term apocrypha is used with various meanings, including
"hidden", "esoteric", "spurious", "of
questionable authenticity", and "Christian texts that are not
word is originally Greek (α)
and means "those having been hidden away". Specifically, α
is the neuter plural of απόκρυφος,
a participle derived from the verb αποκρύπτω
"to hide something away."
general term is usually applied to the books that the Protestant
Christian Church considered useful but not divinely inspired. As such,
it is misleading in this sense to refer to the Gospel according to the
Hebrews or Gnostic writings as apocryphal, because they would not be
classified in the same category by orthodox believers. Non-canonical
books are texts of uncertain authenticity, or writings where the work is
seriously questioned. Given that different denominations have different
beliefs about what constitutes canonical scripture, there are several
versions of the apocrypha.
16th-century controversies about the biblical canon, the word acquired a
negative connotation, and has become a synonym for "spurious"
or "false". This usage usually involves fictitious or
legendary accounts that are plausible enough to be commonly considered