The study of the pseudepigraphical literature is in its very infancy. By pursuing it, we are able to trace the influence of ancient Jewish traditions and documents down the centuries.
Not everything that is true, is necessarily written in our canonical Bibles, everything we need though, is. But there are many literary works like, for example, this book which is definitely inspired by the Holy Spirit. Yahweh in the past revealed his messages through Prophets and through dreams on an ongoing basis. Sometimes even to people who did not believe in Him. What is of importance is the core message that is conveyed by the writings. So, rather than piling up everything the Scriptures say about a special subject, the goal of biblical theology is to follow the progressive revelation of God and his saving plan. The discipline of scriptural theology traces the unfolding story of the Bible. God revealed himself in the Scriptures over the course of about two thousand years through around forty to fifty different authors. Each of those authors wrote in his own words and even had his own theological emphases and themes. While these complement each other, the great advantage of biblical theology is that it provides us with a method for studying and learning from each author of Scripture.
Both the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library discovered a few years earlier has caused quite a stir in all aspects of biblical study and investigation of research on the Bible, the Qumrân community, and early Christianity. Further to the Scrolls, analysis of the controversial Jordan Lead Codices, a collection of seventy lead and copper books that are purported to chronicle the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, suggests that those books are indeed two millennia old, contrary to claims being made by scholars that the documents are merely modern forgeries. Yet they do not receive superior marks as historical documents about Jesus. In a review of These Gnostic Gospels, noted biblical scholar Raymond Brown affirmed that from the Nag Hammadi “works we learn not a single verifiable new fact about the historical Jesus’ ministry, and only a few new sayings that might possibly have been his.” They do however serve as concrete proof that these accounts were indeed written around the time of Yeshua, and that he indeed wandered this Earth. Craig Blomberg wrote extensively about the Historical Reliability of the Entire New Testament. He compared the Gospels with other ancient biographies, the Gospels were written relatively soon after the events they narrate—from twenty to sixty years after the death of Jesus. The two earliest biographies of Alexander the Great were written more than four hundred years after his death, yet historians consider them to be generally trustworthy. Scholars agree that Christian writings like those from Paul were written within 25 years of Jesus’s death at the very latest, while the detailed biographical accounts of Jesus in the New Testament gospels date from around 40 years after he died. Compare that with, for example, King Arthur, who supposedly lived around AD500. The major historical source for events of that time does not even mention Arthur, and he is first referred to 300 or 400 years after he is supposed to have lived.
The First: The Dead Sea Scrolls, the most fabulous archeological treasure of all time, came into the hands of E. L. Sukenik, the Professor of Archeology at Hebrew University the precise day the U.N. voted to partition Palestine and permit the Jewish State: November 29, 1949. Prior to their discovery, scholars looked mainly to two texts to answer the question of which Scriptures are the most authentic—the traditional Hebrew text known as the Masoretic Text (or MT), which was finalized by Jewish scholars in about 1000 C.E., and a Greek translation of the Hebrew text called the Septuagint (or LXX). This Greek translation of the Pentateuch (Torah) was made for the Jews of Alexandria in the beginning of the third century B.C.E.
That recovery of some 800 documents in the Twelve caves on the northwest shores of the Dead Sea is one of the most sensational archeological discoveries in the Holy Land to date. Although the region between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea has been inhabited since the earliest days of humanity, around 300 B.C. the rulers of the Nabatean Kingdom laid claim to cultural greatness by carving magnificent buildings into the red sandstone cliffs in the area surrounding the ancient city, creating a maze of passages that helped keep it secret from Europeans for centuries. Even today, no vehicles are allowed to drive in the ancient city of Petra, Jordan. The Scrolls are the oldest Bible manuscripts available. These 2,000-year-old texts were less likely to be subjected to scribal corruption, implying that they reflect a more original Bible language. After passing through Bedouin and Syrian, even American hands, the Scrolls and fragments now reside in a nuclear bomb-proof museum in Jerusalem.
The Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of thirteen ancient books (called "codices") containing over fifty texts, was discovered in upper Egypt in 1945. This immensely important discovery includes a large number of primary "Gnostic Gospels" – texts once thought to have been entirely destroyed during the early Christian struggle to define "orthodoxy" Among the several dozen ancient Gnostic manuscripts, the Secret Book of John is generally agreed to be the most important.
The Dead Sea works were the collections of the Essenes, a Jewish religious community flourishing during the last two centuries of the Second Temple era (150 B.C.E.-70 CE). The archaeological evidence shows that they lived in Jerusalem at the time of Yeshua, and Bargil Pixner, who lived on Mount Zion in Dormition Abbey, has shown that there was a significant Essene quarter of Jerusalem on Mount Zion. One of the principal characteristics of the Essenes was common ownership of property. New members handed over their belongings to the superiors, who collected also the wages earned by every sector. Agriculture was the main Essene occupation. Having renounced private possessions, the members received all that they needed: food, clothes, care. When the Essenes partook of food together a priest always say grace before the meal, and it was unlawful for anyone to taste of the food before this was done. Jesus also, it is recorded, gave thanks on several occasions before distributing food.
List of Apocrypha
The Additions to the Book of Esther
Wisdom of Solomon
Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Joshua ben Sira
The Letter of Jeremiah
The Additions to the Book of Daniel
The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews
Bel and the Dragon
In addition, the following books are in the Greek and Slavonic Bibles but not in the Roman Catholic Canon, though some of them occur in Latin:
Prayer of Manasseh
Psalm 151, following Psalm 150 in the Greek Bible
Select List of Pseudepigrapha with some Notes
Apocalypse of Abraham: A Jewish writing presenting a vision seen by Abraham as well as legends about him. Surviving only in Old Church Slavonic, it was probably written in the second century C.E.
Books of Adam and Eve: A number of closely related versions of a writing dealing with the story of the protoplasts. All of these might derive from a Jewish source document, the language and date of which are unknown.
Apocalypse of Adam: An apparently Sethian gnostic revelation received by Adam and transmitted to Seth. Perhaps first or second century C.E. in date, it occurs in Nag Hammadi Codex 5.
Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch: An apocalypse written in the aftermath of the destruction of the Temple by the Romans, it is closely related to the Fourth Book of Ezra. Its chief subjects are the theological issues raised by the destruction.
Biblical Antiquities: Sometimes also called Pseudo-Philo, this is a biblical history from the creation to the monarchy and seems to have been written before the destruction of the Temple by the Romans.
Book of Enoch: A compendium of five Jewish apocalypses all of which were composed before the destruction of the Second Temple. These come from diverse periods and social sects, the oldest being the first and third parts. the whole book is found only in Ethiopic, but parts of it have been discovered in Greek and in the original Aramaic from Qumran.
Book of the Secrets of Enoch: (2 Enoch or Slavonic Enoch). A Jewish apocalypse from the time before the destruction of the Temple, relating Enoch’s ascent to the heavens and the revelations received by him there, as well as the history of the antediluvian generations.
Fourth Book of Ezra (2 Esdras): An apocalypse written after the destruction of the Second Temple, probably between 95 and 100 C.E. It deals with the theological problems that arose from the destruction of the Temple.
Books of Giants: A writing associated with the Enoch cycle, relating the deeds of the giants who were born of the union of the “sons of God and human women” (Genesis 6:1-4). It is known from fragments found at Qumran and was written before 100 B.C.E.
Book of Jubilees: A retelling and expansion of the biblical history from the Creation to Moses. It was originally written in Hebrew early in the second century B.C.E.
Lives of the Prophets: A collection of biographical notes relating details of the lives and deeds of various prophets. It was circulated widely among Christians and probably reflects Jewish sources. Written in the early centuries C.E.
Fourth Book of Maccabees: A book written in Greek by a Hellenized Jew to show the rule of reason over the passions. The martyrs of the Maccabean revolt serve as his chief examples.
Testament of Moses (Assumption of Moses): This writing relates Moses’ last charge to Joshua. Its present form dates from early in the first century C.E. It contains much important eschatological teaching.
Sibylline Oracles: Collection of oracles fabricated by Jewish and Christian propagandists in the early centuries C.E. They were attributed to the Sibyl, a pagan prophetess.
Testament of Solomon: A Greek work, Christian in its present form, containing extensive legendary and magical traditions associated with Solomon.
Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs: A work listing the last wills and testaments of the twelve sons of Jacob. It survives in Greek in a Christian form but clearly contains many older, Jewish sectarian sources. It is important for the study of Jewish ethical and eschatological teaching.