Apocrypha and Original Biblical Canon

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    I am an 18-year-old confirmed Catholic in an interfaith relationship. My boyfriend is a confirmed Episcopalian, but his search for the truth has led him to rely on Sola Scriptura. As a result, we have been studying Scripture together as I try to explain various facets of my faith to him, including reliance on Tradition. As I am quite young, however, I have little to no knowledge about the history of the very first Scripture, and as such, I had a few questions concerning the Apocrypha and the original Biblical Canon. When were these books taken out and what was the reasoning behind it? I was aware that improper translations from Latin could have confused the Books; however, to my knowledge, some Christian denominations deliberately removed these aspects of Scripture. Could anyone enlighten me on why this is so? I would really appreciate it.



    First the Apocryphal books. Apocrypha is a greek term for something that is hidden, many Protestants use it to mean, non-inspired, or non-canonical. Up until the 600’s AD there was no univeral agreed upon Canon of the “Old Testament” by Jews. The primary Biblical source of the Old Testament used by most Jews was called the Septuagent, (abbreviated LXX) a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. The LXX was the preferred Blbilical translation because Hebrew had long since been replaced by Greek among most Jews outside of Israel. In Israel itself most men spoke Aramaic, and not Hebrew in daily life. Hebrew was retained in a few prayers in the Synagogue, but it was mostly Greek and Aramaic. Even today there are prayers among the Jews like the Mourners Kaddish, or Mourning Prayers, that are recited in Aramaic and not Hebrew, as when it was composed the rabbis wanted eveyone to understand not just the learned.

    The LXX contains all the books of the Old Testament that the Catholic Old Testament accepts. Around 600 AD a group of Rabbis decided to combat some of the doctrines that the Church taught based on the Jewish Scriptures (remember at that time only the Catholic Church existed, with a few minor sects who either rejected Jesus’ humanity or divinity) Some of the Jewish sects accepted only the first five books of the Bible, (Torah) as part of the Canon. Other Jewish sects only accepted those books written in Hebrew. Since some of the Books in the LXX were written in Aramaic and Greek, they were rejected by some of these Jews. Protestant Biblical Scholars originally accepted the LXX, in fact the first edition of the King James Bible, and some of the first Protestant Translations of the Bible included all the books later expunged from the Old Testament.

    The New Testament is the same in Both Protestant and Catholic Canons. There are some modifications in the translation of the Protestant Bibles. Prior to the King James Version, the Douay Bible was published in English by Catholics who had to escape to Europe in order to keep from being killed for maintaining the Catholic Faith. There were many translations into English, German, French, and even picture Bibles for those who could not read before Protestantism was started. One of the main problems before this time was that in order to publish a book you had to do one of two things. You either had to copy the book by hand, or carve the entire page on wood, and backward, in order to print the page. Few people had the skills to carve an entire page out of wood, and backward. Once Guttenberg invented Movable type, a way of printing a page on a book that used individual letters that the printer would place on a frame and could change, books could be printed faster, and the words could be changed. The first book printed by Guttenberg by the way was the Catholic Version of the Bible.

    Back to the Catholic Canon…. Many Protestants are taught that the Catholic Church did not insert the Apocrypha into the Bible until the Council of Trent in the 1500’s. The truth is a little different. From the Fourth and Fifth Centuries the Catholic Church has many times defined the Canon of the Old Testament, the Church has from this time held the same books to be Canonical as it does today. So the charges that the Catholic Church “added” books is false. Here is some more reading from the Catholic Encyclopedia, I’ll add some more later.





    do lutherans nowadays, accept the deuterocanons???



    Not that I know of officially. However there are some Lutherans and High Church Anglicans who do use them in Liturgical Settings. The first edition of the KJV included them.


    "passionately_catholic":1gu5uu9g wrote:
    do lutherans nowadays, accept the deuterocanons???[/quote:1gu5uu9g]
    What do you mean by this?

    well, my bible says that here in Manila, our bishops had an interfaith meeting with Lutherans and that they(FIlipino Lutherans) now accept the seven books in their bibles

    so I was wondering if all Lutherans accept it now???


    "passionately_catholic":3j59aleo wrote:
    so I was wondering if all Lutherans accept it now???[/quote:3j59aleo]
    My synod still believes in what Dr. Luther had to say about the Apocrypha in a preface he wrote: [i:3j59aleo]”Books [of the Apocrypha are] not held equal to the Scriptures but are useful and good to read.”[/i:3j59aleo]
    "LARobert":7hh3kx1b wrote:
    Around 600 AD a group of Rabbis decided to combat some of the doctrines that the Church taught based on the Jewish Scriptures[/quote:7hh3kx1b]
    i thought jamnia happened in 90-100AD???


    The New Testament was writtien between 60 and 100 AD, but the Rabbi’s met to decide what the Jewish Scriptures would consist of much later. However not all Jews hold to this canon. Many Sephardic Jews include all the books we as Catholics hold, and Ethiopian Jews include even more books.

    I think what confuses some is that in the 600’s it was what Jews defined as Scripture that was decided for themselves, not for Christians. Once again, not all Jews followed this decision, some held to the older Jewish Canon which is the same as our.

    Orthodox and many Protestants use the Jewish Synod’s canon to justify the rejection of those books that were later excluded by them.

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