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From the Greek apokryphos, meaning “hidden, not recognized”; a series of books written during the last centuries B.C.E. and excluded from the Bible when the canon was set up ca. 90 C.E. Several of the Apocrypha were written at a later date. Some of them were written in Greek, and all were generally modeled after a book in the Bible. They compromise wisdom books such as Ben Sira, poems, such as the Wisdom of Solomon, and prayers such as that of Manasseh. The two historical Books of the Maccabees, as well as such instructive stories as the books of Tobit, Judith, and Susanna, are a part of the Apocrypha. In the Book of Judith, the heroine rescues a whole city from a besieging Assyrian army by killing its general, Holofernes. Also among the Apocrypha are prophecies or revelations of the unknown, called Apocalyptic writings. None of these books equals the Bible’s grandeur of ideas or beauty of writing, and many of them were lost and forgotten by Jews. Some survived only in Greek and were included by the early Church Fathers in the Catholic Bible.

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