Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament 
APOCRYPHA. —This term is here used for those Jewish writings included in the Gr., Lat., and English Bibles to which the title is commonly applied, i.e. the Biblical Apocrypha. For the literary history and characteristics of the Apocrypha see Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, vol. i. s.v. ‘Apocrypha.’ The relation of the Apocrypha to Christ and Christianity, which is the subject of this article, comes especially under four heads—the Messianic idea, the doctrine of Wisdom, the anticipation of Christian doctrines other than that of the Person or mission of Christ, the use of the Apocrypha in the Christian Church.
i. The Messianic Idea.—While this idea is luxuriantly developed in Apocalyptic literature, it is singularly neglected in most of the Apocrypha. The stream of prophecy which ran clear and strong in the OT became turbid and obscure in those degenerate successors of the prophets, the Apocalyptic visionaries. But it was in the line of the prophetic schools of teaching that the Messianic idea was cherished. Accordingly the treatment of the later stage of that teaching as erratic and unauthoritative, not fit for inclusion in the Canon, involved the result that the remaining more sober literature, which was recognized as nearer to the standard of Scripture, and in Egypt included in the later canon (at all events as in one collection of sacred books), was for the most part associated with those schools in which the Messianic hope was not cultivated. Therefore it is not just to say that this hope had faded away or suffered temporary obscurity during the period when the Apocrypha was written, the truth being that it was then more vigorous than ever in certain circles. But these circles were not those of our Old Testament Apocrypha. Thus the question is literary rather than historical. It concerns the editing of certain books, not the actual life and thought of Israel.
This will be evident if we compare the Book of Daniel with 1 Maccabees . These two books deal with the same period. Yet the former, although it does not know a personal Messiah, is the very fount and spring of the Messianic conception of the golden age in subsequent Apocalypses. On the other hand, 1 Maccabees ignores the Messianic hope, at all events in its usually accepted form.
Only two passages in this book can be pointed to as suggesting the Messianic idea, and they will not bear the strain that is sometimes put upon them. The first is 1 Maccabees 2:57 ‘David for being merciful inherited the throne of a kingdom for ever and ever.’ We have here that very elementary form of the Messianic idea, if we may so call it, the permanence of David’s throne. But it is evident that David as the founder of the royal line, not the Messiah, is here referred to, and that the permanence of the throne is for the succession of his descendants, not for any one person. Not only is this the most reasonable interpretation of the passage, but it rests on OT promises to that effect, where the family of David and not the personal Messiah is intended ( e.g. 2 Samuel 7:13; 2 Samuel 7:16, cf. Psalms 132:12). Of this passage, however, as of the earlier Scriptures on which it rests, we may say that the idea contained in it is realized by the permanent reign of David’s great Son, and in a much larger and higher way than had been anticipated. The other passage is 1 Maccabees 4:45-46 ‘And there came into their mind a good counsel, that they should pull it [ i.e. the sanctuary] down, lest it should be a reproach to them, because the Gentiles had defiled it: and they pulled down the altar, and laid up the stones in the mountain of the house in a convenient place, until there should come a prophet to give an answer concerning them.’ This is not even a reference to ‘ the prophet’ of whom we read in John 1:25. It is merely a case of waiting for some prophet to come and say when the temple was to be rebuilt, with no definite assurance that one specifically anticipated prophet was thus destined to arise.
Nevertheless, though we cannot point to any Messianic prophecy in 1 Mac., some of the Psalms attributed to this period indicate a prevalence of ideas that belong to the same circle of thought. Passionate patriotism fired by martyrdom and crowned with temporary success naturally painted great hopes for the nation. The reason why these were not connected with a coming Messiah may be twofold. (1) For a time it seemed likely that the Maccabees themselves were realizing those hopes, that this remarkable family of patriots was really restoring the glory of Israel. (2) Since these men were of the priestly line, the splendour of their achievements eclipsed for the time being the national dreams of the house of David.
The reaction of the later Hasidim , out of whom the Pharisaic party emerged, against the worldly methods of the Hasmonaean family and their identification of the mission of Israel with military prowess, released the more spiritual religious hopes, and so prepared for a revival of Messianic ideas. This new movement, which saw the true good of the nation to lie in her religion and looked for her help from God, did not altogether coincide with the hope of a personal Christ, for God Himself was the Supreme King whose coining was to be expected by His people.
The book of Judith is a romance issuing from the Pharisaic reactionary party; but it is devoid of all specific Messianic ideas. In this case the human saviour of Israel is a woman.
Of the three other popular tales, two, The History of Susanna and Bel and the Dragon , contain nothing bearing on the Messianic idea; but the latter part of Tobit may be accounted Messianic in the general sense as giving a picture of the Golden Age of the future. Jerusalem is to be scourged for her children’s works, but she is to give praise to the everlasting King that ‘afterwards his tabernacle may be builded’ in her ‘again with joy.’ Many nations are to come from far to the name of the Lord God with gifts in their hands. All generations shall praise her with great joy. The city is to be built and paved with precious stones. ‘And all her streets shall say Hallelujah; and they shall praise him, saying, Blessed be God, which hath exalted it for ever’ (To 13:9–18). In all this there is no mention of the son of David or any human king and deliverer. (In the Hebrew variation of the text of this chapter as rendered by Neubauer, we read of ‘the coming of the Redeemer and the building of Ariel,’ i.e. Jerusalem; but evidently this Redeemer is Jahweh). We must go outside our Apocrypha to the Psalms of Solomon for the Pharisaic revival of the Messiah of the line of David.
Apocalyptic literature lends itself more readily to Messianic ideas, and these find full expression in the Book of Enoch , where—in the ‘Similitudes’—the descriptions of the Messiah who appears in clouds as the Son of Man are assigned by Dr. Charles to the pre-Christian Jewish composition.
2 Esdras , also a Jewish Apocalyptic work, calls for closer examination, since it is contained in our Apocrypha, although its late date diminishes its value in the history of the development of thought. The Christian additions (chapters ( a ) 1, 2; ( b ) 15, 16) do not call for attention here; they could only come into the study of the development of Christian thought if they were in any way contributions to that subject; but the warnings of the supplanting of Israel by the Gentiles in ( a ), and the judgment of the nations in ( b ), cannot be regarded in that light. The original work (chapters 3–14) affords significant evidence of the melancholy condition into which Jewish Messianic hopes had sunk during the gloomy interval between the destruction of Jerusalem and the rise of Bar-Cochba, the reign of Domitian (a.d. 81–96) being its generally accepted date (see Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, vol. i. p. 765). Unlike the other Apocryphal writings, since it does not illustrate the transition from the OT to the NT, it is serviceable only in the study of post-Christian Judaism. Its Christian interpolations do not materially hinder us from discovering the original text. The Messianic passages are in chapters 7, 12, and 13. The insertion of the name ‘Jesus’ in 7:28 (not found in the Oriental versions) by a Christian hand is not sufficient reason for discrediting the Jewish character of the composition. The picture of the Messiah is quite un-Christian. It is startling to read that he is to die (7:29); but (1) this is after reigning 400 years, and (2) without a subsequent resurrection. The first point indicates the visionary ideas of the Apocalyptic writer, not the known fact of our Lord’s brief life on earth, and the second is in conflict with the great prominence which the early Christians gave to our Lord’s resurrection. A Messiah who lived for 400 years and then died, and so ended his Messiahship, could not be Jesus Christ. Accordingly the Syriac reads ‘30’ instead of ‘400,’ evidently a Christian emendation. Undoubtedly this is a Jewish conception, and its mournful character, so unlike the triumphant tone of Enoch, is in keeping with the gloomy character of the book, and a reflection of the deep melancholy that took possession of the minds of earnest, patriotic Jews after the fearful scenes of the siege of Jerusalem and the overwhelming of their hopes in a deluge of blood. The reference to the death of the Messiah is not found in the Arabic or the Armenian versions; but it is easy to see how it came to be omitted, while there is no likelihood that it would be inserted later, either by a Jew, to whom the idea would be unwelcome, or by a Christian, since the resurrection is not also mentioned. A noteworthy fact is that the Messiah is addressed by God as ‘My son.’ The Ethiopic of 7:28, instead of ‘My son Jesus’ reads ‘My Messiah,’ and the Armenian, ‘the anointed of God.’ But the reference to sonship occurs elsewhere frequently, e.g. ‘My son Christ,’ or ‘My anointed son’ (7:29; see also 13:32, 37, 52, 14:9, in most versions, but not in Arm.: see Dr. Sanday, art. ‘Son of God’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, vol. iv. p. 571). Since, as Dr. Sanday remarks in the article just referred to, the strongly Messianic passage in Ps-Sol 17:23–51 has not the title ‘Son,’ but clearly borrows from Psalms 2 in v. 26, it is a likely inference that 2 Esdras is here based on that Psalm. Compare the words of the high priest in Matthew 26:63.
In chs. 12 and 13 the writer names Daniel, and manifestly bases his elaboration of the Messianic picture on the Book of Daniel. The Messiah appears as a lion rising up out of a wood and roaring. A certain pre-existence is implied in the assertion that the Most High had kept him ( 2 Esdras 12:32); the Latin has only ‘for the end,’ but the Syriac reads ‘for the end of days, who shall spring up out of the seed of David.’ He will come to upbraid and destroy the guilty people, but he will have mercy on a remnant and deliver them. Similar ideas are repeated in ch. 13, but in a different form. A man comes from the midst of the sea. This is unlike Daniel ( Daniel 7:3; Daniel 7:13), where the four beasts come up from the sea, but the ‘one like unto a son of man’ from the clouds. The Most High has kept him for a great season ( Daniel 7:26), another reference to pre-existence. Similarly later on we read, ‘Like as one can neither seek out nor know what is in the depths of the sea, even so can no man upon earth see my Son, or those that be with him, but in the time of his day’ ( 2 Esdras 13:52). He exists, but hidden till the time when God will reveal him. When he comes and is revealed, ‘it will be as a man ascending.’ ‘When all the nations hear his voice’ they will draw together to fight against him. But he will stand on the top of Mount Zion, and there he will taunt the nations to their face and destroy them without any effort on his part, the instrument of destruction being the Law, which is compared to fire. Then in addition to the saved remnant of the Jews already referred to, the lost ten tribes will be brought back from their exile beyond the Euphrates, whither they had gone by a miraculous passage through the river, and whence they will return by a similar miraculous staying of ‘the springs of the river’ again. Thus we have the idea of a restoration of all Israel under the Messiah, but with no further extension of the happy future so as to include other nations, as in the Christian Apocalyptic conceptions; on the contrary, those nations will be humiliated and chagrined at the spectacle of the glorification of the former victims of their oppression. On the whole we must conclude with Paul Volz ( Jüdische Eschatologic , p. 202) that 2 Ezra adopts the traditional hope of the Messiah, but does not see in it the chief ground of assurance for the future. He is hailed as God’s son, but he appears to have only a temporary existence. He does not bring deliverance from sin; nor is he to come for judgment. His death is the end of his mission.
ii. The Doctrine of Wisdom.—Unlike the Prophetic and Apocalyptic literature which confessedly anticipated a great future, and so furnished a hope which Christianity subsequently claimed to fulfil, the Hebrew Wisdom writings profess to give absolute truth, and betray no consciousness of further developments. Nevertheless the Church was quick to seize on them as teaching the essential Divinity of Christ. The historical method of more recent times sees in them the germs of ideas on this subject which were subsequently developed by Christian theologians of the Alexandrian school. For the doctrine of Wisdom in the OT see D B [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] , art. ‘Wisdom.’ That doctrine in the Apocrypha is in direct succession from the Hokhmah teaching of Proverbs.
1. Sirach. —In the Palestinian school represented by Sirach it is difficult to see much, if any, advance on Proverbs. The idea of Wisdom itself is essentially the same, and the gnomic form of writing continues an identity of method.
( a ) Literary Form .—There is no attempt at metaphysical analysis or philosophical argumentation. This Jewish philosophy is not elucidated by reasoning, or based on logical grounds. It is regarded as intuitive in origin and the treatment of it is didactic. Thus we have nothing like a philosophical or ethical treatise. Much of the writing is directly hortatory, and where the third person is used we have descriptions and reflections, accounts of the nature and function of wisdom, and illustrations of its operations in life and history.
( b ) Unity of Wisdom .—In Sirach, as in Pr., Wisdom is described from two points of view: as found in God and His administration of the world, and as attainable by man in his own character and life. But it is not that God’s wisdom is merely the model or the source of our wisdom. Wisdom throughout, though seen in such different relations, is taken as essentially one entity. It is wisdom, absolute wisdom, that God uses in the administration of the universe, and that man also is exhorted to pursue. This realism in dealing with an abstract notion is the first step towards personification.
( c ) Personification .—As in Proverbs, wisdom is here personified. Wisdom is supposed to act. e.g. ‘How exceeding harsh is she to the unlearned’ ( Sirach 6:20). In a fine passage she celebrates her own praises, glorying in the midst of her people, saying—
‘I came forth from the mouth of the Most High,
And covered the earth as a mist.
I dwelt in high places,
And my throne is in the pillar of the cloud’ ( Sirach 24:3-4);
and, further, after a rich description of the scenes of nature that she influences—
‘In three things I was beautified,
And stood up beautiful before the Lord and men,’ etc. ( Sirach 25:1).
But there is nothing in this personification beyond a free use of the Oriental imagination. No doubt to this vivid imagination such writing presents wisdom as in some way a concrete entity, and more, as a gracious, queenly presence. But all along there are expressions which admit the imaginary character of the whole picture. For instance, the opening passage, describing how Wisdom stood up in the congregation of the Most High to celebrate her own praises, would lose all its force of appeal if it were taken in prosaic literalness. It is just because this is no actual person posing for admiration, but a truth set forth before us, that the whole picture appears to be sublime, and serves its purpose in leading to a high appreciation of wisdom. Then wisdom is identified with understanding: ‘Whoso is wise, cleave thou unto him’ ( Sirach 6:34) … ‘If thou seest a man of understanding, get thee betimes unto him’ ( Sirach 6:36). Thus cultivation of friendship with a man of wisdom or understanding is part of the pursuit of wisdom itself. Even Philo’s much more explicit personification of the Logos does not mean that he held the Logos to be an actual person in our sense of the term. Here all we can say of the subject is that the allegorizing is very vivid, so vivid as to be on the verge of the mythopœic, but still in the original intention of the writer not meant to be more than the glorification of a great quality found primarily in God, impressed on nature, and commended to mankind as a highly desirable attainment.
The difficulty of the question lies in the fact that the Oriental mind would not clearly face this question of personality. The imagination would so vividly realize the allegorical picture that the idea would seem to assume form and body, condensing to an apparently concrete and even personal presence, so that it would be regarded for the time being as a person, and yet in the course of the meditation this would melt again into an abstraction, and in the less imaginative passages be regarded in its original character purely as a mode of thought or action. To apply to the product of such a process the logic of the West, or to attempt to bring it into harmony, say, with Locke’s theory of ideas, is unreasonable. The atmosphere does not allow of so hard a definition of personality as that which may be either affirmed or denied.
( d ) Source .—Wisdom originates in God. She came forth from the mouth of the Most High’ ( Sirach 24:3). ‘Wisdom was created together with the faithful in the womb’ ( Sirach 1:14). She exclaims, ‘He created me from the beginning, before the world’ ( Sirach 24:9). As with Proverbs 8:22, the Arian controversy has given a factitions importance to this sentence. Wisdom is identified with Christ; and thus the Arian doctrine that Christ is a creature, that He was created, not begotten by God and not eternal, appears to have clear support. It is probable that Sirach is dependent on Proverbs, and the rendering of LXX Septuagint (ἔκτισε) is doubtful.* [Note: The Hebrew of Proverbs (קָנָה) is rendered in RV as well as AV ‘possessed.’ Still RVm has ‘formed,’ in agreement with Bertheau, Zockler, Hitzig, and Ewald, and Delitzsch has the similar word ‘produced’; moreover, Syr. and Targ. agree with the LXX. In Proverbs 4:7קָנָה is rendered ‘get,’ and certainly there it can only have that meaning.] But the much debated point is of little real importance; indeed, it is of no value till we grant that Wisdom in Proverbs and Sirach is (1) personal, and (2) identical with Christ. The denial of (1) in the previous paragraph carries with it the exclusion of (2). Nevertheless, apart from the Arian conception, we still have the idea of the creation of wisdom to account for. This, however, is but a consequence of the allegorical personification in conjunction with the thought that wisdom proceeds from God. That has a twofold signification, corresponding to the two aspects of wisdom. First, God is the source of His own wisdom. He has not to learn; all His plans and purposes spring from His own mind. Secondly, mankind learns wisdom from God; it is His gift to His children. Wisdom is with all flesh according to God’s ‘ gift ’ ( Sirach 1:10).
( e ) Characteristics .—There is an intellectual element in wisdom, which is the highest exercise of the mind. The opposite of wisdom is folly, a stupid and brutish thing. The Divine side of wisdom most clearly exhibits this character. Wisdom created by God is with God, and therefore is seen in His presence and works. Nevertheless, Sirach makes very little reference to the manifestation of wisdom in Nature or Providence. The whole stress is on this Divine gift as an object of aspiration for mankind. Wisdom is seen as the best of all human possessions. The sublimity of wisdom is set forth in order to fire the enthusiasm of men to have their lives enriched with the Divine grace. This is just the same as in Proverbs. So also are two further characteristics of Hebrew wisdom. First, it is moral. It is concerned with the practical reason, not the speculative. Its realm is ethics, not metaphysics. It is not a philosophy for solving the riddle of the universe; it is a guide to conduct. The ethics is not discussed theoretically; there is no theory of ethics. The aim of the book is practical, and the treatment of wisdom is didactic and hortatory. Sirach even discourages speculation, in directing the attention solely to conduct—
‘Seek not things that are too hard for thee,
And search not out things that are above thy strength.
The things that have been commanded thee, think thereupon;
For thou hast no need of the things that are secret’ ( Sirach 3:21-22).
Second, it is religious. Wisdom here, as in Proverbs, is identified with the fear of the Lord. The way to attain wisdom is to keep the Law—
‘If thou desire wisdom, keep the commandments,
And the Lord shall give her unto thee freely’ ( Sirach 1:26).
Like Proverbs, Sirach contains a quantity of shrewd worldly wisdom, and it is eminently prudential in aim; but it is the better self that is considered, and the higher interests, rather than wealth and pleasure, that are studied. In this way the whole book is concerned with the exposition of the nature and merits of wisdom.
2. Baruch. —The eloquent celebration of the praises of wisdom in this book, which probably dates from the 1st cent. a.d. (see D B [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] , art. ‘Baruch’), is on similar lines to Sirach. Wisdom is like choice treasure, to be sought out from far. But since she is above the clouds or beyond the sea, no man can be expected to reach so far. There is only One who can do this. ‘He that knoweth all things knoweth her’ ( Baruch 3:32). Here the idea is different from that of Sirach. Wisdom is not created by God, but is found by Him, as though an independent pre-existence—‘He found her out with His understanding’ ( ib. ). But the personification is thinner and more pallid than in Sirach. There is no real dualism. The language is little more than a metaphorical expression of the idea that God has the wisdom which is above human reach. Still it goes on into a sort of myth, for Wisdom thus discovered by God hidden in some remote region afterwards appears on earth and becomes conversant with men ( Baruch 3:37). Here we have a curious parallel to the Johannine conception of the Word originally with God and then becoming incarnate and dwelling with men. But Baruch has no conception of incarnation, and the idea has no place in the Hebrew personification of wisdom.
3. Wisdom .
( a ) The nature of Wisdom .—Although, as an Alexandrian work in touch with Greek philosophy, the Bk. of Wisdom carries the doctrine of Hokhmah a stage forward in the direction of Philo, it is essentially Jewish, and its idea of wisdom is fundamentally the same as that of Proverbs and Sirach, but with additions, some of which may be attributed to Hellenic influences. The essential Hebrew elements, however, remain. While a movement of intellect, wisdom is practical, moral, and religious. We are no more in the regions of metaphysics or even abstract ethical speculation than in the Palestinian literature. Thus we read—
‘For her true beginning is desire of discipline;
And the care for discipline is love of her’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 6:17).
( b ) Personification .—The personification of Wisdom, though still very shadowy, is a little more accentuated than in Sirach. Wisdom is described as ‘a spirit’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 1:6), and as such seems to be identified with ‘the spirit of God’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 1:7). In answer to Solomon’s prayer God gave him ‘a spirit of wisdom’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 7:7). ‘She is a breath of the power of God’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 7:25). She sits as God’s ‘assessor’ (Drummond) by His side on His throne ( Wisdom of Solomon 9:4). When, however, various functions, such as Creation and Providence, seem to be ascribed to her, this cannot be as to a personal agent, because they are also ascribed to God ( e.g. Wisdom of Solomon 9:1-2). It must be, therefore, that God is thought of as doing these things by means of His wisdom.
( c ) Attributes .—A string of 21 attributes, in thoroughly Greek style, is ascribed to the spirit of Wisdom ( Wisdom of Solomon 7:22 ff.). Among other things, she is said to be ‘only begotten’ (μονογενές, the very word used of Christ in John 1:14; John 1:18; John 3:16; John 3:18 and 1 John 4:9, though Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 of Wisdom renders it here ‘alone in kind,’ having ‘sole born’ in the margin). Further, wisdom is described as ‘a clear effluence of the glory of the Almighty’ and an ‘effulgence (ἀπαύγασμα, whence Hebrews 1:3) from everlasting light’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 7:25-26). She is free from all defilement, beneficent, beautiful.
( d ) Functions .—Divine functions are ascribed to Wisdom, since it is by His wisdom that God performs them. (1) Creation. She is ‘the artificer of all things’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 7:22), ‘an artificer of the things that are’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 8:6). (2) Providence. The function of wisdom in providence is much dwelt on. Wisdom is regarded as a sort of guardian angel watching over men and directing the course of history. Patriarchal history from Adam downward is described as thus under the charge of wisdom. (3) Revelation. The picture of Wisdom as the effulgence from everlasting light points to this. She is also described as ‘an unspotted mirror of the working of God, and an image (εἰκών, cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15) of His goodness’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 7:26); in attaining to wisdom we come to know the ways of God.
( e ) Wisdom as a human acquisition .—While wisdom is described in its relation to God as coextensive with the infinite range of the Divine activities, it is also represented from another point of view as a treasure which mankind is invited to seek. The difficulty of acquiring wisdom suggested in Baruch is not found here. On the contrary, we read that—
‘Easily is she beheld of them that love her,
And found of them that seek her’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 6:12).
Moreover, there is no limitation of Jewish exclusiveness in the privilege of enjoying this greatest of God’s gifts, ‘for wisdom is a spirit that loveth man’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 1:6). When a little later we read that ‘the spirit of the Lord hath filled the world’ (τὴν οἰκουμένην, ‘the inhabited earth,’ (Revised Version margin)), the breadth of Hellenism seen throughout the Alexandrian movement, first Jewish, later Christian, is here apparent. While Wisdom is identified with the Law in the Palestinian work Sirach, here all true enlightenment, pagan as well as Jewish, must be included in this far-reaching wisdom. At the same time, this widespread wisdom is very different from Greek philosophy. The practical, ethical element which is essential to the Hebrew Hokhmah is always its chief constituent. Moreover, the homelier conception of wisdom as an exalted prudence serviceable in worldly affairs, which is often apparent in Proverbs and Sirach, is also to be found in the Bk. of Wisdom.
( f ) Anticipations of Christology .—With this conception of wisdom we cannot claim the identity of terms (ἀπαύγασμα, εἰκών, λόγος) which are here applied to wisdom and in the NT to Jesus Christ as an indication of any clear anticipation of Christian truth. It is rather the other way. St. Paul and the author of Hebrews knew Wisdom, and made use of expressions in the book for their own purposes, giving to them a richer Christian meaning. Nor can it be allowed that the use of the word λόγος as closely associated with wisdom is any real anticipation of the λόγος doctrine of Philo. In Wisdom of Solomon 9:1 we read—
‘O God of the fathers, and Lord who keepest thy mercy,
Who madest all things by thy word ’ (ὁ τοιήσας τὰ πάντα ἐν λόγῳ σου).
This is evidently an allusion to the Creation story in Genesis 1, so that we must understand λόγος in the sense of ‘word’ (רָבָר, in the familiar OT expression ‘the word of the Lord’). But Philo uses λόγος in the Stoic sense of ‘reason.’ It may be conjectured that the transition to this meaning has begun in Wis., because the line immediately following that just quoted is, ‘and by thy wisdom thou formedst man’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 9:2). Thus λόγος is treated as parallel to wisdom. In any case λόγος is a rational word, not a mere utterance of the voice, but a word with thought, reason in it. Still, the author elsewhere uses the term in the sense of ‘word’ as the implied reference to Genesis 1 indicates that he does here.* [Note: λόγος occurs 15 times in Wisdom (viz. 1:9, 16, 2:2, 17, 20, 6:9, 11, 7:16, 8:8, 16, 9:1, 12:9, 16:12, 18:15, 22). In 13 of these instances there is no question that it means ‘word.’ Of the 2 remaining cases one is that now under consideration; the other is 2:2—‘And while our heart beateth, reason is a spark.’ Here it is human reason that is referred to. In every case where λογος is predicated of God the sense is ‘word.’ See especially 12:9, 18:22.] It would be nearer the mark to say that John 1:1 is an echo of Wisdom of Solomon 9:1. Still there is much more in the prologue to the Fourth Gospel than can be derived in any way from this simple statement, and a great deal of that reminds us more of Philo than of Wisdom. The conclusion would seem to be that in John as in Wisdom λόγος is used in the common Biblical sense of ‘word’; but that there are also associations with Philo, the author of the Fourth Gospel ascribing to the λόγος as ‘word’ some of the attributes which Philo had ascribed to his λόγος as ‘reason.’ Accordingly the prologue to the Fourth Gospel may be said to combine reminiscences both of Wisdom and of Philo, together with its own original Christian ideas.
iii. Anticipation of Christian Doctrines.—Anticipations of the Christ idea, either as Messiah or as Wisdom, have been dealt with in the previous sections. It remains to be seen for what other Christian doctrines preparation is made in the Apocrypha.
1 . The Doctrine of God .—This subject is treated very fully in D B [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] , Extra Vol. art. ‘Development of Doctrine,’ pp. 276–281. All that is called for here is to indicate those phases of the doctrine that approach the Christian idea. 1 Maccabees is remarkable for its omission of any direct reference to God. But although (according to the best text) the name of God does not appear, He is thought of under the euphemism ‘heaven’ ( e.g. 1 Maccabees 3:18). Therefore we must take the omission of the sacred name as an indication of the reverence that feared to mention it, which was characteristic of a later Judaism. This went with the growing conception of the Divine transcendence which was not an anticipation of Christianity, but the reverse, and against which Christianity was a reaction. Still it prepared for Christianity by emphasizing the need of some intermediary power to bring man into contact with God, a mediating Christ. While no hint of anything of the kind is dropped in the historical part of the Apocrypha, the soil is here prepared for it by the very barrenness of religion in lack of it. The popular tales in the Apocrypha contribute nothing material to the conception of God. The fierce patriotism of Judith falls back on the ancient appropriation of Jehovah for Israel; but this can scarcely be reckoned a theological narrowing, since the thought is not turned to any question concerning the nature of God. In the Wisdom literature, however, we may look for some development of the doctrine. Negatively we see this in the avoidance of the anthropomorphism that fearlessly asserted itself in the OT. Not only is there no approach to a theophany in human form, but the human features often poetically ascribed to God in the older literature do not appear. This, again, goes with the growing feeling of Divine transcendence, which is alien to Christianity. But it is also an indication of a spiritual conception that may be taken as anticipatory of the spiritual idea of God in the NT. In Sirach, God is not so much too remote, but rather too great for men to understand His nature—
‘When ye glorify the Lord, exalt him as much as ye can;
For even yet will he exceed’ ( Sirach 43:30).
God is addressed as ‘Father and Master of my life’ ( Sirach 23:1), and ‘Father and God of my life’ ( Sirach 23:4), which implies the Divine fatherhood of the individual, a doctrine only just reached in the latest OT teaching. Moreover, the goodness of God extends to all mankind ( Sirach 18:13). In Wisdom, under the influence of Hellenic thought, the idealizing process is pushed further. God is the ‘eternal light’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 7:26), so that wisdom which irradiates the world is the effluence from this central fountain of light. On the other hand, there is a narrowing of the idea of creation under the influence of the Greek notion of pre-existent matter. God creates the world out of ‘formless matter’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 11:17), and creation is described as being ‘impressed,’ like wax by the seal ( Wisdom of Solomon 19:6). The motive of creation was love, and God hates nothing that He has made, loving all things that are ( Wisdom of Solomon 11:24). Nevertheless, it is said in another place that God only loves him who dwells with wisdom ( Wisdom of Solomon 7:28). The seeming inconsistency may be reconciled if we understand that here we have the more special personal affection of Divine friendship.
2 . The Fall and Original Sin .—While Genesis 3 contains the narrative of the fall of Adam, (1) it does not attribute this to the devil, not identifying the serpent with Satan, but treating it simply as the most subtle of beasts; and (2) it does not affirm that either sin or death visits the whole race in consequence of this primary offence and its doom. But both of these ideas appear in Christianity; and the latter is contained in the writings of St. Paul, who does not give it as part of the new teaching, but assumes that it is already an accepted belief. St. Paul simply appeals to it as a basis for his analogous teaching concerning Christ. Thus he writes, ‘ as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners’ ( Romans 5:19), and similarly with the second part of the doctrine, ‘ as in Adam all die’ ( 1 Corinthians 15:22). Therefore these ideas must have grown up apart from the OT. Now we find them in the Apocr. [Note: Apocrypha, Apocryphal.] Wisdom literature, both Palestinian and Alexandrian, e.g. the Palestinian teaching—
‘From a woman was the beginning of sin;
And because of her we all die’ ( Sirach 25:24)—
an easy inference from Genesis 3, but never made in the OT. Then there is the Alexandrian teaching, ‘By the envy of the devil, death entered into the world’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 2:24).
Grätz regards this as a Christian interpolation; but Dr. Drummond shows that his three reasons for this view do not appear to have much force. (1) Grätz objects that the clause disturbs the connexion of the passage, but it balances the previous statement—
‘God created man for incorruption,
And made him an image of his own proper being’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 2:23);
for thus we have the antithesis which is one of the common forms of Hebrew poetry. (2) For Grätz to assert that it has for him ‘absolutely no sense,’ is a criticism that would apply to it equally whoever wrote it. (3) The fact that it is without parallel in other Jewish writings must not be taken as condemning it. The idea is familiar in Christian literature; yet there is nothing specifically Christian about it, since it simply results from an application of the doctrine of a devil to the Genesis narrative, with the exercise of some imagination as to the Evil Spirit’s motive. Moreover, Milton’s adoption of the idea of envy as that motive in Paradise Lost , shows that, to a great poet at all events, the expression is not without a reasonable meaning. The author of Wisdom is a sufficiently brilliant writer to have struck out these ideas and made the inferences without any antecedent example. Dähne considers the passage to be allegorical, because the notion of ‘an evil principle in opposition to the Divine is foreign to pure Alexandrianism.’ Accordingly he applies Philo’s interpretation of Genesis 3 to it, and understands the word διάβολος to stand for the serpent as an image of carnal pleasure. But why should not the writer mention the serpent if he meant it? Since ὁ διάβολος appears in the LXX Septuagint for ‘the Satan,’ it is impossible that a Jew who was familiar with that version would use the word in an entirely original way for a reptile. The story of fallen angels was not unfamiliar to Jewish Apocalyptic literature (see Drummond, Phila Judaeus , p. 195 f.). That, however, Wisdom does not teach the total depravity of the race, we may infer from its singling out the inhabitants of Canaan as deserving to be extirpated because of their innate vice. ‘Their nature by birth was evil’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 12:10); ‘they were a seed accursed from the beginning’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 12:11). Here a doctrine of heredity is implied; but it is applied only to the Canaanites, who are regarded as of an inveterately and hopelessly evil stock. It is to be inferred that other peoples are not so bad.
The late date of 2 Esdras removes it out of the category of anticipations of Christianity. Still, as a Jewish work it witnesses to Jewish thoughts which have their roots in an earlier period. Now this book distinctly teaches the doctrine of original sin. The angel Uriel undertakes to teach Esdras ‘wherefore the heart is wicked’ ( 2 Esdras 4:4). In an earlier passage the sin of the race was traced to Adam ( 2 Esdras 3:21). The pessimism of the book is especially gloomy in regard to this subject. Esdras declares that ‘it had been better that the earth had not given thee Adam, or else, when it had given him, to have restrained him from sinning’ ( 2 Esdras 7:46). Though it was Adam who sinned, the evil did not fall on him alone, but on all of us who come from him ( 2 Esdras 7:48).
3 . Redemption .—There is nothing approaching the Christian doctrine of redemption in the Apocrypha. The NT teachers had to go back beyond all this literature to Isaiah 53 for the seed thoughts of their specific teaching on this subject. In the Messianic ideas, as far as these appear in the Apocrypha, which we have seen is but meagrely, there are the two thoughts of God redeeming His people, and the Christ coming as a personal redemption. There is no anticipation of the doctrine of the cross. The sombre prediction of the death of the Christ in 2 Es. (later than the Christian gospel, as it is) contains no hint that this is either sacrificial or redemptive. The goodness and mercy of God in delivering His people are frequently celebrated; but with no specific doctrine of salvation. The Hokhmah teaching would suggest that escape from sin is to be had through the acquisition of wisdom, which is rooted in the fear of the Lord. It was wisdom that brought the first man out of his fall ( Wisdom of Solomon 10:1). Tobit has the great OT teaching of God’s forgiveness for His penitent people whom He scourges for their iniquity, but to whom He will show mercy. If they turn to Him with all their heart and soul to do truth before Him, He will turn to them ( Tobit 13:5-6). Sinners must turn and do righteousness if they would receive His restoring grace. The Patristic idea that the ‘blessed … wood … through which cometh righteousness’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 14:7, cf. Acts 5:30; 1 Peter 2:24) is the cross, ignores the context, which plainly shows that the reference is to Noah’s Ark (see Wisdom of Solomon 14:6).
4 . Liberalizing of religion .—In several respects the Apocrypha shows advance beyond the narrower exclusiveness of Judaism. The historical situation in 1 Mac. did not encourage this movement. When the Jews were struggling for freedom of life and worship against the forcible intrusion of paganism, they were not in a condition for missionary enthusiasm. Judith breathes a spirit of fiercest Jewish patriotism. But Tobit in his prayer of rejoicing declares that many nations shall come from far to the name of the Lord God with gifts in their hands ( Tobit 13:11). That this is not the reluctant homage of subject peoples is shown by the sequel, where we read about ‘generations of generations’ praising God with songs of rejoicing. Still all this is ministering to the glory of Jerusalem. Israel is exalted in the honour shown to her God. The Palestinian Hokhmah literature is not free from Jewish narrowness. In Sirach, God is prayed to send His fear on all nations. But this is to be by lifting up His hand against them, so that they may see His mighty power. Still some gracious end even in this stern treatment of the heathen may be desired, since the prayer proceeds, ‘And let them know thee, as we also have known thee’ ( Sirach 36:5). God is asked to hear the prayer of His suppliants [Israel], in order that all on the earth may know that He is the Lord, the eternal God ( Sirach 36:17). This may not mean more than the acknowledgment of God for His glory and for the reflexion of that on His privileged people. On the other hand, the importance attached to wisdom has a widening tendency; for this is an internal grace, not an external privilege. But the identification of wisdom in Sirach with interest in the Law ( Sirach 39:1) tends to limit this grace itself and confine it to Israel.
When we turn to the Alexandrian teaching of the Book of Wisdom we expect a wider outlook. Here also the national privileges of Israel are accentuated. God gave oaths and covenants of good promises to the nation’s ancestors ( Sirach 18:6). Moreover, ‘the righteous’ are to judge the nations and have rule over the people ( Sirach 3:8). But since the domain of wisdom is world-wide and ‘the spirit of God filleth the world’ ( Sirach 1:7), it might he supposed that the world at large would benefit by that gracious presence. Princes of peoples are invited to honour wisdom that they may reign for ever ( Sirach 6:21), an invitation necessarily applying to the Gentile world. It is stated in a general way that ‘the ways of them which are on the earth ’ [more than Israel] were corrected by wisdom ( Sirach 9:18). There is a magnificent universalism in the great saying that God loves all things that are, and abhors none of the things that He has made ( Sirach 11:24). God’s incorruptible spirit is in all things ( Sirach 12:1); there is no other God that careth for all ( Sirach 12:13); His sovereignty over all leads Him to forbear all ( Sirach 12:16). But further than this the book does not go. It contains no explicit promise of redemption or of the blessings of the future for the world outside Israel, though it would be no illegitimate inference from these large ideas concerning the presence and activity and graciousness of God the whole world over to conclude that such good things were not to be confined to Israel. On the other hand, not only were the Canaanites a helplessly evil race, but the more recent oppressors of Israel, whose gross idolatry is scornfully portrayed at large, after the manner of Deutero-Isaiah, are described as ‘prisoners of darkness … exiled from the eternal providence’ ( Sirach 17:2). For other heathen people allowance is made on account of their ignorance. ‘For these men there is but small blame: for they too, peradventure, do but go astray’ ( Sirach 13:6).
5 . Resurrection and Immortality .—With regard to no other subject is advance from the OT standpoint towards that of the NT more apparent in the Apocrypha. The distinction between Palestinian and Alexandrian conceptions is here very marked, the Palestinian writings promising resurrection, the Alexandrian making no reference to a resurrection, but adopting the Greek idea of the immortality of the soul. The more conservative books of the former school, Tobit, Sirach, and 1 Mac., contain no reference to the resurrection or the future life in any form, retaining only the old gloomy Hebrew notion of Sheol, which, on the other hand, in these writings is not Gehenna, not a place of punishment. ‘There are no chastisements in Sheol’ ( Sirach 41:4, Heb. mar., and LXX Septuagint).* [Note: Dr. Charles points out that the reference to Gehenna in Sirach 7:17 is undoubtedly corrupt, since it is contrary to the whole outlook of the writer as to the future, and is not supported by the Heb., Syr., and best MSS of the Ethiopic (Eschatology, p. 164).] According to Tobit, Sheol is an ‘eternal place’ ( Tobit 3:6) where life is extinct. ‘All the rewards of faithfulness enumerated by the dying Mattathias ( 1 Maccabees 2:52-61) are limited to this life’ (Charles, Eschat. p. 219). In Judith eternal punishment is threatened to the enemies of Israel ( Judith 16:17); but nothing is said about a future life for God’s people. 2 Mac., an epitome of the five books of Jason of Cyrene ( 2 Maccabees 2:23), contains a clear doctrine of resurrection to eternal life ( 2 Maccabees 7:9), which is denied to the non-Israelite ( 2 Maccabees 7:14); this is a bodily resurrection ( 2 Maccabees 7:11; 2 Maccabees 7:22-23), and it will be enjoyed in the fellowship of brethren similarly privileged ( 2 Maccabees 7:29). In 2 Esdras we have ‘the day of judgment’ ( 2 Esdras 12:34). A first resurrection may be suggested by the reference to ‘those that will be with him’ in the day of God’s Son ( 2 Esdras 13:52). The end will come when the number of those like Ezra is complete ( 2 Esdras 4:36). Till then the spirits of the wicked shall wander about in torment while God’s servants will be at rest (2es 7:75). These spirits of the wicked will be tormented in seven ways (2es 7:81–87), and after the final judgment even more grievously (2es7:84). On the other hand, those who have kept the ways of the Most High shall have joy in seven ways, according to their seven orders, during the intermediate period, and after the judgment receive glory (2es 7:95), when ‘their face shall shine as the sun,’ and ‘they shall be made like unto the light of the stars, being henceforth incorruptible’ (2es 7:97).
In Wisdom there is no idea of resurrection. The body is the temporary earthly burden ( Wisdom of Solomon 9:15) of a pre-existent soul ( Wisdom of Solomon 8:20). Immortality is for the soul, but not by nature or necessity. It is attained through wisdom ( Wisdom of Solomon 8:13; Wisdom of Solomon 8:17). Still it was God’s design that man should enjoy it, for He ‘created man for incorruption’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 2:23). ‘The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 3:1), at peace, with a hope full of immortality. ‘The righteous live for ever’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 3:15). The wicked have no hope in their death. They will be dashed speechless to the ground; and yet their fate does not seem to be annihilation, for ‘they shall lie utterly waste, and they shall be in anguish’ ( Wisdom of Solomon 4:19). But there is no definite statement of eternal punishment.
iv. Use of the Apocrypha in the Gospels and the Church.—Our Apocr. [Note: Apocrypha, Apocryphal.] , which consists of Jewish writings contained in the Vulgate but not found in the Hebrew OT, rests primarily on the LXX Septuagint, and that was the version of the OT commonly used by the Greek-speaking Jews in the times of the Apostles, and subsequently by the Christians. Being thus the Scriptures in the hands of the NT writers, the LXX Septuagint introduced the Apocr. [Note: Apocrypha, Apocryphal.] to them together with the books of our OT. But most of the NT writers knew the Hebrew Bible. This is evident in the case of St. Paul, St. John, and St. Matthew. The only certain exception is the author of Hebrews, to whom probably we should add St. Luke; and it is reasonable to suppose that these two men, being the most scholarly NT writers, were not unacquainted with the limits of the Palestinian Canon. No NT writer names any book of the Apocr. [Note: Apocrypha, Apocryphal.] , nor is there any direct quotation from one of these books in the NT. Phrases from some of them indicate, however, that these books were used by the writers in whom they occur, although there is no evidence that they regarded them as authoritative. On the other hand, 2 Esdras borrows from the NT, especially from the Apocalypse. 2 Esdras 8:3 is an echo of Matthew 20:16. The only books of our Apocr. [Note: Apocrypha, Apocryphal.] to which reference can be manifestly traced in the NT are the works of Wisdom literature, Wisdom and Sirach , especially the former; and the NT writers who most evidently make allusion to phrases in those books are St. Paul, St. James, and the author of Hebrews. Since these writers are beyond the scope of this Dictionary, the inquirer is referre
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
APOCRYPHA . The term ‘Apocrypha’ is applied to a body of literature that has come down to us in close connexion with the canonical books of the Bible, and yet is not of them. This term (Gr. apokryphos , ‘hidden’) seems to have been used to specify certain documents or writings that were purposely hidden from general public contact, either because of their supposed sacredness, or to retain within the precincts of a certain sect their secret wisdom and knowledge. The name was given either by those who hid the books or by those from whom they were hidden.
All such books bore, as their alleged authors, the names of notable men in Hebrew history. These names were not sufficient of themselves to carry the books over into the canonical collection of the Bible. The term applied to them as ‘apocryphal,’ that is, withheld from public gaze and use, was at first rather complimentary to their character. But their rejection by the Jewish Palestinian body of worshippers, as well as by the larger proportion of the early Church, gradually stamped the name ‘apocryphal’ as a term of reproach, indicating inferiority in content and a spurious authorship. Henceforth such books lost their early sacredness, and became embodied in a collection that remained entirely outside the Hebrew Bible, though in general found in the Septuagint and the Vulgate.
The word ‘Apocrypha,’ as used by Protestant Christians, signifies the books found in the Latin Vulgate as over and above those of the Hebrew OT. Jerome incorporated in his revision and translation, in the main as he found them in the Old Latin Version, certain books not found in the Hebrew canonical writings. These books had been carried over into the Old Latin from the Septuagint.
The real external differences, then, between the Protestant and Rom. Cath. Bibles to-day are to be traced to the different ideas of the Canon on the part of the Jews of Palestine, where the Hebrew Bible was on its native soil, and on the part of the Jews of Alexandria who translated that same Hebrew Bible into Greek. With this translation, and other books later called the Apocrypha, they constructed a Greek Bible now called the Septuagint (the Seventy).
In the transfer of the works from the Septuagint to the Old Latin and to the Vulgate, there is some confusion both as to their names and their order.
These so-called Apocryphal books may be roughly classified as follows:
1. Historical : First and Second Maccabees, and First Esdras [Third Esdras in Vulgate].
2. Legendary : Additions to Esther, History of Susanna, Song of the Three Holy Children, Bel and the Dragon, Tobit, Judith.
3. Prophetical : Baruch (ch. 6 being the ‘Epistle of Jeremy’), Prayer of Manasses.
4. Apocalyptical : Second Esdras [Fourth Esdras in Vulgate].
5. Didactic : Sirach, Wisdom of Solomon.
In some classifications Third and Fourth Maccabees are included.
Most of these books are found in their original form in Greek, with the exceptions noted below, and not in the Hebrew; therefore the Jewish religious leaders did not regard them as inspired. Furthermore, some of their writers ( 1Ma 4:46; 1Ma 9:27 , 2Ma 2:23 ) disclaim inspiration as the Jews understood it. The NT writers do not quote these books, nor do they definitely refer to them. Their existence in the Greek Bible of the times of Christ does not seem to have given them any prestige for the Jewish authorities of that day. The Church Fathers made some use of them, by quotation and allusion, but were not so emphatic in their favour as to secure their incorporation in the regular canonical books of the Bible.
Jerome, in his revision of the Old Latin Bible, found the Apocryphal books therein, as carried over from the Septuagint; but in his translation of the OT he was careful not to include in the OT proper any hooks not found in the Hebrew Canon. In fact, he regarded his time as too valuable to be spent in revising or translating these uninspired books.
It was not until the Council of Trent, April 15, 1546, that the Roman Catholic Church publicly set its seal of authority on eleven of the fourteen or sixteen (including 3 and 4 Mac.) Apocryphal books. This Council names as canonical the following hooks and parts of books: First and Second Maccabees, Additions to Esther, History of Susanna, Song of the Three Holy Children, Bel and the Dragon, Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Sirach, and Wisdom of Solomon; omitting from the above list the Prayer of Manasses, First and Second Esdras [Vulgate Third and Fourth Esdras].
The Council of Trent settled the Canon of Scripture for the Roman Catholic Church, and decreed an anathema against any one who did not agree with its statement. Even before the meeting of that famous Council, Coverdale, in 1535, had introduced the Apocrypha into the English Bible edited by himself. It was published in the first edition of the AV [Note: Authorized Version.] in 1611, but began to be left out as early as 1629. It was inserted between the OT and NT. As a result of a controversy in 1826, it was excluded from all the Bibles published by the British and Foreign Bible Society.
In our discussion of the character and contents of these books, we must keep in mind the fact that the word ‘Apocrypha’ is used in the Protestant sense as inclusive of the fourteen books given in the RV [Note: Revised Version.] of 1895, eleven of which are regarded as canonical by the Roman Catholic Church.
The general character and the contents of these books are as follows:
1. First Maccabees . This is a historical work of rare value on the Jewish war of independence against the encroachments and invasions of Antiochus Epiphanes (b.c. 168 164). Its author is unknown, though thought to have been a Jew of Palestine, who wrote between b.c. 105 and 64. The book is known in a Greek original, though it was translated, according to Jerome, from a Hebrew original that was current in his day (end of 4th cent.).
2. Second Maccabees is an abridgment of a five-volume work by Jason of Cyrene ( 2Ma 2:23 ). It is prefaced by two letters said to have been sent from the Jews of Jerusalem to the Jews of Egypt. This book deals with the history of the Jews from the reign of Seleucus IV. (b.c. 175) to the death of Nicanor (b.c. 161). The multiplication of the marvellous and miraculous in the narrative discounts the value of the material as a source of historical data. The book was written somewhere between b.c. 125 and the fall of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. It is extant in Greek.
3. First Esdras (Third in the Vulgate) is the canonical book of Ezra in Greek, which in reconstructed form tells the story of the decline and fall of the kingdom of Judah from the time of Josiah. It recites the overthrow of Jerusalem, the Babylonian exile, the return under Zerubbabel, and Ezra’s part in the reorganization of the Jewish State. Josephus refers to the legend regarding the three courtiers contained in this book. Its author is unknown. The Council of Trent placed it in an appendix to the NT as Third Esdras, and not among their regular canonical books.
4. Additions to Esther . The canonical Esther concludes with Esther 10:3; this chapter is filled out by the addition of seven verses, and the book concludes with six additional chapters (11 16). The regular text of the book is occasionally interpolated and amplified by some writer or writers, to give the story a fuller narrative and make the telling of it more effective. These additions sometimes contradict the Hebrew, and add nothing new of any value. This editorial work is thought to have been done by an Egyptian Jew somewhere in the reign of Ptolemy Philometor (b.c. 181 145).
5. The History of Susanna is an account of Daniel’s discovery of a malicious slander against the good woman Susanna. The story is prefixed to the book of Daniel. It is found in the Greek, and was prepared by an unknown author at an unknown date.
6. The Song of the Three Holy Children is found inserted between Daniel 3:23 and Daniel 3:24 . Its author and date are unknown.
7. The Story of Bel and the Dragon follows Daniel 12:1-13 . It is a proof by Daniel that the priests of Bel and their families ate the food set before the idol. Daniel slays the dragon, and is a second time thrown into the lions’ den. The origin of this story is unknown, though it is by some attributed to Habakkuk. The three preceding stories are found in the Septuagint of Daniel, and a MS of No. 6 has recently been found.
8. Tobit is a romantic story of the time of Israel’s captivity. Tobit is a pious son of Naphtali who becomes blind. He sends his son Tobias to Rages in Media to collect a debt. An angel leads him to Ecbatana, where he romantically marries a widow who was still a virgin though she had had seven husbands. Each of the seven had been slain on their wedding-day by AsmodÃ¦us, the evil spirit. On the inspiration of the angel, Tobias marries the widow, and, by burning the inner parts of a fish, puts the spirit to flight by the offensive smoke. The blindness of Tobit is healed by using the gall of the fish, the burning of whose entrails had saved the life of Tobias. The book is found in an Aramaic version, three Greek, and three Old Latin versions, and also in two Hebrew texts. Its date is uncertain, though it doubtless appeared before the 1st cent. b.c.
9. Judith is a thrilling tale of how Judith, a Jewish widow, secured the confidence of Holofernes, an Assyrian commander who was besieging Bethulia. Stealthily in the night time she approached him in his tent, already overcome with heavy drinking, took his own scimitar and cut off his head, and fled with it to the besieged city. This valorous act saved the distressed Israelites. The story bristles with absurdities in names, dates, and geographical material. It seems to have imitated in one respect Jael’s murder of Sisera ( Judges 4:17-22 ). It may have been written some time about b.c. 100, so long after the life of Nebuchadrezzar as to have made him king of Nineveh, instead of Babylon. The original text is Greek.
10. Baruch . This is a pseudepigraphical book attributed to Baruch, the scribe of Jeremiah. Its purpose seems to have been (1) to quiet the souls of the Jews in exile by telling them that they would soon return to their native land; and (2) to admonish them to flee the idolatry that was everywhere prevalent in Babylonia. Bar 6:1-73 is called the ‘ Epistle of Jeremy ,’ and is nominally a letter of that prophet, warning the exiles against worshipping idols. This book is thought to have originated sometime about b.c. 320. Its original language is Greek, though there is reason for believing that Sir 1:1 to Sir 3:8 was first written in Hebrew.
11. Prayer of Manasses , king of Judah, when he was a captive of Ashurbanipal in the city of Babylon ( 2 Chronicles 33:12-13 ). It probably originated in some of the legends current regarding this notable king, and may have been intended for insertion in the narrative of 2 Chronicles 33:13 . Its original is Greek. It is not a part of the Vulgate adopted at the Council of Trent, but is in the appendix thereof.
12. Second Esdras [Vulg. [Note: Vulgate.] Fourth Esdras. If First Esdras is the reconstructed Ezra, and the canonical Ezra and Nehemiah are taken as one book, then this is Third Esdras (as in the Septuagint). If Ezra and Nehemiah are left out of account, this book is Second Esdras (as in the Apocrypha of RV [Note: Revised Version.] ). If, as in the Vulgate, Ezra is reckoned as First Esdras, and Nehemiah as Second Esdras, and the reconstructed Ezra as Third Esdras, then this book is Fourth Esdras]. This work is a peculiar combination of matter. It is not history at all, but rather a religious document imitative of the Hebrew prophets, and apocalyptic in character. Its Greek original, if it had one, has been lost, and the work is extant in Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Armenian. It is attributed to at least two different dates, the 2nd and 3rd cents. a.d. The character of the matter shows that some Christian interpolated the original to give it a Christian colouring. This matter does not appear, however, in the Arabic and Ethiopic texts. It stands in the appendix to the NT of the Vulgate.
13 . Ecclesiasticus, or, The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach . This is one of the most valuable of the Apocryphal books. It resembles the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job in its ethical characteristics. It was written by a Jew called Jesus, son of Sirach, probably early in the 3rd cent., though the Greek translation was issued about b.c. 132. The book was originally written in Hebrew, and in this language about one half of it has recently been discovered in Egypt and published. It is one of the works that give us a vivid idea of the Wisdom literature produced in the centuries preceding the Christian era.
14. Wisdom of Solomon lauds wisdom and a righteous life, but condemns idolatry and wickedness. The author employs, in the main, illustrations from the Pentateuch. He purports to be Solomon, and makes just such claims as one would imagine Solomon would have done if he had been the author. He is thought to have lived anywhere between b.c. 150 and b.c. 50, and to have been a Jew of Alexandria. The book possesses some valuable literary features, though in its present form it seems to be incomplete. Its original text was Greek.
If we should include Third and Fourth Maccabees in this list, as is done by some writers (but not by the Vulgate), we find these peculiarities:
15. Third Maccabees describes an attempt to massacre the Jews in the reign of Ptolemy Philopator (b.c. 222 205), and a notable deliverance from death. The work is extant in Greek (in LXX [Note: Septuagint.] ), but not in the Vulgate.
16. Fourth Maccabees is a discussion of the conquest of matter by the mind illustratively, by the use of the story of the martyrdom of the seven Maccabees, their mother and Eleazar. The work is found in the Alexandrian MS of the Septuagint, and in Syriac.
In addition to these Apocryphal books, but not included either in the Septuagint, the Vulgate, or the RV [Note: Revised Version.] , there is an ever-increasing list of works that scholars have chosen to call pseudepigrapha . These were written at various periods, but mainly just before, during, and just after the times of Christ. Many of them deal with the doctrinal discussions of their day, and present revelations to the author under strange and even weird conditions. These writers attached to their books as a rule the name of some famous personage, not by way of deception, but to court favour for the views set forth. It would carry us too far afield to take up these works one by one. Merely the titles of some of them can be mentioned. As a piece of lyrical work the Psalms of Solomon is the best example in this group. Of apocalyptical and prophetical works, there are the Book of Enoch , quoted in Jude, the Assumption of Moses , the Apocalypse of Baruch , the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs . Legendary works are the Book of Jubilees and the Ascension of Isaiah . One of the curious cases of mixed material is that of the Sibylline Oracles , See Apocalyptic Literature.
To these might be added scores of lesser lights that appeared in that period of theological and doctrinal unrest, many of which are now published, and others are being discovered in some out-of-the-way place almost yearly. Their value lies in the revelations that they give us of the methods adopted and the doctrines promulgated in the early centuries of the Christian era, by means of such works.
Holman Bible Dictionary 
Meaning “things that are hidden,” apocrypha is applied to a collection of fifteen books written between about 200 B.C. and A.D. 100. These are not a part of the Old Testament but are valued by some for private study. The word “apocrypha” is not found in the Bible. Although never part of the Hebrew Scriptures, all fifteen apocryphal books except 2Esdras appear in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint. They were made a part of the official Latin Bible, the Vulgate. All except 1,2Esdras and the Prayer of Mannasseh are considered canonical (in the Bible) and authoritative by the Roman Catholic Church. From the time of the Reformation, the apocryphal books have been omitted from the canon of the Protestant churches. The Apocrypha represent various types of literature: historical, historical romance, wisdom, devotional, and apocalyptic.
First Esdras is a historical book from the early first century A.D. Paralleling material in the last chapters of 2Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, it covers the period from Josiah to the reading of the law by Ezra. In a number of places, it differs from the Old Testament account. It is believed that this writing drew from some of the same sources used by the writers of the canonical Old Testament books. The Three Guardsmen Story, 1 Esdras 3:1-5:3 , is the one significant passage in 1Esdras that does not occur in the Old Testament. It tells how Zerubbabel was allowed to lead the exiles back to Palestine.
The most important historical writing in the Apocrypha is 1Maccabees. It is the primary source for writing the history of the period it covers, 180 to 134 B.C. The emphasis is that God worked through Mattathias and his sons to bring deliverance. He did not intervene in divine, supernatural ways. He worked through people to accomplish His purposes. The writer was a staunch patriot. For him nationalism and religious zeal were one and the same. After introductory verses dealing with Alexander the Great, the book gives the causes for the revolt against the Seleucids. Much detail is given about the careers of Judas and Jonathan. Less attention is given to Simon, although emphasis is placed upon his being acclaimed leader and high priest forever. Brief reference to John Hyrcanus at the close suggests that the book was written either late in his life or after his death, probably shortly after 100 B.C.
Second Maccabees also gives the history of the early part of the revolt against the Seleucids, covering the period from 180 to 161 B.C. It is based upon five volumes written by Jason of Cyrene, about which volumes nothing is known. Second Maccabees, written shortly after 100 B.C., is not considered as accurate historically as 1Maccabees. In places the two books disagree. This book begins with two letters written to Jews in Egypt urging them to celebrate the cleansing of the Temple by Judas. In the remainder of the writing, the author insisted that the Jews' trouble came as the result of their sinfulness. He emphasized God's miraculous intervention to protect the Temple and His people. Great honor was bestowed upon those who were martyred for their faith. The book includes the story of seven brothers and their mother who were put to death. The book clearly teaches a resurrection of the body, at least for the righteous.
Tobit is a historical romance written about 200 B.C. It is more concerned to teach lessons than to record history. The story is of a family carried into exile in Assyria when Israel was destroyed. The couple, Tobit and Anna, had a son named Tobias. Tobit had left a large sum of money with a man in Media. When he became blind, he sent his son to collect the money. A man was found to accompany the son Tobias. In reality he was the angel Raphael. Parallel to this is the account of a relative named Sarah. She had married seven husbands, but a demon had slain each of them on the wedding night. Raphael told Tobias that he was eligible to marry Sarah. They had caught a fish and had preserved the heart, liver, and gall. When burned, the heart and liver would drive away a demon. The gall would cure blindness. Thus Tobias was able to marry Sarah without harm. Raphael collected the money that was left in Media, and the blindness of Tobit was cured by means of the fish's gall. The book stresses Temple attendance, paying of tithes, giving alms, marrying only within the people of Israel, and the importance of prayer. Obedience to the law is central along with separation of Jews from Gentiles. It introduces the concept of a guardian angel.
The book of Judith, from 250 to 150 B.C. shows the importance of obedience to the law. In this book Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Assyrians, reigned at the time the Jews returned from Exile. This shows it is not historically accurate, for Cyrus of Persia was king when the Jews returned from Exile (538 B.C.). The story may be based upon some event where a woman played an heroic role in the life of her people. In the story Nebuchadnezzar sent one of his generals, Holofernes, to subjugate the nations in the western part of his empire. The Jews resisted. Holofernes laid siege to the city of Bethulia (unknown except for this reference). Because of a shortage of water, the city decided to surrender in five days if God did not intervene. Judith had been a widow for three years and had been careful to obey all the law. She stated that God was going to act through her to save His people. She went with her maid to the camp of Holofernes, claiming that God was going to destroy the people because of their sin. She promised to show the general how he could capture the city without loss of a life. At a banquet a few days later, when Holofernes had drunk himself into a coma, she cut off his head and took it back to the city. The result was a great victory for the Jews over their enemies. This book places emphasis upon prayer and fasting. Idolatry is denounced, and the God of Israel is glorified. The book shows a strong hatred of pagans. Its moral content is low, for it teaches that the end justifies the means.
Additions to the Book of Esther
The Apocrypha contains additions to the book of Esther. The Hebrew text of Esther contains 163 verses, but the Greek contains 270. These additions are in six different places in the Greek text. However, in the Latin Vulgate they are all placed at the end. These sections contain such matters as the dream of Mordecai, the interpretation of that dream, the texts of the letters referred to in the canonical book, ( Esther 1:22; Esther 3:13; Esther 8:5 ,Esther 8:5, 8:10; Esther 9:20 ,Esther 9:20, 9:25-30 ) and the prayers of Esther and Mordecai. The additions give a more obviously religious basis for the book. In the Old Testament book of Esther, God is never named. This omission is remedied by the additions which were probably made between 125,75 B.C.
The Song of the Three Young Men is one of three additions to the book of Daniel. It follows Daniel 3:23 in the Greek text. It satisfies curiosity about what went on in the furnace into which the three men were thrown. The final section is a hymn of praise to God. It emphasizes that God acts to deliver His people in response to prayer. This writing, along with the other two additions to Daniel, probably comes from near 100 B.C.
The story of Susanna is added at the close of the Book of Daniel in the Septuagint. It tells of two judges who were overpowered by the beauty of Susanna and sought to become intimate with her. When she refused, they claimed they had seen her being intimate with a young man. Authorities believed their charges and condemned the young lady to death. Daniel then stated that the judges were lying, and he would prove it. He asked them, separately, under what tree they saw Susanna and the young man. When they identified different kinds of trees, their perjury became apparent. They were condemned to death, and Susanna was vindicated.
Bel and the Dragon
The third addition to Daniel is Bel and the Dragon, placed before Susanna in the Septuagint. Bel was an idol worshiped in Babylon. Large quantities of food were placed in Bel's temple each night and consumed before the next morning. King Cyrus asked Daniel why he did not worship Bel, and Daniel replied that Bel was only a man-made image. He would prove to the king that Bel was not alive. Daniel had ashes sprinkled on the floor of the temple and food placed on Bel's altar before sealing the temple door. The next morning the seals on the doors were intact, but when the doors were opened the food was gone. However, the ashes sprinkled on the floor revealed footprints of the priests and their families. They had a secret entrance and came at night and ate the food brought to the idol. The second part of the story of Bel and the Dragon concerned a dragon worshiped in Babylon. Daniel killed the dragon by feeding it cakes of pitch, fat, and hair. The people were outraged, and Daniel was thrown into the lions' den for seven days. However, the lions did not harm him. These stories ridicule paganism and the worship of idols.
Wisdom of Solomon
The next four apocryphal books are examples of Wisdom literature. The Wisdom of Solomon which was not written by Solomon, was probably written about 100 B.C. in Egypt. The first section of the book gave comfort to oppressed Jews and condemned those who had turned from their faith in God. It shows the advantages of wisdom over wickedness. The second section is a hymn of praise to wisdom. Wisdom is identified as a person present with God, although it is not given as much prominence as in some other writings. The final section shows wisdom as helpful to Israel throughout its history. This writing presents the Greek concept of immortality rather than the biblical teaching of resurrection.
Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach
The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach is also known as Ecclesiasticus. It emphasizes the importance of the law and obedience to it. Written in Hebrew about 180 B.C., it was translated into Greek by the author's grandson shortly after 132 B.C. The book has two main divisions, 1–23,24–51, each beginning with a description of wisdom. The writer was a devout Jew, highly educated, with the opportunity to travel outside Palestine. Thus he included in his writing not only traditional Jewish wisdom but material that he found of value from the Greek world. He pictured the ideal scribe as one who had time to devote himself to the study of the law. Sirach 44-50 are a praise of the great fathers of Israel, somewhat similar to Hebrews 11:1 . Wisdom is highly exalted. She is a person made by God. She goes into the earth to seek a dwelling place. After she is rejected by other people, she is established in Zion. Wisdom is identified with the law.
The Book of Baruch is also in the wisdom category. It is a combination of two or three different writings. The first section is in prose and claims to give a history of the period of Jeremiah and Baruch. However, it differs from the Old Testament account. The second section is poetry and a praise of wisdom. The final section is also poetic and gives a word of hope for the people. As in Sirach, wisdom and law are equated. It was written shortly before 100 B.C.
Letter of Jeremiah
The Letter of Jeremiah is often added to Baruch as chapter 6. As the basis for his work, the author evidently used Jeremiah 29:1-23 , in which Jeremiah did write a letter to the exiles. However, this letter comes from before 100 B.C. It is a strongly worded condemnation of idolatry.
Prayer of Manasseh
The Prayer of Manasseh is a devotional writing. It claims to be the prayer of the repentant king whom the Old Testament pictured as very wicked ( 2 Kings 21:10-17 ). Second Kings makes no suggestion that Manasseh repented. However, 2Chronicles 33:11-13, 2 Chronicles 33:18-19 states that he did repent and that God accepted him. This writing from before 100 B.C. is what such a prayer of repentance might have been.
The final book of the Apocrypha Isaiah 2 Esdras, written too late to be included in the Septuagint. 2 Esdras 1-2 and 2 Esdras 15-16 are Christian writings. 2 Esdras 3-14 , the significant part of the work, are from about 20 B.C. This writing is an apocalypse, a type of writing popular among the Jews in the Intertestamental Period and which became popular among Christians. See 2 Esdras 3-14 . Daniel in the Old Testament and Revelation in the New Testament represent this type of writing. Apocalyptic calls attention to the difficult circumstances of God's people and centers upon the end of the age and the new age which God will inaugurate. Second Esdras contains seven sections or visions. In the first three, Ezra seeks answers from an angel about human sin and the situation of Israel. The answer he receives is that the situation will change only in the new age that God is about to inaugurate. The third section pictures the Messiah. He will remain four hundred years and then die. The next three visions stress God's coming intervention and salvation of His people through the pre-existent Messiah. The final section states that the end will be soon and reports that Ezra was inspired to write ninety-four books. Twenty-four are a rewrite of the canonical Old Testament while the other seventy are to be given to the wise. The last two chapters of 2Esdras contain material common to the New Testament. See 2 Esdras 3-14 .
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology 
"Apocrypha" comes from the Greek word apokrypha [Ἀπόκρυφος], which means "things that are hidden, secret." "The Apocrypha" refers to two collections of ancient Jewish and Christian writings that have certain affinities with the various books of the Old Testament and New Testament but were not canonized by Christians as a whole: the Old Testament Apocrypha, which are still viewed as canonical by some Christians, and the New Testament Apocrypha, which are not.
The Old Testament Apocrypha, often referred to simply as "the Apocrypha, " is a collection of Jewish books that are included in the Old Testament canons of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians, but not of Protestants. Most of the books were composed in Hebrew prior to the Christian era, but they apparently never were accepted by the Jews as part of the Hebrew canon. At an early date they were translated into Greek and in this form came to be used by Christians as early as the end of the first century a.d. They were eventually included in Christian copies of the Greek Old Testament and, later, the Latin Vulgate. The Protestant Reformers, while affirming the unique authority of the Hebrew canon, allowed that the books of the Apocrypha were useful for reading. Over time, however, the Apocrypha has fallen into disuse among Protestants.
The Roman Catholic Apocrypha consists of Tobit, Judith, the Additions to Esther, the Additions to Daniel (the Prayer of Azariah and the Three Young Men, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon), the Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (also called Sirach), Baruch (also called 1Baruch), the Letter of Jeremiah, 1Maccabees, and 2Maccabees. The Greek Orthodox Church adds 1Esdras, Psalm 151 , the Prayer of Manasseh, and 3Maccabees, with 4Maccabees in an appendix. The Russian Orthodox Church adds 1Esdras, 2Esdras, Psalm 151 , and 3Maccabees. The Roman Catholic canon places the Prayer of Manasseh, 1Esdras, and 2Esdras in an appendix without implying canonicity.
Several of these writings are tied closely to Old Testament books. First Esdras, for example, is primarily a retelling of the material found in 2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23 , Ezra, and Nehemiah 7:6-8:12; Psalm 151 purports to be an additional psalm of David. More interesting are the Additions to Esther. Inserted at strategic points, these clearly secondary additions, which include among other things prayers by Mordecai and Esther, serve to give a distinctively religious slant to the Book of Esther, otherwise noted for its failure to mention God or even prayer. The Additions to Daniel have a less unified purpose. Susanna (chapter 13 of the Greek Daniel) is a delightful little story affirming God's vindication of those who hope in him, and Bel and the Dragon (chapter 14 of the Greek Daniel) exposes the folly of idolatry. The Prayer of Azariah and the Three Young Men, placed after Daniel 3:23 , is a prayer of trust in God offered up by Azariah (i.e., Abednego Daniel 1:7 ) and his companions (Shadrach and Meshach) in the fiery furnace. It is noteworthy for its expression of confidence that God will accept the sacrifice of a contrite heart and a humble spirit. Another noteworthy (and secondary) prayer is the Prayer of Manasseh, apparently composed to give content to the prayer of repentance offered by Manasseh that is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 33:12-13 . It includes a powerful expression of contrition for sin and trust in the grace of God. Two books are associated with Jeremiah: the Letter of Jeremiah is an attack on idolatry, and Baruch, attributed to Jeremiah's secretary (cf. Jeremiah 36:4-8 ), extols the virtues of Wisdom, which is identified with the Law.
Two other Wisdom books are contained in the Apocrypha. The Wisdom of Solomon, ostensibly related to Solomon, deliberates on the future reward of the righteous and punishment of the ungodly, sings the praises of Wisdom, and, through a retelling of the exodus story, celebrates God's exaltation of Israel through the very things by which her enemies were punished. Affirmations, among other things, of the preexistence and immortality of the soul indicate a considerable degree of Greek influence upon the author. Ecclesiasticus contains the teachings, in a form resembling that of the Book of Proverbs, of a second century b.c. Jewish teacher named Jesus ben Sira. The author praises and personifies (cf. Proverbs 8:22-31 ) Wisdom, whom he identifies with the Law, and provides practical precepts for everyday living. The book contains numerous parallels to the ethical sections of the New Testament, especially the Book of James.
Two of the most popular books in the Apocrypha tell the stories, undoubtedly legendary, of two otherwise unknown Jews. Set in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, Judith is a vivid and dramatic narrative of a beautiful Jewish widow, who, through a combination of extraordinary courage and trust in God, delivers her people in a time of crisis. Tobit, purportedly from the time of the Assyrian exile, combines the themes of quest, romance, and overcoming the demonic in a story of God's healing of his faithful servant Tobit and deliverance of the unfortunate widow Sarah. It testifies to a developing demonology and angelology within Judaism, and emphasizes the importance of charitable deeds, containing some striking parallels to the ethical teaching in the New Testament, including a negative form of the Golden Rule (cf. Matthew 7:12 ).
Four books are associated, in name at least, with the Maccabees, those Jewish heroes who, led by Judas Maccabeus, waged the Maccabean Revolt in the second century b.c. against the Greek tyrant Antiochus IV, who attempted to ban the practice of Judaism. First Maccabees, the longest and most detailed account, is an especially important historical source for the revolt. Apart from his obvious support of the revolt and opposition to the hellenization of Judaism that preceded it, the author's primary religious perspective seems to be that Godor, rather, heavenhelps those who take initiative and trust in him. Second Maccabees is more openly theological and affirms such ideas as the glories of martyrdom, the sufferings of the martyr as being expiatory for the sins of the nation, the resurrection of the body, prayer for the dead, and the intercession of the saints. Both books are of first importance for understanding the historical setting for Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of rededication of the temple, which originates from the Maccabean Revolt.
Fourth Maccabees, an imaginative elaboration on the martyrdoms in 2Maccabees, is a distinctive melding of Greek and Jewish ideas. Affirming the immortality of the righteous and the eternal punishment of the wicked, the author seeks to demonstrate that inspired reason, guided by the Law, is supreme ruler over the passions. Third Maccabees tells not of the Maccabees, but of the plight of Egyptian Jews near the end of the third century b.c.; its focus is on God's faithfulness to his people.
Second Esdras, purportedly composed by Ezra, was written in response to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in a.d. 70. Second Esdras centers around the theme of God's justice in the light of the devastating defeat of his people Israel by a godless nation. It includes significant discussions on the nature of sin and its connection with Adam (cf. Romans 5 ), the limitations of human understanding, the signs of the end, the final judgment, the intermediate state between death and the final judgment, the destruction of the Roman Empire, and the coming Messiah. Both in its overall orientation and in many of its details, 2Esdras contains a number of striking parallels to the Book of Revelation, with which it is contemporary.
The Jews wrote numerous other works that are not included in any Christian canon. Many of them were attributed to major Old Testament figures; they are called the Pseudepigrapha. Although the literature is too vast and varied to summarize here, many Pseudepigrapha contain visionary journeys through heaven (or a series of heavens) and hell, an increased interest in angels and demons, speculations on the origins of sin and the nature of the final judgment, various expectations of a Messiah, predictions of the end of time, and ethical exhortations. The Pseudepigrapha attest to the rich theological diversity within Judaism during the intertestamental period.
The New Testament Apocrypha is an amorphous collection of writings that are for the most part either about, or pseudonymously attributed to, New Testament figures. These books are generally modeled after the literary forms found in the New Testament: there are apocryphal gospels, acts, letters, and revelations. Unlike the Old Testament Apocrypha, the New Testament Apocrypha have never been viewed as canonical by any of the major branches of Christianity, nor is there any reason to believe that the traditions they record have any historical validity. Nonetheless, some of these books were widely used by Christians throughout the Middle Ages and have left their mark on the church.
Numerous apocryphal gospels were produced by early Christians. Many of them, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and the Dialogue of the Savior, were composed by heretical groups like the Gnostics and purport to give "secret, " unorthodox teachings of Jesus. Others fill in gaps in the New Testament Gospels, usually with a heightened sense of the miraculous. The Protevangelium of James, for example, tells the story of Mary's birth, childhood, and eventual marriage to Joseph (a widower with children), culminating in a detailed account of the birth of Jesus (in a cave) and a strong affirmation of Mary's virginity. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas narrates Jesus' childhood from age five to age twelve, with the child Jesus performing numerous miracles, sometimes to the point of absurdity (e.g., bringing clay sparrows to life). The Gospel of Nicodemus (also called the Acts of Pilate), provides a detailed account of Jesus' trial and descent into hell. The Gospel of Peter presents, after an otherwise straightforward account of the crucifixion, a vivid narration of the resurrection of Jesus: two angels come down from heaven, enter the tomb, and exit with Jesus, followed by a talking Cross.
The apocryphal Acts (Acts of Andrew, Acts of John, Acts of Paul, Acts of Peter, and Acts of Thomas) purport to trace the journeys of the apostles, with Thomas going all the way to India. Three features in these books stand out. First, they are filled with supernatural deeds: miracles abound, especially the raising of the dead, and even a talking lion gets baptized. Second, they promote a celibate lifestyle, even among husbands and wives. Third, they glorify martyrdom, especially among the apostles: Andrew is crucified, Paul is beheaded, Peter is crucified upside down, and Thomas is executed with spears; only John is spared a martyr's death.
There are also apocryphal letters (e.g.,3Corinthians, Letter to the Laodiceans [cf. Colossians 4:16 , and Pseudo-Titus ), which tend to reflect heretical notions, and apocryphal apocalypses (e.g., Apocalypse of Peter and Apocalypse of Paul). The latter present, in contrast to the relatively reserved statements in the New Testament, vivid descriptions of hell, where sinners are punished in accordance with their sins: blasphemers, for example, hang by their tongues over a blazing fire. In addition, the Apocalypse of Paul purports to give a detailed narration of Paul's rapture to the third heaven (cf. 2Col 12:2).
Apart from the issue of canonicity, the Old Testament Apocrypha has had a pronounced and pervasive influence on Western culture. The stories, themes, and language of these books (especially Judith, Tobit, Susanna, the Maccabees, Ecclesiasticus, and the Wisdom of Solomon) have been utilized by literary figures such as Shakespeare, Milton, and Longfellow, composers such as Charles Wesley, Handel, and Rubinstein, and artists such as Michaelangelo, Rembrandt, and van Dyck. The New Testament Apocrypha, though less influential, has contributed to the traditions about Jesus and the travels and fate of the apostles, not to mention the development of the Christian concept of hell, most notably through the Inferno of Dante.
Joseph L. Trafton
See also Canon Of The Bible
Bibliography . J. H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha ; J. K. Elliott, ed., The Apocryphal New Testament ; E. Hennecke and W. Schneemelcher, eds., New Testament Apocrypha ; B. M. Metzger, An Introduction to the Apocrypha ; G. W. E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature Between the Bible and the Mishnah ; E. Schrer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ ; H. F. D. Sparks, ed., The Apocryphal Old Testament ; M. E. Stone, ed., Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period .
Fausset's Bible Dictionary 
("hidden", and so "spurious".) Applied by Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian to forged books which heretics put forward as canonical, and as possessing a secret esoteric knowledge, known only to the initiated; compare Colossians 2:3. The orthodox applied in scorn a term which the heretics used in honor. They are not included in the lists by Melito, bishop of Sardis, Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Jerome; the last noted as "apocryphal" the writings added in the Septuagint, I. and II. Esdras, Tobit, Judith, the sequel of Esther, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, the Song of the Three Children, Story of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, Manasses' Prayer, and I. and II. Maccabees. In his Prologus Galeatus, having enumerated the canonical books, he says: "whatever is beside these is to be placed in the Apocrypha, and is to be read only for edification, ... not to establish the authority of ecclesiastical doctrines."
In the face of the authority of the Hebrew church, "to whom were committed the oracles of God" ( Romans 3:2), and in the face of Jerome, the author of the Vulgate, Rome's standard version of the Bible, the Council of Trent raises the Apocrypha to the same level as the inspired Old Testament Scriptures. Josephus rejects the Apocrypha; Philo never refers to it; the Lord and His apostles, though quoting the Old Testament so frequently, never quote the Apocrypha. The New Testament links itself immediately with the end of Old Testament, as if no inspired writing came between. The gospel begins at the outset with claiming to be the fulfillment of Malachi ( Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5-6; compare Mark 1:2; Luke 1:16-17). There is a lack of inherent power and majesty in the Apocrypha, as compared with canonical Scripture.
The son of Sirach (Prologue, chap. 39, Sirach 7:27) claims no higher pretension than that of wisdom and learning. Compare also 1 Maccabees 4:46; 1 Maccabees 9:27; 1 Maccabees 14:41 for their own confession of the inferiority in prophetic gifts of the age after, as contrasted with the age before, the canon was closed. No one claims the coming to him of "the word of Jehovah." Moreover, in the Apocrypha occur unscriptural fables, fictions, and doctrinal errors: compare Tobit 6:1-8; Judith 9:10; 2 Maccabees 2, Bel and the Dragon, the merit-earning power of alms, prayers for the dead, ere. They utterly want the progressive plan and mutual interconnection of the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures.
Historical errors, inaccuracies, and evidently fictitious stories and speeches occur. Still the apocryphal writings possess great interest as unfolding to us the workings of the Jewish mind in the long uninspired age between Malachi and Matthew. They mirror forth the transition period between the Old Testament and the New Testament, the age of the heroic struggle wherein the Maccabees rescued their country and race from the persecuting fanaticism of Antiochus Epiphanes. The earliest book dates about the beginning of the third century B.C., the 2nd Book of Esdras about 80 B.C. Above all the Book of Wisdom rises to a strain among the loftiest in human productions. Its personification of wisdom as "the unspotted mirror of God's power, and the image of His goodness," the teacher of all "holy souls" in "all ages" ( Wisdom of Solomon 7:26-27), guiding and ruling God's people, foreshadows John's revelation of "the Word," the Declaration of the unseen God, the Light that lighteth every man.
Its representation of the temple as "a resemblance of the holy tabernacle" which God "has prepared from the beginning" ( Wisdom of Solomon 9:8) is sanctioned by Hebrews 8 and 9. It rises above many Jewish prejudices, vindicating God's universal love and righteousness and the spirituality of His worship; thus preparing the way for the higher gospel revelation (Wisdom 1; 2; Wisdom of Solomon 3:1; Wisdom of Solomon 11:23-26; Wisdom of Solomon 12:16; Wisdom of Solomon 13:6). The apocryphal books of New Testament times have been universally excluded from Scripture. The Epistle of Clement and the Shepherd of Hennas are among the oldest, and are genuine though uninspired; most of them are spurious, as the Apostolical Constitutions, the Gospel of James, etc.
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary 
books not admitted into the sacred canon, being either spurious, or at least not acknowledged to be divine. The word Apocrypha is of Greek origin, and is either derived from the words απο της κρυπτης , because the books in question were removed from the crypt, chest, ark, or other receptacle in which the sacred books were deposited whose authority was never doubted, or more probably from the verb αποκρυπτω , to hide or conceal, because they were concealed from the generality of readers, their authority not being recognised by the church, and because they are books which are destitute of proper testimonials, their original being obscure, their authors unknown, and their character either heretical or suspected. The advocates of the church of Rome, indeed, affirm that some of these books are divinely inspired; but it is easy to account for this: the apocryphal writings serve to countenance some of the corrupt practices of that church. The Protestant churches not only account those books to be apocryphal and merely human compositions which are esteemed such by the church of Rome, as the Prayer of Manasseh, the third and fourth books of Esdras, the addition at the end of Job, and the hundred and fifty-first Psalm; but also the books of Tobit, Judith, the additions to the book of Esther, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch the Prophet, with the Epistle of Jeremiah, the Song of the Three Children, the Story of Susanna, the Story of Bel and the Dragon, and the first and second books of Maccabees. The books here enumerated are unanimously rejected by Protestants for the following reasons:—
1. They possess no authority whatever, either external or internal, to procure their admission into the sacred canon. None of them are extant in Hebrew; all of them are in the Greek language, except the fourth book of Esdras, which is only extant in Latin. They were written for the most part by Alexandrian Jews, subsequently to the cessation of the prophetic spirit, though before the promulgation of the Gospel. Not one of the writers in direct terms advances a claim to inspiration; nor were they ever received into the sacred canon by the Jewish church, and therefore they were not sanctioned by our Saviour. No part of the apocrypha is quoted, or even alluded to, by him or by any of his Apostles; and both Philo and Josephus, who flourished in the first century of the Christian aera, are totally silent concerning them.
2. The apocryphal books were not admitted into the canon of Scripture during the first four centuries of the Christian church. They are not mentioned in the catalogue of inspired writings made by Melito, bishop of Sardis, who flourished in the second century, nor in those of Origen in the third century, of Athanasius, Hilary, Cyril of Jerusalem, Epiphanius, Gregory Nazianzen, Amphilochius, Jerom, Rufinus, and others of the fourth century; nor in the catalogue of canonical books recognised by the council of Laodicea, held in the same century, whose canons were received by the catholic church; so that as Bishop Burnet well observes, we have the concurring sense of the whole church of God in this matter. To this decisive evidence against the canonical authority of the apocryphal books, we may add that they were never read in the Christian church until the fourth century; when, as Jerom informs us, they were read "for example of life, and instruction of manners; but were not applied to establish any doctrine." And contemporary writers state, that although they were not approved as canonical or inspired writings, yet some of them, particularly Judith, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus, were allowed to be perused by catechumens. As a proof that they were not regarded as canonical in the fifth century, Augustine relates, that when the book of Wisdom and other writings of the same class were publicly read in the church, they were given to the readers or inferior ecclesiastical officers, who read them in a lower place than those which were universally acknowledged to be canonical, which were read by the bishops, and presbyters in a more eminent and conspicuous manner. To conclude: notwithstanding the veneration in which these books were held by the western church, it is evident that the same authority was never ascribed to them as to the Old and New Testament until the last council of Trent, at its fourth session, presumed to place them all (except the Prayer of Manasseh and the third and fourth books of Esdras) in the same rank with the inspired writings of Moses and the Prophets.
Morrish Bible Dictionary 
The name given to those Books which were attached to the MSS copies of the LXX, but which do not form a part of the canon of scripture. The term itself signifies, 'hidden,' 'secret,' 'occult;' and, as to any pretence of being a part of scripture, they must be described as 'spurious.' There are such writings connected with both the Old and the New Testament, but generally speaking the term 'Apocrypha' refers to the O.T. (for those connected with the N. Test.see Apostolic FATHERS.The O.T. books are:
1 I. Esdras.
2 II. Esdras.
5 Chapters of Esther, not found in the Hebrew nor Chaldee.
6 Wisdom of Solomon.
7 Jesus, son of Sirach; or Ecclesiasticus; quoted Ecclus.
8 Baruch, including the Epistle of Jeremiah.
9 Song of the Three Holy Children
10 The History of Susanna.
11 Bel and the Dragon.
12 Prayer of Manasseh.
13 I. Maccabees.
14 II. Maccabees.
The Council of Trent in A.D. 1546, professing to be guided by the Holy Spirit, declared the Apocrypha to be a part of the Holy Scripture. The above fourteen books formed part of the English Authorised Version of 1611, but are now seldom attached to the canonical books. Besides the above there are a few others, as the Iii., Iv and V. Maccabees, book of Enoch, etc., not regarded by any one as a part of scripture. It may be noticed
1. That the canonical books of the O.T. were written in Hebrew (except parts of Ezra and Daniel which were in Chaldee); whereas the Apocrypha has reached us only in Greek or Latin, though Jerome says some of it had been seen in Hebrew.
2. Though the Apocrypha is supposed to have been written not later than B.C. 30, the Lord never in any way alludes to any part of it; nor do any of the writers of the N.T., though both the Lord and the apostles constantly quote the canonical books.
3. The Jews did not receive the Apocrypha as any part of scripture, and to 'them were committed the oracles of God.'
4. As some of the spurious books were added to the LXX Version (the O.T. in the Greek) and to the Latin translation of the LXX, some of the early Christian writers were in doubt as to whether they should be received or not, and this uncertainty existed more or less until the before mentioned Council of Trent decided that the greater part of the Apocrypha was to be regarded as canonical. Happily at that time the Reformation had opened the eyes of many Christians to the extreme corruption of the church of Rome, and in rejecting the claims of that church they were also freed from its judgement as to the Apocryphal books.
5. The internal evidences of the human authorship of the Apocrypha ought to convince any Christian that it can form no part of holy scripture.
Expressions of the writers themselves show that they had no thought of their books being taken for scripture. There are also contradictions in them such as are common to human productions. Evil doctrines also are found therein: let one suffice: "Alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin." Tobit 12:9 . The value of holy scripture as the fountain of truth is such that anything that might in any way contaminate that spring should be refused with decision and scorn. Some parts of the Apocryphal books may be true as history, but in every other respect they should be refused as spurious. Nor can it be granted that we need the judgement of the church, could a universal judgement be arrived at, as to what is to be regarded as the canon of scripture. The Bible carries its own credentials to the hearts and consciences of the saints who are willing to let its power be felt.
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary 
Signifies properly hidden, concealed; and as applied to books, it means those which assume a claim to a sacred character, but are really uninspired, and have not been publicly admitted into the canon. These are of two classes: namely,
1. Those which were in existence in the time of Christ, but were not admitted by the Jews into the canon of the Old Testament, because they had no Hebrew original and were regarded as not divinely inspired. The most important of these are collected in the Apocrypha often bound up with the English Bible; but in the Septuagint and Vulgate they stand as canonical.
These apocryphal writings are ten in number: namely, Baruch, Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom of Solomon, Tobit, Judith, two books of the Maccabees, Song of the Three Children, Susannah, and Bell and the Dragon. Their style proves that they were a part of the Jewish- Greek literature of Alexandria, within three hundred years before Christ; and as the Septuagint Greek version of the Hebrew Bible came from the same quarter, it was often accompanied by these uninspired Greek writings, and they thus gained a general circulation. Josephus and Philo, of the first century, exclude them from the canon. The Talmud contains no trace of them; and from the various lists of the Old Testament Scriptures in the early centuries, it is clear that then as now they formed no part of the Hebrew canon. None of them are quoted or endorsed by Christ or the apostles; they were not acknowledged by the Christian fathers; and their own contents condemn them, abounding with errors and absurdities. Some of them, however, are of value for the historical information they furnish, for their moral and prudential maxims, and for the illustrations they afford of ancient life.
2. Those which were written after the time of Christ, but were not admitted by the churches into the canon of the New Testament, as not being divinely inspired. These are mostly of a legendary character. They have all been collected by Fabricius in his Codex Apoc. New Testament.
Smith's Bible Dictionary 
Apoc'rypha. (Concealed, Hidden).
1. Old Testament Apocrypha. The collection of books to which this term is popularly applied includes the following (the order given is that in which they stand in the English version);
I. 1 Esdras;
II. 2 Esdras;
V. The rest of the chapters of the book of Esther, which are found neither in the Hebrew nor in the Chaldee;
VI. The Wisdom of Solomon;
VII. The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus;
IX. The Song of the Three Holy Children,
X. The History of Susanna;
XI. The History of the destruction of Bel and the Dragon;
XII. The Prayer of Manasses king of Judah;
XIII. 1 Maccabee;
XIV. 2 Maccabees.
The primary meaning of apocrypha, "hidden, secret," seems, toward the close of the second century to have been associated with the signification "spurious," and ultimately to have settled down into the latter. The separate books of this collection are treated of in distinct articles. Their relation to the canonical books of the Old Testament is discussed under Canon of Scripture, The .
2. New Testament Apocrypha - (A collection of legendary and spurious Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, and Epistles. They are go entirely inferior to the genuine books, so full of nonsensical and unworthy stories of Christ and the apostles, that they have never been regarded as divine, or bound up in our Bibles. It is said that Mohammed obtained his ideas of Christ entirely from these spurious gospels. - Editor).
People's Dictionary of the Bible 
Apocrypha. The name given generally to certain ancient books and parts of books often appended to the scriptures of the Old Testament, some of which are held by the Roman Catholic church to be of canonical and divine authority. The Westminster Confession and the Church of England allow the books to be read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth not apply them to establish any doctrine. They are regarded as human writings, not inspired. They are:
[ Ezra 1:1-11; Ezra 2:1-70.] The third book of Esdras The fourth book of Esdras The book of Tobias [Tobit].
The book of Judith.
The Best of the book of Esther.
The book of Wisdom.
Jesus the son of Sirach [Ecclesiasticus].
Baruch the Prophet.
The Song of the Three Children.
The Story of Susanna.
Of Bel and the Dragon.
The Prayer of Manasses.
The first book of Maccabees.
The second book of Maccabees.
There are also some apocryphal writings claiming a place among the books of the New Testament; but, as these have never been recognized in the Christian church, they require no notice here.
Easton's Bible Dictionary 
The New Testament Apocrypha consists of a very extensive literature, which bears distinct evidences of its non-apostolic origin, and is utterly unworthy of regard.
Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.
Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Apocrypha'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ebd/a/apocrypha.html. 1897.
Webster's Dictionary 
(1): (n. pl.) Specif.: Certain writings which are received by some Christians as an authentic part of the Holy Scriptures, but are rejected by others.
(2): (n. pl.) Something, as a writing, that is of doubtful authorship or authority; - formerly used also adjectively.
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary 
See Canon .
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
( Ἀπόκρυφα , sc. Βιβλία , hidden, mysterious) , a term in theology, applied in various senses to denote certain books claiming a sacred character. The word occurs in the N.T. in its ordinary sense ( Mark 4:22). It is first found, as denoting a certain class of books, in Clemens Alexandrinus ( Stromata, 13, c. 4, Ἐκ Τινὸς Ἀποκρύφων ) .
I. Definition And Application Of The Term. — The primary meaning of Ἀποκρυφος , "hidden, secret" (in which sense it is used in Hellenistic as well as classical Greek, see Sirach 23:19; Luke 8:17; Colossians 2:13), seems, toward the close of the 2d century, to have been associated with the signification "spurious," and ultimately to have settled down into the latter. Tertullian (de Anim. c. 2) and Clement of Alexandria (Strom. 1, 19, 69; 3, 4, 29) apply it to the forged or spurious books which the heretics of their time circulated as authoritative. The first passage referred to from the Stromata, however, may be taken as an instance of the transition stage of the words. The followers of Prodicus, a Gnostic teacher, are said there to boast that they have Βίβλους Ἀποκρύφους of Zoroaster. In Athanasius ( Ep. Fest. 2, 38; Synopsis Sac. Scrip. 2, 154, ed. Colon. 1686), Augustine ( Faust. 11, 2; Civ. Dei, 15, 23), Jerome ( Ep. Ad Latam, and Prol. Gal. ) the word is used uniformly with the bad meaning which had become attached to it. The writers of that period, however, do not seem to have seen clearly how the word had acquired this secondary sense; and hence we find conjectural explanations of its etymology. The remark of Athanasius (Synops. S. Scr. 1. c.) that such books are Ἀποκρυφῆς Μᾶλλον Ἤ Ἀναγνώσεως Ἄξια is probably meant rather as a play upon the word than as giving its derivation. Later conjectures are (1), that given by the translators of the English Bible (ed. 1539, Pref. to Apocr.), "because they were wont to be read not openly and in common, but as it were in secret and apart;" (2), one, resting on a misapprehension of the meaning of a passage in Epiphanes ( De Mens. Ac Pond. c. 4) that the books in question were so called because, not being in the Jewish canon, they were excluded Ἀπὸ Τῆς Κρυπτῆς from the ark in which the true Scriptures were preserved; (3), that the word Ἀπόκρυφα answers to the Hebrews גְּניּזַים , Libri Absconditi, by which the later Jews designated those books which, as of doubtful authority or not tending to edification, were not read publicly in the synagogues; (4), that it originates in the Κρυπτά or secret books of the Greek mysteries. Of these it may be enough to say, that (1) is, as regards some of the books now bearing the name at variance with fact; that (2), as has been said, rests on a mistake; that (3) wants the support of direct evidence of the use of Ἀπόκρυφα as the translation for the Hebrew word; and that (4). though it approximates to what is probably the true history; of the word, is so far only a conjecture.
In the early ages of the Christian Church this term was frequently used to denote books of an uncertain or anonymous author, or of one who had written under an assumed name. Its application, however, in this sense is far from being distinct, as, strictly speaking, it would include canonical books whose authors were unknown or uncertain, or even pseudepigraphal. Origen, on Matthew 22:1-46, had applied the term apocryphal in a similar way: "This passage is to be found in no canonical book" (regulari, for we have Origen's work only in the Latin translation by Rufinus), "but in the apocryphal book of Elias" (secretis Elioe). And, " ‘ This is plain, that many examples have been adduced by the apostles and evangelists, and inserted in the New Testament, which we do not read in the canonical Scriptures which we possess, but which are found in the Apocrypha" (Origen, Proef. in Cantic.). So also Jerome, referring to the words ( Ephesians 5:14) "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead," observes that "the apostle cited this from Hidden (reconditis) prophets, and such as seem to be apocryphal, as he has done in several other instances." Epiphanius thought that this term was applied to such books as were not placed in the Ark of the Covenant, but put away in some other place (see Suicer's Thesaurus for the true reading of the passage in this father). Under the term apocryphal have been included books of a religious character, which were in circulation among private Christians, but were not allowed to be read in the public assemblies; such as 3 and 4 Ezra 3:1-13 and 4 Maccabees. (See Stare, De apocryphor. appellatione, Greifsw. 1766.)
In regard to the New Testament, the term has been usually applied to books invented by heretics to favor their views, or by Catholics under fictitious signatures. Of this description were many spurious or apocryphal gospels (see below). It is probably in reference to such that Basil, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Jerome gave cautions against the reading of apocryphal books; although it is possible, from the context, that the last named father alludes to the books which were also called ecclesiastical, and afterward deutero-canonical. The following passage from his epistle to Lata, on the education of her daughter, will serve to illustrate this part of our subject: "All apocryphal books should be avoided; but if she ever wishes to read them, not to establish the truth of doctrines, but with a reverential feelingfor the truths they signify, she should be told that they are not the works of the authors by whose names they are distinguished, that they contain much that is faulty, and that it is a task requiring great prudence to find gold in the midst of clay." And to the same effect Philastrius: "Among whom are the Manichees, Gnostics [etc.], who, having some apocryphal books under the apostles' names (i.e. some separate Acts), are accustomed to despise the canonical Scriptures; but these secret Scriptures — that is, apocryphal — though they ought to be read by the perfect for their morals, ought not to be read by all, as ignorant heretics have added and taken away what they wished." He then proceeds to say that the books to which he refers are the Acts of Andrew, written by "the disciples who were his followers," etc.
In the Bibliotheque Sacree, by the Dominicans Richard and Giraud (Paris, 1822), the term is defined to signify (1,) anonymous or pseudepigraphal books; (2,) those which are not publicly read, although they may be read with edification in private; (3,) those which do not pass for authentic and of divine authority, although they pass for being composed by a sacred author or an apostle, as the Epistle of Barnabas; and (4,) dangerous books composed by ancient heretics to favor their opinions. They also, apply the name "to books which, after having been contested, are put into the canon by consent of the churches, as Tobit, etc." Jahn applies it, in its most strict sense, and that which it has borne since the fourth century, to books which, from their inscription, or the author's name, or the subject, might easily be taken for inspired books, but are not so in reality. It has also been applied by Jerome to certain books not found in the Hebrew canon, but yet publicly read from time immemorial in the Christian Church for edification, although not considered of authority in controversies of faith. These were also termed ecclesiastical books, and have been denominated, for distinction's sake, the deutero-canonical books, inasmuch as they were not in the original or Hebrew canon. In this sense they are called by some the Antilegomena of the Old Testament. "The uncanonical. books," says Athanasius, or the author of the Synopsis, "are divided into antilegomena and apocrypha." (See Antilegomena).
Eventually, in the history of the early Church, the great number of pseudonymous productions palmed off upon the unwary as at once sacred and secret, under the great names in Jewish or Christian history, brought this entire class of works into disrepute. Those whose faith rested on the teaching of the Christian Church, and who looked to the O.T. Scriptures either in the Hebrew or the Sept. collection, were not slow to perceive that these productions were destitute of all authority. They applied in scorn what had been used as a title of honor. The secret books (libri secretiores, Orig. Comm. in Matthew ed. Lomm. 4:237) were rejected as spurious. The word apocryphal was soon degraded to the position from which it has never since risen. So far as books like the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs and the Assumption of Moses were concerned, the task of discrimination was comparatively easy, but it became more difficult when the question affected the books which were found in the Sept. translation of the Old Testament; and recognised by the Hellenistic Jews; but were not in the Hebrew text or in the canon acknowledged by the Jews of Palestine. The history of this difficulty, and of the manner in which it affected the reception of particular books, belong rather to the subject of CANON than to that of the present article, but the following facts may be stated as bearing on the application of the word:
1. The teachers of the Greek and Latin Churches, accustomed to the use of the Septuagint, or versions resting on the same basis, were naturally led to quote freely and reverently from all the books which were incorporated into it. In Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, we find citations from the books of the present Apocrypha, as "Scripture," "divine Scripture," "prophecy." They are very far from applying the term Ἀπόκρυφος to these writings. If they are conscious of the difference between them and the other books of the O.T., it is only so far as to lead them (comp. Athan. Synops. S. Scr. 1. c.) to place the former in the list of Οὐ Κανονιζόμενα Ἀντιλεγόμενα , books which were of more use for the ethical instruction of catechumens than for the edification of mature Christians. Augustine, in like manner, applies the word "Apocrypha" only to the spurious books with false titles which were in circulation among heretics, admitting the others, though with some qualifications, under the title of canonical (de doctr. Chr. 2, 8). 2. Wherever, on the other hand, any teacher came into contact with the feelings that prevailed among the Christians of Palestine, there the influence of the rigorous limitation of the old Hebrew canon is at once conspicuous. This is seen in its bearing on the history of the canon in the list given by Melito, bishop of Sardis (Euseb. H. E. 4, 26), and obtained by him from Palestine. Of its effects on the application of the word, the writings of Cyril of Jerusalem and Jerome give abundant instances. The former (Catech. 4, 33) gives the canonical list of the 22 books of the O.T. Scriptures, and rejects the introduction of all "apocryphal" writings. The latter in his Epistle to Laeta warns the Christian mother in educating her daughter against "omnia apocrypha." The Prologus Galeatus shows that he did not shrink from including under that title the books which formed part of the Septuagint, and were held in honor in the Alexandrian and Latin Churches. In dealing with the several books he discusses each on its own merits, admiring some, speaking unhesitatingly of the "dreams," "fables" of others.
3. The teaching of Jerome influenced, though not decidedly, the language of the Western Church. The old spurious heretical writings, the "Apocrypha" of Tertullian and Clement, fell more and more into the background, and were almost utterly forgotten. The doubtful books of the Old Testament were used publicly in the service of the Church, quoted frequently with reverence as Scripture, sometimes, however, with doubts or limitations as to the authority of individual books according to the knowledge or critical discernment of this or that writer (comp. Bp. Cosins's Scholastic History Of The Canon ) . During this period the term by which they were commonly described was not apocryphal but "ecclesiastical." So they had been described by Rufinus ( Expos. In Symb. Apost. p. 26), who practically recognised the distinction drawn by Jerome, though he would not apply the more opprobrious epithet to books which were held in honor.
4. It was reserved for the age of the Reformation to stamp the word Apocrypha with its present signification. The two views which had hitherto existed together, side by side, concerning which the Church had pronounced no authoritative decision, stood out in sharper contrast. The Council of Trent closed the question which had been left open, and deprived its theologians of the liberty they had hitherto enjoyed, by extending the Canon of Scripture so as to include all the hitherto doubtful or deuterocanonical books, with the exception of the two books of Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh, the evidence against which seemed too strong to be resisted (Sess. IV de Can. Script.). In accordance with this decree, the editions of the Vulgate published by authority contained the books which the Council had pronounced canonical, as standing on the same footing as those which had never been questioned, while the three which had been rejected were printed commonly in smaller type and stood after the New Testament. The Reformers of Germany and England, on the other hand, influenced in part by the revival of the study of Hebrew and the consequent recognition of the authority of the Hebrew Canon, and subsequently by the reaction against this stretch of authority, maintained the opinion of Jerome and pushed it to its legitimate results.
The principle which had been asserted by Carlstadt dogmatically in his "de Canonicis Scripturis libellus" (1520) was acted on by Luther. He spoke of individual books among those in question with a freedom as great as that of Jerome, judging each on its own merits, praising Tobit as a "pleasant comedy," and the Prayer of Manasseh as a "good model for penitents," and rejecting the two books of Esdras as containing worthless fables. The example of collecting the doubtful books into a separate group had been set in the Strasburg edition of the Septuagint, 1526. In Luther's complete edition of the German Bible, accordingly (1534), the books (Judith, Wisdom, Tobias, Sirach 1:1-30 and 2 Maccabees, Additions to Esther and Daniel, and the Prayer of Manasseh) were grouped together under the general title of "Apocrypha, i.e. Books which are not of like worth with Holy Scripture, yet are good and useful to be read." In the history of the English Church, Wicliff showed himself in this as in other points the forerunner of the Reformation, and applied the term Apocrypha to all but the "twenty-five" Canonical Books of the Old Testament. The judgment of Jerome was formally asserted in the sixth Article. The disputed books were collected and described in the same way in the printed English Bible of 1539 (Cranmer's), and since then there has been no fluctuation as to the application of the word. (See Deutero-Canonical).
II. Biblical Apocrypha. — The collection of books to which this term is popularly applied includes the following. The order given is that in which they stand in the English version.
1. 1 Esdras 2:1-30 . 2 Esdras 3:1-36 . Tobit 4:1-42 . Judith 5:1-24 . The rest of the chapters of the Book of Esther, which are found neither in the Hebrew nor in the Chaldee. 6. The Wisdom of Solomon. 7. The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach, or Sirach 8:1-19 . Baruch. 9. The Song of the Three Holy Children. 10. The History of Susanna. 11. The History of the Destruction of Bel and the Dragon. 12. The Prayer of Manasseh, King of Judah. 13. 1 Maccabees 14:1-49 . 2 Maccabees.
The separate books of this collection are treated of in distinct articles. Their relation to the canonical books of the Old Testament is discussed under CANON (See Canon) . We propose here to consider only the history and character of the collection as a whole in its relation to Jewish literature.
Whatever questions may be at issue as to the authority of these books, they have in any case an interest, of which no controversy can deprive them, as connected with the literature, and therefore with the history, of the Jews. They represent the period of transition and decay which followed on the return from Babylon, when the prophets, who were then the teachers of the people, had passed away, and the age of scribes succeeded. Uncertain as may be the dates of individual books, few, if any, can be thrown farther back than the beginning of the third century B.C. The latest, the 2d Book of Esdras, is probably not later than 30 B.C., 2 Esdras 7:28 being a subsequent interpolation. The alterations of the Jewish character, the different phases which Judaism presented in Palestine and Alexandria, the good and the evil which were called forth by contact with idolatry in Egypt, and by the struggle against it in Syria, all these present themselves to the reader of the Apocrypha with greater or less distinctness. In the midst of the diversities which we might naturally expect to find in books written by different authors, in different countries, and at considerable intervals of time, it is possible to discern some characteristics which belong to the entire collection.
1. The absence of the prophetic element. From first to last the books bear testimony to the assertion of Josephus ( Revelation 1:1-20 ; Revelation 8:1-13), that the Ἀκριβὴς Διαδοχή of prophets had been broken after the close of the O.T. canon. No one speaks because the word of the Lord had come to him. Sometimes there is a direct confession that the gift of prophecy had departed ( 1 Maccabees 9:27), or the utterance of a hope that it might one day return ( Ibid. 1 Maccabees 9:4; 1 Maccabees 9:46; 1 Maccabees 14:41). Sometimes a teacher asserts in words the perpetuity of the gift ( Wisdom of Solomon 7:27), and shows in the act of asserting it how different the illumination which he had received was from that bestowed on the prophets of the canonical books. When a writer simulates the prophetic character, he repeats with slight modifications the language of the older prophets, as in Baruch, or makes a mere prediction the text of a dissertation, as in the Epistle of Jeremy, or plays arbitrarily with combinations of dreams and symbols, as in 2 Esdras. Strange and perplexing as the last-named book is, whatever there is in it of genuine feeling indicates a mind not at ease with itself, distracted with its own sufferings and with the problems of the universe, and it is accordingly very far removed from the utterance of a man who speaks as a messenger from God.
2. Connected with this is the almost total disappearance of the power which had shown itself in the poetry of the Old Testament. The Song of the Three Children lays claim to the character of a psalm, and is probably a translation from some liturgical hymn;,but, with this exception, the form of poetry is altogether absent. So far as the writers have come under the influence of Greek cultivation, they catch the taste for rhetorical ornament which characterized the literature of Alexandria. Fictitious speeches become almost indispensable additions to the narrative of a historian, and the story of a martyr is not complete unless (as in the later Acta Martyrum of Christian traditions) the sufferer declaims in set terms against the persecutors (Song of the Three Child., 3-22; 2 Maccabees 6:7).
3. The appearance, as part of the current literature of the time, of works of fiction, resting or purporting to rest on a historical foundation. It is possible that this development of the national genius may have been, in part, the result of the Captivity. The Jewish exiles brought with them the reputation of excelling in minstrelsy, and were called on to sing the "songs of Zion" ( Psalms 137:1-9). The trial of skill between the three young men in 1 Esdras 3:4, implies a traditional belief that those who were promoted to places of honor under the Persian kings were conspicuous for gifts of a somewhat similar character. The transition from this to the practice of story-telling was, with the Jews, as afterward with the Arabs, easy and natural enough. The period of the Captivity, with its strange adventures, and the remoteness of the scenes connected with it, offered a wide and attractive field to the imagination of such narrators. Sometimes, as in Bel and the Dragon, the motive of such stories would be the love of the marvellous mingling itself with the feeling of scorn with which the Jew looked on the idolater. In other cases, as in Tobit and Susanna, the story would gain popularity from its ethical tendencies. The singular variations in the text of the former book indicate at once the extent of its circulation and the liberties taken by successive editors. In the narrative of Judith, again, there is probably something more than the interest attaching to the history of the past. There is indeed too little evidence of the truth of the narrative for us to look on it as history at all, and it takes its place in the region of historical romance, written with a political motive, Under the guise of the old Assyrian enemies of Israel the writer is covertly attacking the Syrian invaders, against whom his countrymen were contending, stirring them up, by a story of imagined or traditional heroism, to follow the example of Judith, as she had followed that of Jael (Ewald, Gesch. Israels, 4, 541). The development of this form of literature is, of course, compatible with a high degree of excellence, but it is true of it at all times, and was especially true of the literature of the ancient world, that it belongs rather to its later and feebler period. It is a special sign of decay in honesty and discernment when such writings -are passed off and accepted as belonging to actual history.
4. The free exercise of the imagination within the domain of history led to the growth of a purely legendary literature. The full development of this was indeed reserved for a yet later period. The books of the Apocrypha occupy a middle place between those of the Old Testament in their simplicity and truthfulness and the wild extravagances of the Talmud. As it is, however, we find in them the germs of some of the fabulous traditions which were influencing the minds of the Jews at the time of our Lord's ministry, and have since in some instances incorporated themselves more or less with the popular belief of Christendom. So in 2 Maccabees 1:2, we meet with the statements that at the time of the captivity the priests had concealed the sacred fire, and that it was miraculously renewed — that Jeremiah had gone, accompanied by the tabernacle and the ark, "to the mountain where Moses climbed up to see the heritage of God," and had there concealed them in a cave together with the altar of incense. The apparition of the prophet at the close of the same book (15:15), as giving to Judas Maccabaeus the sword with which, as a "gift from God," he was to "wound the adversaries," shows how prominent a place was occupied by Jeremiah in the traditions and hopes of the people, and prepares us to understand the rumors which followed on our Lord's teaching and working that "Jeremias or one of the prophets" had appeared again ( Matthew 16:14). So again in 2 Esdras 13:40-47, we find the legend of the entire disappearance of the Ten Tribes, which, in spite of direct and indirect testimony on the other side, has given occasion even in our own time to so many wild conjectures. In chap. 14 of the same book we recognize (as has been pointed out already) the tendency to set a higher value on books of an esoteric knowledge than on those in the Hebrew canon; but it deserves notice that this is also another form of the tradition that Ezra dictated from a supernaturally-inspired memory the sacred books which, according to that tradition, had been lost, and that both fables are exaggerations of the part actually taken by him and by "the men of the Great Synagogue" in the work of collecting and arranging them. So also the rhetorical narrative of the Exodus in Wisdom of Solomon 16:1-29; Wisdom of Solomon 17:1-21; Wisdom of Solomon 18:1-25; Wisdom of Solomon 19:1-22 indicates the existence of a traditional, half- legendary history side by side with the canonical. It would seem, indeed, as if the life of Moses had appeared with many different embellishments. The form in which that life appears in Josephus, the facts mentioned in St. Stephen's speech and not found in the Pentateuch, the allusions to Jannes and Jambres ( 2 Timothy 3:8), to the disputes between Michael and the devil ( Judges 1:9), to the "rock that followed" the Israelites ( 1 Corinthians 10:4), all bear testimony to the wide-spread popularity of this semi- apocryphal history. (See Enoch (Book Of).)
5. As the most marked characteristic of the collection as a whole and of the period to which it belongs, there is the tendency to pass off supposititious books under the cover of illustrious names. The books of Esdras, the additions to Daniel, the letters of Baruch and Jeremiah, and the Wisdom of Solomon, are obviously of this character. It is difficult, perhaps, for us to measure in each instance the degree in which the writers of such books were guilty of actual frauds. In a book like the Wisdom of Solomon, for example, the form may have been adopted as a means of gaining attention by which no one was likely to be deceived, and, as such, it does not go beyond the limits of legitimate personation. The fiction in this case need not diminish our admiration and reverence for the book any more than it would destroy the authority of Ecclesiastes were we to come to the conclusion, from internal or other evidence, that it belonged to a later age than that of Solomon. The habit, however, of writing books under fictitious names is, as the later Jewish history shows, a very dangerous one. The practice becomes almost a trade. Each such work creates a new demand, to be met in its turn by a fresh supply, and thus the prevalence of an apocryphal literature becomes a sure sign of want of truthfulness on one side, and want of discernment on the other.
6. The absence of honesty, and of the power to distinguish truth from falsehood, shows itself in a yet more serious form in the insertion of formal documents purporting to be authentic, but in reality failing altogether to establish any claim to that title. This is obviously the case with the decree of Artaxerxes in Esther 16. The letters with which 2 Maccabees opens from the Jews at Jerusalem betray their true character by their historical inaccuracy. We can hardly accept as genuine the letter in which the king of the Lacedaemonians ( 1 Maccabees 12:20-21) writes to Onias that "the Lacedaemonians and Jews are brethren, and that they are of the stock of Abraham." The letters in 2 Maccabees 9:1-29; 2 Maccabees 11:1-38, on the other hand, might be authentic so far as their contents go, but the recklessness with which such documents are inserted as embellishments and make-weights throws doubt in a greater or less degree on all of them.
7. The loss of the simplicity and accuracy which characterize the history of the Old Testament is shown also in the errors and anachronisms in which these books abound. Thus, to take a few of the most striking instances, Haman is made a Macedonian, and the purpose of his plot is to transfer the kingdom from the Persians to the Macedonians (Esther 16:10); two contradictory statements are given in the same book of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes ( 2 Maccabees 1:15-17; 2 Maccabees 9:5-29); Nabuchodonosor is made to dwell at Nineve as the king of the Assyrians ( Judith 1:1).
8. In their relation to the religious and ethical development of Judaism during the period which these books embrace, we find
(1.) the influences of the struggle against idolatry under Antiochus, as shown partly in the revival of the old heroic spirit, and in the record of the deeds which it called forth, as in Maccabees, partly again in the tendency of a narrative like Judith, and the protests against idol- worship in Baruch and Wisdom.
(2.) The growing hostility of the Jews toward the Samaritans is shown by the confession of the Son of Sirach ( Sirach 1:1-30; Sirach 25:1-26; Sirach 26:1-29).
(3.) The teaching of Tobit illustrates the prominence then and afterward assigned to alms-giving among the duties of a holy life ( Tobit 4:7-11; Tobit 12:9). The classification of the three elements of such a life, prayer, fasting, alms, in Tobit 12:8, illustrates the traditional ethical teaching of the Scribes, which was at once recognised and purified from the errors that had been connected with it in the Sermon on the Mount ( Matthew 6:1-18).
(4.) The same book indicates also the growing belief in the individual guardianship of angels and the germs of a grotesque daemonology, resting in part on the more mysterious phenomena of man's spiritual nature, like the cases of daemoniac possession in the Gospels, but associating itself only too easily with all the frauds and superstitions of vagabond exorcists.
(5.) The great Alexandrian book of the collection, the Wisdom of Solomon, breathes, as we might expect, a strain of higher mood; and though there is absolutely no ground for the patristic tradition that it was written by Philo, the conjecture that it might have been was not without a plausibility which might well commend itself to men like Basil and Jerome. The personification of Wisdom as "the unspotted mirror of the power of God and the image of his goodness" (7, 26), as the universal teacher of all "holy souls" in "all ages" (7, 27), as guiding and ruling God's people, approaches the teaching of Philo, and foreshadows that of the Apostle John as to the manifestation of the unseen God through the medium of the Logos and the office of that divine Word as the light that lighteth every man. In relation again to the symbolic character of the Temple as "a resemblance of the holy tabernacle" which God "has prepared from the beginning" ( John 9:8), the language of this book connects itself at once with that of Philo and with the teaching of the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. But that which is the great characteristic of the book, as of the school from which it emanated, is the writer's apprehension of God's kingdom and the blessings connectcd with it as eternal, and so as independent of men's conceptions of time. Thus chapters 1, 2, contain the strong protest of a righteous man against the materialism which then, in the form of a sensual selfishness, as afterward in the developed system of the Sadducees, was corrupting the old faith of Israel. Against this he asserts that the "souls of the righteous are in the hands of God." ( John 3:1); that the blessings which the popular belief connected with length of days were not to be measured by the duration of years, seeing that "wisdom is the gray hair unto men, and an unspotted life is old age."
(6.) In regard to another truth also this book was in advance of the popular belief of the Jews of Palestine. In the midst of its strong protests against idolatry, there is the fullest recognition of God's universal love ( John 11:23-26), of the truth that His power is but the instrument of His righteousness ( John 12:16), of the difference between those who are the "less to be blamed" as "seeking God and desirous to find Him" ( John 13:6), and the victims of a darker and more debasing idolatry. Here also the unknown writer of the Wisdom of Solomon seems to prepare the way for the higher and wider teaching of the New Testament. (See Logos).
III. Spurious And Pseudepigraphal Books, As Distinct From Antilegomena Or Ecclesiastical. — Among this class are doubtless to be considered the 3d and 4th books of Esdras; and it is no doubt in reference to these that, in his letter to Vigilantius, Athanasius speaks of a work of Esdras which he says that he had never even read. Of the same character are also the book of Enoch, the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Assumption of Moses, etc.; which, as well as 3 and 4 Esdras, being by many considered as the fictions of Christians of the second and third centuries, it is doubtful whether they ought to be classed in the Apocrypha of the Old or of the New Testament. Origen, however, believed the New Testament to have contained citations from books of this kind written before the times of the apostles, as is evident from his reference to such in his preface to the Canticles. Then, in his Letter to Apianus, he observes that there were many things kept from the knowledge of the public, but which were preserved in the hidden or apocryphal books, to which he refers.the passage ( Hebrews 11:37), "They were sawn asunder." Origen probably alludes here to that description of books which the Jews called Genuzim, גְּנוּזִים , a word of the same signification with Apocrypha, and applied to books laid aside, or not permitted to be publicly read or considered, even when divinely inspired, not fit for indiscriminate circulation: among the latter were the first chapter of Genesis, the Song of Solomon, and our last eight chapters of the prophet Ezekiel. The books which we have here enumerated, such as the book of Enoch, etc., which were all known to the ancient fathers, have descended to our times; and, although incontestably spurious, are of considerable value from their antiquity, as throwing light upon the religious and theological opinions of the first centuries. The most curious are the 3d and 4th books of Esdras, and the book of Enoch, which has been but recently discovered, and has acquired peculiar interest from its containing the passage cited by the apostle Jude. (See Enoch). Nor are the apocryphal books of the New Testament destitute of interest. Although the spurious Acts extant have no longer any defenders of their genuineness, they are not without their value to the Biblical student, and have been applied with success to illustrate the style and language of the genuine books, to which they bear a close analogy. The American translator of Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History terms them "harmless and ingenious fictions, intended either to gratify the fancy or to silence the enemies of Christianity."
Some of the apocryphal books have not been without their defenders in modern times. The Apostolical Canons and Constitutions, and the various Liturgies ascribed to St. Peter, St. Mark, etc., and published by Fabricius in his Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti, were considered by the learned and eccentric William Whiston, and the no less learned Grabe, to be of equal authority with any of the confessedly genuine apostolic compositions (see Whiston's Primitive Christianity and Grabe's Spicilegium). They are, however, regarded by most as originally not of an earlier date than the second century, and as containing interpolations which betray the fourth or fifth; they can, therefore, only be considered as evidence of the practice of the Church at the period when they were written. They have generally been appealed to by the learned as having preserved the traditions of the age immediately succeeding the apostolic; and, from the remarkable coincidence which is observable in the most essential parts of the so-called Apostolic Liturgies, it is by no means improbable that, notwithstanding their interpolations, they contain the leading portions of the most ancient Christian forms of worship. Most of the apocryphal Gospels and Acts noticed by the fathers, and condemned in the catalogue of Gelasius, which are generally thought to have been the fictions of heretics in the second century, have long since fallen into oblivion. Of those which remain, although some have been considered by learned men as genuine works of the apostolic age, yet the greater part are universally rejected as spurious, and as written in the second and third centuries. A few are, with great appearance of probability, assigned to Leucius Clarinus, supposed to be the same with Leontius and Seleucus, who was notorious for similar forgeries at the end of the third century.
The authorship of the Epistle of Barnabas (q.v.) is still a matter of dispute; and there appears but too much reason to believe that there existed grounds for the charge made by Celsus against the early Christians, that they had interpolated or forged the ancient Sibylline Oracles. In the letter of Pope Innocent I to St. Exupere, bishop of Toulouse, written about the year 405, after giving a catalogue of the books forming the canon of Scripture (which includes five books of Solomon, Tobit, and two books of Maccabees), he observes: "But the others, which are written under the name of Matthias, or of James the Less, or those which were written by one Leucius under the name of Peter and John, or those under the name of Andrew by Xenocheris and Leonidas the philosopher, or under the name of Thomas; or if there be any others, you must know that they are not only to be rejected, but condemned." These sentiments were afterward confirmed by the Roman Council of seventy bishops, held under Pope Gelasius in 494, in the acts of which there is a long list of apocryphal Gospels and Acts, the greater part of which are supposed to have perished. The acts of this council, however, are not generally considered to be genuine. But, whatever authority is to be ascribed to these documents, it cannot be denied that the early Church evinced a high degree of discrimination in the difficult task of distinguishing the genuine from the spurious books, as has been well observed by Jones (New and Full Method, 1, 15) and Baxter (Saint's Rest, p. 2). (See Canon).
The following is a list of the genuine writings mentioned in the OLD TEST., but now lost, or generally thought so to be:
The "Prophecy of ENOCH" ( Judges 1:14). But (See Enoch)
The "Book of the Wars of the Lord" ( Numbers 21:14).
The "Book of the Just" ( Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18). (See Jasher).
The "Book of the Order of the Kingdom," or of the Royal Administration, written by Samuel ( 1 Samuel 10:25). See KING.
The "Books of Nathan and GAD" concerning King David ( 1 Chronicles 29:29).
The "Books of Nathan, Ahijah and IDDO" concerning King Solomon
( 2 Chronicles 9:29). SOLOMON'S Parables, Songs, and Treatises on Natural History" ( 1 Kings 4:32 sq). But (See Proverbs); (See Canticles); (See Ecclesiastes).
The "Book of the Acts of SOLOMON" ( 1 Kings 11:41).
The "Book of SERAIAH" concerning King Rehoboam ( 2 Chronicles 12:15). The "Book of JEIU" concerning Jehoshaphat ( 2 Chronicles 20:34). The "Book of ISAIAH" concerning King Uzziah ( 2 Chronicles 26:22)
But (See Isaiah). The "Words of the Seers" to King Manasseh ( 2 Chronicles 26:22). The "Book of Lamentations" over King Josiah ( 2 Chronicles 35:25). But (See Lamentations).
The "Volume of JEREMIAH" burned by Jehudi ( Jeremiah 36:2; Jeremiah 36:6; Jeremiah 36:23). But (See Jeremiah).
The "Chronicle of the Kings of Judah" ( 1 Kings 14:29; 1 Kings 15:7). But (See Chronicles).
The Chronicle ‘ of the Kings'of Israel" ( 1 Kings 14:29). But (See Chronicles).
The following is a list of pseudepigraphal hooks relating to the Old Test., still extant (exclusive of those contained in the definitively so called "Apocrypha"), with the language in which ancient copies have been discovered. See each title, or professed author here cited, under its proper head in the body of this Cyclopaedia.
The "History of ANTIOCHUS" Epiphanes (Heb.). This appears to be a garbled Hebraic version of the accounts of that tyrant in the books of the Maccabees (see Fabricius, Codex Pseudepigr. 5,1. 1, 1165 sq., where a Latin translation is given of it).
The "History of ARENATHI," Joseph's Wife (Lat. Given by Fabricius, ib. 1, p. 774 sq.).
The "Epistle of BARUCH" (Lat. In Fabricius, ib. 2, 147 sq.). The "Book of ELIAS" the Prophet (see ib. 1, 1070). The "Book of ENOCH" (Ethiopic). The "THIRD [Engl. First] Book of ESDRAS" (Gr. and Lat.). The "FOURTH [Second] Book of ESDRAS" (Lat., Arab., and Eth.). The "Ascension of ISAIAH" (Ethiopic). The "Book of JASHER" (Heb.). The "Book of JEZIRAH" or Creation (Heb.). The "Third Book of MACCABEES " (Gr.). The "Fourth Book of MACCABEES " (Gr.). The "Fifth Book of MACCABEES" (Ar. and Syr.) The Assumption of MOSES" (see Fabricius, 1:825). The "Preaching of NOAH" to the Antediluvians, according to the Sibylline Oracle. (Fabricius, 1:230).
The "Testament of the Twelve PATRIARCIS" (Gr. Given by Fabricius, with a Latin translation, Coder Pseudepigr. A. T. 1, 519 sq.).
The "Psalter of SOLOMON" (Gr. Given in like manner, ib. 1, 917 sq.). The "Book of ZOHAR" or Light (Heb.). The following is a list of all the apocryphal pieces relating to the NEW TEST., not now extant, mentioned by writers in the first four centuries after Christ, with the several writings in which they are (last) cited or noticed. See each name in its alphabetical place.
(1.) The "Acts of ANDREW" (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 3, 25; Philastr. Heres. 87; Epiphan; Heres. 47, 1; 61:1; 63:2; Gelasius, in Decret. ap. Concil. Sanct. 4, 1260). But (See Andrew).
(2.) "Books" under the name of ANDREW (Augustine, Contr. Adversar. Leg. Et Prophet. 1, 20; Innocent I, Epist. 3, Ad Exuper. Thiolo.. Episc. 7).
(3) The "Gospel of ANDREW" (Gelas. in Decret. ) .
A "Gospel" under the name of Apelles (Jerome, Praef. in Conmmenn. in Matt.).
The "Gospel according to the Twelve APOSTLES" (Origen, Hom 1. in Luke 1:1-80; Luke 1:1-80; Ambrose, Comment. in Luke 1:1-80; Luke 1:1-80; Jerome, Praef. in Comment. in Matt.).
The "Gospel of BARNABAS" (Gelas. in Decret.). (1.) The "Gospel of BARTHOLOMEW" (Jerome, Catal. Scrit. Eccles. in Pantsen.; Prief. in Comment. in Matt.; Gelas. in Decret.).
(2.) The; "Writings of Bartholomew the Apostle" (Dionys. the Areopagite, De Theol. Hist. 1, 1).
The "Gospel of BASILIDES" (Origen, in Luke 1:1-80; Luke 1:1-80; Ambrose, in Luke 1:1-80; Luke 1:1-80; Jerome, Praef. in Comm. in Matt.).
(1.) The "Gospel of CERINTHUS" (Epiplan. Haeres. 51, 7).
(2.) The "Revelation of CERINTHUS" (Caius, Presb. Rom., Lib. Disput. ap. Fuseb. Hist. Eccl. 2, 28).
(1.) Some "Books" under the name of CHRIST (Augustine, De Consens. Evang. 1, 3)
(2.) An "Epistle of CHRIST " produced by the Manicheans (Augustine, comltr. Faust. 28, 4).
(3.) An "Epistle of CHRIST to Peter and Paul" (Augustine De Consen. Evang. 1, 9, 10).
(4.) A "Hymn of CHRIST" taught to his disciples (Episcop. Ad Ceret. Epist. ) .
(1.) The "Acts of the Apostles" made use of by the Ebionites
(Epiphan. Haeres. 30, 16).
(2.) The "Gospel of the EBIONITES" ( Ib. 13).
The "Gospel according to the EGYPTIANS" (Clem. Alex. Strom. 3, 452, 465; Origen, in Luke 2:1-52; Jerome, Praef. in Comm. in Matt.; Epiphan. Haeres. 62:2).
The "Gospel of the ENCRATITES" (Epiphan. Haeres. 46, 1). The "Gospel of EVE" (ib. 26, 2).
The "Gospel according to the HEBREWS" (Heges'p. lib. Comment. sp Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 4, 22; Clem. Alex. Strom. 2, p. 380; Origen, Tract. 8 in Matthew 19:19; and In Joan. p. 58; Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 3 , 25, 27, 39; Jerome, often).
The "Book of the HELKASAITES" (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 6, 38). The false "Gospels of HESYCHIUS" (Jerome, Praef. in Evang. ad Darnas.; Gelasius, in Decret.).
(1.) The "Book of JAMES" (Origen, Comm. In Matthew 13:55-56.
(2.) "Books" forged and published under the name of James (Epiphan. Haeres. 30, 23; Innocent I, Epist. 3 ad Exuper. Tholos. Episc. 7).
(1.) The "Acts of JOHN" (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 3 , 25; Athanas. In Synopis. 76; Philastr. Haeres. 87; Epiphan. Haeres. 47, 1; Augustine. contr. Advers. Leg. 1, 20).
(2.) "Books" under the name of JOHN (Epiphan. Haeres. 38:1; Innocent 1, 1. C. ) .
A "Gospel" under the name of JUDAS Iscariot (Iren. adv. Haeres. 1, 25). A "Gospel" under the name of JUDE (Epiphan. Haeres 38:1).
The "Acts of the Apostles" by LEUCIUS (Augustine, de Fide contr. Manich. 38).
(1.) "The Acts of the Apostles" by LENTITIUS (Augustine, De Act. Cam,. Foelic. Manich. 2, 6).
(2.) The "Books of LENTITIUS" (Gelas. in Decret. ) .
The "Acts" under the Apostles' name, by LEONITUS (Augustine, de Pide contr. Maanich. 5).
The "Acts of the Apostles" by LEUTHON (Jerome, Epist. ad Chromat. et Helionor).
The false "Gospels" published by LUCIANUS (Jerome, Praef. in Evang. et Damas.).
The "Acts of the Apostles" used by the MANICHEANS (Augustine, contr. Adimant. Manich. 17).
"Books" under the name of Matthew (Epiphan. Haeres. 30:23).
(1.) A "Book" under the name of Matthias (Innocent I, Ut Sup .)
(2.) The "Gospel of MATTHIAS" Origen, Comm. In Luke 1:1-80 ; Luke 1:1-80; Euiseb. Hist. Eccl. 3 , 25; Ambrose, In Luke 1:1-80 ; Luke 1:1-80; Jerome, Praef. in Comm. In Matt. ) .
(3.) The "Traditions of MATTHIAS" (Clem. Al 10 Strom. 2, p. 38; 3, 436; 7:748).
The "Gospel of MERINTHUS" (Epiphan. Haeres. 2, 7).
The "Gospel according to the NAZARENES." (See above, "Gospel according to the Hebrews.")
(1.) The "Acts of PAUL" (Origen, De Princip. 1, 2; In Joan. 2, p. 298; Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 3, 3 and 25; Philastr. Haeres. 87.
(2.) A "Book" under the name of PAUL (Cyprian, Epist. 27).
(3.) The "Preaching of PAUL and PETER" (Lactantius, De Ver. Sap. 4, 21; Script. anonym. ad calcem Opp. Cypr.; and [according to some] Clem. Alex. Strom. 6, 636).
(4.) The "Revelation of PAUL" (Epiphan. Haeres. 38, 2; Augustine, Tract 98 in Joan. s. f.; Gelas. in Decret.).
The "Gospel of PERFECTION" (Epiphan. Haeres. 26, 2).
(1.) The "Acts of PETER" (Euseb. Hist. Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 ; Ecclesiastes 3:1-22; Athanas. in Synops. S. S. 76; Philastr. Haeres. 87; Jerome, Capit. Script. Eccl. In Petr.; Epiphan. Haeres. 3 0, 15).
(2.) "Books" under the name of Peter (Innocent I, Epist. 3 Ad Exupa. Tholos Episc. 7 ) .
(3.) The "Doctrine of PETER" (Origen, Procem. in Lb. De Princip. ) .
(4.) The "Gospel of PETER" (Serapion, De Evang. Petri, ap. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 6, 16; Tertull. adv. Macc. 4, 5; Origen, Comn. in Matthew 13:55-56; vol. 1, p. 223; Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 3, 3 and 25; Jerome, Catal. Script. Eccl. in Petr.).
(5.) The "Judgment of PETER" (Rufin. Expos. in Symbol. Apost. 36; Jerome, Catal. Script. Eccles. In Peter. ) .
(6.) The "Preaching of PETER" (Heracl. ap. Origen, Lib. 14 In Joan.; Clem. Alex. Strom. 1, 357; 2:390; 6, 635, 636, 678; Theolot. Byzant. in Excerpt. p. 809, ad calc. Opp. Clem. Alex.; Lactant. De Fer. Sap ) . 4, 21; Euseb. Hist. Ecclesiastes 3:1-22; Ecclesiastes 3:1-22; Jerome, Catal. Scrip'. Eccles. in Petr.).
(7.) The "Revelation of PETER" (Clem. Alex. Lib. Hypntopos. ap. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 6, 14; Theodot. Byz. in Excerpt. p. 806, 807, ad calc. Opp. Clem. Alex.; Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 3, 3 and 25; Jerome, Catal. Script. Eccl. In Petr. ) .
(1.) The "Acts of PHILIP" (Gelas. in Decret. ) .
(2) The "Gospel of PHILP" (Epiphan. Haeres. 2 6, 13).
The "Gospel of SCYTHIANUS" (Cyrill. Catech. 6, 22; Epiphan. Haeres. 66, 2).
The "Acts of the Apostles" by SELEUCUS (Jerome, Epist. ad Chromat. et Heliodor.).
The "Revelation of STEPHEN" (Gelas. in Decret.).
The "Gospel of THADDAEUS" (ib.).
The Catholic "Epistle of THEMISON" the Montanist (Apollon. lib. contr. C taphya. ap. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 5,18).
(1.) "The Acts of THOMAS" (Epiphan. Haeres. 47, 1; 61:1; Athanas. in Synops. .S. .76; Gelas. in Decret.).
(2.) "Books" under the name of THOMAS (Innocent I, Up sup.).
(3 ) The "Revelation of THOMAS" (Gelas. in Decret. ) .
The Gospel of TITIAN" (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 4, 29).
The "Gospel of TRUTH" made use of by the Valentinians (Iren. adv. Haeres. 3, 11). The "Gospel of VALENTINUS" (Tertull. de Proescript. adv. Haeres. 49). The following list comprises those pseudepigraphal works relating to the New Test. which still exist, with the language in which ancient copies have been preserved. See each title and professed author in its place.
A "History of the Contest between the Apostles" by Abdias (Lat.).
The "Letter of Abgarus to Christ," and the "Reply of Christ to Abgarus" (Gr.). The "General Epistle of BARNABAS" (Gr). The "First Epistle of CLEMENT to the Corinthians" (Gr.). The "Second Epistle (of CLEMENT to the Corinthians" (Gr.). The "Descent of CHRIST into Hell" (Gr. and Lat.). The "Apostolical CONSTITUTIONS" (Gr., Eth., and Copt ). The First Book of HERMAS," called his Visions (Gr. and Lat.). The "Second Book of HERMAS," called his Commands (Gr. and Lat.). The "Third Book of HERMAS," called his Similitudes (Gr. and Lat.). The "Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians" (Gr. and Lat.). The Epistle of IONATRUS to the Magnesians" (Gr. and Lat.). The Epistle of IGNATIUS to the Philadelphians" (Gr. and Lat.). The "Epistle of IGNATIUS to Polycarp" (Gr. and Lat.). The "Epistle of IGNATIUS to the Romans" (Gr. and Lat.). The "Epistle of IGNATIUS to the Smyrnaans" (Gr. and Lat.). The "Epistle of IGNATIUS to the Trallians" (Gr. and Lat.). The "Gospel of the INFANCY" of the Savior (Arab. and Lat.) The "Protevangelium of JAMES" (Gr. and Lat.). The (mutilated and altered) "Gospel of St. JOHN" (Gr.). The (apocryphal) "Book of the Apostle JOHN" (Lat.). The "Narrative of JOSEPH of Arimathaea" (Gr.).
The "Sacred Memorial Book of Joseph," a Christian. (The Greek text, — entitled Ι᾿Ωσήππου Βιβλίον ῾Υπομνηστικόν , is given in fall by Fabricius, Cod. Pseudepigr. V. T. 2, ad fin., with a Latin translation). The "Epistle of Paul to the LAODICEANS" (Gr.).
The (fragmentary) "Gospel of MARCION" (Gr.). The "Gospel of [Pseudo-] MATTHIAS" (Lat.). The "Gospel of the Nativity of St. MARY" (Lat.). The "Gospel of the Nativity of MARY, and of the Infancy of the Savior" (Lat.).
The "Gospel of NICODEMUS" (Gr. and Lat.). The "Epistles of the Corinthians to PAUL, and of Paul to the CORINTHIANS" (Armen ). The "Acts of PILATE" (Gr. and Lat ). The "Apprehension of PILATE" (Gr.). The "Death of PILATE" (Gr. and Lat ). The "First Epistle of PILATE" (Gr. and Lat ). The "Second Epistle of PILATE" (Gr. and Lat.). The "Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians" (Gr.). The "Vindication of the SAVIOUR" (Lat.). The "Epistles of Paul to SENECA," and "of Seneca to PAUL" (Gr.). The "SIBYLLINE Oracles" (Gr.). The "Acts of Paul and THECLA" (Gr.). The "Gospel of THOMAS" the Israelite (Gr. and Lat.).
IV. Literature. — The best accounts of these and other apocryphal documents will be found in Fabricii Codex Pseudepigraphus V. T. (Hamb. and Lpz. 1713 and 1741), and Codex Apocrphus N.T. (Hamb. 1713-1722); Auctarium Codicis Apocryphi N.T. Fatbriciani, edidit And. Birch
(Copenh. 1804); A new and full Method of settling the Canon of the N.T., by the Rev. Jeremiah Jones (Oxf. 1726 — last edition, Oxf.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 
a - pok´ri - fa :
II. The Name Apocrypha
1. Original Meanings
(3) In the New Testament
2. "Esoteric" in Greek Philosophy, etc.
III. Usage as to Apocrypha
1. Early Christian Usage
2. The Eastern Church
(1) "Esoteric" Literature (Clement of Alexandria, etc.)
(2) Change to "Religious" Books (Origen, etc.)
(3) "Spurious" Books (Athanasius, Nicephorus, etc.)
(4) "List of Sixty"
3. The Western Church
(1) The Decretum Gelasii
(2) "Non-Canonical" Books
4. The Reformers
Separation from Canonical Books
5. Heb Words for "Apocrypha"
(1) Do Such Exist?
(2) Views of Zahn, Schurer, Porter, etc. (ganaz, genuzim)
(3) Reasons for Rejection
IV. Contents of the Apocrypha
1. List of Books
2. Classification of Books
V. Original Languages of the Apocrypha
VI. Date of the Apocryphal Writings
The word Apocrypha, as usually understood, denotes the collection of religious writings which the Septuagint and Vulgate (with trivial differences) contain in addition to the writings constituting the Jewish and Protestant canon. This is not the original or the correct sense of the word, as will be shown, but it is that which it bears almost exclusively in modern speech. In critical works of the present day it is customary to speak of the collection of writings now in view as "the Old Testament Apocrypha," because many of the books at least were written in Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament, and because all of them are much more closely allied to the Old Testament than to the New Testament. But there is a "New" as well as an "Old" Testament Apocrypha consisting of gospels, epistles, etc. Moreover the adjective "Apocryphal" is also often applied in modern times to what are now generally called "Pseudepigraphical writings," so designated because ascribed in the titles to authors who did not and could not have written them (e.g. Enoch, Abraham, Moses, etc.). The persons thus connected with these books are among the most distinguished in the traditions and history of Israel, and there can be no doubt that the object for which such names have been thus used is to add weight and authority to these writings.
The late Professor E. Kautzsch of Halle edited a German translation of the Old and New Testament Apocrypha, and of the Pseudepigraphical writings, with excellent introductions and valuable notes by the best German scholars. Dr. Edgar Hennecke has edited a similar work on the New Testament Apocrypha. Nothing in the English language can be compared with the works edited by Kautzsch and Hennecke in either scholarship or usefulness. (A similar English work to that edited by Kautzsch is now passing through the (Oxford) press, Dr. R. H. Charles being the editor, the writer of this article being one of the contributors.)
II. The Name Apocrypha
The investigation which follows will show that when the word "Apocryphal" was first used in ecclesiastical writings it bore a sense virtually identical with "esoteric": so that "apocryphal writings" were such as appealed to an inner circle and could not be understood by outsiders. The present connotation of the term did not get fixed until the Protestant Reformation had set in, limiting the Biblical canon to its present dimensions among Protestant churches.
1. Original Meanings
The Greek adjective ἀπόκρυφος , apókruphos , denotes strictly "hidden," "concealed," of a material object (Eurip. Herc. Fur . 1070). Then it came to signify what is obscure, recondite, hard to understand (Xen. Mem . 3.5, 14). But it never has in classical Greek any other sense.
In Hellenistic Greek as represented by the Septuagint and the New Testament there is no essential departure from classical usage. In the Septuagint (or rather Theodotion's version) of Daniel 11:43 it stands for "hidden" as applied to gold and silver stores. But the word has also in the same text the meaning "what is hidden away from human knowledge and understanding." So Daniel 2:20 (Theod.) where the apokrupha or hidden things are the meanings of Nebuchadnezzar's dream revealed to Daniel though "hidden" from the wise men of Babylon. The word has the same sense in Sirach 14:21; 39:3, 7; 42:19; 48:25; 43:32.
(3) In the New Testament
In the New Testament the word occurs but thrice, namely, Mark 4:22 and the parallel Luke 8:17; Colossians 2:3 . In the last passage Bishop Lightfoot thought we have in the word apokruphoi (treasures of Christ hidden ) an allusion to the vaunted esoteric knowledge of the false teachers, as if Paul meant to say that it is in Christ alone we have true wisdom and knowledge and not in the secret books of these teachers. Assuming this, we have in this verse the first example of apokruphos in the sense "esoteric." But the evidence is against so early a use of the term in this - soon to be its prevailing - sense. Nor does exegesis demand such a meaning here, for no writings of any kind seem intended.
In patristic writings of an early period the adjective apokruphos came to be applied to Jewish and Christian writings containing secret knowledge about the future, etc., intelligible only to the small number of disciples who read them and for whom they were believed to be specially provided. To this class of writings belong in particular those designated Apocalyptic (see Apocalyptic Literature ), and it will be seen as thus employed that apokruphos has virtually the meaning of the Greek esoterikos ̌ .
2. "Esoteric" in Greek Philosophy, Etc.
A brief statement as to the doctrine in early Greek philosophy will be found helpful at this point. From quite early times the philosophers of ancient Greece distinguished between the doctrines and rites which could be taught to all their pupils, and those which could profitably be communicated only to a select circle called the initiated. The two classes of doctrines and rites - they were mainly the latter - were designated respectively "exoteric" and "esoteric." Lucian (died 312; see Vit. Auct. 26) followed by many others referred the distinction to Aristotle, but as modern scholars agree, wrongly, for the εξωτερικοὶ λόγοι , exōterikoı́ lógoi , of that philosopher denote popular treatises. The Pythagoreans recognized and observed these two kinds of doctrines and duties and there is good reason for believing that they created a corresponding double literature though unfortunately no explicit examples of such literature have come down to us. In the Greek mysteries (Orphic, Dionysiac, Eleusinian, etc.) two classes of hearers and readers are implied all through, though it is a pity that more of the literature bearing on the question has not been preserved. Among the Buddhists the Samga forms a close society open originally to monks or bhikhus admitted only after a most rigid examination; but in later years nuns ( bhikshunis ) also have been allowed admission, though in their case too after careful testing. The Vinaya Pitaka or "Basket of Discipline" contains the rules for entrance and the regulations to be observed after entrance. But this and kindred literature was and is still held to be caviare to outsiders. See translation in the Sacred Books of the East , Xi (Rhys Davids and Oldenberg).
III. Usage as to Apocrypha
It must be borne in mind that the word apocrypha is really a Greek adjective in the neuter plural, denoting strictly "things hidden." But almost certainly the noun biblia is understood, so that the real implication of the word is "apocryphal books" or "writings." In this article apocrypha will be employed in the sense of this last, and apocryphal as the equivalent of the Greek apokruphos ̌ .
1. Early Christian Usage
The word apocrypha was first used technically by early Christian writers for the Jewish and Christian writings usually classed under "Apocalyptic" (see Apocalyptic Literature ). In this sense it takes the place of the classical Greek word esoterika and bears the same general meaning, namely, writings intended for an inner circle and cap. able of being understood by no others. These writings give intimations regarding the future, the ultimate triumph of the kingdom of God, etc., beyond, it was thought, human discovery and also beyond the intelligence of the uninitiated. In this sense Gregory of Nyssa (died 395; De Ordin ., II, 44) and Epiphanius (died 403; Haeres , 51:3) speak of the Apocalypse of John as "apocryphal."
2. The Eastern Church
Christianity itself has nothing corresponding to the idea of a doctrine for the initiated or a literature for a select few. The gospel was preached in its first days to the poor and ignorant, and the reading and studying of the sacred Scriptures have been urged by the churches (with some exceptions) upon the public at large.
(1) "Esoteric" Literature (Clement of Alexandria, Etc.)
The rise of this conception in the eastern church is easily understood. When devotees of Greek philosophy accepted the Christian faith it was natural for them to look at the new religion through the medium of the old philosophy. Many of them read into the canonical writings mystic meanings, and embodied those meanings in special books, these last becoming esoteric literature in themselves: and as in the case of apocalyptic writings, this esoteric literature was more revered than the Bible itself. In a similar way there grew up among the Jews side by side with the written law an oral law containing the teaching of the rabbis and regarded as more sacred and authoritative than the writings they profess to expound. One may find some analogy in the fact that among many Christians the official literature of the denomination to which they belong has more commanding force than the Bible itself. This movement among Greek Christians was greatly aided by Gnostic sects and the esoteric literature to which they gave rise. These Gnostics had been themselves influenced deeply by Babylonian and Persian mysticism and the corresponding literature. Clement of Alexandria (died 220) distinctly mentions esoteric books belonging to the Zoroastrian (Mazdean) religion.
Oriental and especially Greek Christianity tended to give to philosophy the place which the New Testament and western Christianity assign the Old Testament. The preparation for the religion of Jesus was said to be in philosophy much more than in the religion of the Old Testament. It will be remembered that Marcian (died end of 2nd century ad), Thomas Morgan, the Welsh 18th-century deist (died 1743) and Friedrich Schleiermacher (died 1834) taught this very same thing.
Clement of Alexandria (see above) recognized 4 (2) Esdras (to be hereafter called the Apocalypse of Ezra), the Assumption of Moses , etc., as fully canonical. In addition to this he upheld the authority and value of esoterical books, Jewish, Christian, and even heathen. But he is of most importance for our present purpose because he is probably the earliest Greek writer to use the word apocrypha as the equivalent of esoterika , for he describes the esoteric books of Zoroastrianism as apocryphal ̌ .
But the idea of esoteric religious literature existed at an earlier time among the Jews, and was borrowed from them by Christians. It is clearly taught in the Apocalyptic Esdras (2 or 4 Esd) chapter 14, where it is said that Ezra aided by five amanuenses produced under Divine inspiration 94 sacred books, the writings of Moses and the prophets having been lost when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. Of this large number of sacred books 24 were to be published openly, for the unworthy as well as the worthy, these 24 books representing undoubtedly the books of the Hebrew Old Testament. The remaining 70 were to be kept for the exclusive use of the "wise among the people": i.e. they were of an esoteric character. Perhaps if the Greek original of this book had been preserved the word "apocrypha" would have been found as an epithetic attached to the 70 books. Our English versions are made from a Latin original (see 2(4) Ezra or the Apocalyptic Esdras . Modern scholars agree that in its present form this book arose in the reign of Domitian 81-96 ad. So that the conception of esoteric literature existed among the Jews in the 1st century of our era, and probably still earlier.
It is significant of the original character of the religion of Israel that no one has been able to point to a Hebrew word corresponding to esoteric (see below). When among the Jews there arose a literature of oral tradition it was natural to apply to this last the Greek notion of esoteric, especially as this class of literature was more highly esteemed in many Jewish circles than the Old Testament Scriptures themselves.
(2) Change to "Religious" Books (Origen, Etc.)
The next step in the history of the word "apocrypha" is that by which it came to denote religious books inferior in authority and worth to the Scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament. This change of attitude toward noncanonical writings took place under the influence of two principles: (1) that no writer could be inspired who lived subsequent to the apostolic age; (2) that no writing could be recognized as canonical unless it was accepted as such by the churches in general (in Latin the principle was - quod ubique , quod semper , quod ab omnibus ). Now it was felt that many if not most of the religious writings which came in the end of the 2nd century to be called "apocryphal" in a disparaging sense had their origin among heretical sects like the Gnostics, and that they had never commanded the approval of the great bulk of the churches. Origen (died 253) held that we ought to discriminate between books called "apocryphal," some such having to be firmly rejected as teaching what is contrary to the Scriptures. More and more from the end of the 2nd century, the word "apocrypha" came to stand for what is spurious and untrustworthy, and especially for writings ascribed to authors who did not write them: i.e. the so-called "Pseudepigraphical books."
Irenaeus (died 202) in opposition to Clement of Alexandria denies that esoteric writings have any claims to credence or even respect, and he uses the Greek word for "apocryphal" to describe all Jewish and Christian canons. To him, as later to Jerome (died 420), "canonical" and "apocryphal" were antithetic terms.
Tertullian (died 230) took the same view: "apocryphal" to him denoted non-canonical. But both Irenaeus and Tertullian meant by apocrypha in particular the apocalyptic writings. During the Nicene period, and even earlier, sacred books were divided by Christian teachers into three classes: (1) books that could be read in church; (2) books that could be read privately, but not in public; (3) books that were not to be read at all. This classification is implied in the writings of Origen, Clement of Alexandria, Athanasius (died 373), and in the Muratorian Fragments (about 200 ad).
(3) "Spurious" Books (Athanasius, Nicephorus, Etc.)
Athanasius, however, restricted the word apocrypha to the third class, thus making the corresponding adjective synonymous with "spurious." Nicephorus, patriarch of Constantinople (806-15 ad) in his chronography (belonging essentially to 500 ad according to Zahn) divides sacred books thus: (1) The canonical books of the Old Testament and New Testament; (2) The Antilegomena of both Testaments; (3) The Apocrypha of both Testaments.
The details of the Apocrypha of the New Testament are thus enumerated: (1) Enoch; (2) The 12 Patriarchs; (3) The Prayer of Joseph; (4) The Testament of Moses; (5) The Assumption of Moses ; (6) Abram; (7) Eldad and Modad; (8) Elijah the Prophet; (9) Zephaniah the Prophet; (10) Zechariah, father of John; (11) The Pseudepigrapha of Baruch, Habakkuk, Ezekiel and Daniel.
The books of the New Testament Apocrypha are thus given: (1) The Itinerary of Paul; (2) The Itinerary of Peter; (3) The Itinerary of John; (4) The Itinerary of Thomas; (5) The Gospel according to Thomas; (6) The Teaching of the Apostles (the Didache ); (7) and (8) The Two Epistles of Clement; (9) Epistles of Ignatius, Polycarp and Hermas.
The above lists are repeated in the so-called Synopsis of Athanasius . The authors of these so-called apocryphal books being unknown, it was sought to gain respect for these writers by tacking onto them well-known names, so that, particularly in the western church, "apocryphal" came to be almost synonymous with "pseudepigraphical."
Of the Old Testament lists given above numbers 1, 2, 4, 5 are extant wholly or in part. Numbers 3, 7, 8 and 9 are lost though quoted as genuine by Origen and other eastern Fathers. They are all of them apocalypses designated apocrypha in accordance with early usage.
(4) "List of Sixty"
In the anonymous, "List of Sixty," which hails from the 7th century, we have represented probably the attitude of the eastern church. It divides sacred books into three classes: (1) The sixty canonical books. Since the Protestant canon consists of but 57 books it will be seen that in this list books outside our canon are included. (2) Books excluded from the 60, yet of superior authority to those mentioned as apocryphal in the next class. (3) Apocryphal books, the names of which are as follows: ( a ) Adam; ( b ) Enoch; ( c ) Lamech; ( d ) The 12 Patriarchs; ( e ) The Prayer of Joseph; ( f ) Eldad and Modad; ( g ) The Testament of Moses; ( h ) The Assumption of Moses; ( i ) The Psalms of Solomon; ( j ) The Apocalypse of Elijah; ( k ) The Ascension of Isaiah; ( l ) The Apocalypse of Zephaniah (see number 9 of the Old Testament Apocrypha books mentioned in the Chronography of Nicephorus); ( m ) The Apocalypse of Zechariah; ( n ) The Apocalyptic Ezra; ( o ) The History of James; ( p ) The Apocalypse of Peter; ( q ) The Itinerary and Teaching of the Apostles; ( r ) The Epistles of Barnabas; ( s ) The Acts of Paul; ( t ) Apocalypse of Paul; ( u ) Didascalia of Clement; ( v ) Didascalia of Ignatius; ( w ) Didascalia of Polycarp; ( x ) Gospel according to Barnabas; ( y ) Gospel according to Matthew.
The greater number of these books come under the designation "apocryphal" in the early sense of "apocalyptic," but by this time the word had taken on a lower meaning, namely, books not good for even private reading. Yet the fact that these books are mentioned at all show that they were more highly esteemed than heathen and than even heretical Christian writings. The eastern churches down to the present day reject the meaning of "apocrypha" current among Protestants (see definition above), and their Bible includes the Old Testament Apocrypha, making no distinction between it and the rest of the Bible.
3. The Western Church
(1) The Decretum Gelasii
In the western church the word apocrypha and the corresponding adjective had a somewhat different history. In general it may be said that the western church did not adopt the triple division of sacred books prevalent in the eastern church. Yet the Decretum Gelasii (6th century in its present form) has a triple. list which is almost certainly that of the Roman synod of 382 under Damasus, bishop of Rome, 366 to 384. It is as follows: (1) The canonical books of both Testaments; (2) writings of the Fathers approved by the church; (3) apocryphal books rejected by the church. Then there is added a list of miscellaneous books condemned as heretical, including even the works of Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Eusebius, these works being all branded as "apocryphal." On the other hand Gregory of Nyssa and Epiphanius, both writing in the 4th century, use the word "apocrypha" in the old sense of apocalyptic, i.e. esoteric.
(2) "Non-Canonical" Books
Jerome (died 420) in the Prologus Galeatus (so called because it was a defense and so resembled a helmeted warrior) or preface to his Latin version of the Bible uses the word "Apocrypha" in the sense of non-canonical books. His words are: Quidquid extra hos (i.e. the 22 canonical books) inter Apocrypha ponendum : "Anything outside of these must be placed within the Apocrypha" (when among the Fathers and rabbis the Old Testament is made to contain 22 (not 24) books, Ruth and Lamentations are joined respectively to Judges and Jeremiah). He was followed in this by Rufinus (died circa 410), in turns Jerome's friend and adversary, as he had been anticipated by Irenaeus. The western church as a whole departed from Jerome's theory by including the antilegomena of both Testaments among the canonical writings: but the general custom of western Christians about this time was to make apocryphal mean non-canonical. Yet Augustine (died 430; De Civitale Dei , XV, 23) explained the "apocrypha" as denoting obscurity of origin or authorship, and this sense of the word became the prevailing one in the West.
4. The Reformers
Separation from Canonical Books
But it is to the Reformers that we are indebted for the habit of using Apocrypha for a collection of books appended to the Old Testament and generally up to 1827 appended to every printed English Bible. Bodenstein of Carlstadt, usually called Carlstadt (died 1541), an early Reformer, though Luther's bitter personal opponent, was the first modern scholar to define "Apocrypha" quite clearly as writings excluded from the canon, whether or not the true authors of the books are known, in this, going back to Jerome's position. The adjective "apocryphal" came to have among Protestants more and more a disparaging sense. Protestantism was in its very essence the religion of a book, and Protestants would be sure to see to it that the sacred volume on which they based their religion, including the reforms they introduced, contained no book but those which in their opinion had the strongest claims to be regarded as authoritative. In the eastern and western churches under the influence of the Greek (Septuagint) and Latin (Vulgate) versions the books of the Apocrypha formed an integral part of the canon and were scattered throughout the Old Testament, they being placed generally near books with which they have affinity. Even Protestant Bibles up to 1827 included the Apocrypha, but as one collection of distinct writings at the end of the Old Testament. It will be seen from what has been said that notwithstanding the favorable attitude toward it of the eastern and western churches, from the earliest times, our Apocrypha was regarded with more or less suspicion, and the suspicion would be strengthened by the general antagonism toward it. In the Middle Ages, under the influence of Reuchlin (died 1532) - great scholar and Reformer - H ebrew came to be studied and the Old Testament read in its original language. The fact that the Apocrypha is absent from the Hebrew canon must have had some influence on the minds of the Reformers. Moreover in the Apocrypha there are parts inconsistent with Protestant principles, as for example the doctrines of prayers for the dead, the intercession of the saints, etc. The Jews in the early Christian centuries had really two Bibles: (1) There was the Hebrew Bible which does not include the Apocrypha, and which circulated in Palestine and Babylon; (2) There was the Greek version (Septuagint) used by Greek-speaking Jews everywhere. Until in quite early times, instigated by the use made of it by Christians against themselves, the Jews condemned this version and made the Hebrew canon their Bible, thus rejecting the books of the Apocrypha from their list of canonical writings, and departing from the custom of Christian churches which continued with isolated remonstrances to make the Greek Old Testament canon, with which the Vulgate agrees almost completely, their standard. It is known that the Reformers were careful students of the Bible, and that in Old Testament matters they were the pupils of Jewish scholars - there were no other competent teachers of Hebrew. It might therefore have been expected that the Old Testament canon of the Reformers would agree in extent with that of the Jews and not with that of the Greek and Latin Christians. Notwithstanding the doubt which Ryle ( Canon of the Old Testament , 156) casts on the matter, all the evidence goes to show that the Septuagint and therefore the other great Greek versions included the Apocrypha from the first onward.
But how comes it to be that the Greek Old Testament is more extensive than the Hebrew Old Testament? Up to the final destruction of Jerusalem in 71 ad the temple with its priesthood and ritual was the center of the religious thought and life of the nation. But with the destruction of the sanctuary and the disbanding of its officials it was needful to find some fresh binding and directing agency and this was found in the collection of sacred writings known by us as the Old Testament. By a national synod held at Jamnia, near Jaffa, in 90 ad, the Old Testament canon was practically though not finally closed, and from that date one may say that the limits of the Old Testament were once and for all fixed, no writings being included except those written in Hebrew, the latest of these being as old as 100 bc. Now the Jews of the Dispersion spoke and wrote Greek, and they continued to think and write long after their fellow-countrymen of the homeland had ceased to produce any fresh original literature. What they did produce was explanatory of what had been written and practical.
The Greek Bible - the Septuagint - is that of the Jews in Egypt and of those found in other Greek-speaking countries. John Wycliffe (died 1384) puts the Apocrypha together at the end of the Old Testament and the same course was taken by Luther (1546) in his great German and by Miles Coverdale (died 1568) in his English translation.
5. Hebrew Words for "Apocrypha"
Is it quite certain that there is no Hebrew word or expression corresponding exactly to the word "apocrypha" as first used by Christian writers, i.e. in the sense "esoteric"? One may answer this by a decisive negative as regards the Old Testament and the Talmud. But in the Middle Ages ḳabbālāh (literally, "tradition") came to have 'a closely allied meaning (compare our " kabbalistic ").
(1) Do Such Exist?
Is there in Hebrew a word or expression denoting "non-canonical," i.e. having the secondary sense acquired by "apocrypha"? This question does not allow of so decided an answer, and as matter of fact it has been answered in different ways.
(2) Views of Zahn, Schürer, Porter, Etc. (Ganaz, Genuzim)
Zahn ( Gesch. des neutest. Kanons , I, i, 123ff); Schürer ( RE 3, I, 623); Porter ( HDB , I) and others maintain that the Greek word " Apocrypha ‛ Biblia '̌ " is a translation of the Hebrew Ṣephārı̄m genūzı̄m , literally, "books stored away." If this view is the correct one it follows that the distinction of canonical and non-canonical books originated among the Jews, and that the Fathers in using the word apocrypha in this sense were simply copying the Jews substituting Greek words for the Hebrew equivalent. But there are decisive reasons for rejecting this view.
(3) Reasons for Rejection
(a) The verb gānaz of which the passive part. occurs in the above phrase means "to store away," "to remove from view" - of things in themselves sacred or precious. It never means to exclude as from the canon.
(b) When employed in reference to sacred books it is only of those recognized as canonical. Thus after copies of the Pentateuch or of other parts of the Hebrew Bible had, by age and use, become unfit to be read in the home or in the synagogue they were "buried" in the ground as being too sacred to be burnt or cut up; and the verb denoting this burying is ganaz. But those buried books are without exception canonical.
(c) The Hebrew phrase in question does not once occur in either the Babylonian or the Jerusalem Talmud, but only in rabbinical writings of a much later date. The Greek apocrypha cannot therefore be a rendering of the Hebrew expression. The Hebrew for books definitely excluded from the canon is Ṣephārı̄m ḥı̄cōnı̄m = "outside" or "extraneous books." The Mishna (the text of the Gemara, both making up what we call the Talmud) or oral law with its additions came to be divided analogously into (1) The Mishna proper; (2) The external ( ḥı̄cōnāh ) Mishna: in Aramaic called Bāraiythā' .
What has been said may be summarized:
(1) Among the Protestant churches the word "Apocrypha" is used for the books included in the Septuagint and Vulgate, but absent from the Hebrew Bible. This restricted sense of the word cannot be traced farther back than the beginning of the Reformation.
(2) In classical and Hellenistic Greek the adjective apokruphos denotes "hidden" of visible objects, or obscure, hard to understand (of certain kinds of knowledge).
(3) In early patristic Greek this adjective came into use as a synonym of the classical Greek esoterikos ̌ .
(4) In later patristic Greek (Irenaeus, etc.) and in Latin works beginning with Jerome, Greek apokruphos meant non-canonical, implying inferiority in subject-matter to the books in the canon.
(4) By the Protestant Reformers the term "apocrypha" ("apocryphal" "books" being understood) came to stand for what is now called the "Old Testament Apocrypha." But this usage is confined to Protestants, since in the eastern church and in the Roman branch of the western church the Old Testament Apocrypha is as much an integral part of the canon as Genesis or Kings or Psalms or Isaiah.
(5) There are no equivalents in Hebrew for apokruphos in the sense of either "esoteric" or in that of "non-canonical."
IV. Contents of the Apocrypha
1. List of Books
The following is a list of the books in the Apocrypha in the order in which they occur in the English versions (the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American)): (1) 1 Esdras; (2) 2 Esdras (to be hereafter called "The Apocalyptic Esdras"); (3) Tobit; (4) Judith; (5) The Rest of Esther; (6) The Wisdom of Solomon; (7) Ecclesiasticus (to be hereafter called "Sirach"); (8) Baruch, with the Epistle of Jeremiah; (9) The Song of the three Holy Children; (10) The History of Susanna; (11) Bel and the Dragon; (12) The Prayer of Manasses; (13) 1 Maccabees; (14) 2 Maccabees.
No. 5 in the above, "Addition to Esther;" as it may be called, consists of the majority (107 out of 270 verses) of the Book of Esther since it occurs in the best manuscripts of the Septuagint and in the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 ad) over the text in the Hebrew Bible. These additions are in the Septuagint scattered throughout the book and are intelligible in the context thus given them, but not when brought together as they are in the collected Apocrypha of our English versions and as they are to some extent in Jerome's Latin version and the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 ad) (see The Century Bible , Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther, 294f). Numbers 9-11 in the above enumeration are additions made in the Greek Septuagint and Vulgate versions of Daniel to the book as found in the Massoretic Text. It will be well to name them "Additions to Daniel." The bringing together of the writings of the Apocrypha into an apart collection was due in a large measure to Jerome, who separated many of the apocryphal additions from their original context because he suspected their genuineness. His version influenced the Vulgate, which follows Jerome's version closely.
Though it is generally true that the Apocrypha is the excess of the Greek (Septuagint) and Latin (Jerome, Vulgate ) over the Hebrew Bibles (the Masoretic Text), the statement needs qualification. 2 (4) Ezra, i.e. the Apocalyptic Ezra (Esdras), is absent from the Septuagint, from Jerome's version, and also from Luther's Bible, but it occurs in the Vulgate and in the English and other modern versions of the Apocrypha. On the other hand 3 and 4 Macc occur in the best manuscripts of the Septuagint, but the Vulgate, following Jerome's version, rejects both as do modern versions (English, etc.) of the Apocrypha. Moreover, it has to be pointed out that in the Vulgate proper the Prayer of Manasses and 1 (3) Esdras and the Apocalyptic Esdras are appended to the New Testament as apocryphal.
2. Classification of Books
The books of the Apocrypha proper may be thus classified: ( a ) 1 and 2 (i.e. 3) Esdras; ( b ) 1 and 2 Maccabees; ( c ) Additions to Daniel (nos. 9-11 in the above list); ( d ) Additions to Esther; ( e ) The Epistle of Jeremy (usually appended to Baruch); ( f ) Prayer of Manasses.
( a ) Book of Baruch (sometimes classed with prophetic books, sometimes with Apocalypses); ( b ) Tobit; ( c ) Judith.
The Apocalyptic Esdras or 2 (4) Esdras.
( a ) The Wisdom of Solomon; ( b ) Sirach (Ecclesiasticus).
R. H. Charles, our greatest living authority on the Apocalyptic and Apocryphal writings, embraces the following under the heading "Hellenistic Jewish Literature," the rest coming under the heading "Palestinian Jewish Literature" ( Enc Brit , 11th edition, II, 177): (1) The Additions to Daniel and Esther (2) The Epistle of Jeremy; (3) 2 Macc; (4) The Wisdom of Solomon.
V. Original Languages of the Apocrypha
The bulk of the Apocrypha was written originally in the Greek language and existed at the first in that language alone. The following books were however written in Hebrew: Tobit, Judith, Sirach, Baruch (part probably in Greek), and 1 Maccabees. In these cases some prefer regarding Aramaic as the original language in at least parts of the above books. For detailed information see under the several books.
VI. Date of the Apocryphal Writings
The question of date as it applies to the separate books of the Apocrypha will be discussed in connection with the articles dealing with the several books. But a general statement regarding the extreme limits between which all the books were completed may safely be made. The oldest apocryphal book is Sirach, which in its original Hebrew form belongs to between 190-170 bc. In its Greek form the best modern scholars agree in fixing it at between 130-120 bc. None of the books can well belong to a date later than 100 ad, though some (2 Esdras, etc.) may be as late as that. The whole of the Apocrypha may with more than average certainty be said to have been written some time between 200 bc and 100 ad. It will be seen that it is an inaccurate assumption that the Apocrypha was in all its parts of later date than the latest parts of the Old Testament. The canonical Book of Daniel and many of the Psalms are of later date than Sirach and 1 Esdras, and there are cogent reasons for giving the canonical Esther a later date than any of the books named and perhaps than Judith as well (see, however, Daniel; Esther ). But it is quite certain that by far the greater part of the Apocrypha is of later date than the Old Testament; it is therefore of the utmost importance as reflecting the state of the Jews and the character of their intellectual and religious life at the various periods represented. And in later years much use has been made of it.
The Greek text of the Apocrypha is given in the various editions of the Septuagint (except the Apocalyptic Esdras, not extant in Gr). The best editions of the Septuagint are those by Tischendorf revised by E. Nestle (1887); and Swete (1895-99 and later editions). Critical editions of the Apocrypha have been issued by A. Fabricius (Hamburg, 1722-23); Apel (ib 1804) and a very valuable edition by O. T. Fritzsche (Leipzig, 1871) which includes the Latin version of the Apocalyptic Esdras - without the missing fragment. There are several modern translations, far the best being that in German edited by E. Kautzsch, containing Introductions, general and special, and valuable notes by the best German scholars. In English besides the Revised Version (British and American) there is the useful Variorum edition, edited by C. J. Ball. An English critical edition of the Apocrypha edited by R. H. Charles, with introductory notes, is now being printed at Oxford and will be very valuable.
The best commentary is that by O. F. Fritsche and C. L. W. Grimm, Kurzgef. Exeg. Handbuch , 1851-60; but the commentary by Bissell in Lange's Series of Commentaries and that edited by Wace, in the Speaker's Bible Series, are meritorious.
Introductory matter will be found in the various Bible Dictionaries under the word: see especially H. E. Ryle in Db (1893), Schürer ( RE 3), but especially in the valuable Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek , by H.B. Swete (1900), Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes) (C.F. Porter), and R.H. Charles ( Enc Brit 11). See also the Einleitungen by König, Budde (A. Bertholet has written the part dealing with the Apocrypha), and Schürer, Geschichte , III, 1898 (Eng. translation, II, iii), where much literature is specified. For monographs on the several books of the Apocrypha or discussing special points, see the special articles.
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature 
Apoc´rypha (hidden, secreted, mysterious), a term in theology, applied in various senses to denote certain books claiming a sacred character.
In the Bibliothèque Sarrée, by the Rev. Dominican Fathers Richard and Giraud (Paris, 1822), the term is defined to signify—(1) anonymous or pseudepigraphal books; (2) those which are not publicly read, although they may be read with edification in private; (3) those which do not pass for authentic and of divine authority, although they pass for being composed by a sacred author or an apostle, as the Epistle of Barnabas; and (4) dangerous books composed by ancient heretics to favor their opinions. They also apply the name 'to books which after having been contested, are put into the canon by consent of the churches, as Tobit,' etc. And Jahn applies it in its most strict sense, and that which it has borne since the fourth century, to books which, from their inscription or the author's name, or the subject, might easily be taken for inspired books, but are not so in reality.
The apocryphal books, such as III Esdras and IV Esdras, the Book of Enoch, etc. which were all known to the ancient Fathers, have descended to our times; and, although incontestably spurious, are of considerable value from their antiquity, as throwing light upon the religious and theological opinions of the first centuries. The most curious are III Esdras and IV Esdras, and the Book of Enoch, which has been but recently discovered, and has acquired peculiar interest from its containing the passage cited by the apostle Jude [ENOCH]. Nor are the apocryphal books of the New Testament destitute of interest. Although the spurious Acts extant have no longer any defenders of their genuineness, they are not without their value to the Biblical student, and have been applied with success to illustrate the style and language of the genuine books, to which they bear a close analogy. Some of the apocryphal books have not been without their defenders in modern times. They are, however, regarded by most as originally not of an earlier date than the second century, and as containing interpolations which betray the fourth or fifth: they can, therefore, only be considered as evidence of the practice of the Church at the period when they were written.
Most of the apocryphal Gospels and Acts noticed by the fathers, and which are generally thought to have been the fictions of heretics in the second century, have long since fallen into oblivion. Of those which remain, although some have been considered by learned men as genuine works of the apostolic age, yet the greater part are universally rejected as spurious, and as written in the second and third centuries. Whatever authority is to be ascribed to these documents, it cannot be denied that the early Church evinced a high degree of discrimination in the difficult task of distinguishing the genuine from the spurious books. 'It is not so easy a matter,' says Jones, 'as is commonly imagined, rightly to settle the canon of the New Testament. For my own part, I declare, with many learned men, that in the whole compass of learning I know no question involved with more intricacies and perplexing difficulties than this' (New and Full Method, i. 15). This writer conceives that testimony and tradition are the principal means of ascertaining whether a book is canonical or apocryphal. Inquiries of this kind, however, must of necessity be confined to the few. The mass of Christians, who have neither time nor other means of satisfying themselves, must confide, in questions of this kind, either in the judgment of the learned, or the testimony at least, if not the authority, of the Church; and it ought to be a matter of much thankfulness to the private Christian, that the researches of the most learned and diligent inquirers have conspired, in respect to the chief books of Scripture, in adding the weight of their evidence to the testimony of the Church Universal.
- ↑ Apocrypha from Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
- ↑ Apocrypha from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- ↑ Apocrypha from Holman Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Apocrypha from Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology
- ↑ Apocrypha from Fausset's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Apocrypha from Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
- ↑ Apocrypha from Morrish Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Apocrypha from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Apocrypha from Smith's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Apocrypha from People's Dictionary of the Bible
- ↑ Apocrypha from Easton's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Apocrypha from Webster's Dictionary
- ↑ Apocrypha from Bridgeway Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Apocrypha from Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
- ↑ Apocrypha from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
- ↑ Apocrypha from Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature