The Apocrypha

c.200-100 B.C.

 

"Apocrypha" is a term that commonly means writings in Catholic and Orthodox Old Testaments that are not in modern Protestant and Jewish Bibles. This tract explains what the Apocrypha is, why some say it is God's word, and why others say it is not.

 

The Apocrypha is:

Tobit (Tobias) -1 historical error - 9 pgs

Judith -14 historical errors -14 pgs

Additions to Esther -2 historical errors - 4 pgs

Wisdom of Solomon -2 contradict doct. -19 pgs

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) -8 contradict doct. -44 pgs

Baruch -4 historical errors - 7 pgs

Song of the 3 Holy Children (in Daniel) - 2 pgs

Susanna (in Daniel) - 2 pgs

Bel & the Dragon (in Dan) -1 error - 2 pgs

1 and 2 Maccabees -2 historical errors -41 pgs

1 and 2 Esdras (a.k.a. 3 Esdras and Ezra/Nehemiah)

Prayer of Manasses (15 verses)

 

 

Where the Apocrypha Came From

 

These writings first appeared when the Old Testament was translated to Greek about 200-100 BC. This translation, called the Septuagint, was well done for the Pentateuch, not that well done for some of the prophetic books. Jews in Palestine never called it scripture. Greek speaking Jews and Christians outside of Palestine assumed it was scripture, since it was in the Septuagint.

 

When the early Christian monk Jerome translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin, he had to answer a question: "Should he include these books or not?" Early in his life he believed the Septuagint (including apocrypha) was divinely inspired, but later in his life, he believed only the Hebrew originals were for the Old Testament. Jerome coined a term to describe these books: Apocrypha from the Greek word for hidden, to distinguish these from both "true scripture" and other religious writings.

 

In 90 AD. the Jewish Council at Jamnia excluded from the Old Testament all but the writings Jews and Protestants accept today. Among Christians there was no consensus until Jerome died and Augustine championed the Apocrypha at the Council of Carthage in 397 AD. These writings were in Bibles used by Christians for over 1,100 years. Even the King James Bible originally included it.

 

Which Apocrypha?

 

When both some Catholic theologians and all Protestant reformers excluded the Apocrypha from the Bible, the Catholic Council of Trent in 1546 AD. took action. Besides condemning Luther to hell, the Council officially recognized all the books of the Council of Carthage as being in the Bible -- except for the Prayer of Manasses and 1 and 2 Esdras. (Some Catholic Bibles call Esther and Nehemiah 1,2 Esdras, which changes 1,2 Esdras into 3,4 Esdras.) Thus the Catholic Apocrypha today is shorter than the Apocrypha throughout most of history and the Orthodox Church today.

 

 

Why Some Say It IS God's Word

 

Inference: It was in the Septuagint. It was affirmed at Carthage 397 AD., and Trent in 1546. The Catholic & Orthodox Churches have decreed it scripture.

Rebuttal: If Trent was correct in declaring previous tradition wrong on the three extra books, tradition can be wrong on the others too. Since the Council of Trent actually reconvened in three or four different cities, since bubonic plague seemed to follow it, many would see Trent as a reason NOT to accept it.

 

Inference: Many early Christian leaders taught it as scripture. Some are: Ambrose, Augustine, Clement of Alexandria, Clement of Rome, Hippolytus, Irenaeus, Lactantius, Patrick, Sulpitius Severus, and Theodotus. Are all these men in error?

Rebuttal: Many early Christian leaders did not believe it scripture. Some are: Ambrose, Amphilochus, Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory Nanzianzus, Jerome, Melito of Sardis, and Origen. The Jews Josephus and Philo also rejected it. Many others, such as Justin Martyr, wrote volumes yet never once cited it. Ambrose was contradictory. Even many for it, like Augustine, believed it inspired in a lesser way.

 

Proof: Since God's true word endures, and the Apocrypha has been in some Bibles continuously for 2100 years, then none of the Apocrypha's unique doctrines (prayers for the dead, etc.) corrupted God's word. Since God's revelation would be substantially different if these doctrines were excluded vs. included, and since God's word cannot be corrupted (substantially altered), then these doctrines and the Apocrypha must be true.

Rebuttal: The Apocrypha were additions to the Bible, not corruptions of the Bible. The distinction of the Apocrypha was always known. God's word enduring means that His truth will always be present; cultists make corrupt copies of the Bible all the time.

 

Bottom Line: When the church speaks, the thinking is done. Since the both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches say the Apocrypha is scripture, who are we to question the True Church with our private views?


Why Some Say It Is NOT God's Word

 

Inference: The ~250 Old Testament quotes in the New Testament do not include even one quote from the Apocrypha. (even though it quotes Greek poets and pseudipegrapha), much less said it was Scripture. Everyone would accept the Apocrypha as scripture if Jesus said so. He never did.

Rebuttal: The N.T. does not quote from Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon or Obadiah either.

 

Inference: The Jewish Council of Jamnia in 90 AD. excluded the Apocrypha. Jesus never criticized the Pharisees for not believing in the Apocrypha.

Rebuttal: Jews, not Christians, convened at Jamnia.

 

Inference: Many Middle Age Christians also did not believe it was scripture. Some are: Pope Gregory the Great (1st Maccabees), Cardinal Cajetan (1469-1534) a foremost Catholic Theologian, John Wycliffe, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli. If the Apocrypha is scripture, then all of these were in error on this point.

Rebuttal: Zwingli did not accept Revelation as scripture. Comparing the doctrinal value (not canonicity) of James, Luther said, "--these are the books which show to thee Christ, and teach everything that is necessary and blessed for thee to know, even if you were never to see or hear any other book of doctrine. Therefore, St. James' Epistle is a perfect straw-epistle compared with them, for it has in it nothing of an evangelic kind." From Ryrie Basic Theology p.109.

 

Inference: The Apocrypha teaches as God's Word things found no where else. For example:

An angel named Uriel (2 Esdras)

A good soul fell to Solomon's lot. Wisdom 8:19, 20

The body weighs down the soul. Wisdom 9:15

Whoever honors his father atones for sins. Sirach 3:3

God is unaware the origin of some is evil. Wisd. 12:10

" That is why God gave them a chance to repent which they did not take.

To none has he [God] given power to proclaim his works;..." Sirach

Never use deceit (Sirach 25:26) vs. Deceive people for God (Judith)

Divorce if your wife does not obey you-Sirach 25:26

"for from garments comes the moth, and from a woman comes woman's wickedness. Better is the wickedness of a man than a woman who does good; and it is a woman who brings shame and disgrace." Sirach 42:14

"Wine is like life to men, if you drink it in moderation. What is life to a man who is without wine? It has been created to make men glad." (Sirach 31:27) {Does A.A. quote this often?}

"Pamper a child, and he will frighten you; play with him, and he will give you grief." Sirach 30:9

"Speak, you who are older, for it is fitting that you should, but with accurate knowledge and do not interrupt the music." Sirach 32:3

"My son, do not lead the life of a beggar; it is better to die than to beg." (and it goes on) Sirach 40:28-30.

Jeremiah, though dead, prays for Jews 2 Mac5:12-16

We should pray for the dead 2 Macc 12:44

Jeremiah took the tabernacle of the ark to a cave in the mountain Moses saw Canaan. 2 Macc 2:1-16

Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob did not sin. (Prayer of Manasses). Other verses Sirach 42:14

Rebuttal: Maybe all Christians should believe these.

 

Proof: Since God's Word is true, and the Apocrypha has the following provable falsehoods, the Apocrypha is not God's inerrant word.

Tobias used magic, the heart, liver, and gall of a fish, to drive away a demon. The Bible says we are not to use magic. An angel lies and claims to be Azarius son of Ananias

Tobit 1:4-5 + 1:11-13 + 14:1-3 say Tobit saw the revolt of the northern tribes (997 BC.); he was deported to Nineveh with Naphtali (740 BC.) yet he only lived 102 years.

Judith: It is unclear where the Book was Judith was written. The at least fourteen errors in the book cover falsehoods of the people and geography of Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and even gross errors on the geography of Israel. In short, Nebuchadnezzar was the King of Babylon; he did not rule from Nineveh, he was not king of the Assyrians, and the Assyrians (or Babylonians) never sacked Ecbatana or Ragae. Assyrians and Babylonians did not rely predominately on their cavalry. The Babylonian and Assyrian rulers wanted people to worship their gods, but not them-selves (unlike later Romans and Persians.) The people had not returned from exile in the time of the Assyrians or Babylonians. The Moabites and Ammonites were descendents of Lot; they were not Canaanites. General Holofernes and his massive campaign in Palestine are unknown to history and archaeology. a city with towers called Bethulia, on the plain of Esdraelon near Dothan, able to resist 132,000 soldiers, has not been found. Balbaim and Cyamon have not been found either.

The Catholic New Jerusalem Bible even says in Intro "The book of Judith in particular shows a bland indifference to history and geography."

Mordecai taken by Nebuchadnezzar (617 BC.)

2nd year of Artaxerxes court (~130 years later). Contradicts regular part of Esther: (Esther additions)

Haman was an Agagite, not Macedonian. -add Esth.

Do not remember the dead (Sirach 38:21-23) vs. pray for the dead (2 Macc 12:44)

Baruch not really in Babylon 1:1,2 vs. Jer.43:5-7

Baruch 6:2 says the Jews would serve Babylon for 7 generations. Jeremiah 25:11 & 29:11 says 70 years; .

The Babylonians did not worship and feed a living dinosaur-like creature. (additions to Daniel 14:23-27)

In 2 Macc 8:10 Nicanor wanted to pay 2,000 talents to the Romans; the Seleucids were not under the Romans.

In 2 Macc 8:20 8K Seleucids plus 4K Macedonians did not destroy 120,000 Galatians in Babylonia.

Minor historical discrepancies between 1 & 2 Mac.

Rebuttal: Even the Catholic Encyclopedia admits it has errors on details.

Inference: Writers of Sirach (prologue) and 2 Mac (2:24-43; 15:38-40) indicate they were not inspired.

Rebuttal: A writer might not know he was inspired.

 

Bottom Line: When we have to choose between a human viewpoint and the truth of God, we follow God. We, who together are the True Church, must never cease to recognize and follow God's truth. www.BibleQuery.org.


Here are Apocryphal books early Christian writers referred to.

Cr 1 Clement (of Rome) (16 pgs) 97/98 A.D.

Ba Epistle of Barnabas (13 pgs) c.100 A.D.

Ig Ignatius (21 pgs) c.110-117 A.D.

Pa Papias disciple of John (3 pgs) 110-113 A.D.

Di Didache (Teach. of 12 Disc.)(6 pgs) before 125 A.D.

Dg (anonymous) to Diognetus (6 pgs) c.130 A.D.

Po Polycarp, disciple of John (4 pgs) c.150 A.D.

Jm Justin Martyr (119 pgs) c.138-165 A.D.

He Shepherd of Hermas (47 pgs) 160 A.D.

Th Theophilus [Antioch] (33 pgs) 168-181/188 A.D.

Me Melito of Sardis (11 pgs) 170-177 A.D.

Ae Athenagoras (34 pgs) c.177 A.D.

Ir Irenaeus (264 pgs) 182-188 A.D.

Ca Clement of Alexan. (424 pgs) 193-217/220 A.D.

Te Tertullian [Rome] (854 pgs) 200-220 A.D.

Hi Hippolytus, (233 pgs) 225-235/6 A.D.

Or Origen (622 pgs) 230-254 A.D.

Nv Novatian (39 pgs) 250-257 A.D.

an Anonymous against Novatian(7 pgs) c.255 A.D.

And Treatise on Rebaptism (11 pgs)

Cp Cyprian and friends (270 pgs) 248-258 A.D.

Not shown are Bardesan (154-230) [ref. to Gen] or Julius Africanus (232-245 A.D.). [Neh,Dan by name, allude Ex]

W = Books or quotes mentioned by name or by writer

G = Mentioned as words of God + quoted

B = Mentioned as scripture or quoted + "it is written"

Q = quote of 1 or more verses. 1/2 = quote of 1/2 a verse

A = Allusion. - = no reference


 

Writer

Cr

Ba

Ig

Pa

Di

Dg

Po

JM

He

Th

Me

Ae

Ir

Ca

Te

Hi

Or

JA

Nv

an

Cp

Tobit

-

-

-

-

-

-

1/2

-

-

-

X

-

-

W

-

A

W

-

-

-

W

Judith

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

X

-

-

W

-

-

A

-

-

-

-

Wisdom

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

X

-

-

Q

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

Ecclus

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

X

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Q

W

Baruch

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

X

-

-

Q

-

Q

-

-

-

-

W

Bel

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

X

-

-

-

A

-

W

-

-

-

A

Susan

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

X

-

W

W

W

W

W

X

-

-

W

3 Holy

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

X

-

-

-

-

A

-

-

-

-

W

Manass

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

X

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

3 Esdra

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

X

-

-

-

-

-

Q

-

-

-

-

Esdras -general

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

-

-

W

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

W

1,2 Mac

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

X

-

-

1/2 W

-

-

W

-

-

-

W

3,4 Mac

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

X

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Writer

Cr

Ba

Ig

Pa

Di

Dg

Po

JM

He

Th

Me

Ae

Ir

Ca

Te

Hi

Or

JA

Nv

an

Cp

Time

97/98 A.D.

150 A.D.

168 A.D.

200

225 A.D. 258 A.D.

Pages

151 pages

135 pgs

264

854

424

225

622

8

57 pgs

270

Melito of Sardis excluded, Nehemiah, Esther, and the Apocrypha according to

http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/melito.php.


Notes from the New Jerusalem Bible

 

This is published by Doubleday. It has the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur. These are Catholic terms that declare the book to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It does not mean the censors agreed with everything in it though.

 

The New Jerusalem Bible p.622 "The Book of Judith in particular shows a bland indifference to history and geography. The scene is set in the time of 'Nebuchadnezzar who reigned over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh.' Jdt 1:1 but Nebuchadnezzar was kingof Babylonia and Nineveh had been destroyed by Nabopolassar, his father. Despite this, the return from exile under Cyrus is regarded as having taken place already, Jdt 4:3; 5:19 ... We may add that the itinerary of the army of Holofernes, 2:21-28 is a geographical impossibility."

 

The footnote on Judith 1.a (p.641) says, "Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon (605-562 B.C.) was never styled 'king of Assyria' and never had his capital at Nineveh, which had been destroyed"

 

p.623 "The author [of Judith] seems deliberately to have defied history to distract the reader's attention from the historical context and focus exclusively on the religious conflict and outcome."

 

 

Notes from "The Catholic Bible : Personal Study Edition" (New American Bible)

 

p.161 "There have been several attempts to classify ths Book of Judith according to its literary type. Clearly it is not history. It is useless to try to read it against the backdrop of Jewish history or that of other nations in the ancient world. There are just too many historical errors. Is it then a historical novel, Midrash, or a fictional drama? None of these is completely satisfactory."

 

Notes from the Jerusalem Bible

 

"b. Nebuchadnezzar stands for 'the enemy of God's people, Israel'; historically he was king of Babylon and was never styled 'king of Assyria,' and Nineveh was not his capital city." (Note on 1a p.539) [This is right after Judith 1:1 "It was in the twelfth year of Nebuchadnezzar who reigned ove rhte Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh." Judith 1:7 also says "Nebuchadnezzar king of the Assyrians"]

 

"3 A. Neither Assyrian nor Babylonian kings claimed divine honors." Note on Judith 3:8 p.541 [This is right after carrying out his commission to destroy all local gods and to force the nations to worship Nebuchadnezzar alone and to compel men of every language and nationality to hail him as a god."]

 

"4a.Historically, the return from Exile and the repopulation of Jerusalem were in 539-400. Nebuchadnezzar had died in 562." (Note on Judith 4:3 p.541 [This is right after "They had returned fromcaptivity only a short time before, and the resettlement of the people in Judaea and the reconstruction of the sacred furnishings, of the altar, and of the Temple, which had been profaned, were of recent date."]

 


Emails

 

Email:

What can you tell me a bout the Apochrypa..the 7 Books added by the council of Trent by the Roman Catholic Church? How can we know that it is not inspired and can we trust the septuagint, because it includes the Apochrypal books?

 

iv'e heard early bibles included these books before Martin Luther removed them is  that true?

 

 

 

Thanks

God Bless

- - - - - - -

The "apocrypha" are books that are not in Protestant Bibles and rejected by the Jewish Council of Jamnia in 70 A.D. There are slightly different sets of books in the Catholic apocrypha, a few more in orthodox apocrypha, and a few more in the Septuagint and referenced by early Christians. Attached is first a basic sheet explaining about the apocrypha, and then a chart on which early church writers referred to which apocryphal books. Finally, for comparison purposes, I have included which writers referred to which Old Testament books.

Blessings,

Steve


 

Email:

 

Hi,
 
I have a question regarding the book of Sirach in the Aprocrypha.
 
In Chapter 25 it states:
24 Sin began with a woman, and we must all die because of her.25 Don't let a bad wife have her way, any more than you would allow water to leak from your cistern.26 If she won't do as you tell her, divorce her.
 
Isint verse 24 condemning women for our deaths? This verse seems to 'blame' women in general for the reason that all humans die. Then, in verse 26, it speaks of pro-divorce, when all throughout scripture, divorce is seen as something God displeases. Does this not contradict what Jesus says in Mark 10:6-9???
 
please reply
 
D***

- - - - - - -

Hi D***,
   First of all, I do not believe the book of Sirach should be in the Bible. It is not in Jewish and Protestant Bibles, only Catholic and Orthodox Bibles. Jerome translated the Orthodox Apocrypha (which is the Catholic apocrypha plus a few extra books) into the Latin Vulgate. While Jerome early in his life believed the orthodox apocrypha was scripture, later on he saw that it was non-scriptural. Augustine at the Council of Carthage in 420 A.D. was a champion of including the apocrypha. The following is a paper I wrote on the apocrypha. I believe a person can still be a genuine Christian and have the erroneous belief that the apocrypha is scripture though.

   From reading this verse, it is not condemning "women" for our deaths, but rather one "woman" Eve. If you look in Genesis 3, right after Eve ate of the fruit she immediately gave some to Adam WHO WAS WITH HER, and he ate. So they were both there together when she ate.  Romans 5:12 says that sin came through one MAN, so the man and woman both bear responsibility.

Malachi says that God hates divorce, and though Jesus said it was permitted in the Old Testament because their hearts were hard, Sirach seems "too enthusiastic" to tell men to divorce their wives.

In Christ,

Steve

 

 

Email:

 

Hello and may God continue to bless and guide you in your efforts to make His Gospel known,

Below is a quote I took from your page, "What About the Apocrypha?" (http://www.biblequery.org/Bible/BibleCanon/WhatAboutTheApocrypha.html)  I have been blessed with all the information as I share with my brother, a devout Catholic, and I thank you.  At the bottom of the page I mentioned, you state that, "Even the Catholic Encyclopedia admits it has errors on details."  I have searched through much of that site to find where it admits that to share with my brother.  I would appreciate any help you can give to find that. 

Thank you,
D*******

 


Rebuttal: Even the Catholic Encyclopedia admits it has errors on details.
Inference: Writers of Sirach (prologue) and 2 Mac (2:24-43; 15:38-40) indicate they were not inspired.
Rebuttal: A writer might not know he was inspired.
 
Bottom Line: When we have to choose between a human viewpoint and the truth of God, we follow God. We, who together are the True Church, must not cease to recognize and follow God's truth.

 

- - - - - - -

Hi D*******,

   The Catholic Encyclopedia I saw this in was the printed version, not the online version. Also, there are two Catholic Encyclopedia's a New one and the older one. What I saw specifically was in the context of the book of Judith. Would your brother really try to defend that Nebuchadnezzar was king of Assyria, ruling from Nineveh, and that he sacked Ecbatana and Ragae, deep in Median territory? The Medes helped destroy the Assyrians, and later the Babylonians; the Babylonians and Assyrians did not destroy the Medes.

  Do you remember, it was less than 70 years ago, that the leader of France tried to conquer all of Europe? You don't?  - I don't remember that Adolph Hitler was French either. In fact, French people would be offended at that, because 100's of thousands of Frenchmen died fighting against Hitler. I think it would be more proper and correct to say that Hitler was the German leader.

It is the same way with Nebuchadnessar. You can say Nebuchadnezzar was Israel's king with as much accuracy as you can Nebuchadnezzar was King of Assyria. But 100% of scholars agree that Nebuchadnezzar was Babylonian/Chaldean, not Assyrian.

In Christ,

Steve

- - - - - - -

Hi Steve,
Thank you so much for getting back to me.  I love my brother so much but, coming myself out of the deep bonds of Catholicism, I have only love and understanding for where my brother is.  Leaving my family religion, one I was deeply in love with, was so painful.  Now over 2 decades later, all but possibly my oldest brother out of our family of 7 (5 kids in 6 years, and 2 parents) have our names in the Lamb's Book of Life.  God has blessed us with a loving relationship but our beliefs still separate us.  I didn't want to quote that the Catholic Encyclopedia even made note of what we know to be true without being able to give him the reference which he will surely request.  I am trying to stay with the provable, factual errors such as you mention on Judith that are in the Apocrypha, rather than the subjective errors in verse interpretation that Catholics will rationalize and defend.  I know, I was once there. 

You have a wonderful and Biblically accurate site and I thank you.  I have a deep love for those trapped in religions as I once was, and my brother still is.  Please pray for the deceived and give thanks that the Lord has chosen to reveal Himself to those who seek Him.

I will pray for you as you continue to bring Biblical truth forward to those seeking.  Please join me in praying that those of us released from the bondage of religion will have a loving heart, speaking always in truth and love to those still trapped.

Thanks again and God bless you and your loved ones,
D*******

 


Email:

CAnswersTV on youtube (I think this is you as well) referred me here with my original question, which was with regards to the video

"EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH HISTORY PROVES ROMAN CATHOLICISM FALSE".  My original post was as follows:

 

I appreciate the effort that these men put into actually discussing Catholic doctrines, as opposed to misconceptions of Catholic doctrines.

One point that neither the guest nor the host mentions is how all of the Fathers who the guest says did not support the Deuterocanon as inspired did so before the Catholic Church claimed they were inspired (393 AD at the Council of Hippo). Therefore, in the absence of official teaching it was orthodox for them to have their own opinions. Can you provide evidence in the 5th century of this?

 

I would greatly appreciate an answer to this question. Please make sure any quotes that you provide are from reputable Christians - not anyone that we would both recognize as holding heretical views.

 

God bless,

*****

- - - - - - -

Hi,
   I am not sure I am clear on your point. But what I think you are saying is that even though church writers prior to 393 A.D. had varying views on the deuterocanon, it was orthodox for them to do so as the issue had not been settled yet. Then I think you asked about writers in the 5th century (after the Council of Hippo). First I will give you the facts, then my views.

Not a lot of writers, either before or after Nicea, quoted from the apocrypha much. As a Catholic told me two days ago, even today Catholics do not refer to the apocrypha that often today.

After Jerome died, I am not aware of any writers that went on record rejecting any deutero-canonical books, except that Augustine did not accept the Sibylline oracles.

On a personal note, I have not done as much research on writers in the firth century as I have on the first three centuries. Attached is what I have found on who referred to which deutero-canonical books. A blank space means I have not yet found out anything that author referring to that book.

However, it is not too important to me whether something was believing before or after a church council. Many things were officially promulgated at church councils that churches later rescinded. For example, if the Copts (Monophysites) were kicked out of the church at the Council of Chalcedon, then how come the Catholic Church and the Coptic Church now have established communion with each other? I am not aware that either church has changed their position on Christology. What is more important to me is whether the deutero-canonical books were scripture from God or not. Now the Catholic church does not believe all of the alleged scripture the orthodox church believes, and even the orthodox church does not believe everything believed at the Council of Hippo. (And I cannot actually get at the official view of the Coptic church about what is Old Testament scripture, - if it has one.) Also attached is (what I hope) a fair treatment of why some people believe the apocrypha is scripture and others do not.

Got to go get some sleep now; I have a lot of overtime to do at work.

Blessings,

Steve

- - - - - - -

 

Hey Steve,

 

You understood my point. I'm sorry it was unclear.

 

I enjoyed your chart of who referenced different books of the deuterocanon and the apocrypha. [www.Biblequery.org/Bible/BibleCanon/Early ChristianApocryphaGrid.doc] You've clearly done lots of homework on this. However, whether or not people frequently reference a particular book has no bearing on wether or not it is inspired (and I'm sure you agree with this). I'm not sure that I can remember ever publicly hearing someone reference Haggai or Nahum, for instance.

 

One interesting point that I find that Protestants often ignore is that even though Jerome did at some points consider the deuterocanon to be uninspired, he included it in the Vulgate, which he finished translating in 405 AD. According to the best of my knowledge, he never even publicly spoke of them as uninspired after 393. Why would he include the deuterocanon in the Vulgate and never speak of them as uninspired again after the Church proclaimed that they were part of the canon?

 

I'm not sure what your point is by saying that Augustine rejected the Sibylline Oracles, because they have never been part of the Catholic canon (at least if we're referring to the same work).

 

I thought the article you attached did a good job at fairly representing each side of the discussion, and I applaud you for being so fair. However, I've never heard that Hippo and Carthage proclaimed three books as canonical that Trent rejected. Can you provide evidence of this? Also, excommunication does not condemn someone to hell. No one but God can judge. Instead, excommunication is meant to be medicinal to the person (Luther in this case).

 

God bless you, and thank you for your time,

*****

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Hi *****,

   As you brought up, I agree that frequency of quoting a book does not "prove" whether it was inspired or not. But I would not say it has no bearing at all. The fact that the referred to these books does indicate how God guided godly but still fallible early believers. So if there was some book that was totally unknown to the early church (such as the Gospel of Barnabas often quoted by Muslims) that provides strong evidence that it was a Medieval forgery. If there were other books that were known, but explicitly rejected, such as the Gnostic book of Baruch, that would show that God did not guide early believers to accept it. Finally, if there were books rejected by some such as Hippolytus rejected the Gospel of Thomas, and his mentor Irenaeus not hearing of it, that would indicate the Gospel of Thomas was not in circulation during the time of Irenaeus' writing. On the other hand, if a number of them mentioned some apocryphal book such as 1 Maccabees, or Judith as scripture, as a Protestant I have to say that even though I believe they were wrong, I have to accept that they could still be a godly believer and differ with me on this point.

My understanding of Jerome's later view is that he rejected these books as canon, but he still thought they were good to read.

Here is what the Catholic site http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03267a.htm says:

 

"The influence of Origen's and Athanasius's restricted canon naturally spread to the West. St. Hilary of Poitiers and Rufinus followed their footsteps, excluding the deuteros from canonical rank in theory, but admitting them in practice. The latter styles them "ecclesiastical" books, but in authority unequal to the other Scriptures. St. Jerome cast his weighty suffrage on the side unfavourable to the disputed books. In appreciating his attitude we must remember that Jerome lived long in Palestine, in an environment where everything outside the Jewish Canon was suspect, and that, moreover, he had an excessive veneration for the Hebrew text, the Hebraica veritas as he called it. In his famous "Prologus Galeatus", or Preface to his translation of Samuel and Kings, he declares that everything not Hebrew should be classed with the apocrypha, and explicitly says that Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Tobias, and Judith are not on the Canon. These books, he adds, are read in the churches for the edification of the people, and not for the confirmation of revealed doctrine. An analysis of Jerome's expressions on the deuterocanonicals, in various letters and prefaces, yields the following results: first, he strongly doubted their inspiration; secondly, the fact that he occasionally quotes them, and translated some of them as a concession to ecclesiastical tradition, is an involuntary testimony on his part to the high standing these writings enjoyed in the Church at large, and to the strength of the practical tradition which prescribed their readings in public worship. Obviously, the inferior rank to which the deuteros were relegated by authorities like Origen, Athanasius, and Jerome, was due to too rigid a conception of canonicity, one demanding that a book, to be entitled to this supreme dignity, must be received by all, must have the sanction of Jewish antiquity, and must moreover be adapted not only to edification, but also to the "confirmation of the doctrine of the Church", to borrow Jerome's phrase."

 

Obviously I disagree with their commentary and conclusions at the end, but I think their facts about Jerome are correct.

 

The same source further on down also says,

"Even Cardinal Cajetan, Luther's opponent at Augsburg in 1518, gave an unhesitating approval to the Hebrew canon in his Commentary on All the Authentic Historical Books of the Old Testament, which he dedicated in 1532 to pope Clement VII. He expressly called attention to Jerome's separation of the canonical from the uncanonical books, and maintained that the latter must not be relied upon to establish points of faith, but used only for the edification of the faithful (Bruce Metzger, An Introduction to the Apocrypha (New York: Oxford, 1957), p. 180)..."

 

Here is the quote from Cardinal Cajetan. "Here we close our commentaries on the historical books of the Old Testament. For the rest (that is, Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees) are counted by St Jerome out of the canonical books, and are placed amongst the Apocrypha, along with Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, as is plain from the Prologus Galeatus. Nor be thou disturbed, like a raw scholar, if thou shouldest find anywhere, either in the sacred councils or the sacred doctors, these books reckoned as canonical. For the words as well of councils as of doctors are to be reduced to the correction of Jerome. Now, according to his judgment, in the epistle to the bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus, these books (and any other like books in the canon of the bible) are not canonical, that is, not in the nature of a rule for confirming matters of faith. Yet, they may be called canonical, that is, in the nature of a rule for the edification of the faithful, as being received and authorised in the canon of the bible for that purpose. By the help of this distinction thou mayest see thy way clearly through that which Augustine says, and what is written in the provincial council of Carthage.
Cardinal Caietan (Jacob Thomas de Vio), Commentary on all the Authentic Historical Books of the Old Testament, In ult. Cap., Esther. Taken from A Disputation on Holy Scripture by William Whitaker (Cambridge: University, 1849), p. 48. (Taken from http://209.157.64.201/focus/f-religion/2550666/posts?q=1&;page=101)

 


The Sibylline oracles were never in the apocrypha, since they never officially a part of either the Catholic or Orthodox canon. My point in bringing them up is that one cannot accurately say Augustine did not reject any books, since he did reject that book.


However, the "apocrypha" is slightly larger in the Orthodox church than in Catholic church.

 

The 419 Council of Carthage is called "The African Code" in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series vol.14. The canon there follows the Synod of Hippo (393 A.D.). At this Council of Carthage on p.454-454 it reads

 

"Canon XXIV. (Greek XXVI)

 

ITEM, that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture. But the Canonical Scriptures are as follows: Genesis. Exodus. Leviticus. Numbers. Deuteronomy. Joshua, the Son of Nun. The Judges. Ruth. The Kings, 4. Books [1,2, Samuel, 1,2 Kings]. The Chronicles, 2 books. Job,. The Psalter [Psalms]. The Five books of Solomon. The Twelve Books of the Prophets. Isaiah. Jeremiah. Ezechiel [Ezekiel]. Daniel. Tobit, Judith. Esther. Ezra 2 books. Maccabees 2 books. The New Testament. The Gospels, 4 books. The Acts of the Apostles. 1 book. The Epistles of Paul, 14. [Our Bible today has 13 letters of Paul plus a 14th if you count Hebrews as written by Paul.] The Epistles of Peter, the Apostle, 2. The Epistles of John the Apostle, 3. The Epistles of James the Apostle, i. The Epistle of Jude the Apostle, 1. The Revelation of John, 1 book. Let this be sent to our brother and fellow bishop, Boniface, and to the other bishops of those parts, that they may confirm this canon, for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in church."

 

[I added my notes in square brackets, and changed the Latin numbers to western.] People accept Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon as books of Solomon, but what about the other two of the "Five books of Solomon." It is surmised that they were referring to the apocryphal book The Wisdom of Solomon, and for some reason referring to Job as in this list, as it is the other book of wisdom literature.

 

Since Nehemiah is not mentioned, some have thought that "Ezra 2 books" is Ezra and Nehemiah, but this is not the case. Ezra and Nehemiah were frequently combined as one book (as they were not only in the Septuagint, but also in the Catholic New Jerusalem Bible today). They are called 2 Esdras in the Septuagint. Here is what the New Catholic Encyclopedia Volume II, Bible, III p.396-397 (McGraw Hill, 1967) says: "III Esdras (1 Esdras in the Septuagint) was certainly compiled before A.D. 90,for the Jewish historian Josephus quoted from it (Ant.11): but its exclusive concern with Jewish interests puts its composition before the Christian era, closer to 100 B.C. Until the 5th century, Christians very frequently ranked 3 Esdras with the Canonical books: it is found in many LXX MSS (Septuagint manuscripts) and in the Latin Vulgate (Vulg) of St. Jerome. Protestants therefore include 3 Esdras with other apocrypha [deuterocanonical] books such as Tobit or Judith. The Council of Trent definitively removed it from the canon."

 

So we can know what they meant by "1 Esdras" by a) looking in the Vulgate, b) looking in the Septuagint, and seeing that they are the same pseudipegraphal work.

 

As for the Prayer of Manasses, neither that nor Susanna, nor Bel and the Dragon, nor the Song of the Three Holy Children were explicitly mentioned by the council as they were not separate books but additions to existing books. So the council accepted them as that was what was in the Septuagint and Vulgate.

 

On excommunication, I know that if a person is excommunicated and then they repent and the Catholic church takes them back, then the church would believe the excommunication is lifted. But the Catholic church, in the Middle Ages, consistently taught that if a person dies outside the church, they are going to Hell. The Council of Trent pronounced people who denied many things as "anathema". This is the same word Paul used in Galatians, and is a pronouncement that the person, in their current state, is damned to Hell.

Blessings,

Steve

 


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