Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by Jeffg, Aug 22, 2023.

  1. Jeffg

    Jeffg Active Member

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    So I'm hoping to get some discussion on the legitimacy of Apocryphal books. I think that the Ethiopian Orthodox accept 3 Maccabees as well as two books I'd never even heard of, let alone can pronounce. Any background on these or thoughts ? They have three books called "Meqabyan." which as far as I know, are not in any other Bible.
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  2. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    They are not legitimate enough to make doctrine out of but they are worth reading in church for instruction of morals.
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  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
    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.

    Of the Names and Number of the Canonical Books.
    Genesis, The First Book of Samuel, The Book of Esther,
    Exodus, The Second Book of Samuel, The Book of Job,
    Leviticus, The First Book of Kings, The Psalms,
    Numbers, The Second Book of Kings, The Proverbs,
    Deuteronomy, The First Book of Chronicles, Ecclesiastes or Preacher,
    Joshua, The Second Book of Chronicles, Cantica, or Songs of Solomon,
    Judges, The First Book of Esdras, Four Prophets the greater,
    Ruth, The Second Book of Esdras, Twelve Prophets the less.

    And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:

    The Third Book of Esdras, The rest of the Book of Esther,
    The Fourth Book of Esdras, The Book of Wisdom,
    The Book of Tobias, Jesus the Son of Sirach,
    The Book of Judith, Baruch the Prophet,
    The Song of the Three Children, The Prayer of Manasses,
    The Story of Susanna, The First Book of Maccabees,
    Of Bel and the Dragon, The Second Book of Maccabees.

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

    Article 6 is the authoritative position for Anglicans. What it means may be a bit more nuanced. I grew up amongst Anglicans who decried the apocryphal texts that the Catholics had added to the Bible, arguing you would find better theology in Playboy magazine. I am not sure I ever held that position for myself, and I certainly do not hold it now.

    In my 30's I lived amongst Anglicans who would refer to the Bible with 66 Books as 'shortened form' or 'readers digest' Bibles.

    The Septuagint (LXX) was a Greek Translation of the Scriptures from around 250 BC. The reason for the undertaking was to support the many who no longer understood Hebrew. The Deuterocanonical (2nd Canon) texts were part of the LXX and these are the books referred to in the list of other books as Jerome said.

    The Masoretic Text is also ancient and was probably extant in the period possibly just following the LXX and represents the preservation of the Hebrew text. It is likely that some of the deuterocanonical texts were first written in Greek. In the face of the growing Christian Church, the Jews firmed up their Canon and the emphasis was on the Hebrew texts.

    In the main, it seems that the writers of the New Testament were most familiar with, and used the LXX. They were Greek Speaking, writing in Greek, and made use of the text they knew to support what they were writing. This becomes a hot topic for those who want to defend a 66 Book Bible, however, the general evidence suggests it is most likely they used the wider canon of the LXX even when quoting from the books that were common to both the LCC and the Masoretic Canon.

    The depth of understanding expressed in John 3:11-15 shows an understanding of the passage in Wisdom 16:5-8

    Wisdom 16:5-8
    For when the terrible rage of wild animals came upon your people
    and they were being destroyed by the bites of writhing serpents,
    your wrath did not continue to the end;
    they were troubled for a little while as a warning,
    and received a symbol of deliverance to remind them of your law’s command.
    For the one who turned towards it was saved, not by the thing that was beheld,
    but by you, the Saviour of all.
    And by this also you convinced our enemies
    that it is you who deliver from every evil.​

    Traditionally, Anglican Liturgical Lectionaries have included a smattering of text from the Deuterocanonicals.

    My Conclusion is that Anglicans have a Bible based on the LXX, and includes the texts from the second list, and whilst those texts may be used in support, they may not be used to establish that which should be required to be believed unto salvation.
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  4. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    Whether there was a single Hebrew textual tradition is an open debate that is looking less likely. I expect it to work out something like the NT textual tradition, where there is a majority text but a couple of largely complete variants.

    A great resource on this subject is the Apocrypha book published by Concordia Publishing House:
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