Gutenberg Bible Proof?

Isn’t the Gutenberg bible proof that the Catholic Church did not add the Deuterocanonical books to the bible, since it included them? Since the Gutenberg bible was printed in 1455, and the reformation occurred 100 years later, it is evidence that the Deuterocanonical books were considered sacred scripture.

Was there any significant opposition to the Gutenberg bible because it included the Deuterocanonical books?

How can Protestants refute this fact?

Actually, I think the Protestant accusation is that Catholics added the books much earlier, perhaps at the Council of Rome in 382 A.D. So, the fact that the 15th-century Gutenberg Bible has the deuterocanonical books does not disprove their accusation. By the way, there is an extant Greek Bible manuscript known as the Codex Alexandrinus which includes the deuterocanonical books and it dates to around 400 A.D.

Since the Deuterocanonical books ARE included in the Greek Septuagint which was translated by the top hebrew scholars of it’s time.
Started in the 3rd Century BCE (yes that’s right Before Jesus’s Birth) and completed by 132 BCE.
The claim that the Catholic Church added anything to the Old Testament is totally BASELESS! :rolleyes:

1400 years after the fact in order to justify their novel interpretation of scripture some books of the OT were shall we say unconfortable to the positions adopted by these new interpreters.
Why it is a fact that someone wanted to eject the Gospel of James! It is a miracle they did not completely rewrite the Bible (Old and New) ti suit their theology!!

Erm, subtle correction here.

(1) The ‘Septuagint’ originally only referred to a Greek translation of the five books of Moses, the Torah, made in the 3rd century BC. You really have to blame the Church Fathers for muddling up the definition of the word: they generally applied the ‘Septuagint’ label to any Greek translation of sacred Jewish literature they encountered, which is why we generally do the same nowadays.

(2) There was no closed ‘canon’ to speak of yet. It’s not like people had scrolls or books that contained all the Jewish writings considered to be sacred/authoritative a la our modern Bibles. (It would be Christians in the 4th century who’d begin to experiment with that, and even then, since such a book would be difficult and time-consuming to copy by hand, full Bibles were rare before Gutenberg came.)

If you ask a person from back then, “how many books are there in the Bible?” he’d probably greet you with a funny look. Jews already recognized certain documents or writings like the Torah or Isaiah or Psalms (“the Law and the Prophets”) as having a sort of special status and being a part of their (national) heritage, but I don’t think they have gotten around to connecting them all together into a single category yet.

So there was no single collection of ‘Scriptural’ books known as ‘Septuagint’ floating around in Jesus’ time. What you had was different, independent Greek translations of Jewish literature and Greek literature composed by Jews.

Please quote your sources for these asseverations.

Most serious biblical scholars attest that St. Paul references the LXX as the Septuagint is called in several of his epistles as well as Jesus himself.

Thank you.

It’s easy. Just read The Letter of Aristeas, as well as Philo and Josephus (Antiquities 12.1-118), some of our earliest sources for the legend of the seventy-two translators. They keep referring to the work being translated as “the Law.” The Jews actually kept the correct identification; it’s just us Christians who have extended the term.

For it was taught: King Ptolemy gathered seventy-two elders, set them in seventy-two houses and did not disclose why he had put them there. He visited each one [separately] and said to him, ‘Write out for me the Torah of your teacher, Moses!’ The Holy One, blessed be He, put counsel into the mind of each one, so that they were all of one opinion.

  • Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Megillah 9a-9b

Most serious biblical scholars attest that St. Paul references the LXX as the Septuagint is called in several of his epistles as well as Jesus himself.

Thank you.

This pretty much sums it nicely.

I]t is necessary to clarify what we mean by “the Septuagint.” Sometime between three to two hundred years before Jesus and Hillel, Greek-speaking Jews began producing translations of books that we now find in the Hebrew Bible: they started with the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, but eventually translated them all. There is a legend that comes to us in a fictional work called the Letter of Aristeas. It tells how seventy-two Jewish men were gathered to the island of Pharos in Alexandria by an Egyptian ruler in the mid-third century BCE to translate the first five books of the Bible. Over time, the number seventy-two became remembered as seventy for some reason, and in Latin seventy is septuaginta; that name stuck with the earliest Greek translation of various books, and not only the first five books, but all the books classed together as authoritative Jewish Scriptures.

Today Septuagint is a fuzzy term. Some people think of a particular collection as being “The Septuagint.” Due to its widespread use today, students, pastors, and scholars think of the German textual expert Alfred Rahlf’s Septuaginta. It is available in a handy one-volume print edition, and since at least the 1980s its text has been available in electronic format. Most scholars do not actually believe that there was a book (codex) form of the Septuagint at the turn of the millennia, but they still talk about “the Septuagint,” as if Paul, for example, had gone to the local Alexandrian Bible Society bookstore in Tarsus and purchased his own bound copy of The Septuagint, from which he preached. In more thoughtful moments, we realize that Paul would not have done that, but rather he cited the Septuagint probably from a combination of memory, some form of crib sheet with important texts written out, and by finding and quoting from locally available scrolls or copies of particular biblical books that belonged to the translation-tradition that we refer to as “the Septuagint.” Some scholars will use the term Septuagint more loosely to refer to any Greek version of the Scriptures that were available to the early church. Still others reserve “Septuagint” for the earliest translation of the first five books of the Bible, and they use “Old Greek” for the first translations of the other books.

I agree Jerry. Regardless of scholarly arguments based on conjecture and circumstantial evidence, there was a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures which included not only the Torah, but the Prophets, historical and Wisdom books as well. It was translated and accumulated over the course of a hundred years or more, and was used by Second Temple Jews as well as the Primitive Church.

I agree with Patrick that there wasn’t a nice tidy easily available scroll or codex of what we today call the 70. But I am sure it was reasonably available as individual books; viz: the Torah, Isaiah, Proverbs, Psalms etc.

Today, perhaps for the sake of conservative conjectures, scholars prefer to UNDERESTIMATE what was available, or of what the Ancients were capable. I prefer to take the expansive view, that far more existed and was known then modern scholars are willing to concede. :wink:

Actually the main accusation is that Catholic Church did not officially canonize the Deuterocanonical books until the Council of Trent (1546 AD). Protestants claim they were added in part because the Apocrypha (they don’t use the term Deuterocanonical) contained material which supported certain Catholic doctrines, such as purgatory, praying for the dead, and the treasury of merit.

This is what makes the Gutenberg proof relevant. I don’t believe there was any controversy about the Gutenberg bible containing the Deuterocanonical books until the reformation.

I’m not disputing that there were translations of OT books available at that time. My point is actually more that “the Septuagint” isn’t a single, fixed collection of works made by the same people, or that there was already some sort of defined ‘Greek canon’ available back then.

Since, just as Wooden said, ‘Septuagint’ is really a fuzzy term, I’m gonna backtrack a little bit here to clarify any possible misunderstanding. I’ll ask you: what comes to your mind when I say “Septuagint”?

You’ll gonna have to be more specific here. I doubt all ‘Protestants’ will make this claim. Maybe the likes of Jack Chick or your average internet radical fundamentalist, but those who know their history would know better, I think. :wink:

To be fair, the claim is half-right. The third council of Carthage (397 or 419) and the council of Rome (382) are not really ecumenical councils, but then again the decision at Carthage was supposed to be ratified by (depending on which version of the acts you read) “the church across the sea” (i.e. Rome) or “our brother and fellow-priest Boniface [reigned 418-422], or to other bishops of those parts.”

And it’s not like Carthage was declaring anything new at this point: it had simply ratified the books that were already traditionally accepted in the African Churches (“because we have received from our fathers that those books must be read in the Church”) - in fact, the list of books is pretty much identical to those that St. Augustine (writing at around the same time) lists.

As for the council of Rome, the idea that this council also touched upon the issue of the canon of Scripture really comes from a five-chapter document known as the Decree of Gelasius (Decretum Gelasianum), which lists the same books as those ratified at Carthage. This decretal is really attributed to different popes in different manuscripts (Gelasius - reigned 492-496 - is just one): one of the candidates is Pope Damasus I (reigned 366-384), who would have presided in the 382 council. An 18th century scholar named Fr. Faustino Arevalo (1747–1824) had a theory that the first three chapters of the decretals were actually decrees from the 382 council of Rome under Damasus. Arevalo’s conclusions were taken at face value by scholars up to the early 20th century, until German author Ernst von Dobschütz concluded after a study that the Decretum probably wasn’t written by any pope at all (whether Gelasius or Damasus), but by an anonymous Italian scholar/churchman in the early 6th century. But no matter its real origin, the Decretum does show us that by the 6th century at least, there was already a sort of consensus among Western/Italian Christians regarding the canon.

What the Council of Trent did was simply ratify the canon of Scripture used all along by the Church. It didn’t add anything new to the canon (this is where the ‘Trent added books to the Bible’ argument falls apart); it simply reacted to the Reformers’ decision to relegate the deutero’s to secondary status by declaring that they are Scripture. It didn’t conjure books out of thin air.

There was nothing to add. The deuteros were there all the while although some Fathers disputed certain books. But some of the NT books were also disputed as well so that wasn’t an earth shaking negative.

To prove addition Protestants need to show the deuteros were not there initially and were a later addition. But history show that the Septuagint had always been the source of scriptures for the early Church. And one can not divorce the deuteros from the Septuagint either. The Church took what was in existence then. There was no Hebrew canon determinable at that time as different groups of Jews had various opinions of what books and/or which variants of texts to adopt.

If you say Gutenberg is decisive, I’d say Ethiopian Jews continuous use of the Septuagint till today is a better argument point.

Again, just a minor correction. The Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews) doesn’t use “the Septuagint,” if by that you mean the Greek translation-tradition. (They use the ancient Ge’ez language as a liturgical language - the version of the OT they use is in that language.) They do, however, apparently accept many other books as being part of the Mäṣḥafä Kedus (the ‘Holy Scriptures’), some of which are the deuterocanonical books like Sirach, Judith, Baruch or Tobit, while the others are apocrypha like the Book of Enoch, Jubilees, 4 Ezra (Latin 2 Esdras) or the books of Meqabyan (not identical to the Greek books of the Maccabees).

  • Interestingly, Lamentations isn’t part of the Ethiopian Jewish canon.

For Ethiopian Jews, the first eight books of the OT - the Torah, plus Joshua-Judges-Ruth - are of the utmost importance; they call this the Orit (from Oraita, the Aramaic equivalent of Torah). The other OT books plus the extra ones (deuterocanon + apocrypha) are secondary. On the third tier are books Ethiopian Jews consider important, but not really ‘canonical’: stuff like Nagara Muse (The Conversation of Moses - which apparently actually dates from the 18th century!), Mota Muse (The Death of Moses), Te’ezaza Sanbat (Precepts of the Sabbath) or Abba Elias.*

  • Now there’s some overlap between the Ethiopian Christian and the Ethiopian Jewish canon. Ethiopian Jews actually adopted certain Christian works and ‘Judaized’ them: the Te’ezaza Sanbat - a Jewish edit of a medieval Christian homily - is one of these works. In fact, the majority of Ethiopian ‘Jewish’ texts reached the Beta Israel via the mediation of Christan sources.

[quote=patrick457] My point is actually more that “the Septuagint” isn’t a single, fixed collection of works made by the same people, or that there was already some sort of defined ‘Greek canon’ available back then.

I Completely agree! :thumbsup:

Thanks for the correction. Apparently my source was somewhat imprecise. which states
“Ethiopian Jews are the only Jewish community today who still accept the Septuagint (minus Ecclesiasticus).” I understand that the name Septuagint do refer to a collection of translated books in which various communities have appropriated selections of it for their worship. I gather that the name Septuagint may be an inappropriate description for the Jewish Bible in Greek and is a term that evolved from the usage of the early Church. But the name has remained through common usage. But what is interesting is their form of Judaism that evolved independently of Rabbinic Judaism. For the deuteros to be in their Holy Books would suggest that either they migrated to Ethiopia while the “Septuagint” is still in vogue or they have contact with Hellenistic Jews. But they have no recollection of that though. Interesting.


How can Protestants refute this fact?

They can’t

I agree. I doubt one could get “all” protestants to agree on hardly anything.

However, the average protestant usually points to the reformation as the time Catholics supposedly added books to the bible. The average protestant is not aware the Gutenberg bible contained 73 books; and therefore would then start looking for more in depth scholarly responses.

God bless.

Nice post :thumbsup:

Why do you use the “BCE” and “CE” designations? What in the world is wrong with BEFORE CHRIST and ANNO DOMINI on a CATHOLIC forum?

Yeah. They (the Protestants) have tried every argument possible to deny the “inspiration” of these texts, including the Council of Trent argument. Nevermind that the “official” NEW TESTAMENT wasn’t officially canonized until then, either. No peep from them anout THAT… Martin Luther DID try to get the Book of James thrown out of the New Testament. That in itself could be a thread… He called it “the epistle of straw” because it did NOT support his -]heresy/-] concept of SOLA FIDE. :shrug:

Actually it contained the 73 books plus 3-4 Esdras (after Ezra-Nehemiah aka 1-2 Esdras), the Prayer of Manasses (after Chronicles) and a Prayer of Solomon (just after Sirach). In other words it’s pretty much like most medieval Bibles.

I didn’t know this. Where can I find a documented source for this info?

There’s a complete online Gutenberg Bible. Look for it. :slight_smile:

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