You may or may not know that there are books written between the time of or around the time of the Old and New Testaments that are not in the Bible. Among others, these include the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha.
There are both Old and New Testament Apocrypha but for the sake of this post, I’m looking at the Old Testament Apocrypha that is found in some Bibles between the Testaments.
The word Apocrypha is from a Greek word that means hidden. It is related to the Greek word apocalypse, which means revelation.
The Apocrypha are a group of Jewish writings that were included in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament and the Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Bible.
The Apocrypha that was included in the King James Version include:
- 1 Esdras
- 2 Esdras
- Rest of Esther
- Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremy
- Song of the Three Children
- Story of Susanna
- The Idol Bel and the Dragon
- Prayer of Manasses
- 1 Maccabees
- 2 Maccabees
Sometimes a few other books are included but this is the basic list.
The word Pseudepigrapha means falsely attributed. It means that it is a text written under the name of a (biblical) person but was not really by them.
Some of the books of the Apocrypha are technically pseudepigraphal. However, the Pseudepigrapha is generally those books that were not included in the Septuagint and were never accepted by the church as worth including in Bibles.
One list includes:
- 3 Maccabees
- 4 Maccabees
- Assumption of Moses
- Book of Enoch (1 Enoch)
- Second Book of Enoch
- Book of Jubilees
- 3 Baruch
- Letter of Aristeas
- Life of Adam and Eve
- Ascension of Isaiah
- Psalms of Solomon
- Sibylline Oracles
- 2 Baruch
- Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
I find that these books are very helpful for understanding the Judaism that existed as Christianity was just beginning. If you are interested in the Pseudepigrapha, I recommend The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha ( 2 Volume set).
If you want to learn more, check out Episode 26 – Jewish Texts You Need to Know About.