Why do Catholics have extra books in their bibles?

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Protestant View

Church History in Plain Language

In "Church History in Plain Language, Third Edition" by Bruce L. Shelley, we see a Protestant interpretation of how the Old Testament canon came to be. This popular book is frequently used by Protestant universities. Quoting from 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. Jesus referred to this list when he spoke of the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms (Luke 24:44). The evidence seems to indicate that neither Jesus nor his apostles ever quoted from the Apocrypha as Scripture.

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.

Early Christians also differed, then, over the question of the Apocrypha. Believers in the eastern portion of the Roman Empire, nearest Palestine, tended to agree with the Jews in that area. In the West, however, Christians under the influence of Augustine, the well-known bishop of Hippo, usually received the Apocrypha as part of the canon of Scripture. During the sixteenth-century Reformation most Protestants accepted the view of early eastern Christians and rejected the Apocrypha as canonical. The Roman Catholic church, following Augustine, accepted the books. And that is how the churches differ to this day.

Points to consider:

1) Jesus and his apostles accepted the Protestant OT list, and never quoted from Apocrypha as Scripture

  • NT quotations of OT, primarily Septuagint.

2) Beyond Palestine, Jews and Christians (influenced by Augustine) usually received the Apocrypha as Scripture.

  • Actually, as Augustine noted, all Christians were using it [proof].
  • Also they were very aware of the different Jewish canon, and discussed several possibilities [historical snippets here, theory on Jews taking stuff out].
  • Origen made an attempt to reconcile, but not removing Septuagint books (which he thought Jews removed).
  • Jerome (and Rufinus) believed the Hebrew version to be better, as original is better than translation. Helmeted preface... but he still accepted including it in his Latin Vulgate (Judith preface, seen by council of Nicea as scripture).
  • This "original is better than translation" idea was proven wrong with dead sea scrolls [evidence].

3) The sixteenth-century Reformation accepted the view of early eastern Christians and rejected the Apocrypha as canonical.

  • The only early Christians who thought that did that on a basis of original is better than translation (Jerome), which proved wrong with Dead Sea scrolls (reference above section).
  • Rather, here is true history of what happened: Prior to Jerome, deuterocanon was accepted. Around 390 councils, canon of NT was declared, AND canon of OT included deuterocanon. Jerome's latin vulgate included deuterocanon. Latin Vulgate was primary bible used for a thousand years, and included deuterocanon. Protestant reformation history of these changes here, with Luther and Calvin.