Protestants are missing books from their Bible

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Concept: Approached by anti-catholics on why I'd abandon protestantism. Walk through how I determined protestantism to be self-defeating, relying on the bible alone, but is missing books from the bible.

"Studied why Catholics had extra book in their bibles, ended concluding protestants are missing books from theirs"

More stuff here: https://teachthe.net/index.php?title=Why_do_Catholics_have_extra_books_in_their_bibles%3F#NT_Canon_formation


Protestants/Catholics agree on 39 books in OT and the 27 books in NT. These books that Catholics and Protestants both accept in the Old Testament are often called the Protocanon.

Catholics Old Testaments have an additional 7 books, and additions to Daniel and Esther. These additional books Catholics accept they call the Deuterocanon, while Protestants call them Apocrypha. Here we will use the term Deuterocanon because it's more specific - under the term Apocrypha, Protestants include these books and many others (that both Catholics and Protestants recognize as Apocrypha), leading to ambiguity.

These are the books of the Deuterocanon:

Tobit
Judith
Esther +
1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees
Wisdom
Sirach
Baruch
Daniel +

Why do those extra books (the Deuterocanon) matter?

The heart of the Protestant Reformation is the doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone). Luther first clearly articulated this belief in the nature of authority at the Diet of Worms in 1521.

Martin Luther, 1521, Diet of Worms
Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God.

However this led to an immediate problem - which Scripture is authoritative? Catholics had been using the canon from Jerome's Latin Vulgate translation for over a thousand years. As Calvin notes, if you accept that full canon then Catholics can prove purgatory (among other things) from their bibles!

John Calvin, Acts of the Council of Trent with the Antidote, ON THE FOURTH SESSION
Add to this, that they provide themselves with new supports when they give full authority to the Apocryphal books. Out of the second of the Maccabees they will prove Purgatory and the worship of saints; out of Tobit satisfactions, exorcisms, and what not. From Ecclesiasticus they will borrow not a little. For from whence could they better draw their dregs? I am not one of those, however, who would entirely disapprove the reading of those books...

And thus you must decide, what table of contents for the Bible is inspired?

As we'll see, Catholics have one point of view, Luther had another, Calvin had another, and virtually all modern Protestants yet another.

Before you can argue whether a doctrine like Purgatory is biblical, you must define what books are biblical. Let us examine history.


(Pre-Jesus) Original OT, Dead Sea Scrolls

snippet on: Appendix: Pre-Septuagint

The original Old Testament is comprised of numerous books, written over thousands of years, all the way up to a few hundred years before Christ. For the sake of clarity in what follows, we will refer to this as the original Hebrew Text for the Old Testament.

In the mid 1900s, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and changed our understanding of history. Dated to a few hundred years before Christ, these scrolls were associated with an ancient Jewish sect widely believed to be the Essenes.

Emanuel Tov, the chief editor of the Dead Sea Scrolls Project, identified five broad variation categories of Dead Sea Scroll texts: Proto-Masoretic, Pre-Septuagint, Pre-Samaritan, Qumran "Living Bible", and Non-Aligned.

The Proto-Masoretic Dead Sea Scroll texts show that the Masoretic Hebrew text (published 700-1000 years after Christ) remained faithful to the Proto-Masoretic Hebrew text which existed 1000 years previously.

The Pre-Septuagint Dead Sea Scroll texts show that the Greek Septuagint (published a few hundred years before Christ) was NOT a bad translation of the Proto-Masoretic Hebrew text; rather, it was a good translation of the Pre-Septuagint Hebrew text.

The Dead Sea Scrolls prove that the Jews had different Hebrew text traditions a few hundred years before Christ, of which we are concerned with the Pre-Septuagint and the Proto-Masoretic.

The Pre-Septuagint served as the foundation of the translation of the Greek Septuagint. See the appendix Septuagint Origin Stories for the various recorded historical tales of how the translation was made, but in summary the king of Egypt requested the translation be made, and 72 Jewish scholars (6 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel) independently translated identical versions of the entire Hebrew canon.

Why does all this matter? The Old Testament canon could not have been closed before all its books were written, so the earliest it could have been closed is a few hundred years before Christ.

The Protestant Old Testament canon descends from the Masoretic text canon declared by the Jews between 700-1000 AD, who inherited from the Proto-Masoretic Text which was at least as old as a few hundred years before Christ.

The Catholic Old Testament canon descends from the Septuagint text canon, translated a few hundred years before Christ from the Pre-Septuagint Hebrew text.

From Wikipedia

The Biblical manuscripts found in Qumran, commonly known as the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS), have prompted comparisons of the various texts associated with the Hebrew Bible, including the Septuagint. Peter Flint cites Emanuel Tov, the chief editor of the scrolls, who identifies five broad variation categories of DSS texts:

1) Proto-Masoretic: This consists of a stable text and numerous and distinctive agreements with the Masoretic Text. About 60% of the Biblical scrolls fall into this category (e.g. 1QIsa-b)

2) Pre-Septuagint: These are the manuscripts which have distinctive affinities with the Greek Bible. These number only about 5% of the Biblical scrolls, for example, 4QDeut-q, 4QSam-a, and 4QJer-b, 4QJer-d. In addition to these manuscripts, several others share distinctive individual readings with the Septuagint, although they do not fall in this category.

3) The Qumran "Living Bible": These are the manuscripts which, according to Tov, were copied in accordance with the "Qumran practice" (i.e. with distinctive long orthography and morphology, frequent errors and corrections, and a free approach to the text. Such scrolls comprise about 20% of the Biblical corpus, including the Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsa-a)

4) Pre-Samaritan: These are DSS manuscripts which reflect the textual form found in the Samaritan Pentateuch, although the Samaritan Bible itself is later and contains information not found in these earlier scrolls, (e.g. God's holy mountain at Shechem rather than Jerusalem). The Qumran witnesses—which are characterized by orthographic corrections and harmonizations with parallel texts elsewhere in the Pentateuch—comprise about 5% of the Biblical scrolls. (e.g. 4QpaleoExod-m)

5) Non-Aligned: This is a category which shows no consistent alignment with any of the other four text-types. These number approximately 10% of the Biblical scrolls, and include 4QDeut-b, 4QDeut-c, 4QDeut-h, 4QIsa-c, and 4QDan-a.

From Emanuel Tov

Emanuel Tov, in "Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible" (Third Edition, page 107), says:

Due to the absence of objective criteria for classifying the Qumran scrolls, they are classified here according to their textual character. Only 121 of the 210-212 biblical scrolls can be classified in this way. In this classification, an attempt is made to characterize and analyze three groups and a cluster of texts, three of which were unknown before Qumran discoveries (2, 3, 4)...

In the 46 Torah texts that are sufficiently extensive for analysis, 22 (48%) are Masoretic-like (Proto-Masoretic) (or, in a few cases, are equally close to the Masoretic and the Pre-Samaritan Text), 5 exclusively reflect the Pre-Samaritan Text (11%), one reflects the Septuagint (2%), and 18 are non-aligned (39%). In the remainder of the Hebrew-Aramaic Scripture, in the 75 texts that are sufficiently extensive for analysis, 33 texts (44%) are Masoretic-like (Proto-Masoretic) (or, in a few cases, are equally close to the Masoretic and the Septuagint), 5 reflect the Septuagint (7%), and 37 form a cluster of non-aligned texts (49%). 

Proto-Masoretic Text: e.g. 1QIsab

Pre-Samaritan Text: 4QpaleoExodm, 4QExod-Levf, 4QNumb, 4QRPa (4Q158), and 4QRPb (4Q364) reflect the characteristics of the Pre-Samaritan Text... and was popular in Palestine.

Texts close to the Hebrew Source of the Septuagint (called Pre-Septuagint Texts):

  • 4QJerb,d bears a strong resemblance to the Septuagint in characteristic details (ch. 7B1)
  • Similarly close to the Septuagint, though not to the same degree, is 4QDeutq (ch. 4, Table 8, page 249-250) [agrees with the Septuagint against the Masoretic Text in the addition of two significant stichs in Deut 32:43...]
  • Similarly close to the Septuagint, though not to the same degree, is 4QSama (close to the Septuagint and the SeptuagintLuc; group 4 in book)
  • Similarly close to the Septuagint, though not to the same degree, is 4QSamb
  • Similarly close to the Septuagint, though not to the same degree, is 11QPsa Psalm 151
  • Occasional agreements with the Septuagint, but being close to the Pre-Samaritan Text, is 4QNumb
  • 4QJosha agrees with the Septuagint in two details and its reconstructed text lacks most of 8:11b-13, as does the Septuagint.

Unaligned texts:

Many Qumran texts are not exclusively close to the Proto-Masoretic Text, the Pre-Septuagint Text, or the Pre-Samaritan Text and are therefore considered non-aligned (indicating they follow an inconsistent pattern of agreements and disagreements with the Proto-Masoretic Text, the Pre-Septuagint Text, and the Pre-Samaritan Text).


Digging into Proto-Septuagint text 4QJerb,d:

From pg 286, chapter 7B1:

Noted by Origen in ad Afric. 4, where he mentioned the distinctive nature of the Septuagint-Jeremiah, in which he found many deviations from the Hebrew text known to him... The question that has pre-occupied scholars is whether the translator changed his Vorlage, or whether he had a different Hebrew text of the book before him. With the discovery of 4QJerb and 4QJerd, which, though fragmentary, reflect the two main editorial characteristics, of the Septuagint, this question has been solved, especially in studies by Janzen*, Tov 1985-199, and Bogaert* 1981-1994. It seems very likely that the Septuagint was translated from a Hebrew text that was very close to these two Qumran texts.

More info on the above on Emanuel Tov's The Qumran Hebrew Texts and the Septuagint: An Overview

  • The Septuagint in these texts is shorter by one-sixth, which is reflected in 4QJerb,d
  • The Septuagint deviates from the order of the Masoretic in several sections and chapters. The Masoretic 23:7-8 are found in the Septuagint after 23:40, and the internal arrangement of 10:5-12 in the Septuagint and 4QJerb differs from the Masoretic.
  • The most striking difference in this regard pertains to the chapters containing the prophecies against the nations, which in the Masoretic are found at the end of the book in chapters 46-51, before the historical "appendix," ch. 52, whereas in the Septuagint they occur in the middle, after 25:13.
  • Verses 10:6-8, 10 are lacking in this scroll as in the Septuagint. In spite of the fragmentary condition of the scroll, Tov, DJD XV (1997) 173 and Saley* 2010 showed that the order of the verses in 4QJerb cannot be reconstructed in any way other than that of the Septuagint, i.e., 3, 4, 5a, 9, 5b, 11.

Jeremiah throughout history:

Noted by Origen in ad Afric. 4, where he mentioned the distinctive nature of the Septuagint-Jeremiah, in which he found many deviations from the Hebrew text known to him... The question that has pre-occupied scholars is whether the translator changed his Vorlage, or whether he had a different Hebrew text of the book before him. With the discovery of 4QJerb and 4QJerd, which, though fragmentary, reflect the two main editorial characteristics, of the Septuagint, this question has been solved, especially in studies by Janzen*, Tov 1985-199, and Bogaert* 1981-1994. It seems very likely that the Septuagint was translated from a Hebrew text that was very close to these two Qumran texts.
- Emanuel Tov
Besides this, the order of visions, which is entirely confused among the Greeks and Latins, we have corrected to the original truth. And the Book of Baruch, his scribe, which is neither read nor found among the Hebrews
- Jerome, preface to Jeremiah


snippet on: Claim: Jews never accepted the Deuterocanon as part of the Hebrew Bible

Even the Protestant book Church History in Plain Language debunks this - stating that Jews outside of Palestine tended to accept the Deuterocanon.

Bruce L. Shelley, Church History in Plain Language, Third Edition, page 60
[The] debate centers around the fact that Jews in Palestine in the early years of Christianity had a canon corresponding to the thirty-nine books of the Protestant Old Testament...

Beyond Palestine, however, Jews were more inclined to consider as Scripture writings not included in this list of books. The Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint was especially influential in making known certain books of the Apocrypha because it included these books along with the Old Testament books accepted in Palestine.

What was the Hebrew Bible, anyway? The Jews did not declare a canon list until well after the time of Christ. Indeed, many scholars believe the Jews declared their canon list in response to the growing Christian sect, which had adopted the Septuagint as its Old Testament and had begun including New Testament writings as Scripture.

There is evidence that the Jews after the time of Christ may have removed scriptures (such as the Deuterocanon). There are several passages in the New Testament where the author quotes a missing Old Testament passage (James 4:5, John 7:38, Matthew 2:23, 1 Corinthians 15:45, Luke 24:46, Mark 9:12, 1 Corinthians 2:9, Hebrews 11:37). Justin Martyr (~160 AD) gave examples of passages of Scripture that the Jews in his day had removed from their Hebrew Scriptures, but that were still available in the Septuagint (Greek translation) - Justin believed these passages were removed because they pointed to Jesus as Christ. Origen (~240 AD) also noted that the Hebrew Scriptures the Jews had in his day were missing some of the Deuterocanonical books, and particularly were missing any passages that cast the Jewish elders in a negative light - and he accuses them of removing those scriptures. Augustine (~400 AD) notes that the Jews had perverted or omitted passages of scripture that are evidence for the Christian faith. Isidore (~600 AD) also notes that the Jews removed passages of Scripture pointing to Christ. (For more information and citations for the above, review the appendix titled "Missing Scriptures").

snippet on: Claim: Protestants inherited their OT Canon from the Jews

Sources of Claim

GotQuestions: excerpt from What is the Catholic Bible?
The early Protestant Reformers, in agreement with Judaism, determined that the Apocrypha did not belong in the Bible, and therefore removed the Apocrypha from Protestant Bibles.
Bible.org, in HOW WE GOT THE BIBLE: Canonicity
The Council of Jamnia (A.D. 90) officially recognized our 39 Old Testament books...  Josephus, the Jewish historian (A.D. 95), indicated that the 39 books were recognized as authoritative.
Christianity Today, in How We Got Our Bible: Christian History Timeline
[A.D.] 90 and 118: Councils of Jamnia give final affirmation to the Old Testament canon (39 books)
Focus On The Family, in How Did We Get the Bible?
Now the question remains about how the Christian church ultimately put the parts of the Bible together. This really relates to the New Testament, as the Old Testament was already accepted and codified in the books accepted by the Jewish people as divinely inspired.

Fact Check

It's important to ask "which" Jews do the Protestants claim to inherit their canon from?

Bible.org cites Josephus (who was born after Jesus' death) as a witness to their 39 book canon. Protestants argue that Josephus excludes the Deuterocanon as authoritative when he says all prophecy ceased after the time of Artaxerxes (the timing of the book of Esther).

Josephus, Against Apion, 1.41
It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time...

The problem with accepting Josephus here is that both Protestants and Catholics accept the authority of the New Testament, which states Josephus was wrong. John the Baptist was a prophet, and more than a prophet (Luke 7:26). Clearly prophecy did not cease after the time of Esther. Josephus, who denied the authority of the New Testament, has no authority in Christianity.

Bible.org and Christianity Today also cite the Council of Jamnia. For a time, scholars thought this council around 90 AD was where Judaism established their canon. However as Protestant website AnswersInGenesis notes, modern scholars now generally believe that was not the case - this council did not proclaim the canon for the Jews.

Answers in Genesis, "Why 66? The Canon of Scripture", 10:52 mark in video
 It's now generally accepted that Jamnia actually wasn't a council, it certainly didn't pronounce on the Jewish canon.

Nobody knows the exact date the Jews established their canon. Their first five books were clearly established early on, but the rest tended to be a loose collection of writings. The Jews did not have a declared canon before Christ. The Judaism that Protestants claim to have inherited scripture from must be the Judaism from after Christ - the Judaism that rejected Jesus as Messiah and rejected the New Testament books as authoritative.

Protestants are being inconsistent - why accept the authority of these post-Jesus Jews on their shortened Old Testament, but not on their rejection of the New Testament?

Protestants run into a similar dilemma when they talk about their canon of the New Testament. They tend to accept the authority of early church councils on the New Testament Canon:

GotQuestions: excerpt from How and when was the canon of the Bible put together?
For the New Testament, the process of the recognition and collection began in the first centuries of the Christian church... The Council of Hippo (AD 393) and the Council of Carthage (AD 397) also affirmed the same 27 books as authoritative.
Bible.org, in HOW WE GOT THE BIBLE: Canonicity
...the Council of Carthage (A.D. 397) recognized the 27 books in our New Testament today as inspired.
Christianity Today, in How We Got Our Bible: Christian History Timeline
[A.D.] 397 Council of Carthage establishes orthodox New Testament canon (27 books)
John Piper, in Desiring God's Why We Believe the Bible
The first list known to us with all 27 books is in the Festal Letter of Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria in ad 367. This list was affirmed by the Synod of Hippo in 393.

But these same councils Protestants use to defend the canon of the New Testament declared the canon of the Old Testament to include the Deuterocanon (which Protestants call Apocrypha). Why do Protestants accept the authority of these councils on the canon of the New Testament, but not on the canon of the Old Testament?

snippet on: Where did the Old Testament come from?

The original Old Testament is comprised of numerous books, written over thousands of years, all the way up to a few hundred years before Christ. For the sake of clarity in what follows, we will refer to this as the original Hebrew Text for the Old Testament.

In the mid 1900s, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and changed our understanding of history. Dated to a few hundred years before Christ, these scrolls were associated with an ancient Jewish sect widely believed to be the Essenes.

Emanuel Tov, the chief editor of the Dead Sea Scrolls Project, identified five broad variation categories of Dead Sea Scroll texts: Proto-Masoretic, Pre-Septuagint, Pre-Samaritan, Qumran "Living Bible", and Non-Aligned (see appendix for more information).

The Proto-Masoretic Dead Sea Scroll texts show that the Masoretic Hebrew text (published 700-1000 years after Christ) remained faithful to the Proto-Masoretic Hebrew text which existed 1000 years previously.

The Pre-Septuagint Dead Sea Scroll texts show that the Greek Septuagint (published a few hundred years before Christ) was NOT a bad translation of the Proto-Masoretic Hebrew text; rather, it was a good translation of the Pre-Septuagint Hebrew text.

The Dead Sea Scrolls prove that the Jews had different Hebrew text traditions a few hundred years before Christ, of which we are concerned with the Pre-Septuagint and the Proto-Masoretic.

The Pre-Septuagint served as the foundation of the translation of the Greek Septuagint. See the appendix Septuagint Origin Stories for the various recorded historical tales of how the translation was made, but in summary the king of Egypt requested the translation be made, and 72 Jewish scholars (6 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel) independently translated identical versions of the entire Hebrew canon.

Why does all this matter? The Old Testament canon could not have been closed before all its books were written, so the earliest it could have been closed is a few hundred years before Christ.

The Protestant Old Testament canon descends from the Masoretic text canon declared by the Jews between 700-1000 AD, who inherited from the Proto-Masoretic Text which was at least as old as a few hundred years before Christ.

The Catholic Old Testament canon descends from the Septuagint text canon, translated a few hundred years before Christ from the Pre-Septuagint Hebrew text.

(<300 AD) Septuagint, early church old testament

Jews and Christian church existing in tandem, both using Old Testament scriptures, but christians also starting to use New Testament scriptures. Neither have a defined canon.

Snippet on: Jesus & NT Authors use of Septuagint

As it turns out, the New Testament authors (and Christ himself) accepted the Septuagint as authoritative and used it frequently. We know this because the Septuagint, in addition to including the Deuterocanon, has numerous minor textual differences from the Masoretic Text (which is what Protestants base their Old Testament off).

  • In Matthew 21:16, Jesus quotes Psalm 8:2 saying "Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have ordained praise". In the Septuagint translation, Psalm 8:2 also says "ordained praise". However the Hebrew Scriptures (Masoretic Text) says "ordained strength".
  • 1 Peter 4:18 quotes the Septuagint Proverbs 11:31 as "If the truly righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?". The Hebrew says, "If the righteous is repaid on earth, how much more the wicked and the sinner!"
  • Hebrews 11:21 quotes the Septuagint Genesis 47:31 with Jacob bowing in worship over the head of his staff, while the Hebrew has Jacob bowing over the head of his bed.
  • Hebrews 10:5-7 quotes the Septuagint Psalm 40:6-8 as "a body have you prepared for me", while the Hebrew reads as "you have given me an open ear".
  • Acts 13:41 quotes the Septuagint Habakkuk 1:5 starting with "Look, you scoffers", while the Hebrew starts with "Look among the nations".
  • Acts 7:42-43 quotes the Septuagint Amos 5:25-27 as "You took up the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan", while the Hebrew reads as "You shall take up Sikkuth your king, and Kiyyun your star-god".
  • Acts 8:32-33 quotes the Septuagint Isaiah 53:7-8 as "In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.", while the Hebrew reads as "By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living".
  • James 4:6 quotes the Septuagint Proverbs 3:34 as "opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble", while the Hebrew reads similarly but with different underlying word-concepts as "scorns the scornful but he gives grace to the lowly".

In the book "Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament: A Complete Survey" (pages 25-32), by Protestant authors G. Archer and G. C. Chirichigno, we see that of the 386 times that the New Testament explicitly quotes from the Old Testament, 340 of those are from the Septuagint translation.

This secondary resource also examines Septuagint versus Masoretic quotes in the New Testament.

snippet on Josephus

Against Apion, 1.41
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, 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. It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it is become natural to all Jews immediately, and from their very birth, to esteem these books to contain Divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be willingly to die for them.

From the above, Protestants argue that Josephus is saying all prophecy ceased after the time of Artaxerxes (timing of events in book of Esther). Therefore, the Deuterocanon is not inspired scripture (as only prophets could write divinely inspired books). So Josephus believed in a closed canon of 22 books matching the modern day Protestant Old Testament canon, and no other works were considered scripture.

The Catholic would start by asking if John the Baptist was a prophet? Jesus said yes, and more than a prophet in Luke 7:26. Christians must accept that Josephus is thus wrong that prophets ceased after the time of Esther. It's important to remember that Josephus was a Jew, AFTER the time of Christ, that denied Jesus. He does not have authority in Christianity.

Also noteworthy is that Josephus exaggerates. In the above quoted section, we see him declare "for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them". The Dead Sea Scrolls discovery proves that even before Josephus this was incorrect, as multiple traditions of the scripture existed within his day.

Finally, Josephus notes that his histories are written using only the authorities of the Jewish sacred books...

Antiquities of the Jews, 20:11:2
I shall now, therefore, make an end here of my Antiquities... I have also carried down the succession of our kings, and related their actions, and political administration, without [considerable] errors, as also the power of our monarchs; and all according to what is written in our sacred books; for this it was that I promised to do in the beginning of this history.

And yet... he quotes from the Deuterocanon multiple times. In Antiquities of the Jews 11.8.7 he quotes from 1 Maccabees 1:1-9, and in Antiquities 12.5.1-3 he quotes from 1 Maccabees 1:10-64, and in Antiquities 11.6.6 he quotes from Deuterocanonical additions to Esther (chapter 13).


snippet on jews removing scriptures

Catholics hold that the same early Church that had the authority to define the New Testament canon had the authority to define the Old Testament canon. At the time of Christ, Judaism had a collection of Scriptures, but no set canon - and that is what Christianity inherited from them. The Judaism that continued after the time of Jesus - specifically, the Judaism that rejected Jesus - lacked the authority to define a set of canon. The Jewish reduced canon that was declared after the time of Christ was in response to the growing Christian 'sect', which had adopted the larger Septuagint as its Scriptures.

This lack of belief in the authority of Jews who denied Christ is clearly seen in Jerome's letter to Augustine, in which Jerome denies the authority of Theodotion (a scholar from ~150 AD) on the basis of him remaining a Jew after the passion of Jesus Christ:

(Augustine) Letter #75
Jerome: ...seeing that Origen borrowed the things which he has added from the edition of a man who, after the passion of Christ, was a Jew and a blasphemer.

The early church itself was very much so aware of the difference between the Septuagint Christians had adopted, and the smaller Jewish canon - indeed, they believed that the Jews after the time of Christ, who denied Jesus as Christ, had stripped books out.

~160 AD: Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 71
    But I am far from putting reliance in your teachers, who refuse to admit that the interpretation made by the seventy elders who were with Ptolemy [king] of the Egyptians is a correct one; and they attempt to frame another. And I wish you to observe, that they have altogether taken away many Scriptures from the translations effected by those seventy elders who were with Ptolemy, and by which this very man who was crucified is proved to have been set forth expressly as God, and man, and as being crucified, and as dying; but since I am aware that this is denied by all of your nation, I do not address myself to these points, but I proceed to carry on my discussions by means of those passages which are still admitted by you. For you assent to those which I have brought before your attention, except that you contradict the statement, 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive,' and say it ought to be read, 'Behold, the young woman shall conceive.' And I promised to prove that the prophecy referred, not, as you were taught, to Hezekiah, but to this Christ of mine: and now I shall go to the proof...
~240 AD: Origen in his Letter to Africanus
    In answer to this, I have to tell you what it behooves us to do in the cases not only of the History of Susanna, which is found in every Church of Christ in that Greek copy which the Greeks use, but is not in the Hebrew, or of the two other passages you mention at the end of the book containing the history of Bel and the Dragon, which likewise are not in the Hebrew copy of Daniel; but of thousands of other passages also which I found in many places when with my little strength I was collating the Hebrew copies with ours. [...]
    And I make it my endeavor not to be ignorant of their various readings, lest in my controversies with the Jews I should quote to them what is not found in their copies, and that I may make some use of what is found there, even although it should not be in our Scriptures. [...]
    Wherefore I think no other supposition is possible, than that they who had the reputation of wisdom, and the rulers and elders, took away from the people every passage which might bring them into discredit among the people. We need not wonder, then, if this history of the evil device of the licentious elders against Susanna is true, but was concealed and removed from the Scriptures by men themselves not very far removed from the counsel of these elders. [...]
    What I have said is, I think, sufficient to prove that it would be nothing wonderful if this history were true, and the licentious and cruel attack was actually made on Susanna by those who were at that time elders, and written down by the wisdom of the Spirit, but removed by these rulers of Sodom, as the Spirit would call them. [...]
~400 AD: Jerome & Augustine in their letters to each other

Jerome, Letter 75: ...In my attempt to translate into Latin, for the benefit of those who speak the same language with myself, the corrected Greek version of the Scriptures, I have labored not to supersede what has been long esteemed, but only to bring prominently forward those things which have been either omitted or tampered with by the Jews, in order that Latin readers might know what is found in the original Hebrew.

Augustine, Letter 82: As to your translation, you have now convinced me of the benefits to be secured by your proposal to translate the Scriptures from the original Hebrew, in order that you may bring to light those things which have been either omitted or perverted by the Jews. But I beg you to be so good as state by what Jews this has been done, whether by those who before the Lord's advent translated the Old Testament--and if so, by what one or more of them--or by the Jews of later times, who may be supposed to have mutilated or corrupted the Greek Mss., in order to prevent themselves from being unable to answer the evidence given by these concerning the Christian faith. I cannot find any reason which should have prompted the earlier Jewish translators to such unfaithfulness. I beg of you, moreover, to send us your translation of the Septuagint, which I did not know that you had published.
~600 AD: Isidore of Seville
As a certain one of those who know has recorded, the Hebrews received this work (Wisdom) among the Canonical Scriptures. But after they had seized and killed the Christ, remembering the most evident testimonies concerning Christ in that same book, in which it is written: ‘The impious said among themselves, ‘let us seize the just,’ etc., taking counsel lest we might lay upon them such an evident sacrilege, they cut it off from the prophetic volumes, and prohibited its reading to their people.
- Isidore of Seville, as quoted by Andrew Edward Breen in his A General and Critical Introduction to the Study of Holy Scripture. Original source not identified.

One big dividing moment between Christians and Jews came in the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt around 132 AD. The Jews rallied behind Simon bar Kokhba, whom many Jews proclaimed the Messiah. Christians refused to join under his rebellion, as they believed Jesus was the messiah, not Simon bar Kokhba - which led to the Jews branding Jewish Christians as traitors.

~160 AD: Justin Martyr in his Dialogue First Apology, Chapter 31
    They are also in the possession of all Jews throughout the world; but they, though they read, do not understand what is said, but count us foes and enemies; and, like yourselves, they kill and punish us whenever they have the power, as you can well believe. For in the Jewish war which lately raged, Barchochebas, the leader of the revolt of the Jews, gave orders that Christians alone should be led to cruel punishments, unless they would deny Jesus Christ and utter blasphemy. In these books, then, of the prophets we found Jesus our Christ foretold as coming, born of a virgin, growing up to man's estate, and healing every disease and every sickness, and raising the dead, and being hated, and unrecognised, and crucified, and dying, and rising again, and ascending into heaven, and being, and being called, the Son of God.
~324 AD: Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, Book IV, Chapter 6, Section 2
The leader of the Jews at this time was a man by the name of Barcocheba (which signifies a star), who possessed the character of a robber and a murderer, but nevertheless, relying upon his name, boasted to them, as if they were slaves, that he possessed wonderful powers; and he pretended that he was a star that had come down to them out of heaven to bring them light in the midst of their misfortunes.

Interestingly, the first Jew to explicitly reject the inspiration of the Deuterocanonical books and Christian New Testament is Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph, who supported Simon bar Kokhba in this rebellion and potentially his claim to being the messiah.

Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph in his Tosefta Yadayim, 2:13
The Gospels and heretical books do not defile the hands. The books of Ben Sira and all other books written from then on, do not defile the hands.


snippet on origen

https://teachthe.net/index.php?title=Why_do_Catholics_have_extra_books_in_their_bibles%3F#Letters_between_Origen_and_Africanus https://teachthe.net/index.php?title=Why_do_Catholics_have_extra_books_in_their_bibles%3F#Origen.27s_Asterisks


snippet on: Early Church used Septuagint

The writings of the early Church Fathers are loaded with references to the Deuterocanonical books, which they clearly considered scripture. All examples below have full references in the Appendix OT Canon Formation

Numerous church fathers quoted from the Deuterocanon liberally in their sermons and writings: Clement of Rome (~80 AD), Polycarp of Smyrna (~135 AD), Irenaeus (~189 AD), Hippolytus (~204 AD), Tertullian (~240 AD), Alexander of Alexandria (~326 AD), and Cyril of Jerusalem (~350 AD).

Merely quoting from them does not by itself necessarily indicate they held them as Scripture, but in addition to the above we have numerous church fathers who explicitly quote from the Deuterocanon as Scripture: Clement of Alexandria (~198 AD), Origen (~240 AD), Cyprian of Carthage (250 AD), Basil of Caesarea (~364 AD), Hilary of Poitiers (~367 AD), Athanasius (~367 AD), Gregory of Nazianzus (~390 AD), Augustine (~390 AD), Jerome (~390 AD), Gregory of Nyssa (~395 AD), Ambrose (397 AD), Tyrannius Rufinus (400 AD), and John Chrysostom (407 AD).

So how and where did the Old Testament canon develop? Christianity inherited scriptures from Judaism, but it did not inherit a set canon.

Around 160 AD, Justin Martyr notes that believers of Christ use the Septuagint (which includes the Deuterocanon), but Jews have started using a smaller set of passages of Scripture (the Hebrew texts) - and he accuses them of removing many Scriptures that point to Christ.

Around 170 AD, Melito of Sardis writes a list that Eusebius records in his Ecclesiastical History around 324 AD. This list excludes the Deuterocanon - as well as excluding Lamentations, Nehemiah, and Esther.

Around 240 AD, Origen quotes from 2 Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Sirach, and Susanna (additions to Daniel) explicitly as Scripture. He also quotes from the Book of Wisdom and Baruch. Origen notes that the Jews of his day have established a different Old Testament canon than that which is every Church of Christ - he identifies the Septuagint as "our Scriptures". In giving the canon the Jews used, he excludes the Deuterocanon - except for part of Baruch (the letter of Jeremiah). His list also appears to have the Jews excluding the 12 minor prophets, but that may be a transcription error (his Jewish canon list is preserved by a secondary source, Eusebius, from around 324 AD). Origen also notes that the reason the Jews of his day have a smaller canon is because their rulers and elders took away from the Scriptures every passage which negatively portrays them (like additions to Daniel). In this, he agrees with Justin Martyr that the Jews have removed some Scriptures from the Old Testament.

Around 325 AD, the Council of Nicaea occurs. Popular belief says this is where the Christian canon was declared - this is wrong. Voltaire in the 1700s popularized a fictitious anecdote that the canon was determined at this council by placing all the competing books on an altar during the council, and then keeping the ones that did not fall off - and this fictional story has been repeated as fact since his day (see this appendix for more information). In reality, nothing we have from the Council of Nicaea indicates they gave any rulings on canon. The only exception to this is in Jerome's preface to Judith from around 382 AD, in which he notes that the Council of Nicaea included the Deuterocanonical book of Judith among the Sacred Scriptures.

Around 350 AD, Cyril of Jerusalem gives an Old Testament list which includes Baruch.

Around 367 AD, Hilary of Poitiers gives an Old Testament list which includes the Epistle of Jeremiah (part of Baruch), and says "to this some add Tobit and Judith". Elsewhere he quotes from 2 Maccabees explicitly as Scripture.

Also around 367 AD, Athanasius gives an Old Testament list which includes Baruch and excludes Esther. He says Esther and the rest of the Deuterocanon (minus Baruch) were called non-Canon but profitable for instruction in the word of godliness. Elsewhere he quotes from the Book of Wisdom explicitly as Scripture.

Around 382 AD, the Council of Rome was held. This Council published the New Testament Canon, as well as the Old Testament Canon which included the Deuterocanon.

Around 385 AD, Epiphanius of Salamis gives an Old Testament list which includes Baruch, and notes "two more books of disputed canonicity", Sirach and the Book of Wisdom. Later on he calls Sirach and the Book of Wisdom "divine writings".

Around 390 AD, Gregory of Nazianzus gives an Old Testament list which excludes Esther and the Deuterocanon. He also gives a New Testament list excluding Revelation. Elsewhere he quotes from Judith explicitly as Scripture.

Also around 390 AD, Augustine gives an Old Testament list including the Deuterocanon. He identifies the Septuagint as the Old Testament that the Church has received. He and Jerome also discuss Jerome's Latin translation, and how Jerome's purpose was to "bring to light those things which have been either omitted or perverted by the Jews."

Also around 390 AD, Jerome took the world by storm. Jerome created the Latin Vulgate, a translation of the bible used for over a thousand years.

In his preface to Kings (called his 'helmeted' preface), Jerome says that Wisdom, Sirach, Judith, Tobias, and 2 Maccabees should be placed among the Apocryphal writings, as he did not have a Hebrew version of them to translate into his Latin Vulgate. Note that Baruch is missing from that list, as are the additions to Daniel and Esther.

And yet, Jerome still quotes from the Deuterocanon frequently. He quotes from the Book of Wisdom as Holy Scripture, he cites the word of Baruch as from a prophet, he quotes from Sirach in the same breath as Matthew, and refers to a story in the additions to Daniel.

So what's going on?

Jerome, at great pain and cost, obtained the Hebrew scriptures from the Jews. He notes that the Septuagint has achieved inspired-level status among the Early Church, so his going back to the Hebrew is interpreted as an attack on the validity of the Septuagint.

To counter this zealous devotion to the Septuagint, he argues that Jesus (and the apostles/evangelists) quote from the Hebrew, not the Septuagint. Particularly, he posits that wherever the Septuagint disagrees with the Hebrew, the Apostles of Christ quote from the Hebrew - and their authority is superior to that of the seventy translators.

He then issues a challenge - let his accuser show anything in the New Testament which comes from the Septuagint, but which is not found in the Hebrew, and he will end the controversy (the implication being he will cease pushing for the superiority of the Hebrew texts). As proven in an earlier section here, the New Testament actually quotes from the Septuagint (against the Masoteric text) many times! In this, Jerome's challenge has been met, and he was proven wrong.

So Jerome personally preferred the Hebrew text & canon over the Septuagint, primarily because he believed that the Apostles and Christ quoted from the Hebrew (and that their quotes were mangled in the Septuagint). And yet, even with Jerome’s personal preference, he notes that he does not condemn the Septuagint, and submits himself to the church with regards to canon.

In his Latin Vulgate (latin translation of Old & New Testaments), he both translated and included the deuterocanon as part of the canon.

In the prefaces to his translation, he included his personal reservations - but the prefaces were written not so much as prologues than as cover letters to specific individuals to accompany copies of his translations, and were not intended for a general audience.

Around 393 AD, the Council of Hippo was held. This Council published the New Testament Canon, as well as the Old Testament Canon which included the Deuterocanon.

Also around 397 AD, the Council of Carthage was held. This Council published the New Testament Canon, as well as the Old Testament Canon which included the Deuterocanon. The Council notes that it's canon declaration is pending approval from the "Church across the sea" - that is, Rome.

Around 400 AD, Tyrannius Rufinus gives an Old Testament list where he excludes all the Deuterocanon by name except for Baruch. He may have included Baruch in his canon under Jeremiah, as he later quotes Baruch as the saying of a prophet. He calls the Deuterocanon (minus Baruch) "Ecclesiastical" but not "Canonical" - they would have been read in the Churches, but not appealed to for the confirmation of doctrine. He notes this is separate from Apocrypha, which would not have been read in the Churches.

Around 419 AD, another Council of Carthage was held. This Council published the New Testament Canon, as well as the Old Testament Canon which included the Deuterocanon.

(>300 AD) Latin Vulgate

Snippet on: Claim: Catholics inserted books into the Bible at the Council of Trent in 1546

Even GotQuestions, a Protestant website, establishes this claim as rubbish. As GotQuestions notes, these books were included in the Bible for over a thousand years prior to the Council of Trent.

GotQuestions: excerpt from What is the Catholic Bible?
However, under tremendous pressure from Rome, Jerome, the translator of the Latin Vulgate, included the Apocrypha, despite Jerome’s insistence that the Apocrypha did not belong in the Bible. The Latin Vulgate became the dominant and officially sanctioned Catholic Bible, and remained that way for around 1200 years. Thus, the Apocrypha became a part of the Catholic Bible.

The Latin Vulgate was the bible of Christianity for over a millennia. Catholics inserted nothing, they merely formally accepted what had been the standard of the Church for over a thousand years.

snippet on Jerome from protestant perspective

Protestants must believe that the early Church had the authority to define the New Testament canon (or at least to recognize it), but lacked the authority to define the Old Testament canon. They believe instead that the Jews who denied Jesus had the authority to determine Old Testament canon. They give Jerome as their champion to defend their cause.

Jerome (through great pains) obtained the post-Christ Jewish copy of the Old Testament, and compared it to the Septuagint used in the Christian church.

...my own familiar friend should frankly accept from a Christian and a friend what he has taken great pains to obtain from the Jews and has written down for him at great cost.
- Jerome, in his Apology Against Rufinus, Book II, Section 35

In this comparison, Jerome found numerous differences. He reasoned that the Jewish copy must be the more accurate of the two, as the Jewish copy was written in Hebrew just like the original Old Testament, while the Septuagint was a translation - and in translating, errors can crop up.

Hear, therefore, O rival; listen, O detractor! I do not condemn, I do not censure the Seventy, but I confidently prefer the Apostles to all of them. Christ speaks to me through their mouth, who I read were placed before the prophets among the Spiritual gifts, among which interpreters hold almost the last place.
- Jerome, in his Preface to Pentateuch

This belief that the Septuagint was a poor translation of the Jewish scripture led him to believe that the Septuagint could also have been mistaken in its collection of scriptures, causing Jerome to prefer the shortened Jewish canon over the expanded Septuagint canon. When reviewing the New Testament, Jerome found that where the New Testament quoted the Old Testament in a spot where the Jewish copy and the Septuagint disagreed on the text, the New Testament followed the Jewish copy (and not the Septuagint).

The Hebrew Scriptures are used by apostolic men; they are used, as is evident, by the apostles and evangelists. Our Lord and Savior himself whenever he refers to the Scriptures, takes his quotations from the Hebrew; as in the instance of the words "He that believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water," and in the words used on the cross itself, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani," which is by interpretation "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" not, as it is given by the Septuagint, "My God, my God, look upon me, why have you forsaken me?" and many similar cases. I do not say this in order to aim a blow at the seventy translators; but I assert that the Apostles of Christ have an authority superior to theirs. Wherever the Seventy agree with the Hebrew, the apostles took their quotations from that translation; but, where they disagree, they set down in Greek what they had found in the Hebrew. 
- Jerome, in his Apology Against Rufinus, Book II, Section 34

This led him to proclaim his great challenge:

And further, I give a challenge to my accuser. I have shown that many things are set down in the New Testament as coming from the older books, which are not to be found in the Septuagint; and I have pointed out that these exist in the Hebrew. Now let him show that there is anything in the New Testament which comes from the Septuagint but which is not found in the Hebrew, and our controversy is at an end.
- Jerome, in his Apology Against Rufinus, Book II, Section 34

As we found earlier in our section examining Jesus' use of the Septuagint, Jerome was wrong. Of the 386 quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament, 340 of them come from the Septuagint.

Additionally, he was wrong that the Septuagint Greek text was a poor translation of the Proto-Masoretic Hebrew text he obtained. As we noted earlier, the Dead Sea Scrolls showed us that the Septuagint Greek text was rather a good translation of the Pre-Septuagint Hebrew text, one of several Hebrew text traditions that existed a few hundred years before Christ.

The Protestant fathers of the reformation followed Jerome's teaching on this matter.

Of their admitting all the Books promiscuously into the Canon, I say nothing more than it is done against the consent of the primitive Church. It is well known what Jerome states as the common opinion of earlier times. And Ruffinus, speaking of the matter as not at all controverted, declares with Jerome that Ecclesiasticus, the Wisdom of Solomon, Tobit, Judith, and the history of the Maccabees, were called by the Fathers not canonical but ecclesiastical books, which might indeed be read to the people, but were not entitled to establish doctrine.

- Calvin, in his Acts of the Council of Trent with the Antidote, ON THE FOURTH SESSION

And yet... even if Jerome had a different opinion of what should be included in canon, it should be noted that he submitted himself to the church and accepted its declarations.

Among the Hebrews the Book of Judith is found among the Hagiographa, the authority of which toward confirming those which have come into contention is judged less appropriate. [...] But because this book is found by the Nicene Council to have been counted among the number of the Sacred Scriptures, I have acquiesced to your request...
- Jerome, in his Preface to Judith
What sin have I committed in following the judgment of the churches? But when I repeat what the Jews say against the Story of Susanna and the Hymn of the Three Children, and the fables of Bel and the Dragon, which are not contained in the Hebrew Bible, the man who makes this a charge against me proves himself to be a fool and a slanderer; for I explained not what I thought but what they commonly say against us.
- Jerome, in his Apology Against Rufinus, Book II, Section 33
...the book of Tobias, which the Hebrews exclude from the catalogue of Divine Scriptures, being mindful of those things which they have titled Hagiographa. I have done enough for your desire, yet not by my study. For the studies of the Hebrews rebuke us and find fault with us, to translate this for the ears of Latins contrary to their canon. But it is better to be judging the opinion of the Pharisees to displease and to be subject to the commands of bishops...
- Jerome, in his Preface to Tobit

In his Latin Vulgate translation, he included the Deuterocanon and the translation became the bible for the church for over a thousand years.

Jerome's private opinion on canon, based on the Veritas Hebraica (truth of the Hebrew Scriptures) persisted in the background and gave numerous church fathers pause, or at least caution, through the ages. This has continued up even to modern day Protestants, despite the finding of the existence of the Pre-Septuagint text in the Dead Sea Scrolls (which proved the Septuagint was not a bad translation of the Masoretic hebrew text, but a good translation of a different Hebrew text tradition). See Appendix "Proto-Masoretic and Pre-Septuagint" for more information on this.

(1500-1600 AD) Reformation

(1640s AD) English Civil War & Westminster confession of faith

(Modern Protestantism)

Based on English translation. Includes table of contents, and mistranslations - note differences in quotations of OT in NT compared to Bible Jesus used, changes as per doctrine of Perpetual Virginity, etc