Anathema to believers, irrelevant to infidels, reading the banned books of the Apocrypha takes someone who believes and wishes they didn’t in order to go searching for clues into our collective spiritual malaise and for healing stories to tend the soul afflicted by Single System systems.
Most of the books are banned because they make some reference to Wisdom/Sophia, Yahweh’s old wife…
DON’T MENTION HER NAME…
who was dumped for the new bride, Israel…
He’s a bit touchy on the subject and the Apocrypha reads like the dream journal of a troubled deity with interrupted REM sleep…
What you are forbidden or discouraged from reading says a great deal. It is about way more than social control or extracting taxes. Its also about identity and the state of your relationship with the gods.
Ontological insecurity can be more threatening than death anxiety itself (how much do you exist in the first place?) which makes it all the easier to kill one another over who reads what. The unearthed sacred texts at nag Hammadi were buried there by someone who was afraid for his or her life and did not survive long enough to reclaim them….
Some of these books to-die-for are not so obvious as to their wickedness. Some were made canonical on pain of death but then, after several centuries of sober reflection, banned on pain of death….
At the apex of the period we euphemistically call the Renaissance, owning such a book, even asking about it or wanting a peek, could get you torched quicker than you can say ‘psychotic delusional paranoia’.
The majority of Christendom’s searing scream-fests, for they were intended as spectacle, held during these noble and enlightened times, were not of witches, but of ‘heretics’, anyone who had no mates and whose toe had strayed from the path: who had perhaps asked an imprudent question, wondered out loud about the doctrine of transubstantiation, or why angels might rebel…
So, what’s in these stories is dynamite of some kind..
Take the seemingly innocuous Book of Tobit, cast down by a mighty ecumenical quilling at the Council of Trent in 1546, from being the equal of Isiah to being the cause of your nasty end if you say otherwise…
..Tobit was a wealthy exile living in Ninevah circa 800 BC. One hot night after burying a body, Tobit slept outside. Sparrow droppings fell into his eyes and blinded him. He prayed to God to let him die. On that same day in Media, Sarah, one of Tobit’s kinsman, also prayed for death because she was constantly ridiculed for having been married seven times. Each time, after the ceremony, the demon Asmodeus had killed her husband before the marriage could be consummated.
God hears both prayers.
With Tobit expecting to die soon, he sends his only son, Tobiah, to Media on an errand. Tobiah is accompanied by the angel Raphael. En route, Tobiah is attacked by a large fish which Raphael shows him how to kill. He also instructs him to remove its gall bladder, liver, and heart, because they “can be used as medicines.” Upon arriving in Media, Tobiah marries Sarah at Raphael’s insistence. He uses the fish heart and liver to magically dispose of the demon and protect the marriage bed. When Tobiah returns home, he applies the gall and restores his father’s sight.
No big deal, right? Everyone is riteous and the good are rewarded. And anyway the book was made canonical by the Council of Carthage in 397AD…
So someone, somewhere, must have looked at it one day and saw something…
and here’s what it is..
They weren’t rewarded by the mighty arm of Yahweh at all. Yahweh doesn’t come into it. They rewarded themselves. Tobit’s peity was rooted in the Principle of Relatedness, in the Old Ways, in virtue being its own reward and not in the abstract faith required by Holy Emperors, which, by 1546 had become an establishment celebrating a millenium of its own divine status.
”There’s this sentence in the gospel about rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. Jesus said that in the context of a pagan Caesar. Once Caesar is Christian, the things line up differently. There’s a kind of theologizing of secular power and a secularization of episcopal power.” W. Godwin.
Tobit was an exile from the northern kingdom of Israel which still adhered, in some degree of secrecy, to the Goddess, Wisdom/Sophia..
DON’T MENTION HER NA..
oh, do shut up.
The focus is on redemption through relatedness. His burial of the body in the beginning of the story is against the rules of Establishment which he breaks in order to honour the spirit of the dead.
”The moral teaching of Tobit shows endless parallels with the Wisdom tradition in it’s solicitude of social justice and service [to one another].” F. Bruce.
being blinded with birdshit seems like poor recompense or even punishment for his devotions which he does not recant but just wishes to die. ‘If you’re going to be like that, just kill me…’
not a lot of faith..
which the Council of Trent now required of prophets. Faith in redemption, in judgement, in god’s promises, in heaven, in forgiveness..
all of which will be dolled out tomorrow…
and not the ghastly grime of moment present, in which redeeming acts of random kindness might occur, eruptions of spontaneous charity,
wherein humanity is redeemed via the recognition of divine immanence in one another rather than by fearful deference to a remote and transcendent god.
Moreover, Tobias is pally with Raphael who is never named in the Old Testament on account of him being part of the angelic mob described by Enoch, equally persona non gratis, as having quit Heaven to consort with mortals, particularly the ladies, and treacherously taught them all kinds of cool stuff conducive to self reliance….
like how to defend yourself from man-eating fish and what parts of it can be used for apotropaic purposes…
to defeat demons..
You can’t just have random people swanning about the countryside being given inside information on how to prevail against the Lord of Darkness and rescuing damsels without official documentation.
It won’t do. It makes those in power look redundant and foolish. Moreover it frustrates the wonderful loophole that allows for us to perceive ourselves as pious without having to actually look out for one another, the joy of being able to do what we like so long as we are sorry later.
It’s not acceptable that Asmodeaus is defeated, not by God, but by a naive young fool from a tribe with dodgy inclinations and love in his heart who values betweeness-in-the-moment over faith-in-tomorrow.
and then he has the gall…
to go and cure his father, who was clearly in the process of being punished by God for his indescretions and wasn’t even sorry for his sinful adherance to tradition.
and pull the toenails out of anyone who protests.