Epiphanius (on the Twelve Gems) speaks of an "Esdras the priest—not that Esdras who was called Salathiel, whose father was Zorobabel, which Zorobabel was son to Jechonias." Epiphanius—who is wrong, by the way, in his genealogy—nowhere shows any knowledge of 4 Esdras. It is evident from what he says, and from other sources, that the name Esdras was supposed to have been that of several persons; one authority definitely states that Esdras the prophet, the author of 4 Esdras, and Esdras the scribe, the author of the canonical Ezra, lived about 100 years apart: also, 4 Esdras is dated, in its opening words, in the thirtieth year of the ruin of the city (530 B.C.), whereas Ezra the scribe belongs to the middle of the next century. The equation of Salathiel with Esdras is based, I believe, upon 1 Chron. iii. 17, where we read, "and the sons of Jeconiah, Assir, Salathiel his son": and Assir, in despite of phonetic laws, was thought to be, or was forcibly assimilated to, the name Ezra: Assir and Salathiel being taken as two names for one man.
Further details may be read in two articles of mine in the Journal of Theological Studies for 1917 and 1918. The matter is of some little importance, because, if my view is correct, it does away with the only formidable argument in favour of the dissection of 4 Esdras into a congeries of documents.
The first two and last two chapters of the Latin version of 4 Esdras as they stand in our Apocrypha are later accretions. Chapters i., ii. are an independent Christian Apocalypse, surviving only in Latin. Chapters xv., xvi. are prophecies of woes conceived in the spirit of the Old Testament prophets and the Sibylline Oracles. They nowhere contain the name of an author: a small fragment has recently been found in Greek among the Oxyrhynchus papyri; otherwise they are preserved only in Latin.
There are several later Apocalypses of Esdras. One in Greek, edited from a single Paris MS. by Tischendorf (Apocalypses Apocryphæ): one in Latin, printed by Mercati (Studi e Testi 5, 1901), and also by Bratke in