Why is the Catholic Bible larger than Protestant Bibles?
The simple answer is that the Protestant’s removed the The deuterocanonical.
A longer answer is here
I stopped reading after “wacky Catholic traditions” and “ornery Rome.”
You do realize that he was presenting the “The background to this theory”? He presented first what was propagated which he characterizes as a “myth” then goes on to present why it is a “myth”. He wasn’t saying the traditions were wacky nor that Rome was being ornery only this is how the “myth” was propagated.
Why did the Protestant reformers remove the Deuterocanonicals from the Bible?
Jesus used a 46-book Bible, which later became the Christian Old Testament.
They all did, back then.
At some point between 76 AD and 300 AD, the Jews removed several scrolls from their canon of Scripture, thus reducing it to 39 books, with two of the books actually shortened quite a bit, as well. (Daniel and Esther)
Christians continued to use the 46 book Old Testament, and added the 27-book New Testament in the early 400s AD.
It was not until some point in the early 1600s that Protestants changed their Old Testament to the later Jewish canon of 39 books, instead of the original 46 books that had been used by Jesus and the Apostles.
Even the early Protestants had no problem with the 46 book Old Testament, and the original King James Bible (the one with the warning about hands being cut off if you add or subtract from the Bible) had a 46 book Old Testament.
One theory is that the Protestants went with the shorter canon to save on printing costs, and because they didn’t think anyone would notice.
Its bigger because, in the Catholic tradition, the canon of scripture includes the seven books. known collectively as the Deuterocanonical books. Typically, Bibles used by protestant communions do not include these seven books, while canons of scripture in Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy include even more books.
The tradition of not including the Deuterocanonical books is primarily English language. Luther’s translation, for example, which is still prominent in German Lutheran settings, contains 74 books; the DC books mentioned above, and the Prayer of Manasseh.
The difference is in the Old Testament. The New Testament is identical.
Neither the Catholics added 7 books or Protestants deleted 7 books to/from the Old Testament. The Old Testament is the Bible for the Jews. So, when the Church wanted to translate the Bible, it is natural that they turned to the Jews for the Old Testament portion.
At the time Catholics standardised the Bible, the Jews were still using the Greek language Septuagint and we basically just lifted the Greek Septuagint for our Old Testament. By the time the Protestants came to translate their Bible 15 centuries later, the Jews have moved on to a different Hebrew version without the 7 books. (why: that’s a separate story)
The Septuagint also differed by locality and as such, the Orthodox, who also relied on the Jews for the Old Testament also ended with several different versions. Most of them have our 7 books and more. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the longest with 81 books in their Bible, compared to our 74 and the Protestant’s 67.
Does it make a difference? In the first place, one will be hard pressed to identify any significant doctrine that arises from those 7 books - so such, it is safe to say that the difference in the Bibles does not lead to any split in doctrines between the Churches.
Also, to the Catholics and Orthodox, it really doesn’t matter all that much which Bible you were to use because all scriptures are always read within the context Church teachings. After all, the Church is the one who determined the list of books to be included in the Bible and the criteria was whether they were consistent with the teachings of the Apostles (which one came first - the Church or the Bible?). So whichever book of the scripture you read they must always be read in the context of why they included there in the first place - which is Church teachings.
It is a big deal though to some non-Catholics, particularly those Evangelicals who believed in a literal interpretation of the Bible. Since I do not get into any serious theological debate with them (I only do it for the entertainment value - honest), the different Bibles is a non-issue to me.
It’s very long and complicated.
Basically, there was no fixed canon of Jewish scripture before 130 AD - different sects (Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, Zealots, etc.) all accepted different books, and Christians had a canon that they received from Christ and the apostles.
Around 130, in the wake of the Bar Kochba rebellion, Rab. Akiva promulgated what would become the official rabbinic canon, excluding the deuterocanonicals and the New Testament.
Because the (rabbinic) Jews didn’t accept these books, when Jerome was making a fresh translation from Hebrew to Latin, he was dubious about the status of these books. His comments were later seized upon, during the Protestant revolution, to relegate the Deuterocanon to a secondary status. Over the course of about three hundred years, they were relegated to an appendix, then eventually fell out of use.
A lot more can be said: I really, really recommend “Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger” by Gary Michuta. It’s a book-length treatment of the history of the development of the canon with a focus on the reasons behind the acceptance and later rejection by some of the deuterocanon.
I always recall the homily given by our priest on the origin of the Septuagint tradition of interpreting Sacred Scripture.
This is a true, documented event.
The Emperor of Egypt wanted the biggest library in the world. He called on 70 distinguished rabbis from Israel to provide him the correct Bible to use. So he separated all 70 rabbis from one another. They could not speak to one another during the time they compiled the bible.
When they were all finished, and I assume they had their scribes, when all 70 bibles were presented, every individual bible from each of the 70 bibles…were identical, in books, pages, paragraphs, phrases…word by word! This was a miracle. This is the Septuagint, written in the universal language then of Greek…the LXX Version that the Catholic Church has used.
The Septuagint tradition is that used…of course in Hebrew and Aramaic of Our Lord and the apostles and St. Paul. So we can be assured the Septuagint is the one inspired by the Holy Spirit that foretold and anticipated the Messiah as we know Him.
The Hebrew rabbis came together 200 years after Christ to assemble their bible…and this event was marked by much dissension and disagreement and did not foretell of the Messiah as we know Him…to this day they still anticipate the coming of the Messiah.
Martin Luther was seeking a ‘pure’ Hebrew version so he used this Hebrew interpretation although of course, he believed in Jesus Christ as the Messiah…
Great info! Thanks!
Is there a book that you would recommend that would explain in depth how and why the Protestants removed books from the Bible? Perhaps on Luther or apologetics? Thank you!!
I keep hearing about " why catholic bibles are bigger" think his name is Michuta.
There is a phrase in Tobit that talks about almsgiving in a way some protestants didn’t like:
Tobit 4:10 For almsgiving delivers from death and saves people from passing down to darkness.
I’ve “heard” that was a factor, but admit it is a bit of nitpicking.
I’ve also heard that neither Jesus nor the apostles ever quoted from the OT apocyrpha given as a reason why it was removed. Not sure if that is true.
Another reason I’ve heard is that the OT apocrypah isn’t in the Masoretic text. Not sure that is true either.
Just reasons I’ve heard on occasion. Sorry I haven’t read all previous posts to see if these have been raised already.
Certainly the Catholic view.
Th Protestant Reformers felt only the Hebrew Bible Old Testament was the “valid” one. Ironically, Luther wanted to also take Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation as well, but didn’t have support for the most part. The Catholic and Orthodox Bibles Old Testaments come from the Greek Septuagint which was composed by Greek speaking Jews in Alexandria in the first century B.C. Just so happened that their Canon was larger than what was in the Hebrew Scriptures, however many books in here were revered by Jews of the time, especially Wisdom of Solomon, and Sirach(Ben Sira). When Jerome translated the Greek and Hebrew into the Latin Vulgate, he did make note of this difference however every council ending with the Council of Trent reaffirmed these books. The only ones at Trent which were rejected yet placed in an appendix to the Latin Vulgate were The Prayer of Manasseh and 1 and 2 Esdras( 3 and 4 Esdras in Vulgate appendix.) With that said, Orthodox actually tend to have even more books than Catholics. Here is a list of the additional books and additions to books not found in Jewish therefore Protestant Old Testaments, and are called Deuterocanonical books, to note that they are inspired however have been questioned. ProtoCanonical books are accepted as all as Scripture.
Roman Catholic Bibles also have:
Additions to Esther (Vulgate Esther 10:4–16:24)
Wisdom (also called the Wisdom of Solomon)
Sirach (also called Ecclesiasticus)
Baruch, including the Letter of Jeremiah (Additions to Jeremiah in the Septuagint)
Additions to Daniel:
Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children (Vulgate Daniel 3:24–90)
Susanna (Vulgate Daniel 13, Septuagint prologue)
Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14, Septuagint epilogue)
Orthodox Bibles have all of these and generally also have:
1 Esdras( 3 Esdras in Latin Vulgate Appendix)note:Ezra-Nehemiah are 1 and 2 Esdras in Latin Vulgate.
Prayer of Manasseh
**2 Esdras( 4 Esdras in Latin Vulgate Appendix) is included in Slavonic Orthodox Bibles.
4 Maccabees appears in an appendix in Greek Orthodox Bibles. **
So that is the history of it, although much more complex this kind of sums it up. Entire books have been written on it, if you are curious as to a more complex reasoning of why this is, I suggest researching it, it is very interesting actually. The largest Canon is that of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church with 81 books including 1 Enoch and Jubilees.
Jesus or anybody else didn’t quote from Esther either and that’s still in there.
Tobit and 2 Macc did not coincide with Luther’s theology. And apparently neither did others like Revelation and James epistle as other reformers had to twist his arm to keep those in.
Luther appealed to Christ denying Jews for OT canon as everybody…and i mean everybody, considered septuagint canon for the first century.
He also appealed to objections of St. Jerome who later changed his view on the disputed books and dropped his objections.
the poster who asked the question identifies as a Catholic.
Smart move. Less to study too and lighter on the arm as well.