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Apocrypha


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; III. Tobit; IV. Judith; V. The rest of the chapters of the book of Esther, Additions to Esther, which are found neither in the Hebrew nor in the Chaldee; VI. Wisdom of Solomon; VII. The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus; VIII. Baruch; IX. The Song of the Three Holy Children, or Song of Three Jews; X. The History of Susanna; XI. The History of the Destruction of Bel and the Dragon; XII. 1 Maccabees; XIII. 2 Maccabees; XIV. 1 Esdras; XV. Prayer of Manasseh; XVI. Additional Psalm; XVII. 3 Maccabees; XVIII. 2 Esdras; XIX. 4 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.

2. New Testament Apocrypha.—(A collection of legendary and spurious Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, and Epistles. They are so 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.—Ed.)