HOUSMAIL HM#075 - PSEUDEPIGRAHA="REVERSE PLAGIARISM" 8 May 2001
Whilst researching for a short paper on the Book of Enoch, I encountered the term "Pseudepigrapha" - and it seemed both logical and important, to define the term itself, before writing the paper!
FIRST - WHAT IS PLAGIARISM?
Plagiarism is copying someone else's words or ideas, and claiming them as your own original work. It is sometimes practised in the academic and scientific world, by those who seek "status" amongst their peers, and recognition by the world as "experts"! It is commonly found amongst students in schools and universities, when they run short of ideas for their assignments!
Amongst academics and teachers, it is widely and variously described as STEALING, LYING, DISHONESTY, AND CHEATING. It is regarded as a serious offence. Students are routinely "failed" when detected committing this SIN!
Amongst Christians it needs to be recognised for what it is. Since it involves DECEPTION, those who practise it, walk in the Devil's territory!
WHAT IS PSEUDEPIGRAPHA?
Pseudepigrapha is one of those BIG theological words that most Christians seldom encounter. It is the term used to describe a very great number of old Jewish writings, falsely ascribed by their writers, to the authorship of various well known OT personalities.
It has been described as "REVERSE PLAGIARISM". i.e. Instead of stealing the WORDS, the author steals the NAME of some famous person, and signs it to his own work. If it was a painting, we would call it a FORGERY!
The motivation often seems to be to give a false appearance of "authority" and "authenticity" to the work, in order to gain acceptance amongst readers, for the theories presented. Writings in this category are often quite "fanciful", and like the original "Serpent's Lie", they can contain a VERY deceptive mixture of truth and error. However, for those familiar with the Scriptures, they are fairly easily recognised as UNBIBLICAL fabrications.
The main point to be kept in mind, is that since they start with a LIE
about their true source, the subject matter is also suspect! They cannot
be trusted AT ALL, unsupported, as a source of important truth! Those who
too easily believe one LIE, are also easily deluded when it comes to loving
and believing important truth about other things. (2
TO BELIEVE AND PROPAGATE A LIE, IS TO WALK IN THE DEVIL'S TERRITORY!
THE BOOK OF 1 ENOCH
This brings us back to where we started. The book of 1 Enoch, is classified as PSEUDEPIGRAHIC!
It contains much that is easily identified as NOT BIBLICAL. It is to be approached with GREAT CAUTION!
Why then do 2 Peter and Jude seem to quote from it as though it were authentic? And why do some accept it as though that NT use makes it virtually, or at least partly, "inspired"?
God willing that will be the subject of another short paper in the near future.