Why doesn't Roman Catholic Bibles have books accepted by Eastern Orthodox churches in them?

I have read that the Latin Vulgate was translated mainly by St. Jerome directly from the Greek Septuagint. If this is the case, why don’t Catholic Bibles have an identical Canon to most Orthodox churches? They are very similar but are missing some books and passages, such as 1 and 2 Esdras (3 and 4 Esdras in the Latin Vulgate as Ezra and Nehemiah are 1 and 2 Esdras in the Latin Vulgate), 3 and 4 Maccabees, Prayer of Manasseh, and Psalm 151? I was just curious if anyone knew the answer to this.

Jerome actually did use the Greek Septuagint, but also translated from other canons as well. For example, that’s why in the medieval Latin West, there were two versions of the Book of Psalms. One version known as the Gallicana was basically Jerome’s translation of the Septuagint Pslams. The other version, the Hebraicum, was a direct translation from Hebrew manuscripts that predated the Masoretic canon/mss, which Jerome also made. Jerome also expresses doubts about what is or isn’t canon when he included the Epistle to the Laodiceans in his Vulgate translation. He said he wasn’t sure if it was really canonical, but he translated it anyways. So in short, Jerome borrowed a lot from various traditions. At the time period, there was no official canon for the Bible. Many councils and synods simply composed their own canons until over time people more or less agreed on most books.

Good question!

Can anyone recommend a good Orthodox Bible? I imagine that there are numerous translations as is the case with our own Catholic Bibles. I am curious as to what the “Orthodox Books” have to say…


The Oxford Annotated Bible w apocrypha has all books accepted by Catholic and Orthodox bibles.


So which versions of the Bible do the Eastern sui juris Churches use? The one with 3/4 Maccabees, or the one without?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.