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Apocrypha

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Apocrypha (Greek: Ἀπόκρυφα, Apokrupha; "name means::hidden"; singular: Apocryphon)[note 1] are books or other works of literature from the times of the Bible that are not accepted universally as canonical.[1]

Classical and modern definitions

The classical Apocrypha are the deuterocanonical books written during the four hundred years between the last book of the Old Testament and the birth of Christ. Although they have an actual history and literary value in some cases, these fourteen books have been rejected as non-canonical by both the Jewish faith and most denominations of the Christian church. This is due to alleged historical, geographical, or literal inaccuracies in most cases, the teaching of doctrines which allegedly contradict what has already been considered inspired Scripture and a lack of elements and structure which give genuine Scripture its unique characteristic. [2]

Today, the term Apocryphon includes any work that has been rejected as non-canonical for any reason, including the Deuterocanonical books and various other proposed additions to the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Apocryphal texts by denomination

Catholicism

The Roman Catholic Church considers the following books as apocryphal:

These are the three uncanonical books appended to the official edition of the Vulgate.

Protestantism

Protestant denominations traditionally include the Deuterocanonical books, which are accepted as canonical by Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, in their definition of Apocrypha.

The following books are regarded as apocryphal by most, if not all, Protestant denominations:

As well as:

Universal Old Testament Apocrypha

The Old Testament Apocrypha is also called "The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha". Pseudepigrapha comes from the Greek: τα ψευδεπίγραφα, ta pseudepigrapha and means "with false superscription".[3] The term was used in the second century by Serapion, when he referred to the New Testament pseudepigrapha (eusebius, HE 6.12)[4]

Apocalypses

Legendary Apocrypha

Apocryphal psalms and prayers

Philosophy

With Christian accretions

New Testament Apocrypha

The concept of New Testament apocrypha is not easy to specify. In general this category can include all the writings that develop themes similar to those of the New Testament claiming more or less, in veiled form, arrogate to themselves the sacred character and catch up on books that the Christian church consider inspired.[5] Much of the material we have today comes from the discoveries at Nag Hammadi where many apocryphal of the New Testament were discovered.[6]

Apocryphal gospels

Judaistic

Gnostic

Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles

Apocryphal epistles

Apostolic apocrypha

Miscellany

Notes

  1. This term was used in antiquity to describe the books that were intended for private use of the followers of a sect or started in some mystery. quoted from Otero, Aurelio de Santos, (1988) (in spanish). Los Evangelios Apocrifos (6th ed.). Madrid: La Editorial Catolica - Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos. p. 1. ISBN 84-220-1341-X. 

References

  1. About the Apocrypha - What is the "Apocrypha"? By Christian Classics Ethereal Library
  2. Unger, Merrill F. Introductory Guide to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1951, p. 70.
  3. Charlesworth, James H, ed. (1983). The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. 1. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. p. xxiv. ISBN 978-1-59856-491-4. 
  4. Eusebius of Caesarea (1995) (in portuguese). História Eclesiástica: Os primeiros quatro séculos da Igreja Cristã [Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History]. Casa Publicadora das Assembléias de Deus. p. 213-214. ISBN 85-263-0251-5. 
  5. Otero, Aurelio de Santos, (1988) (in spanish). Los Evangelios Apocrifos (6th ed.). Madrid: La Editorial Catolica - Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos. p. 1. ISBN 84-220-1341-X. 
  6. Meyer, Marvin, ed. (2007). The Nag Hammadi Scriptures. New York: HarperOne. p. 1-13. ISBN 978-0-06-162600-5.