What is the history of the Apocrypha?

What is the history of the Apocrypha?

This collection of 14 books added to the Old Testament (and around 50 lesser known books related to the New Testament) is called the Apocrypha, a Greek word meaning "hidden" and indi-cating that the source of these books is disputed. Josephus, a contemporary of the apostles, refers to only 22 Old Testament books (our 39 books in their Hebrew arrangement). Cyril of Jerusalem (bom 315 A.D.) distinguished the Apocrypha from the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament), which in its earliest existing manuscripts included the Apocrypha. Jerome (scholarly fourth century translator of the Vulgate) wrote, "the Church... doth not apply them (the Apocryphal books) to establish any doctrine." These writings were likely inserted into the Old Testament between 300 and 400 A.D. The Greek branch of Christendom (Council of Laodicea, 363 A.D.) denied they were inspired, yet the Roman branch includes the Apocrypha in its Bible. In 1546, its Council of Trent equated tradition and the Apocrypha with the authority of Scripture, indicating that until that time the Apocrypha was not considered part of the canon. The Geneva Bible (1560) was the first edition since the fourth century to omit the Apocrypha. These books were included in the first King James Version (1611), but omitted after 1629. (S. Collett, "All About the Book," F.H. Revell Company, pp. 35-48; H. Mackay, "The Story of Your Bible," Walterick, p. 17.)

D. Oliver