Maybe it is because America has not a large amount of Orthdox Christians, but the dialogue always seems to be in contrast of Catholic and Protestant Bibles. My question is why do Orthodox Bibles have more books than Catholic Bibles? I find it interesting because most of our history comes from the same source. They too don’t believe in sola scriptura. Reading the NRSV w the apocryphal/deuteroconical books , I realized Orthodox also to some extent 1 and 2 Esdras (3 And 4 Esdras in Latin Vulgate appendix) , Prayer of Mannaseh, Psalm 151, and 3 and 4 Maccabees. Just wondering if anyone has ever studied on this the exact reasoning?
Sure Catholic Bibles have more books than Protestant, but why do Orthodox Bibles have more than Catholics?
My understanding is that disagreements between East and West about which books were to be accepted as canonical were part of what led to the schism.
As did between Western Catholics and Reformers 500 years later.
The Orthodox Church regard canonicity in degrees. The Gospels rank the highest, followed by the rest of the New Testament, then the Pentateuch, Psalms, Prophets, etc, including the additional books. In the Catholic Church this still survives somewhat in the distinction between the major prophets and the minor ones, with the former raking higher than the latter.
Or at least this is my precarious representation of their position.
No. This really had nothing to do with it. It became an issue after it happened, but it wasn’t one of the main reasons for the protestant revolt.
In regards to the extra Orthodox books, this as has to do with the liturgy. There were books that were read during the liturgy in both the East and West that are not part of the canon, but were approved for liturgy.
This website does a pretty good job of explaining it, though (like most issues between Catholics and Orthodox) it’s pretty nuanced.
The way I understand it, the Church has never declared the extra books that the East uses are NOT inspired. Trent infallibly declared that the seventy-three books we have are definitely inspired, in response to the reformers who took those extra books out, but I don’t think it ever claimed anything about the Eastern canon.
Somebody who knows more about this can correct me if I’m wrong though.
Yes actually 1 and 2 Esdras (3 and 4 Esdras in Latin Vulgate appendix* note Ezra and Nehemiah are 1 and 2 Esdras in the Latin Vulgate *)and Prayer of Mannaseh(which also is in the appendix to the Latin Vulgate) are even in liturgy in the Roman Catholic Church. I didn’t know this until recently. It’s interesting.
In regards to deciding the Canon of the Bible we have to ask the following questions :
Is this a decision that mankind makes, or
Do we believe that the Holy Spirit confirms through the decision of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church appointed by Christ to reveal to mankind which Books were inspired by the Holy Spirit ?
Are we placing our trust in God or in man ?
When the Church was putting all the inspired Books into one collection, into one Book, the Bible, in the latter part of the 4th century, she based her decision on which books the Church had always revered as the inspired Word of God. These early councils below unanimously confirmed as belonging in the Bible the same 73 Books
( or 72 Books if you count Lamentations as being part of “Jeremiah” as the early Fathers did.)
Council of Rome in 382 AD under the authority of Pope Damasus I.
the Council of Hippo in 393 AD
Third Council of Carthage in 397 AD,
same canon that was approved by Pope Innocent I in 405 AD
This is the, and the same canon that was stated in the following councils :
The Council of Trent, in 1546 AD, emphatically stated that the Deuterocanonical as well as the protocanonical books were all equally inspired. However, it was only confirming the traditional canon of the Church. The same Canon had been formally stated at the Ecumenical Council of Florence on Feb. 4, 1442 (EnchBibl 47). See Text. And at the Seventh Ecumenical Council, II Nicaea 787 AD (See Text) And at the Sixth Council of Carthage 419 AD, which explicitly stated this canon.
The Orthodox, and the Protestants have to admit they are making a man-made decision and have to explain how there list does not agree with ancient Church canon.
Read more at
I think it’s far more nuanced than this. It would be a big mistake to lump the Orthodox in with Protestants. A series of WESTERN Synods adopted the current Catholic canon in the 4th century. Can you demonstrate that this canon was ever imposed on the East during the next 700+ years in which we were in full communion? The canon wasn’t definitely determined by an ecumenical council until long after the Great Schism.
Furthermore … I don’t think the Church ever dogmatically declared that the extra books used in the East are not inspired. I could be wrong, but I think they simply confirmed that the books we Catholics use are inspired.
Remember, Trent was confirming the books because the Protestants (who were breaking away from the Latin Church) were actively removing books used by the Latin Church.
Basically, the Church didn’t declare what books are not inspired, the Church simply confirmed the 73 books are.
I agree with what you are saying but my point is that the Orthodox as well as the Protestant I have to admit they are making a man-made decision. And it lacks certainy and there is nothing to confirm their decision. And importantly there is no early church Council that gives the same Canon that the Orthodox use.
Catholics point to an ancient tradition confirmed by local councils. Just because the Orthodox use some books that were in some Editions of the Septuagint does not prove they were inspired
I don’t think this is entirely accurate. I am not sure if it was Trent or one prior but the Latin Vulgate did include 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Mannaseh, but then were proclaimed not scripture I believe by Trent, and placed in the appendix of the Latin Vulgate. This is why some old D-R Bibles and the 1611 KJV included all three texts. The KJV has them in the Apocrypha and the D-R originally had it an appendix. However the Catholic Church obviously even though it’s in an appendix , does not regard 2 Esdras or 4 Esdras in the Vulgate as anything but liturgical use, otherwise Uriel would be a recognized archangel.