What is the deal with the "other" 7 books of the Bible according to Catholics?
The extra books in the Roman Catholic Bible are referred to as Deuterocanonical books. It's a term used since the sixteenth century to describe certain books and passages of the Christian Old Testament that are not part of the Hebrew Bible. There are actually seven complete books and additions to two other books of the Hebrew Bible.
The Catholic deuterocanonical scriptural texts are:
- Additions to Esther (Vulgate Esther 10:4-16:24)
- Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus)
- Baruch, including the Letter of Jeremiah (Additions to Jeremiah in the Septuagint)
- Additions to Daniel:
- Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children (Vulgate Daniel 3:24-90)
- Susanna (Vulgate Daniel 13, Septuagint prologue
- Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14, Septuagint epilogue)
- 1 Maccabees
- 2 Maccabees
For the Catholic Church, the first declaration of which books would be considered "biblical" was made by the Council of Trent in the 16th century. The number one reason for the Council of Trent to convene was to counter the effects of Martin Luther's Reformation movement.
When Luther advanced his own list of biblical (canonical) books, he left out the list above. He labeled them as "Apocryphal" (a word that means hidden). Therefore the Council of Trent passed a decree (fourth session) confirming that the deuterocanonical books were on a par with the other books of the Bible and of equal authority. (It is generally believed that the Council made this decision to spite Luther.)
To this day these extra books are consider Apocryphal by Protestant (and especially Evangelical) Christians.