Apocrypha (əpŏk´rĬfə) [Gr.,=hidden things], term signifying a collection of early Jewish writings excluded from the canon of the Hebrew scriptures. It is not clear why the term was chosen. The Apocrypha include the following books and parts of books: First and Second Esdras; Tobit; Judith; the Additions to Esther; Wisdom of Solomon; Sirach (also called Ecclesiasticus); Baruch; the Letter of Jeremiah (in Baruch); parts of Daniel (the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men; see also Bel and the Dragon and Susanna1); First and Second Maccabees; the Prayer of Manasses (see Manasseh). All are included in the Septuagint, with the exception of 2 Esdras (4 Ezra). However, they were not included in the Hebrew canon (ratified c.AD 100). In 1566 the collection was deemed "deutero-canonical" by the Roman Catholic Church, meaning that their canonicity was recognized only after a period of time. Protestants follow Jewish tradition in regarding all these books as non-canonical. Jewish and Christian works resembling biblical books, but not included among the Apocrypha, are collected in the Pseudepigrapha. The term Apocrypha is sometimes applied to early Christian writings that were once considered canonical by some but are not in the New Testament.

See The Oxford Annotated Apocrypha (1977); G. W. E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah (1981).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Apocrypha: Selected full-text books and articles

Invitation to the Apocrypha By Daniel J. Harrington S.J W.B. Eerdmans, 1999
The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations By Bart D. Ehrman; Zlatko PlešE Oxford University Press, 2011
The Story of the Apocrypha By Edgar J. Goodspeed The University of Chicago Press, 1939
The Apocryphal Old Testament By H. F. D. Sparks Clarendon Press, 1984
Sixth Ezra: The Text and Origin By Theodore A. Bergren Oxford University Press, 1998
The Apocryphal Jesus: Legends of the Early Church By J. K. Elliott Oxford University Press, 1996
A New Commentary on Holy Scripture: Including the Apocrypha By Charles Gore; Henry Leighton Goudge; Alfred Guillaume Macmillan, 1936
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