Could people know what Scripture was before the Church?

Ok. I will read the other thread. It looks like some guy named Patrick Madrid did a debate against a non Catholic and said that Trent passed over 1 Esdras in silence? Any clarity on what the Church says about this would be appreciated!


I’m pretty sure Hippo and Carthage had 1 Esdras and 2 Esdras (Ezra-Nehemiah) in their canon while Trent only had Ezra and Nehemiah. Madrid accepts this fact though I don’t know if he is speaking authoritatively from the Church on this matter. I would like to know what the Church says regarding this.

Same books, different names.

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Sorry I can’t paste the link to the other thread, but this Madrid guy (is he viable?) seems to say they passed over the book of 1 Esdras in silence at Trent.

  • Old Testament

  • Of the Old Testament: the five books of Moses, to wit, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Josue, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two of Paralipomenon, the first book of Esdras, and the second which is entitled Nehemias; Tobias, Judith, Esther, Job, the Davidical Psalter, consisting of a hundred and fifty psalms; the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Canticle of Canticles, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Jeremias, with Baruch; Ezechiel, Daniel; the twelve minor prophets, to wit, Osee, Joel, Amos, Abdias, Jonas, Micheas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, Aggaeus, Zacharias, Malachias; two books of the Machabees, the first and the second.

Bear in mind that “Esdras” is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Ezra, just as “Osee” = Hosea, “Abdias” = Obadiah, and so on.

I understand that Trent defined it with Ezra (Esdras) and nehemiah. But Hippo and Carthage had in their canon 1 Esdras and 2 Esdras (Ezra-Nehemiah).

This is why this Madrid guy says Trent passed over 1 Esdras in silence.

I figured out how to paste, sorry for the wait.

I guess my question is, did Trenton pass over 1 Esdras (or Esdras A) in silence as Madrid says?

I believe there is no consensus on when the Jewish canon was formed. Some would say it was formed after the NT. If this is true it would be incorrect to say the Church “added” these books.

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We don’t possess certain knowledge about the exact history of the formation of the Jewish canon, but from all accounts it was fully settled in its present form by AD 100 at the very latest. The Christian canon of the OT, in contrast, was still being debated as late as the pontificate of Damasus I (366-384), or possibly even later. Damasus was the pope who commissioned Jerome to produce his Latin translation that became known as the Vulgate.

So if it is true that ad100 is when the Jewish canon was fixed, then that is around 70 years after the Catholic Church was born. Hence it would be odd to say the Church has added books to the Jewish Canon.

But the Jewish canon is different from the Catholic canon and the Catholic Church did not define it’s canon until at leastthe 390s and even then it would have been only infallibly defines only at Trent

I’m not disputing this. So I agree when the Church defined the canon it has additional books to the Jewish canon. But the Jewish canon was defined after the Church has taken over the authority of defining canons. Hence it is odd to say the church “added” books which would give the impression that the church somehow changed the canon. It was never changed. It just wasn’t defined.

The analogy is if USA Canada Australia legislated new laws now, they have not added to the British common law. It’s a complete different authority!!!

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What do you mean by a canon that “wasn’t defined”? As I understand it, that’s what the word “canon” means, as applied to Sacred Scripture — a defined list of the books that have been formally accepted as divinely inspired or as truly reflecting the Word of God. If a list hasn’t yet been “defined”, it can’t properly be called a “canon.”

Happy to use your definition if you want.

My point is: (using your definition)

There was no canon when the Church was born. The church was given the authority to come up with a canon. The Jewish “canon” was not fixed until after this authority has been imparted to the church. Hence it would be odd to say the church added to a canon that never has the authority to be a canon. (From a Christian perspective of course. I don’t mean to be rude to my Jewish brothers and sisters). The Christian canon was defined infallibly at Trent. It did not “add” anything. It simply listed the books of the canon.

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You seem to be suggesting that there existed, at some point in history, a single canon shared by Jews and Christians together. Forgive me if I have misunderstood your post. I don’t think there was ever a single, shared canon. There is the Jewish canon, known as “the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings” (see my post #19 on this thread) and there is the Christian canon. Both of them were “defined,” though by different people and at different times.

Here’s another analogy

Boeing is building a new 797 plane. One of the design is it has 50 windows. It has all the plans. But it took 10 years to build.
Airbus comes along after Boeing was building it already but somehow manage to build something similar in 5 years but with only 48 windows.
After Boeing finally completed the plane, it would be odd to say Boeing added 2 windows!

No I thought it was you who is suggesting there was a shared canon. Definitely not me.

My original response to you was you said
“The church added books to the Jewish canon”
If they are separate canons how can one speak of adding to another canon? ( that’s why I had the USA vs British law analogy. They are separate jurisdictions.)

The starting point is a heap of scrolls in somebody’s library. Some of the scrolls are in Hebrew with bits in Aramaic, and the other scrolls are in Greek. A duly appointed committee of Bible scholars sit around a table to discuss the merits of each scroll, and they end up with an agreed list or canon. Until the moment they announced their decision, there had been no “canon”. There had only been an undifferentiated stack of scrolls, that had not yet been classified as either “canonical” or “uncanonical”.

Committees of that kind met in different places at different times, though the Jewish and Christian committees always met separately, never together. Each committee defined its own canon. The Jewish canon is older and shorter, the Christian canon is newer and longer. Can we at least agree on that sequence of historical events?

Authority is more important than sequence. See my Boeing vs airbus analogy.

But yes if you want I agree with the sequence.

But the way it should be put is at the very very minimum: the church later added the missing 7 books. (Even this has some problems)

Or better still the church later corrected the Old Testament canon. (Even this is not perfect)

Or even better still the church later defined the canon. Full stop. Whatever other groups ( whether Jews Protestants or Mormons) do is irrelevant, whether they did it first or later does not matter, because they simply don’t have the authority.

Boeing & Airbus.―I don’t think that’s a good analogy, because the windows in one aircraft are not the same as the windows in the other aircraft. But the book of Judges, for instance, in the Jewish Bible is the same as the book of Judges in the Christian Bible. They are not different books.

You are saying that the Jewish canon is “unauthorized,” meaning, presumably, unauthorized by the Church. Fair enough―the rabbis never claimed to be acting under papal authority. So we start off with an “unauthorized” Jewish canon and we end up with an “authorized” Catholic canon. All the books that are listed in the earlier, “unauthorized” Jewish canon are also found in the later, “authorized” Catholic canon. But the Catholic canon also includes some books that are absent from the Jewish canon.

Are we agreed on those historical facts so far?

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