Eastern Orthodox Old Testament "Apocrypha"
In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the Old Testament Apocrypha comprises books such as the Assumption of Moses, Ascension of Isaiah, Apocalypse of Elijah, Book of Enoch, and the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs. Other traditions sometimes refer to these books as apocrypha and/or pseudoepigrapha.
None of the these books were included in the Old Testament canon confirmed by the 7th Ecumenical Council in 787, nor in any of the preceding related councils (i.e. Council of Carthage in 397, Council of Trullo in 692). In some other Orthodox traditions that broke away after the 3rd and 4th Ecumenical Councils (e.g. Ethiopean/Eritrean), the Book of Enoch is also included in the Old Testament and not considered as being part of the Old Testament Apocrypha.
Eastern Orthodox New Testament "Apocrypha"
In the Eastern Orthodox tradition again, the New Testament Apocrypha includes the Didache, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Greek Gospel of the Egyptians, the Gospel of the Hebrews, the First Epistle of Clement, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Gospel of Judas, and the Protoevangelium of James.
Some of the above books (e.g. Gospel of Thomas) were considered truly spurious and heretical (usually gnostic) and were never considered as part of the canon by the Church of the 7 Ecumenical Councils.
Some of the books were included in some manuscripts we have of the New Testament used in the early Church (e.g. Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Alexandrinus - the two principal witnesses behind the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament text). These include Clement, Barnabas, and Hermas. Although eventually excluded form the canon, they were not considered heretical and to this day are part of the written tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Other Orthodox traditions (e.g. Ethiopean/Eritrean) continue to include some of these books (e.g. Clement) in their New Testament canon to this day.
Still others were never included in any New Testament compilation, but neither are they considered heretical. These include the Didache and the Protoevangelium of James.
Again in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, there are a number of Old Testament books which, though not part of the Hebrew canon, are included in the overall Old Testament canon. Within the Eastern Orthodox Church, this set comprises:
- I Esdras
- The portion of II Esdras called the "Prayer of Manasseh"
- Portions of Esther
- Wisdom of Solomon
- Wisdom of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)
- Epistle of Jeremiah
- The portions of Daniel:
- Song of the Three Children
- Bel and the Dragon
- Psalm 151
- I Maccabees
- II Maccabees
- III Maccabees
Although "apocrypha" is a Greek word, the Greek Church never referred to any of the above books as apocrypha, which has a derogatory connotation. They are instead referred to as the deuterocanon (the second canon). You will sometimes find the books referred to as "Apocrypha" in Orthodox sources nonetheless, but this is largely in deference to non-Orthodox terminology.
Jerome seems to have been the first to have labeled the deuterocanon as "apocrypha" in one of his introductions to his Latin translation of the Old Testament. He seem to have objected to the inclusion of books outside the Hebrew canon in the Old Testament, but elsewhere he wrote that he felt he must defer to the Church. (He translated all of the deuterocanon and included it in his work.)
Timeline of the Deuterocanon/"Apocrypha"
An overview of how the Old Testament canon developed within the Church is discussed here and here. A brief timeline would be:
Through 2nd century
There is not consensus on the content of the Old Testament.
Marcion (85-160) holds that that the entire Old Testament - Hebrew or otherwise - should be excluded from the Bible.
Melito of Sardis (d. 180) seems to exclude the deuterocanon from what he considers to be the Old Testament.
Deuterocanonical books found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Some early Church Fathers quote from the deuterocanon (e.g. Irenaeus, 130-202), others do not (e.g. Justin Martyr, 100-165).
Origen includes Maccabees in the Old Testament canon he enumerates, although it is not clear which specific books.
Canon LXXXV of the Apostolic Canons include a number of deuterocanonical books in the Old Testament, including Sirach and Maccabees. (These canons are of indeterminate origin. Some scholars say they may date to the 2nd century, others to as late as the 5th or 6th, though.)
Hilary of Poitiers (310-368) includes Tobit and Judith in his enumeration of the Old Testament
Jerome (347-420) includes the entire deuterocanon in his Latin translation of the Old Testament (see above)
Virtually every Church Father quotes from the deuterocanon in their works, including John Chrysostom (349-407) (called by John MacArthur "the greatest preacher of the early Church").
The deuterocanon is bound up with the Bible codices of this period (see above)
Canon XXXIII of the 3rd Council of Carthage (397) includes the deuterocanon in the Old Testament
The Council of Trullo (692) ratifies and adopts many ancient local canons, including the Apostolic Canons. Canon LXXXV of the Apostolic Canon includes the deuterocanon in the Old Testament (see above).
The 7th Ecumenical Council in Nicaea (787) ratifies and adopts the canons of both the 3rd Council of Carthage and the Council of Trullo. This effectively establishes the following Old Testament canon for the entire Chalcedonian Church (i.e. the Church recognizing all 7 Ecumenical Councils to that date):
- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
- Joshua, Judges, Ruth
- 1-4 Kings (referred to as 1/2 Samuel and 1/2 Kings in most Bibles today)
- 1/2 Chronicles
- Song of Songs
- Wisdom of Solomon
- Wisdom of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)
- The books of the 12 Prophets: Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
- Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel
- Ezra and Nehemiah
- 1-3 Maccabees
"Great Schism" to the Reformation and beyond
The See of Rome and the other four Sees (Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem) mutually separated in 1054 as the Pope of Rome and Patriarch of Constantinople mutually anathematize each other.
The Roman Catholic Council of Trent (c 1546) issues a decree (De Canonicis Scripturis) re-affirming the canon of the 3rd Council of Carthage, resulting in minimal changes to the canon established by the 7th Ecumenical Council.
The Geneva Bible is published in 1560 with the deuterocanon specified the 7th Ecumenical Council.
The King James Bible is published in 1611 with the deuterocanon specified by the 7th Ecumenical Council.
The Synod of Jerusalem (1692) amends the Old Testament canon to include the Prayer of Manasseh and a 4th Book of Maccabees. Technically, the canons of this synod only apply to the Jerusalem Patriarchate. To date, most Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions recognize the Prayer of Manasseh, but not 4 Maccabees.
The deuterocanon begins disappearing from editions of the King James Bible beginning in the early 19th century.