Wednesday, January 16, 2008

apocryphal = false?

Candy wrote:
Other Cambridge Bibles have the apocrypha in it - apocrypha means "false."

When commentor Cris asked her about that, Candy stated:
From the note under the American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition at, under the definition for 'Apocrypha.'

"false; spurious: He told an apocryphal story about the sword, but the truth was later revealed."

From definition 3 of - Unabridged v 1.1, under the definition of 'apocryphal.'

How ingenious to directly quote "definition 3" from

If you actually visit the site, you will find the second definition states:

a.(initial capital letter) of or pertaining to the Apocrypha.

Or the American Heritage, which she mentioned first, states:
  1. Apocryphal Bible Of or having to do with the Apocrypha.

As we are using the ecclesiastical and I daresay, biblical definition of Apocrypha, I think it safe to say that we should use those definitions.

But what is the root of apocryphal in the Biblical sense? Cris was correct. The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

Etymologically, the derivation of Apocrypha is very simple, being from the Greek apokryphos, hidden, and corresponding to the neuter plural of the adjective. The use of the singular, "Apocryphon", is both legitimate and convenient, when referring to a single work.
The original King James Bible included the Apocrypha, as you can read here.

The Jews celebrate Hannukah because it is written in the book of Maccabees, which is found in the Apocrypha. If it is considered a feast, then I would guess that Jews do not consider it a false story.

For more information on the books known as the Apocrypha, see this post on The Catholic Bible.


Elena said...

LOL! Welcome back Kelly!

Kelly said...

My reference books are all still in boxes, but I've haven't packed up my ability to google ;)

Tracy said...

Yeah!! Great job Kelly!

Faithful Catholic said...

Hmmm. Well, here's a question that's been bothering me. If one accepts the Bible as the inspired Word of God, one must necessarily accept that it was the Catholic Church who decided on which books to include in the canon, correct?

Then, how can it be that the books of the Bible known to Catholics as the deuterocanonical books, and the apocrypha to Protestants, can be in the King James, then out, then back in again? I really don't understand it. Either we trust that they're inspired or we don't. And, if we don't trust all of them are inspired, how can we trust any of them are inspired? Do we think we know better than those who approved the canon? What then of the books that were not included? Are we sure they didn't make any mistakes with the ones they left out?

Sophia's Virtue said...

I have run into definition picking before, too. When we first announced our conversion a leading Fundamentalist lady in a local church approached me to "talk". Unfortunately it was unfruitful on both ends but what bothered me most was her insistence that Catholics worship Mary. She then proceeded to look up the definition of worship, and among all of them she chose the definition that suited her case. When I pointed out which definition Catholic's use, which one actually explained what we did, she simply said that particular definition "didn't count" and continued her argument using definition #3. *rollseyes*

I had never seen that before and certainly wasn't prepared to argue it. I think my mouth just fell open in astonishment and I ended the talk a little time later.

Kelly said...

It looks as if Candy has again declined to post my comments. Sometimes I wonder exactly what she's so afraid of . . .

Perplexity said...

Candy, and others, claim that Catholic's worship Mary - regardless of what they've been told. She is "big", for lack of a better word, on worshiping only God. BUT, she appears to seriously worship her KJV bible more than God, or anyone or anything else. For whatever reason, she believes that the 1611 KJV Bible is the one and only word of God, error free and the only truly inspired word of God. Ignoring entirely how many bibles existed before then, and since. What, did every Christian before 1611 live without the word of God?

And, although I'm not a historian, I fully believe that a huge reason your average person didn't have bibles was for another reason; not only due to lack of printing, finances, or literacy. SCHOLARS studied the bible. SCHOLARS interpreted the bible. People who did their research, and were trained and educated to do just that. When you have everyone reading the bible, you have everyone interpreting it as they see fit, without regard to fact, history, knowledge or understanding.

The current books of the bible were chosen to be there for a reason. The ones that were left out were left out for a reason. What is her reasoning for that? Does she even acknowledge that? Interpretation gets fuzzy with translation. The meaning of words change over time, and don't mean the same thing in one language as in another, and even in one language a word can mean several different things, as this post clearly indicates. Ancient Hebrew and Greek were considered "dead" languages by 1611. So, those translating the KJV bible didn't speak either language fluently as those who translated years before. They most certainly understood it to a degree, but by not speaking it one loses all the nuances and usage involved in written language.

Look at the differences in English. In England, a boot is what we call a trunk (in a car), and for us a boot is footwear. In England they snog, they don't kiss; they use the loo, not the restroom or even bathroom. Just 200 years ago in the United States, the word fabulous meant "of or relating to a fable" - now it means something resembling awesome or wonderful. The word satellite meant an unidentified moon or planet in the solar system; now it's all about technology. And, that's after a mere 200 years.

Ok, enough. It just boggles my mind that people pick and choose. They pick and choose what is literal and what is not. They pick and choose what is to be followed today and what is not. They pick and choose what works for them, and someone else picks and chooses what works for them. Thus, I believe, the original reason scholars and priests interpreted the bible for their congregations.

Like faithful catholic said - you believe it is the word of God, and all of it is the word of God, or you don't. Either the bible is inspired, in its entirely, or it isn't - in its entirety.

And Kelly, I think everyone knows what Candy is afraid of. It's just that most people like to believe the best of a person instead of the alternative. Given time, most people come to conclusions; but not everyone.

Blondie said...

Me too, Kelly. But don't be surprised if she decides to twist your comment and post it on her blog sometime so she can preach to us poor, lost Catholics.

Blondie said...

Very informative post btw, thanks!

Blondie said...

When you take away the authority of the church and make yourself the authority, that leaves a few problems. How do you know that even the canon without the Apocrypha is inspired? What about the books that didn't "make the cut"? Has Candy actually read through and studied the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and all the others? There were many letters written that were disputed to be inspired and read by the early Christians. Maybe those books are inspired too, and the Catholic bishops were wrong in 393 AD when they rejected those books as part of the canon. And how does one know that the books left in the Bible are truly inspired - I remember my dad at one point felt that the book of Hebrews shouldn't be part of the NT. Well, what's to stop him? He doesn't believe in the authority of the church, so if he wants, I suppose he could just rip Hebrews out of his Bible and be happy with it. Isn't that what Martin Luther did?

Kelly said...

BUT, she appears to seriously worship her KJV bible more than God, or anyone or anything else. For whatever reason, she believes that the 1611 KJV Bible is the one and only word of God, error free and the only truly inspired word of God.

Yes, except that the 1611 KJV contained the Apocrypha. And the KJV translators acknowledged a debt to the Church Fathers in the Foreward, which she published on her website at one point.

Even the KJV itself falls short of her standards, so she needs to edit it in her mind.

Blondie said...

The REAL problem here, whether accepting or rejecting the Apocrypha, as with almost ALL our differences with Protestants, goes back to authority. When you reject the authority of the Church, you become your own authority, interpreting Scripture as you see fit, making your own rules and creating your own doctrines.

"This one will not hear of Baptism, and that one denies the sacrament, another puts a world between this and the last day: some teach that Christ is not God, some say this, some say that: there are as many sects and creeds as there are heads. No yokel is so rude but when he has dreams and fancies, he thinks himself inspired by the Holy Ghost and must be a prophet." - Martin Luther
De Wette III, 61.

Even the "Father of the Reformation" realized the problem.

Faithful Catholic said...


You hit the nail on the head with the concept of "authority" and also "obedience."

Hasn't the dissension among the ranks over the "correct" interpretation more than proved the point, that is quite clear to me as a Catholic, that the Lord fully intended the "authority" of His Church via the papacy, bishops, priests and deacons?

Clearly there is ONE TRUTH. Clearly without recognizing that ONE authority, the ONE TRUTH has become many, dependent wholly on the individual's interpretation.

I could not, in good conscience, believe or accept the Bible as inspired without also recognizing the authority of the Church. Thank God for the Church, for Sacred Scripture AND Sacred Tradition. Where would we be without them? It's easy to see where when one looks around at the multitude who believe in their own understanding, their own traditions of men. Division and strife. No thank you.