REVELATIONS, SPURIOUS (r6v't-la'shtins, spirrl-us). See APOCRYPHA.
The Apocalyptic character, which is occupied in describing the future splendor of the Messianic kingdom and its historical relations, presents it self for the first time in the book of Daniel, which is thus characteristically distinguished frbm the former prophetical books. In the only prophet ical book of the New Testament, the Apocalypse of St. John, this idea is fully developed, and the several apocryphal revelations are mere imitations, more or less happy, of these two canonical books, which furnished ideas to a numerous class of writers in the first ages of the Christian church. The principal spurious revelations extant have been published by Fabricius, in his Cod. Pscudep. 1'. T., and Cod. Apoe. N. T.; and their character has been still more critically examined in recent times by Archbishop Lawrence (who has added to their number), by Nitzscli, Bleek, and others ; 2nd especially by Dr. Liicke, in his Einleitung in die Offenbarung Johan, und die gesammte °pea lyptische Litteratur.
1. NotNoto Extant. The following spurious apocalyptic writings are no longer extant : ) The Apocalypse of Elias. (2) The Apocalypse of Zephaniah. (3) The Apocalypse of Zechariah. (4) The Apocalypse of Adam. (5) The Apoc alypse of Abraham. (6) The Apocalypse of Moses. (7) The Prophecies of Hystaspes. (8) The Apocalypse of Peter. (9) The Apocalypse of Paul. (to) The Apocalypse of Ccrinthus. ) The Apocalypse of Thomas. (12) The Apocalypse of the protomartyr Stephen.
2. Extant. The following are the extant spu rious revelations : (1) The Ascension and the Vision of Isaiah. ('ApafictriKbP Kat "Opacrts 'llcratov), although for a long time lost to the world, was a work well known to the ancients, as is indicated by the al lusions of Justin Martyr, Origen, Tertullian, and Epiphanius. The first of these writers (Dial. c. Tryph. ed. Par. p. 349) refers to the account therein contained of the death of Isaiah, who 'was sawn asunder with a wooden saw ;' a fact, he adds, 'which was removed by the Jews from the sacred text.' The first writer, however, who mentions the Ascension of Isaiah by name is Epiphanius, in the fourth century, who observes (Hares xl) that the apocryphal Ascension of Isaiah was ad duced by the Archonites in support of their opin ions respecting the seven heavens and their ar chons, or ruling angels, as well as by the Egyp tian Hieracas and his followers in confirmation of their heretical opinions respecting the Holy Spirit.
As to the age of this work, Dr. Laurence sup poses, from the obvious reference to Nero, and the period of three years, seven months, and twen ty-seven days, and again of 332 days, after which Berial was to be dragged to Gehenna, that the work was written after the death of Nero (which took place on the 9th of June, A. D. 68), but be
fore the close of the year 69. Lucke, however (Einleitung in die Offenbarung Johan.), looks upon these numbers as purely arbitrary and apoc alyptical, and maintains that the dogmatical char acter of the work, the allusion to the corruptions of the church, the absence of all reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the Chiliastic view, all point to a later period. All that can be con sidered as certain respecting its date is that the first portion was extant before the time of Ori gen, and the whole before Epiphanius. It has been doubted whether the work does not consist of two independent productions, which were after wards united into one, as in the Ethiopic version: but this is a question impossible to decide in the absence of the original. The Latin fragments dis covered by Mai correspond literally with the Ethiopic, while they not only differ from the Venetian edition in single phrases, but the latter contains passages so striking as to induce the sup position that it is derived from a later recension of the original text.
The author was evidently a Jewish Christian, as appears from the use made of the Talmudical legend already referred to, as well as by his rep resenting the false accuser of Isaiah as a Samar itan. The work also abounds in Gnostic, Valen tinian, and Ophitic notions, such as the account of the seven heavens, and the presiding angels of the first five, the gradual transmutation of Christ until his development in the human form, and finally the docetic conception of his history on earth. All this has induced Liicke (ut supra) to consider the whole to be a Gnostic production of the second or third century. of which, however, the martyrdom was first written. Dr. Laurence finds so strong a resemblance between the account of the seven heavens here, and in the Testament of Levi (Twelve Patriarchs), that he suspects the latter to 'betray a little plagiarism.' If this learned divine were right in his conjecture respecting the early age of this production, it would doubtless afford an additional testimony (if such were wanting) to the antiquity of the belief in the miraculous conception and the proper deity of Jesus, who is here called the Beloved, the Lord, the Lord God, and the Lord Christ. In respect, however, to another passage, in which the Son and Holy Spirit are represented as worshiping God, the learned prelate truly observes that this takes place only in the character of angels, which they had assumed.