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Canons of scripture

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  • Canons of scripture

    Since this subject has been up for talk lately. Thought I'd post some info on "canon" in relation to scripture as it's known in the different Christian religions.
    I'm going to post some info from the Wiki site and it can go from there.

    Let's start with the term "Deuterocanonical" and what that means in catholicism.

    Deuterocanonical is a term first coined in 1566 by the converted Jew and Catholic theologian Sixtus of Siena to describe scriptural texts of the Old Testament whose canonicity was defined for Catholics by the Council of Trent, but which had been omitted from some early canons, especially in the East. Their acceptance among early Christians was not universal, but regional councils in the West published official canons that included these books as early as the fourth and fifth centuries.[1]

    The deuterocanonical scriptural texts are:

    * Tobit
    * Judith
    * Additions to Esther (Vulgate Esther 10:4-16:24, but see also Esther in the NAB)
    * Wisdom
    * Ben Sira, also called Sirach or Ecclesiasticus
    * Baruch, including the Letter of Jeremiah (Additions to Jeremiah in the Septuagint[2])
    * Additions to Daniel:
    o Song of the Three Children (Vulgate Daniel 3:24-90)
    o Story of Susanna (Vulgate Daniel 13, Septuagint prologue)
    o The Idol Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14, Septuagint epilogue)
    * 1 Maccabees
    * 2 Maccabees

    There is a great deal of overlap between the Apocrypha section of the 1611 King James Bible and the Catholic deuterocanon, but the two are distinct. The Apocrypha section of the King James Bible includes, in addition to the deuterocanonical books, the following three books, which were not declared canonical by Trent:

    * 1 Esdras (also known as 3 Esdras)
    * 2 Esdras (also known as 4 Esdras)
    * Prayer of Manasses

    These three books alone make up the Apocrypha section of the Clementine Vulgate, where they are specifically described as "outside of the series of the canon". The 1609 Douai Bible includes them in an appendix, but they are not included in recent Catholic Bibles. They are found, along with the deuterocanonical books, in the Apocrypha section of Protestant bibles.


    Term used outside of catholicism

    Using the word apocrypha (Greek: hidden away) to describe texts, although not necessarily pejorative, implies to some people that the writings in question should not be included in the canon of the Bible. This classification commingles them with certain other gospels and New Testament Apocrypha. The Style Manual for the Society of Biblical Literature recommends the use of the term deuterocanonical literature instead of Apocrypha in academic writing.

    Outside of Roman Catholicism, the term deuterocanonical is sometimes used, by way of analogy, to describe books that Eastern Orthodoxy, and Oriental Orthodoxy included in the Old Testament that are not part of the Jewish Tanakh, nor the Protestant Old Testament. Among Orthodox, the term is understood to mean that they were composed later than the Hebrew Bible.

    In the Amharic Bible used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (an Oriental Orthodox Church), those books of the Old Testament that are still counted as canonical, but not by all other Churches, are often set in a separate section titled "Deeyutrokanoneekal" (ዲዩትሮካኖኒካል), which is the same word. These books include, in addition to the standard set listed above, some books that are still held canonical by only the Ethiopian Church, including Henok (I Enoch) and Kufale (Jubilees). However, the "Books of Maccabees" found there are entirely different works from those used by any other Church, with no resemblance apart from the titles.


    And here is Eastern Orthodox.

    The Eastern Orthodox Church has traditionally included all the books of the Septuagint in its Old Testament. Regional differences have generally been based on different variations of the Septuagint, as some include more than others.

    The Greeks use the word Anagignoskomena to describe those books of the Greek Septuagint which are not present in the Hebrew Tanakh. These books include the entire Roman Catholic deuterocanon listed above, plus the following additional texts:

    * 3 Maccabees
    * 4 Maccabees
    * 1 Esdras (also included in the Clementine Vulgate)
    * Odes which includes the Prayer of Manasses
    * Psalm 151

    Like the Catholic deuterocanonical books, these texts are integrated with the rest of the Old Testament, not printed in a separate section. Most Protestant Bible versions exclude these books. It is widely believed that Judaism officially excluded the deuterocanonicals and the additional Greek texts listed here from their Scripture in the Council of Jamnia around the year 100 A.D., but this claim is also disputed.[9]

    The various Orthodox churches generally include these (originally Greek) texts, and some add the Psalms of Solomon. In these churches, 4 Maccabees is often relegated to an appendix, because it has certain tendencies approaching pagan thought.

    In Ethiopian Orthodoxy, a denominational family within Oriental Orthodoxy, there is also a strong tradition of studying the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees. Enoch is mentioned by the author of the New Testament book Jude(1:14-15).

    I've read Enoch and Jubilees and IMHO they are fine for reading.

    And the deuterocanonical NT books.

    The term deuterocanonical is sometimes used to describe the canonical antilegomena, those books of the New Testament which, like the deuterocanonicals of the Old Testament, were not universally accepted by the early Church, but which are now included in the 27 books of the New Testament recognized by almost all Christians. The deuterocanonicals of the New Testament are as follows:

    * The Book of Hebrews
    * The Second Epistle of Peter
    * The Second Epistle of John
    * The Third Epistle of John
    * The Epistle of James
    * The Epistle of Jude
    * The Apocalypse of John

    info from Wiki

    As one can see, deuterocanonical books are not books that are not part of the canon of scripture. It is a misconception to think such.

  • #2
    The debate as to the canon is an interesting adjunct to the notion of "sola scriptura"

    A simple take on "sola scriptura" (and I'm prepared to be corrected) is that we must go to scripture alone for the source of all our doctrines and beliefs.

    This is nice when we know what scripture is.

    But what happens when there is disagreement as to scripture?

    Well, I've heard it now and again that the deuterocanon is to be rejected on the grounds that it teaches things outside of scripture! So now we find that what is said is that we can decide what is scripture by examining the teachings in the work and finding them wanting!

    This is now becoming "sola doctrina", so by doctrines we can decide what is scripture.

    But no, if all our doctrines come from scripture, then we cannot use doctrines to decide what is scripture.

    "Sola scriptura" cannot decide the issue since scripture really doesn't say what is scripture.


    • #3
      Jhn 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.