“The scholar Jerome undertook the task. Jerome used the best texts he could find (including Hebrew when available), and produced the so-called Vulgate (Common Language) Bible. Again, these included the Deuterocanonical books, and this Bible was considered the authoritative translation for centuries”
Jerome did not consider the Apocryphal Books as Scripture or canonical.
This preface, also known as the Prologus Galeatus, “Helmeted Preface,” was written by Jerome about the year 391. In it he maintains that, for the Old Testament, only the Hebrew books traditionally regarded as Holy Scripture by the Jews are canonical, and the extra books of the Septuagint “are not in the canon.”
St. Jerome’s Prologue to the Books of the Kings 2
That the Hebrews have twenty-two letters is testified also by the Syrian and Chaldaaen languages, which for the most part correspond to the Hebrew; for they have twenty-two elementary sounds which are pronounced the same way, but are differently written. The Samaritans also write the Pentateuch of Moses with just the same number of letters, differing only in the shape and points of the letters. And it is certain that Esdras, the scribe and teacher of the law, after the capture of Jerusalem and the restoration of the temple by Zerubbabel, invented other letters which we now use, for up to that time the Samaritan and Hebrew characters were the same. In the book of Numbers, moreover, where we have the census of the Levites and priests [Num. 3:39], the same total is presented mystically. And we find the four-lettered name of the Lord [tetragrammaton] in certain Greek books written to this day in the ancient characters. The thirty-seventh Psalm, moreover, the one hundred and eleventh, the one hundred and twelfth, the one hundred and nineteenth, and the one hundred and forty-fifth, although they are written in different metres, are all composed [as acrostics] according to an alphabet of the same number of letters. The Lamentations of Jeremiah, and his Prayer, the Proverbs of Solomon also, towards the end, from the place where we read “Who will find a steadfast woman?” are instances of the same number of letters forming the division into sections. Furthermore, five are double letters, viz., Caph, Mem, Nun, Phe, Sade, for at the beginning and in the middle of words they are written one way, and at the end another way. Whence it happens that, by most people, five of the books are reckoned as double, viz., Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, and Jeremiah with Kinoth, i.e., his Lamentations. As, then, there are twenty-two elementary characters by means of which we write in Hebrew all we say, and the human voice is comprehended within their limits, so we reckon twenty-two books, by which, as by the alphabet of the doctrine of God, a righteous man is instructed in tender infancy, and, as it were, while still at the breast.
The first of these books is called Bresith, to which we give the name Genesis. The second, Elle Smoth, which bears the name Exodus; the third, Vaiecra, that is Leviticus; the fourth, Vaiedabber, which we call Numbers; the fifth, Elle Addabarim, which is entitled Deuteronomy. These are the five books of Moses, which they properly call Thorath, that is, ‘Law.’
The second class is composed of the Prophets, and they begin with Jesus the son of Nave, which among them is called Joshua ben Nun. Next in the series is Sophtim, that is the book of Judges; and in the same book they include Ruth, because the events narrated occurred in the days of the Judges. Then comes Samuel, which we call First and Second Kings. The fourth is Malachim, that is, Kings, which is contained in the third and fourth volumes of Kings. And it is far better to say Malachim, that is Kings, than Malachoth, that is Kingdoms. For the author does not describe the Kingdoms of many nations, but that of one people, the people of Israel, which is comprised in the twelve tribes. The fifth is Isaiah; the sixth, Jeremiah; the seventh, Ezekiel; and the eighth is the book of the Twelve Prophets, which is called among them Thare Asra.
To the third class belong the Hagiographa, of which the first book begins with Job; the second with David, whose writings they divide into five parts and comprise in one volume of Psalms. The third is Solomon, in three books: Proverbs, which they call Parables, that is Masaloth; Ecclesiastes, that is Coeleth; and the Song of Songs, which they denote by the title Sir Assirim. The sixth is Daniel; the seventh, Dabre Aiamim, that is, Words of Days, which we may more descriptively call a chronicle of the whole of the sacred history, the book that amongst us is called First and Second Paralipomenon [Chronicles]. The eighth is Ezra, which itself is likewise divided amongst Greeks and Latins into two books; the ninth is Esther.
And so there are also twenty-two books of the Old Law; that is, five of Moses, eight of the prophets, nine of the Hagiographa, though some include Ruth and Kinoth (Lamentations) amongst the Hagiographa, and think that these books ought to be reckoned separately; we should thus have twenty-four books of the ancient Law. And these the Apocalypse of John represents by the twenty-four elders, who adore the Lamb and offer their crowns with lowered visage, while in their presence stand the four living creatures with eyes before and behind, that is, looking to the past and the future, and with unwearied voice crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and will be.”
This preface to the Scriptures may serve as a helmeted [i.e. defensive] introduction to all the books which we turn from Hebrew into Latin, so that we may be assured that what is outside of them must be placed aside among the Apocryphal writings. Wisdom, therefore, which generally bears the name of Solomon, and the book of Jesus the Son of Sirach, and Judith, and Tobias, and the Shepherd [of Hermes?] are not in the canon. The first book of Maccabees is found in Hebrew, but the second is Greek, as can be proved from the very style.
***This preface to the Scriptures may serve as a helmeted [i.e. defensive] introduction to all the books which we turn from Hebrew into Latin, so that we may be assured that what is outside of them must be placed aside among the Apocryphal writings. Wisdom, therefore, which generally bears the name of Solomon, and the book of Jesus the Son of Sirach, and Judith, and Tobias, and the Shepherd [of Hermes?] are not in the canon. ***
Yet Jerome is not the Church.
The Church in Hippo (383), Carthage (393, 397 and 419) decided on Canon.
Jerome was a faithful servant in the Church.
However, we do not allow that an antiChristian Jewish pronouncement 60 years after Jesus died, resurrected and Ascended to Heaven dictates Christian Scripture.
And if 1 Maccabees is Hebrew, all reservations should be swept aside.