Saturday, April 02, 2005

Apocrypha, Apocrypha

I'm still reading Macaulay's History; I do expect to finish it this year. I ran into a passage this morning that seemed appropriate in view of the recent discussion of canon on this site.

In 1696 a peer was being tried for treason, and some were arguing that two witnesses were required for conviction. They quoted Deut. 19:15 ("at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall a matter be established"), the procedure of Caiaphas during the trial of Jesus and that of Jezebel in taking the vineyard of Naboth (I Kings 21:13). And then:
"If the testimony of one grave elder had been sufficient," it was asked, "what would have become of the virtuous Susannah?" This last allusion called forth a cry of "Apocrypha, Apocrypha," from the ranks of the Low Churchmen.
The allusion is to the story of Susannah and the elders in Daniel 13, a chapter appearing only in the Greek additions to Daniel, and not contained in the Hebrew canon.

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