Page:LostApocryphaOfTheOldTestamentMRJames.djvu/102

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THE LOST APOCRYPHA OF

fifth or sixth century MS. of Arian origin: and our Homilist was an Arian of the fifth century, who wrote in Greek.

I am myself very much puzzled by this question of what the Testament of Hezekiah was. There must have been more of it, one is inclined to say, than Dr. Charles assigns to it. Did it perchance go on to relate the destinies of Manasseh, and was it the source of his Prayer? I hardly think so. The Apostolical Constitutions (Didascalia) are our earliest evidence for the Prayer, and my reading of them suggests that they are using an interpolated text of Chronicles. There is nothing Christian in the Prayer, and the Testament as quoted by Cedrenus is Christian. Or is "Testament of Hezekiah" an alternative title for what we call the Ascension of Isaiah? It would be a strange one, and it has left no other trace. Yet Cedrenus is not likely to have invented it.

My acceptance of Dr. Charles' view is impeded by the strong case with which Professor Burkitt (in his Schweich Lectures on Apocalypses) has made out in favour of the unity of the whole Ascension. He is

seconded by Mr. Vacher Burch (Journal Theol. Studies, 1918).[1] He does allow, it is true, for the interpolation

  1. Mr. Burch's article seeks to show from a passage in Asc. iv. 21, 22, that the Ascension is avowedly based upon the primitive Christian book of Testimonies (which Dr. Rendel Harris and he have investigated with such interesting results). The words on which he bases his speculation are these (iv. 21): "and the descent of the Beloved unto Sheol, behold, it is written in that section where the Lord saith, 'Behold, my son will understand' (Isa. lii. 13). And all these things, behold, they are written in the parables of David," etc. (here follows an enumeration of prophetical books). The "section" referred to is, according to Mr. Burch, a section of the book of Testimonies. But surely the two verses which immediately precede his quotation tend to show that it is a section of the canonical Book of Isaiah which is being cited. They run thus: (19) "and the rest of the words of the vision are written in the vision of Babylon (Isa. xiii.). (20) And the rest of the vision regarding the Lord, behold, it is written in the parables according to my words which are written in the book which I publicly prophesied." Mr. Burch takes no notice of these two verses, which I am afraid