The Apocrypha - help needed!

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Matt Black, Mar 12, 2004.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    A number of you were gracious a week or so ago in giving material to assist on my refutation of baptismal regeneration. I'd be grateful for similar ammo here: I'm in an argument re inerrancy on another board (which shall remain nameless) where the subject of the Canon of Scripture, and specifically the Apocrypha has come up. The argument against my position gos something like this:-

    " If the the NT writers are quoting from the Septuagint, does that mean that it is that version that is accepted as the canonical one by the earliest Christians? And, since the LXX was good enough for them, it should be good enough for us today. And, since the LXX contains the Apocrypha, that should be viewed as canonical by us today."

    Now, I can chuck back things at them like Jamnia, but they in return can retort that Jamnia was a Jewish reaction against the proseletysing Jewish Christian minim and represented an attempt by the Jews to reject the LXX because it was by then viewed as a Christian piece of Scripture.

    Thoughts please!

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  2. Charles Meadows

    Charles Meadows
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    This is tough one!

    As you probably know there is really no distinct "septuagint" - only a collection of books translated at different times by different people with differing degrees of fidelity to the original texts. There are those who speak of a separate Septuagint "Vorlage" text - but we really have no idea whether or not such a thing even exists due to the heterogeneity of the septuagint itself - the differences from the BHS could be explained by scribal interpretation - and this tends to vary between books with the Pentateuch being the more similar to the BHS and Isaiah and Daniel tending to vary a lot more!

    The Septuagint we have now is largely derived from Vaticanus (Brenton's text) with some variant readings from Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus in the Rahlfs text. These date to the 4th or 5th centuries AD. Vaticanus has most of the apocrypha - but not all of it. Whay is it in Vaticanus? Who knows. Certainly the Jews read the "wisdom books" and held them in esteem - although they arguably never held them to be "scriptural". These manuscripts such as Vaticanus are of Alexandrian origin. The hellenistic Jews certainly had copies of these books - so it's not surprising that they are there. As far as the Hebrew canon - well the Essenes at Qumran didn't have the apocrypha in their texts and neither did the Jews at Jamnia. These apocryphal books were written in the Hellenistic period and may have originally been composed in Greek anyway so there may be no Hebrew "vorlage" for them - although we don't know.

    Given what we already know about the apocrypha, given some of the questionable doctrines therein, and especially given the evidence from Qumran (nonapocryphal Hebrew bible) it seems best to conclude that this was not initially considered part of the canon - but the water is murky!!
     
  3. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    Er...bump. Is no-one else apart from Charles in his excellent post interested in this important point of doctrine and Biblical scholarship?

    YOurs in Christ

    Matt
     
  4. gb93433

    gb93433
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    I don't know of any group that accepted the OT Pseudepigrapha or the NT Apocrypha as part of the canon. If you read them you will quickly see the differences between them and scripture. However the early church did know about them and even quoted from them. Paul even quoted a saying, "All Cretans are liars." Just because someone quotes something does not mean that it is a part of the canon. For example in 1 Cor. 15 where Paul writes about the resurrection he proves his point by using even non-believers as examples of those who believe in a resurrection.

    1 Cor. 15:29, "Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? "

    Just because Paul uses that example of a pagan practice does not mean he supports that practice.
     
  5. vaspers

    vaspers
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    I thought the Church accepted the "apocrypha" until Luther came along and dumped them...

    ...didn't Luther also dislike James, II Peter, and Revelation?

    I like Ecclesiasticus a lot.

    Aren't there references in current canon to books that are lost now: like "book of Enoch" for example, mentioned I think in Jude?

    Yes, the waters are very murky here.
     
  6. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    Judeis the only reference to the pseudopigraphic Book of Enoch in the canon proper.

    So what are we to do about Carthage and Jerome?

    YOurs in Christ

    Matt
     

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