Something is Bothering me

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Thinkingstuff, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
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    As I study history and critically look at the scriptures I've developed some consern. For instance How did we settle with the Canon of the protestant OT? It doesn't seem to make sence. I often hear that Jesus supported a "canon" in his day by saying something about prophets from Able to Zachariah and that Zachariah being the last book in the prophet section of the Tanakh supports the Jewish exclussion of other books. However, it is clear that Jewish cannon for the OT wasn't settled until 300 AD. The Massorites are dated to about 500 AD long after the establishment of Christianity.

    Looking at the Tanakh we see in the Neviim that the last prophet mentioned is Malachi and using Jesus support would exclude books like Malachi and the entire Ketuvim. Also why so much attention to Tanakh when its clear that the organization of most protestant bibles are based on the LXX? So, we organize our bibles like the LXX which is inclusive of other books but only select books from the Tanakh? When looking at Cannon when was it decided that only the 39 books of the OT were inspired? Long before the reformation canon was already determined by 4 councils and note that each of these councils include "appocryphal works".

    In fact the more I study these matters the more I have in mind a continuum of books that are inspired rather than a hard canon. It seems in Jesus day canon was very fluid nature. Torah was accepted beyond any reproach. Yet other communities accepted other writing than the 39 books such as the qumran community and the alexandrian community. Certainly we don't know to what level the writer of Hebrew took the book of 2 Macc. Nor how much Jude took inspiration the Assumption of Moses or 1 Enoch. Studing the early writings of the Church there was considerable inspiration derived from these other books. In my mind I see a continuum in which certian books like those of the Torah were of Most importance and the 27 books of the NT followed suite as entirely inspired however other works were reviewed at verying levels of accepted inspiration. Note the apocryphal works were so important that King James commissioned that they would be included in his 1611 version. So there is a level of acceptance of an importance in these books. Why is it now we protestants have become so dogmatic about just these 39 books of the OT? When did this occur and how is it validated?
     
  2. Zenas

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    TS, it’s something we could call Protestant tradition. There are about four generations now that have never used a bible with the apocrypha. I have 25 to 30 different bibles but none of them contain the apocrypha except a New American Bible I bought back in the 1990’s. You can’t buy a bible at places like Lifeway that contains the apocrypha. Not long ago I was asked to find a new large “pulpit” bible for our church to replace the one that somehow got lost. There are some really nice ones out there but they are all the standard 66 book Protestant Bible. No books between the testaments. When you go for generations without seeing these books in the Bible, you naturally come to believe they don’t belong there.

    The disappearance of these books from the Protestant Bible about a century ago is really the fault of the publishers, many of whom doubted their value and thus deleted them because they weren’t in high demand. It’s cheaper to publish a 66 book bible than to publish a 73 book bible.

    I agree with the conclusions in your post but I am familiar with these books and must admit that they seem to lack the quality of the rest of the Bible. They are not harmful but I don’t think they are particularly useful. Certainly one’s eternal destiny does not hang on whether the person is familiar with them.
     
  3. billwald

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    THE Septuagent (sp?) was translated from Hebrew into Greek long before Jesus was born and it was written copied and published in a specific order. The last verse in the Tanakh is

    2 Chronicles 36:23 (New International Version)

    23 "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
    " 'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you—may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.' "

    The last verse in the OT is

    Malachi 4:5-6 (New International Version)

    5 "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."

    It should be obvious that the Tanakh supports Jewish eschatology and the OT supports Christian eschatology. Did God change his mind about how the Tanakh should end or was it changed for other reasons?
     
  4. Thinkingstuff

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    So then how do you answer my question with regard to canon? Obviously you are correct about Tanakh as apposed to the Christian OT organized in the style of the LXX. So why do protestants adhere to Tanakh 39 (24) books as opposed to early christianity inclusion of apocryphal work?
     
  5. lori4dogs

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    It is a very good question. I'm expecting you will be hearing a denial of the fact that early Christianity included these books or that 'True Believers' ever used them.
     
  6. annsni

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    Never was the apocryphal books considered canon. Ever. Yes, they were historical books but they were not inspired.
     
  7. Thinkingstuff

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    Prove it...............
     
  8. annsni

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    Josephus: "Our books, those which are justly accredited, are but two and twenty and contain the record of all time" (the 22 is the Jewish number of books in the Old Testament - which perfectly correspond to our 39).

    The Babylonian Talmud had the same 39 books as our Old Testament.

    Melito - in the second century - listed the books of the Old Testament and the apocrypha was not included in this list.
     
  9. annsni

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    Prove that David never drove a car.

    I would need proof that the early church considered the apocryphal books as canon because I have not seen any. Yes, they quoted from it but did they put it on equal footing with the 39 books of the Old Testament? Nope.
     
  10. annsni

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    Here is a good list from www.bible.ca regarding the apocrypha:

    21 reasons why the Apocrypha is not inspired:

    1. The Roman Catholic Church did not officially canonize the Apocrypha until the Council of Trent (1546 AD). This was in part because the Apocrypha contained material which supported certain Catholic doctrines, such as purgatory, praying for the dead, and the treasury of merit.
    2 Not one of them is in the Hebrew language, which was alone used by the inspired historians and poets of the Old Testament.
    3 Not one of the writers lays any claim to inspiration.
    4 These books were never acknowledged as sacred Scriptures by the Jewish Church, and therefore were never sanctioned by our Lord.
    5 They were not allowed a place among the sacred books, during the first four centuries of the Christian Church.
    6 They contain fabulous statements, and statements which contradict not only the canonical Scriptures, but themselves; as when, in the two Books of Maccabees, Antiochus Epiphanes is made to die three different deaths in as many different places.
    7 The Apocrypha inculcates doctrines at variance with the Bible, such as prayers for the dead and sinless perfection.

    And the day following Judas came with his company, to take away the bodies of them that were slain, and to bury them with their kinsmen, in the sepulchers of their fathers. And they found under the coats of the slain some of the donaries of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbiddeth to the Jews: so that all plainly saw, that for this cause they were slain. Then they all blessed the just judgment of the Lord, who had discovered the things that were hidden. And so betaking themselves to prayers, they besought him, that the sin which had been committed might be forgotten. But the most valiant Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, forasmuch as they saw before their eyes what had happened, because of the sins of those that were slain. And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection, (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. (2 Maccabees 12:39-45)

    8 The apocrypha contains offensive materials unbecoming of God’s authorship.
    Ecclesiasticus 25:19 Any iniquity is insignificant compared to a wife's iniquity.
    Ecclesiasticus 25:24 From a woman sin had its beginning. Because of her we all die.
    Ecclesiasticus 22:3 It is a disgrace to be the father of an undisciplined, and the birth of a daughter is a loss.

    9. It teaches immoral practices, such as lying, suicide, assassination and magical incantation.
    10 The apocryphal books themselves make reference to what we call the Silent 400 years, where there was no prophets of God to write inspired materials.
    And they laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, till there should come a prophet, and give answer concerning them. (1 Maccabees 4:46)
    And there was a great tribulation in Israel, such as was not since the day, that there was no prophet seen in Israel. (1 Maccabees 9:27)
    And that the Jews, and their priests, had consented that he should be their prince, and high priest for ever, till there should arise a faithful prophet. (1 Maccabees 14:41)

    11 Josephus rejected the apocryphal books as inspired and this reflected Jewish thought at the time of Jesus
    "From Artexerxes to our own time the complete history has been written but has not been deemed worthy of equal credit with the earlier records because of the failure of the exact succession of the prophets." ... "We have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine..."(Flavius Josephus, Against Apion 1:8)
    12 The Manual of Discipline in the Dead Sea Scrolls rejected the apocrypha as inspired.
    13 The Council of Jamnia held the same view rejected the apocrypha as inspired.
    They debated the canonicity of a few books (e.g., Ecclesiastes), but they changed nothing and never proclaimed themselves to be authoritative determiners of the Old Testament canon. "The books which they decided to acknowledge as canonical were already generally accepted, although questions had been raised about them. Those which they refused to admit had never been included. They did not expel from the canon any book which had previously been admitted. 'The Council of Jamnia was the confirming of public opinion, not the forming of it.'" (F. F. Bruce, The Books and Parchments [Old Tappan, NJ.: Fleming H. Revell, 1963], p. 98])
    14 Although it was occasionally quoted in early church writings, it was nowhere accepted in a canon. Melito (AD 170) and Origen rejected the Apocrypha, (Eccl. Hist. VI. 25, Eusebius) as does the Muratorian Canon.
    15 Jerome vigorously resisted including the Apocrypha in his Latin Vulgate Version (400 AD), but was overruled. As a result, the standard Roman Catholic Bible throughout the medieval period contained it. Thus, it gradually came to be revered by the average clergyman. Still, many medieval Catholic scholars realized that it was not inspired.
    16 The terms "protocanonical" and "deuterocanonical" are used by Catholics to signify respectively those books of Scripture that were received by the entire Church from the beginning as inspired, and those whose inspiration came to be recognized later, after the matter had been disputed by certain Fathers and local churches.
    17 Pope Damasus (366-384) authorized Jerome to translate the Latin Vulgate. The Council of Carthage declared this translation as "the infallible and authentic Bible." Jerome was the first to describe the extra 7 Old Testament books as the "Apocrypha" (doubtful authenticity). Needless to say, Jerome’s Latin Vulgate did not include the Apocrypha.
    18 Cyril (born about A.D. 315) – "Read the divine Scriptures – namely, the 22 books of the Old Testament which the 72 interpreters translated" (the Septuagint)
    19 The apocrypha wasn’t included at first in the Septuagint, but was appended by the Alexandrian Jews, and was not listed in any of the catalogues of the inspired books till the 4th century
    20 Hilary (bishop of Poictiers, 350 A.D.) rejected the apocrypha (Prologue to the Psalms, Sec. 15)
    21 Epiphanius (the great opposer of heresy, 360 A.D.) rejected them all. Referring to Wisdom of Solomon & book of Jesus Sirach, he said "These indeed are useful books & profitable, but they are not placed in the number of the canonical."
     
  11. Thinkingstuff

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    If you read my intro post you would note that I said they had varying degrees of inspiration. What the early Christians held as the most fully inspirational work are specifically the works of the NT and especially the Gospels next came Torah next came the other books at verying degrees of inspiration. thus my statement of continuum. You have just admitted you can only argue for semi-silence. However, Paul indicates that all scripture are inspired works. Yet if you look at the use of books from the NT you get a sence that some OT works were held in higher value than others and at times certain passages more than others. Hebrews quotes from 2 Macc (or referrences it) and Jude quotes from 1 Enoch as well as the assumption of Moses. This neither validates that those books were considered inspired nor does it deny it but certainly they were used. Where in History does an authoritative body exclude apocryphal books entirely? Look at the synods each synod makes inclusive certain text of the Apocrypha. This includes the council of ephesus, Rome, Hippo, and Carthage. Note apocryphal works were canon for the majority of christian history as has been seen in the many finds and texts of scriptures from the early christian period.
     
  12. Steven2006

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    The Dead Sea Scrolls (dated as early as 100 BC) are about one thousand years older than any other copy of the Hebrew Old Testament that exists today. They verify the collection of books that included all of our OT and nothing else as sacred.
     
  13. Thinkingstuff

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    There are so many mistatements here that makes one want to tap someone on the back of the head note the read
    And on and on it goes.
     
  14. Thinkingstuff

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    You must ask then these questions

    They why did they have the extended version of Esther or the book of Tobit included in their works? Surely, Why don't we include their war scroll? ETC....
     
  15. lori4dogs

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    Actually, The Council of Laodicea, c. 360, produced a list of books similar to today's canon. This was one of the Church's earliest decisions on a canon.

    By 'today's canon', I mean the longer Old Testament canon, 46 books, from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Alexandrian Canon.
     
    #15 lori4dogs, Feb 16, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2010
  16. Steven2006

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    I believe it has always been settled, and one could strongly argue it was affirmed at the Synod of Jamnia ( 90 AD).
     
  17. Jerome

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    I'm confused:laugh: so did the Vulgate contain them or not?
     
  18. Thinkingstuff

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    Lead by a pharisee who had to be taken out of a seiged city in a coffin!!! These people were still persecuting Christians. They even selected to erradicate as many messianic prophesies as they could changing scriptures to meet their need such as Isaiah mentioning a virgin birth rather than a birth by a young girl. And Jamnia didn't settle all the issues because they had to instill mishna and latter gamatra to ensure the partial books they chose were interpreted to reject christ you should see what Talmud says about our savior. All thanks to Jamnia. It doesn't change the fact of the early church use of apocryphal works as can be seen in cave writings from alexandria to Ethiopia, Rome to Istanbul.
    Essenes show several other apocryphal works as well in their collection of "canon".
     
  19. Thinkingstuff

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    The Vulgate did include them. Damasus had Jerome include them in 383 and was the only authentic version the reformation questioned them and the Catholic church re-affirmed that Popes Choice at Trent.
     
  20. Steven2006

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    I agree, plus the beginning of the quote starts as:...."it follows that we do not possess myriads of inconsistent books, conflicting with each other. Our books..."


    Another quote from Josephus:

    "We have given practical proof of our reverence for our own Scriptures. For, although such long ages have now passed, no one has ventured either to add, or to remove, or to alter a syllable; and it is an instinct with every Jew, from the day of his birth, to regard them as decrees of God, to abide by them, and if need be, cheerfully die for them."
     

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