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CHNetwork Online Community Forums Scripture Deuterocanonical Books/Apocrypha

11 replies, 5 voices Last updated by Profile photo of David W. Emery David W. Emery 2 months, 3 weeks ago
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  • #20039
    Profile photo of Jennie1964
    Jennie1964
    Keymaster
    @Jennie1964

    Another question I had was why did the Protestants take out certain books specifically?  What was it about those books that they didn't like?  Were there certain doctrinal evidences in them, or was it just a matter of some historical question about them?

    #20044
    Profile photo of David W. Emery
    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    Martin Luther is the one who began to question certain books, both of the Old and New Testaments, because they disagreed with his ideology. For instance, he referred to the Letter of James as “an epistle of straw” because it did not support his idea of salvation by faith alone, but instead stated, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). He therefore sought to remove it and several other books from the New Testament. His friend, Malancthon, eventually persuaded Luther to leave the books in rather than face opposition from his followers, who knew well enough which New Testament books were canonical.

    Luther’s treatment of the Old Testament was not held to similar restraint, however. He objected to the passage in 2 Maccabees (12:42–45) that says, “And the noble Judas [Maccabeus] exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen [in battle]. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.”

    This passage directly contradicted Luther’s rejection of the doctrine of Purgatory. As it turned out, Luther was able to leverage the post-Christian Jewish canon of Scripture to eliminate the Deuterocanonical books of the Christians. He himself did not go so far as to remove them entirely, but he banished them to a separate section in his German Bible, labeling them “of doubtful inspiration.” Later on, printers saw a loophole in this segregation and, to save on expenses, just omitted them from their printed editions. In the 17th century, the original King James Bible in English met a similar fate: Originally published with the Deuterocanonicals in a separate section “of doubtful inspiration,” printers — limited by royal decree in what they could charge for their Bibles — sought to boost their profits by omitting them.

    David

    #20043
    Profile photo of Jennie1964
    Jennie1964
    Keymaster
    @Jennie1964

    Hmmm.  Well that makes me want to go right ahead and just read them to find out what it was they were all trying to hide.  ;D

    #20042
    Profile photo of David W. Emery
    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    Be my guest!  T//*

    David

    #20041
    Profile photo of R.K.
    R.K.
    Participant
    @R.K.

    Jennie,

    When I realized that my Protestant Bible of 66 books was MISSING 7 books (rather than the myth I had been told: Catholics ADDED 7 books to their Bibles), the first thing I did was pick up a Catholic Bible so I could have the entire Scripture.

    I bought the Revised Standard Version (RSV) 2nd Catholic Edition. It has an icon of Christ and the 4 Gospel writers on the cover.  That has generated a few interesting conversations when I began carrying it to the Calvary Chapel I was attending.

    One guy said: “Hey, that's an interesting looking Bible. What's up with the cover?”
    I said: “Oh, it's a Catholic Bible. It has all the books in it. When I found out our Bibles were missing 7 books, I figured I should have the whole Bible.”  He just smiled and walked away.

    You will find great joy reading 'new' Scriptures.
    Peace to you,
    R.K.

    #20040
    Profile photo of Jeff Eze4835
    Jeff Eze4835
    Participant
    @Jeff Eze4835

    You will find great joy reading 'new' Scriptures.
    Peace to you,
    R.K.

    I'm looking forward to reading them as well.

    #22864
    Profile photo of cosbap
    cosbap
    Participant
    @cosbap

    This partly answers my question about the canon of the bible.

    I saw something yesterday that said scriptures became more important to Jews after the destruction of the temple by the Romans. They were always very important, but without the temple they took on the central role that the temple used to occupy. Is that why they didn’t close their canon until quite late? I also read in Justin Martyr that the jews eliminated the deuterocanonical books because they are too Christian in character. So could a reaction against the Christian belief in Jesus as the Messiah have influenced the canon of Jewish scripture?

    But protestants say they aren’t inspired and it was a mistake to include them because they aren’t from Hebrew sources, only Greek. They point to St Jerome for support. But aren’t there fragments of deuterocanonical books in Hebrew among the dead sea scrolls that are older than the Greek translation?

    Its all rather confusing.

    #22867
    Profile photo of David W. Emery
    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    The Jews of the Diaspora (the Greek-speaking Jews scattered around the known world) were definitely influenced to accept the contention of the Palestinian Jews (those who had returned to Jerusalem after the Exile and rebuilt the Temple) — that only those books originally written in Hebrew and before a certain time were eligible to be considered inspired — by the fact that the Christians had co-opted the Jewish Greek version of the Scriptures, called the Septuagint, for their own use. The Septuagint did contain the Deuterocanonical books, and these were used to considerable advantage against Jewish resistance to Christianity.

    St. Jerome had studied under Jerusalem rabbis to perfect his knowledge of the Hebrew language, and their view of the Greek Scriptures influenced him to make the case for the smaller Hebrew-only canon. But when Pope Damasus insisted that the Christian canon, following the traditional Septuagint version, included the Deuterocanonical books, Jerome included them in his new Latin version — later called the Vulgate, or Common Bible, since Latin was the universal language of Christianity during the Middle Ages. It was only after the Vulgate was published and gained acceptance that, through councils and papal ratification at the end of the fourth century, the canon of the Bible was definitively set. The Council of Trent, held in the 16th century to reform the Church and combat Protestant ideologies, referred to these councils in defining the traditional canon of Scripture, including the Deuterocanonical books, as dogma. The Council of Trent therefore did not, as some Protestants claim, invent the Catholic claim, but only reiterated the fourth century definition, more than a millennium before Protestantism appeared on the face of the earth, and affirmed it as dogma, which is the highest level of solemnity for doctrine.

    Beginning in the year 1948, with the discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls, it became apparent that some of the Deuterocanonical “Greek” books had actually been written in Hebrew or Aramaic, then translated into Greek. It was also discovered that the texts of the various Hebrew books that Jews and Protestants, as well as Catholics, consider canonical had, at the time of Christ, a form more in line with the Septuagint than with the Christian-era Masoretic Text, which is the current standardized Jewish text of the Hebrew Scriptures.

    These archeological discoveries have, therefore, significantly compromised the Jewish position, as well as the Protestant position, which is based on it. I myself wonder if the Jews, in early Christian times, might have tampered with their own sacred Scriptures to eliminate possible Christian interpretation. Elimination of the Deuterocanonical books was definitely the first step, but alteration of the accepted texts by Jewish scholars had a historical precedent, with glosses and additions being incorporated into the sacred text, as well as certain passages dropping out, over a period of centuries before Christ came among us. It is not inconceivable, therefore, even without much extant historical evidence, that deliberate tampering might have taken place.

    David

    #22868
    Profile photo of cosbap
    cosbap
    Participant
    @cosbap

    Thanks David, that’s very interesting. If the authority claims of the church check out, I suppose that would also count in favour of the unabridged bible.

    #22873
    Profile photo of David W. Emery
    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    Well, if the authority isn’t there, you are left with no way to determine the canon of the Scriptures and no way to determine their meaning. That would basically invalidate Christianity, wouldn’t it?

    David

    #22877
    Profile photo of cosbap
    cosbap
    Participant
    @cosbap

    I’ve heard claims like what you said above before, but didn’t agree because we could still be sure of the historical person of Jesus and facts like the resurrection. But I’m increasingly thinking that without the authority of the church, Jesus failed in part of what He promised. And that would make Him an incompetent Messiah and God. And that can’t be possible because an incompetent god is not god. So perhaps you’re right.

    #22879
    Profile photo of David W. Emery
    David W. Emery
    Keymaster
    @David W. Emery

    Exactly, cosbap. You admitted this situational possibility before privately, so I was certain that you understood its implications. If a Christian body lacks authority to decide issues like the canon of the Bible or its doctrinal content, this leaves the Christian believer without guidance: what is he to believe, how is he to live? Christianity drops dead at that point.

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