Ancient Texts: Non-biblical – but Biblically Related – Writings

Some fear or deride the reading of any biblical pseudepigraphical or apocryphal works, especially the obviously mythological-themed ones. However, reading them and declaring them inspired are entirely two different things. Writings that paralleled the Bible can inform on the cultural and historical context of the times. Even the more fantastic books could have a truth here and there. Some biblical writers thought so.

Jude found enough truth in I Enoch quote directly in Jude 1:14-15 (and Jude refers to the lost Assumption of Moses). Peter makes some allusions to Enoch as well. Another example are the phrases “the account of” and “the written account of” found in Genesis 2:4, 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10 and 11:27 are thought to be references to previously written material.

Frank Crane, in the classic collection of apocryphal books, The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden, writes:

No great figure appears in history without myths growing up about him. Every great personage becomes a nucleus or center about which folk tales cluster. There are apocryphal tales about Napoleon, about Charlemagne, about Julius Caesar and other outstanding characters.

It is impossible that a man representing so great a force as Jesus of Nazareth should appear in the world without finding many echoes of His personality in contemporary literature…It is interesting to know what forms of stories and speculations about Him took place in the early period of the Christian era.

Indeed, this reasoning applies to all biblical eras. Some of the fear of these books may trace back to the debate on a small group of books Roman Catholics consider part of the Bible and many Protestants do not. More likely, the constant attempts of skeptics to find “alternate” or “contrary” versions of Christianity in “lost” or “forgotten” (and often supposedly “suppressed”) writings has probably become irritating. Such attempts have failed horribly. Contradictorily, skeptics like to leave the impression that there are no works outside of the Bible that parallel or converge with it. In ignoring the vast canon of the writings that obviously do exist, Christians have unwittingly supported the skeptics.

There is much more on these ancient documents that can be said. Brian Godawa in his Chronicles of the Nephilim has drawn from some of these books for a spectacular adventure and alludes to what these works might contain. For now, keep in mind that simply because many of these books were never intended to be completely historical (or inspired) documents does not mean no value exists in them.

Or no forgotten bits of our past.

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