Page:LostApocryphaOfTheOldTestamentMRJames.djvu/73

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55
THE OLD TESTAMENT

One is in a very curious Latin document, itself apocryphal, which is entitled The Epistle of Titus, the disciple of Paul, and is preserved in an eighth-century MS. at Würzburg. It has not been printed as a whole, but Dom. D. de Bruyn, O.S.B., has published in the Revue Bénédictine (1900, pp. 149–160) a number of apocryphal quotations from it. One is this: "The prophet Helias bears witness that he saw: 'The angel of the Lord,' saith he, 'showed me a deep valley which is called Gehenna, burning with sulphur and pitch, and in that place are many souls of sinners, and thus are they tortured with divers torments. Some suffer hanging . . . by their tongues, some by their eyes, others hang head downward; women will be tormented by their breasts, and youths hanging by their hands; certain maidens are burned upon a gridiron and some souls are fixed (? pierced) with perpetual pain. Now by these divers torments is shown the act of every one. . . . They that hang by the tongues are blasphemers and also false witnesses: they that are burned (read hung by) their eyes are they that have [been] offended in regard of sight, because they looked upon things done guiltily in concupiscence: but they that hang head downwards, these are they that hated the righteousness of God, being of evil counsel, neither did any agree with his brother: rightly, therefore, are they burned (? hung) by the decree of punishment (lit. punishment of decree). But whereas women are commanded to be tormented in their breasts, these are they which gave their bodies unto men in lasciviousness, wherefore the men also will be hard by them in torments, hanging by their hands upon this account."

My version tries to give an idea of the obscurity and badness of the Latin. The passage shows that part of the Apocalypse at least dealt with visions of the next world, and that in it hell-torments were described (as they are in the Apocalypse of Peter), as suited to the sin of the sufferer. This fashion rules in a whole series of later Christian Apocalypses; but it is a deduction from the lex talionis and is exemplified in writings