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Bible Dictionaries

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary

Apocrypha

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Signifies properly hidden, concealed; and as applied to books, it means those which assume a claim to a sacred character, but are really uninspired, and have not been publicly admitted into the canon. These are of two classes: namely,

1. Those which were in existence in the time of Christ, but were not admitted by the Jews into the canon of the Old Testament, because they had no Hebrew original and were regarded as not divinely inspired. The most important of these are collected in the Apocrypha often bound up with the English Bible; but in the Septuagint and Vulgate they stand as canonical.

These apocryphal writings are ten in number: namely, Baruch, Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom of Solomon, Tobit, Judith, two books of the Maccabees, Song of the Three Children, Susannah, and Bell and the Dragon. Their style proves that they were a part of the Jewish- Greek literature of Alexandria, within three hundred years before Christ; and as the Septuagint Greek version of the Hebrew Bible came from the same quarter, it was often accompanied by these uninspired Greek writings, and they thus gained a general circulation. Josephus and Philo, of the first century, exclude them from the canon. The Talmud contains no trace of them; and from the various lists of the Old Testament Scriptures in the early centuries, it is clear that then as now they formed no part of the Hebrew canon. None of them are quoted or endorsed by Christ or the apostles; they were not acknowledged by the Christian fathers; and their own contents condemn them, abounding with errors and absurdities. Some of them, however, are of value for the historical information they furnish, for their moral and prudential maxims, and for the illustrations they afford of ancient life.

2. Those which were written after the time of Christ, but were not admitted by the churches into the canon of the New Testament, as not being divinely inspired. These are mostly of a legendary character. They have all been collected by Fabricius in his Codex Apoc. New Testament.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Apocrypha'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ats/a/apocrypha.html. 1859.

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