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Secret and Esoteric Biblical Literature
14 books of the Old Testament
The term "apocrypha" comes from the Greek word meaning "hidden" or "secret". Originally, the term was applied to sacred books whose contents were too exalted to be made available to the general public. Gradually, the term "apocrypha" took on a disparaging connotation, since the orthodoxy of these hidden books was often questionable.
14 books of the Old Testament included in the Vulgate (except for II Esdras) but omitted in Jewish and Protestant versions of the Bible; eastern Christian churches (except the Coptic Church) accept all these books as canonical; the Russian Orthodox Church accepts these texts as divinely inspired but does not grant them the same status.
Apocrypha are works, usually written works, that are of unknown authorship, or of doubtful authenticity, or spurious, or not considered to be within a particular canon. The word is properly treated as a plural, but in common usage is often singular. In the context of the Jewish and Christian Bibles, where most texts are of unknown authorship, Apocrypha usually refers to a set of texts included in the Septuagint but not in the Hebrew Bible.
The word's origin is the Medieval Latin adjective apocryphus, "secret, or non-canonical.â
Apocrypha is commonly applied in Christian religious contexts involving certain disagreements about biblical canonicity. The pre-Christian-era Jewish translation (into Greek) of holy scriptures known as the Septuagint included the writings in dispute. However, the Jewish canon was not finalized until at least 100â200 A.D., at which time considerations of Greek language and beginnings of Christian acceptance of the Septuagint weighed against some of the texts. Some were not accepted by the Jews as part of the Hebrew Bible canon. It must be said however that Jerome preferred the Hebrew canon whereas Augustine preferred the wider (Greek) canon. The Christian canon thus established was retained for over 1,000 years, even after the 11th-century schism that separated the church into the branches known as the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. The Apocrypha were initially long rejected by the Catholic church as inspired writings, however, after controversy were officially canonized following the Protestant Reformation during the Council of Trent in 1546 AD.
Those canons were not challenged until the Protestant Reformation (16th century), when both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches officially canonized them. The reformers rejected the parts of the canon that were not part of the Hebrew Bible and established a revised Protestant canon. Thus, concerning the Old Testament books, what is thought of as the "Protestant canon" is actually the final Hebrew canon. The differences can be found by looking here or by comparing the contents of the "Protestant" and Catholic Bibles, and they represent the narrowest Christian application of the term Apocrypha.
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