What about the Apocrypha?  I have been talking about how we got the books of the Bible – both Old Testament and New Testament – and how other books came to be left out.  But what are the books of the Apocrypha, where did they come from, and why do some communities of faith (but not others) accept them as authoritative?

When someone refers to “The” Apocrypha they are speaking of the “Old Testament Apocrypha,” a set collection of books written by Jewish authors (not Christian).  There are also Christian apocryphal books (e.g., other Gospels – such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Mary – and other epistles, Acts, and apocalypsese that did not make it into the NT).  But these are not called “The” Apocrypha.  That term instead refers to the books written, as a rule, between the end of the OT and the beginning of the NT that are included in some Christian Bibles as canonical or semi-canonical.

Here is some basic information about the Apocrypha, lifted from my Introduction to the Bible.  (At the end I repeat the chart I gave before that maps out which Christian denominations accept which of the books in question)


In addition to the Dead Sea Scrolls, there was other literature written by Jewish authors that cannot be found in the Hebrew Bible, but that is of great importance for anyone interested in it.  Of these other Jewish books, none is of greater historical significance than…

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