Lent started, and I didn’t choose anything specific to give up (Last year, I gave up Lent for Lent. A paradox that solved itself!) Instead, I almost absentmindedly began reading through the Bible- a quest to read the Scriptures cover to cover, including the Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha. I usually prefer the term “Apocrypha” because that’s the term I originally encountered, but “Deuterocanonicals” is probably the better choice.
There were a great deal of books that didn’t make it into the canonical Bible that we know; some celebrate the canon as the absolute proof of God’s choosing the books, and others, such as myself, are more inclined to read through the non-canonical Scriptures to see why people fussed about them and refused to include them.
Nothing conclusive there, folks. They’re pretty much on-par with the canon on various levels save for the times that the texts are sometimes damaged. Calling those books “heretical” is something I refuse to do; in some cases, the books falling outside the canon would have supported the canon and made a greater case.
The Gospel of Philip, for instance, explicitly mentions five sacraments, three of which the Church currently celebrates. (The Gnostic Churches actually celebrate four of those five.) The canonical Scriptures make reference to the sacraments without calling them such- their celebration is either implied or vaguely referenced without a great deal of focus, leading some to suggest that the early Christians had little to no ritual.
Of course, that’s the nature of growing up in a Protestant culture and then projecting that ritual-lacking Protestantism on eras past, but I’ll save that rant for another blog.
Anyway, the Scriptures, so far, are boring me. I hate to admit that. I really do.
Given, I’m reading them without any commentary and without people singing them with candles surrounding them and without the cultural and social context- and that’s a little different. I’m still shocked that people take these things as inerrant or literal- there are too many things that just jump out as cobbled together.
Life goes on, and so my Scripture-reading does as well. Maybe with increased scholarship, I’ll have a deeper appreciation that I’m not feeling at the moment. I mean at least I can read through part of it in Hebrew, though not much.