I have heard that J.T. Mueller is suspect and is Pieper too? So who stands for the “high point” in our synod?

  10. @Rev. Paul T. McCain #62

    Thank you Rev. McCain. Is there any reading (maybe even on the web) concerning Mueller you can recommend so I can better understand what you mean with the “mischief” he allegedly is the cause of in our synod and what is objectionable about his theology?

  11. Mr. Halvorson,

    You wrote: “What’s a layman to do? Can we buy a dogmatics text or treatise from CPH and take it as good Lutheranism, or not? If not, where shall we go?”

    Put not your trust in princes. Pieper is an advocate of Receptionism, a geocentric universe, and is weak on the Office of the Ministry. Mueller follows him in pretty much everything. As our Confessions say, the writings of men are to be received with thanksgiving where they accord with the Word of God but never elevated to the same level.

    The single best dogmatics – brief and easily accessible – is Chemnitz’s Enchiridion. This was actually used by Chemnitz to quiz the pastors of his jurisdiction twice a year. It is thoroughly Lutheran by one of the authors of the Confessions and avoids speculations.

    As for CPH – they publish Pieper and Mueller because those are our history and have much good in them. But Pieper and Mueller were men of their times – no living theologian finds them without fault on one point or another.

    But the Enchiridion – also available from CPH – and you will be well pleased.


  12. Franz Pieper is accused of “Receptionism” because he quotes C.F.W. Walther, who stated: “The sacrament has not yet been effected by the mere reading of the words of institution, if in addition the consecrated elements are not also distributed to communicants and received by them.” (from C.F.W. Walther, Pastoraltheologie, St. Louis, 1875) Of course, Walther’s view was based on the position of Chemnitz and Jakob Andrea in the SD VII.83 (“the recitation of the words of institution of Christ alone does not make a sacrament if the entire action of the Supper, as it was instituted by Christ, is not observed”) Furthermore the indicated position of Pieper, Walther, and the Confessions says nothing as to when the real presence occurs, only the circumstances under which it does not occur.

    Franz Pieper’s alleged weakness on the Office of the Ministry is because his writings on the subject also align with those of Walther. Maybe one is thinking of WELS’ August Pieper.

    As for geocentrism, up through WWI, it was a common (but erroneous) astronomical belief in the Missouri Synod. Whether Pieper still held to geocentrism before his death in 1931 is not known.

    #65: “no living theologian finds them [Pieper and Mueller] without fault on one point or another.”

    Obviously, the same could be said of all authored theological books, except those in the canon.

  13. @T. R. Halvorson #71
    Here we begin to verge into running theology backwards – “canonicity” is a theologian’s term of art. Canon just means list. List of what? A list of books that a given church accepts as God’s Word. The canon of books in Alexandria in 250 was different than it was in Corinth in 170. The gathering together of the 27 books we know as the NT did not find it’s completion until the 4th century. In the Syriac Church they have never accepted Revelation so they only have 26. The early codices of the Scriptures from the third and fourth centuries have greatly varying contents: The Epistle of Barnabas was often included in Alexandrian codices of the NT, others had the Shepherd of Hermas, and all of them included the the books we know of as the Apocrypha in their OT. That was the list of books that those churches at those times accepted as the Word of God.

    So there were gaps – some churches didn’t have some inspired writings. And there were mistakes – some church accepted writings that today no church regards as God’s Word (Barnabas, for example.).

    Again: the list any given church uses is not, cannot, be a matter of doctrine. A list is a not a doctrine. The list is not in the Scriptures. The Lutherans do not produce a list in their confessions for this very reason.

    Although I have criticized Pieper sharply in this and other forums on many topics, it is Pieper who gives perhaps the best succinct summary of the the issue of canon and I recommend his treatment.

    But back to your question: a given church puts books that they receive as God’s Word on their list. So if a church puts it on their list, their canon, that means they hold it to be the Word of God, which means their hold it to be inerrant in its teaching.

    All of this swiftly goes right over our heads and our neat categories, though. The sermon I heard on Sunday (traveling for vacation) was inerrant. There were no errors in it. It was Truth – completely true historically, theologically, etc. “You are a sinner. But God is gracious and sent Jesus to die for you. Trust in him and you will be saved.” That’s an inerrant statement, too. But neither that statement nor that sermon are part of the canon. They are not inspired in the same sense in which we mean St. John’s Gospel to be inspired. And yet, if some weird Christian sect canonized that statement or the sermon I heard on Sunday and said that these were the inspired Word of God, they would be weird, but not heretical.


  14. Claiming canonicity for a book of the Apocrypha would, by definition, declare the book to be authoritative, divinely inspired, and historically, theologically, etc., inerrant.

  15. @Carl Vehse #72
    @Pr. H. R. Curtis #73
    @Carl Vehse #74

    Thank you for your replies.

    I see the distinction between canon as list and inerrancy. And I see the inerrancy of statements such as in sermons.

    My purpose in asking about inerrancy is to next relate the canonicity issue to sola scripture. Suppose a Lutheran synod were to adopt the Gospel of Thomas as a canonical scripture, and attribute inerrancy to it, then sola scriptura would embrace the Gospel of Thomas, is that right?

    And then another aspect of that scenario. Would other Lutheran synods who did not canonize the Gospel of Thomas be able to say that the confessions in the Book of Concord so to speak freeze out the Gospel of Thomas as being able to have sola scriptura applied to it. (I might have chosen a bad example if it turns out something specific is said against the Gospel of Thomas in the confessions that I am presently forgetting. In that case, suppose 1 Macc or some other candidate for the scenario.)

    I will admit that a great part of my problem with all this is biographical, rather than really theological thinking. I have often referred to my beloved ALC, but I had to leave it in the 70s when admission came into the open that its theologians and pastors had or were abandoning inerrancy. Many had abandoned it before, but in stealthy ways. The openness marked the end for me. It meant that in the foreseeable future, the entire doctrinal structure would crumble, beginning with justification, then the Trinity, and so on. And indeed, you see the joint declaration on justification, the Sophia worship in ELCA (which absorbed the ALC) churches, etc. to say nothing of some of the other perhaps more notorious issues.

    Inerrancy is one of the watersheds. Move 100 yards to one side, and the melting snow flows to the Pacific. Move 100 yards to the other side, and it flows to the Gulf of Mexico. In 200 yards, oceans of difference is made. That is why I am touchy, if you will, about things impacting on inerrancy and sola scriptura.

  16. @T. R. Halvorson #75
    The Gospel of Thomas contains false doctrine, so it’s not inerrant. Things get a bit circular at this point – see Luther’s outright rejection of James and Hebrews as apostolic (and hence not canonical) because they teach, so Luther thought, false doctrine. Read his prefaces to these books and see Luther’s table of contents to the NT: Only 23 books, number 1-23, then a bold line, and then four books listed without numbering: James, Hebrews, Jude, Revelation. To this day, many German Bibles list the books in this order following Luther.

    So Luther himself had a rather truncated canon.

    It comes down to this: a church recognizes some writings as being the Word of God, and thus includes them on their list. The Word of God is, by definition, inerrant. What you are concerned about is the very odd, very modern notion that the liberal Protestants came up with that something might be the Word of God but also all mixed up with errors that we have to weed out because now we know better. That’s a separate issue – and plain nuts.


  17. @Pr. H. R. Curtis #76

    Thanks for going through this with me fully. It was a piece of sterling intellectual integrity for you to say the part about circularity, and although that circularity causes difficulties in my mind, your acknowledgment of it attracts further respect for your position.

    The history is messy. That’s undeniable.

  18. I suppose my screen name on here is no longer appropriate since I am on vicarage, but I guess I still count as a seminarian!

    As what you might call a “semi-professional theologian,” I am really excited to hear that this is coming out. I have read through several of the OT apocryphal books, but would like to see them with a Lutheran commentary added. On some, it is fairly obvious why the Catholics would like them and we would not (the end of Tobit does seem to place a little too much emphasis on almsgiving); on others, it is fairly obvious that they were influenced by Greek philosophy. Nevertheless, there are still useful and edifying parts to all of them.

    Perhaps if this book is successful, they will do something similar with the New Testament Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, etc. Considering how many attacks on the Bible center around those books, I think it would be very useful for us to know them better.

    For example, Dan Brown uses the Gospel of Philip’s line “Jesus would often kiss her [Mary Magdelene] on the lips” out of context to suggest that they were lovers. In reality, the kiss on the lips was a method of transmitting knowledge in the Gnostic tradition, and when the disciples objected to Jesus’ favor towards her on the grounds that she was a woman, he responded “I will make her a man.” In contrast, the Gospel of Peter is (as far as I remember) perfectly acceptable theologically and jives perfectly with the Synoptic Gospels’ accounts of the trial and crucifixion. However, it is incomplete and only contains the crucifixion and trial, hence one of the reasons it is not canonical.

  19. @Concerned Seminarian #78

    Keep a screen name, CS!
    I have heard that some profs & congregations read these things and take a dim view of posting by students. Shouldn’t be a problem, but it is, apparently.

    [And whatever you do, let that be the last word about vicarage (or your future congregation). Men have taken long sabbaticals for being foolish enough to think that nobody in their congregations used computers (or knew anyone who did!)] 🙁

  20. And how long will we have to wait before someone, who alleges to be “a Lutheran in good standing”, asserts on a Lutheran blog that the “so-called apocryphal books are in fact canonical Scripture”? Well, not very long.

  21. @Jim Pierce #60

    The baffled Mr. Pierce wonders “So who stands for the “high point” in our synod?” Forget the synod, for this one time. The question really is, so who stands for the “high point” in our Lutheran Church?

    The high point for the Lutheran Church was when the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles, and the blessed Virgin Mary, and the 120 (12 x 10) or so souls gathered together on the day of Pentecost (Acts 5:1) … giving birth to the Church.

    The Confessors spoke of themselves as being in the very mainstream of the faith delivered to us from the ancient Church. Luther reformed the Church, but he did not cast himself out of it. Nor did he claim to find a new one. If we are the true visible Church on earth, we ought to be talking and thinking about ourselves in those terms. What ever our numbers are to be, we are appointed to be the conscience and salt of the Church, as well as the world. If J.T. Mueller is any way responsible for the provincial tack Mr. Pierce assumes, with that synod talk, then the professor was and is indeed a mischievous force.

    The martyr Polycarp, a courageous old man who some maintain was a link between the Apostles and the Apostolic fathers, cites from Tobit at least twice in his letter to the embattled Christians at Corinth (always the rascals). This does not mean that Tobit was directly breathed from God the Holy Spirit; it is a suggestion, however, that the early, bloodied Church saw something profitable, in what was found there.

    Mr. Vehse, “a Lutheran in good-standing” is a sinner who believes in Christ for his salvation. I would ask you to get off Mr. Jones’ back, as I did on LQ. He’s come a long way, from Orthodoxy, and he has admitted publicly that the trip is not quite complete. That’s an honest statement. But he deserves better from us. I’m not asking you to kill the fatted calf, or put a ring on his finger. No. I’m asking you simply to tilt the head (and the nose) down a bit, and then have that photographer try again. Only this time watch the lens, and not the birdie.

    MLA // +VDMA+

  22. Dr. Anderson, “a Lutheran in good standing,” is a sinner who believes in Christ for his salvation. I would ask in what way do you surmise that I am on, euphemistically speaking, “Mr. Jones’ back.” The site I linked to belongs to a Missouri Synod pastor who stated up front that the Apocrypha is “not Scripture.” An anonymous poster claimed that position is so “perfectly clear at the start” that it is being “incessant” to bring it up again, even though another poster did.

    My repeated response, whether to “a Lutheran in good standing” or not, is that the burden of proof rests with the person who asserts “the so-called apocryphal books are in fact canonical Scripture” since the Church, and particularly the Evangelical Lutheran Church, has not recognized the Apocrypha as Holy Scripture (Ep. 1-8). Furthermore, there is definitely more than one self-claimed “Lutheran in good standing” who holds the Apocrypha as being Holy Scripture, the inerrant Word of God.

    President Harrison has publicly recognized serious doctrinal divisions that exist within the Missouri Synod, and is working through the Koinonia Project to resolve those divisions. Thus it is not getting on anyone’s back to point out concerns on this website and elsewhere associated with a Missouri Synod publishing house, and its publisher, who have decided to publish a version of the Apocrypha set up just like the Lutheran Study Bible in look and form. That misguided approach is only going to confuse weak Lutherans, confirm the heterodox views of others, and add another burden to the Koinonia Project. OTOH, with enough hype, the publication may make some bucks for the Synod.

  23. @Carl Vehse #82
    Thanks Carl… a Lutheran in good standing you have said “here I stand”. I am with you! I am flabbergasted that so many are drooling over the apocrypha. Peleeeeze! What we are seeing here is an interesting study in sycophantism. Just peak your finger tips and nod in agreement if you wish to be part of the group hysteria.

  24. LOL. Carl!

    Can’t wait for the Veda and the Gita. I am sure that many will line up and say “ooooo!”.

  25. Haha Carl I mean really.
    Any chance that CPH will publish any of the seminal writings of Anton LaVey with “Lutheran Notes”?

  26. Unfortunately, specialty publications for a narrow-focused group do not generate a lot of revenue.

    There is a growing interest in broad-based sales not only to Lutherans in general but the larger Christian community throughout the world, such as with this version of a well-known book.

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