Apart from the canonical Book of Ezra in the Old Testament, several apocryphal books bearing Ezra's name have been at one time or another known and esteemed in the Church.
In the MSS of the Greek Bible the book entitled 'Esdras A' represents a parallel version of the material contained in the canonical 2 Chron.xxxv-xxxvi, Ezra, and Nehemiah: there are two substantial omissions, one noteworthy addition, and a variety of minor variations both in order and in detail. There is no reason for thinking that Esdras A was derived directly from the canonical Ezra-Nehemiah, either in Hebrew or in Greek: in all probability it was a fresh Greek translation of a different recension of the Hebrew. In the Latin Bible it appears as 'III Ezra' (or Esdras), and it is now usually printed an an appendix after the New Testament. In the English Apocrypha it stands first as '1 Esdras'.1
'2 Esdras', which stands next in our Apocrypha, is a completely independent work with complications of its own. In the Latin Bible it is identified as 'IV Ezra' (or Esdras), and in the modern editions follows 'III Ezra' in the appendix. The central part of the book (chaps. iii-xiv) is preserved not only in Latin, but also in not less than seven Oriental versions; and it is evident from quotations in the Fathers that there was at one time a Greek version as well. Most scholars regard chaps. iii-xiv (which are in form an apocalypse) as the original core, written by a Jew in either Hebrew or Aramaic about the end of the first cent. AD, to which were added subsequently chaps. i-ii as an introduction and chaps. xv-xvi as a conclusion. These additions now survive only in Latin, although a 4th cent. fragment of a Greek text of xv. 57-59 is known, havingbeen published in 1910.2 It is not uncommon, following the lead of____________________