Heidegger's Bible Handbook: NT Apocrypha: Apocryphal Epistles

17. Epistles, of Saint Paul to the Laodiceans and Seneca, of Barnabas, of Clement to the Corinthians, of Lentulus concerning Christ.

Sixtus Senensis

Not only the Gospels and Acts, but also the Epistles of the Apostles were augmented with Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphal books. For, thus to Saint Paul are ascribed Epistles, both to the Laodiceans, which, exhibited by Sixtus Senensis in Bibliotheca Sacra, book II, under the word Paulus, some deceivers forged, incorrectly interpreting the words of the Apostle in Colossians 4:16, where he commends, with Saint Theodoret also observing on that passage, the Epistle written, not πρὸς Λαοδικεῖς, to the Laodiceans, but ἐκ Λαοδικείας, from Laodicea, which we proved above to be the same as the first to Timothy: and six to Seneca, which the same Sixtus exhibits, and approves, with the testimonies of Linus, Jerome, and Augustine brought in, and upon which Jacobus Faber Viennensis[1] wrote brief Commentaries. Concerning which also Salmeron, Disputation 3 in Epistolas Pauli, does not fear to pronounce that the matter of them is not at any rate very different from those of John the Evangelist to the Elect Lady,[2] and to Gaius,[3] or of the Apostle Paul to Philemon. But, that those are spurious, Erasmus, in his Scholiis in Hieronymi de Ecclesiasticis Scriptoribus in Seneca, with good reason judged in these words: These Epistles are falsely inscribed to Paul and to Seneca. There is nothing in them worth either of Paul, or of Seneca. Which judgment also Baronius, on 66 AD, note 11, and Possevinus, Apparatu in verbo Seneca, confirm, with the testimonies brought by Sixtus also weakened. Certainly Seneca never made use of so barbarous a style, neither did Paul call Seneca Most Devout Master: neither would it have been fitting for the same, when writing to Seneca, to have altogether omitted mention of Christ and the Gospel. Also, of the Epistle of Barnabas, Origen, book I contra Celsum, and περὶ ἀρχῶν, book VI, chapter 2, and also Clement of Alexandria, made mention a number of times. But with good reason Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, book III, chapter 25, and also Jerome, in his Catalogo Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum, add it to the counterfeit works. But also an Epistle to the Corinthians is attributed to Clement, which Jerome in his Catalogo calls very useful, and is said to have been read publicly in some places. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, book III, chapter 15, calls it ὁμολογουμένην μεγάλήν τε καὶ θαυμασίαν, received by all as great and admirable: and Patricius Junius[4] published it from mutilated remains of a most ancient exemplar of Royal Oxford, together with a fragment of the second Epistle to the same Corinthians, with notes added, in which he also demonstrates it to be genuine. Nevertheless, it was not received by the Church among the Canonical Books. To the same Clement are attributed five other Epistles, two to James, the remaining three to disciples; that they, together with the other Decretals under the name of Anacletus, Evaristus,[5] Alexander,[6] Sixtus,[7] Telesphorus,[8] Hyginus,[9] Pius,[10] Anicetus,[11] Soter,[12] Eleutherius,[13] and Victor,[14] are spurious, the Most Learned Men, Whitaker,[15] Rivet, and the adversary of the shameless Jesuit Turrianus, David Blondel, in Pseudo-Isidoro et Turriano vapulantibus, have powerfully asserted. And, finally, an Epistle of Lentulus concerning Christ was formerly circulated, which today is found in Eutropius, and in the monuments of the Fathers, and from which some tellers of tales, Molanus,[16] Mendoza, and others specify the external form of Christ, which Valla[17] identifies as wicked forged. In it Christ is described as a Nazarite by vow,[18] of which sort He never was.

[1] Jacobus Faber Stapulensis was one of the forerunners of the French Reformation (although a Roman Catholic), a man of piety and learning. He subjoined the Senecan letters to his commentary on Philemon. [2] 2 John 1. [3] 3 John 1. [4] Patrick Young (1584-1652) was a Scottish Biblical and Patristic scholar, serving as Royal Librarian to King James and Charles I. [5] Evaristus served as Bishop of Rome from 99 to 105. [6] Alexander I served as Bishop of Rome from 105 to 115. [7] Sixtus I served as Bishop of Rome from 115 to 125. [8] Telesphorus served as Bishop of Rome from 125 to 136. [9] Hyginus served as Bishop of Rome from 136 to 140. [10] Pius I served as Bishop of Rome from 140 to 155. [11] Anicetus served as Bishop of Rome from 155 to 166. [12] Soter served as Bishop of Rome from 166 to 174. [13] Eleutherius served as Bishop of Rome from 174 to 189. [14] Victor I served as Bishop of Rome from 189 to 199. [15] William Whitaker (1548-1595) was a Reformed theologian of the Church of England (albeit with strong leanings toward Puritanism). He served as Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge (1580-1595). His Disputatio de Sacra Scripture is one of the great defenses of the Protestant and Reformed view of the authority of Scripture, directed primarily against Robert Bellarmine and Thomas Stapleton. [16] Joannes Molanus (1533-1585) was a Counter-Reformation theologian, serving as Professor of Theology at the University of Louvain. He wrote De Picturis et Imaginibus Sacris, pro vero earum usu contra abusus, expounding upon the Council of Trent’s decrees on sacred images. [17] Laurentius Valla (1406-1457) was one of the great Latin scholars of his age. He was Professor of Eloquence at Parvia, then at Milan. Later he served as Canon of St. John the Lateran. [18] See Numbers 6; Matthew 2:23.

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