An Annotated Bibliography for Apocrypha for Beginners

In my book Apocrypha for Beginners, I introduced biblical apocrypha and highlighted a variety of representative works. But this book is only a beginning. This post contains useful resources—some of which were used in the research of my book—to further explore the world of apocrypha.

Online Sources to Read Original Apocrypha

There are many websites where you can read translations of apocrypha, and I especially recommend:

Internet Sacred Text Archive

Early Jewish Writings

Early Christian Writings

Christian Classics Ethereal Library

The Gnostic Archive

You will find many other resources, including summaries and links to translations, on:

e-Clavis: Christian Apocrypha

Sources on Second Temple Judaism

Research on many early Jewish works and the Dead Sea Scrolls discussed in this book was sourced from the following.

John J. Collins, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012).

Susan Docherty, The Jewish Pseudepigrapha: An Introduction to the Literature of the Second Temple Period (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2015).

Daniel M. Gurtner, Introducing the Pseudepigrapha of Second Temple Judaism: Message, Context, and Significance (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2020).

Eva Mroczek, The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

George W. E. Nickelsburg, Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah, 2nd edition (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2005).

James VanderKam, “The Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Early Judaism: New Insights and Scholarship, edited by Frederick E. Greenspahn (New York: New York University Press, 2018), 11-28. (Many of the other essays in this book are worth reading, especially those in the section titled “Early Diversity.”)

Deuterocanonical Works

Many versions of the Bible include the deuterocanonical works, but I especially recommend the following.

Michael D. Coogan (editor), The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version, 4th edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

Jonathan Klawans and Lawrence M. Wills (editors), The Jewish Annotated Apocrypha (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020). See my review of this volume here.

Albert Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright (editors), A New English Translation of the Septuagint (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), online here.

If you want a deeper dive into the details of the deuterocanonical books, check out:

David A. deSilva, Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance, 2nd edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2018).

Second Temple Jewish Works

Second Temple Jewish works in translation can be found in the following collections.

Martin J. Abegg, Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English (New York: HarperOne, 1999).

Geza Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (New York: Allen Lane, 1997).

James H. Charlesworth (editor), The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 volumes (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985).

Richard Bauckham, James R. Davila, and Alexander Panayotov (editors), Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013).

Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, translated by Henrietta Szold and Paul Radin, 2nd edition, 2 volumes (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2003), including retellings of many extra-biblical narratives from the periods of the Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism.

Orthodox Tewahedo Works

The following article is a good resource for the Orthodox Tewahedo Christian biblical canon.

Tedros Abraha, “The Biblical Canon of the Orthodoks Täwahədo Church of Ethiopia and Eritrea,” in Il canone biblico nelle chiese orientali: atti del simposio, Pontificio Istituto orientale, Roma 23 marzo 2010, edited by Edward G. Farrugia and Emidio Vergani (Rome: Pontificio Istituto orientale, 2017), 95-122.

Books on Christian Apocrypha

These books are useful for further general reading about apocrypha.

Markus Bockmuehl, Ancient Apocryphal Gospels (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2017).

Tom de Bruin, Extreme Walking: Extrabiblical Books and the Bible (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2018), on reading apocrypha along with the Bible from a Christian perspective.

Tony Burke, Secret Scriptures Revealed: A New Introduction to the Christian Apocrypha (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013). See my review of this book here.

Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).

Paul Foster, The Apocryphal Gospels: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

Philip Jenkins, The Many Faces of Christ: The Thousand-Year Story of the Survival and Influence of the Lost Gospels (New York: Basic Books, 2015).

Hans-Josef Klauck, The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles: An Introduction, translated by Brian McNeil (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2008).

—, Apocryphal Gospels: An Introduction, translated by Brian McNeil (London: T&T Clark, 2003).

Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson, The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene (New York: Pegasus, 2014).

Books on “Gnosticism”

For introductions to “Gnosticism” and the Nag Hammadi Codices, I suggest the following.

April D. DeConick, The Gnostic New Age: How a Countercultural Spirituality Revolutionized Religion from Antiquity to Today (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016).

Nicola Denzey Lewis, Introduction to “Gnosticism”: Ancient Voices, Christian Worlds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (New York: Vintage Books, 1989).

Collections of Christian Apocrypha

The following books are good sources of translated Christian apocrypha.

Tony Burke and Brent Landau (editors), New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, Volume 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2016).

Tony Burke (editor), New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, Volume 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2020).

Tony Burke (editor), New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, Volume 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2023).

Bart D. Ehrman and Zlatko Pleše, The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

J. K. Elliott, The Apocryphal New Testament: A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).

Edgar Hennecke and Wilhelm Schneemelcher (editors), New Testament Apocrypha, translated by R. McL. Wilson, revised edition, 2 volumes (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1992).

Marvin Meyer (editor), The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The International Edition (New York: HarperOne, 2007).

Books on Revelations and Apocalypses

On the genre of apocalyptic literature, the following are key introductions.

John J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature, 2nd edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998).

Martha Himmelfarb, The Apocalypse: A Brief History (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).

Elaine Pagels, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation (New York: Penguin, 2012).

Anathea E. Portier-Young, Apocalypse against Empire: Theologies of Resistance in Early Judaism (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2011).

The Early Jewish and Christian Biblical Canon

For a collection of early Jewish and Christian lists of the biblical canon with translations, see the following.

Edmon L. Gallagher and John D. Meade, The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity: Texts and Analysis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).

How Apocrypha Was Defined and Categorized

The following articles discuss modern construction of definitions and categories like “apocrypha,” “pseudepigrapha,” “orthodoxy,” “heresy,” and “diversity.”

Lorenzo DiTommaso, “The ‘Old Testament Pseudepigrapha’ as Category and Corpus,” in A Guide to Early Jewish Texts and Traditions in Christian Transmission, edited by Alexander Kulik, David Hamidović, Gabriele Boccaccini, Lorenzo DiTommaso, and Michael E. Stone (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), 258-80.

Karen L. King, “Factions, Variety, Diversity, Multiplicity: Representing Early Christian Differences for the 21st Century,” Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 23 (2011): 216-37.

Annette Yoshiko Reed, “The Afterlives of New Testament Apocrypha,” Journal of Biblical Literature 134 (2015): 401-25.

—, “The Modern Invention of ‘Old Testament Pseudepigrapha’,” Journal of Theological Studies 60 (2009): 403-36.


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