The Canonicity of the Apocrypha

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From Matt's Link:

The Canonicity of the Apocrypha

The Canonicity of the Apocrypha
QUESTION 9: Are Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, the first two books of Maccabees, Baruch, and the additions to Esther and Daniel properly included in the list of canonical books? Negative, against the Roman Catholics.

I. The apocryphal books are so called not because the authors of the books are unknown--there are canonical works whose authors are not known and apocryphal ones whose authors are--nor because they are read only privately, and not in public [worship]; some of them are indeed read in public. They are so called either because they were kept out of the chest in which the sacred writings were preserved, as Epiphanius and Augustine supposed, or because their authority was unclear and suspect and therefore their use was restricted, that is, the church did not read them for the purpose of establishing ecclesiastical dogmas, as Jerome says in his preface to the Proverbs of Solomon; or, which is the more truthful explanation, because they are of doubtful and obscure origin, and the obscurity was not cleared up by those through whose testimony the authority of Scripture came to us, as Augustine says (City of God 5.24 [15.23]).

II. The question does not involve the books of the Old and New Testaments which we regard as canonical; these the Roman Catholics also accept. Nor does it involve all apocryphal writings; there are some which the Roman Catholics reject no less than we, such as III and IV Esdras, III and IV Maccabees, or the prayer of Manassas.[1][63] But we are concerned with Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, I and II Maccabees, and the additions to Esther and Daniel, which the Roman Catholics include among the canonical writings. We exclude them, not that they are without many true and pious elements, but that they lack the marks of the canonical books.

III. There are a number of reasons. (1) The Jewish church, to which was entrusted the oracles of God (Rom. 3:2), did not accept them, using the same canon as we, as Josephus witnesses (Against Apion 1. [8]) and as Becanus and Stapleton admit. This could not have been done without serious sin (crimen) if these books had been entrusted to them on the same terms as the others, but no such charge is ever made against them by Christ or by the apostles. At this point no distinction ought to be made between the Jewish and the Christian canon, because Christians cannot and should not accept any books as canonical, except those accepted by the Jews, their book-carriers (capsarii), as Augustine calls them--"who carry the books for us students" (commentary on Psalm 60). (2) [The apocryphal books] are never cited as canonical by Christ and the apostles as the others are, and indeed when Christ divides all the Old Testament books into three classes-law, psalms, and prophets (Luke 24:44)--he obviously gave his approval to the Jewish canon, and excluded those books which are not contained in this classification. (3) Because the Christian church accepted the same canon as we, and no other books, for four hundred years; this is shown by the canons of the Council of Laodicea (59), by Melito, bishop of Sardis, who lived in A.D. 116 (Eusebius, Church History 4.25),[2][64] Epiphanius in his treatment of the Epicureans, Jerome in his prologue, Athanasius in his synopsis. (4) Because the authors [of the Apocrypha] were not prophets and inspired men, since these books were written after Malachi, the last of the prophets, nor were they written in Hebrew, like the Old Testament, but in Greek. So Josephus says, in the place cited above, that the writings of his people after the time of Artaxerxes are not of equal trustworthiness and authority with the earlier ones, as not being in the true succession of the prophets.

IV. (5) Both the style and the content of these books cry out that they are human, not divine, so that anyone who did not realize that they were produced by human effort would be a person of little insight, although some [of the books] are superior to others. For besides the fact that the style does not equal the majesty and simplicity of the divine style, but is redolent of the evil and weakness of human learning, with folly, flattery, conceit, affectation, pseudoerudition and false eloquence, all of which occur frequently (non raro), there is in [these books] so much that is not only inconsequential and frivolous, but also false, superstitious, and contradictory, that it is very plain that [these books] were of human, not divine, composition. We give a few examples of the many errors. In Tobit lying is attributed to the angel, who in 5:15 [12] calls himself Azariah the son of Ananias, and in 12:15 Raphael the angel of the Lord. The same [angel] in chapter 6 gives magical guidance for the expulsion of a demon by the smoke of a burning fish's liver, contrary to the word of Christ (Matt. 17:21). He accepts for himself the offering of prayer which is rightful only for Christ (12:12). The book of Judith praises (9:2) an act of Simeon that was cursed by Jacob (Gen. 49 [:5 - 7]); it praises the lying and deception of Judith, which is not consistent with piety (chap. 11); and worse than that, it praises her for seeking the blessing of God for her lying and deception (9:13). There is no mention of the city of Bethulia in Scripture, nor is there any mention of this deliverance [by Judith] in either Josephus or Philo, who wrote about Jewish history. The author of Wisdom falsely states that he was king in Israel (9:7 - 8), and is understood as Solomon, although he mentions athletic contests which were not yet being held among the Greeks of Solomon's time (4:2);
Wisdom 9:7-8 7 Thou hast chosen me to be a king of thy people, and a judge of thy sons and daughters: 8 Thou hast commanded me to build a temple upon thy holy mount, and an altar in the city wherein thou dwellest, a resemblance of the holy tabernacle, which thou hast prepared from the beginning.
moreover, he presents the Pythagorean doctrine of transmigration (8:19 - 20) and gives a false account of the origin of idols (15:15 -16):
Wisdom 8:19-20 19 For I was a witty child, and had a good spirit. 20 Yea rather, being good, I came into a body undefiled.
Wisdom 15:15-16 15 For they counted all the idols of the heathen to be gods: which neither have the use of eyes to see, nor noses to draw breath, nor ears to hear, nor fingers of hands to handle; and as for their feet, they are slow to go. 16 For man made them, and he that borrowed his own spirit fashioned them: but no man can make a god like unto himself.

The son of Sirach attributes to Samuel an act that was the work of an evil demon called forth by wicked methods (Ecclesiasticus 46:20; I Sam. 28:11), gives a false account of the corporeal return of Elijah (de Elia corporaliter reverso) (48:11), and, in the prologue, apologizes for his delusions.
V. In the additions to Esther and Daniel there are so many contradictory and foolish statements that Sixtus Senensis simply rejects them. Baruch says that he read his book to Jeconiah and all the people in Babylon in the fifth year after the fall of Jerusalem (Baruch 1:2 - 3), when, however, Jeconiah was still in prison, and Baruch was in Egypt, taken away with [Jeremiah][3][65] after the assassination of Gedaliah (Jer. 43:10 [7]). The altar of the Lord is mentioned at a time when the temple no longer existed (Baruch 1:10).
Baruch 1:10 10 ¶ And they said, Behold, we have sent you money to buy you burnt offerings, and sin offerings, and incense, and prepare ye manna, and offer upon the altar of the Lord our God;
An historical introduction, according to which Baruch wrote the book in Babylon, "in the fifth year, and in the seventh day of the month," clearly a mistake for "the fifth month" at the time when the Chaldaeans took Jerusalem, i.e. in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar (586BC).
2 Kings 25:8 8 ¶ And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.
Still trying to Figure Out who Puts out the BIBLEDUDES Site. Anybody?


The books of the Maccabees often contradict each other--compare I Maccabees 1:16 with 9:5 and 28, and I Maccabees 10. The suicide of Razis is praised (II Maccabees 14:42). Will-worship is praised when Judas [Maccabeus] offers sacrifices for the dead which are not provided for by the law (II Maccabees 12:42). The author apologizes for his weakness and infirmity, and comments on the difficulty of stitching together his patchwork (cento) out of the five books of Jason of Cyrene (II Maccabees 2:24; 15:[38-]39).[4][66] If anyone should want more on these books, let him consult Rainold, Chamierus, Molinaeus, Spanheim, and others who have carried on this discussion extensively and soundly.

VI. The canon of faith is one thing; the canon of ecclesiastical reading is another. We are not discussing the latter, for it is well known that these apocryphal books have from time to time been read in public worship, but only for the instruction of the people, as Jerome says in his preface to the book of Solomon. Likewise the "legends," which are so called from legendum,[5][67] and which told of the sufferings of the martyrs, used to be read in public worship, although not regarded as canonical. Here we are discussing the canon of faith.

VII. The word canon is used in two senses by the patristic writers, broadly and narrowly. In the former sense it includes not only the canon of faith but also that of ecclesiastical reading. In this sense the forty-seventh canon of the third Council of Carthage must be understood, when it calls the books [of the Apocrypha] canonical, not narrowly and with strict accuracy as the canon of faith, but broadly as the canon of reading, as the synod, which also desired that the "passions of the martyrs" be read, explicitly declared (if indeed this canon is not interpolated, since it mentions Pope Boniface, who at that time was not yet pope, so that Syrius Monachus calls this a canon of the seventh council of Carthage, not the third). Augustine is to be understood in the same way when he calls [the Apocrypha] canonical. He sets up two classes of canons, one that is accepted by all churches and concerning which there is no question; the second which is accepted by some, and which was commonly read by both parties, and he held this second as not to be esteemed as much as the first, and its authority to be much less (Against the Manicheans 2.5). The Apocrypha indeed are for him corrupt, false, and dishonest writings; he calls them "fables of scriptures which are called apocrypha" (City of God 5.24 [15.23]). But "canon" is used narrowly for that which had divine and infallible authority for proving the dogmas of the faith, and thus Jerome uses the word when he excludes [the Apocrypha] from the canon. So Augustine uses the word canon more broadly than Jerome, who uses the word apocrypha more broadly than Augustine, not only for books which are clearly false and mythological, but also for those which, although read in church, are not employed for proving the dogmas of the faith, so that it is easy to harmonize the words of these Fathers, who seem to disagree in this matter. So Cajetan, at the end of his commentary on Esther, explains the words of the Fathers: "for Jerome the words of councils and fathers are reduced to such a classification that they are not canonical, that is, containing rules for the establishment of articles of faith, although they can be called canonical, that is, containing rules for the edification of believers, since they are received into the biblical canon for this purpose," with which teaching Dionysius the Carthusian agrees in his preface to Tobit.

VIII. There is no point to the Roman Catholic distinction between the canon of the Jews and that of the Christians, for, although our canon in its totality means all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are equally part of it, as is not the case with the Jews, who reject the New, nevertheless, if the word is used of a part, that is, the Old Testament, in which sense we are now discussing, it is certain that our canon does not differ from that of the Jews, because they have never received any books into the canon except those which we do.

IX. If among the Fathers there is reference to some deuterocanonical works, it is not to be understood that they are in truth and univocally canonical with respect to faith, but they are included in the canon of reading, on account of many pious and useful contents that can serve for edification.

X. The quotation of a passage does not prove a book to be canonical, (1) for if it did, Aratus, Menander, and Epimenides, who are quoted by Paul (Acts 17:28; I Cor. 15:33; Titus 1:12) would be canonical, and (2) the words which our adversaries claim are quoted from the Apocrypha can be found in other canonical books, from which, rather than from the Apocrypha, the apostles could have quoted.

XI. If [the apocryphal books] are joined to the canonical ones, it does not follow that they are of equal authority, but only that they are useful for the cultivation of morals, and for an understanding of the history of [biblical] times, not for the establishment of faith.[6][68]

XII. Although some apocryphal books, such as Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, are better and purer than others, and contain a number of ethical teachings of good content, which have their value, yet because they have many other teachings both false and foolish, they are wisely excluded from the canon.

XIII. Although some doubted the authenticity of a number of New Testament books, such as the Epistle of James, II Peter, II and III John, and Revelation, which afterward were held canonical by the church, it does not follow that this could happen with respect to the apocryphal books, because in this matter the status of Old and New Testament books is different. (1) For the books of the Old Testament were not given to the Christian church by stages, in temporal succession or through parts of the church, but all books belonging to it were received from the Jews at one and the same time written in one codex, after they had received unquestioned authority, which was confirmed by Christ himself and by the apostles. But the books of the New Testament were written separately in different times and places, and gradually collected into one corpus. Therefore, some of the later books, which came later to some churches, especially in remote areas, were held in doubt by some, until their authenticity gradually became known. (2) Although some Epistles and the Book of Revelation were questioned in some churches, yet there were always many more that accepted them. But there was never any disagreement over the apocryphal books, because they were always rejected by the Jewish church
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