Now David has written a shorter presentation with Abingdon Press titled The Apocrypha, which is part of the Core Biblical Studies Series. Here, in David's own words, is what the book is about and why he wrote it.
After the books of the Hebrew Bible (the Protestant Old Testament) and the New Testament, the Apocrypha, or the Deuterocanonical Books (as Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians know these texts), constitutes the single most important collection of books from antiquity for understanding the shape of Judaism in the centuries around the turn of the era and the matrix within which the early church was formed. The impact of these texts on Jesus, the writers of the New Testament, and the early church is pervasive and potent. They are also valuable in their own right as witnesses to the faith of Jews seeking to remain loyal to the covenant and to God amidst the stresses of living as a minority group in the Hellenistic and Roman world.
I wrote this book as an invitation particularly to the non-specialist and the general reader to explore these important texts and as a guide to thinking about their contexts and their contributions. Unlike my much fuller Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Contexts, and Significance(Baker Academic, 2002), which provides background and analysis on the collection text-by-text, this brief volume approaches the material more thematically. It should be of use both to individual readers and to groups wishing to study these texts together.
Scholars, seminary students, and clergy who are likely to make use of Apocryphal texts in preaching and worship may wish to look into purchasing the volume by Baker:
If you are looking for a book that will help you begin to read and understand the apocrypha, then I recommend this book. If you are a leader in the church, it will be a good volume to give to those who have questions about those books.
Many thanks to David deSilva and Abingdon Press for the gratis copy.