I'll present a reaction in an argument vs. counter-argument format. First, I'll start with the arguments in the post, then toss in a couple more later.
ARGUMENT:Precisely because the Septuagint was the version most used and accepted by Jesus and the Apostles, the Catholic Church uses the Septuagint's canon of Old Testament books in the Roman Catholic Bible.
Note: This may be the reason, but it's not completely factual.
COUNTER-ARGUMENT: There are 15 books of the Apocrypha (14 if you combine the Letter of Jeremiah into Baruch [Baruch Ch.6]). All 15 are contained in the earliest known version of the Septuagint (LXX), which was used to help translate the Vulgate. They are: The Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), Tobit (Tobias), Judith, 3 Esdras, 1&2 Maccabees, Baruch (CH 1-5), The Letter of Jeremiah (Baruch Ch 6), 4 Edras, Esther 10:4-16:24, Prayer of Azariah (in other mss listed as "Song of Three Young Men" is Daniel 3:24-90), Susanna (Daniel 13), Bel and the Dragon (Daniel 14), and Prayer of Manassah.
Even though all of these books are contained in the earliest known complete LXX (4th century AD) as well as post 4th century Greek Bibles, the Council of Trent rejected 3&4 Edras and the Prayer of Manassah.
ARGUMENT: Jesus and his Apostles knew and used the Septuagint most heavily. The authors of the New Testament's books also quoted directly from the Septuagint most of the time, since this version was the most commonly used in the early Church.
COUNTER-ARGUMENT: The writers of the New Testament did use the LXX most heavily. However, there are a couple points of contention to using this as a reason to canonize 12 of the 15 Apocryphal books.
First, Palestine was the home of the Jewish canonization process at the time of Christ, not the Greek learning center at Alexandria, Egypt. The fact that the LXX contains the Apocrypha only proves that the LXX translators translated the other religious writings from the intertestamental period. Philo, the Alexandrian Jew and philosopher recognized by Josephus, flatly rejected the Apocrypha as canon. Eventually, Judaism as a whole did, also.
Second, the earliest Greek manuscripts of the Bible (also 4th century) contain ALL the books of the Apocrypha, however, this does not indicate canonization, nor does it indicate that Jesus or His apostles would have accepted the Apocryphal books as canon. There is no evidence that all the Apocryphal books were present in earlier versions of the LXX. There is no indication that 1st - 3rd century Jews accepted these books either(they did not, in fact, rejecting the LXX for Aquila's Greek version sometime in the 2nd century).
ARGUMENT: The books of the Catholic Bible are the books that all Christians traditionally accepted.
COUNTER-ARGUMENT: This is incorrect. Many of the great, early church fathers rejected the Apocrypha, including Melito, Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Athanasius. There is no evidence that any important leader of the church before the time of Augustine accepted all of the books canonized at Trent.
In fact, an important Catholic contemporary of Augustine rejected the Apocrypha as canon. Augustine was able to easily influence the councils of Hippo and Carthage. One reason for that is probably due to the fact that there was no Hebrew scholar present at those councils and the LXX versions were exclusively used to determine canonicity. However, Augustine met resistance later in the person of Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus (St. Jerome), the leading Hebrew scholar of the time. Jerome so rejected the Apocrypha that he refused to translate it into Latin or add it to the Vulgate. At the end of his life he translated, at the request of the Church, Judith, Tobias, portions of Daniel, and the disputed chapters of Esther. He still would not add these hasty translations into the Vulgate. These books and the rest of the Apocrypha accepted at Trent were added to the Vulgate over Jeromes dead body.
Ive touched most of the points in the article. Ill get back to address other arguments soon, but time constrains me.
posted on 07/18/2008 2:23:38 AM PDT
("Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world... and she walks into mine.")
posted on 07/18/2008 2:52:06 AM PDT
(Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
**The authors of the New Testament’s books also quoted directly from the Septuagint most of the time**
A lot of quotes from Isaiah too, not just the Septuatgint.
posted on 07/19/2008 9:33:39 AM PDT
(With God all things are possible.)
**The books of the Catholic Bible are the books that all Christians traditionally accepted.**
I think the article was talking about ‘after their adoption. Even Luther accepted them as a Catholic priest, untillllllll he chose to dissent and nailed his list to the church door.
posted on 07/19/2008 9:35:49 AM PDT
(With God all things are possible.)
Thank you for your academic discussion.
posted on 07/19/2008 9:36:23 AM PDT
(With God all things are possible.)
Hello. Very thoughtful and respectful response to the original post. Thank you for your effort to remain close to the facts, I will, I hope in equally good faith, make my attempt to do the same as I consider some of your counter arguments.
Today, while I would like to consider all, I have the time perhaps just to begin to address one of your arguments and I won't go far with it.
"Even though all of these books are contained in the earliest known complete LXX (4th century AD) as well as post 4th century Greek Bibles, the Council of Trent rejected 3&4 Edras and the Prayer of Manassah."
I don't know about any mention or denial of the prayer of Manassah at the Council of Trent, yet I believe that your statement about what was said about the books of Esdras needs some correction. The books in mention from Esdras were not rejected at all, nor were they accepted. Among the books found in the Latin Vulgate (Esdras, 4 Ezra, and 3 Maccabees) 3 Bishops voted that they be rejected, 42 Bishops voted that they be passed over in silence, and 8 did just that, they didn't vote.
Yet, this does not add to or deny the force of what you are questioning. Inclusion within the Septuagint itself does not imply all writing within it to be so called “canon” a term that is not within this discussion without its troubles.
I will return to your other arguments, which I believe likewise are in need of bringing to light additional facts as well as perhaps discuss the very use of the word canon itself, which was not itself coined from the Rabbinic/Pharisaic tradition. Still, at this moment I can only hold the most limited sense of general remembrance that there is more to the story that you have up until now revealed and am very curious how I may be used to develop a picture of how the traditional character of the Catholic faith's position here will be shown to be consistent, but too perhaps allow for an appreciation or that my fellow Catholics would receive our separated brethren's concern for the veracity of scripture graciously and understand that the failings of the church were used to divide it.
This is intensely interesting to me as is the whole of reaching out with understanding, charity, hope and compassion, surely, something I do at time fail to do.
And, while I've only read the introduction of David a. deSilva's "Introducing the Apocrypha," I do imagine it would serve you well to read it in support of your position if you have not read it already. It presents some very similar arguments that you have eluded to, but I think goes further into the connection between the church and the Deuteroconanical books or these said reputed books the "Apocrypha." If you have not read it, I think perhaps the evidence between the connection of these books to the New Testament writers might alarm you. And it is not my desire to mislead you to suggest that there are not those who know of a great connection between the Deuteros, as I accept them, and the New Testament writers that also do not hold a similar and view to what I infer you suggest. The position penned by deSilva I think is especially forgiving to your arguments and may point help you anticipate the expected oversights I will think in the future allude to in relation to your presented arguments.
Much of this IS new to me. I have no special training. Although I did have a heart for philosophy in my undergraduate study. But, surely my studies were not without it's struggles.
Pray that for our benefit that we may further bring details to light that would further reveal the relationship between church, scripture, His people, and Christ. Let iron sharpen iron and pillars be pillars.
God bless you, and thank you for your concern to correct by way of your discerning of facts and arguments and bringing them here for us to view and chew over with and perhaps against scripture and tradition. All in all, I pray that I am correct to sense in you the hope for all that they would come to Christ's salvation, as I expect that I would have in my heart a similar hope.
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