Pseudo epigrams or anonymous writings

The question of authorship or attribution is important.  Like many of the books of the Old Testament, some of the books attributed to some authors in the New Testament writings are not the persons mentioned.  Moses did not write all the Torah.  Paul did not write all the letters attributed to him.  The technical scholarly name for this is pseudo epigrams.  Sometimes, they are forgeries.  These false attributions exist for a number of biblical books.  Since we do not know the names of many of the writers of these books in the Bible, we can say that anonymous people wrote these works.  However, I have decided to use the traditional attributed names that have been associated with these pseudo epigram works to better identify them.

The Pauline letters to the seven specific churches

There are fourteen Pauline epistles, letters generally attributed to the apostle Paul.  The Greek name for a letter was epistle (ἐπιστολὴ).  Nine of these Pauline epistles were addressed to seven Christian Churches that he had visited.  1 Thessalonians, from the early 50s CE, is perhaps the oldest document of the New Testament.  2 Thessalonians dates from the early to late 60s CE.  The letter to the Romans was composed between 53-57 CE.  1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians date from 53-57 CE also.  The letter to the Galatians comes from the late 50s CE), while the letter to the Colossians dates from the late 50s to the early 60s CE.  The letters to the churches of the Ephesians and the Philippians comes from the early 60s CE.  A lot of Christian theology has been based on the reflections of these letters that were describing what was happening in their early Christian communities.

The four canonical gospels

There are four canonical gospels that have been ascribed to various individuals.  The Gospel of Matthew, from around 70-100 CE, was attributed to Matthew, the apostle.  The Gospel of Mark, from around 60-70 CE, was attributed to a companion of Peter called Mark.  The Gospel of Luke, from around 80-90 CE, was considered to be a traveling companion of Paul.  The Gospel of John, from the later 90-100 CE, was attributed to the apostle of Jesus named John.

The Writings

The Writings, as they were referred to in the New Testament, were the poetic or wisdom books.  They include the Psalms, some written by David, but mostly ranging from the 10th–4th century BCE, and the Proverbs, ascribed to Solomon, ranging from the 9th century–3rd century BCE, as well as the Book of Job, from the 6th century BCE.  Both the Psalms and Proverbs were written over a period of time, but they each have an author attributed to them, King David to the Psalms, and King Solomon to the ProverbsJob was not an Israelite, but his story was instructive to the Israelites.

The prayer of Habakkuk (Hab 3:1-3:1)

“A prayer

Of Habakkuk,

The prophet,

According to Shigionoth.”

This last chapter is clearly a prayer or hymn of Habakkuk the prophet.  Like the psalms attributed to David, it may not have been written by him, but inspired by Habakkuk.  They were to sing this using the melody of Shigionoth or a lamentation.  Thus, this hymn or prayer may have been used in their worship services.

The punishments (Lam 5:1-5:2)

“Remember!

Yahweh!

What has befallen us!

Behold!

See our disgrace!

Our inheritance

Has been

Turned over

To strangers.

Our homes

Have been

Turned over

To aliens.”

This fifth lament has 22 verses also, but it is not an acrostic poem, since the opening lines do not use the Hebrew alphabet. However, it clearly is a personal lament about Jerusalem, usually attributed to Jeremiah himself. He wanted Yahweh to remember this situation. He wanted Yahweh to see their disgrace. Their inheritance has been given to strangers and aliens who live in their houses.

The invitation of wisdom (Sir 24:18-24:22)

“‘I am the mother of beautiful love.

I am the mother of fear.

I am the mother of knowledge.

I am the mother of holy hope.

Being eternal,

I am given to

All my children.

I am given to

Those who are named by him.

Come to me!

You who desire me!

Eat your fill of my fruits!

The memory of me

Is sweeter than honey.

The possession of me

Is sweeter than the honeycomb.

Whoever eats me

Will hunger for more.

Whoever drinks me

Will thirst for more.

Whoever obeys me

Will not be put to shame.

Whoever works with me

Will not sin.’”

Sirach has wisdom extend an invitation to all people to come to her.   Wisdom is the mother of beautiful love, fear, knowledge, and holy hope. She has been given to all her children. She invites all who desire her to come to her. Thus they may eat the full of her fruits. Her memory and the possession of her is sweeter than honey and honeycombs. Anyone who eats and drinks of her will want more. Whoever obeys her will not be put to shame. They will not sin. She is a great female intercessor with God, much like the later Christian Virgin Mary. At the same time, she sometimes has qualities that were later attributed to the Christian Holy Spirit.