Deuterocanonical Writings

Q. I don’t believe in the lineage of the papacy either so that is not a solid argument.

A. You don’t believe the lineage of the papacy on what grounds? The lineage is historical fact.

Q. The catechism is man made laws and traditions that have absolutely no bearing on ones salvation. They are simply tradition and can not be held to the same standard as God’s word.

A. From what you have written I can tell that you have never read the Catholic Catechism. All it is, is a book of systematic theology. The Faith is simply systematically explained in an orderly and reasonable way. Even my Protestant pastor found no fault with what the Catechism taught. The Bible, inspired and precious as it is, is a collection of historical, poetic, apocalyptic, & pastoral writings. The Bible can in no way be imagined to be a book of Systematic Theology. Both Protestant and Catholic Seminaries have classes on Systematic Theology. So, the Catechism is our book of systematic theology for everyone to use. I am sure the theologians have more complex volumes.

Q. We Protestants and Catholics have the same New Testament. It is the old testament canon that is in question.

A. True.

Q. The 7 added books or apocrypha were written during a period in which the ‘prophetic voices’ were silent.

A. Where in Scripture does it say that the Prophetic voices were silent? Contrary to this statement, the seven books were removed by the Jews in 100AD from their scriptures and by Martin Luther in the 1500’s from the Christian scriptures. The Catholic Church did not add them at all. At the time of Christ the Greek version of the OT, the Septuagint, was in use among the Jews. The Catholic Church simply adopted them as they were. Please see my POST Did the Catholic Church add books to the Bible?.

Q. There is a 400 year period from the writing of Malachi until the beginning of the N.T. in which God was silent hence no inspired writing could have possibly taken place.

A. What scripture says that God was silent for 400 years? This is just not true. It is a Protestant interpretation of history in order to justify exclusion of the deuterocanonical writings.

Q. This conclusion came from the Jews themselves. The jews do not and have never considered the apocrypha inspired.

A. That is probably partly because they have actually never canonized their scriptures to determine which books are deemed to be inspired. See: The Council that Wasn’t. Their Feast of Hanukkah comes straight out of Maccabees, one of the Deuterocanonical Writings. We simply adopted the Jewish Scriptures that had been translated into Greek, known as the Septuagint.

Below are some quotes from The Council That Wasn’t:

The challenges to canonicity at Jabneh (Jamnia) involved only Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon, but the debate over the canon continued past Jabneh, even into the second and third centuries. Even the Hebrew canon accepted by Protestants today was disputed by the Jews for two hundred years after Christ.

A specific discussion of acceptance at Jabneh is attested only for the books of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. Even so, arguments regarding these books persisted in Judaism centuries after the Jabneh period. There were also subsequent debates about Esther.We know of no books that were excluded at Jabneh. In fact, Sirach, which was read and copied by Jews after the Jabneh period, did not eventually become part of the standard Hebrew Bible (cf. Raymond Edward Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and Roland Edmund Murphy, The Jerome Biblical Commentary [Prentice-Hall, 1996, c. 1968], vol. 2, 522).

Although Christian authors seem to think in terms of a formal council at Jabneh, there was no such thing. There was a school for studying the Law at Jabneh, and the rabbis there exercised legal functions in the Jewish community. Not only was there no formal council, there is no evidence that any list of books was drawn up at Jabneh.

Q. Why not canonical? Unger’s Bible Dictionary states the reasons for being excluded from the Hebrew canon are:
1. They abound in historical and geographical inaccuracies and anachronisms
2. They teach doctrines that are false and foster practices that are at variance with inspired Scripture
3. They resort to literary types and displays an artificiality of subject matter and styling out of keeping with inspired Scripture
4. They lack the distinctive elements that give genuine Scripture its divine character, such as prophetic power and poetic religous feeling (Unger, NUBD, 85)

A. These are the Deuterocanonical writings. Or Second Canon. They are NOT as important as the rest of the canon. The Church simply received them from the Jews. They did not canonize them individually on their own merits. I would be interested in specifics passages of these book that Unger is talking about in his four points. Otherwise they are merely assertions that we are unable to evaluate based on actual data.

For more on the Canon click–>Five Myths about the Seven Books