AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOKS OF THE APOCRYPHA. By W O E Oesterley D D Litt D. © W O E Oesterley 1935. First published S.P.C.K. 1935. - This edition prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram 2003.


    Preface (page 1.)
  1. The Books of the Apocrypha (page 3.)
  2. The Apocrypha as Literature (page 13.)
  3. The Chronological Order of the Books of the Apocrypha (page 24.)
  4. A Survey of the Historical Background (page 26.)
  5. The Wisdom Literature (page 41.)
  6. The Apocalyptic Literature (page 56.)
  7. The Doctrinal Teaching of the Apocrypha (page 74.)
  8. The Importance of the Apocrypha for New Testament Study (page 111.)
  9. The Apocrypha in the Church (page 121.)


I Esdras (The "Greek Ezra") (page133) II Esdras (The "Ezra Apocalypse") (142) Tobit (161)
Judith (172) Esther Additions (183)  Wisdom of Solomon (196)
Ecclesiasticus (222) Baruch (256) The Epistle of Jeremy (268) 
The Song of the Holy Children (272) Susanna (280) Bel & the Dragon (287)
The Prayer of Manasses (294) I Maccabees (300)  II Maccabees (315) 



This book is in no sense a new edition of The Books of the Apocrypha: their Origin, Teaching and Contents (1914).
It is from beginning to end a new and wholly independent work.
Since the earlier volume appeared, twenty-one years ago, much new literature on the Apocrypha generally, and on its individual books, has been published.
And the present writer has had, during these years, opportunities for studying a good deal, at any rate, of this new material, besides paying attention to the older literature.
It may, therefore, be hoped that this book will be found to be a considerable improvement on the former.

The work consists of two parts, the earlier of which is perhaps the more important, as it deals with subjects of wider interest than the necessarily more technical introductions to the several books.

Part I -
Prolegomena to the Apocrypha -
has for its object to show the interest and importance of this neglected body of literature from the literary, historical, doctrinal, and New Testament points of view.

Part II
deals with the usual subjects of introduction necessary for the study of the individual books.

That my friend Theodore Robinson has not seen his way to collaborate with me in this work is a matter of much regret to me.
I had hoped that he would have done so.
But he pleaded that inasmuch as during the many years of reading and teaching in preparation for the books we have written together, he had concentrated more particularly on the earlier periods of the religion, history, and literature of the Hebrews, he did not feel competent to deal with the literature belonging to this late period.

I wish to express my warm thanks to Dr. H. H. Rowley for having read through my manuscript and the proofsheets, and for many valuable suggestions.

It should be added here that the large number of quotations from the books of the Apocrypha given in full, instead of mere references, was thought advisable because most people are less familiar with the text of these than with that of the canonical Scriptures.

The text of the Septuagint used is that of Swete;
but reference should be made also to Rahlfs' edition, which is marvellously cheap and beautifully produced.

February 1935.