The apocryphon of Ezekiel.
Counted among the pseudepigrapha.
(Greek, Latin, and English).
Online Critical Pseudepigrapha.
University of Pennsylvania: Apocryphon of Ezekiel (English paraphrase only).
Apocryphon of Ezekiel at Wikipedia.
EJW (Peter Kirby).
The apocryphon of Ezekiel is counted as one
of the pseudepigrapha. It is lost to us except for quotations from various
church fathers and Chester Beatty papyrus 185.
Peter Kirby (Early Jewish Writings).
Peter Kirby surveys scholars writing on the apocryphon of Ezekiel:
James Charlesworth writes (The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, pp.
Extant only in quotations by the Fathers and in three fourth-century fragments
of Chester Beatty Papyrus 185 are remnants of one or more apocryphal compositions
attributed to Ezekiel. Four of these quotationstwo by Epiphanius (Haer.
64.70, 6-17; 30.30, 3), and one each by Clement of Rome (1 Clem. 8.3)
and Clement of Alexandria (Quis dives salv. 40.2 and parallel citations)and
the text of Chester Beatty Papyrus 185 are republished by A.-M. Denis (no.
23, pp. 121-28). An English translation of these quotations was published
by M. R. James (LAOT. Pp. 64-68).
At least one pseudepigraphon is as early as the first century A.D., because
Josephus mentions two books of Ezekiel (Ant. 10.5, 1). The extant fragments
are certainly Jewish; but some of them, especially number two, reveal that
somewhere in the transmission there may have been editing by a Jewish Christian
(see the similar idea expressed by C. Bonner, The Homily on the Passion
by Melito Bishop of Sardis with Some Fragments of the Apocryphal Ezekiel
[St. and Doc. 12] Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1940; p. 185;
see pl. II for one side of the papyrus fragments). A date of composition somewhere
between 50 B.C. and A.D. 50 was suggested by K. Holl ("Das Apokryphon
Ezekiel," Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Kirchengeschichte. Tübingen:
Mohr, 1928. Vol. 2, p. 39), and this proposal has met with wide approval (e.g.,
J. B. Frey in DBSup 1, col. 460; E. Kutsch, no. 826; A.-M. Denis, no.
24, p. 190; E.B. Oikonomos, no. 827, col. 750).
The first fragment is a relatively long excerpt preserving a parable about
a blind and a lame man who combined abilities to destroy the king's garden
because they had not been invited to the son's marriage feast. The just judge
perceives how the act had been accomplished and hears each culprit blame the
other. The purpose of the parable is to illustrate that the body and soul
are joined together, sharing a common fate. (A similar story is found in rabbinic
sources; cf. Sanh. 91 a-b, Mekh. Shirata 2; Lev. R. 4. 5.) The second is very
short and has been linkd with the virgin birth of Jesus: "and the heifer
shall bear and they shall say, 'she has not born.'" The third fragment
contains a plea for Israel to repent, and the fourth contains an idea concerning
J. R. Mueller and S. E. Robinson write: "The Apocryphon of Ezekiel cannot
be dated later than the end of the first century A.D. 1 Clement (c. A.D. 95)
uses the Apocryphon as one of its sources, and the Jewish historian Flavius
Josephus noted (Ant. 10.5.1) that Ezekiel had left behind two books,
of which we may assume one to have been the apocryphon. The earliest possible
date cannot be determined as precisely, although the conjecture of K. Holl and
J.-B. Frey, placing the composition of the document between 50 B.C. and A.D.
50, has been generally accepted." (The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha,
vol. 1, p. 488)