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What is the Apocrapha?

What is the Apocrypha

The Apocrypha is a collection of ancient texts that are included in some versions of the Christian Bible but not in others. These texts were mostly written between the 3rd century BCE and the 1st century CE, and they provide additional insights into Jewish history, religious beliefs, and practices during the time between the Old and New Testaments.

The Apocrypha includes books such as Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, and others. These texts vary widely in content, ranging from historical accounts to poetry to wisdom literature. While the Apocrypha is considered canonical by some Christian traditions, such as the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, it is not included in the canon of Protestant Bibles.

The inclusion or exclusion of the Apocrypha in various versions of the Bible stems from historical and theological differences among different Christian traditions. Here are some key points:

  1. Historical Context: The Apocrypha was included in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that was widely used by Jews in the Hellenistic world and by early Christians. This contributed to its acceptance in some early Christian communities.
  2. Council of Trent: In the 16th century, during the Protestant Reformation, there was debate about the status of the Apocrypha. The Catholic Church affirmed the canonicity of these texts at the Council of Trent in response to the Protestant rejection of them. As a result, the Apocrypha is included in Catholic Bibles.
  3. Protestant Rejection: During the Reformation, Protestant leaders like Martin Luther rejected the canonicity of the Apocrypha, viewing these texts as less authoritative and doctrinally questionable. Consequently, most Protestant Bibles exclude the Apocrypha or include them in a separate section labeled as “Apocrypha” or “Deuterocanon” (meaning “second canon”).
  4. Eastern Orthodox Tradition: The Eastern Orthodox Church includes some additional texts beyond the Apocrypha, known as the “Anagignoskomena.” These texts are accepted by the Eastern Orthodox Church but not by Catholic or Protestant traditions.
  5. Cultural and Geographical Factors: The acceptance or rejection of the Apocrypha can also be influenced by cultural and geographical factors. For example, in predominantly Catholic regions, Bibles typically include the Apocrypha, while Protestant-majority areas tend to exclude them.


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