We say to Protestants that the deuterocanonicals were in the Septuagint



The Councils made it official: The deuterocanonicals are Scripture, also because included in the Septuagint. But what could we say about 3, 4 Maccabees, Psalms 151, the many Esdras, used by the Orthodox, not by Roman Catholics, which are included in the Septuagint?
Thank you


Complicated, but I’ll try to keep it short. :slight_smile:

1 and 2 Esdras: The Roman Catholic Church calls these books Ezra and Nehemiah and they are part of canon, but they are slightly different. The Esdras are from the Septuagint translation. Ezra and Nehemiah are from the Hebrew.appearing after 2 Chronicles and before Tobit.

3 and 4 Maccabees: The Catholic Encyclopedia has this to say: III Mach. is the story of a persecution of the Jews in Egypt under Ptolemy IV Philopator (222-205 B. C.), and therefore has no right to its title. Though the work contains much that is historical, the story is a fiction. IV Mach. is a Jewish-Stoic philosophical treatise on the supremacy of pious reason, that is religious principles, over the passions. The martyrdom of Eleazar and of the seven brothers (2 Maccabees 6:18-7) is introduced to illustrate the author’s thesis. Neither book has any claim to canonicity, though the first for a while received favourable consideration in some Churches.

Psalm 151: This Psam was written after the rest of the Psalms so it isn’t part of the original set.


Thank you. About Esdras, there are morre chapters, which aren’t canonical, am I right?

About the passages on 3-4 Maccabees, that the story is fiction wouldn’t be enough, right? Judith, Esther are not (entirely?) historical, for example.
That the book do not claim canonicity, how does a book claim canonicity? Some apocryphal gospel claim to be of this or that apostle…What does it mean?

Also, if the Council made it official, why do Orthodoxes (before the schism?) use other books?


On page 172 of Gary Michuta’s book, “Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger,” there is a table of early copies of the Septuagint and the books they contain. I bring it up because I think it shows, perhaps, that the books you are wondering about are not part of the Septuagint after all. Now, I do not have the book in front of me, but I took notes a while back on it, and I have those. Assuming my notations and the book’s information are complete, the information I am about to give you should be correct.

The earliest copy of the Septuagint in the table is the Vaticanus codex from the 4th century. It contains all of the Old Testament – including the Deuterocanon, except the Maccabees. It does not contain the books you mention.

The next earliest is the 4th century Sinaiticus codex, which is missing Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Ruth, Baruch, Ezekiel, and Daniel, but includes the rest. It does not contain the books you mention.

The next earliest is the fifth century Alexandrinus codex, which lacks 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles, but contains all the Deuterocanon. It also includes 1 Esdras and 3-4 Maccabees, but not 2 Esdras or Psalms 151.

The next earliest is the fifth century Ephraemi Rescriptus, which has only Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Job, Wisdom, and Sirach. It does not contain the books you mention.

Finally, there is the eighth century Codex Basilano-Vaticanus-Venetus, which lacks only Genesis, Exodus, Psalms, and the last chapter of Baruch. It also adds 3 and 4 Maccabees, but not Psalms 151 of the two Esdras books.

All of these Codices contain Books from the Deuterocanon placed among the other Books of Scripture, but the majority of them do not appear to include 3-4 Maccabees, Psalms 151, or the two Esdras books. (It is my understanding that Ezra and Nehemiah are sometimes called 1 and 2 Esdras in older literature. The original Douay-Rheims bible does this, for example. But I think there are also two other books of 1 and 2 Esdras, and those are the ones I think you are talking about.)

I hope that is helpful. Perhaps you could get Gary Michuta’s book for more information. It’s available here: amazon.com/Why-Catholic-Bibles-Are-Bigger-ebook/dp/B00E99AU1C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410020908&sr=8-1&keywords=michuta+bibles

**EDIT :: We can summarize the table this way (assuming I wrote down my notes correctly and Michuta’s table was complete):

There are 5 copies of the Septuagint in Michuta’s table on page 172 of his book.

5 of them contain Wisdom;
5 of them contain Sirach;
4 of them contain Judith; the one that lacks it lacks most of the Old Testament;
4 of them contain Tobit; the one that lacks it lacks most of the Old Testament;
3 of them contain Baruch; those that lack it lack much or most of the Old Testament;
3 of them contain 1 Maccabees; one of those that lacks it lacks most of the Old Testament;
2 of them contain 2 Maccabees; two of those that lack it lack much or most of the Old Testament.

2 of them contain 3 Maccabees;
2 of them contain 4 Maccabees;
1 of them contains 1 Esdras;
0 of them contain Psalms 151.

Therefore, I don’t think it’s necessarily true that these four books were part of the Septuagint.


Is this an error of a contributor to Wikipedia, when it says


I Samuel
II Samuel
I Kings
II Kings
I Chronicles
II Chronicles
1 Esdras
Tobit or Tobias
Esther with additions
1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees
3 Maccabees
Psalm 151
Prayer of Manasseh
Song of Solomon or Canticles

Sirach or Ecclesiasticus
Psalms of Solomon[47]

Letter of Jeremiah
Daniel with additions
4 Maccabees


3 Maccabees is not about the Maccabees! It is about Jews in Egypt in a different time.

4 Maccabees is a treatise on reason, and is also not concerned with the Maccabees.

Esdras has all sorts of numbering issues. New Advent: Not a little confusion arises from the titles of these books. Esdras A of the Septuagint is III Esdras of St. Jerome, whereas the Greek Esdras B corresponds to I and II Esdras of the Vulgate, which were originally united into one book. Protestant writers, after the Geneva Bible, call I and II Esdras of the Vulgate respectively Ezra and Nehemiah, and III and IV Esdras of the Vulgate respectively I and II Esdras.


I am not familiar with the page you got that from. But if you want to contribute to the Wikipedia article by citing page 172 of Gary Michuta’s book, you could. Keep in mind that some of these issues aren’t settled. Scholars are free to debate about what exact books were included in the Septuagint because there are multiple early copies of it and they all differ (largely due to the fact that they are so old, the pages have mostly deteriorated and been lost). Thus, the contributor may be able to defend his contribution by citing evidence that I’m not aware of.

Posting something on Wikipedia can be done by anybody, and although I think they prefer that you always cite a source for your contributions, I don’t think that is strictly enforced. When a contributor does cite a source, sometimes it’s just based on one scholar, and there might be other scholars that disagree. Thus, Wikipedia articles on any topic sometimes reflect only one scholar’s conclusions about the topic even though there are multiple other scholars who have concluded differently. This can only be corrected if people contribute more information, but, most people aren’t concerned enough to do so. Thus, Wikipedia is not very reliable, especially on religious subjects.


Here is the page en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint#Table_of_books. If we have to modify it, we will, won’t we? :slight_smile:


I would like to repost my question then: 3-4 Maccabees, that the story is fiction wouldn’t be enough, right? Judith, Esther are not (entirely?) historical, for example.
That the book do not claim canonicity, how does a book claim canonicity? Some apocryphal gospel claim to be of this or that apostle…What does it mean?

Also, if the Council made it official, why do Orthodoxes (before the schism?) use other books?


See Post #6

The phrase “does not claim canonicity” just means the book is not part of the canon. In the early church many “books” were being circulated. The Popes and Church Fathers were well aware of them. Some were associated with specific heretical teachings like Gnosticism or Arianism. We actually know about many of them from the Church Fathers who wrote their own books arguing against them. These arguments included many quotes from these condemned works which have since been lost. Others have been discovered at Nag Hammadi and other places.

The Church Fathers evaluated the known materials and evaluated them. Some were very seriously considered. The Prayer of Mannasseh was included in an appendix at one time. Eventually they made a definitive list which was finally accepted at the Council of Trent in 1545. It is considered a “closed” canon meaning it is considered to be complete and final.

The Orthodox Church has a different view of the canon. They do not see the necessity of a strict canon that the RCC does. They have different canons that are used in different regions.

For a long time before the schism relations had been very poor and the Latin and Greek Churches had begun to develop separately. One of the differences that developed over time was with the canon.


A biblical canon, or canon of scripture,[1] is a list of books considered to be authoritative scripture by a particular religious community. The word “canon” comes from the Greek “κανών”, meaning “rule” or “measuring stick”. The term was first coined in reference to scripture by Christians, but the idea is said to be Jewish.[2]

The textual basis of the canon can also be specified. For example, the Hebrew/Aramaic text as vocalized and pointed (cf. niqqud) in the medieval era by the Masoretes, the Masoretic Text, is the canonical text for Judaism. A modern example of this closing of a textual basis, in a process analogous to the closing of the canon itself, is the King James Only movement, which takes either the actual English text of various redactions of the actual King James Bible itself, or alternately, the textual basis of the King James Version—Bomberg’s Masoretic text for the Old Testament and the Textus Receptus in various editions, those of Erasmus, Beza, and Stephanus, alongside the Complutensian polyglot, for the New Testament—as the specified, correct, and inspired textual tradition. Similarly, certain groups specify their particular self-published version or translation of the Bible, claiming theirs to be the most reliable.

Most of the canons listed below are considered “closed” (i.e., books cannot be added or removed),[3] reflecting a belief that public revelation has ended and thus the inspired texts may be gathered into a complete and authoritative canon, which scholar Bruce Metzger defines as “an authoritative collection of books.”[4] In contrast, an “open canon”, which permits the addition of books through the process of continuous revelation, Metzger defines as “a collection of authoritative books.” (A table of Biblical scripture for both Testaments, with regard to canonical acceptance in Christendom’s various major traditions, appears below.)

These canons have been developed through debate and agreement by the religious authorities of their respective faiths. Believers consider canonical books to be inspired by God or to express the authoritative history of the relationship between God and his people. Books, such as the Jewish-Christian gospels, have been excluded from the canon altogether, but many disputed books considered non-canonical or even apocryphal by some are considered to be Biblical apocrypha or Deuterocanonical or fully canonical by others. There are differences between the Jewish Tanakh and Christian biblical canons, and between the canons of different Christian denominations. The differing criteria and processes of canonization dictate what the various communities regard as inspired scripture. In some cases where there are varying strata of scriptural inspiration, it becomes prudent even to discuss texts that only have an elevated status within a particular tradition. This becomes even more complex when considering the open canons of the various Latter Day Saint sects—which may be viewed as extensions of both Christianity and thus Judaism—and the scriptural revelations purportedly given to several leaders over the years within that movement.
This page also has a chart with the different canons accepted by the Protestant
Roman Catholic , Greek Orthodox, Slavonic Orthodox, Georgian Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Syriac Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Orthodox Tewahedo (Ethiopian Orthodox), and Assyrian Church of the East


I have found a very interesting page which may answer many questions about canonical differences :smiley:



Weelll… not quite. The whole Esdras thing is a bit messy.

The 1 and 2 Esdras in the Vulgate/Douay editions are indeed the Ezra/Nehemiah books in the KJV and most modern editions.

But there is also another 1 and 2 Esdras which are in the KJV tradition which equate to 3 and 4 Esdras in the Vulgate/DR tradition.


This chart is from an old Catholic Bible. It might be helpful.




Septuagint Thread by Patrick457


If the Deuterocanonical books were not scripture, not inspired, and not related to the Incarnation, I truly wonder why Lutheran theologian Jaroslav Pelikan included them along with the New Testament in his volume on the Sacred Writings of Christianity?

A spoiler: Mr. Pelikan subsequently resigned his Lutheran pastorship and converted to an Eastern Orthodox layman.


Just to comment on the ‘Esdras’ thing. It is very confusing, but here’s the thing to keep in mind.

Whenever you hear about 1 and 2 Esdras in the context of the Greek Septuagint, remember that in this context, ‘1 Esdras’ (or to use the Greek system, ‘Esdras A’) really denotes this combined version of Ezra-Nehemiah (along with a few other extra material). In other words, it’s an original work which takes stuff from Ezra along with a few bits from Nehemiah and 2 Chronicles and condenses them together into a single narrative.

‘2 Esdras’ (Esdras B) meanwhile refers to a more straightforward (it’s actually very literal to the point of being pedantic) translation of Hebrew Ezra-Nehemiah - in other words, the Ezra-Nehemiah we are all familiar with. (You’d notice that Ezra and Nehemiah are treated together as one book; the two works were actually originally considered to be a single book before Christians divided them into two.) So what you have is a free retelling of Ezra-Nehemiah (1 Esdras/Esdras A) being paired together with a more literal translation of the book (2 Esdras/Esdras B).

Now, 1-2 Esdras in the Latin Vulgate is more easy to remember: in this case, ‘1 Esdras’ refers to Ezra, while 2 Esdras refers to Nehemiah. Greek Esdras A also had a Latin version - this was included as an appendix in the Clementine Vulgate under the name of ‘3 Esdras’. In addition, there’s also a 1st-century Jewish apocalyptic work appended under the name of ‘4 Esdras’.*

As for English versions, since the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are pretty much called by those names, the Latin 3 Esdras (= Greek Esdras A) and 4 Esdras are called ‘1-2 Esdras’.

  • The thing about 4 Esdras is that in its Latin version it seems to be a combination of three different works. So scholars sometimes call the three different components of the work under different names: the main body of the work (chapter 3-14 of the Latin) - a Jewish apocalypse composed during the 1st century - is 4 Esdras, the first two chapters (only found in the Latin version) - a late 3rd century Christian interpolation - is 5 Esdras, while the last two chapters - another possible late interpolation mostly found only in the Latin version - is 6 Esdras.


NO , the apocrypha is not a part of the Bible! At the Jewish council of Jamnia in 90 AD they denied their revelation, Jesus virtually ignored these books, and they are referenced nowhere in scripture! It also brings up unbiblical doctrine such as praying for the dead!:stuck_out_tongue:


There were two schools the Pharicees used the Septuagent while the Sadducees used the only the five books of the Bible. There was not Jewish council at Jamnia as it was a school where Scripture was discussed and debated.


Well Jake, you have a lot to learn about your faith, and you have come to the right place! :thumbsup:

The Jewish council of Jamnia is a fantasy where development of the canon is concerned. The idea that you would take the word of those who rejected Christ over the Septuagint used by the Apostles is absurd.

Yes, the Jews did deny the deuterocanon, because they did not have an extant copy in Hebrew, which was one of the criteria they used to determine canonicity. Jesus and the Apostles used the Septuagint, and when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, it was learned that these books did, in fact, exist in Hebrew.

Doctrine comes from the Apostles, Jake, and was given to the Church before a word of the NT was ever written. Praying for the dead was a custom of the Jews long before Christ came and demonstrated that prayer for the dead is to be encouraged.

You might enjoy this page.

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