Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/649

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


tents, and of the fact that it was reprinted at least thrice during the century, this early apocryphon suffered the singular fate of being absolutely forgotten until a year or two ago, when attention was called to it once more.

Not until 1552 did any of Philo's works appear in Greek. It was Adrien Turnebe who produced the first collection. John Christopherson, afterwards Bishop of Chichester, Sigismund Gelenius, Frederic Morel, and David Hoeschel were the scholars who contributed most to the publication and elucidation of this author during the second half of the century; but no great collective edition of his works was brought out before the seventeenth century.

Josephus, as we have seen, was known during the medieval period through the medium of ancient Latin versions. As late as the year 1524, indeed, doubts were expressed by scholars as to whether the Greek originals of his writings were still in existence. Many editions in Latin were produced from about 1470 until 1544. One of these (that of Basel, 1537) had been superintended by Erasmus. In 1544 the first Greek Josephus appeared-also at Basel, and from Froben's press. The text was supplied mainly by a manuscript, then the property of Diego Hurtado Mendoza, which, with other of his books, found a home in the Escurial. An Orleans edition, printed in 1591 by de la Roviere, also gave the Greek text. Exactly a century later Thomas Ittig superintended a Leipzig edition, and Edward Bernard issued a portion of one at Oxford.

We may next say something of the apocryphal literature; and in so doing we will confine ourselves to that connected with the New Testament. The Old Testament pseudepigrapha, other than those which were circulated with the Vulgate or the Septuagint-the Fourth Book of Esdras, for example, or the Prayer of Manasses-were almost wholly unknown during our period; of the one really important exception, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, we have already spoken. On the other hand there were spurious Gospels, Epistles, and Acts of Apostles which continued to influence popular imagination and sacred art both in East and West. The Gospel of Nicodemus, so-called, the letters of Paul and Seneca, the correspondence of our Lord with Abgarus of Edessa, had never been forgotten. Narratives of the Infancy of the Virgin and of Christ enjoyed a certain repute; and the fabulous Passions of the Apostles were taken seriously by the mass of readers.

The first document of this class which had been previously unknown to the West was the important so-called Protevangelhim. This had been brought from the East by Guillaume Postel, who insisted that it was a genuine work of James, the brother of the Lord, and contained authentic history; for these assertions he was soundly castigated by Henri Estienne, who seems to have suspected, wrongly, that Postel