What is the Apocrypha?

The Apocrypha (Greek apokryphos, hidden or obscure) is a collection of fourteen books which are believed to be supplements to various books of the Old Testament, along with fragments of Christian literature. The Apocrypha is therefore divided into Old Testament Apocryphal Literature and New Testament Apocryphal Literature, depending on the direct Christian content. Many of the writings are incomplete and of unknown date or authorship, while others are only mentioned as references in other works. There is one reference by Jude in the New Testament to a prophesy by Enoch (Jude 1:14-15), but since there were no prophecies by Enoch in the Old Testament, it may have come from the Book of Enoch (Old Testament Apocrypha). There are references in the Old Testament to works which haven't been recovered -- such as the records of Nathan the prophet and Gad the seer (1 Chronicles 29:29), the Book of Jashar (Joshua 10:13, 2 Samuel 1:18), the book of the annals of the kings of Media and Persia (Esther 10:2), the book of the annals of the kings of Israel (throughout 1 & 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles), the book of the annals of the kings of Judah (2 Kings 23:28, 24:5, and throughout 2 Chronicles), annals of King David (1 Chronicles 27:24), and the records of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer (2 Chronicles 12:15), to name a few. But this is not to say the Bible in its present form is incomplete, nor that other Jewish or Christian writings are not divinely inspired.

        "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." (John 5:39-40)

Among various works including writings on Adam and Eve, the titles of the Old Testament Apocrypha include:

Psalms of Solomon
Sibylline Books
Assumption of Moses
Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch
Greek Apocalypse of Baruch
Book of Jubilees
Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
Martyrdom of Isaiah
Testament of Job
History of Johannes Hyrcanus

Among the various Christian epistles and apocalyptic writings, some of the titles of the New Testament Apocrypha include:

Gospel of Nicodemus
Gospel of Thomas
Protevangel of James
Gospel According to the Egyptians
Gospel According to the Hebrews
Acts of John
Acts of Thomas
Acts of Paul
Didache (of the Twelve Apostles)
Epistles of Clement
Epistles of Ignatius
Epistles of Polycarp
Christian Sibylline Books
Shepherd of Hermas
Apocalypse of Peter
Apocalypse of Paul
Testament of Abraham

The Apochrypha were excluded from the official Hebrew Old Testament, which was determined by the rabbinical council known as the Synod of Jamnia, cerca A.D. 90-100, but retained with the Greek Septuagint translation, later adopted by both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church have both accepted the Greek Septuagint Translation as canonical, along with the fourteen books of the Apocrypha (deuterocanonical or of second canon). The early church fathers could not agree whether these writings were divinely inspired, and it was not until the Council of Trent (1545-1563) that they were accepted as holy scripture. In 1534, Martin Luther separated these scriptures in his German Bible and grouped them as a unit between the Old and New Testaments. Although included in the King James Version of 1611, they have been typically omitted from most modern Protestant Bibles.

The Apocrypha of the Catholic English Old Testament include:

First and Second Esdras
Additions to Daniel

(Hymn of the Three Holy Children, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon)

The Rest of the Book of Esther
Baruch with the Epistle of Jeremiah
The Prayer of Manasseh
First and Second Maccabees
The Wisdom of Solomon

        "If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?" (John 5:46-47)