Deuterocanonical books

How would we explain to someone who is not Catholic but might be another Christian that the 7 so called extra books are not extra? Because I talked into Google and one of the first things that came up not the very first thing but one of them was from a website called Got Questions and explaining why the deuterocanonical books are not reliable. Obviously I disagree with this “fact” and am a really big fan of first and second Maccabees. What would you tell folks that question their inclusion in the Bible?

I think most people recognize the historical evidence that there were in fact councils/synods that were held in the early church such as Hippo and Carthage but are not willing to believe these councils had anything to do with the decision of the canon. So my question to them is what was the purpose or fruit of these councils if not to aid in the decision. Another question that is hard to thoroughly answer is why did the first KJV and Luther’s first versions have the deutros in them? I have not yet had anyone produce a bible, prior to the reformation, without the deutros in it.


This may or may not help but what I like to do when people point out that the Jewish Cannon does not include the deuterocanonical books I like to point out that the Ethiopian Jewish Cannon does not follow the Palestinian Cannon so obviously Jews did not have a universal Cannon and still don’t. Of course some folks will argue to death that you are wrong and not even knowing the Ethiopian Jews exist

Check out the main Catholic Answers website - there will be many things there to search. Lots of resources.

Can’t speak for the KJV, but Luther’s position was that they would good and proper for Christians to know. In his prefaces, he speaks very highly of most of them, 2 Macc and Baruch being exceptions.
Despite some of the apologetics revolving around the topic, Luther made the effort to include them because that was the practice and tradition of the western Church. He also included the Prayer of Manasseh, not because he thought it was canon, but because he thought it was uniquely valuable. I couldn’t agree more.


Jon I’m curious, if he felt drawn to enough to Manasseh to include it knowing it was not canonical, what is there to keep him from discarding those he was not fond of that are not supposed to be canonical? Why would anyone include books they are not fond of if they are not canonical? I can understand including only those I am fond of in my collection of non-canonical bible books, assuming I have the authority to make that decision.


I would argue that Luther accepted the deuterocanical books as canonical

I guess I did not realize this and this would answer the op a bit more directly.:thumbsup:


That’s NOT his position.

He didn’t use “deutero canonical” he used “apocrypha” for those 7 books. and apocrypha is NOT scripture

Luther’s quote

Apocrypha “books not equal to the Holy Scriptures, yet useful and good to read,%between%

Nope as Luther called Sirach scripture 12 times , Wisdom 5 times , 1 Macc two times , and called Judith a holy book , he also valued the Prater of Mannaseh very highly, and lastly his canon has 74 books , so he effectively held 74 books to be canonical but held some of the deuterocanical books to be disputed , so he called them apocrypha , but he didn’t deny their canonicity.

Where’s the quotes all properly referenced?

As for his canon, I’ll grab a few past conversations, to follow :slight_smile:

Luther’s quote,
Apocrypha “[FONT=Comic Sans MS]books not equal to the Holy Scriptures, yet useful and good to read,

click on the image. You’ll see the books listed in Lut[FONT=&quot]her’s 1545 bible

[FONT=&quot]39 OT boo[FONT=&quot]ks, 27 NT books, 9 apocr[FONT=&quot]ypha books (not scriptural books) [/FONT][/FONT]



I’m not speaking for Starwarsfan2. He can speak for himself.
The term canon has differing meanings. Cardinal Cajetan, Luther opponent, also denies that the DC books are equal to the attested books of the OT.

Here we close our commentaries on the historical books of the Old Testament. For the rest (that is, Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees) are counted by St Jerome out of the canonical books, and are placed amongst the Apocrypha, along with Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, as is plain from the Prologus Galeatus.Nor be thou disturbed, like a raw scholar, if thou shouldest find anywhere, either in the sacred councils or the sacred doctors, these books reckoned as canonical. For the words as well of councils as of doctors are to be reduced to the correction of Jerome. Now, according to his judgment, in the epistle to the bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus, these books (and any other like books in the canon of the bible) are not canonical, that is, not in the nature of a rule for confirming matters of faith.

Prior to Trent, even Cardinals had the Christian liberty to count them “out of the canonical books”. I believe that Luther’s and Cajetan’s views on this subject were similar.
Cajetan goes a step further, and again, I believe Luther would have concurred:

Yet, they may be called canonical, that is, in the nature of a rule for the edification of the faithful, as being received and authorized in the canon of the bible for that purpose. By the help of this distinction thou mayest see thy way clearly through that which Augustine says, and what is written in the provincial council of Carthage.

Luther’s quote, which you mentioned earlier, seems to confirm this view.


EDIT: I neglected to add that, from what I can tell, Starwarsfan2 and I share similar views regarding the DC books, that they are canon, and more than in just the ecclesiastical sense thought by Cajetan and Luther, and that as Lutherans, we are within our Christian liberty to do so now, just as they were then.

They are in luthers works vol 55

Also of Judith he called it a book written by a prophet in its 1534 preface .

Hi Jon,

Can you help me understand to what this extent this liberty may extend?

If a Christian had the “liberty” to remove books from a collection prior to Trent, which I believe you do not believe to be ecumenical, and they have this same liberty now, does this mean you believe they can be “justified” by removing even more now?

I put liberty and justified in quotes to focus your attention on their differences which I’m sure you are aware of. Sure they had the liberty to remove the books as we all have the liberty to do many unjust things then and now, but how were/are they justified in doing so either then or now? To what end does this justification extend? If we can remove them then surly we can also change and/or modify them as well, right?


I think Jon is, as my grandma used to say, telling a story. The only person I can think of in terms of traditional Christianity, that you might be able to get away with saying something like that is St Jerome. Although he never said the deuterocanonical books were not Cannon. What he said was some of the Jews of the time did not accept it as Cannon. I would like to see actual evidence of this before the Reformation. Now you could argue that Orthodox Bible have a different Cannon, which is true but they seemed to have not been well defined until fairly late in the Christian history. Well after the Catholic Church adopted the Deuterocannon I happen to know a good bit about the subject, in fact I even told one of my Protestant friends that her Bible was incomplete I guess she got the abridged version. Of course throwing books out of the Bible is the only way you can justify sola scriptura.

First, the issue is not one of adding books or throwing them out. There are some who claim the CC added books at Trent. I dispute that claim because the DC books are historically part of our faith tradition. By the same, Lutheranism does not subtract books, but looks at the historical reputation they have: attested, disputed, rejected.
Second, my Christian liberty does not extend beyond what the Church allows, nor does it impact how the Church determines doctrine . Luther is known for having, essentially, a canon within the canon, books that he valued more than others. I do, too, though they may not be mutually inclusive.
The history of the Church shows various points of view on the books, and various communions have always had differing canons. It might be nice to have a canon accepted by all Christians, but I’m not sure that will happen anytime soon.


Before I respond, two questions:
1- when you say I am telling a story, what do you mean?
2- what do you mean by your last charge regarding sola scriptura?


Sense the “church”, as you would define, has differing canons and you don’t see this church having a unified canon by all Christians anytime soon, isn’t it just as possible for this church to continue to evolve its canon with even more differences as opposed to becoming more unified? How is this not possible?


Actually, I don’t. Each Christian responds to the practices and teachings of their traditions within the One True Church. So, you, being in communion with the Bishop of Rome, respond to the teaching of your communion. As a LCMS Lutheran, I respond to mine. Orthodox Christian communions are not likely to evolve beyond the confines of the historic Church. With less orthodox communions, I think their view of the canon is only symptomatic of a larger problem.


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