The Lost Books of the Bible

Book Descriptions
A Partial List
Part 3

The First And Second Books Of Maccabees
The First and Second Books of Maccabees are a history of God's people, the Jews. At the time of the events recorded in the First and Second Maccabees, Judas Machabeus was the leader of the Jewish Nation. The author of the First Book of Maccabees is unknown. But, it is believed that he was a Palestinian. The style of writing and the language he used make it clear that he was a native of Palestine. The date of the writing of the First Book of Maccabees is not definitely known, but it is considered possibly to have been written during the reign of John Hyrcanus (135-105 BC) and no later than 63 BC.
The Second Book of Maccabees is considered to be a part of a larger work. Jason of Cyrene supposedly wrote the Second Book of Maccabees. Nothing is known of the author of the larger work of which Second Maccabees is thought to be a part. The General Councils of Florence and Trent consider both First and Second Maccabees canonical. The church accepts them as canon them and both books can be found in the Douway-Rheims Catholic Bible.

The Third And Fourth Books Of Maccabees
The Third Book of Maccabees is considered non-canonical, but it is read and held in high esteem by the Greek Church. Its author is thought to have been an Alexandrian Jew who wrote the Third Book of Maccabees as a comfort to the persecuted Jews in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy Philopator. The church also considers the Fourth Book of Maccabees non-canonical. Based on ancient stories and writings, it tells of the destruction of Jerusalem. It is thought to have been compiled by a Jew whose name is unknown.

The Book of Susanna
The Book of Susanna tells the story of a woman that was beyond reproach, but was accused by two lustful men of committing immoral acts with them. It details the account and shows how Daniel spoke up in her defense and saved her from an untimely death. The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament contains 12 chapters, but in the first century before the birth of Christ a 13th chapter was added. That chapter is the Book of Susanna. The Book of Susanna was left out of the Bible because it was not written in Hebrew originally. It is considered one of the Deuterocanonical books of the Apocrypha.

The Book of Judith
The Book of Judith is generally believed to have been written by Elochim (Joachim) during the reign of Manasses. The book has been found in Greek, Latin and two Hebrew versions. The Latin version was supposedly translated, in one night, from the Chaldaic by Jerome. One of the Hebrew versions is identical to the Greek. The early church authorities considered The Book of Judith to be canonical and still maintain its canonicity. But, the Protestants excluded it from the Bible because it does not exist in the Hebrew Bible. The Book of Judith tells the story of a virtuous woman who, by her actions, saved Israel from destruction by Holofernes and his vast army.

Additions to Esther
The Remaining Chapters of Esther were declared canonical by the Councils of Laodicea and Carthage. Jerome found parts of the book in Hebrew and he transposed them to the end of the Book of Esther. He found all 16 chapters contained in 10 chapters in the Greek manuscript. The Council of Trent also declared all of the Book of Esther to be sacred, canonical scripture. The Remaining Chapters of Esther is supposed to have been written by Madocheus.

The Epistle of Jeremiah
The Epistle of Jeremiah is a letter written to the Jewish captives as they are about to be lead off into captivity by Nebuchadnezzer. It is a warning to the people to beware of idolatry. The early church authorities declared it canonical. It is included in the list of canonical writings of Origen, Epiphanius, Cyril of Jerusalem and Athanasius. The Council of Laodicea also recognized it as canonical. In the Septuagint, The Epistle of Jeremiah follows Lamentations as a separate piece, closing the writings of Jeremiah. In Latin manuscripts, The Epistle of Jeremiah is appended to Baruch as chapter 6. It is supposed, by the majority of scholars, to have been written in Greek. The writer is thought to have been a resident of Alexandria. Most scholars agree that Jeremiah did not write The Epistle of Jeremiah because it never formed part of the Hebrew Canon.

The Wisdom of Solomon
The Wisdom of Solomon (aka The Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach) is one of the deutro-canonical writings of the Old Testament. It is found in the Vulgate between Canticle of Canticles and Ecclesiasticus. Some scholars believe that it was written by King Solomon, but there is doubt among others as to who the author is. The original Wisdom of Solomon was composed in Greek. Therefore, some scholars doubt King Solomon as author. Others believe an unknown Alexandrian Jew wrote it. It is unclear as to the date of the writing. It is thought to have been written in the time of Ptolemy 1V Philopator (221-204 BC) or Ptolemy V11 Physicon (145-117 BC). The original text of The Wisdom of Solomon is preserved in five manuscripts, The Vaticanus, The Siniticus, The Alexandrinus, The Ephremiticis and The Venetus. It's most accurate form is found in the Venetus and The Vaticanus manuscripts. The Wisdom of Solomon is so named because it contains information on wisdom, how to obtain it and it's fruits.

The Wisdom Of Jesus' Son, Sirach
The Wisdom of Jesus' Son Sirach (aka Ecclesiasticus) was considered canonical by the early church authorities although it is not in Jewish Canon. The book was first written in Hebrew by Jesus, son of Sirach. Another Hebrew text exist that was translated into the Greek by a Palestinian Jew, the grandson of Jesus, the son of Sirach. The name of the translator is unknown. The book is thought to have been written between 190 BC and 170 BC. The Wisdom of Jesus' Son, Sirach deals primarily with morality and wisdom.

The Book Of Enoch (Ethiopian Enoch)
Enoch, the son of Jared, is mentioned several times in the Bible at Genesis 5:18-24, Hebrews 11:5 and Jude 1:14-15. The Verse in Jude directly quotes The Book of Enoch. The Book of Enoch was considered canon and exact by the early Christians. Early church authorities such as Justin Martyr, Augustine, Irenaeus, Origin and Clement of Alexandria all made use of The Book Of Enoch and considered it genuine. Tertullian considered it scripture, calling The Book of Enoch "Holy Scripture". It was also added to the official canon of the Ethiopic Church. The Book of Enoch was widely read and used during the first three centuries after the death of Christ. The Council of Laodicia discredited The Book of Enoch and banned it. It gradually disappeared, but in 1773 James Bruce, a famous explorer returned from Abyssinia with three Ethiopic copies of the text. In time, several sections of the Greek version were found. Seven fragments of The Book of Enoch in the Aramaic text were discovered in Cave 4 of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The original Book of Enoch was composed in Hebrew. The Book of Enoch can be divided into five parts: The Book of Watchers, The Book of the Similitudes, The Book of Astronomical Writings, The Book of Dream Visions and The Book of the Epistle of Enoch.

Part 4