James (1924). JAMES - The Apocryphal New Testament.

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XxXiv PREFACE

VIII). With these eight books should be reckoned the Canons of the Apostles, in the form of a code of rules.

All these books are occupied with prescribing rules for Church government, and for the order of divine service; and books of the same kind, purporting to emanate from the apostles and (very usually) to be recorded by Clement, were current all over Eastern Christendom: we have them in Syriac, Arabic, Coptic, Ethiopic. One, called the Apostolic Church Order, is couched in a series of speeches each pro- nounced by an apostle. This we have in Greek. Another notable member of the group is the Testament of the Lord (Syriac) which is a fairly recent discovery. It differs from the rest in beginning with an apocalyptic portion—a prophecy uttered by Christ—part of which is embodied in another Testament of the Lord which is prefixed, in the Ethiopic version, to the Epistle of the Apostles.

The attribution of many of these books to the Lord or the apostles is a very transparent fiction: one hardly knows how seriously the writers themselves expected or wished it to be taken. The same is true of the numerous Liturgies (i.e. Communion offices) which are current under the names of apostles.

A third group is known as the Clementine literature. We have, in Greek, Latin, and Syriac, a work in two forms. The setting is derived from secular romance; it is the ancient theme of the members of a family parted from one another by a series of accidents for many years, and in the end reunited: in this case it is Clement’s family. His parents, his brothers, and himself are brought together by the agency of St. Peter. This setting is filled in, and indeed completely overlaid, by the matter which conveys the real purpose of the book, namely, the discourses of Peter; partly his debates with Simon Magus, and partly his unopposed expositions of doctrine.

The body of doctrine thus set forth is not orthodox. It is, in fact, eccentric. At one time it was contended that these books were precious monuments of a condition of the Church in primitive times, when the Twelve were in op- position to Paul; it being doubtless the case that Simon Magus in these books. is to some extent Paul under a mask. But it is now recognized that the books are not only rather late in date (not earlier than the end of the third or beginning