Thursday, April 18, 2013

Apocryphal History

One of the more revealing things about the Apocrypha is how disconnected they are with history. Both apocryphal and biblical books mention historical events, but the biblical books usually line up with actual history, the apocryphal books may not.

Consider the beginning of the book of Judith:
In the twelfth year of king Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled Assyria in the great city of Nineveh, in the days of Arphaxad, who ruled the Medes in Ecbatana. (Judith 1:1)
Nebuchadnezzar, was the king of Babylon, not Assyria and ruled from Babylon, not Nineveh.

Likewise, 1 Esdras scrambles the order of the Persian kings.

This is not to say that there are not historical difficulties with biblical books, but they are nothing like the historical problems of some of the apocrypha.