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5 Myths about 7 Books
VictorClaveau.com ^ | 2001 | Mark P. Shea

Posted on 11/07/2009 9:04:48 AM PST by GonzoII

5 Myths about 7 Books 

MARK SHEA

Here are the answers to five common arguments Protestants give for rejecting the Deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament.

People don't talk much about the deuterocanon these days. The folks who do are mostly Christians, and they usually fall into two general groupings: Catholics — who usually don't know their Bibles very well and, therefore, don't know much about the deuterocanonical books, and Protestants — who may know their Bibles a bit better, though their Bibles don't have the deuterocanonical books in them anyway, so they don't know anything about them either. With the stage thus set for informed ecumenical dialogue, it's no wonder most people think the deuterocanon is some sort of particle weapon recently perfected by the Pentagon.

The deuterocanon (ie. "second canon") is a set of seven books — Sirach, Tobit, Wisdom, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and Baruch, as well as longer versions of Daniel and Esther — that are found in the Old Testament canon used by Catholics, but are not in the Old Testament canon used by Protestants, who typically refer to them by the mildly pejorative term "apocrypha." This group of books is called "deuterocanonical" not (as some imagine) because they are a "second rate" or inferior canon, but because their status as being part of the canon of Scripture was settled later in time than certain books that always and everywhere were regarded as Scripture, such as Genesis, Isaiah, and Psalms.

Why are Protestant Bibles missing these books? Protestants offer various explanations to explain why they reject the deuterocanonical books as Scripture. I call these explanations "myths" because they are either incorrect or simply inadequate reasons for rejecting these books of Scripture. Let's explore the five most common of these myths and see how to respond to them.

Myth 1

The deuterocanonical books are not found in the Hebrew Bible. They were added by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent after Luther rejected it.

The background to this theory goes like this: Jesus and the Apostles, being Jews, used the same Bible Jews use today. However, after they passed from the scene, muddled hierarchs started adding books to the Bible either out of ignorance or because such books helped back up various wacky Catholic traditions that were added to the gospel. In the 16th century, when the Reformation came along, the first Protestants, finally able to read their Bibles without ecclesial propaganda from Rome, noticed that the Jewish and Catholic Old Testaments differed, recognized this medieval addition for what it was and scraped it off the Word of God like so many barnacles off a diamond. Rome, ever ornery, reacted by officially adding the deuterocanonical books at the Council of Trent (15645-1564) and started telling Catholics "they had always been there."

This is a fine theory. The problem is that its basis in history is gossamer thin. As we'll see in a moment, accepting this myth leads to some remarkable dilemmas a little further on.

The problems with this theory are first, it relies on the incorrect notion that the modern Jewish Bible is identical to the Bible used by Jesus and the Apostles. This is false. In fact, the Old Testament was still very much in flux in the time of Christ and there was no fixed canon of Scripture in the apostolic period. Some people will tell you that there must have been since, they say, Jesus held people accountable to obey the Scriptures. But this is also untrue. For in fact, Jesus held people accountable to obey their conscience and therefore, to obey Scripture insofar as they were able to grasp what constituted "Scripture."

Consider the Sadducees. They only regarded the first five books of the Old Testament as inspired and canonical. The rest of the Old Testament was regarded by them in much the same way the deuterocanon is regarded by Protestant Christians today: nice, but not the inspired Word of God. This was precisely why the Sadducees argued with Jesus against the reality of the resurrection in Matthew 22:23-33: they couldn't see it in the five books of Moses and they did not regard the later books of Scripture which spoke of it explicitly (such as Isaiah and 2 Maccabees) to be inspired and canonical. Does Jesus say to them "You do greatly err, not knowing Isaiah and 2 Maccabees"? Does He bind them to acknowledge these books as canonical? No. He doesn't try to drag the Sadducees kicking and screaming into an expanded Old Testament. He simply holds the Sadducees accountable to take seriously the portion of Scripture they do acknowledge: that is, He argues for the resurrection based on the five books of the Law. But of course, this doesn't mean Jesus commits Himself to the Sadducees' whittled-down canon.

When addressing the Pharisees, another Jewish faction of the time, Jesus does the same thing. These Jews seem to have held to a canon resembling the modern Jewish canon, one far larger than that of the Sadducees but not as large as other Jewish collections of Scripture. That's why Christ and the Apostles didn't hesitate to argue with them from the books they acknowledged as Scripture. But as with the Sadducees, this doesn't imply that Christ or the Apostles limited the canon of Scripture only to what the Pharisees acknowledged.

When the Lord and His Apostles addressed Greek-speaking Diaspora Jews, they made use of an even bigger collection of Scripture — the Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek — which many Jews (the vast majority, in fact) regarded as inspired Scripture. In fact, we find that the New Testament is filled with references to the Septuagint (and its particular translation of various Old Testament passages) as Scripture. It's a strange irony that one of the favorite passages used in anti-Catholic polemics over the years is Mark 7:6-8. In this passage Christ condemns "teaching as doctrines human traditions." This verse has formed the basis for countless complaints against the Catholic Church for supposedly "adding" to Scripture man-made traditions, such as the "merely human works" of the deuterocanononical books. But few realize that in Mark 7:6-8 the Lord was quoting the version of Isaiah that is found only in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament.

But there's the rub: The Septuagint version of Scripture, from which Christ quoted, includes the Deuterocanonical books, books that were supposedly "added" by Rome in the 16th century. And this is by no means the only citation of the Septuagint in the New Testament. In fact, fully two thirds of the Old Testament passages that are quoted in the New Testament are from the Septuagint. So why aren't the deuterocanonical books in today's Jewish Bible, anyway? Because the Jews who formulated the modern Jewish canon were a) not interested in apostolic teaching and, b) driven by a very different set of concerns from those motivating the apostolic community.

In fact, it wasn't until the very end of the apostolic age that the Jews, seeking a new focal point for their religious practice in the wake of the destruction of the Temple, zeroed in with white hot intensity on Scripture and fixed their canon at the rabbinical gathering, known as the "Council of Javneh" (sometimes called "Jamnia"), about A.D. 90. Prior to this point in time there had never been any formal effort among the Jews to "define the canon" of Scripture. In fact, Scripture nowhere indicates that the Jews even had a conscious idea that the canon should be closed at some point.

The canon arrived at by the rabbis at Javneh was essentially the mid-sized canon of the Palestinian Pharisees, not the shorter one used by the Sadducees, who had been practically annihilated during the Jewish war with Rome. Nor was this new canon consistent with the Greek Septuagint version, which the rabbis regarded rather xenophobically as "too Gentile-tainted." Remember, these Palestinian rabbis were not in much of a mood for multiculturalism after the catastrophe they had suffered at the hands of Rome. Their people had been slaughtered by foreign invaders, the Temple defiled and destroyed, and the Jewish religion in Palestine was in shambles. So for these rabbis, the Greek Septuagint went by the board and the mid-sized Pharisaic canon was adopted. Eventually this version was adopted by the vast majority of Jews — though not all. Even today Ethiopian Jews still use the Septuagint version, not the shorter Palestinian canon settled upon by the rabbis at Javneh. In other words, the Old Testament canon recognized by Ethiopian Jews is identical to the Catholic Old Testament, including the seven deuterocanonical books (cf. Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 6, p. 1147).

But remember that by the time the Jewish council of Javneh rolled around, the Catholic Church had been in existence and using the Septuagint Scriptures in its teaching, preaching, and worship for nearly 60 years, just as the Apostles themselves had done. So the Church hardly felt the obligation to conform to the wishes of the rabbis in excluding the deuterocanonical books any more than they felt obliged to follow the rabbis in rejecting the New Testament writings. The fact is that after the birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost, the rabbis no longer had authority from God to settle such issues. That authority, including the authority to define the canon of Scripture, had been given to Christ's Church.

Thus, Church and synagogue went their separate ways, not in the Middle Ages or the 16th century, but in the 1st century. The Septuagint, complete with the deuterocanononical books, was first embraced, not by the Council of Trent, but by Jesus of Nazareth and his Apostles.

Myth 2

Christ and the Apostles frequently quoted Old Testament Scripture as their authority, but they never quoted from the deuterocanonical books, nor did they even mention them. Clearly, if these books were part of Scripture, the Lord would have cited them.

This myth rests on two fallacies. The first is the "Quotation Equals Canonicity" myth. It assumes that if a book is quoted or alluded to by the Apostles or Christ, it is ipso facto shown to be part of the Old Testament. Conversely, if a given book is not quoted, it must not be canonical.

This argument fails for two reasons. First, numerous non-canonical books are quoted in the New Testament. These include the Book of Enoch and the Assumption of Moses (quoted by St. Jude), the Ascension of Isaiah (alluded to in Hebrews 11:37), and the writings of the pagan poets Epimenides, Aratus, and Menander (quoted by St. Paul in Acts, 1 Corinthians, and Titus). If quotation equals canonicity, then why aren't these writings in the canon of the Old Testament?

Second, if quotation equals canonicity, then there are numerous books of the protocanonical Old Testament which would have to be excluded. This would include the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Obadiah, Zephaniah, Judges, 1 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations and Nahum. Not one of these Old Testament books is ever quoted or alluded to by Christ or the Apostles in the New Testament.

The other fallacy behind Myth #2 is that, far from being ignored in the New Testament (like Ecclesiastes, Esther, and 1 Chronicles) the deuterocanonical books are indeed quoted and alluded to in the New Testament. For instance, Wisdom 2:12-20, reads in part, "For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him."

This passage was clearly in the minds of the Synoptic Gospel writers in their accounts of the Crucifixion: "He saved others; he cannot save himself. So he is the king of Israel! Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver him now if he wants him. For he said, ÔI am the Son of God'" (cf. Matthew 27:42-43).

Similarly, St. Paul alludes clearly to Wisdom chapters 12 and 13 in Romans 1:19-25. Hebrews 11:35 refers unmistakably to 2 Maccabees 7. And more than once, Christ Himself drew on the text of Sirach 27:6, which reads: "The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had; so too does a man's speech disclose the bent of his mind." Notice too that the Lord and His Apostles observed the Jewish feast of Hanukkah (cf. John 10:22-36). But the divine establishment of this key feast day is recorded only in the deuterocanonical books of 1 and 2 Maccabees. It is nowhere discussed in any other book of the Old Testament. In light of this, consider the importance of Christ's words on the occasion of this feast: "Is it not written in your Law, ÔI have said you are gods'? If he called them Ôgods,' to whom the word of God came — and the Scripture cannot be broken — what about the One Whom the Father set apart as His very own and sent into the world?" Jesus, standing near the Temple during the feast of Hanukkah, speaks of His being "set apart," just as Judas Maccabeus "set apart" (ie. consecrated) the Temple in 1 Maccabees 4:36-59 and 2 Maccabees 10:1-8. In other words, our Lord made a connection that was unmistakable to His Jewish hearers by treating the Feast of Hanukkah and the account of it in the books of the Maccabees as an image or type of His own consecration by the Father. That is, He treats the Feast of Hanukkah from the so-called "apocryphal" books of 1 and 2 Maccabees exactly as He treats accounts of the manna (John 6:32-33; Exodus 16:4), the Bronze Serpent (John 3:14; Numbers 21:4-9), and Jacob's Ladder (John 1:51; Genesis 28:12) — as inspired, prophetic, scriptural images of Himself. We see this pattern throughout the New Testament. There is no distinction made by Christ or the Apostles between the deuterocanonical books and the rest of the Old Testament.

Myth 3

The deuterocanonical books contain historical, geographical, and moral errors, so they can't be inspired Scripture.

This myth might be raised when it becomes clear that the allegation that the deuterocanonical books were "added" by the Catholic Church is fallacious. This myth is built on another attempt to distinguish between the deuterocanonical books and "true Scripture." Let's examine it.

First, from a certain perspective, there are "errors" in the deuterocanonical books. The book of Judith, for example, gets several points of history and geography wrong. Similarly Judith, that glorious daughter of Israel, lies her head off (well, actually, it's wicked King Holofernes' head that comes off). And the Angel Raphael appears under a false name to Tobit. How can Catholics explain that such "divinely inspired" books would endorse lying and get their facts wrong? The same way we deal with other incidents in Scripture where similar incidents of lying or "errors" happen.

Let's take the problem of alleged "factual errors" first. The Church teaches that to have an authentic understanding of Scripture we must have in mind what the author was actually trying to assert, the way he was trying to assert it, and what is incidental to that assertion.

For example, when Jesus begins the parable of the Prodigal Son saying, "There was once a man with two sons," He is not shown to be a bad historian when it is proven that the man with two sons He describes didn't actually exist. So too, when the prophet Nathan tells King David the story of the "rich man" who stole a "poor man's" ewe lamb and slaughtered it, Nathan is not a liar if he cannot produce the carcass or identify the two men in his story. In strict fact, there was no ewe lamb, no theft, and no rich and poor men. These details were used in a metaphor to rebuke King David for his adultery with Bathsheba. We know what Nathan was trying to say and the way he was trying to say it. Likewise, when the Gospels say the women came to the tomb at sunrise, there is no scientific error here. This is not the assertion of the Ptolemiac theory that the sun revolves around the earth. These and other examples which could be given are not "errors" because they're not truth claims about astronomy or historical events.

Similarly, both Judith and Tobit have a number of historical and geographical errors, not because they're presenting bad history and erroneous geography, but because they're first-rate pious stories that don't pretend to be remotely interested with teaching history or geography, any more than the Resurrection narratives in the Gospels are interested in astronomy. Indeed, the author of Tobit goes out of his way to make clear that his hero is fictional. He makes Tobit the uncle of Ahiqar, a figure in ancient Semitic folklore like "Jack the Giant Killer" or "Aladdin." Just as one wouldn't wave a medieval history textbook around and complain about a tale that begins "once upon a time when King Arthur ruled the land," so Catholics are not reading Tobit and Judith to get a history lesson.

Very well then, but what of the moral and theological "errors"? Judith lies. Raphael gives a false name. So they do. In the case of Judith lying to King Holofernes in order to save her people, we must recall that she was acting in light of Jewish understanding as it had developed until that time. This meant that she saw her deception as acceptable, even laudable, because she was eliminating a deadly foe of her people. By deceiving Holofernes as to her intentions and by asking the Lord to bless this tactic, she was not doing something alien to Jewish Scripture or Old Testament morality. Another biblical example of this type of lying is when the Hebrew midwives lied to Pharaoh about the birth of Moses. They lied and were justified in lying because Pharaoh did not have a right to the truth — if they told the truth, he would have killed Moses. If the book of Judith is to be excluded from the canon on this basis, so must Exodus.

With respect to Raphael, it's much more dubious that the author intended, or that his audience understood him to mean, "Angels lie. So should you." On the contrary, Tobit is a classic example of an "entertaining angels unaware" story (cf. Heb. 13:2). We know who Raphael is all along. When Tobit cried out to God for help, God immediately answered him by sending Raphael. But, as is often the case, God's deliverance was not noticed at first. Raphael introduced himself as "Azariah," which means "Yahweh helps," and then rattles off a string of supposed mutual relations, all with names meaning things like "Yahweh is merciful," "Yahweh gives," and "Yahweh hears." By this device, the author is saying (with a nudge and a wink), "Psst, audience. Get it?" And we, of course, do get it, particularly if we're reading the story in the original Hebrew. Indeed, by using the name "Yahweh helps," Raphael isn't so much "lying" about his real name as he is revealing the deepest truth about who God is and why God sent him to Tobit. It's that truth and not any fluff about history or geography or the fun using an alias that the author of Tobit aims to tell.

Myth 4

The deuterocanonical books themselves deny that they are inspired Scripture.

Correction: Two of the deuterocanonical books seem to disclaim inspiration, and even that is a dicey proposition. The two in question are Sirach and 2 Maccabees. Sirach opens with a brief preface by the author's grandson saying, in part, that he is translating grandpa's book, that he thinks the book important and that, "You therefore are now invited to read it in a spirit of attentive good will, with indulgence for any apparent failure on our part, despite earnest efforts, in the interpretation of particular passages." Likewise, the editor of 2 Maccabees opens with comments about how tough it was to compose the book and closes with a sort of shrug saying, "I will bring my own story to an end here too. If it is well written and to the point, that is what I wanted; if it is poorly done and mediocre, that is the best I could do."

That, and that alone, is the basis for the myth that the deuterocanon (all seven books and not just these two) "denies that it is inspired Scripture." Several things can be said in response to this argument.

First, is it reasonable to think that these typically oriental expressions of humility really constitute anything besides a sort of gesture of politeness and the customary downplaying of one's own talents, something common among ancient writers in Middle Eastern cultures? No. For example, one may as well say that St. Paul's declaration of himself as "one born abnormally" or as being the "chief of sinners" (he mentions this in the present, not past tense) necessarily makes his writings worthless.

Second, speaking of St. Paul, we are confronted by even stronger and explicit examples of disclaimers regarding inspired status of his writings, yet no Protestant would feel compelled to exclude these Pauline writings from the New Testament canon. Consider his statement in 1 Corinthians 1:16 that he can't remember whom he baptized. Using the "It oughtta sound more like the Holy Spirit talking" criterion of biblical inspiration Protestants apply to the deuterocanonical books, St. Paul would fail the test here. Given this amazing criterion, are we to believe the Holy Spirit "forgot" whom St. Paul baptized, or did He inspire St. Paul to forget (1 Cor. 1:15)?

1 Corinthians 7:40 provides an ambiguous statement that could, according to the principles of this myth, be understood to mean that St. Paul wasn't sure that his teaching was inspired or not. Elsewhere St. Paul makes it clear that certain teachings he's passing along are "not I, but the Lord" speaking (1 Cor. 7:10), whereas in other cases, "I, not the Lord" am speaking (cf. 1 Cor. 7:12). This is a vastly more direct "disclaimer of inspiration" than the oblique deuterocanonical passages cited above, yet nobody argues that St. Paul's writings should be excluded from Scripture, as some say the whole of the deuterocanon should be excluded from the Old Testament, simply on the strength of these modest passages from Sirach and 2 Maccabees.

Why not? Because in St. Paul's case people recognize that a writer can be writing under inspiration even when he doesn't realize it and doesn't claim it, and that inspiration is not such a flat-footed affair as "direct dictation" by the Holy Spirit to the author. Indeed, we even recognize that the Spirit can inspire the writers to make true statements about themselves, such as when St. Paul tells the Corinthians he couldn't remember whom he had baptized.

To tweak the old proverb, "What's sauce for the apostolic goose is sauce for the deuterocanonical gander." The writers of the deuterocanonical books can tell the truth about themselves — that they think writing is tough, translating is hard, and that they are not sure they've done a terrific job — without such admissions calling into question the inspired status of what they wrote. This myth proves nothing other than the Catholic doctrine that the books of Sacred Scripture really were composed by human beings who remained fully human and free, even as they wrote under the direct inspiration of God.

Myth 5

The early Church Fathers, such as St. Athanasius and St. Jerome (who translated the official Bible of the Catholic Church), rejected the deuterocanonical books as Scripture, and the Catholic Church added these books to the canon at the Council of Trent.

First, no Church Father is infallible. That charism is reserved uniquely to the pope, in an extraordinary sense and, in an ordinary sense, corporately to all the lawful bishops of the Catholic Church who are in full communion with the pope and are teaching definitively in an ecumenical council. Second, our understanding of doctrine develops. This means that doctrines which may not have been clearly defined sometimes get defined. A classic example of this is the doctrine of the Trinity, which wasn't defined until A.D. 325 at the Council of Nicaea, nearly 300 years after Christ's earthly ministry. In the intervening time, we can find a few Fathers writing before Nicaea who, in good faith, expressed theories about the nature of the Godhead that were rendered inadequate after Nicaea's definition. This doesn't make them heretics. It just means that Michael Jordan misses layups once in awhile. Likewise, the canon of Scripture, though it more or less assumed its present shape — which included the deuterocanonical books — by about A.D. 380, nonetheless wasn't dogmatically defined by the Church for another thousand years. In that thousand years, it was quite on the cards for believers to have some flexibility in how they regarded the canon. And this applies to the handful of Church Fathers and theologians who expressed reservations about the deuterocanon. Their private opinions about the deuterocanon were just that: private opinions.

And finally, this myth begins to disintegrate when you point out that the overwhelming majority of Church Fathers and other early Christian writers regarded the deuterocanonical books as having exactly the same inspired, scriptural status as the other Old Testament books. Just a few examples of this acceptance can be found in the Didache, The Epistle of Barnabas, the Council of Rome, the Council of Hippo, the Third Council of Carthage, the African Code, the Apostolic Constitutions, and the writings of Pope St. Clement I (Epistle to the Corinthians), St. Polycarp of Smyrna, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, St. Hippolytus, St. Cyprian of Carthage, , Pope St. Damasus I, the , St. Augustine, and Pope St. Innocent I.

But last and most interesting of all in this stellar lineup is a certain Father already mentioned: St. Jerome. In his later years St. Jerome did indeed accept the Deuter-ocanonical books of the Bible. In fact, he wound up strenuously defending their status as inspired Scripture, writing, "What sin have I committed if I followed the judgment of the churches? But he who brings charges against me for relating the objections that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the story of Susanna, the Son of the Three Children, and the story of Bel and the Dragon, which are not found in the Hebrew volume (ie. canon), proves that he is just a foolish sycophant. For I wasn't relating my own personal views, but rather the remarks that they [the Jews] are wont to make against us" (Against Rufinus 11:33 [A.D. 402]). In earlier correspondence with Pope Damasus, Jerome did not call the deuterocanonical books unscriptural, he simply said that Jews he knew did not regard them as canonical. But for himself, he acknowledged the authority of the Church in defining the canon. When Pope Damasus and the Councils of Carthage and Hippo included the deuterocanon in Scripture, that was good enough for St. Jerome. He "followed the judgment of the churches."

Martin Luther, however, did not. And this brings us to the "remarkable dilemmas" I referred to at the start of this article of trusting the Protestant Reformers' private opinions about the deuterocanon. The fact is, if we follow Luther in throwing out the deuterocanonical books despite the overwhelming evidence from history showing that we shouldn't (ie. the unbroken tradition of the Church and the teachings of councils and popes), we get much more than we bargained for.

For Luther also threw out a goodly chunk of the New Testament. Of James, for example, he said, "I do not regard it as the writing of an Apostle," because he believed it "is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works" (Preface to James' Epistle). Likewise, in other writings he underscores this rejection of James from the New Testament, calling it "an epistle full of straw . . . for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it" (Preface to the New Testament).

But the Epistle of James wasn't the only casualty on Luther's hit list. He also axed from the canon Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation, consigning them to a quasi-canonical status. It was only by an accident of history that these books were not expelled by Protestantism from the New Testament as Sirach, Tobit, 1 and 2 Maccabees and the rest were expelled from the Old. In the same way, it is largely the ignorance of this sad history that drives many to reject the deuterocanonical books.

Unless, of course, we reject the myths and come to an awareness of what the canon of Scripture, including the deuterocanonical books, is really based on. The only basis we have for determining the canon of the Scripture is the authority of the Church Christ established, through whom the Scriptures came. As St. Jerome said, it is upon the basis of "the judgment of the churches" and no other that the canon of Scripture is known, since the Scriptures are simply the written portion of the Church's apostolic tradition. And the judgment of the churches is rendered throughout history as it was rendered in Acts 15 by means of a council of bishops in union with St. Peter. The books we have in our Bibles were accepted according to whether they did or did not measure up to standards based entirely on Sacred Tradition and the divinely delegated authority of the Body of Christ in council and in union with Peter.

The fact of the matter is that neither the Council of Trent nor the Council of Florence added a thing to the Old Testament canon. Rather, they simply accepted and formally ratified the ancient practice of the Apostles and early Christians by dogmatically defining a collection of Old Testament Scripture (including the deuterocanon) that had been there since before the time of Christ, used by our Lord and his apostles, inherited and assumed by the Fathers, formulated and reiterated by various councils and popes for centuries and read in the liturgy and prayer for 1500 years.

When certain people decided to snip some of this canon out in order to suit their theological opinions, the Church moved to prevent it by defining (both at Florence and Trent) that this very same canon was, in fact, the canon of the Church's Old Testament and always had been.

Far from adding the books to the authentic canon of Scripture, the Catholic Church simply did its best to keep people from subtracting books that belong there. That's no myth. That's history.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Mark P. Shea "5 Myths about 7 Books." Envoy 2001.

This article is reprinted with permission from Envoy Magazine.

To subscribe to Envoy call 800-55-Envoy.

THE AUTHOR

Mark Shea is Senior Content Editor for Catholic Exchange. You may visit his website at www.mark-shea.com or check out his blog, Catholic and Enjoying It!. Mark is the author of Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did (Basilica), By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition (Our Sunday Visitor), and This Is My Body: An Evangelical Discovers the Real Presence (Christendom).

Copyright 2001 Mark P. Shea

 

webmaster  www.evangelizationstation.com

Copyright © 2004 Victor Claveau. All Rights Reserved



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History
KEYWORDS: bible; catholic; deuterocanonicals; oldtestament; scripture; septuagint
"The Septuagint version of Scripture, from which Christ quoted, includes the Deuterocanonical books."
1 posted on 11/07/2009 9:04:48 AM PST by GonzoII
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To: GonzoII

A rather turgid reading ... but the bottom line in all that is: Who is Jesus and what will you do about Him?


2 posted on 11/07/2009 9:11:48 AM PST by SkyDancer ('Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..' ~ Thomas Jefferson)
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To: GonzoII

Thank you for this post. In recent threads arguing the percentage of the Bible that Catholics read, I made the point that the percentage for Protestants needed to be lowered because of all the parts of the Bible that they’ve thrown out. I still assert that the amount of the Bible that Catholics read is similar to Protestants because of all the omissions from their versions of the Bible.

In addition, if we remove the books of the Old Testament from the percentages that are all about Jewish battles, ritual, and minute rules of hygiene (which most Christians don’t read very often anyway), the Catholic percentages regarding the amount of the Bible read would go up. We focus on the parts of the Old Testament that are relevant to Christ’s message.


3 posted on 11/07/2009 9:12:06 AM PST by Melian ("A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men. ~Willy Wonka)
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To: GonzoII

“The Septuagint version of Scripture, from which Christ quoted, includes the Deuterocanonical books.”

Yes, and Jesus quoted none of them...


4 posted on 11/07/2009 9:16:18 AM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: GonzoII

“The deuterocanonical books are not found in the Hebrew Bible. They were added by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent after Luther rejected it.”

Framing an argument to deceive. The deuterocanonical books were not considered scripture by the Jews, but neither were they just added at the Council of Trent.

Many in the Catholic Church felt free to reject the Deuterocanonicals as scripture, or as scripture good for doctrine. It WAS the Council of Trent that made the decision to authoritatively place them in the Canon, but by an underwhelming vote...and I believe they punted on the question of using them for doctrine.


5 posted on 11/07/2009 9:20:08 AM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: NewJerseyJoe

ping for later


6 posted on 11/07/2009 9:22:40 AM PST by NewJerseyJoe (Rat mantra: "Facts are meaningless! You can use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!")
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To: GonzoII

“The other fallacy behind Myth #2 is that, far from being ignored in the New Testament (like Ecclesiastes, Esther, and 1 Chronicles) the deuterocanonical books are indeed quoted and alluded to in the New Testament.”

By the standard Shea applies, many heathen religious documents would be ‘scripture’ as well, since many have passages that parallel something happening in the NT.

Find one where Jesus says, “For we read...”, or, “As Scripture says...”


7 posted on 11/07/2009 9:23:39 AM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: GonzoII

“For Luther also threw out a goodly chunk of the New Testament.”

Another dishonest statement.

See here: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=1892

and here: http://www.ntrmin.org/Luther%20and%20the%20canon%202.htm


8 posted on 11/07/2009 9:30:58 AM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: ottbmare

Pingle!


9 posted on 11/07/2009 9:32:02 AM PST by ottbmare (I could agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.)
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To: GonzoII

“In his later years St. Jerome did indeed accept the Deuter-ocanonical books of the Bible. In fact, he wound up strenuously defending their status as inspired Scripture, writing, “What sin have I committed if I followed the judgment of the churches? But he who brings charges against me for relating the objections that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the story of Susanna, the Son of the Three Children, and the story of Bel and the Dragon, which are not found in the Hebrew volume (ie. canon), proves that he is just a foolish sycophant. For I wasn’t relating my own personal views, but rather the remarks that they [the Jews] are wont to make against us” (Against Rufinus 11:33 [A.D. 402]). In earlier correspondence with Pope Damasus, Jerome did not call the deuterocanonical books unscriptural, he simply said that Jews he knew did not regard them as canonical.”

Not so fast - excellent response here:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2006/06/guest-blogdid-jerome-change-his-mind.html


10 posted on 11/07/2009 9:35:23 AM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: GonzoII

Thanks for this detailed discussion. I was familiar with most of what he says, and agree with it, but there are some details new to me, and that I very much appreciate.

And, by the way, Jews don’t just dismiss the deuteronomical books that they decided not to include in their Hebrew scripture as misleading or evil. Why would they continue to celebrate Hannukah, when that is a feast based on Maccabees? The history told in Maccabees is still something they celebrate as a central part of their tradition.

And, interestingly, numerous early Protestants continued to take an interest in the stories of Judith and Tobit—Milton, for example, who certainly held no brief for the Catholic Church.

And the Epistle of James? Luther basically threw it out because it didn’t agree with his own theology and interpretation of Paul, and not for any reasons based on the transmission of the texts.


11 posted on 11/07/2009 9:37:23 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: GonzoII

Excellent find. Thank you!


12 posted on 11/07/2009 9:43:35 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: GonzoII
For open minds:

5 Myths about 7 Books

Lectionary Statistics - How much of the Bible is included in the Lectionary for Mass? (Popquiz!)
Pope calls Catholics to daily meditation on the Bible
What Are the "Apocrypha?"
The Accuracy of Scripture
US Conference of Catholic Bishops recommendations for Bible study

CNA unveils resource to help Catholics understand the Scriptures
The Dos and Don’ts of Reading the Bible [Ecumenical]
Pope to lead marathon Bible reading on Italian TV
The Complete Bible: Why Catholics Have Seven More Books [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: Books of the Catholic Bible: The Complete Scriptures [Ecumenical]

Beginning Catholic: When Was The Bible Written? [Ecumenical]
The Complete Bible: Why Catholics Have Seven More Books [Ecumenical]
U.S. among most Bible-literate nations: poll
Bible Lovers Not Defined by Denomination, Politics
Dei Verbum (Catholics and the Bible)

Vatican Offers Rich Online Source of Bible Commentary
Clergy Congregation Takes Bible Online
Knowing Mary Through the Bible: Mary's Last Words
A Bible Teaser For You... (for everyone :-)
Knowing Mary Through the Bible: New Wine, New Eve

Return of Devil's Bible to Prague draws crowds
Doctrinal Concordance of the Bible [What Catholics Believe from the Bible] Catholic Caucus
Should We Take the Bible Literally or Figuratively?
Glimpsing Words, Practices, or Beliefs Unique to Catholicism [Bible Trivia]
Catholic and Protestant Bibles: What is the Difference?

Church and the Bible(Caatholic Caucus)
Pope Urges Prayerful Reading of Bible
Catholic Caucus: It's the Church's Bible
How Tradition Gave Us the Bible
The Church or the Bible

13 posted on 11/07/2009 9:46:05 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Mr Rogers
The so-called deuterocanonical books were part of the Bible in the Middle Ages. I think all of the Eastern churches (Greek Orthodox and others) accept them as part of the Bible. The Council of Trent reaffirmed the Catholic position but that wasn't a new departure.

I think most Protestant Bibles had the extra books in them, in a separate section between the Old Testament and the New Testament, as books that were good to read even if they weren't regarded as part of the Bible, until the early 19th century.

14 posted on 11/07/2009 9:49:46 AM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: Mr Rogers

And if memory serves, Jesus never quoted from Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon either.

So, I guess for you that must mean they’re not really scripture, right?


15 posted on 11/07/2009 10:58:40 AM PST by vladimir998
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To: Mr Rogers

It’s not dishonest. There’s a reason why he put several books in an unpaginated appendix when he produced his New Testament. Why do you think he put them there?


16 posted on 11/07/2009 11:00:03 AM PST by vladimir998
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To: Melian; Cicero; Salvation
"Thank you for this post."

You are all welcome.

17 posted on 11/07/2009 11:01:49 AM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: Verginius Rufus

That is pretty accurate. There was some discrepancies between Orthodox and Catholic on exactly which books, but they are very minor differences. There was also discussion about the canon status of the Apocrypha...a majority of votes cast at Trent made it official, but it was acceptable before then to echo Jerome’s concerns.

Most Protestant edition Bibles don’t have them, but I have several that do. Interesting reading, but it doesn’t strike me as ‘feeling’ the same as scripture.

FWIW - deuterocanonical is a term that was coined after Trent. Some Catholics think Protestants are trying to pull a fast one by calling them the Apocrypha, but that is the name they were known by until the 1500s. The Apocrypha found in the KJV and subsequent Protestant Bibles is very close, but contains 3 books or fragments not listed by Trent, although found in some editions of the Old Vulgate.


18 posted on 11/07/2009 11:02:08 AM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: vladimir998

He DID quote from the sections they are from, unlike the Apocrypha, and they WERE accepted as part of the Jewish Canon, largely fixed before the birth of Christ. Oddly enough, the Jews didn’t have a Council to make some things scripture, and others not.


19 posted on 11/07/2009 11:08:53 AM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: vladimir998

ALL the New Testament is in every edition of Luther’s translation. ALL. Please see the links I posted earlier to help you out.


20 posted on 11/07/2009 11:10:34 AM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: Mr Rogers

APPENDIX.

Do you know what an APPENDIX is in a book?


21 posted on 11/07/2009 11:18:19 AM PST by vladimir998
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To: Mr Rogers

Did Jesus quote the books I mentioned or not?

Also, no fixed Jewish canon in Hebrew existed before Christ. You are apparently unaware of Jamnia/Javneh.


22 posted on 11/07/2009 11:20:10 AM PST by vladimir998
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To: vladimir998

If you’ll tone down the anger, I’ll consider responding to you.


23 posted on 11/07/2009 11:22:37 AM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: Mr Rogers

When I taught the Bible as Literature, the faculty agreed not to use the King James Version for some reason, so I settled on the Revised Standard Version, based on the KJV carefully modernized (but not PC’d).

I used the Catholic edition. As I explained to the class, there were a few differences between the Protestant and Catholic scholars who worked on it concerning a few texts, which are indicated in RSV notes (e.g. Protestants preferred Jesus’ brothers and Catholics preferred Jesus’ brethren). The apocryphal books are so labeled. The reason I chose the Catholic edition was that you get more for your money. You can ignore the apocryphal texts if you choose to do so. But they are interesting reading, and even if not taken as canonical, they still have a good deal of historical interest and were drawn upon by numerous writers.

The RSV was available in an excellent annotated Oxford edition, until Oxford went over the the NEW Revised Standard Version, which is a politically correct mess that introduces all kinds of errors and infelicities. So I turned to the Ignatius Bible, which is excellent but set up with print that is hard to read and without the annotations that had been so helpful. But a decent, reliable translation is more important than footnotes.


24 posted on 11/07/2009 11:28:32 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Mr Rogers

I didn’t express any anger. Your apparent lack of knowledge does not make me angry. It just makes me pity you.

I wrote APPENDIX so you would see it. Do you see it now or not?


25 posted on 11/07/2009 11:28:45 AM PST by vladimir998
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To: All

“THE COUNCIL OF JAMNIA AND THE OLD TESTAMENT CANON”

http://www.ibri.org/RRs/RR013/13jamnia.html

The much maligned Wiki has a good discussion of the Jewish Canon here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_of_the_Jewish_Bible_canon

Enjoy!


26 posted on 11/07/2009 11:32:26 AM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: All

From one of the links I posted in #8 - for any with difficulty following links...

“B. Luther’s Christocentric Hermeneutic

Luther scholar Paul Althaus explains, “[Luther] allows the canon to stand as it was established by the ancient church. But he makes distinctions within the canon.”[14] It is these “distinctions” that are often seen as removal. In these prefaces, Luther explained that he understood the Biblical books in an order based on how clearly “Christ the gospel of free grace and justification through faith alone”[15] was enunciated. He considered this to be the apostolic standard by which all was evaluated. Althaus explains,

“It was particularly within the canon that Luther practiced theological criticism of its individual parts. The standard of this criticism is the same as his principle of interpretation, that is, Christ: the gospel of free grace and justification through faith alone. This is what Luther means when he says that the standard is “that which is apostolic.” Luther’s concept of apostolicity is based not only on a historical factor, that is, that Christ himself called and sent out a group of witnesses. Rather, it is determined by the content of a book. An apostle shows that he is an apostle by clearly and purely preaching Christ as Savior. “Now it is the office of a true apostle to preach of the suffering, resurrection, and office of Christ.” This shows that an apostle is inspired by the Holy Spirit; and this gives him his authority and infallibility. Since apostolic authority manifests itself in the gospel of the apostles, the church recognizes the authority of the Scripture as being based not on the person of the apostles but on the word of God or the gospel which bears witness to itself. The apostolic character of a New Testament author manifests itself in the content of his writing and in the clarity of his witness to Christ.”[16]

Certain books that did not express this were critically questioned by Luther: particularly James, Jude, Hebrews, and Revelation. The editors of Luther’s Works explain,

“In terms of order, Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation come last in Luther’s New Testament because of his negative estimate of their apostolicity. In a catalogue of “The Books of the New Testament” which followed immediately upon his Preface to the New Testament… Luther regularly listed these four—without numbers—at the bottom of a list in which he named the other twenty-three books, in the order in which they still appear in English Bibles, and numbered them consecutively from 1–23… a procedure identical to that with which he also listed the books of the Apocrypha.”[17]

Sometimes it is said that in the actual printings of Luther’s New Testament these four books were printed last without page numbers. The citation above says it was a “list” without page numbers.[18] Also of importance to note is Luther did not treat the four questionable New Testament books in the exact same way as he did the Old Testament apocrypha. Luther critic Hartmann Grisar has explained, “…[Luther] simply excluded the so-called deutero-canonical books of the Old Testament from the list of sacred writings. In his edition they are grouped together at the end of the Old Testament under the title: ‘Apocrypha, i.e., books not to be regarded as equal to Holy Writ, but which are useful and good to read.’ …Luther’s New Testament is somewhat more conservative.”[19] Grisar dubs Luther “conservative” because Luther did not include such a heading before the New Testament books he questioned. Luther’s opinion on the apocrypha was solidified, whereas with the New Testament Luther uses caution.

Luther also found different levels of Christocentric clarity within the Old Testament. He observed that Genesis, Psalms, and Jonah spoke more to the apostolic standard, while the book of Esther did not. The editors of Luther’s Works further explain the judgments contained in the prefaces:

“Luther’s prefaces… brought something new by means of which he revealed his understanding of the Scriptures, namely a set of value judgments and a ranking of the books into categories. For him the Gospel of John and the epistles of Paul as well as I Peter, rank as “the true kernel and marrow of all the books.” As books of secondary rank come Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation. While Luther’s assigning of a standard of values to the New Testament books may have been simply an act of religious devotion, it proved to be also, as Holl readily points out, a pioneering step toward modern biblical scholarship. Luther’s prefaces are thus more than simply popular introductions for lay readers. They reveal a theological position of Christocentricity which inevitably affects his understanding of the New Testament canon.”[20]

Luther cannot be criticized for explicitly removing books from the canon of sacred Scripture. One can though disapprove of Luther’s critical questioning of particular New Testament books. Paul Althaus explains, “Luther did not intend to require anyone to accept his judgment, he only wanted to express his own feeling about these particular books.”[21] Althaus finds this to be apparent in Luther’s original prefaces of 1522, but even more so in his revisions of 1530. Lutheran writer Mark Bartling concurs: “Luther’s whole approach was one of only questioning, never rejecting. James, Jude, Hebrews, and Revelation are only questioned, they are never rejected.”[22] Roland Bainton notes,

“Luther treated Scripture with royal freedom, but not at a whim. There was a clear determinative principle that the word of God is the message of redemption through Christ Jesus our Lord without any merit on our part, and that we are saved solely through heartfelt acceptance in faith. Yet despite the recognition of levels within Scripture, Luther did not treat the book as a whole and shrank from demolishing the canon by excluding James and Esther. The pope, the councils and the Canon Law might go, but to tamper with the traditional selection of the holy writings was one step too much.”[23]”

http://www.ntrmin.org/Luther%20and%20the%20canon%202.htm


27 posted on 11/07/2009 11:41:03 AM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: Cicero
Can you confirm what Shea said about Mk:7:6-8?:

"But few realize that in Mark 7:6-8 the Lord was quoting the version of Isaiah that is found only in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament."

I checked the online English version of the Septuagint and it seems to be more in line with Christ's words than the KJV and DR ....

"Is:29:13 And the Lord has said, This people draw nigh to me with their mouth, and they honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me: but in vain do they worship me, teaching the commandments and doctrines of men. " --The Septuagint LXX

28 posted on 11/07/2009 12:06:18 PM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

The authors of the NT did quote the Septuagint. That is different from quoting the Apocrypha...


29 posted on 11/07/2009 12:12:01 PM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: Mr Rogers
"Most Protestant edition Bibles don’t have them, but I have several that do. Interesting reading, but it doesn’t strike me as ‘feeling’ the same as scripture."

They certainly are history, Mr. Rogers.

Here's a KJV version with the "Apocrypha", I thought you might want to check it out, I like it.

30 posted on 11/07/2009 12:14:40 PM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII

Thank you. The translation I’ve got is the New English Bible, which is more paraphrase than translation.


31 posted on 11/07/2009 12:52:47 PM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: GonzoII

I know I had a King James Bible with Apocrypha, although I can’t seem to lay hands on it right now. I think it was another Oxford Bible.


32 posted on 11/07/2009 1:25:03 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Mr Rogers

Most scholars state Luther was arbitrary and capricious in his “Distinctions”. The audacity of Luther to subjectively promulgate his negative estimates of the apostolicity of bible books is astonishing and clearly demonstrates his depression and quest for power. It would go well for you to read serious historians on this subject.


33 posted on 11/07/2009 2:50:59 PM PST by bronx2
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To: bronx2

“Most scholars”? “Serious historians”?

His thoughts were in line with other scholars of the age. The Apostolic authorship of James, Jude, and Hebrews were and are questioned still. His forwards speak for themselves - both in his favor, and against.

He was not being arbitrary or capricious. Perhaps you should try reading scholars with less bias...or just try reading Luther himself.


34 posted on 11/07/2009 3:22:24 PM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: Cicero

***I settled on the Revised Standard Version, based on the KJV carefully modernized (but not PC’d).***

I believe it is based on the Sinaiticus,Vaticanus and Alexandrian texts.

It is interesting that these texts contain THE SHEPHERD OF HERMAS as scripture but none of the modern bibles has this tall tale.

***The RSV was available in an excellent annotated Oxford edition***

I have that one. I also have an earlier RSV that does not have the last verses of MARK except in the footnotes.


35 posted on 11/07/2009 4:52:06 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (The sword does not kill. It is a tool in the killer's hand.---Lucius Annaeus Seneca)
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To: Cicero

***I know I had a King James Bible with Apocrypha, ***

I saw a new Cambridge Cameo version in a bookstore about 20 years ago.
You can still get the KJV Apocrypha in a separate printing.

I’ve read them and consider most them to be pious tall tales. Everyone should read them at least once to see that there is nothing substantial in them.


36 posted on 11/07/2009 5:01:12 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (The sword does not kill. It is a tool in the killer's hand.---Lucius Annaeus Seneca)
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To: GonzoII

Josephus “Against Apion” Book 1, Chapt. 8.

8. For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, [as the Greeks have,] but only twenty-two books, (8) which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life.


37 posted on 11/07/2009 5:49:23 PM PST by blue-duncan
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To: blue-duncan
"8. For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, [as the Greeks have,] but only twenty-two books."

If the Jewish Canon was indeed settled as Josephus says than the "Council of Javneh" (sometimes called "Jamnia"), about A.D. 90 would not have "needed" to establish a Canon which included more than twenty two books.

38 posted on 11/07/2009 8:51:52 PM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: Mr Rogers
Yes, and Jesus quoted none of them

"you who have made all things by your Word." (Wisdom 9.1)

"In the beginning was the Word ... All things came to be through Him ... "(St. John 1.1,3)

39 posted on 11/07/2009 11:11:56 PM PST by Heliand
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To: GonzoII; blue-duncan
If the Jewish Canon was indeed settled as Josephus says than the "Council of Javneh" (sometimes called "Jamnia"), about A.D. 90 would not have "needed" to establish a Canon which included more than twenty two books.

IF there was a council of Jamnia, it was an entirely new thing, as prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, Hebrew "canon" would have been a matter wholly resolved by the Sanhedrin. The whole concept of "canon" would have been foreign to them.

When the revived Sanhedrin, under Rabbi Zakkai was relocated to Jamnia after the fall of Jerusalem, their focus was on the preservation of the Hebrew religion without it's mainstay, the Temple.

There is no authoritative work that meets the claims that anything was taken out or added to the Jewish canon, when it was supposedly defined as canon at Jamnia - although there was a confirmation of the Writings as scriptural (as probably already affirmed during the Hasmonean Dynasty).

If done decisively, which again, I would assert there is no proof for, this was a direct, defensive move against other forces canonizing, and thereby making authoritative, translations which were opposing the true Scriptures supported by Jerusalem, and consequently, the resurrected Sanhedrin at Jamnia.

It is my opinion that Jamnia, as headed by Rabbi Zakkai, and the very top Rabbis from the Temple at Jerusalem, simply espoused what they had always espoused.

Therefore, what did flow from Jamnia, not in a single council, but all the way along, was a denouncement of the Old Testament as found in the Septuagint- as derived from Greek sources and Arabic targums... and a confirmation of the Masoretic and Babylonian sources, of which the Masoretic survives intact.

It is from these exact precincts that Rabbinical Judaism finds it's root, and it is little wonder that Modern Jews and Protestant Christians alike would strive to preserve the authenticity of the Old Covenant.

As to the Apocryphal books themselves, The OP does not address the primary criticism against them- That being the Hellenization of the books generally, which raises questions as to their patronage. There are no extant copies which do not have that heavy Greek flourish, and barring a find which removes these influences, the books must be considered corrupted. That is the main argument against them, from both the Hebrews and the Protestants.

40 posted on 11/08/2009 2:50:59 AM PST by roamer_1 (Globalism is just Socialism in a business suit)
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To: roamer_1
"IF there was a council of Jamnia, it was an entirely new thing"

I find it hard to believe, based on the strength of Jewish tradition, that the members of the council would be ignorant of an existing fixed canon...


"After the fall of Jerusalem (A.D.70), an assembly of religious teachers was established at Jabneh; this body was regarded as to some extent replacing the Sanhedrin, though it did not possess the same representative character or national authority. It appears that one of the subjects discussed among the rabbis was the status of certain biblical books (e.g. Eccles. and Song of Solomon) whose canonicity was still open to question in the 1st century A.D. The suggestion that a particular synod of Jabneh, held c. 100 A.D., finally settling the limits of the Old Testament canon, was made by H. E. Ryle; though it has had a wide currency, there is no evidence to substantiate it" (ed. by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingston [Oxford Univ. Press, 861], emphasis added).
Source: This Rock

Apparently there were questions about certain books at the end of the 1st century A.D. thus another opinion besides Josephus'.

41 posted on 11/08/2009 3:20:47 AM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: roamer_1
The above quote was incomplete, it should read:


Did Jabneh have authority?
According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, the "council" in Jabneh in 90 was not even an "official" council with binding authority to make such a decision:

"After the fall of Jerusalem (A.D.70), an assembly of religious teachers was established at Jabneh; this body was regarded as to some extent replacing the Sanhedrin, though it did not possess the same representative character or national authority. It appears that one of the subjects discussed among the rabbis was the status of certain biblical books (e.g. Eccles. and Song of Solomon) whose canonicity was still open to question in the 1st century A.D. The suggestion that a particular synod of Jabneh, held c. 100 A.D., finally settling the limits of the Old Testament canon, was made by H. E. Ryle; though it has had a wide currency, there is no evidence to substantiate it" (ed. by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingston [Oxford Univ. Press, 861], emphasis added).
Source: This Rock

42 posted on 11/08/2009 3:25:26 AM PST by GonzoII ("That they may be one...Father")
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To: GonzoII
I find it hard to believe, based on the strength of Jewish tradition, that the members of the council would be ignorant of an existing fixed canon...

You seem to be missing the point.

It is precisely the strength of Hebrew tradition that I am pointing to, and the singular authority thereof. The Sanhedrin was that singular authority throughout time - Even the Babylonian books were not admitted (considered as Scripture) until after there was a Temple and a sitting Sanhedrin again.

There are reams and reams, literally libraries full of writings... But the Torah IS the Torah. The Tanakh IS the Tanakh.

Of course they had a fixed canon. What I am getting at is that the canonization process was so ingrained, ancient, and inbuilt that the idea of assembling a "synod" for a "council" to determine "canon" is simply absurd.

What existed at Jamnia was what was left of the Sanhedrin. It certainly had no national authority, but it certainly had Rabbinical authority. It is highly unlikely that they would do other than what they had always done.

In fact, the historians most likely to know are the Rabbinical authorities. I will accept the Talmud over secular historians any day. The record of the assembling of the Tanakh and the doings at Jamnia are recorded by the Hebrews at the time that they happened.

And as you note, Ryle has been largely discredited.

43 posted on 11/08/2009 4:27:49 AM PST by roamer_1 (Globalism is just Socialism in a business suit)
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To: roamer_1
Therefore, what did flow from Jamnia, not in a single council, but all the way along, was a denouncement of the Old Testament as found in the Septuagint- as derived from Greek sources and Arabic targums... and a confirmation of the Masoretic and Babylonian sources, of which the Masoretic survives intact.

Good Night!!! It may be morning, but it's really late... I don't know where my brain was at when I wrote this...

*Corrected*

Therefore, what did flow from Jamnia, not in a single council, but all the way along, was a denouncement of the Old Testament as found in the Septuagint- as derived from Greek and Syriac sources... and a confirmation of the Proto-Masoretic (original Hebrew), and Arabic and Babylonian Targumim, of which the Masoretic survives intact.

44 posted on 11/08/2009 4:39:25 AM PST by roamer_1 (Globalism is just Socialism in a business suit)
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To: Heliand

That is an analogous statement. You might as well make your case by saying both the Apocrypha & Scriptures say God is eternal, so the scriptures are quoting the Apocrypha. Or find a verse in the Apocrypha about the frailty of man, and then say any NT verses talking about man’s frailty is a ‘quote’.

Sorry, that is not a quote. A quote USES the Apocrypha for authority. Expressing similar ideas just means Jews wrote both.


45 posted on 11/08/2009 6:32:42 AM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: Mr Rogers

Wisdom 2.13 He boasteth that he hath the knowledge of God, and calleth himself the son of God.

St. Matthew 27.43 ... for he said: I am the Son of God.

Wisdom 2.14 He is become a censurer of our thoughts.

St. Matthew 9.4 And Jesus seeing their thoughts, said: Why do you think evil in your hearts?

Wisdom 2.16 We are esteemed by him as triflers, and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, and he preferreth the latter end of the just, and glorieth that he hath God for his father.

St. John 8.54 Jesus answered: If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God.

Wisdom 2.18 For if he be the true son of God, he will defend him, and will deliver him from the hands of his enemies.

St. Matthew 27.43 He trusted in God; let him now deliver him if he will have him; for he said: I am the Son of God.

2 Maccabees 7 is referred to by:

Hebrews 11.35 Women received their dead raised to life again. But others were racked, not accepting deliverance, that they might find a better resurrection.

etc., etc.


46 posted on 11/08/2009 11:07:44 AM PST by Heliand
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To: Heliand

Yes, there are analogous thoughts expressed in the Apocrypha and the NT. They were both from the Jews. But you still don’t have a single citation where Jesus quotes the Apocrypha.

You could pull a thousand quotes from various heathen writers, and find analogous statements in the NT...but that wouldn’t make the heathen writings scripture. Analogous thoughts are not quotes.

Compare what you quoted to:

Mat 12:3 He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him:

Mat 12:5 “Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless?

Mat 19:4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,

Mat 21:16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”

Mat 21:42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Mat 21:13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

Mar 1:2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way,

Mar 7:6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;


47 posted on 11/08/2009 1:15:36 PM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: Mr Rogers

By that standard, you can toss Ezra, Nehemiah, Song of Songs, Esther, etc.


48 posted on 11/08/2009 2:48:10 PM PST by Heliand
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To: Mr Rogers
Yes, there are analogous thoughts expressed in the Apocrypha and the NT.

Wisdom 2 is not an analgous thought, but the clearest prophecy of the Passion in the Old Testament. The Evangelists clearly had it in mind when they wrote their turns of phrase.

49 posted on 11/08/2009 2:53:16 PM PST by Heliand
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To: Heliand

Wisdom 2 is not quoted anywhere, is it?

Not once does anyone write, “As it is written...”, or “As scripture says...”

Your own claim refutes you. If Wisdom 2 was “the clearest prophecy of the Passion in the Old Testament”, SOMEONE would have quoted it. But not one did.

Turns of phrase are analogous thoughts, NOT quotes. The difference is important. If they considered the Apocrypha scripture, they would not have hesitated to quote it as proof. That they did not means it either had no relevance (and you say it does), or that it wasn’t considered authoritative.

There is no suggestion, in any passage you cited, that the NT writers either A) had it in mind, or B) considered it scripture.


50 posted on 11/08/2009 3:43:34 PM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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