What do Catholics say to this - regarding the Deuterocanonicals?


below is a passage I came across on a Christian apologetics website, and I was just wondering how Catholics would respond?

**Jesus referenced the Jewish Old Testament canon from the beginning to the end and did not include the Apocrypha in his reference. “From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation,’” (Luke 11:51).

"The traditional Jewish canon was divided into three sections (Law, Prophets, Writings), and an unusual feature of the last section was the listing of Chronicles out of historical order, placing it after Ezra-Nehemiah and making it the last book of the canon. In light of this, the words of Jesus in Luke 11:50-51 reflect the settled character of the Jewish canon (with its peculiar order) already in his day. Christ uses the expression “from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah,” which appears troublesome since Zechariah was not chronologically the last martyr mentioned in the Bible (cf. Jer. 26:20-23). However, Zechariah is the last martyr of which we read in the Old Testament according to Jewish canonical order (cf. II Chron. 24:20-22), which was apparently recognized by Jesus and his hearers."1
This means that the same Old Testament canon, according to the Jewish tradition, is arranged differently than how we have it in the Protestant Bible today. This was the arrangement to which Jesus was referring when he referenced Abel and Zechariah, the first and last people to have their blood shed – as listed in the Old Testament Jewish canon. Obviously, Jesus knew of the Apocrypha and was not including it in his reference.

Jesus references the Old Testament: The Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms
Catholics sometimes respond by saying that the Old Testament is referred to in three parts: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. It is these writings that are sometimes said to include the Apocrypha. But this designation is not found in the Bible. On the contrary, Jesus referenced the Old Testament and designated its three parts as the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, not as the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.

"Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled,” (Luke 24:44).
So we see that the designation offered by the Roman Catholics is not the same designation found in the Bible and their argument is invalid as their argument is incorrect. Nevertheless, even if it did say “writings” it would not include the Apocrypha for the above-mentioned reasons

This is not a new argument against the Catholic Bible. Gary Michuta responds to much of this “law, prophets, psalms” in his book Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger. For one thing, it would exclude wisdom books like Proverbs. Also “From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah” doesn’t tell us that the canon was closed. There is an immense amount of reading into that, and the very Jews themselves didn’t have an exact canon if you study, say, the canons used by the Ethiopian Jews or the diaspora if I remember right. Check out Gary’s book, first chapter for the Luke stuff too. Here is an outline of the book. If you really want I can respond later with some of the specific info. if you can’t get the book. Just let me know. :o

Years ago, there was an exhaustive summary of how the apocrypha are referenced in the New Testament – in one of the thread on scripture.

It had all the examples and showed rather persuasively that the deuterocanonicals were known and referenced by the NT writers. Perhaps that does not argue persuasively that the d-books were thus canonized. Jewish writings are not canonized in any sense like the Catholic Church has canonized the books of the Bible.

Again, from that old thread that I cannot reference, the point should be realized that the septuagint was the translation that Jesus and the early church would have been familiar with.

The purpose of the septuagint was to open up the scripture to the non-hebrew speaking world, Jews especially – who would have wanted a translation of the Hebrew writings more than they? As I understand, the deuterocanonical books and partials of books were found there.

By reading modern Jewish writings, one would quickly be divorced from the idea that the Jewish scriptures were finalized two millenia ago. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran opened up decades of scholarship on Jewish scriptural research.

The Catholic Church describes revelation as consisting of scripture, tradition, and magisterium. Jews have their own perspectives on the scope of scripture and tradition. I think the voice of the early Church persuades me the most about the authenticity of the Catholic Bible.

The Jews have been aware of Christian viewpoints for two thousands years. Their perspectives and beliefs have been shaped to a considerable extent by their study of the Church and objections up and down the line to any declared dogmas except their own.

Sounds like an interesting read. I’m struggling with my faith at the moment, but I find that the more questions I ask, the more satisfied I am…

So any info anyone gives me is always appreciated and helpful :slight_smile:


below is a passage I came across on a Christian apologetics website, and I was just wondering how Catholics would respond?

**Jesus referenced the Jewish Old Testament canon from the beginning to the end and did not include the Apocrypha in his reference. “From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation,’” (Luke 11:51).

Catholics is not the same designation found in the Bible and their argument is invalid as their argument is incorrect. Nevertheless, even if it did say “writings” it would not include the Apocrypha for the above-mentioned reasons

Placed in context Jesus was in the house of a Pharasee and this statement is part part of a lesson He was teaching them. [There was no bible at the time and no New Testament]. Lk. 11: [43] Woe to you Pharisees! for you love the best seat in the synagogues and salutations in the market places. Woe to you! for you are like graves which are not seen, and men walk over them without knowing it." One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying this you reproach us also.” And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe to you! for you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and consent to the deeds of your fathers; for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, `I will send them prophets and apostles,[predicting the persecution of His new Church by these same men He was speaking to.] some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechari’ah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it shall be required of this generation. Woe to you lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”

**Two additional points: No one part of the Bible can contadict another part. Therefore EXTREME care is to be used in culling a single verse. Second: as 2 Tim. 3: 16-17 say… “ALL” [as in the ENTIRE BIBLE] is INSPIRED BY GOD. ** Either this is true anthe Bible can be used to theach “The Faith” or its NOT; making the bible useless for teaching. It can’t be both so which is it?

If you wish to be correct in your understanding of God’s word; teach it in line with Catholic
Teaching and you can’t go wrong.:smiley:

Love and prayers,

Great replies so far, and I agree.

To me, three observations are particularly powerful.

  1. The NT do not quote every book of the agreed upon Protestant cannon - so failure to specifically quote the 7 DC books is not dispositive.

  2. As noted in an earlier response, there are concepts referred to/expressed in the NT which are taken from the DC books.

  3. Read chapter 2:12-- in the book of Wisdom for an shockingly clear portrait of Jesus, the Pharasees reaction and prophecy of his passion and “know” that the book is prophetic (and understand why, almost 100 years after Christ’s death, the “official Jewish cannon” excluded this book written by Jews for Jews several hundred years before the time of christ).

[Wisdom 2:12-

**12 “Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,

because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;

he reproaches us for sins against the law,

and accuses us of sins against our training. 13 He professes to have knowledge of God,

and calls himself a child of the Lord. 14 He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; 15 the very sight of him is a burden to us,

because his manner of life is unlike that of others,

and his ways are strange. 16 We are considered by him as something base,

and he avoids our ways as unclean;

he calls the last end of the righteous happy,

and boasts that God is his father. 17 Let us see if his words are true,

and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; 18 for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him,

and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. 19 Let us test him with insult and torture,

that we may find out how gentle he is,

and make trial of his forbearance. 20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death,

for, according to what he says, he will be protected.” 21 Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray,

for their wickedness blinded them, 22 and they did not know the secret purposes of God,

nor hope for the wages of holiness,

nor discern the prize for blameless souls; 23 for God created man for incorruption,

and made him in the image of his own eternity, 24 but through the devil’s envy death entered the world,

and those who belong to his party experience it.

Wisdom of Solomon 2:12-24 (RSV-CE)

There is a serious lapse of logic in the argument here. What can at most be inferred is that the book of Genesis was the first book of the canon that Jesus was referring to, and that Chronicles was the last book. Nothing can be deduced about which books were sandwiched between those 2 books, much less whether the canon was fixed or open. In fact, the Hebrew canon wasn’t fixed at the time of Christ: the status of the book of Esther was still disputed (and was conspicuously missing from the Dead Sea scrolls) and the books of Esther and Ecclesiastes were probably not considered canonical by Josephus writing in the first century.

But what is more interesting is that Jesus was recorded in the Bible as making use of whichever books his hearers considered as scripture to explain the truths he is revealing. Thus when the Sadducees, who only considered the Torah as canonical, tried to trip Jesus over the Resurrection from the dead, Jesus only used the Torah to explain his teaching, even though the book of Daniel explicitly taught the resurrection. Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees when he made this ‘from Abel to Zechariah’ quote, and he was condemning them for their hypocrisy. The Pharisees held a canon with an arrangement that would later become the basis for the canon for (modern-day) rabbinical Judaism following the destruction of the Temple. Thus Jesus made use of the Pharisaic canon and its arrangement to condemn the Pharisees, so that his point would be clearly understood by his hearers, the Pharisees. There is no need to assume that Jesus accepted the Pharisaic canon as canonical, any more than he followed the Sadducees in the matter of the canon.

Nor did he include verses from most of the other OT books. If you only include the books that Jesus directly quoted from, your OT would only include about 24 books.

However, if you look at the scripture references in the New Testament, over 80% of them are from the Septuagent version of the OT which contains the Deuterocanonical books.

One other point, all of the bibles printed up until the 1800’s had the Deuterocanonical books in them. They were not removed from the English printings of the King James Bible until the 1800’s. Why did they removem them from their bibles?

One reason was to save on printing costs.:frowning:

Yeah. Gary Michuta documents this in his book Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger. The British Bible Societies began printing them without the so-called “Apocrypha Appendix” because they saved a lot in printing costs, and they figured the books weren’t inspired Scripture anyway. The devil is an incrementalist you know.

And, if I may add, the very same reason why Catholics don’t use the Deuteros in support of the doctrine of Purgatory when speaking with protestants. What good would it do to cite something that the other side does not acknowledge as valid?

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