Author Topic: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books  (Read 4011 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« on: October 30, 2020, 02:26:30 PM »
Rather than continue the thread drift discussion on the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books, I'm starting a discussion on those books; and perhaps, more generally, on the Canon.


There is not a uniform Canon of Scriptures. The Protestant Bible has 66 books in the Old Testament. The Roman Catholic Bible has 73 books in the Old Testament. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has 81 books in their Old Testament.


An interesting book about the early history of Christian Scriptures is When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible, by Timothy Michael Law. He argues that we should be studying the Septuagint [LXX] for at least three reasons.


1. It sheds light on the development of Jewish thought between the third century BCE and the first century CE. It helps us understand Hellenistic Judaism which was the world of Jesus and the apostles.


2. While the Old Testament translations of our English Bibles comes from the Hebrew, the writers of the New Testament and the early church most often used the LXX. I add that our order of books follows the order in the LXX rather than the Hebrew Tanakh.


3. Not only was the Septuagint the "Bible" of the early church, but its theology was shaped by it and not by the Hebrew Bible.


We are also recognizing that sometimes the LXX preserves an older form of the Hebrew Text.


The issue of the LXX is important because that's where the additional books come from. They were part of the early church's scriptures from the very beginning.


A shift occurred with Jerome's Latin translation in 391 (to replace the Old Latin translation) where he used the Hebrew (a language he was one of the few Roman clerics to have learned) rather than the Greek. He believed that the Old Latin, based on the LXX was full of contradictions and errors that would be corrected by returning to the truth of the Hebrew. He was the one who used the term "Apocrypha" for those additional books in the LXX. He wanted to put them in a separate section.


Law writes: "Outside of a small population of Christians who had been using the Syriac Peshitta based on the Hebrew Bible, it was the first time in Christian history that a Bible other than or not based on the Septuagint was promoted for use in the church. For four hundred years most Christians had heard and read from the Septuagint and its daughter translations." (p. 161)



Augustine opposed Jerome's approach. He stated that the Hebrew Bible belonged to the Jews and the Septuagint to the church. He didn't believe the LXX's language should be changed to correspond to the Hebrew when there were differences. He also didn't believe Jerome's Hebrew language skills were sufficient to do a proper translation.


It should also be noted that Augustine was in North Africa, the birthplace of the LXX. Jerome was working in Bethlehem, where there were Hebrew resources and rabbinical scholars to help him.


Jerome gave the Western Church an Old Testament based on the Hebrew (with the additional books from the LXX); but perhaps even more importantly, he began an argument about the search for the original text. The Eastern Church didn't get caught up in this debate. They continue to use the LXX as the basis for their Old Testament; and why they have even more Old Testament books than the "Catholic Bibles."


The attached chart shows connections between Old Testament texts. The LXX is closer to the lost original than the Mt, which is the basis for the Hebrew used in translations today.

"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2020, 02:54:18 PM »
The Revised Common Lectionary that many in the ELCA and other denominations are using includes readings from the Apocrypha.


Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24 Proper 8 / Lectionary 13 B
Wisdom 1:16-2:1, 12-22   Proper 20 / Lectionary 25 B
Wisdom 3:1-9                   All Saints B
Wisdom 6:12-16               Proper 27 / Lectionary 32 A
Wisdom 6:17-20               Proper 27 / Lectionary 32 A (response)
Wisdom 7:26-8:1              Proper 19 / Lectionary 24 B
Wisdom 10:15-21              Christmas 2 ABC (response)
Wisdom 12:13, 16-19        Proper 11 / Lectionary 16 A
Sirach 10:12-18                Proper 17 / Lectionary 22 C
Sirach 15:15-20                Epiphany 6 A
Sirach 24:1-12                  Christmas 2 ABC
Sirach 27:4-7                    Epiphany 8 C
Sirach 35:12-17                 Proper 25 / Lectionary 30 C
Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4        Easter Vigil ABC
Baruch 5:1-9                      Advent 2 C

"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Richard Johnson

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2020, 02:58:51 PM »
But always with canonical alternatives, right?
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2020, 04:36:14 PM »
But always with canonical alternatives, right?


Yes.


I wonder: what does “canonical” mean for Lutherans? Since we don’t have a closed canon, can we talk about a canon? Are the Apocrypha part of our canon? Do we have a canon within a canon - Romans and Galatians being more authoritative for our theology than James, Hebrews, or Revelation?
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2020, 05:41:02 PM »
An Appendix in Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th Revised Edition lists "Places cited or alluded." A number of allusions (and a few cites) come from the Apocrypha and OT Pseudepigrapha. Below are the number of verses in the NT that have allusions to these non-canonical writings. I'm using the Latin titles that are in the appendix.


LOCI CITATI VEL ALLEGATI
 
Esdrae III – 3
Esdrae IV – 46
Machabaeorum I – 25
Machabaeorum II – 49
Machabaeorum III – 11
Machabaeorum IV – 39
Tobias – 44
Judth – 15
Susanna – 3
Bel et Draco – 2
Baruch I – 12
Baruch II – 40
Baruch IV – 4
Epistula Jeremiae – 1
Siracides – 153
Sapientia Salomonis – 116
Liber Jubilaeorum – 39
Martyrium Isaiae – 4
Psalmi Salomonis – 39
Enoch I – 125
Enoch II – 1
Josephus et Aseneth - 8
Assumptio Mosis - 9
Apocalypsis Abraham - 2
Apocalypsis Eliae - 15
Testamentum Job - 9
Testamenta XII Patriarcharum
            Testamentum Ruben - 3
            Testamentum Simeonis - 1
            Testamentum Levi - 8
            Testamentum Judae - 1
            Testamentum Issachar - 5
            Testamentum Zabulon - 2
            Testamentum Dan - 3
            Testamentum Naphtali - 6
            Testamentum Joseph - 4
            Testamentum Benjamin - 3
Vita Adae et Evae - 1
Vitae Prophetarum - 3

An understanding of these writings is helpful for understanding what's in the NT.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

MEKoch

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2020, 10:14:08 AM »
CPH in 2012 produced The Apocrypha - The Lutheran Edition with notes.   I have read it and consider a most worthy effort.  A study guide accompanies the volume for use with lay persons.

Now about your discussion points, which are fascinating, I would have to re-read the volume and many other sources. 

Accompanying the above volume is Introduction to the Intertestamental Period by Raymond Surburg (1975).  It is also enlightening and worthy to read. 

CPH also produced: Time Between the Testaments in their LifeLight series for lay persons.  Lay people are quite interested in this subject.

And we are not even talking about the NT Apocrypha...........


Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2020, 01:40:14 PM »
CPH in 2012 produced The Apocrypha - The Lutheran Edition with notes.   I have read it and consider a most worthy effort.  A study guide accompanies the volume for use with lay persons.

Now about your discussion points, which are fascinating, I would have to re-read the volume and many other sources. 

Accompanying the above volume is Introduction to the Intertestamental Period by Raymond Surburg (1975).  It is also enlightening and worthy to read. 

CPH also produced: Time Between the Testaments in their LifeLight series for lay persons.  Lay people are quite interested in this subject.

And we are not even talking about the NT Apocrypha...........


The Church has not accepted the NT Apocrypha as Scripture. However, some groups place more importance on them than others, e.g., St. Anne, the mother of Mary.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

James J Eivan

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2020, 02:48:24 PM »
But always with canonical alternatives, right?
Yes.
I wonder: what does “canonical” mean for Lutherans? Since we don’t have a closed canon, can we talk about a canon?
Seems like when the cannon was discussed in youth confirmation, that there were various groups/committees responsible for establishing the current canon ... and though working independently, they arrived at the same canon. 

Not inspired in the same manner as scripture for sure .. but certainly Divine Intervention of the Lord .. including agreement to exclude the Apocrypha.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2020, 02:50:39 PM by James »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2020, 03:18:28 PM »
But always with canonical alternatives, right?
Yes.
I wonder: what does “canonical” mean for Lutherans? Since we don’t have a closed canon, can we talk about a canon?
Seems like when the cannon was discussed in youth confirmation, that there were various groups/committees responsible for establishing the current canon ... and though working independently, they arrived at the same canon. 

Not inspired in the same manner as scripture for sure .. but certainly Divine Intervention of the Lord .. including agreement to exclude the Apocrypha.

Who agreed to exclude the Apocrypha?

As it is, there are four major canons of Old Testament Scriptures: the Jewish Bible, the Protestant (without the Apocrypha), the Roman Catholic with Deuterocanonical Books, and the Orthodox, that includes a few more books than the Roman Catholics. No one arrived at the same canon. A chart of these books is attached.


You might be thinking of the Septuagint. Legend says that 70 scholars worked separately to translate the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek and all 70 translations agreed.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2020, 03:26:04 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2020, 03:38:35 PM »
According to a footnote in What Luther Says, he preached at least three sermons on the Apocrypha Book, Ecclesiasticus [also known as Sirach] 15:1-9, which was a lesson for the Day of St. John the Evangelist, December 27. The footnote goes on: "The Council of Trent (1545-63) arbitrarily declared the Old Testament Apocrypha canonical. Meanwhile Luther had indeed also translated them for his German Bible, but had superscribed them: 'Books that are not to be regarded as the equal of Holy Scriptures, but are nonetheless profitable and good to read.'" (p. 1512)

A Wiki article on "Luther's Canon" it says:

Luther considered Hebrews, James, Jude, and the Revelation to be "disputed books", which he included in his translation but placed separately at the end in his New Testament published in 1522. This group of books begins with the book of Hebrews, and in its preface Luther states, "Up to this point we have had to do with the true and certain chief books of the New Testament. The four which follow have from ancient times had a different reputation."

And it further quotes Luther:

St. John's Gospel and his first Epistle, St. Paul's Epistles, especially those to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and St. Peter's Epistle—these are the books which show to thee Christ, and teach everything that is necessary and blessed for thee to know, even if you were never to see or hear any other book of doctrine. Therefore, St. James' Epistle is a perfect straw-epistle compared with them, for it has in it nothing of an evangelic kind."

Thus, we might think that Luther's view of and comments about the Apocrypha puts them in the same category as James, Hebrew, Jude, and Revelation. Lutherans do not consider all biblical books to be of equal value in determining our theology.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

James J Eivan

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2020, 07:27:14 PM »
Precisely my belief ...

Quote
Books that are not to be regarded as the equal of Holy Scriptures, but are nonetheless profitable and good to read.'

They are not to be included in the pericopes from the lectern ... a text for a sermon in the pulpit ... nor the primary topic for any Bible Class of the Church.

By the way ... the canon of which I spoke was the only canon that was in use by the LCMS congregation at which I was confirmed ... comprised of 66 books ... no more ... no less.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2020, 01:59:00 AM »
Precisely my belief ...

Quote
Books that are not to be regarded as the equal of Holy Scriptures, but are nonetheless profitable and good to read.'

They are not to be included in the pericopes from the lectern ... a text for a sermon in the pulpit ... nor the primary topic for any Bible Class of the Church.


Someone forgot to tell Martin Luther this.

Quote
By the way ... the canon of which I spoke was the only canon that was in use by the LCMS congregation at which I was confirmed ... comprised of 66 books ... no more ... no less.


That "canon" was created, not by the LCMS, nor the Lutheran church, but by Bible publishers who excluded the Apocrypha from their publications. I don't know that any church body (and certainly not Lutherans,) every officially removed them from the covers of the Holy Bible.


Oh, and as mentioned before, the LCMS continued to print Benedicite Omnia Opera, also known as The Song of the Three Children (or Three Young Men), which comes from the Apocrypha. It's on page 120 of The Lutheran Hymnal of 1941; Canticle 9 in Lutheran Worship; #930 & #931 in Lutheran Service Book.

This song and the Prayer of Azariah are part of the Greek additions to the Book of Daniel.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2020, 08:54:57 AM »
CPH in 2012 produced The Apocrypha - The Lutheran Edition with notes.   I have read it and consider a most worthy effort.  A study guide accompanies the volume for use with lay persons.

Now about your discussion points, which are fascinating, I would have to re-read the volume and many other sources. 

Accompanying the above volume is Introduction to the Intertestamental Period by Raymond Surburg (1975).  It is also enlightening and worthy to read. 

CPH also produced: Time Between the Testaments in their LifeLight series for lay persons.  Lay people are quite interested in this subject.

And we are not even talking about the NT Apocrypha...........

Thanks for the kind mention of these publications. I was on the teams that developed them, which did a great job, facilitated by Surburg's earlier work.

I'm just finishing a chronological reading of the Old Testament and will start on the Apocrypha. Reading them is the best way to understand what God was doing with and for His people before He sent His Son. Great Advent reading.
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Michael Slusser

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2020, 10:03:12 AM »
Who agreed to exclude the Apocrypha?

Whoever decided that the OT could include only books which were translated from the Hebrew.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: The Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2020, 12:24:05 PM »
Who agreed to exclude the Apocrypha?

Whoever decided that the OT could include only books which were translated from the Hebrew.

Peace,
Michael

I think language was not such a barrier as was content. After all, the NT was not written in Hebrew (except perhaps Matthew, though no one has a copy).
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