- From catholicculture.org
Apocrypha is a term applied to many different writings from the centuries just before Christ’s birth to the first few centuries after His death and resurrection. In its broadest usage, it refers to any writing that was at one time claimed to be part of Sacred Scripture that was later determined to be of doubtful origin. Books which fall under this umbrella come from both Old Testament and New Testament times. Although the term is often applied as a derisive and negative one, especially among Protestant denominations toward books which Catholics and Eastern Orthodox consider canonical but Protestants do not, many traditions and legends come to us from apocryphal texts, including stories about the childhood of Jesus and what happened to Mary and the apostles after Acts of the Apostles concludes. There is nothing inherently negative about a book being deemed apocryphal. Rather, this term simply means that it was not divinely inspired and, therefore, cannot be included in Sacred Scripture.