The Apocrypha

It’s been suggested that copies of Once More, From the Beginning should replace Gideon Bibles in lonely hotel rooms and that every Bible College should have a copy – perhaps not for inspiration, but more for a good healthy laugh, I’m guessing.

Well, I don’t see that happening, but I’m quite comfortable down here with the outcasts. I’m in good company.

When it comes to the line-up for inclusion in the officially sanctioned versions of The Bible, nothing is certain. Just because you get to sit with the cool kids today . . . don’t think you’ll always be popular. They can be moody.

There’s a pretty substantial list of books that have, one time or another, been included – but you won’t find them there today. They’re referred to as the Apocrypha, which means ‘things hidden away’. You’d think this would imply something secret or esoteric, but don’t get your hopes up. There was never anything secret about them. They were just books that used to be considered sacred texts – and now they’re not.

The selection process has been intriguingly arbitrary, to say the least. Add to that the fact that all factions do not agree, and it could keep you busy for way too long, if you try to puzzle it out.

Judith, whose brave and bloody story has inspired the brushes of so many Old Masters, can be found in the Catholic Bible but has been booted out of the Protestant version.

Susanna’s story has been shunned by church fathers in both camps. It seems that protecting the reputations of dirty old men is a universal concern.

And, stranger still, the story of Jonah and the whale – which nobody takes very seriously – still sits at both head tables as a valued guest buffoon.

After due consideration, I chose to include all three at my party . . . it seemed only fair.


About Wendy Bertsch

I’m a Canadian author—a pragmatic optimist with rather eclectic interests and a pervasive sense of humour. Toronto born and bred, I live by the lake with a motley array of dogs and a cat, all but myself being of unknown origin, in a comfortable old house filled with books. Over a thousand books. Books in every nook and cranny. And now, since there can never be too many books, I'm writing more. Once More, From the Beginning highlights the women in the bible. It's about time! And believe me, they see things quite differently. And in Dodging Shells, you'll meet the irrepressible Tommy, as he fights his way through Italy in World War II. You'll love Tommy. I do. Next? Well, that's a secret yet. Stay tuned... I recently initiated the fledgling Ocean Highway Books, providing editing, formatting and cover design services to authors wishing to self-publish.
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4 Responses to The Apocrypha

  1. I always wondered about the Apocrypha. I have a book here that includes commentary as well, and while it was too dry for me to read the WHOLE thing, LOL, I did raise an eyebrow and say to myself, “It looks like they left all the good bits out”. I admire feisty women, the ones way back in history as well as in the news.

    I did read in a separate history about a woman artist (in the 17th century?) who had been raped and her case dismissed. She painted multiple bloody images of Judith’s revenge…I mean over and over…

    • That would be Artemisia Gentileschi, in the early 17th Century. Her father was a successful painter, which explains her training, but she became a much more celebrated one. Her first major work, at the age of 17 (before the rape) was an excellent picture of the two dirty old men leering at Susanna as she bathed. She was very prolific, and her paintings did include many, many very graphic images of Judith slaying Holophernes.

      She was raped by the man her father hired to tutor her. He was eventually sentenced to a year in prison — after she was tortured with thumbscrews, by the way, to ascertain the truth of her testimony. He never served the time.

      She was 19 years old at the time. Those paintings must have been very therapeutic, don’t you think?

  2. Bonnie says:

    It is amazing how many people really don’t know these things.

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