Apocrypha for Beginners


Go beyond the Bible with this simple introduction to apocrypha.

Whether they were lost, cut, or censored, the various apocryphal stories offer unique opportunities to learn about the histories of Judaism and Christianity while broadening spiritual understanding. But exploring this vast canon of texts alone can be daunting. Apocrypha for Beginners makes it simple by offering a guided experience, helping explain each piece’s importance and contextualize its place in history.

This book includes:

  • More than 50 apocryphal works―Delve into a variety of apocrypha from different eras and cultures, like the Book of Enoch, the Gospel of Judas, and more.
  • In-depth commentary―Better understand each text with a brief summary of its origin, meaning, and cultural significance.
  • Easy-to-follow info―Explore the history of Judaism and Christianity with the help of a detailed timeline, canon comparison chart, and index of important individuals.

Take your Bible study to the next level with Apocrypha for Beginners: A Guide to Understanding and Exploring Scriptures Beyond the Bible.



“Apocryphal literature offers a fascinating glimpse into the creativity surrounding the Biblical past in the premodern Jewish and Christian imagination―but it is also infamously confusing. Brandon Hawk here offers a guide of unprecedented scope and clarity, making up-to-date specialist findings accessible to everyone. The result is an invaluable resource for teaching but also a delight to read for anyone curious about the Biblical past outside the Bible.” ―Dr. Annette Yoshiko Reed, professor of religious studies and Jewish studies, New York University

“Brandon Hawk has compiled a highly readable and concise introduction to the texts you’ve heard so much about but didn’t know where to begin your own exploration. This is the guide you need from an expert in the field. Hawk’s analyses emphasize the value of apocrypha, both over time for their contributions to culture and over space for the communities who even today consider some of these texts Scripture. There is no (and never has been) one Bible for all people, no single set of universal beliefs. And Hawk shows why the world is better for it.” ―Dr. Tony Burke, editor of the series New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures

“Brandon Hawk’s clear and engaging book covers all the major ancient apocryphal writings, from the Dead Sea Scrolls to the gnostic literature to the non-Biblical apocalypses. It is a must-read for everyone who is interested in these fascinating but little-known texts.” ―Dr. Lorenzo DiTommaso, professor, Department of Religions and Cultures, Concordia University

Media about the Book

Author interview with Shirley Paulson on the Bible and Beyond Podcast, September 1, 2021.

Review by James F. McGrath, on the Religion Prof blog at Patheos, July 20, 2021.

Review by Russell Potter, on Epistemophilia, July 4, 2021.


Interested in more content about apocrypha that didn’t make it into Apocrypha for Beginners? Check out these posts about B-sides!

While I wrote Apocrypha for Beginners, and as it’s gone through production, I’ve shared some of my thoughts about the subject in a series of posts. These posts bring together some of the information in Apocrypha for Beginners, although in a different form from the book itself, as well as some content not included in the book. Check out all of the posts in this series here.

Sneak peeks of Apocrypha for Beginners