In Christianity, the Old Testament refers to the books that form the first of the two-part Christian Biblical canon. These works correspond to the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), with some variations and additions. In the Eastern Orthodox Church the comparable texts are known as the Septuagint, from the original Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. In the Syriac Orthodox church, they are known as the Peshitta. The term "Old Testament" itself is credited to Melito of Sardis. Tertullian also used the Latin vetus testamentum. The Old Testament in the Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Greek Orthodox Bibles have 39 books in common.
Some scholars believe much of the Old Testament was written in Mesopotamia. It is believed the Old Testament was composed and compiled between the 12th and the 2nd century BC. Jesus and his disciples referenced it when discussing Jesus's teachings, referring to it as "the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms ... the scriptures". (Luke 24:44-45) The accounts of Jesus and his disciples are recorded in the New Testament.
The New Testament is the name given to the second major division of the Christian Bible, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament. The New Testament is sometimes called the Greek New Testament or Greek Scriptures, or the New Covenant.
The original texts were written by various authors sometime after c. AD 45, in Koine Greek, the lingua franca of the eastern part of the Roman Empire. Rylands Papyrus 52 is generally accepted as the earliest extant record of a canonical New Testament, which dates somewhere between 117 AD and 138 AD.
Its books were gradually collected into a single volume. Although Christian denominations differ as to which works are included in the New Testament, the majority have settled on the same twenty-seven book canon: it consists of the four narratives of the life and death of Jesus, called "Gospels"; a narrative of the Apostles' ministries in the early church, probably by the same author as the Gospel of Luke, which it continues; twenty-one early letters, commonly called "epistles" in Biblical context, written by various authors and consisting mostly of Christian counsel and instruction; and an Apocalyptic prophecy.
The biblical apocrypha are books published in an edition of the Bible whose canonicity the publisher either rejects or doubts. For this reason they are typically printed in a third section of the Bible apart from the Old and New Testaments. In many editions they are omitted entirely.
Different churches and congregations have differing views on what constitutes their biblical canon. A comparative list can be found in the article on books of the Bible. The biblical apocrypha are sometimes called simply "the" Apocrypha. For extra-biblical works sometimes referred to as '"apocrypha", see the articles on apocrypha and on Pseudepigrapha. For biblical works sometimes classified as "apocrypha" despite being considered canonical by many Christians, see the article on deuterocanonical books.
Although the term apocrypha simply means hidden, this usage is sometimes considered pejorative by those who consider some such works to be canonical parts of scripture.