Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Comments On The Book Of 2 Esdras

"The last stage of the complicated history of this book is perhaps the most interesting and dramatic; it involves the discovery of a lengthy section (amounting to no less than seventy verses) which had been lost from chapter 7, and which was  thenceforth incorporated into English revisers of the Apocrypha in 1895. For many years the text of the Latin version of II Esdras was based on manuscripts which presented chapter 7 in a form which made it clear that a passage was missing between verses 35 and 36. Though other ancient versions (Syriac, Ethiopic, Arabic, and Armenian) contained a long addition at this place, most scholars were hesitant about accepting it as genuine. When, however, in 1874 Robert L. Bensly of Cambridge University discovered a ninth-century manuscript in the public library of Amiens containing the lost Latin text, it was recognized that now the equivalent of a chapter must be added to the Apocrypha. In modern English translations this previously missing section is numbered 7:36-105, while the rest of chapter 7 in the King James Version (7:36-70) is now given that additional enumeration 7:106-140. It is probable that the lost section was deliberately cut out of an ancestor of most extant Latin manuscripts, because of dogmatic reasons, for the passage contains an emphatic denial of the value of prayers for the dead (verse 105)." 

Bruce M. Metzger, An Introduction to the Apocrypha, p. 22-23

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