APOCRYPHA OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. The word Apocrypha means literally " hidden," and, like the corresponding Hebrew word, denotes books which were withdrawn from public use as being unfit for public reading. Sometimes there is associated also with the word the idea that certain books are not suitable for the general public because they contain mysterious truths or esoteric doctrines. The early fathers applied the word " apocryphal" both to heretical works and to works which were not accepted as canonical or included in Sacred Scripture. Old Testament and New Testament Apocrypha, however, have been placed upon a very different level. While the New Testament Apocrypha (properly speaking) have been regarded as possessing very slight value, to some of the Old Testament Apocrypha has been ascribed a value almost, if not quite, as great as that of some of the canonical books. The Old Testament Apocrypha (proper) " the Church [of Eng land] doth read for example of life and instruction of manners, but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine" (Article vi.). The Roman Catholic edition of the Bible, the Douay Version, includes the Apocrypha (proper) with the exception of the " Prayer of Manasseh," " Third Esdras," and " Fourth Esdras," which were rejected by the Council of Trent as uncanonical. The books of the Apocrypha are as follows : 1. The Third Book of Esdras. This is the title in the Vulgate (q.v.). In the original Greek version, in the Septuagint (q.v.), and in the English Version, it is called " I. Esdras." The book is partly a compilation from the canonical Book of Ezra (q.v.). It perhaps belongs to the first century B.C. 2. The Fourth. Book of Esdras. In the Englisth Version it is called " II. Esdras." The Greek original has disappeared, and there are omissions in the Vulgate. The work is composite. It belongs perhaps to the first century after Christ. Sometimes it is called the " Apocalypse of Ezra." 3. The Book of Tobit. Pre served in Greek, Latin, Hebrew and Aramaic. It was written perhaps not later than the first century A.D. It is a romance of the Captivity, and is interesting on account of its angelology and demonology. 4. The Book of Judith. Preserved in Greek. It belong perhaps to the first century B.C. It is a romance, and perhaps to some extent an allegory. It describes how Judith, a
noble Hebrew widow, delivers the city Bethulia from Holofernes, its besieger, by assassinating him. 5. The Rest of the Book of Esther. Additions to the Book of Esther (q.v.). In the Greek, Vulgate, and Douay Ver sions it is not a separate title. 6. The Book of Wisdom. Written in Greek under the assumed name of Solomon. It was perhaps written in the first century B.C. It is not all of equal merit, but there are many remarkable passages in the book. 7. Jesus the son of Sirach. Pre served in Greek, but a translation from Hebrew, much of a (perhaps original) Hebrew version having been recently discovered. It is better known as the Book of Eccle siasticus. It probably belongs to the second century B.C. The book contains many remarkable passages, and is well worthy of study. S. Baruch the Prophet. Pre served in Greek. It is composite. Part of it (the end) may have been written after 70 A.D. The Baruch meant is Jeremiah's amanuensis, the son of Neriah. Appended to it is a letter known as the Epistle of Jeremy (or Jere miah), which belongs probably to the first century A.D. 9 The Song of the Three Children. Preserved in Greek. An addition to the Book of Daniel (q.v.), and not treated as a separate title in the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Douay Versions. 10. The Story of Susanna. In exactly the same category as No. 9. 11. Of Bel and the Dragon. In exactly the same category as Nos. 9 and 10. 12. The Prayer of illanasses. Preserved in Greek and Latin. It purports to have been written in prison by Manasseh, king of Judah. 13. The First Book of Maccabees. Pre served in Greek, but a translation from Hebrew. Written about 105 B.C. It is a historical work of great value, recording the history of the Jews in Palestine from 175 to 135 B.C. 14. The Second Book of Maccabees. Pre served in Greek. Of very much less value. The work is composite. The first part purports to give two letters written by the Jews of Jerusalem to the Jews of Egypt. The second part professes to be an abridgment of a lost work in five books by Jason of Cyrene. The above are the works which are commonly known as " the Apocrypha." Cp., further, PSEUDEPIGRAPHA. See Eneycl. Bibl.; Prot. Diet.; Diet.