The Apocrypha are books or portions of books which appear in the Latin Vulgate, either as part of the Old Testament or as an appendix, but which are not in the Hebrew Bible. With the exception of 2 Esdras these books appear in the Greek Old Testament known as the “Septuagint.” The Deuterocanonical books consist of the Apocrypha, except for 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh. In view of the importance of the Apocrypha in the present edition it will be in place to say something here of their origin. These books were written mostly between the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD, and, though a number of them were originally written in Hebrew, they seem to have circulated chiefly in the Greek version outside Palestine, especially in Egypt. The books were perhaps less acceptable to the Jerusalem Jews of the Pharisaic tradition, but they were certainly used in Palestine inasmuch as fragments have been found at Qumran among the Dead Sea Scrolls. A few other writings were sometimes included in the Greek manuscripts, such as Psalm 151, 3 and 4 Maccabees, and the Psalms of Solomon. The first Christians were Aramaic-speaking Jews of Palestine who were familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures, but very soon those of Greek speech - whether Jew or Gentile - far outnumbered those who spoke Aramaic, and the Bible they used was normally the Greek Septuagint translation with its extra books. This was in effect the Christian Old Testament and it remained their only text for the greater part of two centuries. Towards the end of the 1st century AD, at Jamnia, the Jews decided that only books written in Hebrew and not later than Ezra were to be considered as inspired and canonical. Though some of the books then included are now known to have been written after the time of Ezra, the criteria did serve to exclude the extra literature referred to above. The need for a decision was prompted in part by the growing controversies with the Christians and the use they made of the Scriptures. In the absence of any definition of the Canon by Christian authorities, the clearly defined Hebrew Canon was always liable to exert an influence on Christian thinking. In the 4th century, a number of prominent Fathers expressly declared that these extra books were non-canonical, and so less authoritative than the books of the Hebrew Canon, and were to be read only for edification. Nevertheless, side-by-side with the expression of these opinions, Christians continued to use Greek and Latin Bibles with the extra books, which moreover were distributed throughout the Old Testament and not gathered into a single group. The great controversy over the canonical character of these books towards the end of the 4th century, in which Augustine and Jerome were the champions respectively for and against, eventuated in the decision of the Councils of Africa, approved by Rome, that the Christian Canon of the Old Testament consisted of the books of the Hebrew Canon together with seven others, namely, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Tobit, Judith, and 1 and 2 Maccabees, and parts of two others, namely, Daniel and Esther, which were included in the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate. In addition to these books, three others, namely, 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh, though not included in the Canon by the Councils, were nevertheless regarded as enjoying a position of esteem in view of their widespread Christian usage, especially in the liturgy. For this reason, they were included in editions of the Vulgate. In spite of the decisions of the Councils, including that of the Council of Florence (1441 AD) in favor of the longer Canon, doubts about the extra books of the Greek and Latin Bibles continued to be expressed from time to time up to the Reformation. In the 16th century the Reformers rejected those books in the Vulgate that they did not find in the Hebrew Canon. Thus in Luther's German translation of the Bible (1534) the Apocrypha (with 1 and 2 Esdras omitted) stands between the Testaments with the title: "Apocrypha, that is, books which are not held equal to the sacred Scriptures, and nevertheless are useful and good to read." Coverdale's English translation of the Bible (1535) gave them the same position (except Baruch and the Prayer of Manasseh), with the title "Apocrypha." The books and treatises, which, among the fathers of old, are not reckoned to be authority with the other books of the Bible, neither are they found in the books of the Hebrew." The Apocrypha had a place in all the 16th century translations of the Bible. Matthew's Bible of 1537 was the first English version to place all of the Apocrypha in a separate group. In the King James Version of 1611 they stand between the Testaments and there are a few cross-references to passages in them. In the Catholic Rheims-Douay Version (1609), the Deuterocanonical Books are placed among the Old Testament writings, as in the Vulgate, with 1 and 2 Esdras printed as an appendix to the Old Testament as "not received into the Canon of Divine Scriptures by the Catholic Church." Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles Church of England says concerning the Apocrypha: "And the other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners, but yet it doth not apply them to establish doctrine." It was during the Reformation period that the terms "Apocrypha" and "Deuterocanonical Books" came into general use. The word "Apocrypha" means, “hidden,” and was often applied to books that were withheld from circulation because the authorship was in doubt or the teaching had been questioned. Hence the "Apocryphal" came to be the equivalent of "spurious," generally with the implication that the books should be avoided; and the Jews applied it to the mass of literature excluded from their sacred books when they defined their Canon. Jerome applied it to the small number of books that now bear that title and – largely because of his great authority – the Reformers adopted the same title for these books, though maintaining that they were to be read for edification. The term "deuterocanonical" used by Catholics was apparently coined by Sixtus of Siena in the 16th century to indicate those books in the Septuagint and Vulgate Old Testament which are not contained in the Hebrew. The Puritans opposed every use of these books that would suggest they possessed any authority; and the Westminster Confession (1648) declares: "The books commonly called 'Apocrypha,' not being of divine inspiration, are no of the Canon of Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings." The Greek Orthodox Church, which uses the Greek Septuagint Version's official text, has been accustomed to use the longer Canon of the Old Testament. The Ecumenical Council at Nicea in 787 AD, and the Council at Constantinople in 869 AD quote certain Apocrypha as authoritative. In the great Schism of 1054, the Apocrypha was not an issue. They became moreso at the time of the Protestant Reformation, and a short-lived attempt was made by Cyril Lukaris, Patriarch of Constantinople, to promote the adoption of the Hebrew Canon in the Greek Church. The question, however, was never regarded as quite so fundamental a doctrine as in the West. The basic Greek text of the books of the Apocrypha - from which the translation was made - is the edition of the Septuagint prepared by Alfred Rahlfs and published by the Wurttemberg Bible Society, Stuttgart, 1935. This text is based mainly upon the Codex Vaticanus (4th century AD), the Codex Sinaiticus (4th century), and the Codex Alexandrinus (5th century). For the book of Tobit the Greek text found in the codices Vaticanus and Alexandrinus was followed; and for the Additions to Daniel (namely, Susanna, the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men, and Bel and the Dragon) the translators used the Greek version of Theodotion. The basic text followed in the case of 2 Esdras is the Old Latin version edited by Robert L. Bensly. This was supplemented by consulting the Latin text edited by Bruno Violet, as well as the several Oriental versions of 2 Esdras, namely, the Syriac, Ethiopic, Arabic (two forms, referred to as "Arabic 1" and "Arabic 2"), Armenian, and Georgian versions. In addition, account was taken of a few verses of the 15th chapter of 2 Esdras, which have been preserved in Greek (Oxyrhynchus Papyrus No.1010). In the translation of Sirach, constant references were made to the medieval Hebrew fragments of a large part of this book, which were discovered at the end of the 19th century. Throughout the work of translating the books of the Apocrypha, consideration was given to variant readings, including those in the apparatus criticus of Rahlfs, as well as those in other editions of the Septuagint or of single books of the Apocrypha. Likewise, a search was made for all portions of the Apocrypha preserved in the Greek papyri from Egypt, and the text of these fragments was collated with that of Rahlfs. The quarrels over the authority of the Apocrypha are now largely matters of the past, although variant views still are sincerely and strongly held. Today, the problem is approached, both theologically and historically, with understanding. Thus, among many Christian bodies there is an increasing interest in the Apocrypha, and the Vatican Secretariat for Christian Unity - together with the United Bible Societies - has recently prepared guiding principles for interconfessional translation, containing a formula for the inclusion of the Apocrypha in certain editions published by the Bible Societies. Though agreement in principle on the Old Testament Canon is probably out of immediate reach, nevertheless there seems no reason why an attempt should not be made to arrange the Books in a way that would meet with general assent from all denominations. There are present editions that represent such an attempt. The Apocrypha are placed between the Testaments, as is done normally in Protestant Bibles, but 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh have been transferred to the end of the Deuterocanonical Books, separated from them by a blank page and accompanied by a note explaining that they are not regarded as canonical by Catholics. There is thus for the first time a clear distinction which will, it is expected, commend itself to the different Christian denominations.