The Canons of the Bible


Catholics are always defending why the deuterocanonical books belong in the Bible , such as Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, additions to Esther and Daniel, Baruch, Sirach, Wisdom.
However a friend of mine has recently done something I never thought I would have to do. I was always under the impression Catholics have the largest canon. However many Orthodox Bibles include all of the deuterocanonical books including an additional two books ofEsdras( Ezra), 3 Maccabees, Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, and also 4 Maccabees in the appendix to the Old Testament.

What gives? Is this just eastern tradition? If we really follow the Septuagint and use that for basing why our Old Testament is what it is, why then do we exclude some which are in the Septuagint? My understanding is the Orthodox have a different view of scripture and Catholics especially since the Protestant revolution but still, what is wrong with these texts?


You started a thread on the same subject a few weeks ago. Didn’t you get the answers you were looking for?


Our canon represents the books of scripture commonly used and cited amonst the western churches, particularly in the liturgy. The eastern canon reflects what was used in the east.

I don’t think we have so much said the other books aren’t scripture so much as we simply don’t have a tradition of using them.

The popular understanding of what it means to be “Biblically canon” in an absolute sense really comes from the Reformation and Counter Reformation, where Protestants had to justify removing them from western tradition and the Catholic Church had to formally comment on their validity in response.


And the Ethiopian canon is bigger yet. 81 books, including Enoch. The canon is decided by whatever a particular Church chooses to have.


No I got suspended from the site before I got any like a month ago.


Catholics defends deuterocanonical books belong in the Bible because the church gave them to us as conical, thats it. There is no other defence. Now ONE of the historical facts is they were in the Septuagint but please dont think this is only reason. Its not.



I would add that these books you mention are by no means forbidden for a Catholic. They have value even if not in the canon.


Sorry I have to disagree with you there. The canon was formed in the 4th century by the councils of Hippo and Carthage (and other events). It was rectified by Pope Innocent I in the early 5th century. The bible canon then became official dogma in the Council of Trent. Any books apart from the official Catholic bible canon is not considered scripture. This dogma is binding on Western & Eastern Catholics. What the Orthodox (bless them) consider part of scripture is irrelevant.


To add on to what @Dan_Defender said, there are Gospel antiphons we take from what’s in the Orthodox deuterocanon, and we even hold some books like the Protoevangelium of James as useful. We don’t consider it to be completely false or heretical just because it’s not in the Bible.


Those Councils were only binding on the Latin speaking Church. It was not ecumenical of all of the Church.


The Council of Trent is considered ecumenical, thus binding on the universal Church East and West.


What? The Council of Trent occurred in the 16th century. The east west schism occurred in 1054. The Eastern Orthodox accept only the first seven ecumenical Councils and I believe the Oriental Orthodox accept the first four.


Respectfully, you’re disregarding many of the other twenty-three eastern Catholic Churches in communion with Rome. Even Trent, if read literally, only definitively defines specific books as canon. It does not rule out the books used by the eastern traditions.


I was told by a professional apologetic that even if they found a letter by St Paul today, it would not be part of the official bible canon. Because the ecumenical council is guided and protected by the Holy Spirit and so what is considered the closed bible canon is meant to be just that.


The Orthodox dont view the canon as Catholics do and prior to the reformation neither did Catholics. It’s why throughout the Vulgates history writings such as 3 and 4 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh were included in it.
The Orthodox view canon not as some strict rigid thing but more so as a traditional aspect and tend to use the entirety of the Septuagint. Hence 3 Maccabees etc is in their canon. To them a book being in the bible is a book worth reading in liturgy.
In hindsight the east was very hesitant to accept Revelation as the west was hesitant to accept Hebrews. Some say it was somewhat of an agreement to accept both. However to this day Revelation is never read in liturgy in the Eastern Orthodox Church.


Such a work wouldn’t automatically be included in the canon — authorship by St. Paul is no guarantee of inspiration — though it would certainly be valuable.

That doesn’t necessarily answer the question of whether the Catholic canon was completely closed at Trent, or merely defined as “at minimum, these books, contra the Protestants.”


The Orthodox Church is not under the authority of the chair of peter which set canon at the council of Trent. That’s the answer.


This is true. There already are epistles claiming to be of St. Paul which are part of the New Testament apocrypha. What is called 3 Corinthians which is usually included in the Acts of Paul, and the letter to the Laodiceans are two good examples.


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