Lutherans and the Apocrypha

I am looking forward to this being published by Concordia Publishing. The notes should be interesting.

They should. I can’t wait! Granted, they are already available in the ESV translation through Oxford Press. But having the Lutheran study notes will be a big bonus. Hopefully the vestiges of reformed sectarianism, as regards the canon, will vanish from the LCMS.

Interesting. Perhaps this is for another thread, but whatever posessed Luther to remove those books in the first place? Who was he to decide what’s “inspired” or not?

He didn’t.

I have one pre-ordered.

He kept them in the Bible, he didn’t consider them inspired but useful for reading. He often quoted from them. Only in recent history were they removed.

Sweet! I’d like to get one too

I have heard many Catholics say this and it is flately false. I do not understand where this rumor started. Lutherans have a very similiar view to the apocrypha as the Orthodox have to it. The confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church do not contain a list of biblical books because the canon of the holy scripture was received by the Reformation as a given entity. Accordingly, there is also no delimitation of the canon of the Old Testament which is binding for all Lutheran churches. In Martin Luther’s translation which became normative for German-speaking lands, the following books and texts which “are profitable and good to read” are reckoned as the Apocrypha (this name does not here mean writings rejected by the church): Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Tobit, Jesus Sirach, Baruch, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Additions to Esther, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer of Azariah, Song of the Three Young Men, Prayer of Manasseh. Tobit and 2 Maccabees are quoted in the Lutheran confessions. I hope for relations to improve between ACNA and LCMS.

All you guys have to do is buy a Catholic edition bible. You would not need to order a separate bound book…:smiley:

Me, too, JPeter. To that end, I hope ACNA is not ordaining women.

Jon

Not if I want Lutheran commentary on it :slight_smile:

“Profitable and good to read” but “reckoned as the Apocrypha” is not the same as “accepted as canonical.” Strictly speaking, Sirach, Tobit, Wisdom, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and Baruch, as well as longer versions of Daniel and Esther, are a part of the Deuterocanon (and officially have been since the fourth century), and not the Apocrypha.

The canon of holy scripture which was received by the Reformation does not include these seven books because, indeed, the first Protestants removed them from their canon (thought they didn’t right away remove them completely from their Bibles).

5 Myths about 7 Books should dispel any further misconceptions anyone may have.

Just a few thoughts, Erich.

  1. What the Reformation received did indeed include the D-C’s, and that’s what Martin Luther (with help) translated,with the addition of the Prayer of Manasseh.
  2. The D-C’s were neither “added to” the canon by Catholics, nor “removed from” the canon by Lutherans. They were disputed by Catholics long before Luther, and even during Luther’s time by Catholics. It is that nature of dispute, permitted by the Catholic Church until Trent, that Luther acted on, as did, for example, Cardinal Cajetan.
  3. No 4th century general council established the canon. Hippo, Carthage, etc. were not ecumenical councils, but local councils. If they had established ecumenically and authoritatively a canon, then Orthodox canons would not differ.
  4. To say that Lutherans reject the D-C’s is entirely incorrect. What we do say is that there is a history (long before Luther) of dispute regarding them back to St. Jerome, and we consider that in the way we use them.

Jon

As an Eastern Catholic with a fairly good grounding in Eastern Orthodoxy I would like to say that the Orthodox canon of the Bible contains even more “deuterocanonical” books of the OT than the Roman Catholic Church has. They are all inspired scripture, save for the fourth book of the Maccabees which is included in Greek Bibles.

Martin Luther also rejected four or five books of the NT and placed them separately after what he considered to be the true canon of the NT.

However the Lutheran tradition believes about the OT Apocrypha, it is a fact that its founder regarded the Letter of James as an “epistle of straw” and took it upon himself to distance it and some other NT books from the traditional NT canon.

Alex

If you take a look at Luther’s translation of the Bible (1534) you’ll find that this is false statement. Many libraries have facsimile copies if you’d like to verify this fact.

It is not a false statement at all. The fact that his translation contained those books does NOT mean he regarded them as legitimate portions of the New Testament.

One has to go beyond his own translation and into his own writings and commentary to see what he thought of the Letter of James and the Book of Revelation. I would recommend you do so, sir, if you haven’t already.

I’ve also seen a copy of a Lutheran NT that did not have those books included - I was led to see this by a Lutheran pastor doing a doctorate on Reformed theology.

Alex

Alexander, Roman Catholics are not alone in criticism of Luther for his views on the canon. However, we realize that Luther held to a position that was not outside the bounds of orthodoxy in his day. As has been said numerous times, cardinals, bishops, theologians, etc. also had similar views on the deuterocanon as Luther. Regardless of Luther’s personal views on the canon, the fact of the matter is that he did include them in his translation. The reason he did is because he knew that contemporaries of his within his reformation movement still viewed the as canonical, as well as the laity.

We believe, teach and confess that we hold to the apostolic faith and as such, our loyalty is not to Martin Luther, but to the Christ who is the founder and perfecter of that faith, not Luther. For Lutherans such as myself, and I am sure Jon as well, who view the deuterocanon as Scripture, it doesn’t phase us that he rejected them.

=IggyAntiochus;9206763]Alexander, Roman Catholics are not alone in criticism of Luther for his views on the canon. However, we realize that Luther held to a position that was not outside the bounds of orthodoxy in his day. As has been said numerous times, cardinals, bishops, theologians, etc. also had similar views on the deuterocanon as Luther. Regardless of Luther’s personal views on the canon, the fact of the matter is that he did include them in his translation. The reason he did is because he knew that contemporaries of his within his reformation movement still viewed the as canonical, as well as the laity.

And this is also true of the Epistle of James, and the other Antilegomena.

We believe, teach and confess that we hold to the apostolic faith and as such, our loyalty is not to Martin Luther, but to the Christ who is the founder and perfecter of that faith, not Luther. For Lutherans such as myself, and I am sure Jon as well, who view the deuterocanon as Scripture, it doesn’t phase us that he rejected them.

Agreed, except that I believe “rejection” to be too strong a term. Luther questioned and disputed them, as did many before him and during his time.
American Lutherans, I believe, need to return to their inclusion in scripture and their use, including in the lectionary.

Jon

Years ago, my in-laws’ Lutheran church announced that they would have an Easter Vigil service that year (in addition to their traditional Easter sunrise service). So, I attended with my mother-in-law (who didn’t want to attend by herself).

Well, they used all of the same Old Testament readings that the Catholic Church uses… and of course all the congregants would follow along in their pew Bibles (at least, until they got to the reading from Baruch – the rustling of pages was quite audible!) I knew I wasn’t going to find Baruch in the pew Bible, so I didn’t bother to try looking for it. I happened to glance over at the pastor, who gave a soft chuckle (he knew I was Catholic).

:stuck_out_tongue: I can see that happening in my parish. Alas, we are trying, trying to overcome the protestant/Reformed influence we’ve experienced.

Jon

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