EWTN Catholic Q&A
Dead Sea Scrolls
Question from David McMahon on 11-13-2012:

Dear Fr. Echert, I recently had the opportunity to view this exhibit. Two of the fragments were labeled "Apocryphal Psalms of David", and caused me to wonder why they were considered Apocryphal. I appreciate any feedback.

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 11-20-2012:

Apocryphal is a generic terms used to describe non-biblical writings of a sacred character. The word means "hidden." Among these writings, and they are many in number, some are useful and while not inspired by God such that they are included in the Bible, they may reveal important things that may be true from the ancient world or confirm things known biblically or they may be inspiring prayers. On the other hand, many such writings are heretical and the products of cults such as the Gnostics, who claimed to have secret knowledge of biblical matters and produced false writings that only they possessed. These are potentially dangerous writings in the wrong hands, that is, those who are not scholars but rather ordinary folks who are not aware of their origin. It is such writings are these that have been popularized by books and movies the past decades that make outrageous and even blasphemous claims. By the way, Protestants wrongly classify some biblical books which they reject as among the apocryphal works, which is simply wrong.

Thanks, David

Father Echert