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From Greek apokrypha (2 Esdras 12:37-38; 14:45-46), meaning "hidden things"; religious texts, the authority or authenticity of which is questionable. Apocrypha can refer to any such texts not in an accepted Old or New Testament canon. Formally, however, the word refers to books in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Old Testaments that aren't in Protestant Old Testaments, including Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (also known as Wisdom of Sirach), Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah, Prayer of Manasseh, 1 and 2 Maccabees, 1 and 2 Esdras, and additions to the books of Daniel, Esther, and Psalms.

None of these writings appears in the Hebrew Scriptures. Recognizing that Jews had never recognized them as having equal authority, a gathering of Jewish rabbis in AD 90 (later known as the Council of Yavneh [Jamnia]) did not include them in their listing of authoritative texts. In the early 1500s, many Protestants chose to use the Old Testament canon summarized at Yavneh instead of the Roman Catholic Church's; in 1546, the Catholic Council of Trent referred to these books as "deuterocanonical" — that is, part of "a secondary canon." See also Bible; canon; Esdras; Maccabees.

Printed with permission from Bethany House Publishers, South Bloomington, Minnesota from the book "The Da Vinci Codebreaker : an easy-to-use fact checker for truth seekers" by James L. Garlow.

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