Can anyone help me with a clear, scholarly book on the Canon of Scripture and why the Catholic canon is correct?
I am reading an old English work, which I have now found to be a Protestant book, called “A Scholastic History of the Canon of the Holy Scripture” by the Right Reverend John Cosin, who was - I have found out - a Puritan. Cosin says that the Catholic Church’s Bible did not include the Deutero-Canonical (DC) books until Trent and that no one believed the DC books were Scripture until then. Cosin makes a number of impressive arguments from the failure of Paul and the apostles to rely on the DC books and the failure of early Fathers as to why no one accepted the DC books, to conclude that the Protestant canon is the true canon.
No doubt there is a Catholic explanation that will marshal the facts and explain why the Catholic Canon is correct.
I don’t have a book recommendation but I can tell you the above two claims are outright falsehoods. Every Church council that touched on the topic since the 4th century has included the deuterocanonical books in the list of the books of Scripture. These books were also part of the Jewish bible in Greek, the Septuagint (200 years before Christ) and parts of a few were found among the Dead Sea scrolls.
The facts run against the Puritan argument. First of all, the Scriptures do use the Deuterocanonical books, and in fact, here is a partial list of New Testament passages that quote the Deuterocanonical books. Not only that, but almost all of the Church Fathers and early Councils quoted from the Deuterocanonical books and accepted them as Scripture. This page has several good examples of this. If you go here, and scroll down about a third of the way down the page, you can see many more. A good book that summarizes all this evidence and documents usage of the Deuteros from the Bible and the Church Fathers is Gary Michuta’s “Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger”.
Another book recommendation…9] Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger
The Untold Story of the Lost Books of the Protestant Bible
by Gary Michuta
On Trent…Session Four, would state: “If anyone does not accept as sacred and canonical the aforesaid books in their entirety and with all their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate Edition, and knowingly and deliberately rejects the aforesaid traditions, let him be anathema.”
Meaning…what had been taught previously…or used or read in the mass previously…is what Trent canonized.
There were decided…in the local or regional Church councils (Synods) of Hippo, 393 A.D., and Carthage, around 400 A.D…and approved by the Popes and are considered official Church teachings by official Church councils. The Latin Vulgate (LV) version of the Bible by Saint Jerome was completed about 406 A.D. and included the deuterocanonical books.
By Pope Damasus…who had St. Jerome as his secretary (I think) and who would commission St. Jerome to translate the writings to Latin…who’s work would become the Latin Vulgate…and which would be the canon that other councils would say is the canon.
Another significant fact for you is that the Council of Florence in the Bull of Union with the Copts and Ethiopians Cantate Domino (1442 AD) aka “Decree for the Jacobites” (DS 1335) lists the same Canon for the OT that was affirmed at Trent.
That’s 75 years before Luther’s 95 Theses; and over 100 yrs before the Council of Trent even began.
Please note that the KJV of 1611 included the Deuterocanonical books under the title ‘Apocrapha’ (see kingjamesbibleonline.org/1611-Bible/) and were included in every protestant bible for almost 200 years!!!
Up until the 1880’s every Protestant Bible (not just Catholic Bibles) had 80 books, not 66! The inter-testamental books written hundreds of years before Christ called “The Apocrypha” were part of virtually every printing of the Tyndale-Matthews Bible, the Great Bible, the Bishops Bible, the Protestant Geneva Bible, and the King James Bible until their removal in the 1880’s! The original 1611 King James contained the Apocrypha, and King James threatened anyone who dared to print the Bible without the Apocrypha with heavy fines and a year in jail. Only for the last 120 years has the Protestant Church rejected these books, and removed them from their Bibles. This has left most modern-day Christians believing the popular myth that there is something “Roman Catholic” about the Apocrypha. There is, however, no truth in that myth, and no widely-accepted reason for the removal of the Apocrypha in the 1880’s has ever been officially issued by a mainline Protestant denomination.
Which while true also shows that, being called “Apocrapha,” they were, by definition, excluded from the Canon of inspired books normative for faith and morals.
The OP was about the Canon. Not which books are included in what is basically an appendix of “books which are not regarded as equal to the holy Scriptures, and yet are profitable and good to read.” (Luther)
I agree. But many people ask the question “Why are Catholic bibles bigger than Protestant bibles?”. This simply shows the SIZE was no different until recently. The only difference was where the books were found in the bible.