I’m in a discussion with an evangelical phd professor about the deuterocanon. I asked him what were the reasons he didn’t accept them and here’s what he said:
" I actually wrote an article about that for the book “Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics”. No, I don’t accept them as inspired, but I view them as inspiring and important. Two of the reasons I don’t accept them as “god breathed”: 1) No direct quotes from any of them in the NT texts; 2) no set acceptance of them by the early church or first century Judaism."
I’d like to get your responses to his two reasons against the deuterocanon.
For point #1: I would find it interesting to see a list of all the other Old Testament books which are not directly quoted by the NT books. Should all of those books also be discounted because they aren’t quoted?
For point #2: I am curious to know what this professor would consider “set acceptance”. That’s a vague term. What sort of evidence of “set acceptance” do other books of the Old Testament have that the deuterocanonical books lack?
So? The Catholic Church has officially declared these to be canonical. Whether there was “no set acceptance” of them in the early Church or in Judaism is irrelevant - those are all just historical curiosities. It all boils down to whether you agree with the Church’s decision to canonize these books or not - whether you believe the Church has any God-given authority or not.
Turning the question on its head: Why do Catholics accept these books as ‘God-breathed’? The answer’s simple: because the Catholic Church has declared that it is so. Period.
Good points. For point #2 I would add the NT books of Revelation, Hebrews and some of the short epistles were also not set acceptance.
I assume by set acceptance he means those books were disputed as inspired by some when the canon was formed. That is why they are called deutrocanonical=second canon, whereas the other books or first canon was accepted by all without dispute.
I think you’ve had some great responses. I’d like to ask him a question. Who has the right to decide which books are God breathed and which aren’t? If, for example, one or another of his colleagues were to say, “I don’t consider Mark 16:16, God breathed.” Or, “I don’t consider the book of Revelation, God breathed.”
Would he consider that he had the authority to respond, “You’re wrong.” And if so, on what basis?
The deuterocanon was considered God breathed Scripture by the Catholic Church from the time that they were included in the Latin Vulgate and approved in the various Ecumenical Councils. Does he believe he has more authority than the Church?
The Septuagint (from the Latin septuaginta, “seventy”) is a Koine Greek translation of a Hebraic textual tradition that included certain texts which were later included in the canonical Hebrew Bible and other related texts which were not. As the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is also called the Greek Old Testament. This translation is quoted a number of times in the New Testament, particularly in Pauline epistles, and also by the Apostolic Fathers and later Greek Church Fathers. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint
He ignores passages in the Old Testament Scriptures that are mirrored in the New Testament’s:
[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]18 If the virtuous man is God’s son, God will take his part and rescue him from the clutches of his enemies. 19 Let us test him with cruelty and with torture, and thus explore this gentleness of his and put his endurance to the proof. 20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death since he will be looked after – we have his word for it.’
41 The chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him in the same way. 42 ‘He saved others;’ they said ‘he cannot save himself. He is the king of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43 He puts his trust in God; now let God rescue him if he wants him. For he did say, “I am the son of God”.’ (Wisdom 2:18-20 & St. Matthew 27:41-43)
16 So they shall receive the royal crown of splendour, the diadem of beauty from the hand of the Lord; for he will shelter them with his right hand and shield them with his arm. 17 For armour he will take his jealous love, he will arm creation to punish his enemies; 18 he will put on justice as a breastplate, and for helmet wear his undissembling judgement; 19 he will take up invincible holiness for shield, 20 he will forge a biting sword of his stern wrath, and the universe will march with him to fight the reckless.
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of his power. 11 Put God’s armour on so as to be able to resist the devil’s tactics. 12 For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the Sovereignties and the Powers who originate the darkness in this world, the spiritual army of evil in the heavens. 13 That is why you must rely on God’s armour, or you will not be able to put up any resistance when the worst happens, or have enough resources to hold your ground. 14 So stand your ground, with truth buckled round your waist, and integrity for a breastplate, 15 wearing for shoes on your feet the eagerness to spread the gospel of peace 16 and always carrying the shield of faith so that you can use it to put out the burning arrows of the evil one.(Wisdom 5:16-20 & Ephesians 6:10-16)
…and while there’s technicality involved, does the phd not allow him to see that not all of the Old Testament books were cited in the New Testament? …by his own criteria, they must all be cited or not all are “God breathed” (I hope you noted how he spelled “God”).
My point is, that it doesn’t matter what we think. The Church was established and appointed by Jesus Christ, to pass on His Word. The Church tells us which books are inspired. According to the Church, all the books in the Catholic Bible, are inspired.
Here’s what I responded with. I’ll let you guys know what he responds with.
"ah ok. i’m sure that would be an interesting read. here’s what i would say regarding the two reasons given
reason 1) I feel this argument is particularly week as there are a number of OT books that are never directly quoted in the NT. It seems to me that if we are to be consistent with this reason we would have to reject those other OT books as well. and so here’s what i would put forward: Although the mere presence or absence of an OT reference in the NT tells us very little about that work’s inspired status, [how] it is referenced can tell us a great deal. The NT’s use of the deuterocanonical books provides probative grounds to believe that it’s inspired authors accepted these books as inspired, prophetic and authentic members of sacred Scripture.
reason 2) on this point i’d ask what “set acceptance” is to you? this seems a bit vague. for instance there were even NT books like Hebrews and Revelation that didn’t have a set acceptance in the early church. as for first century Judaism, i’m not sure how those who explicitly denied Jesus have any authority in the first century to establish a canon of scripture, especially one that rejects the entire NT. Here’s what i would put forward: this ultimately comes down to authority. When the need arose the early church came together with the authority of God and more clearly defined what was sacred inspired scripture and what wasn’t. And that the Deutercanon was among them."
“Actually, the NT references or quotes from all the sections of the OT: Torah, Prophets, and Writings. So, the fact is that the NT acknowledges the canon of the Jews, the 39 books of the OT (since the Jews did not acknowledge the deuterocanonical books). Also, by set acceptance I mean that the church never canonized the deuterocanonical books as Scripture as they did the 39 OT and 27 NT books. There has never been unanimity on the apocryphal books as on the other 66 books. With regards to Hebrews and Revelation, these books were never listed as spurious by any church father. The apocryphal books, on the other hand, were often debated in this way in the first 5 centuries of the church. Like many of the early church fathers, I think that the apocryphal books are important, but I do not rank them on the same level as the 66 books of the OT and the NT. If you want the full discussion of my view, you are welcome to purchase the “Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics”.”
**And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. **
We find this info in the OT canon of the Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and Catholics.
**Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two,[l] they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
The only examples of this are found in the Book of Maccabees, a book found in the canon used by Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians.
So, why does he accept the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church on the 27 books, but rejects it on the 46 books? Is that not hypocrisy? Inconsistency? Stereotypical cherry-picking?
Ask him why he is not Lutheran, since he embraces the two founding doctrines that Luther put forth: Bible as sole rule, and the 66 book Pharisaic canon. Shouldn’t he then be Lutheran? By what authority does he declare Grandfather Luther in error on doctrines he personally disagrees with?
Why does he accept the “canon” of those who demanded the death of Christ? He sides with the Pharisees against the Church which Christ founded. Have him review Matthew 23 and ponder what siding with the Pharisees means.
Is he willing to risk hell to avoid becoming Catholic?
Ask him to show you the New Testament quotes from Song of Solomon, Judges and Esther. Then ask him which Jews he’s referring to when he says the Jews didn’t acknowledge the deuterocanonical books (the Jews had no set canon until well after Christianity was established). Third, ask him to source his claim that Revelation and Hebrews were never considered spurious by any Church Father. You can nudge him with this link, if you’d like: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antilegomena
It’s pretty clear that this professor isn’t much of a biblical scholar, if he’s got such an erroneous view of the history of the Bible.
No kidding. Maccabees is what the Hanukkah is based on. So whether Jews did not want it in their Bible or not, it is a very powerful book in their religion. Also as I mentioned, the Three Children is a praise song by the children in the fiery furnace, directly from the Book of Daniel.
Anyway, more’s the loss for anyone who doesn’t read these books. They make the Bible much more interesting and are a great addition!