The ApocryphaThe Apocrypha consist of fourteen different books: I & II Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Additions to the book of Esther, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, I & II Maccabees, Baruch, Song of the Three Children, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon and the Prayer of Manasses. With the exception of I & II Esdras and the Prayer of Manasses, the Roman Catholic Church accepts these books as canonical. Chronologically these books were written in the last period of Hebrew literature, from about 300 BC to 100 AD.
The apocryphal books actually come from the same literary family as the canonical books. The books of Tobit, Judith and Susanna can rightly be called romances. Much in the same mould as the book of Ruth and Esther. I Esdras is a rewriting of history based mainly on II Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah. In this sense, I Esdras is very similar to the books of Chronicles. II Esdras is a collection of apocalypses, not unlike the book of Revelation. The books of Maccabees recount the history of the Maccabean revolt of the second century BC which won religious freedom for the Jews. Sirach (also called Ecclesiasticus) and the Wisdom of Solomon are typical wisdom literature, much in the same mould as Proverbs. Baruch is a book of prophecy. Bel and the Dragon, like the story of Jonah and the giant fish, is pure myth. The Prayer of Manasses consists of a penitential prayer put into he mouth of Manasseh, King of Judah.
References1 Parmalee, Guidebook to the Bible: p80
2 ibid: p80
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