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Does The Catholic Bible Include The Apocrypha

Other Early Bible Editions

Why isnt the Apocrypha included in the Bible?

All English translations of the Bible printed in the sixteenth century included a section or appendix for Apocryphal books. Matthew’s Bible, published in 1537, contains all the Apocrypha of the later King James Version in an inter-testamental section. The 1538 Myles Coverdale Bible contained an Apocrypha that excluded Baruch and the Prayer of Manasseh. The 1560 Geneva Bible placed the Prayer of Manasseh after 2 Chronicles the rest of the Apocrypha were placed in an inter-testamental section. The Douay-Rheims Bible placed the Prayer of Manasseh and 3 and 4 Esdras into an Appendix of the second volume of the Old Testament.

In the Zürich Bible , they are placed in an Appendix. They include 3 Maccabees, along with 1 Esdras& 2 Esdras. The 1st edition omitted the Prayer of Manasseh and the Rest of Esther, although these were included in the 2nd edition. The French Bible of Pierre Robert Olivétan placed them between the Testaments, with the subtitle, “The volume of the apocryphal books contained in the Vulgate translation, which we have not found in the Hebrew or Chaldee“.

In 1569 the Spanish Reina Bible, following the example of the pre-Clementine Latin Vulgate, contained the deuterocanonical books in its Old Testament. Following the other Protestant translations of its day, Valera’s 1602 revision of the Reina Bible moved these books into an inter-testamental section.

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The Source Of The Controversy

A fundamental issue that separates Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions is the question of the Old Testament Apocrypha. Catholics argue that the Apocrypha was an integral part of the early church and should be included in the list of inspired Old Testament books. Protestants believe that the books of the Apocrypha are valuable for understanding the events and culture of the inter-testamental period and for devotional reading, but are not inspired nor should they be included in the canon, the list of books included in the Bible. This disagreement about which books belong in the Bible points to other differences in Roman Catholic and Protestant beliefs about canonicity itself and the interplay between the authority of the Bible and the authority of tradition as expressed in the institutional church. Catholics contend that God established the church and that the Church, the Roman Catholic Church, both gave us the Bible and verified its authenticity. Protestants believe that the Scriptures, the writings of the prophets and apostles, are the foundation upon which the church is built and are authenticated by the Holy Spirit, who has been and is active in church congregations and councils.

As believers who have called upon the saving work of Jesus Christ as our only hope for salvation, we all want to know what is from God and what is from man. The remainder of this article will defend the traditional Protestant position against the inclusion of the Apocrypha as inspired canon.

Why Do Anglicans Read The Apocrypha Today

Is the Apocrypha Scripture?

To answer this question, lets take a look at Article 6 of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, one of the foundation documents within the Anglican Communion:

The title of Article 6 is Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.

The article begins with a discussion of canonical Holy Scripture:

Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.

Article 6 then lists the canonical books of the Old Testament:

  • Genesis,
  • The First Book of Samuel,
  • The Second Book of Samuel,
  • The First Book of Kings,
  • The Second Book of Kings,
  • The First Book of Chronicles,
  • The Second Book of Chronicles,
  • The First Book of Esdras ,
  • The Second Book of Esdras ,
  • The Book of Esther,
  • Cantica, or Songs of Solomon,
  • Four Prophets the greater,
  • Twelve Prophets the less.

Regarding the New Testament, it states:

All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.

OK, so far so good. What about the Apocrypha? Heres what Article 6 says:

The article then lists the books its talking about:

As Reginald H. Fuller puts it in his chapter on Scripture in The Study of Anglicanism:

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Why We Reject The Apocrypha

Home \ Faith News \ Why We Reject the Apocrypha

Why We Reject the Apocrypha

Myron J. Houghton, Ph.D., Th.D.

The subject of the Apocrypha can be difficult and detailed, but this article should simplify matters. If you want to explore this subject in greater detail, you should read a chapter entitled, The Old Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in the book A General Introduction to the Bible by Norman Geisler and William Nix, published by Moody Press. Unless otherwise noted, the facts and arguments used in this article are taken from this source.

How Did the Apocryphal Books Become Part of Some Bibles?Actually no one knows for sure how the apocryphal books came to be part of some copies of the Old Testament. Many, however, think that the extra books were added when the Old Testament was translated into Greek. This Greek translation of the Old Testament is called the Septuagint and was produced by Jewish scholars in Alexandria, Egypt about 250 B.C. This theory is based on the fact that the earliest copy of the Septuagint available today contains these extra books, while none of the Hebrew Scriptures contain them. These books, along with the rest of the Bible, were translated by Jerome into Latin around A.D. 400, but Jerome himself did not think they belonged in the Old Testament.

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How We State The Roman Catholic Position On The Books Of The Old Testament Apocrypha

In this question, we will state the arguments given by Roman Catholic authorities concerning the deuterocanonical books, as they call these writings, or the books of the Old Testament Apocrypha as Protestants call them. There are several points we want to emphasize.

First, we are attempting to put forward the best case for the Roman Catholic position. It is our intention to use the strongest arguments we can find from authoritative Roman Catholic sources. If we have not correctly stated the Roman Catholic position on the matter, or if better arguments can be found, we will certainly include this material in any update of this question. Our desire is to present a fair representation of the Roman Catholic position.

Having said this, it must be recognized that Roman Catholic sources do not agree among themselves as how to answer this particular issue. As we shall see in our response, there are contradictory statements from Catholic sources about why these Old Testament Apocrypha books should be accepted as Scripture. Thus, when we list the various Roman Catholic arguments, we are aware that not every Roman Catholic scholar would agree with each one of them. However, all of these arguments have been put forward by Roman Catholics spokesmen in the past, or are still being used in the present. Therefore, when we state the Roman Catholic case for including these books, we will be listing the main arguments that are usually put forward in these discussions.

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Esoteric Writings And Objects

The word apocryphal was first applied to writings which were kept secret because they were the vehicles of esoteric knowledge considered too profound or too sacred to be disclosed to anyone other than the initiated. For example, the disciples of the GnosticProdicus boasted that they possessed the secret books of Zoroaster. The term in general enjoyed high consideration among the Gnostics .

SinologistAnna Seidel refers to texts and even items produced by ancient Chinese sages as apocryphal and studied their uses during Six Dynasties China . These artifacts were used as symbols legitimizing and guaranteeing the Emperor’s Heavenly Mandate. Examples of these include talismans, charts, writs, tallies, and registers. The first examples were stones, jade pieces, bronze vessels and weapons, but came to include talismans and magic diagrams.

From their roots in Zhou era China , these items came to be surpassed in value by texts by the Han dynasty . Most of these texts have been destroyed as Emperors, particularly during the Han dynasty, collected these legitimizing objects and proscribed, forbade and burnt nearly all of them to prevent them from falling into the hands of political rivals.

What Books Are In The Apocrypha

Different scholars included different apocryphal books in their Bible translations before the official list we have today, which was ratified by several Roman Catholic councils and appeared in the King James Bible. The list is as follows:

· The First Book of Esdras

· The Second Book of Esdras

· The Book of Tobit

· Additions to the Book of Esther

· The Book of Wisdom

· Additions to the Book of Daniel

· The Prayer of Manasses

· The First Book of Maccabees

· The Second Book of Maccabees

· The Third Book of Maccabees

· The Fourth Book of Maccabees

Most of these books have separate storylines and characters from the other books of the Bible. For example, the books of the Maccabees come after the Old Testament canon and describe the Maccabees revolting against empires that controlled Israel.

Three of these books are sections of text included in the Septuagint as part of biblical texts but not in earlier versions: Additions to Esther, Additions to Daniel, and the Additional Psalm.

Additions to the Book of Esther are extra scenes in the story of Esther, including Esther giving a long dramatic prayer to God before she goes to see the king, and her fainting when she goes to see King Xerxes.

The Additions to the Book of Daniel are three extra stories about Daniel:

The Additional Psalm is a psalm that doesnt appear in earlier translations of the Psalms.

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What Is The Apocrypha

The Apocrypha is a collection of pre-New Testament works by Jewish writers, many collected in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of Hebrew texts including the 39 canonical books of the Old Testament. These books are considered Scripture by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, but not by Protestant denominations.

Difference Between Catholic Bible And King James Bible

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Categorized under Editor Pick,Language,Religion | Difference Between Catholic Bible and King James Bible

Catholic Bible vs. King James Bible

There has been a lot of confusion surrounding the Holy Bible that both Roman Catholic s and Protestants use, because of the varied versions that have been printed and distributed throughout the world today. It may be because of the never ending dispute between Catholics and Protestants on what should be and shouldnt be included in the Christian Bible that lights the continuity of the said argument.

The Catholic Bible is actually the generic term for the Christian Bible. By nature, it includes the so-called Old and New Testaments. It includes the 5th century Latin Vulgate, which is primarily St. Jeromes work.

Conversely, the King James Bible version is just one of the many versions of the Holy Book circulated throughout. Some of the other versions made or edited by Roman Catholics include: The Latin Vulgate itself, the Douay-Rheims Version, The Jerusalem Bible and the New American Bible, amongst many others.

Overall, no matter what Bible version you are reading, more or less the message remains the same. Even if the phrasing and wordings are somewhat altered, almost all Bible versions, including the KJV, tells of the same message about God. All in all:

1. The Catholic Bible is a more generic term for the Holy Bible.

2. The KJV is just one of the many other versions of the Holy Bible.

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Did The Catholic Church Add Books To The Bible

What are they? A: There are seven books in the Catholic Bible Baruch, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach, Tobit and Wisdom that are not included in the Protestant version of the Old Testament . The Catholic church based its Bible off the expanded Greek translation and early on shifted which books were included.

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Purgatory And A Heavenly Treasury

Lets first consider how the Apocrypha does not accord with Gods truth. This is theologically vital for Protestants. Second Maccabees 12 is a classic text. It records the aftermath of a battle during the Maccabean revolt, where Judas Maccabeus and his men were picking up the bodies of their fallen comrades. Under their tunics, however, they found idols. And so it became clear to all that this was the reason these men had fallen .14 They then prayed for these dead brothers, requesting that the sin that had been committed might be wholly blotted out . Judas also took up a collection and sent it to Jerusalem as a sin offering . The narrator comments:

In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin.

Judass example also leads the RCC to view almsgiving as a good work that merits the forgiveness of sins. The book of Tobit is more explicit on this topic. Consider a few quotes:

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Theological Problems And Political Power

Certain passages within these books teach doctrines counter to the rest of established scripture. Salvation by works, such as in Tobit 12:9, and Purgatory, taught in 2nd Maccabees chapter 12, are two of the most significant. The larger body of scripture is pretty clearly against these teachings, which would further the argument that these books are not inspired scripture.

However, one can see pretty easily why that might be overlooked. At a time in history when the Catholic church was pushing these doctrines for their own gain, suddenly keeping them as scripture is to their advantage. These political motivations combined with the lack of Hebrew scholarship were a big part of why the 16th century church continued to push these books, while protestant reformers like Luther were cutting them out. The Apocrypha was only officially canonized by the Catholic church during this time in the 16th century, essentially doubling down on them, and showing that politics got in the way of good theology.


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