Over at realclearreligion, I have a new column on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and particularly the very important Slavonic texts that have turned up over the past 150 years.

These Slavonic materials are extraordinarily important. They represent a collection of truly ancient documents, mainly from Second Temple Judaism. Through the Byzantine Empire, they found their way to the Slavic world, to Bulgaria and Serbia, where they were translated. In many cases, these texts were utterly forgotten elsewhere, so their modern rediscovery has transformed the academic study of early Judaism, Christian origins, and the roots of Jewish mysticism.

I also note that these texts appeared in just the same regions that gave birth to Dualist heresies in the Middle Ages. This might be coincidence, but a causal link is also quite possible.

As I wrote:

Just suppose that those apocrypha themselves started East European clerics thinking in Dualist directions, and laid the foundations for the heretical movements we see emerging no later than the tenth century. That would mean a direct influence from the long-destroyed fringes of Second Temple Judaism through the heresies of medieval Europe. So were the Inquisitors of the thirteenth century actually struggling against ideas that originated in Alexandria and Jerusalem over a thousand years before? It’s a stunning thought.

Dan Brown, eat your heart out.

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  • RalphJones

    The History Channel TV show, Pawn Stars, purchased a Slavonic hand
    written copy of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. Their expert
    said it was dated some time in the 18th century .

  • Suburbanbanshee

    I believe that Knox’s book on The Great Heresies points out a lot of these connections, but more on a conceptual level than by any kind of proof.