Oli Lea - How Many Books Does Your Bible Have?
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How Many Books Does Your Bible Have? Presented at Deeper by Oli Lea March 2009.

How Many Books Does Your Bible Have? Presented at Deeper by Oli Lea March 2009.

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  • The subject tonight is “How many books are in your Bible?” The question of how many and which books are found in the Bible is a question of what’s called the Bible ‘canon’. So I thought the best way to start would be by giving an overview of how we got the Bible canon – that is, what is the Bible canon, how did it come about, and most importantly of all, by what means can we determine what it should and should not contain.
  • The word “canon” comes from the Greek “Kanon”, and in modern usage has a lot of meanings, all related in some way to the idea of a ‘standard’ or ‘rule’
  • Obviously, this is the definition we are using.
  • The Old Testament is also known as the “Hebrew Scriptures” because they were the scriptures of the Hebrew people, and the New Testament are the scriptures written by the apostle’s and apostolic men, and accepted by the Christian Church.
  • The canon was derived through a process. It’s not as though St John recieved a memo from God saying “That’s it, that’s all the Bible books finished, here’s the list and order they should appear in.” It was a lot more complicated than that.
  • Not of “human tradition”, but of the kind of tradition Paul speaks of in 1 Cor 11:12 and 2 Thess 2:15; tradition which is spiritual, binding and has authority for the Christian church. It is a matter of Church Tradition because scriptures themselves do not give us the canon either for the Old Testament or the New. Though we do, of course, believe the canon is ultimately the product of the Holy Spirit, the canon was, nevertheless, something pronounced by and revealed through the Church, and handed on through the generations – in other words, the very stuff of Sacred Tradition.
  • Because the discrepancy occurs in the Old Testament, we’ll concentrate on looking at how the OT canon came together. The NT is exactly the same for all Christians. It should also be noted that this is not strictly a Protestant/Catholic issue, as the apocrypha is also recognised by the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and both the Anglican and Lutheran churches include the apocrypha in their lectionaries for reading in the church liturgy.
  • Thousands of years ago, God made a covenant with Abraham. For hundreds of years this was sealed without any scriptures, but following the establishment of the Levitical priesthood, “The Law” was written, and a Jewish scriptural tradition began.
  • However, there was no defined collection of inspired books, even though many of the books we now know as scripture were recognised as the word of God.
  • By 400bc the Jewish people had a definite concept of the “Torah”, that is, the Law, or Five book of Moses, as being the foundation of their scriptures. Shortly before Christ’s birth, most Jews also accepted a fairly solid list of prophetical writings. This is why Christ refers to scripture as “the Law and the Prophets”. However, other books were also variously accepted.
  • But by this time, thanks to the conquests of Alexander the Great, most of the mediteranean world was Hellenised, and as such, the majority of Jews spoke Greek, not Hebrew. Therefore, there was a demand for Greek translations of the scriptures.
  • The story goes...although there is much legend surrounding is. The LXX was originally intended to be a translation of the Torah only, but over the next couple of hundred years it came to include the prophets, and quite a few other writings too.
  • The Septuagint is hugely important in the history of the Church, for a great many reasons (eg, the division of the book of Kings, the titles of the Pentateuch, etc)
  • First thing to note is that there is every reason to suppose that the LXX was used by the apostles, especially if we accept the belief that the NT books were written by or under the instruction of the apostles.
  • In truth, it’s closer to 80%, being roughly 300 out of 350 quotations.
  • Many early Christians also shared the opinion of Josephus and Philo that the LXX was an inspired translation.
  • An important development towards the end of the first century is the C of J. It effectively created, for the first time, a Jewish ‘canon’, although it should be noted that a ‘canon’ of scripture is a Christian concept. The canon of Jamnia was restrictive rather than exclusive; that is, it specified books which ought not to be used, but did not define a solid list of books which should .
  • Some (but not all) of these books are included in modern Catholic Bibles, and Protestants refer to them as the ‘apocrypha’. Catholics call them the ‘deuterocanon’, which means “second canon”.
  • Serious patristic scholars and Church historians agree that, for the primitive Church, the apocrypha was absolutely a part of the Christian scriptures. The three examples here are chosen not only for their eminence, but also for the fact that they are all Protestant scholars.
  • During the late 2 nd and early 3rd century, the question of what was and was not scripture for the Christian Church was blurred somewhat
  • The earliest Old testament canon cited by a Christian comes from Melito of Sardis. It should be noted that he is reporting the books used by Jews, but his canon is in many ways typical of late 2 nd and 3 rd century writers. The fact that Christians realized some of their books were not used by the Jews caused quite a lot of doubt and confusion.
  • That Origen considered the deuterocanon to be scripture is beyond doubt from his usage, but he provides yet another example of theoretically recognising the Palestinian Canon, whilst in practice recognising the Alexandrian Canon.
  • A good example is St Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem. His attitude shows that the apocrypha was very much a part of the Christian Bible, but that the OT canon reported was influenced by Jewish usage. He talks about the “other” books being demoted to a sort of second class, but nevertheless he appeals to the apocrypha to prove Christian teaching, showing that he does very much regard it as scriptural.
  • This more or less confirms that observation of Protestant scholar Stuart Hall that the larger Old Testament canon was not questioned by the Church until they were challenged by the Jews.
  • Important events take place towards the end of the 4 th century. The first being the writing of an ‘official’ Latin Bible by the great scholar Jerome. The second was the councils of Rome, Hippo and Carthage, which we’ll come back to shortly.
  • First to take a look at Jerome. It’s difficult to understate what a massive ressonance Jerome has had down the ages when it comes to people’s attitudes towards the Apocrypha. What happened was... Latin translations already existed but they were, on the whole, pretty poor and unreliable. Being competent in Greek, Hebrew and Latin, Jerome was the perfect man for the job. He and Damasus had a good rapour.
  • For this reason he preferred to translate always from the Hebrew, although modern scholars note that he might have been mistaken in his assumption, as the LXX was translated from better Hebrew manuscripts than were available to Jerome in his day.
  • In fact some of them he did not translate, and the Vulgate was supplement with Old Latin translations of these particular books.
  • It must be born in mind that he was expressing his own opinion. This judgement of “non-canonical”, whilst shared by some other Church writers, was not the judgement of the Church at large.
  • Despite his own opinions, Jerome – like most bishops in the early Church – were eager to place their own judgement as subject to the judgement of the Church. In particular, he was keen to be in harmony with the bishop of Rome. Later in life, in his letters with other Churchmen, he is comfortable to quote the book of Sirach as scripture, as well as the additions to Esther.
  • At the end of the fourth century, the confusion and doubt was officially (if not practically) put to an end in the canons of three documents. In all of these, and Old Testament canon identical to that recognised by the modern Catholic Church is given, although if you read it you’ll notice some of the naming conventions are slightly different. These same councils also put paid to certain doubts about the NT canon, such as the inclusion of the book of Revelation.
  • The reason for the reserve was that the official Bible of the Church – the Vulgate – was distributed with Jerome’s prefaces disparaging the deuterocanon. Therefore churchmen had a mixed message; on the one hand the Church clearly accepted the apocrypha as part of the Bible, but on the other hand the Bible’s on their altars had prefaces saying that apocrypha was non-canonical! This caused a lot of confusion and a distinct undercurrent of mistrust.
  • Old English and Middle English...although needless to say these translations would be fairly incomprehensible to us today. It should be noted that no great importance was placed in translating scripture during this time because the vast majority of people were still illiterate. The primary medium for communicating scripture was the oral preaching of the Church, as well as the art and architecture of Cathedrals and Churches.
  • In truth it seems that not all of the Wycliffe translation was made by Wycliffe himself.
  • And so we get to the next significant figure in the history of the Bible canon, Martin Luther. His attitude towards the canon was greatly affected by his debate against Dr Eck, in which a quotation from 2 Maccabees was used to justify the practice of prayer to the dead.
  • He translated the New Testament himself, and the Old Testament was a collaboration of many scholars.
  • There were also doctrinal reasons for this motion of his. He called the book of James an “epistle of straw” because it stated that works are necessary for salvation, contrary to his own doctrine of “faith alone”. Of Revelation he said that he “could in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it”. He wanted Esther to be classed among the Apocrypha, saying of it “I cast it into the Elbe...because it Judaizes too much”. Luther was overruled by his contemporaries in his decision, and towards the end of his life seems to have changed his mind about James, Jude and Revelation.
  • His own notes and prefaces said of the apocrypha “These Books Are Not Held Equal to the Scriptures, but Are Useful and Good to Read”. He left the translating of them to his colleagues.
  • The Catholic Council of Trent, in 1546, countered Luther by reaffirming that the deuterocanon was on par with the rest of scripture. This was, of course, not a new pronouncement, but simply a reassertion of what had already been declared at the Councils of Hippo and Carthage.
  • Tyndale desired to replicate Martin Luther’s work. He altered the scriptures dramatically to favour an anticlerical interpretation.
  • Coverdale used Tyndale’s NT and what had been completed of the OT, and finished the rest of the OT and Apocrypha himself.
  • It was, also, incidentally, the first English version to be divided into numbered verses.
  • The Douay-Rheims Bible was a two-part translation made by the Catholic Church, largely in response to the fact that the Church of England was making it’s own English translation. It should also be noted that the “King James Version” is the name that version was known by in America, but originally it was known as the “Authorised Version”, which is the name given it by the C of E. It included the apocrypha, and followed Luther by placing it in a separate section.
  • This was especially among radical puritan, baptist and Calvinist circles, but seems to have been an action of the laity rather than the clergy, as the copies usually included the apocrypha on the contents page, but not in the actual manuscript. The reason given for distrusting these books was that ‘they were included on the basis of ecclesiastical authority’.
  • Produces the Westminster confession of faith. It says that the apocrypha “are no part of the Canon of the Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings”. By way of interested it also stated that the Pope is the Antichrist, that the Roman Catholic Mass is a form of idolatry, and rules out marriage with non-Christians. The Confession of Faith was produced by a puritan branch of the Church of England who were influenced by Calvinism, but never officially accepted by the Church of England as a whole. It was, however, later adopted by many other bodies including the Presbyterian church and many Baptist churches.
  • This was possible only after the American Revolution, because prior to that the copyright to the AV was held by the English Crown – and indeed it still is in England. Basically, American printers found that excluding the apocrypha did not affect the price they could charge for Bibles, but it did bring down their overheads, and made it more favourable to Puritans, Calvinists and other radical wing protestants.
  • The Bible society was founded at the start of the 19 th century, and because it intended to be ecumenical it initially printed Bible’s including the apocrypha. However, Puritan and Calvinist bodies didn’t like that, and withdrew their support. This brought the Bible Society into hardship, and to reduce their overheads the decided to stop including the apocrypha, stating that their mission was to provide people with the “undisputed” books of scripture. So once again, this exclusion of the apocrypha was not an act of the Church, but of the laity.
  • Later the same century, Churchmen get together to make an updated version of the AV, known as the Revised Version. It follows the AV practice of including the Apocrypha, again in a seperate section. However, it was translated primarily by English scholars, and by this stage the Americans are used to seeing Bible’s without the apocrypha, so they assume it ought not be there. As a result, they produce...
  • This is the first version of the Bible to be officially published without the apocrypha.
  • Since then, most new translations have followed the ASV in excluding the apocrypha.
  • Of course, Luther doubted these books for this very reason, and even argued (unsuccessfully) for the book of Esther to be relegated to the Apocrypha.
  • Although there were some doctrinal inclinations for the first reformers to demote the Apocrypha, it’s been argued that the Catholics only fought to include it for doctrinal reasons also. However, this misunderstands the way Catholics look at doctrine, as put by St Augustine...
  • So in fact doctrinal necessity has never been a reason for Catholics to pick and choose which books they wanted to include in scripture. On the other hand, it does seem to have had a bearing on the decisions of Protestants.

Oli Lea - How Many Books Does Your Bible Have? Oli Lea - How Many Books Does Your Bible Have? Presentation Transcript

  • Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Modern Trans. Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC LXX still used by Eastern Orthodox Church Septuagint (LXX) Hebrew books exist as a loose collection Law canonised Prophets canonised “ Writings” canonised? Masoretic Texts American Independance Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh Septuagint Alexander The Great 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad 1800bc Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English: How we got the Bible Canon Bible Society
  • How we got the Bible Canon
    • “ Canon” – from the Greek Kanon meaning a “measuring rod”.
    • a fundamental principle or general rule
    • an ecclesiastical rule or law enacted by a council or other competent authority
    • the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian church as genuine and inspired
    • the works of an author that have been accepted as authentic: eg, there are 37 plays in the Shakespeare canon .
    • (other similar definitions)
  • How we got the Bible Canon
    • “ Canon” – from the Greek Kanon meaning a “measuring rod”.
    • a fundamental principle or general rule
    • an ecclesiastical rule or law enacted by a council or other competent authority
    • the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian church as genuine and inspired
    • the works of an author that have been accepted as authentic: eg, there are 37 plays in the Shakespeare canon .
    • (other similar definitions)
    • Canon: “the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian
    • Church as genuine and inspired”.
    POINTS TO NOTE ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE CANON:
    • Canon: “the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian
    • Church as genuine and inspired”.
    POINTS TO NOTE ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE CANON: • The canon formed in two parts independently: Old Testament, and New Testament
    • Canon: “the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian
    • Church as genuine and inspired”.
    POINTS TO NOTE ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE CANON: • The canon formed in two parts independently: Old Testament, and New Testament • It did not ‘arrive by fax from Heaven’, but formed over time
    • Canon: “the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian
    • Church as genuine and inspired”.
    POINTS TO NOTE ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE CANON: • The canon formed in two parts independently: Old Testament, and New Testament • It did not ‘arrive by fax from Heaven’, but formed over time • It is, by necessity, a matter of Church Tradition (even for churches which reject the notion of Tradition)
    • Canon: “the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian
    • Church as genuine and inspired”.
    POINTS TO NOTE ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE CANON: • The canon formed in two parts independently: Old Testament, and New Testament • It did not ‘arrive by fax from Heaven’, but formed over time • It is, by necessity, a matter of Church Tradition (even for churches which reject the notion of Tradition) • Most modern bibles have 66 books in the canon
    • Canon: “the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian
    • Church as genuine and inspired”.
    POINTS TO NOTE ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE CANON: • The canon formed in two parts independently: Old Testament, and New Testament • It did not ‘arrive by fax from Heaven’, but formed over time • It is, by necessity, a matter of Church Tradition (even for churches which reject the notion of Tradition) • Most modern bibles have 66 books in the canon • It is generally known that the Catholic Church recognises 73 books, with the extra 7 books belonging to the Old Testament
  • How the OT canon came about Torah (“The Law”) Nevi’im (“The Prophets”) Ketuvim (“The Writings”) 1800bc Hebrew:
  • How the OT canon came about Torah (“The Law”) Nevi’im (“The Prophets”) Ketuvim (“The Writings”) Undefined Undefined Undefined Hebrew books exist as a loose collection 1800bc Hebrew:
  • Solidifying the Scriptures Torah (“The Law”) Nevi’im (“The Prophets”) Ketuvim (“The Writings”) Defined by 400bc Contains the 5 books of Moses Defined by 50bc Undefined Hebrew books exist as a loose collection Law canonised Prophets canonised Septuagint Alexander The Great 0ad 1800bc Hebrew:
  • The first Greek scriptures Septuagint (LXX) Hebrew books exist as a loose collection Law canonised Prophets canonised Septuagint Alexander The Great 0ad 1800bc Hebrew: Greek:
  • Septuagint (LXX) The Septuagint (Gk: “Seventy”) ' King Ptolemy once gathered 72 Elders. He placed them in 72 chambers, each of them in a separate one, without revealing to them why they were summoned. He entered each one's room and said: 'Write for me the Torah of Moshe, your teacher.' God put it in the heart of each one to translate identically as all the others did ‘ - Tractate Megillah 9, from the Talmud The first Greek scriptures Hebrew books exist as a loose collection Law canonised Prophets canonised Septuagint Alexander The Great 0ad 1800bc Hebrew: Greek:
  • Septuagint (LXX) • Written in “Koine Greek” (same as the New Testament) • Used throughout the Greek speaking Jewish ‘diaspora’ (“dispersion”) • Well regarded by the Jews, even considered divinely inspired by some • Came to include books which would not later be included in the Hebrew “writings” • Sometimes denoted in literature as “LXX”, which is the Roman numeral for “seventy” The first Greek scriptures Hebrew books exist as a loose collection Law canonised Prophets canonised Septuagint Alexander The Great 0ad 1800bc Hebrew: Greek:
  • The Septuagint and the Church Torah & Nevi’im (“Law & Prophets”) Septuagint (LXX) Jesus’ ministry 0ad 100ad Hebrew: Greek : St Paul’s missions Mark’s gospel written John’s gospel written
  • The Septuagint and the Church The Septuagint was the bible used by the apostles. Torah & Nevi’im (“Law & Prophets”) Septuagint (LXX) Jesus’ ministry 0ad 100ad Hebrew: Greek : St Paul’s missions Mark’s gospel written John’s gospel written
  • The Septuagint and the Church The Septuagint was the bible used by the apostles. • Around 300 out of 350 OT quotes in the NT are taken from the LXX Torah & Nevi’im (“Law & Prophets”) Septuagint (LXX) Jesus’ ministry 0ad 100ad Hebrew: Greek : St Paul’s missions Mark’s gospel written John’s gospel written
  • The Septuagint and the Church The Septuagint was the bible used by the apostles. • Around 300 out of 350 OT quotes in the NT are taken from the LXX • Some references actually rely on the LXX rendering (eg, Matt 1:34, Heb 1:6) Torah & Nevi’im (“Law & Prophets”) Septuagint (LXX) Jesus’ ministry 0ad 100ad Hebrew: Greek : St Paul’s missions Mark’s gospel written John’s gospel written
  • The Septuagint and the Church The Septuagint was the bible used by the early church. • Most conversions took place among the Greeks, where the OT most readily available was the LXX. • Other early Christian authors (eg, Clement of Rome, ca. 90ad) cite the LXX Torah & Nevi’im (“Law & Prophets”) Septuagint (LXX) Jesus’ ministry 0ad 100ad Hebrew: Greek : St Paul’s missions Mark’s gospel written John’s gospel written
  • The ‘Council’ of Jamnia • The school at Jamnia became a “substitute” Sanhedrin after the sack of Jerusalem. • There was no ‘council’ as such. Councils in this sense were a Christian concept. • Jamnia declared that only Hebrew scrolls should be used in synagogues, and rejected the LXX. • Jamnia also introduced a curse on the Christians into the Jewish liturgy • Jamnia is popularly thought to have produced a closed “Palestinian canon” Torah & Nevi’im (“Law & Prophets”) Sack of Jerusalem, Temple destroyed Ketuvim (“Writings”) canonised? Jabneh/ Jamnia Jesus’ ministry 0ad 100ad Hebrew: St Paul’s missions Mark’s gospel written John’s gospel written
  • The question of the ‘apocrypha’
    • The LXX contains books which were not included in the Hebrew scriptures, and has become known as the “Alexandrian canon”:
    • • Tobit
    • • Judith
    • • Wisdom of Solomon
    • • Wisdom of Jesus ben Sirach (aka, “Sirach” or “Ecclesiasticus”)
    • • Baruch
    • • Epistle of Jeremy (which later became chapter 6 of Baruch in the Vulgate)
    • • Additions to Daniel (The Prayer of Azarias, the Song of the Three Children, Sosanna and Bel and the Dragon)
    • • Additions to Esther
    • • 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees,
    • • 1 Esdras
    • • Odes, including the Prayer of Manasses, and Psalm 151
  • The Early Church: Scholarly consensus • J.N.D.Kelly: “In the first two centuries at any rate the Church seems to have accepted all, or most of, these additional books as inspired and to have treated them without question as Scripture.” • Stuart G. Hall: “[the Apocrypha] was not questioned by the Church till they were challenged by the Jews.” • Henry Chadwick: “ There was agreement that the scriptures included Judith, Tobit, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), and the Wisdom of Solomon, disagreement about the books of Maccabees, Baruch and the epistle of Jeremiah.”
  • The question of the ‘apocrypha’ 200ad Jesus’ ministry “ [the Apocrypha] was not questioned by the Church till they were challenged by the Jews” Jabneh/ Jamnia 0ad 100ad
  • The question of the ‘apocrypha’ 200ad Melito of Sardis – 177ad “ I went to the East and came to the place where these things were preached and done, I learned accurately the books of the Old Testament.” • Matches Hebrew canon except: - Esther + Wisdom of Solomon Jesus’ ministry Jabneh/ Jamnia 0ad 100ad
  • The question of the ‘apocrypha’ Origen of Alexandria – 255 ad • Catalogues a canon identical to the Hebrew, noting that the OT canon contains 22 books (corresponding to letters in the Hebrew alphabet) • Even so, uses all of the apocrypha as scripture in his writings • In a letter to Julius Africanus, he defends the sacredness of Tobit, Judith and additions to Daniel • His “Hexaplar” edition of the Old Testament includes all the apocrypha Jabneh/ Jamnia 0ad 100ad 200ad Jesus’ ministry
  • The question of the ‘apocrypha’
    • CASE STUDY – Cyril of Jerusalem
    • • Provides a list of books which matches the Hebrew canon, except for the inclusion of Baruch
    • • Says “ those books which are not read in the Church do not even read by yourself”.
    • • Despite this, he quotes the apocrypha as scripture at least 25 times in his lectures.
  • Other Greek Fathers
    • Gregory of Nanzianz: Cites the Hebrew canon, does not even mention the apocryphal books.
    • Athanasius: “There are other books besides these, indeed not received as canonical but having been appointed by our fathers to be read to those just approaching and wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness: Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being merely read.”
    • Epiphanius: “And they have two more books of disputed canonicity, the Wisdom of Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon, apart from certain other apocrypha.”
    • Amphilochius: “With these, some approve the inclusion of Esther.”
  • How the OT canon came about • Apocrypha generally not questioned during the first 100 years of the Church age • Questioned during the following 200 years: - In the Western Church & North Africa: Generally accepted where Jewish influence is less. - In the Eastern Church: Becomes strongly distrusted, demoted to a secondary rank, sometimes proscribed for reading only by catechumens. Septuagint (LXX) Law canonised Prophets canonised “ Writings” canonised? Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh Septuagint Alexander The Great 0ad 400ad Hebrew: Greek :
  • How the OT canon came about • Jerome makes “Vulgate” translation of scripture • Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage ratify and confirm the full canon of scripture 400ad Tanakh Vulgate by Jerome Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage 300ad Greek: Latin: Septuagint (LXX) Hebrew:
  • Jerome’s doubts
    • • Jerome asked to create a new Latin translation of the scriptures by Pope Damasus I in 382.
  • Jerome’s doubts
    • • Jerome asked to create a new Latin translation of the scriptures by Pope Damasus I in 382.
    • • He was a Hebraist, considering the Hebrew scriptures to be superior to the Greek
  • Jerome’s doubts
    • • Jerome asked to create a new Latin translation of the scriptures by Pope Damasus I in 382.
    • • He was a Hebraist, considering the Hebrew scriptures to be superior to the Greek
    • • As such, he was reluctant to translate those books not found in the Hebrew collection
  • Jerome’s doubts
    • • Jerome asked to create a new Latin translation of the scriptures by Pope Damasus I in 382.
    • • He was a Hebraist, considering the Hebrew scriptures to be superior to the Greek
    • • As such, he was reluctant to translate those books not found in the Hebrew collection
    • • In his preface to each of the books found only in the LXX, he described them as “non-canonical”, and it was he who coined the term “apocrypha” in reference to these books.
  • Jerome’s doubts
    • • Jerome asked to create a new Latin translation of the scriptures by Pope Damasus I in 382.
    • • He was a Hebraist, considering the Hebrew scriptures to be superior to the Greek
    • • As such, he was reluctant to translate those books not found in the Hebrew collection
    • • In his preface to each of the books found only in the LXX, he described them as “non-canonical”, and it was he who coined the term “apocrypha” in reference to these books.
    • • He was heavily criticised by the Western Church, including figures such as Augustine, who regarded these books as canonical
  • The Question Settled
    • • DECREE OF DAMASUS (382ad): "Now indeed we must treat of the divine scriptures, what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she ought to shun. The order of the Old Testament begins here: Genesis, one book; Exodus, one book; Leviticus, one book; Numbers, one book; Deuteronomy, one book; Joshua [Son of] Nave, one book; Judges, one book; Ruth, one book; Kings, four books [that is, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings]; Paralipomenon [Chronicles], two books; Psalms, one book; Solomon, three books: Proverbs, one book, Ecclesiastes, one book, [and] Canticle of Canticles [Song of Songs], one book; likewise Wisdom, one book; Ecclesiasticus [Sirach], one book . . . . Likewise the order of the historical [books]: Job, one book; Tobit, one book; Esdras, two books [Ezra and Nehemiah]; Esther, one book; Judith, one book; Maccabees, two books"
    • • COUNCIL OF HIPPO (393ad): "[It has been decided] 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, Judges, Ruth, the Kings, four books, the Chronicles, two books, Job, the Psalter, the five books of Solomon [Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, and a portion of the Psalms], the twelve books of the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, judith, Esther, Ezra, two books, Maccabees, two books . . .“
    • • COUNCIL OF CARTHAGE III (397ad): "[It has been decided] that nothing except the canonical scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine scriptures. But the canonical scriptures are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paralipomenon, two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon, twelve books of the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees . . ."
  • The 5 th Century onwards Tanakh • In the east (Septuagint employed): Apocrypha eventually accepted without reserve. • In the west (Vulgate employed): The canon is fixed; doubts cultivated by Vulgate prefaces. Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin:
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • Fragments of the bible translated into English from 7 th Century onwards Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • Fragments of the bible translated into English from 7 th Century onwards • Wycliffe Bible produced in 14 th century – included the apocrypha plus extra books Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • Martin Luther
    • • In debate against Dr Eck, Martin Luther refutes his use of 2 Maccabees by saying that it is “outside of the canon”.
  • Martin Luther
    • • In debate against Dr Eck, Martin Luther refutes his use of 2 Maccabees by saying that it is “outside of the canon”.
    • • Spends much of the end of his life producing a German translation of the Bible.
  • Martin Luther
    • • In debate against Dr Eck, Martin Luther refutes his use of 2 Maccabees by saying that it is “outside of the canon”.
    • • Spends much of the end of his life producing a German translation of the Bible.
    • • He sought to relegate or exclude books which were questioned among the early church, including:
    • - all the apocrypha
    • - Esther and Solomon’s Song
    • - James, Jude, Revelation
  • Martin Luther
    • • In debate against Dr Eck, Martin Luther refutes his use of 2 Maccabees by saying that it is “outside of the canon”.
    • • Spends much of the end of his life producing a German translation of the Bible.
    • • He sought to relegate or exclude books which were questioned among the early church, including:
    • - all the apocrypha
    • - Esther and Solomon’s Song
    • - James, Jude, Revelation
    • • His Bible eventually included the Apocrypha, but in a separate section.
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • From 5 th century on, apocrypha not questioned in east or west, as in the first century • Fragments of the bible translated into English from 7 th Century onwards • Wycliffe Bible produced in 14 th century – included the apocrypha plus extra books • Luther’s German Bible (1523-1534) - included apocrypha in separate section Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • From 5 th century on, apocrypha not questioned in east or west, as in the first century • Fragments of the bible translated into English from 7 th Century onwards • Wycliffe Bible produced in 14 th century – included the apocrypha plus extra books • Luther’s German Bible (1523-1534) - included apocrypha in separate section • Tyndale Bible (1536) – never completed, severely defficient Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • From 5 th century on, apocrypha not questioned in east or west, as in the first century • Fragments of the bible translated into English from 7 th Century onwards • Wycliffe Bible produced in 14 th century – included the apocrypha plus extra books • Luther’s German Bible (1523-1534) - included apocrypha in separate section • Tyndale Bible (1536) – never completed, severely defficient • Coverdale Bible (1539) – completed Tyndale’s work, included the apocrypha Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • From 5 th century on, apocrypha not questioned in east or west, as in the first century • Fragments of the bible translated into English from 7 th Century onwards • Wycliffe Bible produced in 14 th century – included the apocrypha plus extra books • Luther’s German Bible (1523-1534) - included apocrypha in separate section • Tyndale Bible (1536) – never completed, severely defficient • Coverdale Bible (1539) – completed Tyndale’s work, included the apocrypha • Geneva Bible (1560) – Calvinist English translation, included apocrypha Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • Douay-Rheims Bible (1582-1610), Kings James Version (1611) – included apocrypha Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • Douay-Rheims Bible (1582-1610), Kings James Version (1611) – included apocrypha • From 1630, some editions of Geneva Bible bound without apocrypha Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • Douay-Rheims Bible (1582-1610), Kings James Version (1611) – included apocrypha • From 1630, some editions of Geneva Bible bound without apocrypha • Westminster Assembly (1647 - Calvinist/Puritan) declares the apocrypha non-canonical. Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • Douay-Rheims Bible (1582-1610), Kings James Version (1611) – included apocrypha • From 1630, some editions of Geneva Bible bound without apocrypha • Westminster Assembly (1647 - Calvinist/Puritan) declares the apocrypha non-canonical. • From 1769, American printers remove apocrypha from the KJV to reduce printing cost and increase market appeal to non-Anglican Protestant readers Modern Trans. LXX still used by Eastern Orthodox Church American Independance Bible Society Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • Douay-Rheims Bible (1582-1610), Kings James Version (1611) – included apocrypha • From 1630, some editions of Geneva Bible bound without apocrypha • Westminster Assembly (1647 - Calvinist/Puritan) declares the apocrypha non-canonical. • From 1769, American printers remove apocrypha from the KJV to reduce printing cost and increase market appeal to non-Anglican Protestant readers • From 1826, the British and Foreign Bible Society stops printing apocrypha Modern Trans. LXX still used by Eastern Orthodox Church American Independance Bible Society Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • Douay-Rheims Bible (1582-1610), Kings James Version (1611) – included apocrypha • From 1630, some editions of Geneva Bible bound without apocrypha • Westminster Assembly (1647 - Calvinist/Puritan) declares the apocrypha non-canonical. • From 1769, American printers remove apocrypha from the KJV to reduce printing cost and increase market appeal to non-Anglican Protestant readers • From 1826, the British and Foreign Bible Society stops printing apocrypha • Revised Version (1881-1894) released in Britain – includes apocrypha Modern Trans. LXX still used by Eastern Orthodox Church American Independance Bible Society Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • From 1769, American printers remove apocrypha from the KJV to reduce printing cost and increase market appeal to non-Anglican Protestant readers • From 1826, the British and Foreign Bible Society stops printing apocrypha after a controversy and a withdrawal of subsidies • Revised Version (1881-1894) released in Britain – includes apocrypha • Revised Version, American Standard Edition (later known as American Standard Version) released in 1901 without apocrypha Modern Trans. LXX still used by Eastern Orthodox Church American Independance Bible Society Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • The Bible in English Tanakh • During the 20 th century, almost every translation has been made in America, and has excluded the apocrypha. Examples are: - New King James Version (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1975) - Good News Bible (American Bible Society, 1976) - New Internation Version (Zondervan, 1978) - English Standard Version (Crossway Bibles, 2001) • Some of them (RSV, NRSV, Good News Bible) later published a “Catholic Edition”, including the apocrypha. Modern Trans. LXX still used by Eastern Orthodox Church American Independance Bible Society Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC Septuagint (LXX) Masoretic Texts Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English:
  • Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Modern Trans. Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC LXX still used by Eastern Orthodox Church Septuagint (LXX) Hebrew books exist as a loose collection Law canonised Prophets canonised “ Writings” canonised? Masoretic Texts American Independance Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh Septuagint Alexander The Great 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad 1800ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English: Conclusion Bible Society
  • Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Modern Trans. Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC LXX still used by Eastern Orthodox Church Septuagint (LXX) Hebrew books exist as a loose collection Law canonised Prophets canonised “ Writings” canonised? Masoretic Texts American Independance Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh Septuagint Alexander The Great 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad 1800ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English: Conclusion: Is the apocrypha canonical? Bible Society • No solid conclusion can be drawn on the basis of individual or collective early witnesses because: a) Very few of them provide a canon which matches Protestant or Catholic exactly b) Individuals have different opinions of the status of the Apocrypha c) Many early cited canons are simply relating the Hebrew ‘canon’ d) Even most writers who exclude the Apocrypha from the canon quote it as scripture
  • Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Modern Trans. Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC LXX still used by Eastern Orthodox Church Septuagint (LXX) Hebrew books exist as a loose collection Law canonised Prophets canonised “ Writings” canonised? Masoretic Texts American Independance Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh Septuagint Alexander The Great 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad 1800ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English: Conclusion: Is the apocrypha canonical? Bible Society • No solid conclusion can be drawn on the basis of individual or collective early witnesses because: a) Very few of them provide a canon which matches Protestant or Catholic exactly b) Individuals have different opinions of the status of the Apocrypha d) Even most writers who exclude the Apocrypha from the canon quote it as scripture • The earliest Christians considered all or most of the apocrypha as scriptural.
  • Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Modern Trans. Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC LXX still used by Eastern Orthodox Church Septuagint (LXX) Hebrew books exist as a loose collection Law canonised Prophets canonised “ Writings” canonised? Masoretic Texts American Independance Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh Septuagint Alexander The Great 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad 1800ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English: Conclusion: Is the apocrypha canonical? Bible Society • No solid conclusion can be drawn on the basis of individual or collective early witnesses because: a) Very few of them provide a canon which matches Protestant or Catholic exactly b) Individuals have different opinions of the status of the Apocrypha d) Even most writers who exclude the Apocrypha from the canon quote it as scripture • The earliest Christians considered all or most of the apocrypha as scriptural. • The realisation that the Jews did not recognise the apocrypha did cause it to be counted as “non-canonical” or “secondary” by a great many Eastern Fathers, and these doubts transferred to the west via Jerome’s prefaces.
  • Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Modern Trans. Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC LXX still used by Eastern Orthodox Church Septuagint (LXX) Hebrew books exist as a loose collection Law canonised Prophets canonised “ Writings” canonised? Masoretic Texts American Independance Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh Septuagint Alexander The Great 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad 1800ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English: Conclusion: Is the apocrypha canonical? Bible Society • No solid conclusion can be drawn on the basis of individual or collective early witnesses because: a) Very few of them provide a canon which matches Protestant or Catholic exactly b) Individuals have different opinions of the status of the Apocrypha d) Even most writers who exclude the Apocrypha from the canon quote it as scripture • The earliest Christians considered all or most of the apocrypha as scriptural. • The realisation that the Jews did not recognise the apocrypha did cause it to be counted as “non-canonical” or “secondary” by a great many Eastern Fathers, and these doubts transferred to the west via Jerome’s prefaces. • Again, the canon is a matter of Church Tradition . The pronouncement of the Church, when it came, included the apocrypha
  • Fragments in English ‘ Wycliffe’ Bible Douay-Rheims/ 1611 KJV Modern Trans. Vulgate by Jerome Remains official Bible of RCC LXX still used by Eastern Orthodox Church Septuagint (LXX) Hebrew books exist as a loose collection Law canonised Prophets canonised “ Writings” canonised? Masoretic Texts American Independance Reformation/ Council of Trent Great Schism Councils of Rome, Hippo & Carthage Jabneh Septuagint Alexander The Great 0ad 400ad 1000ad 1500ad 1800ad Hebrew: Greek: Latin: English: Conclusion: Is the apocrypha canonical? Bible Society The pertinent questions: • From whom do you receive your Bible canon? • What criteria for canonicity do you consider reasonable?
  • Modern arguments against the Apocrypha We should not accept books whose canonicity was doubted by the early church.
  • Modern arguments against the Apocrypha
  • Modern arguments against the Apocrypha
  • Modern arguments against the Apocrypha
  • Modern arguments against the Apocrypha Some books of the Apocrypha contain teachings which contradict the rest of scripture, eg, 2 Maccabees talking about prayer for the dead.
  • Modern arguments against the Apocrypha
  • Modern arguments against the Apocrypha “ We read in the books of the Maccabees [2 Macc. 12:43] that sacrifice was offered for the dead. But even if it were found nowhere in the Old Testament writings, the authority of the Catholic Church which is clear on this point is of no small weight, where in the prayers of the priest poured forth to the Lord God at his altar the commendation of the dead has its place” – St Augustine, 421ad (The Care to be Had for the Dead 1:3 )
  • Popular Misconceptions Much misinformation abounds about the Apocrypha:
  • Popular Misconceptions Much misinformation abounds about the Apocrypha: Bible.ca writes: • The Roman Catholic Church did not officially canonize the Apocrypha until the Council of Trent (1546 AD). • Not one of them is in the Hebrew language, which was alone used by the inspired historians and poets of the Old Testament. • They were not allowed a place among the sacred books, during the first four centuries of the Christian Church.
  • Popular Misconceptions
  • Popular Misconceptions Amy Orr-Ewing (“Why Trust the Bible”, Inter-Varsity Press) writes: “ The question about the canon...is made a little more difficult by the inclusion in the Roman Catholic Bible of a group of writings called the Apocrypha.”
  • Popular Misconceptions
  • Popular Misconceptions
  • Popular Misconceptions
  • Popular Misconceptions
  • Popular Misconceptions
  • Popular Misconceptions Amy Orr-Ewing (“Why Trust the Bible”, Inter-Varsity Press) writes: “ Furthermore, the canon of the Old Testament without the Apocrypha was discussed by Jewish scholars at Jamnia in AD 90, and this is the Old Testament that the early church assented to.”
  • Popular Misconceptions
  • Popular Misconceptions
  • Popular Misconceptions