Heidegger's Bible Handbook: NT Apocrypha: Apocryphal Acts

16. The Acts of Peter, of Paul, of Andrew, of John, and of Thomas. To which are also referred the περίοδοι or circuits of the Apostles, as of Peter, of John, and of Thomas; and also the book of the Passion of Saint Andrew, the acts of Paul and Thecla, Prochorus’ Life of the Apostle John, Linus’ history of the passion of Peter and Paul, and Abdias the Babylonian’ concerning the matters conducted by the Apostles.


Paul and Thecla

Ancient forgers also placed various πράξεις or Acts under the Apostles and Apostolical Men. Of this sort are the πράξεις or Acts of Peter, of which Eusebius made mention, Historia Ecclesiastica, book III, chapter 3; of Paul, which Eusebius, in the passage cited, denies himself ἐν ἀναμφιλέκτοις παρειληφέναι, to have received among the undisputed books, and, in chapter 25, numbers among the counterfeit; and also of Andrew, of John, and of Thomas, of which Epiphanius makes mention, de Encratitis,[1]hæresi 47, and also hæresi 61, and which were favorites of the Encratites and Quartadecimans,[2] as Epiphanius, and also Saint Theodoret, Hæreticarum fabularum, book III, chapter 4, testify. To the same Acts could also be referred the περίοδοι Ἀποστόλων, Circuits of the Apostles, as of Peter, which is said by Origen in Philocalia, chapter 23, and by Epiphanius, hæresi 30, to have been written by Clement of Rome; and also of John and of Thomas, which Athanasius in his Synopsi, and Nicephorus in his Chronologia, number among the Apocrypha of the New Testament. To the same one might refer the book of the Passion of Saint Andrew, published under the name of the Presbyters of Achaia,[3] touched upon in the censure of Gelasius, although Bellarmine, de Sacramento Eucharistiæ, book II, section I, does not set the usual estimate upon it, because it appears to him to assert the oral manduction of Christ: the Acts of Paul and Thecla, which the same Gelasius reckons among the Apocryphal writings, especially on account of the baptized Lion, although together with him Baronius contends that the substitute short narrative, which he calls the history of the passion of Thecla, on 47 AD, notes 2, 3, is genuine, whom therefore the Most Illustrious Rivet,[4]Critici Sacri, book I, chapter 5, took to task: Prochorus’[5] life of the Apostle John, which was written, not by Prochorus, but by some Pseudo-Prochorus, as argue the barbarous Latin style, since the author pretends to be a Hebrew, the various names unused in the time of Prochorus, and the many other things noted by the Most Illustrious Hoornbeeck, Veteris et Novis, page 48: Linus’ History of the passion of Peter and Paul, narrating many things openly false concerning Peter, gathered by Bellarmine himself, de Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis, on the year 70 AD, and by D’Espence after him, libro de continentia: and finally, Abdias, who feigned himself a Babylonian, published by Lazius,[6]de rebus gestis Apostolorum, crammed with many falsehoods, as Rivet, Critici Sacri, book I, chapter 6, following others, shows.

[1] The Encratites (“the self-controlled”) were second century ascetic Gnostics; they taught that one should abstain both from meats and marriage. [2] The Quartadecimans observed Easter on the Eve of the Jewish Passover, irrespective of the day of the week. [3] A Roman Province embracing all of Greece, with the exception of Thessaly. [4] Andrew Rivet (1573-1651) was a Huguenot minister and divine. He ministered at Sedan and at Thouara; he went on to teach at the University of Leiden (1619-1632) and at the college at Breda. His influence among Protestants extended well beyond France and the Netherlands. [5] Prochorus was one of the seven original Deacons (Acts 6:5). Later tradition claims that he was a companion of John, and the author of his apocryphal Acts. [6] Wolfgang Lazius (1514-1565) was an Austrian humanist. He was a part of the medical faculty of the University of Vienna, and later served as the historian of Emperor Ferdinand I, traveling widely in the collection of documents.

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