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Biblical or related writings not forming part of the accepted canon of Scripture. The Old Testament Apocrypha include writings (dating from around 300 bc to ad 100) which appeared in the Septuagint and Vulgate versions but not in the Hebrew Bible; most are accepted by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches as the ‘deuterocanonical’ books. The New Testament Apocrypha include texts attributed to Apostles and other biblical figures but not regarded as authentic by the Councils of the Church.

Recorded from late Middle English, the word comes from ecclesiastical Latin apocrypha (scripta) ‘hidden (writings)’, ultimately from Greek apokruptein ‘hide away’. The adjective apocryphal, meaning of doubtful authenticity, mythical, fictional, is recorded from the late 16th century.

Subjects: Religion

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