What are the additional books of the Bible in the Catholic religion? And why are they not in the Bible?
There are three types or categories of sacred books for Christians. The first set of books is accepted by all of Christianity as being written by God and they are included in the Bible. The others are called the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. Both the Old and New Testament have an Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.
Old Testament – Apocrypha
The Greek meaning of Apocrypha is “hidden” or “esoteric.” The Apocrypha is a set of fourteen books that the Roman Catholic Church accepts as being inspired by God. However, the rest of Christianity and the Jewish rabbis do not accept these as sacred books. It is interesting to note that they were included in the original King James Version Bible published in 1611 and in Martin Luther’s German version, due to their antiquity and background information. They were part of the Septuagint Greek version of the Old Testament but not the Hebrew version.
These books were written after 200 B.C. (long after Malachi) or during the intertestemental period and before A.D. 100. There are two major reasons for not accepting these books as being the Word of God. The first and most important one is that neither Jesus nor the apostles ever directly quoted from them or treated them as the Word of God. The second reason is that Josephus, the noted Jewish historian, excluded the Apocrypha from the Old Testament books. His ancient testimony tells us the prophets did not accept these books as inspired either. Jesus and the apostles referred to and directly quoted from only the Old Testament. None of the early church fathers and none of the ancient church councils accepted the Apocrypha as inspired by God.
Old Testament – Pseudepigrapha
The Pseudepigrapha is a group of books that are rejected by all as uninspired. These books usually include dreams, visions, magic, and some fanciful ideas. Here is a list of the books in the Old Testament Apocrypha and a partial list of the Pseudepigrapha.
|Old Testament Apocrypha||Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (partial list)|
|1st Esdras||Apocalypse of Abraham|
|2nd Esdras||Apocalypse of Adam|
|Tobit||Apocalypse of Elijah|
|Judith||Assumption of Moses|
|Additions to Esther||2,3 and 4 Baruch|
|The Wisdom of Solomon||1, 2 and 3 Enoch|
|Baruch||Fragment of Zadokite Work|
|The Song of the Three Holy Children||Book of Jubilees|
|The History of Suzanna||Letter of Aristeas|
|Bel and the Dragon||Life of Adam and Eve|
|The Prayer of Manasseh||3 and 4 Maccabees|
|1 Maccabees||Martyrdom of Isaiah|
|2 Maccabees||Pirke Aboth|
|Psalm of Solomon|
|Story of Ahikar|
|Testament of Adam|
|Testament of Twelve Patriarchs|
New Testament – Apocrypha
Here is a list of the books in the New Testament Apocrypha and a partial list of the Pseudepigrapha.
|New Testament Apocrypha||New Testament Pseudepigrapha (partial list)|
|Acts of Paul and Thecla||Acts of Andrew|
|Apocalypse of Peter||Acts of John|
|Epistle of Pseudo-Barnabas||Acts of Paul|
|Epistle to Polycarp to the Philippians||Acts of Peter|
|Epistle to the Corinthians||Acts of Thomas|
|Epistle to the Laodiceans||Apocalypse of Peter|
|Didache, Teaching of the Twelve||Apocalypse of Paul|
|Gospel According to the Hebrews||Apocalypse of Stephen|
|Second Epistle of Clement||Assumption of Thomas|
|Seven Epistles of Ignatius||Gospel of the Egyptians|
|Shepherd of Hermas||Gospel of the Nicodemus|
|Gospel of Peter|
|Gospel of Thomas|
|Gospel of the Twelve|
|Gospel of the Childhood|
|Gospel of the Nativity of Mary|
|Gospel of the Psuedo-Matthew|
|Gospel of Joseph the Carpenter|
|Epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans|
|Letter Attributed to Our Lord|
|Letter of Paul to Seneca|
|Lost Epistle to the Corinthians|
|History of Joseph the Carpenter|
|The Passing of Mary|
The New Testament Apocrypha is a group of books, just like the Old Testament Apocrypha, that some in Christianity accept as inspired but most do not. The Shepherd of Hermas and the Didache are among the most popular. The Didache claims to be the teaching of the twelve apostles.
Just like the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, the New Testament Pseudepigrapha is a group of books that are rejected by all. Among the most interesting are the Gospel of the Childhood, Gospel of the Nativity of Mary, Gospel of the Psuedo-Matthew, History of Joseph the Carpenter, Acts of Thomas, and the Letter Attributed to Our Lord. These books were written by Gnostics and other religious/cultic writers.
The apocryphas are valuable to us as historical information. The Maccabees and the Didache are great examples of this. But the apocryphas should not be considered equal to the God of Word. The pseudepigraphas are interesting reading, but they are rejected by all as inspired by God.