Understanding The Bible Part Two The Apocrypha


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Part Two of Understanding the Bible - using the historical critical method - examines the Jewish and Christian writings which did not make the canon of the Bible.

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Understanding The Bible Part Two The Apocrypha

  1. 1. Understanding the Bible<br />A Six Week Bible Study Program Using the Historical-Critical Method<br />Edward J. Hahnenberg, BA, MA, MA, Ed.S<br />
  2. 2. Session 2: The Apocrypha<br />Apocrypha comes from the Greek word ἀπόκρυφα, which means those having been hidden away. The general term is usually applied to the books that were considered by the Church as useful, but not divinely inspired. <br />Remember that the term “apocrypha” means something different to Catholics and Protestants.<br />See next slide for the difference in meaning.<br />
  3. 3. Old Testament Terms<br />Catholic terms<br />Protocanonical<br />Deuterocanonical<br />Apocryphal<br />Protestant terms<br />Canonical<br />Aprocryphal<br />Pseudopigraphal<br />
  4. 4. Apocryphal Jewish writings<br />The term “apocrypha” will be used in the Catholic sense.<br />Protestants refer to these books as “pseudopigraphal,” or “false writings.”<br />The word &quot;pseudepigrapha&quot; (from the Greek: ψευδής, &quot;false&quot; and ἐπιγραφή, &quot;inscription.&quot;<br />There were numerous works of Jewish religious literature written from about 200 BC to 200 AD.<br />These works did not make it into the Jewish canon or Christian OT canon.<br />
  5. 5. Examples of Jewish Apocrypha<br />3 Maccabees<br />4 Maccabees<br />Assumption of Moses<br />Ethiopic Book of Enoch (1 Enoch) <br />Slavonic Book of Enoch (2 Enoch) <br />Book of Jubilees<br />Greek Apocalypse of Baruch (3 Baruch) <br />Letter of Aristeas<br />Life of Adam and Eve<br />Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah<br />Psalms of Solomon<br />Sibylline Oracles<br />Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (2 Baruch) <br />Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs<br />
  6. 6. The Life of Adam and Eve<br />It was probably written in Hebrew between 100 b.c. and a.d. 100. Based on the Old Testament story, it supplements the original. Sample of beginning:<br />1.1 It came to pass, when Adam went forth from the Garden with his wife, outside, to the east of the Garden, they made themselves a hut to live in and went inside. Their tears fell ceaselessly and they spent their days in unison of mind, weeping and saddened, and they said to one another, &quot;We are far from life.&quot; 2.1 Then, after seven days, they grew hungry and looked for food. 2.2 Eve said to Adam. &quot;My lord, I am hungry. Arise, seek food so that we may live and know that God is going to come and bring us to the Garden, to our place.&quot; 3.1 They arose and went about upon the earth, and they did not find food like the food by which they had been nourished in the Garden . <br />
  7. 7. Adam and Eve - Continued<br />Eve knew that he who deceived her was Satan; she fell down before Adam. From that time Adam&apos;s distress increased twofold when he saw the sufferings of his wife, for she was overcome and fell like one dead. 11.2 He was sad and called out great lamentation and said to Satan, &quot;Why have you engaged in such a great conflict with us? What are our sins against you, that you have brought us out of our place? 11.3 Did we take your glory from you? Did we reject you from being our possession, that you fight against us unnecessarily.<br />12.1 Satan also wept loudly and said to Adam. &quot;All my arrogance and sorrow came to pass because of you; for, because of you I went forth from my dwelling; and because of you I was alienated from the throne of the cherubs who, having spread out a shelter, used to enclose me; because of you my feet have trodden the earth.&quot; 12.2 Adam replied and said to him, 12.3 &quot;What are our sins against you, that you did all this to us?&quot; 13.1 Satan replied and said, &quot;You did nothing to me, but I came to this measure because of you, on the day on which you were created, for I went forth on that day. 13.2 When God breathed his spirit into you, you received the likeness of his image. Thereupon, Michael came and made you bow down before God. God said to Michael, &apos;Behold I have made Adam in the likeness of my image.&apos; 14.1 Then Michael summoned all the angels. and God said to them,&apos;Come, bow down to god whom I made.&apos; 14.2 Michael bowed first. He called me and said. &apos;You too, bow down to Adam.&apos; <br />
  8. 8. Adam and Eve - Conclusion<br />14.3 I said, &apos;Go away, Michael! I shall not bow down to him who is posterior to me, for I am former. Why is it proper for me to bow down to him?&apos; 15.1 The other angels, too, who were with me, heard this, and my words seemed pleasing to them and they did not prostrate themselves to you, Adam. 16.1 Thereupon, God became angry with me and commanded to expel us from our dwelling and to cast me and my angels, who were in agreement with me, to the earth; and you were at the same time in the Garden. 16.2 When I realized that because of you I had gone forth from the dwelling of light and was in sorrows and pains, 16.3 then I prepared a trap for you, so that I might alienate you from your happiness just as I, too, had been alienated because of you.&quot; <br />
  9. 9. Why the Life of adam and eve was rejected <br />Written somewhere between the 1st century BC and 1st century AD, it contains spurious details about Adam and Eve after their expulsion from Eden.<br />Satan blames Eve for his fall.<br />Satan and his minions were told by God to worship Adam (made in God’s image)…which he refused to do.<br />Satan is made to appear as the “good” angel, unlike Michael whom Satan considers the “bad” angel.<br />
  10. 10. The Assumption of Moses<br />Most scholars date the work to the early 1st century AD.<br /> It purports to be secret prophecies Moses revealed to Joshua before passing leadership of the Israelites to him.<br />It is known from a single sixth-century incomplete Latin manuscript published in 1861.<br />
  11. 11. Sample text 1 – Assumption of Moses<br /> And now they shall go by means of you (Joshua) into the land which He determined and promised to give to their fathers, in the which you shall bless and give to them individually and confirm unto them their inheritance in me and establish for them the kingdom, and you shall appoint them local magistrates according to the good pleasure of their Lord in judgment and righteousness. And five years after they enter into the land, that thereafter they shall be ruled by chiefs and kings for eighteen years, and during nineteen years the ten tribes shall break away. <br />
  12. 12. Sample Text 2 – Assumption of Moses<br />And then His kingdom shall appear throughout all His creation, <br />And then Satan shall be no more,<br />And sorrow shall depart with him.<br />Then the hands of the angel shall be filled <br />Who has been appointed chief,<br />And he shall forthwith avenge them of their enemies.<br />For the Heavenly One will arise from His royal throne, <br />And He will go forth from His holy habitation<br />With indignation and wrath on account of His sons.<br />And the earth shall tremble: to its confines shall it be shaken:<br />And the high mountains shall be made low <br />And the hills shall be shaken and fall.<br />And the horns of the sun shall be broken and he shall be turned into darkness; <br />And the moon shall not give her light, and be turned wholly into blood.<br />And the circle of the stars shall be disturbed.<br />And the sea shall retire into the abyss,<br />And the fountains of waters shall fail,<br />And the rivers shall dry up.<br />For the Most High will arise, the Eternal God alone, <br />And He will appear to punish the Gentiles,<br />And He will destroy all their idols.<br />
  13. 13. Sample Text 3 – Assumption of Moses<br />And do you; Joshua (the son of) Nun, keep these words and this book; For from my death [assumption] until His advent there shall be 250 times [= year-weeks = 1750 years]. And this is the course of the times which they shall pursue till they are consummated. And I shall go to sleep with my fathers. Wherefore, Joshua you (son of) Nun, (be strong and) be of good courage; (for) God has chosen (you) to be minister in the same covenant.<br />
  14. 14. Apocryphal Christian Writings<br />The Protoevangelium of James<br />Gospel of St. Thomas<br />The Book of John Concerning the Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God<br />Gospel of Mary Magdalene<br />Many other “Gospels,” “Epistles,” “Acts,” & “Apocalyses”<br />A prolific source of apocryphal gospels, acts and apocalypses was Gnosticism. While the characteristic features of apocalyptic literature were derived from Judaism, those of Gnosticism sprang partly from Greek philosophy, partly from oriental religions. They insisted on an allegorical interpretation of the apostolic writings: they alleged themselves to be the guardians of a secret apostolic tradition and laid claim to prophetic inspiration. With them, as with the bulk of the Christians of the 1st and 2nd centuries, apocryphal books as such were highly esteemed. <br />
  15. 15. Protevangelium of James<br />Also known as the Gospel of James, it was written in the 2nd century AD.<br />It contains three parts, each 8 chapters in length.<br />Part 1 deals with Mary’s birth and childhood.<br />Part 2 deals with Mary and Joseph as her guardian.<br />Part 3 deals with the Nativity and after.<br />
  16. 16. The Proevangelium – 2<br />The purported author is James the Just, whom the text claims is a son of Joseph from a prior marriage, and thus a stepbrother of Jesus.<br />Scholars have established that, based on the style of the language and the fact that the author is apparently not aware of contemporary Jewish customs while James the Just certainly was. <br />The first mention of it is by Origen (c185 - c254) in the early third century, who says the text, like that of a “Gospel of Peter&quot;, was of dubious, recent appearance. Some indication of the popularity of the Infancy Gospel of James may be drawn from the fact that about one hundred and thirty Greek manuscripts containing it have survived. <br />The Gospel of James was translated into Syriac, Ethiopic, Coptic, Georgian, Old Slavonic, Armenian, Arabic, Irish and Latin.<br />
  17. 17. Protevangelium – part 1<br />And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood by, saying: Anna, Anna, the Lord hath heard thy prayer, and thou shalt conceive, and shall bring forth; and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world. And Anna said: As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life. And, behold, two angels came, saying to her: Behold, Joachim thy husband is coming with his flocks. For an angel of the Lord went down to him, saying: Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God hath heard thy prayer Go down hence; for, behold, thy wife Anna shall conceive. <br />
  18. 18. Proevangelium – part 2<br />And the priest said to Joseph, Thou hast been chosen by lot to take into thy keeping the virgin of the Lord. But Joseph refused, saying: I have children, and I am an old man, and she is a young girl. I am afraid lest I become a laughing-stock to the sons of Israel. <br />And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood before her, saying: Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found grace before the Lord of all, and thou shalt conceive, according to His word.<br />And she was in her sixth month; and, behold, Joseph came back from his building, and, entering into his house, he discovered that she was big with child. And he smotehis face,and threw himself on the ground upon the sackcloth, and wept bitterly, saying: With what face shall I look upon the Lord my God? and what prayer shall I make about this maiden? because I received her a virgin out of the temple of the Lord, and I have not watched over her. Who is it that has hunted medown? Who has done this evil thing in my house, and defiled the virgin?<br />
  19. 19. Protevangelium – Part 3<br />And there was an order from the Emperor Augustus, that all in Bethlehem of Judaea should be enrolled.And Joseph said: I shall enroll my sons, but what shall I do with this maiden? How shall I enroll her? As my wife? I am ashamed. As my daughter then? But all the sons of Israel know that she is not my daughter.<br />And when Herod knew that he had been mocked by the Magi, in a rage he sent murderers, saying to them: Slay the childrenfrom two years old and under. And Mary, having heard that the children were being killed, was afraid, and took the infant and swaddled Him, and put Him into an ox-stall.<br />And I James that wrote this history in Jerusalem, a commotion having arisen when Herod died, withdrew myself to the wilderness until the commotion in Jerusalem ceased, glorifying the Lord God, who had given me the gift and the wisdom to write this history. <br />
  20. 20. Tradition and the Protevangelium<br />Neither of Mary’s parents’ names are mentioned in the Four Gospels.<br />However, the names are part of Catholic tradition.<br />The celebration of Saint Joachim added to the General Roman Calendar in 1584, for celebration on March 20th , the day after the feast day of St. Joseph. Pope Pius X changed to Aug. 16th, day after the Assumption of Mary. Today both Sts. Anne and Joachim have July 26th as their feasts.<br />The great shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre in Canada, where miracles abound, where cured cripples leave their crutches – Place to visit.<br />
  21. 21. An example of “extra” information & the Gospels<br />According to the book of Matthew, &quot;when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem&quot; (Matthew 2:1). Only Matthew mentions these wise men, or magi, and his account includes neither names for them nor how many came.<br />
  22. 22. The Magi - Tradition<br />Although information about the Magi technically does not come from Christian apocrypha, tradition identifies a variety of different names for the Magi. Since the 8th century tradition has given them the names Balthazar, Gaspar and Melchior. These derive from an early 6th century Greek manuscript. Early church fathers disagreed on the actual number of magi with reports ranging from 2 to 14. Early accounts for the names of the wise men varied almost as wildly, with names like Hormazd, Karsudas and Melkon being attributed to them.<br />
  23. 23. Secular source material – The Magi<br />The most thorough account of the magi comes from Marco Polo&apos;s &quot;Travels.&quot; His account places the tombs of Balthazar, Melchior and Gaspar in a section of Persia called &quot;Sewa,&quot; which is also called &quot;Sava&quot; or &quot;Saba.&quot; Marco Polo also wrote how the people of the area recounted the story of the magi&apos;s travels to and from Bethlehem, what gifts they took and the symbolism behind the gifts and what happened after they returned. Marco Polo&apos;s account from around 1300 A.D. has sealed the names of the magi into our accepted tradition.<br />
  24. 24. Tradition translated into buildings and Culture<br />At some time near 1164 A.D., 3 tombs were built at the famous Cathedral in Cologne in Germany that reportedly held the remains of the 3 wise men, who were given the title of &quot;saint.&quot; The inscription indicates the magi met in 54 A.D. to celebrate the feast of Christmas and each man died within the following few weeks. St. Balthazar is said to have died on January 6, 55 A.D., at the age of 112; St. Melchior is said to have died on January 1, 55 A.D., at the age of 116; St. Gaspar is said to have died on January 11, 55 A.D., at the age of 109.<br />
  25. 25. Gospel of Thomas<br />The Gospel of Thomas reflects a more polished Greek prose, which seems to draw from Matthew and Luke (as opposed to Mark), thus putting Thomas after the composition of Matthew, Mark, and Luke The Gospel of Thomas contains material from the Gospel of John, which wasn&apos;t written until the 90s AD.<br />While some of its content is in keeping with the other Gospels, the Gospel of Thomas (which includes, among other things, the claim that a woman must become a man to enter the &quot;kingdom of heaven&quot;) is clearly outside the parameters of what the apostles taught in the first century.<br />It was discovered in 1945 in an earthen jar in Egypt.<br />Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas performs no physical miracles, reveals no fulfillment of prophecy, announces no apocalyptic kingdom, and dies for no one&apos;s sins. <br />It is a collection of 114 purported sayings of Jesus.<br />
  26. 26. Gospel of Thomas - Sayings<br />Several interesting twists are found in the sayings of this Gospel…examples:<br />(4) Jesus said, &quot;The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the place of life, and he will live.<br />(47) Jesus said, &quot;It is impossible for a man to mount two horses or to stretch two bows. And it is impossible for a servant to serve two masters; otherwise, he will honor the one and treat the other contemptuously.<br />(100) They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, &quot;Caesar&apos;s men demand taxes from us.&quot;He said to them, &quot;Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine.“<br />(108) Jesus said, &quot;He who will drink from my mouth will become like me. I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him.&quot;<br />
  27. 27. Two Gospels of Thomas<br />There are two Gospels of Thomas. The second is known as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.<br />The present Infancy Gospel of Thomas may have been expanded over time. The original must have been written sometime in the middle of the second century.<br />The Infancy Gospel of Thomas purports to relate the miraculous deeds of Jesus before he turned twelve.<br />
  28. 28. Infancy Gospel of Thomas – Text 1<br />1 Now when Jesus was five years old there was a great rain upon the earth, and the child Jesus walked about therein. And the rain was very terrible: and he gathered the water together into a pool and commanded with a word that it should become clear: and forthwith it did so. <br />2 Again, he took of the clay which came of that pool and made thereof to the number of twelve sparrows. Now it was the Sabbath day when Jesus did this among the children of the Hebrews: and the children of the Hebrews went and said unto Joseph his father: Lo, thy son was playing with us and he took clay and made sparrows which it was not right to do upon the Sabbath, and he hath broken it. And Joseph went to the child Jesus, and said unto him: Wherefore hast thou done this which it was not right to do on the Sabbath? But Jesus spread forth (opened) his hands and commanded the sparrows, saying: Go forth into the height and fly: ye shall not meet death at any man&apos;s hands. <br />
  29. 29. Infancy Gospel of Thomas – Text 2<br />1 And after some days as Jesus walked with Joseph through the city, there ran one of the children and smote Jesus on the arms: but Jesus said unto him: So finish thou thy course. And immediately he fell to the earth and died. But they when they saw this wonder, cried out saying: From whence cometh this child? And they said unto Joseph: It is not right that such a child should be among us. And he departed and took him with him. And they said to him: Depart out of this place; and if thou must be with us, teach him to pray and not to blaspheme: for our sons are put to death by him.<br />3 And when Joseph saw what Jesus had done he took hold on him by his ear in anger: but Jesus was vexed and said unto Joseph: It sufficeth thee to see me and not to touch me. For thou knowest not who I am, which if thou knewest, thou wouldest not grieve me.<br />
  30. 30. John: The Falling Asleep of the Holy mother of god<br />Composed in the 5th century AD.<br />Is a text purportedly relating the Assumption of Mary…samples:<br />And while she was praying, I John came, the Holy Spirit having snatched me up by a cloud from Ephesus, and set me in the place where the mother of my Lord was lying.<br />And I John say to her: Jesus Christ our Lord and our God is coming, and thou seest Him, as He promised to thee. And the holy mother of God answered and said to me: The Jews have sworn that after I have died they will burn my body. And I answered and said to her: Thy holy and precious body will by no means see corruption. <br />
  31. 31. Sample texts - 1<br />And a cloud of light snatched me up, and set me down in the door where thou art lying. Peter also answered: And I, living in Rome, about dawn heard a voice through the Holy Spirit saying to me, The mother of thy Lord is to depart, as the time is at hand; go to Bethlehem to salute her. And, behold, a cloud of light snatched me up; and I beheld also the other apostles coming to me on clouds, and a voice saying to me, Go all to Bethlehem. And Paul also answered and said: And I, living in a city at no great distance from Rome, called the country of Tiberia, heard the Holy Spirit saying to me, The mother of thy Lord, having left this world, is making her course to the celestial regions through her departure; but go thou also to Bethlehem to salute her. And, behold, a cloud of light having snatched me up, set me down in the same place as you. And Thomas also answered and said: And I, traversing the country of the Indians, when the preaching was prevailing by the grace of Christ, and the king&apos;s sister&apos;s son Labdanus by name, was about to be sealed by me in the palace, on a sudden the Holy Spirit says to me, Do thou also, Thomas, go to Bethlehem to salute the mother of thy Lord, because she is taking her departure to the heavens. And a cloud of light having snatched me up, set me down beside you.<br />
  32. 32. Sample Texts - 2<br />The apostles said all these things to the holy mother of God, why they had come, and in what way; and she stretched her hands to heaven and prayed, saying: I adore, and praise, and glorify Thy much to he praised name, O Lord, because Thou hast looked upon the lowliness of Thine handmaiden, and because Thou that art mighty hast done great things for me; and, behold, all generations shall count me blessed. And after the prayer she said to the apostles: Cast incense, and pray. And when they had prayed, there was thunder from heaven, and there came a fearful voice, as if of chariots; and, behold, a multitude of a host of angels and powers, and a voice, as if of the Son of man, was heard, and the seraphim in a circle round the house where the holy, spotless mother of God and virgin was lying…<br />The apostles carried the couch, and laid down her precious and holy body in Gethsemane in a new tomb.<br />
  33. 33. Sample texts - 3<br />And, behold, a perfume of sweet savor came forth out of the holy sepulcher of our Lady the mother of God; and for three days the voices of invisible angels were heard glorifying Christ our God, who had been born of her. And when the third day was ended, the voices were no longer heard; and from that time forth all knew that her spotless and precious body had been transferred to paradise.<br />We apostles, therefore, having beheld the sudden precious translation of her holy body, glorified God, who had shown us His wonders at the departure of the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose (2) <br />prayers and good offices may we all be deemed worthy to receive. (3) under her <br />shelter, and support, and protection, both in the world that now is and in <br />that which is to come, glorifying in every time and place her only-begotten <br />Son, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen. <br />
  34. 34. The Assumption of Mary<br />According to the beliefs held by Christians of the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches, Mary’s body was taken up into Heaven. <br />The Assumption was declared an infallible dogma by Blessed Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950.<br />
  35. 35. The Assumption of Mary not based on apocryphal writings<br />In his encyclical, MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS, the Pope did not refer to any apocryphal writings, but rather quoted from the traditional belief of many writings of Church doctors the Church in the dogma.<br />From the encyclical, this is the only time in the 20th century that a Pope has declared an infallible truth:<br />“By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: <br />That the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”<br />
  36. 36. The Gospel of Mary<br />It was discovered in 1896 in a fifth century codex.<br />Scholars do not always agree which of the Marys in the NT is the central character of the Gospel of Mary. Arguments in favor of Mary Magdeleneare based on her status as a known disciple of Jesus, the tradition of being the first witness of his resurrection, and her appearance in other early Christian writings…sample:<br />Peter said to Mary, &quot;Sister, we know that the Savior loved you more than other women [cf. John 11:5, Luke 10:38-42]. Tell us the words of the Savior which you have in mind since you know them; and we do not, nor have we heard of them.&quot; <br />Mary answered and said, &quot;What is hidden from you I will impart to you.&quot; <br />
  37. 37. The Gospel of mary – sample texts 2<br />Peter (and Andrew) opposed her in regard to (her visions) and asked them about the Savior. &quot;Did he then speak secretly with a woman in preference to us, and not openly? Are we to turn back and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?&quot; Then Mary grieved and said to Peter, &quot;My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I thought this up myself in my heart or that I am lying concerning the Savior?&quot; <br />Levi answered and said to Peter, &quot;Peter, you are always irate. Now I see that you are contending against the woman like the adversaries. But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you to reject her? Surely the Savior knew her very well. For this reason he loved her more than us And we should rather be ashamed and put on the Perfect Man, to form us as he commanded us, and proclaim the gospel, without publishing a further commandment or a further law than the one which the Savior spoke.&quot; When Levi had said this, they began to go out in order to proclaim him and preach him.<br />
  38. 38. The Gospel of Mary and the Da Vinci Code<br />Dan Brown&apos;s international bestseller The Da Vinci Code has raised many questions in the minds of readers. <br />Was Jesus really married to Mary Magdalene? <br />Did he father a child with her? <br />Did Constantine suppress the earliest Gospels and invent the doctrine of Christ&apos;s divinity? <br />Do the Gnostic Gospels represent the true Christian faith which the early church sought to supplant? <br />The Da Vinci Code in blurs the lines between fact and fiction.<br />
  39. 39. Early Influence of Gnosticism<br />Gnostics were &quot;people who knew&quot;, and their knowledge at once constituted them a superior class of beings.<br />Gnosticism possessed no central authority for either doctrine or discipline. It was but a large conglomeration of sects.<br />The Gnostics developed an astounding literary activity, which produced a quantity of writings far surpassing contemporary output of patristic literature. They were most prolific in the sphere of fiction, as it is safe to say that three-fourths of the early Christian writings about Christ emanated from Gnostic circles.<br />The Da Vinci Code is a modern-day sample of such writings.<br />
  40. 40. Scriptural warnings against False Teachers<br />Dan Brown’s scenario of conspiracies in his Da Vinci Code recycles ideas from those who dislike orthodox Christianity and favor the ancient world’s rival secret-knowledge (”Gnostic”) sects.<br />Scripture warns against such false teachers. <br />&quot;For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths&quot; (2 Timothy 4:3-4).<br />