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The Books Of The Bible And The Apocryphal Texts


The Bible is generally accepted as the Christian Holy Book. It is made up of several smaller books which are believed by Christians to have been written by men who were inspired directly by God. The books that were included in the Bible were not always agreed upon however. This essay takes a look at how this came to be, the solutions that were used for this problem and the new books that continue to emerge.

The books of the Bible span several thousands of years of history and some of them were passed on for generations via oral tradition before they were eventually put into writing. At the time of the death of the historical figure, Jesus Christ, none of the gospels had yet been penned. Several emerged afterward as well as some of the lesser known ones such as first and second Maccabees and the Book of Judith. The early Christian Church had some difficulty in consolidating all of the books that were available into a single document. Some of them contained themes that appeared heretical to the emerging Catholic church while other were too far fetched and thought to be damaging to the legitimacy of the faith.

A council was called together in 325 AD to decide upon which books were to be considered ‘true’ and which ones were to be excluded. The council was made up of bishops who believed they had the right to make such a decision. At the end of their deliberation, the Bible contained a set number books. Some of the favored texts that were removed included the gospel according to Mary Magdalene who was for centuries misrepresented as prostitute through a poorly interpreted version of one of the included texts. The books that were excluded were known as the Apocrypha.

Since then, many other holy books have been added to the Christian faith. Some have been accepted by large groups such as the catechism and even to an extent the Book of Mormon. Others have been created by cult leaders to legitimize their own divinity and are not widely know or referenced.

Belief is at the heart of most things that have to do with religion. Knowing that the council of Nicaea were responsible for deciding which books would remain and which ones would become apocryphal does little to dampen the faith of people who are devout.