OT debate

Why did the protestant reformers revert back to the Hebrew Cannon vs the Greek Cannon for the OT?

In doing so wouldn’t the protestant reformers be preferring a Jewish Cannon of the Old Testament over the Christian Cannon of the Old Testament?

There has been a misguided preference by Protestants and even some Church Fathers for the Hebrew standardized text and canon. The reason why its misguided is because they have wrongly assumed that the Masoretic Text is the original Hebrew, but instead it is more of a Pharisee revision of revisions of a more ancient Hebrew and Aramaic version. The Septuagint version had been considered to have many errors until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which showed that the Septuagint was a translation of a better and more ancient Hebrew text. As awesome as St. Jerome was he was misguided by this, in turn he favored the Hebrew text of his day more than he probably should have, which was inferior to the Septuagint. Jerome did not have the whole picture due to the better Hebrew manuscripts were not available to him, what a shame he could not have had access to the Dead Sea Scrolls then. Jerome’s favor of the Hebrew text of his day had some effect on his hesitation of some of the Deuterocanonicals.

Protestants acceptance of the Jewish canon comes in very handy for them in order to reject some important Catholic Doctrines.

Please note that the Septuagint text or the Greek text was a cannon of scripture in which the Early Church Fathers put together over the years… This was the Christian Cannon of the OT

The Hebrew Text which the protestant reformers reverted too - was the cannon of the Jews which came about because of the new Christians - although the Jews would agree on what was and was not scripture in most cases - the cannon was not there in the form it is today.

The Septuagint was put together by Greek-speaking Jews before the time of Christ. It is the version of Jewish Scriptures known to Christ. The Masoretic text as such – the “Palestinian Canon” – was unknown to Christ.

Careful review of the Gospels makes it clear that Christ had two of the Deuterocanonicals in the Septuagint, the Books of Wisdom and Sirach – practically committed to memory.

I agree with Peter - i’ve read that most biblical scholars (including Protestant liguistic scholars) acknowledge that the substantial majority of quotes to the Old Testatement found the NT are to the Septuagent translation, rather than the Palestinian cannon - suggesting, as Peter said, that Jesus and the apostles were reading and studying the Septuagent Greek translation.

BTW, the book of Maccaabees (in the books omitted from the jewish cannon in the second century and by the Protestants in the reformation) is the only place in scriputre where the jewish holiday of Hanukkah (feastival of lights) is recorded - yet we know from the NT that Jesus celebrated it.



This is incorrect. The Septuigent predated Christ by about 200 years. Here is an article with more detaile info.
The Septuigent


As far as Canon, I believe the answer can be rather easily found in the resources Martin Luther used, as taken from the bible researcher’s site, he used the following as the basis of his translation:

The basis for Luther’s version of the Old Testament was the Massoretic text as published by Gerson Ben Mosheh at Brescia in 1494. (24) He used also the Septuagint, the Vulgate of Jerome (25) (although he disliked him exceedingly on account of his monkery), the Latin translations of the Dominican Sanctes Pagnini of Lucca (1527), and of the Franciscan Sebastian Münster (1534), the “Glossa ordinaria” (a favorite exegetical vade-mecum of Walafried Strabo from the ninth century), and Nicolaus Lyra (d. 1340), the chief of mediaeval commentators, who, besides the Fathers, consulted also the Jewish rabbis. (26)

Now what you find is that Luther didn’t innovate, he followed these resources. His translation was in agreement with the judgements given in the Vulgate, the Glossa ordinaria, and the other two Latin translations. The other resources did not specifically give an opinion as to the canon.

So the answer, which seems hard for many to accept, is the actual source of the “Protestant” canon, is the Roman Catholic Church and what she was teaching at the time. Not to say there was universal agreement, but the Protestant canon which would indeed include the Apocrypha as of nonauthoritative in matters of doctrine but useful to read was a dominant position among the learned in the Roman Catholic Church at the time of Luther. Other resources which Luther didn’t use would also show that. For instance the Complutensian Polyglot was also in agreement.

I wouldn’t expect you to just believe me, check into those resources and what they said. You will find they label the Apocrypha as not being scripture or even put it in a separate section. Things which Catholics seem to think started with Luther.

Anglicans include these books in their bibles.

Brian, are you the same Brian from “Bible Study for Catholics”?

Hi Peter - I don’t believe so, unless you are referring to a thread here I don’t recall.



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