Luther And “New Testament Apocrypha”

Luther And “New Testament Apocrypha”

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


A. Wikgren

In R. H. Fischer’s A Tribute To Arthur Vööbus: Studies In Early Christian Literature, 1977, pp. 379-390.

© University of Chicago Press

In the period of the Reformation the questions about the biblical canon were reopened and vigorously discussed. This was quite natural since involved were such contemporary and vital problems as the relation of church to Scripture and the locus of religious and ecclesiastical authority. Stimulated and facilitated by humanistic studies, new attention was now given to the situation in the early church and to the canonical status of the books which then had been in dispute for one reason or another.

In this dialogue the value judgments of such men as Erasmus and Luther with respect to the New Testament books are well known, and they led to some interesting consequences and repercussions which continued for a century and more even after these leaders had considerably modified their original views. Erasmus had freely expressed his doubts about the books disputed in the early church and made distinctions in their value.

But he was led to subordinate these judgments to ecclesiastical authority. Likewise Luther, adding as his primary criterion the religious evaluation whether and how they “conveyed Christ”, classified the books of the New Testament and distinguished levels of inspiration. As he himself recognized, his views were often personal and subjective, and he did not initially feel bound to the canon of the Roman church.[1] 

His treatment of four New Testament books (Hebrews, James, Jude, Revelation) reflected his early doubts about their full canonicity. In the New Testament of 1522 they come at the end in the order noted above, and in his list of books they are separated by a space and given no numbers. But in time he modified his views and found more value in them, particularly Hebrews; and eventually he came to accept the canon of the medieval church. Actually, of course, there was no question of omission of the books, but simply the indication of their secondary value.

In this connection, to digress briefly, one should note that it is not quite correct to say that Luther placed the dubious quartet at the end of the New Testament, for in his chief exemplars, the Latin Vulgate and the Greek editions of Erasmus, Jude and Revelation were already there.

The Apocalypse, when it is found in early lists and manuscripts, almost always naturally stood at the end because of the nature of its contents. With respect to Jude the manuscript evidence is variable, but the Clementine Vulgate, doubtless reflecting majority treatment, had this order, and it is followed in the recently published Biblia Sacra Vulgata.[2] 

Thus Luther can be said at most to have demoted Hebrews from its usual place at the end of the Pauline corpus and James from where it ordinarily stood first among the Catholic Epistles. But even here there was good precedent in patristic and conciliar lists for his treatment of James. It is placed just before Jude by Philastrius (d. A.D. 387) and Augustine (d. A.D. 430), and in the lists of the Third Council of Carthage[3] (A.D. 397) and of the Council of Trent (A.D. 1546).

The last reflects also the variety of opinions expressed regarding treatment of disputed books, the full canonicity of James being particularly questioned. Actually in the early church in the West Jude was preferred to James, whereas the reverse was true in the East.[4] Jerome, however, although he does not list the books individually, named the Catholic Epistles in the order of James, Peter, John, Jude.

Luther’s initial evaluations, however, were adopted and given currency by his disciples and others, with much more attention also to the Erasmian and humanistic arguments derived from a knowledge of the usage and observations in the early church. Jerome was a main source for these data, and much of the controversy came to revolve about the question of apostolic authorship, although this was not the primary criterion for judgment by Luther himself. At all events, all seven of the anciently disputed or rejected books became subject to debate.

Among the reformers who also distinguished the biblical books in value primary mention should be made of Karlstadt, who really anticipated Luther in declaring the Scriptures as of supreme authority vis-a-vis that of church, councils and pope. However, in reaction to Luther he emphasized the historical aspect of the canon, and in his significant work, de canonicis Scripturis Libellus (1520), he ranked the seven disputed New Testament books with the Old Testament Hagiographa.

The Apocrypha he rejected as canonical, but even here he distinguished two groups in terms of value. Likewise Martin Chemnitz in his treatment of the Council of Trent, Examen Concilii Tridentini, published between 1565 and 1573, examined the problem of authority and canon and divided the New Testament books into the universally accepted (20) and the disputed (7).

The latter, he felt, should be used for edification but not for proofs of doctrine. The tendency to make this distinction probably reflects the judgments of Rufinus and Jerome apropos the Old Testament Apocrypha. Johann Brenz designated the dubious seven as “apocryphal” in an apologia for the Wuerttemberg Confession, in the formulation of which he had been a chief participant.

His remarks were published in 1590. In the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries one finds this term commonly applied to the seven antilegomena by various scholars and churchmen.[5] Brenz had declared that these books were valuable for reading but were not canonical in the full sense and no council could make them so. Here he has in mind the decisions of the Council of Trent. He also held other criteria for judgment more significant than apostolic authorship, for he regarded II Peter as Petrine!

The Calvinist reformers were in general more conservative in their views. Calvin himself, although also making distinctions in value, apparently accepted all of the disputed books with the possible exception of II and III John and the Apocalypse. He recognized a special difficulty with II Peter, but, in contrast to Brenz, he declared that if the book is canonical the Petrine authorship must be accepted (though Peter himself did not actually write it), a rather inconclusive argument.

While Zwingli seemed to have doubted only the full canonicity of the Apocalypse, the first Swiss-German Bibles published at Zurich between 1524 and 1529, which were translations of Luther, treated the four New Testament books in the same fashion as in Luther’s version. This was also true of editions of 1530 and 1531; but a revision of the latter in 1542 moved Hebrews up to follow Titus. Johannes Oecolampadius, a friend of Zwingli, accorded an mferior status to all of the antilegomena except Hebrews.

Among Catholics special mention may be made of Cardnal Cajetan (d. 1534), who went beyond Erasmus in distinguishmg the disputed books and the canonical, defending only the full authority of II Peter. The others he regarded as inferior for the settlement of doctrinal controversies. The Council of Trent settled these matters for Catholics, but the deliberations and debates preceding the Tridentine actions m February-March, 1546 reveal the many differences of viewpornt which existed at that time.

The unnecessarily extreme decisions reached, e.g., in the affirmation of apostolic authorship of the disputed books reflect a zealous reaction to such views as those of Erasmus and Cajetan, as well as of Luther and his followers. Yet some twenty years later Sextus Senensis in his Bibliotheca Sancta divides the biblical books into “Protocanonical” (undisputed in the early church) and “Deuterocanonical” (disputed).

In the New Testament the latter consisted of the usual seven plus the longer ending of Mark, Luke 22: 43f and the Pericope adulterae. But he goes on to recognize that all are now of full canonical authority. The term “deuterocanonical”, however, has among Catholics continued to be used of the Old Testament Apocrypha, although not of Esther, which Sextus had included in this category.

The influence of Luther and of his New Testament of 1522 in the treatment of his debatable quartet continued also for a long time, in fact for over two centuries, in certain printed editions of the Bible other than the German. In the latter his order of books has persisted to the present day. Even the omission of numbers for the books is found as late as 1689. In keepmg, however, with the modification of Luther’s views the prefaces were modified and eventually dropped or replaced by others.[6]

Of special interest here is a development beyond Luther in Low-German and Swedish Bibles. Histories of the canon, especially in English, generally overlook these data, doubtless with the assumption – rightly enough as it turned out – that the New Testament was to all intents and purposes a settled matter.

These histories, however, do take notice of the striking influence on Tyndale’s English New Testament of 1525, the very format of which is very similar to that of Luther’s edition. It is common knowledge, therefore, that the treatment of the four antilegomena both in position and in the Index of Contents is identical with Luther’s.

In addition Tyndale took over the latter’s prefaces and notes.[7] The order of books was continued in the Coverdale Bible of 1535, as well as in its subsequent editions, the Nycolson Bible (1537), the Matthews or John Rogers Bible (1537), and the Taverner Bible (1539). Eventually in the authorized “Great Bible” of 1539 the pre-Lutheran order was restored.

Immediately after the publication of Luther’s New Testament the Low-German editions of the period reflect his canonical views. The first of these was published in 1523 at Hamburg by Simon Corver, and had Luther’s prefaces and order of books, although the latter were not tabulated separately. Another and similar edition was issued in the same year by Melchior Lotther at Wittenberg. A Lübeck edition of 1533 omits numbers for the last four books, and subsequent Bibles display much variety with respect to numbering and separation in the tables of content.

The most startling deviation here consisted in labelling the four with the title “Apocrypha” in a Bible published in 1596 at Hamburg by Jacob Lucius. A following explanation reads: “Det ys böker de der andern hilligen schrifft nicht gelich geholden werden”. This Bible was mentioned by Leipoldt. One can add another issued in 1614 at Goslar by J. Vogt, which has the same title and explanatory gloss except for minor orthographical variation.

Also, Howorth noted a “Dutch Polyglot Bible” published at Hamburg in 1596 which went a step further and entitled the four books “uncanonical”.[8]

In Holland the early printed Bibles reflect the contention between Lutheran and Reformed parties. However, the earliest New Testament (1523) has Luther’s prefaces and order of books, and the same order is found in an edition of 1526. Bibles from 1562 and sporadically to as late as 1648 continue this. But soon thereafter even Lutheran Bibles conformed to the Reformed practice of following the Vulgate order of books.

The progress of the Reformation in the Scandinavian countries also stimulated the translation and publication of the Bible, and here again the influence of Luther is apparent. Leipoldt gave a rather full account of the Swedish editio princeps of the New Testament (1526), even to the extent of reproducing the prefaces to the disputed books.

But apparently he lacked data regarding subsequent early editions, for his assumption that Luther’s New Testament criticism was soon forgotten was not true of the immediately following Swedish editions of the Bible. Actually, the influence of Luther and Lutheranism continued to grow throughout the crucial sixteenth century.

When the 1526 New Testament appeared it was still impolitic to emphasize Lutheran connections. But in spite of the avoidance of such connections and the non-mention of Luther in the Preface, the influence of the latter and his work were apparent in various ways. The translation itself was based mainly upon his edition, although the Vulgate and Erasmus’ Greek text in its third edition (1522) were also consulted.

The order of the books placed Hebrews and James with Jude and Revelation at the end of the New Testament, although in the listing of books no numbers are used at all and the four are not distinguished in any way from the others.

The prefaces to them, however, are virtually those of Luther, Hebrews being verbally identical. The other three show certain departures but nothing of significance in regard to the viewpoints expressed. Reference is made to Erasmus’ opinion of the Apocalypse as the work of John the theologue rather than of the apostle and to Jerome’s observation of the uncertain status of the book in the early church.

The writer, perhaps Olavus Petri, notes also Eusebius’ unfavorable report on the book; and at the end he gives a brief summary regarding the four disputed books and their canonical status. Here the influence of Luther’s value judgments is quite apparent.

When a complete Bible eventually appeared, the Gustavus Vasa Bible of 1541, it was evident that the influence of Luther was growing. This is clear from the Introduction, notes, concordance, order of contents and other features. The Preface now definitely states that “the Latin Bible is not now so much followed as the German of doctor Martin Luther”. In the New Testament various changes were made under the influence of the complete Luther Bible of 1534, and the Old Testament closely follows Luther’s text, with no certainty that the Hebrew was as yet consulted.

The Apocrypha were separated from the other books, and the Table of Contents now numbered the books, except for the debatable New Testament quartet at the end.

Nearly eighty years elapsed before the publication of the next and official revision of the Bible. During that momentous period the Lutheran faith became firmly established despite various difficulties and an attempted counter-reformation movement under John III and Sigismund III in the latter half of the sixteenth century. The regency then again became favorable to the Protestant cause, first under Charles IX (1607-11), and then under his son and successor Gustavus II Adolphus (1611-32).

In view of these developments it is not surprising that the new revision, the “Gustavus Adolphus Bible” of 1618, should reflect the growing influence of Luther and Lutheranism. In the Old Testament the books are divided into five sections exactly as in the Luther Bible of 1534. In the New Testament the same order of books is found, and in addition the same startling development to which we have alluded in the case of certain Low-German Bibles, namely, not only the separation of the four dubious books at the end of the table of contents, but their labelling with the caption ” Apocr(yphal) N. T.”.[9] 

Thus we have a threefold division in the New Testament: “Gospels and Acts”, “Epistles and Holy Apostles”, and “Apocryphal New Testament”. This arrangement continued for nearly a century, and is exemplified by a half-dozen or more printings as well as a few other editions published in this period.[10] In some of these the books are all listed with numbers consecutively in spite of the “Apocrypha” title. The Luther prefaces, as in German Bibles, are usually modified and occasionally dropped altogether. In all editions, however, the order of the books remains the same.

It was not until the next official revision, the Charles XII Bible of 1703,[11] that the arrangement of books was altered. The Epistle to the Hebrews was now moved up to follow Philemon in the Pauline corpus, and in the listing of books the three remaining at the end were not separated from the others.

(This order of books has remained to the present day.) The prefaces have now become mainly summaries of contents; only in regard to Hebrews are doubts expressed, but here in order to counteract them by defending the value of the book and its inclusion in the Pauline collection.

In early Danish Bibles – which also served for Norway in this period – the influence of Luther is again pervasive, although not as radical in regard to the separation of New Testament books in indices. Luther’s order of books, however, is followed, and in the earliest N.T. (1524) his prefaces are also given.[12] But a translation of the New Testament by Christian Pedersen, who was not in sympathy with Luther’s extreme position, appeared anonymously in 1529, and omitted the prefaces and a listing of books.

The first complete Bible (1550), issued under Christian III,[13] also lacked the prefaces, but the books were now listed and the dubious four separated by a space. A 1558 edition restored the prefaces and also contained notes by Luther. The order of books in Danish and Norwegian Bibles has remained to this day.

In Iceland a complete Bible first appeared in 1584, the work of Bishop Gudbranden Thorlakson. It also has Luther’s order of books in the New Testament, although they are numbered consecutively with the other books in the listing and not separated.

Thus the questions raised about canonical books were reflected in the Bibles of the period, and have left their traces even to the present day. The stirring up of the canonical waters was of course an aspect of that freedom of thought which was a characteristic of the Renaissance and Reformation movements.

But the proposed intention of the Reformers to return in general to the faith and practice of the primitive church encountered a disconcerting variety of usage apropos the canon, especially as concerned the Catholic Epistles and the Apocalypse. It was easier eventually to return to the canon of the medieval church and, aided and abetted by the developing dogmatic views of the Bible and its authority, to obliterate distinctions among the books.

Curiously, therefore, this constituted a paradoxical movement, both toward and away from the Catholic positions. Inconsistently, also, the Old Testament Apocrypha, which had been part of the canon for centuries, were generally excluded in later Protestant praxis, even where no official pronouncements were made to that effect.[14]

A special point of interest here is the manner in which the term “apocrypha” was applied even to generally accepted New Testament books, especially when contrasted with the confusing use of the epithet in modern studies. When M. R. James published The Apocryphal New Testament in 1924 he apologetically but arbitrarily used the term of all kinds of early Christian literature not included in our present canon.

For this he rather lamely cited the example of predecessors in similar publications. It has continued in use in this manner, although works of some literary merit and historical value, such as the so-called “Apostolic Fathers” are usually distinguished from the rest.

While “apocryphon” was originally used of a secret, private, esoteric writing, often with implications of special value, the association of such writings with heretical sects imparted a derogatory sense to the term, and this is generally how it is used in the early church.[15] It is not employed, however, of disputed or rejected books in the earliest period. To designate these a half-dozen and more other expressions are used.[16] 

When the title comes to be used in the late fourth and early fifth centuries with reference to potentially canonical books, it is chiefly applied to Jewish writings, sometimes including our Old Testament Apocrypha and sometimes not. Rufinus used it of books not to be read in the church, but not including here the Old Testament Apocrypha, for which he had a speciaJ category, “ecclesiastical”.

Epiphanius (d. A.D. 403) refers to Jewish and Christian “apocrypha”, but with no mention of our canonical books or of the Old Testament Apocrypha. Similarly, Athanasius (367 or earlier) and the Apostolic Constitutions (ca. 380) employ the term only for various pseudepigrapha. Athanasius included Esther, the Didache and the Shepherd with four of our Old Testament Apocrypha as books which may be read by catechumens, but he distinguished these from “apocryphal writings”, which he regarded as “an invention of heretics”.

But several sources contemporary with the foregoing do use the term for rejected books, including here the Old Testament Apocrypha. This is apparently true of Cyril of Jerusalem (d. A.D. 386), who referred to “apocrypha” as rejected books (not to be read publicly or privately); and to judge by his canonical list these would include our Apocrypha, except for Baruch and the Epistle attached to Jeremiah. Likewise Jerome (d. A.D. 420) at least once called the Old Testament Apocrypha “apocryphal writings” (including here also the Shepherd of Hermas).

Elsewhere, in a discussion of II Peter, he prefers “pseudepigrapha” to denominate five other writings ascribed to Peter. He also rather enigmatically avers that disputed books like Hebrews and the Apocalypse were not “used” as apocrypha.[17] In the List of Sixty Books (7th cen.) all the writings outside of the canonical list are “apocrypha”, including the Old Testament group.

Similarly the Stichometry of Nicephorus (early 9th cen.) applies the term to rejected books, consisting of the Old Testament Apocrypha and certain of the Apostolic Fathers; but he also has a category of “disputed” books, among which are the Apocalypse of John and of Peter, Barnabas, and the Gospel of the Hebrews.

Out of this welter of varied usage of the term it came eventually to designate the Jewish writings which, though generally regarded as secondary in status, virtually attained a canonical position in praxis notwithstanding protestations to the contrary. No such comparable group of “New Testament Apocrypha” was so designated. The modern use of the epithet gives here a misleading implication of parallelism between the two.

Were one to designate such a New Testament group of books from the standpoint of intrinsic merit, early usage, and inclusion with canonical or deuterocanonical writings, certain of the “Apostolic Fathers” would qualify for consideration. Some of them were ranked with “apocrypha” in the early period,[18] 

And in modern times the title was in fact applied to the whole group in an edition of Luther’s New Testament published in 1711 in Hamburg by H. H. Holle. Here we have an appendix of “Apokryphische Bücher”, consisting of our “Apostolic Fathers” plus (initially) “Paul to the Laodiceans”, Philo’s and Agathapodis’ Letter on the Martyrdom of Ignatius, and (finally) four doubtful letters of Ignatius.

The title page indicates that the books were “by the disciples of the Lord and apostolic men, which were read of old in the early church in many congregations with profit and were attached to the canonical writings …” But so far as our evidence indicates, the near-canonical or canonical status of certain of these did not, except sporadically, extend much beyond the fifth century.

Actually, and particularly in the West, the Epistle to the Laodiceans would best qualify from long usage as at least a deuterocanonical book. It is found in about a hundred Vulgate MSS, including the oldest, Fuldensis (A.D. 546), as well as in early Bohemian, Flemish, and English MSS.

It appeared in the pre-Luther German printed Bibles and in what was the first complete German Reformation Bible, printed by Peter Schoffer at Worms in 1529 and in later editions in 1530, 1534 and 1537. It stands after Hebrews in a German New Testament published in 1603 at Köln by Arnold Quentel.

But when its pseudepigraphic character was recognized and its contents judged not to outweigh this consideration, it lost its cononical status. The opinion of Jerome, who rejected the document, was doubtless of influence here, as was also the fact that Luther omitted it from his German Bible. Some early fathers, e.g., Philastrius and Priscillian in the 4th century, had regarded it as genuine and yet not canonical, and this was also the view of Gregory the Great (d. A.D. 604).[19]

In the Eastern Church the document excerpted from the Acts of Paul and known as III Corinthians had a similar history. Canonical status is witnessed by Ephrem Syrus (d. A.D. 373), Aphraates (4th century), Mesrob (Armenian Bible, early 5th century), and other early Armenian fathers. Ephrem wrote a commentary on it (extant in Armenian), and it is found in Armenian MS Bibles as late as the fifteenth century. The second Armenian printed Bible of Zohrab (1805) placed it in an Appendix together with Sirach, the Prayer of Manasses and Third Ezra.

It should be noted that the total work, “The Acts of Paul”, was highly regarded and often quoted as authentic in the early church, both East and West.[20] 

Something of the status of III Cor. is reflected in the recently discovered (and earliest) Greek text of it in a Bodmer papyrus (V-IX), a miscel1any of documents originally constituting a single codex of the third century. Here III Cor. is included with I and II Peter and Jude and other writings apparently popular at the time and/or of equivocal position with respect to canonical recognition.

From length of usage as either canonical or near-canonical writings, this really leaves the seven disputed New Testament books as primary candidates for the title “New Testament Apocrypha”. Churchmen and scholars of the early Reformation period were not far off the mark in so designating them, although modern critical evaluation would probably add others from the standpoint of the pseudepigraphic criterion. But, as we have seen, this was not necessarily a deciding factor in the matter.

Ultimately the long ecclesiastical usage of the books and their cultural involvements militated against the tendency to demote them from full canonical status, and the church found itself without a separate corpus of books which would be legitimately comparable to the Old Testament Apocrypha.[21]


[1] A similar evaluation was applied to the Old Testament books and the Old Testament Apocrypha It is reflected, also, in the separation of the latter group, first proposed in his 1523 publication of the Pentateuch and then effected in the Bible of 1534.

[2] Biblia Sacra Iuxta Vulgatam Versionem, 2 vols (Stuttgart 1969).

[3] This had earlier been cited by critics of Erasmus on behalf of the full canon of twenty-seven books.

[4] The three Catholics included in the Peshitta Syriac were I Peter, I John and James. The same preference is indicated by Greek writers such as Chrysostom and the Cappadocians. Eusebius named the disputed books in the order James, Jude, II Peter, II and III John

[5] Treatment or these will be round in J. Leipoldt, Geschichle des neutestarnentlichen Kanons, 2 vols. (Leipzig 1907-08). Cf. H. H. Howorth, “The Canon of the Bible Among the Later Reformers”, Journal of Theological Studies 10 (1908-09), 183-232. By some the books were considered comparable to the Old Testament Apocrypha; by others they were judged to be of superior authority.

[6] The first edition of the 1522 New Testament also contained 285 notes, nearly half of which could be called propagandistic or polemical. These were drastically reduced in most editions published in Luther’s lifetime except for an edition of 1530, which had 188. Others varied from 1 to 72. A detailed study and evaluation of them was made by G. F. Hall in an unpublished doctoral dissertation, “Some Interpretalive Aspects of Luther’s New Testament” (University of Chicago 1935).

[7] A comparative study of the two was made by L. F Gruber, The First English New Testament and Luther (Burlington, Iowa 1928).

[8] H. H. Howorth, “The Canon of the Bible Among the Later Reformers”, op cit, 202f. The reference is a bit vague, but one might guess that David Wolder, who signed the preface to the Lucius edition of 1596, was involved. In the same year and place he edited a volume, Biblica Sacra, Graece, Latine & Germanice, also published by Luclus Wolder identified himself as “Prediger in Hamborch an der kerchen Petri”.

[9] It was quite possibly influenced by the Low-German Bibles, especially Lucius’. Hamburg edition or 1596, with which it shares some typographical characteristics

[10] Among the latter. e.g., Leipzig, Samuel Tauchs, 1622; Stockholm, Henrich Keiser, 1646 and 1674.

[11] Stockholm, Henrick Keyser.

[12] Published by Melchior Lotther at Wittenberg. The translators were Hans Mikkelson. Henrik Smith and Christian Vinter. In spite of the title page, which indicated that the translation was based on the Latin, the former two stayed close to Luther.

[13] This possibly was based on a translation from Luther’s German made by Pederson some seven years earlier; and it was then conformed to the last German edition ( 1545) before Luther’s death by a commission of seven men. Increasing influence of Luther is rejected in the fact that the Pentateuch also depends on the German, although a translation of it was available made from the Hebrew by Hans Tausen, first Professor of Hebrew in the University of Copenhagen.

[14] A few passages have continued in use, especially in the Anglican communion. H. H. Howorth has traced here in detail the decline in usage in the Prayer Book in an article, “The Origin and Authority of the Biblical Canon in the Anglican Church“, JTS 8 (1906-07), 1ff.

[15] Eg., Irenaeus, apud Eusebius (HE IV.22.9), Origen (Ep. 119)

[16] Eg., antilegomena, amphiballoinena, amphilecta, notha, akanonista, episphaleis, exo or ektos (the canonical list), etc.

[17] While Jerome included the Old Teslament Apocrypa in his Latin version, he was careful to note which in his opinion were not written in Hebrew. This appears to be his chief criterion for judging them uncanonical.

[18] In the East the Clementine letters are later round in a 12th century MS as part or the N.T., located between the Catholics and Paul; and a 14th century writer, Abu’l Barakat (d A.D. 1363) refers to them as N.T. books. In the West Hermas and Bamabas were used for a long time. The former is found as late as the 9th century in an old-Latin MS. Codex Sangermanensis (g1), and the latter in the 10th or 11th century codex of the Gospels, Corbeiensis (ff).

[19] It is found in the Book of Armagh (807), the Gothic Bible of Toledo (8th century), several Wycliffite MS Bibles, and in the first Bohemian (Czech) Bible (1488) as well as subsequent editions as late as the 18th century. Aelfric (ca. 1000) lists it with Paul’s letters, and John of Salisbury (ca. 1165) regards it as Pauline The new two-volume Biblia Sacra Vulgata has added it (along with Ps. 151) to the Clementine Vulgate Appendix.

[20] Eusebius refers to it once as “not undisputed”! (HE III.iii.5). The Acts of Paul is included among “apocrypha” in the List of Sixty Books and among “N.T. apocrypha” in the Stichometry of Nicephorus. In the stichometry of Codex Claromontanus (D2 or Dp), perhaps representing Egyptian usage at ca. AD. 300. it is found apparently as part of the New Testament The list ends, without demarcation, (after Jude) with Barnabas, Revelation of John, Acts, Shepherd, Acts of Paul, Revelation of Peter. However, a dash has been placed before the uncanonical books, perhaps by a later hand A dash also before I Peter may have been meant for II Peter (?).

[21] I wish to thank the Universities of Uppsala and of Hamburg for the opportunity of examining the early Bibles in their collections, and the Deutsches Bibel Archiv for access to Bibles from German and Danish archives on display at an “Ausstellung in der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg” in 1955.

A convenient thesaurus of data regarding the important Bibles of the period may be found in Vol. 3 of The Cambridge History of the Bible, the West from the Reformation to the Present Day. ed by S L. Greenslade (Cambridge 1963) This may be consulted also for bibliography on the various vernacular Bibles. Except, however, for Luther and the English version, notice generally is not taken of book order in the New Testament.