Why do Eastern Catholics and Romans Catholics have different Bibles


Those smaller Churches are in common with a single Church effectively making them one Church, only what was confirmed at Trent is considered inspired by the Latin Catholics yet Eastern Catholic have books in their canon which wouldn’t be considered inspired according to Trent and the Latin Church, notice the problem?


How can that be possible if the Western canon is closed on which book as are inspired, while the Eastern canon has uninspired books in it according to Western viewpoint, this is a contradiction. They both can’t be correct.


Give me a little time and I’ll see if I can come up with a more satisfactory answer for you. I will email a priest that I know who is a Melkite Catholic and a professor of scripture. He used to be an occasional contributor to this forum. It might take a little bit of time for him to get back to me.


Father Sebastian I’m guessing? He’s excellent!



That would be good since I’ve been thinking of becoming a Melkite Catholic. Where is he from if I may ask? Is he from an Arab country or a convert, since most Melkites originally come from Arab countries.


I’ll PM you his email address. I think it would be better for you to contact him directly, as his experience on this forum was considerably less than ideal. I’m getting ready to leave the house now, but I’ll send it this afternoon.

(He’s American-born, by the way. From California. He grew up in a Ruthenian Church and transferred to Melkite as adult.)


I can’t contact him directly, atleast not on email due to certain privacy issues. I could contact him online though.


The Council of Trent only affirmed what was scripture.
They looked at the Old Testament of the Vulgate and compared it to the ancient lists because even the Vulgate had some books that weren’t in the ancient lists.
Pope Clement Vlll put 3 Esdras(1 Esdras in Greek Bibles) ,4 Esdras( 3 Ezra in Slavonic Bibles), and the Prayer of Manessah ( in Orthodox Bibles) in an appendix of the Clementine Vulgate of 1592"lest they perish entirely"and were in an appendix of the Douay Rheims until 1752 when they no longer were attained. Pope Clement Vlll in the prologue to the appendix says:

The Prayer of Manasseh, as well as two books, which circulate under the name of the Third and Fourth Book of Ezra, are set aside in this place—that is, outside the series of canonical books, which the holy Tridentine Synod accepted, and determined should be taken up for canonical—lest they should perish completely, since they are sometimes cited by some of the holy Fathers, and they are found in some Latin books, both manuscript and printed.

Thus only 3 and 4 Maccabees and Psalm 151 are unique to the eastern Churches. However the latter was also in some versions of the Vulgate at various times.
It comes down to tradition. Trent said which books were canon yet as you can see Pope Clement Vlll said these three books which were in the Vulgate but not the canon should be put in an appendix because of the tradition of them in the Church and continued to be read. In fact the new Baronius Press Douay Rheims Bible and Clementine Vulgate in English and Latin has these three books in an appendix because of the tradition. That is a Catholic publishing company putting books that aren’t considered inspired but useful to read.
The east had a different tradition which also added some other books. The Council of Trent said which books are Canon by ancient lists but the lists of the east were different. They added some books which are also in the Septuagint of the ancient Church such as 3 and 4 Maccabees and because of tradition they are in their Bibles.

I think when it comes down to it you are making to big of a deal of absolutes in biblical canons and forgetting a lot of it has to do with tradition.


To the Eastern mind, tis sin’t a problem.

Expecting to have everything nailed down and categorized is quite western.

My favorite example is, “At what point does the bread and wine become the Body and Blood? A) At the epiclesis (problematic for the Roman Canon, where it is implicit), B) At the conconusion of the Words of Institution, C) at the respective Words of Institution for the Body and Blood, D) at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer, E) at the priest’s reception, or F) other”, the Western theologians will make a choice and provide further details, while the East is satisfied with “yes”.

No, that is not Catholic teaching or ecclesiology. We are sister churches.

I understand your statement, but, no, it is to a problem.

The canon is not a statement that all books not with it are not inspired.


Eastern and clergy . . . both recipes on CAF for abuse. (I’ve fled several times just from one . . .)




Here’s an article on Jimmy Akins website that speaks exactly about what you are talking about. Especially the end when it discusses what would happen to the additional books if reunification occurred. The simple answer is they would not be binding as canon to Latin Rite Catholics however they would still be allowed as inspired in that particular church of the east.


I just want to know if the Latins consider the additional books in the Eastern canons to be inspired or if they consider only they’re canon to be inspired by God?


Is anyone still posting on this thread?


Interesting. I know the Eritrean and Ethiopian Tewahedo Churches - which split in the hardly mentioned Schism of AD 451, after Chalcedon - have the Books of Enoch in their Holy Scriptures, and maybe one or two other books we would consider Apocrypha. These Churches retain Apostolic Succession like the Eastern Orthodox, and thus the Sacraments also. I am aware Pope Francis, in 2015, created Catholic Communion Churches alongside them. I assume their Holy Bibles have been altered accordingly, but it won’t remove the influence the different books may have had on the development of the Faith over in that part of the world. They also retain a strong Jewish character, not seen in many other places. However, I doubt the Eastern Catholics you refer to are these folk. Sometimes we call these Churches “Oriental” to distinguish them, but that can also cause confusion due to the Coptic Church as well. Anyhow, coming back to Scripture. Apocryphal books may well be Divinely inspired but are not regarded as necessary for the Faithful and thus aren’t included in the Canon. Before the Council of Trent, books like Tobit were Apocrypha. This didn’t make Tobit non-inspired before the 1550s. So it’s an interesting question that is raised here, and of great significance to how we think about the Scriptures and surrounding literature. I think the Pope Emeritus mentioned that some of the letters dating shortly after St. Paul’s Epistles, such as those of St. Clement of Rome and similar, could almost be regarded as “quasi-Canonical”. They are of tremendous importance in charting the history of the Church, and also in debates over authority and said history with Protestant Christians, Muslims, and others.


The church really is not sure. All that is definite is that it is not wrong to use those other books in a canon. For example, Fr. Gregory Martin, the translator of the Douay Rheims, says that it is uncertain whether these books are part of the canon (this was after the council of Trent), and then later says that they are not in the divine canon, but are a commentary on the canonical books. However, they are considered to be without error. They were included in the Vulgate, and then put into an appendix around the time of the publishing of the DR bible. They are included there in an appendix to the old testament (I believe they were in every catholic bible until the 18th century), and considered in a very similar way as Luther considered what he called the “apocrypha”. Other books were also included in various editions of the Vulgate, such as Psalm 151 and Laodiceans.

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