The Apocrypha/Deuterocanon

Discussion in 'Non-Anglican Discussion' started by BibleHoarder, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    Can anyone tell me what Trent's justification was for adding the apocryphal books to the canon? I find it rather ludicrous that these books, written before the New Testament period, when there were no legitimate prophets wandering about, which were also rejected by the early church fathers, would be picked for canonization almost a century and a half later instead of works that were more worthy of being canonized such as the letters of the early fathers (Ignatius, Polycarp, Clement, etc.)

    I study the apocrypha and it is obvious why these books were rejected. It seems both the Orthodox and Romans agreed that they were sufficient to establish certain matters of doctrine. What is the whole scoop on this? Sure, there is some devotional value in them whenever they are biblically sound, but not in the way that I would think is firm enough to prove the more controversial doctrines.
     
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  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    They are regarded as 'examples of life and instruction of manners', but even there there is some doubt about some verses. Recommending beating of slaves to make them work better is hardly the kind of thing likely to be an 'example of life' or 'instruction in manners'. The Apocrypha is a theological pick and mix, with some fairy stories thrown in for good measure. Samuel Bel and the Dragon being one of the more entertaining ones.

    On the whole I can see exactly why they were considered better left out of The Bible or at the very least collected together and put in a 'fictional' section of their own.
    .
     
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  3. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    You mean Daniel, and yes, that is the one story I've read the most in the apocrypha, due to my love of traditional fairy tales (ala Grimm/Perrault). :D Still, it's humorous enough to see that it is a fable, has no hebrew original, and there couldn't possibly be two accounts of Daniel being in the lion's den, as far as I'm concerned. The other story that accompanies it, Daniel and Susanna, has the same character, and also has puns that could only be expressed in Greek, which further shows you that it is not part of the historical narrative of Daniel. The idea of adding subpar literature to the canon of scripture allowed for more pagan beliefs and old wives tales to be tolerated in the church's traditions. Very typical of the era, in fact. There were tons of examples of pious fairy tales involving religious figures, much in the same way that we Americans have stories like, for example: That our first president, George Washington, supposedly chopped down the cherry tree against his father's will as a child, but admitted it because he was too noble to tell a lie. It's not historical, but based on how people viewed Washington as a person, it's simply a moral tale imagining the kind of things he MIGHT have done. You mine as well include Aesop in with the Psalms and Proverbs.
     
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  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    Ahh. Grimm and Perault, yes. Nowadays they are the 'KJV' of fairy tales, with no political correctness or artificially 'happy endings' and lots of gory detail that kids really love to hear, (also some introduction to the facts that life, love and reality are complex issues and good and bad are not simple black and white issues). No wonder Disney had to do some serious 'editing' in re-telling some of them, so as not to upset today's namby pamby, politically correct, lefty liberal mums. :laugh:
     
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  5. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    From what I know, it was because the Apocrypha has supported many of the Roman doctrines. Instead of reforming their doctrines (which is impossible, right?), they simply made the apocrypha be the canon.

    The other part of this has to do with the Latin Fathers like St Augustine and St Ambrose, who seemed to treat everything in the Septuagint as canonical.

    So you start with the Septuagint which contains all 73 books in Greek, and when the Latin Fathers came to read the Septuagint seriously, they took all contents therein as canonical. Note that the Greek Fathers: St. Basil, St Cyril, Athanasius, adopted the earlier correct Hebrew canon, so when THEY read the Greek Septuagint, this was their native language so they had no seduction to treat ‘everything in this holy book as canonical’.

    I should note that even the Latin Fathers were far from unequivocal about the 73 books. The famous St Jerome, the translator and author of the Vulgate Latin Scriptures in the 4th century, expressly rejects the Apocrypha, and writes in the “Prologus Galeatus”: the number of Hebrew Scriptures matches exactly to the Hebrew Alphabet.

    https://sanctushieronymus.blogspot.com/2015/01/
    The Prologus Galeatus is what Jerome calls his Preface to Samuel and Kings, the preceding note he attached to his Latin translation of these Hebrew books. This is his most famous preface because it gives Jerome's list of the canonical books for the OT, and in it he calls the deuterocanonical literature "apocrypha."

    However despite St Jerome himself being a Latin Father, and his magnificent Latin translation being adopted by the later Roman church as practically heaven-sent itself, his careful critical apparatus did not obtain unequivocal acceptance among his Latin brethren. And when the Roman Empire fell, the Latin Fathers were all that was available to the Latin West.

    In sum, the Latin Fathers’ worshipful embrace of the Septuagint over the original Hebrew, their equivocal opinions on the Canon, and the Apocryphal writings’ support of medieval Roman doctrines is what made them a very attractive stick to poke in the eye of the Reformers.

    Even early in the 16th century. cardinal Cajetan wrote against the Apocrypha and advocated the return to the Jerome’s Prologus Galeatus. But after the Reformation his opinion was erased and forgotten.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
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  6. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Stalwart gives a good historical summary.

    In terms of apologetics, I notice Roman Catholics tend to accuse non-Roman western Christians of having removed books from the Bible. This has always amused me, since Luther rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture - and also died - before the Council of Trent had even met to define the official canon. One can't remove books from a tome that isn't defined.

    Of course, 'tradition' had defined the Apocrypha as Scripture, but it was only a Medieval tradition. Every father of the church, from the first ones who mention those books in the 200s AD until Photius in the 800s AD, rejected one or more of the apocryphal books as Scripture. Obviously the Roman Catholics came to see the books as more inspired the more their own worship turned to superstition, supererogation, veneration of the dead, intercession for the dead, etc., since all of these are present in Tobit, the Maccabees, Ecclesiasticus, etc.
     
  7. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I suspect it is disingenuous to suggest that the Council of Trent added to the Canon. I believe that in the face of the Reformers they noted that there was no absolute declaration of the finality of the Canon of Scripture and sought to do so. Luther it should be noted had some concerns along the way for some of the books that had been included. The canon settled (closed) at Trent was essential the canon of Hippo and Carthage from the late 4th century.

    The writers of the New Testament when quoting Old Testament scripture made use of the Septuagint possibly 200 out of 300 times.

    http://www.cin.org/users/james/files/deutero3.htm This is a link to a range of references and allusions to the Deuterocanonical Texts in the New Testament.

    It should also be noted that the KJV included the deuteron canonical texts until 1885. The force of meaning in the Thirty Nine Articles is that the Deuterocanonicals can not be used to establish doctrine, not that they should not be read, and indeed many if not most Anglican lectionaries include some readings from the Deuterocanonical Texts.

    Martin Luther said, "Apocrypha - that is, books which are not regarded as equal to the holy Scriptures, and yet are profitable and good to read."

    I think we need to see that some of Trent was a reaction to the rise of the Continental Reformation, and the more considered approach of the Thirty Nine Articles is perhaps a yet more excellent way.

    We should perhaps also remember that Jesus quoted from at least 3 of the Deuterocanonical books, Wisdom, Tobit, and Sirach.

    Matt. 6:19-20 - Jesus’ statement about laying up for yourselves treasure in heaven follows Sirach 29:11 - lay up your treasure.
    Matt. 7:12 - Jesus’ golden rule “do unto others” is the converse of Tobit 4:15 - what you hate, do not do to others.
    Matt. 7:16,20 - Jesus’ statement “you will know them by their fruits” follows Sirach 27:6 - the fruit discloses the cultivation.
    Matt. 9:36 - the people were “like sheep without a shepherd” is same as Judith 11:19 - sheep without a shepherd.
    Matt. 11:25 - Jesus’ description “Lord of heaven and earth” is the same as Tobit 7:18 - Lord of heaven and earth.
    Matt. 12:42 - Jesus refers to the wisdom of Solomon which was recorded and made part of the deuterocanonical books.
    Matt. 16:18 - Jesus’ reference to the “power of death” and “gates of Hades” references Wisdom 16:13.
    Matt. 22:25; Mark 12:20; Luke 20:29 - Gospel writers refer to the canonicity of Tobit 3:8 and 7:11 regarding the seven brothers.
    Matt. 24:15 - the “desolating sacrilege” Jesus refers to is also taken from 1 Macc. 1:54 and 2 Macc. 8:17.
    Matt. 24:16 - let those “flee to the mountains” is taken from 1 Macc. 2:28.
    Matt. 27:43 - if He is God’s Son, let God deliver him from His adversaries follows Wisdom 2:18.
    Mark 4:5,16-17 - Jesus’ description of seeds falling on rocky ground and having no root follows Sirach 40:15.
    Mark 9:48 - description of hell where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched references Judith 16:17.​
     
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  8. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Botolph,

    The fact that the evangelists and epistolarians used the Greek text of the Septuagint more often for quotations is to be expected, is it not, since they were writing in Greek? They needed a Greek translation of a given passage to fit with their Greek composition, and the Septuagint was to hand. Why not? It seems the most natural assumption. Anyway, quoting from one book of the Alexandrian canon that's also in the Palestinian canon (say, Exodus) isn't equivalent to quoting the entire Alexandrian canon.

    What do you mean by "a more considered approach" to the Articles?

    Many of those references made by our Lord which you mention can be found across the universally-accepted Hebrew scriptures, not just in the Apocrypha -- or they're just metaphors. Apart from the worms of Judith, they're all found in David and the Prophets. For example, "sheep without a shepherd" imagery can be easily extracted from Ezekiel. Or "Lord of Heaven and Earth" from the common Jewish table blessing.

    The problem with your references list is that they aren't specific enough. None of the quoted words are referred to specifically as Scripture by the evangelists or Jesus. In the New Testament, when the evangelists point out, about an event or teaching, "and thus was fulfilled X:Y scripture" or "and he did this to fulfill the scripture X:Y", it's always from the Palestinian canon. In every case.

    But more importantly, even if Christ or the evangelists did reference some apocryphal writings, does that make those writings Scripture? In Luke 4:23 the Lord quotes a saying which He identifies as a proverb amongst the Jews: "Physician, heal thyself". Does that make the proverb inspired by God? How about Jude quoting from the Book of Enoch? Or Paul quoting Greek tragedy (Acts 17:27-28 and 26:14)?

    I wouldn't mind the apocrypha being Scripture. I could somehow reconcile an angel flat-out lying, or burned fish bladders driving demons away in Tobit, but I'd like it to be established for a reason other than "Rome says so". I know that's not what you're saying, but I can't think of any other reason to accept the books as divinely inspired.
     
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  9. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    Not forgetting Matt.23:37; Luke.13:34; "I gathered you as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But now, what shall I do to you? I will cast you out from my presence." 2 Esdras 1:30.

    It is interesting that Christ curtailed the second part of the quotation, leaving it to the imagination of those who knew from whence it came. Much in the same way that He curtailed the Isaiah quotation when He read from the scroll in the synagogue, missing out the verses threatening judgment. Clearly intentional.

    The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me;
    because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek;
    he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
    To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
    (and the day of vengeance of our God. Isa.61:1-2.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  10. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    What is your evidence for this claim?

    Are you saying that the canon of Hippo and Carthage directly went in opposition to the canon St. Jerome established in the definitive and magisterial translation of the Bible into Latin?

    No one is saying that the Apocrypha should not be read.

    That's a stretch given the references you then proceed to give, saying things like, "... alluded to", "... sounds similar to" and similar non-quotations.
     
  11. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synod_of_Hippo
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Councils_of_Carthage#Synod_of_397
    Hope that Helps. I think Augustine probably played a significant role in both these councils within the Patriarchy of Alexandria. Egypt had been a significant part of the decision to have the LXX so it may have had more sway there than elsewhere.

    The decisions taken in the midst of the continental reformation to look at the canon of the Old Testament and preferring the Masoretic Canon to the Septuagint is academically responsible. Trent's decision to stand by the canon of the Septuagint was clearly a response to the call from the reformers to use the Masoretic Canon.

    Although Jerome preferred the books of the Hebrew Bible, he deferred to church authority in accepting as scripture not only the Greek additions to Esther and Daniel (albeit distinguished as apocryphal with the obelus), but also an extra six 'apocryphal' books in Judith, Tobit, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus and the two books of Maccabees, which in his listing of the Old Testament in the prologus galeatus he placed after the Hebrew canon. But, as Jerome explained in the prologue to Jeremiah, he continued to exclude altogether the Book of Baruch (and with it the letter of Jeremiah); and indeed these two books are not found in the Vulgate before the 9th century, and only in a minority of manuscripts before the 13th century. The 71 biblical books as listed by Jerome, although not in his order, formed the standard text of the Vulgate as it became established in Italy in the 5th and 6th centuries. No early Italian manuscript of the whole Vulgate Bible survives, and such pandect Bibles were always rare in this period; but the Codex Amiatinus written in Northumbria from Italian exemplars around 700 and intended to be presented to the Pope, represents the complete Bible according to the Italian Vulgate tradition. It contains the standard 71 books, with the Psalms according to Jerome's translation from the Hebrew, except for the addition of Psalm 151 in a version corresponding closely to that later attached to the Gallican psalter.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulgate#Contents


    Sorry my mistake, I grew up in a Diocese where I was taught that these books were evil as was everything ever said by the Catholics, and then I discovered that position lacked credibility. I recognise that no-one here has suggested that they not be read.

    Yes, it quite possibly is, however we have not his words, but only this who recorded them later, and we know he spoke aramaic, and probably some greek, and probably a bit of Hebrew, however Aramaic was probably his native tongue. the point I am making is in relation ther the strength of the allusions.

    I think the allusion in this passage is for me one of the most engaging.

    Wisdom of Solomon 16:5-12
    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. For they were killed by the bites of locusts and flies, and no healing was found for them, because they deserved to be punished by such things. But your children were not conquered even by the fangs of venomous serpents, for your mercy came to their help and healed them. To remind them of your oracles they were bitten, and then were quickly delivered, so that they would not fall into deep forgetfulness and become unresponsive to your kindness. For neither herb nor poultice cured them, but it was your word, O Lord, that heals all people. ​

    I think in reality the jarring point for me was the suggestion that Trent added to books to the Canon which I think is as silly as saying the reformers dropped them.
     
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  12. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I think that the articles are quite clear, and the Deuterocanonicals are listed - the limitation of their use noted, and the apocryphal books are omitted. To me that seems an absolutely sound approach in light to the discussions of the period.

    I accept that. There are of course notes in the canonical scriptures which we would heartily contextualise in order to deal with them. I have not argued that they should be scripture as such, and simply because Rome says so is no reason for me. In terms of the canon it is a shame it was not addressed at Constantinople 1 of Chalcedon, but it wasn't.
     
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  13. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    Meh, Wikipedia, the same source which adamantly claims papal supremacy as a historical fact and even quotes the fathers blatantly out of context to 'support' the theory. I have made a bold decision to completely ignore wikipedia for the time being, or perhaps, forever. I would prefer a more dedicated source if I was to consult a wiki, such as Orthodoxwiki, or whatever. I appreciate your input, Botolph, but I am going to have to remain a bit skeptical.
     
  14. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    My initial post was from memory. I quoted Wikipedia as easy and convenient. A lot of my paper books sre in storahe as we are moving house. It simply confirmed things I retained from study nearly 40 years ago.
     
  15. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    1. I by no means grant the veracity of those articles at face value, because of how much misinformation is spread by the (numerically more numerous) Roman Catholic apologists. Case in point: the famous "Damasene Canon" which according to the (very old) Roman Catholic apologetics had contained the Trent canon as early as 382 AD. And here is their Wikipedia writing on this:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Damasus_I
    "Pope Damasus I (/ˈdæməsəs/; c. 305 – 11 December 384) was Bishop of Rome, from October 366 to his death in 384. He presided over the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon or official list of Sacred Scripture."

    In response to this we have the (equally old) Anglican apologetic, that there is no evidence there was a council of Rome in 382. Romanists have claimed there was one as far back as the 16th century, and Anglicans have denied its existence as early as the 16th century. There is simply no evidence this council even existed. There is doubt that even Pope Damasus himself existed! But according to Wikipedia, there is no doubt. There is the Pope, there is the Council, like so many other Popes and Councils. Move right along. You don't even get a hint there was (and remains) incredible controversy around this claim. This was literally a fictional council, wrought out of thin air by forging several documents in the 16th century. I would challenge you, Botolph, to find any evidence of this 382 "Council of Rome", to say nothing of any kind of "official list of Sacred Scripture" that it had put together.

    All that to say that while I don't dismiss the two links you provided, it would be foolish to trust them at face value, given 500 years of disinformation and 'fake history' used to buttress Rome's claims to universal power. Unless you can show me an actual manuscript parchment from the 4th, 6th, or even 8th century, that contains the record of those councils, I will remain highly suspicious, for the reasons below.


    2. Even if we put aside the questions of verifiable evidence regarding Hippo and Carthage, your invocation of those synods does not have any reference to the Eastern Fathers, who had all flatly denied the canonicity to the Apocryphal writings, and who were not bound by the edicts of the Latin West. In my earlier post I had established that because the Septuagint (LXX) was in a 'foreign sacred language' (Greek), the Latins took its contents much more superstitiously than did the Greek-speaking Greek Fathers. And regardless of what Hippo and Carthage had said, they were not bound by them. These were merely local synods, like if you had a Synod of Melbourne decree something in 2018 and I would not be bound by it.

    What you'd need, to grant Trent the apostolic authority behind its canon, is a decree from an ancient Ecumenical Council of the whole universal Church. And this simply does not exist.


    3. And finally, even if we grant the Latin Fathers this mistake on the OT canon, and even if we grant the existence of the Hippo/Carthage decrees that include the apocrypha for the Latin West (only), this still doesn't erase the fact that controversy, doubt, and rejection of the Apocrypha existed in the Latin West. As late as the 1500s, right on the eve of the Reformation. Here is Cardinal Cajetan:

    Commentary on all the Authentic Historical Books of the Old Testament
    --"Here we close our commentaries on the historical books of the Old Testament. For the rest (that is, Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees) are counted by St. Jerome out of the canonical books, and are placed amongst the apocrypha, along with Wisdom and Ecciesiasticus, as is plain from the Protogus Galeatus. Nor be thou disturbed, like a raw scholar, if thou shouldest find anywhere, either in the sacred councils or the sacred doctors, these books reckoned as canonical. For the words as well of councils as of doctors are to be reduced to the correction of Jerome. Now, according to his judgment, in the epistle to the bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus, these books (and any other like books in the canon of the Bible) are not canonical, that is, not in the nature of a rule for confirming matters of faith. Yet, they may be called canonical, that is, in the nature of a rule for the edification of the faithful, as being received and authorised in the canon of the Bible for that purpose. By the help of this distinction thou mayest see thy way clearly through that which Augustine says, and what is written in the provincial council of Carthage."
    http://www.justforcatholics.org/a108.htm
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
  16. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I have made no claim for the authority of Trent. In terms of councils I discount all post schism councils as they were not genuinely Oecumenical. The great weight of the Oecumenical Councils I would give to Nicaea 1, Constantinople 1, Ephesus, Chalcedon. I have said nothing of a council in Rome in 382.

    I certainly don't know everything, however I am aware that the canon/s of scripture used in the Eastern Churches in the main include the Deuterocanonicals.

    So rather than attack, my suggestion is it seems that the Deuterocanonicals were part of the KJV and that was published after the 39 Articles, whose position I have advanced here.

    There really is little argument between us here, save that I think arguing that Protestants took them out of the Bible or that Trent forced them into the Bible are not reasonable.
     
  17. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    Indeed. I am surprised how many 'learned' people who try to defend the Apocrypha as being canonical seem to miss this. Do they not remember when Jesus said "From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah"? The best defense some could make is that they considered the Septuagint authorative and that it had the apocrypha lumped in with the rest of the books, but since we know nearly every quote supposedly from it has a canonical OT equivalent (because the Apocrypha itself came after the OT and quoted it, too) then it still can't be used to suggest that these additions were also canonical.
     
  18. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    One Anglican site mentions the idea of the Article which says the canonical books were never in doubt cannot in truth be said with honesty. Even up to the reformation, some of these books were held in doubt to be authentic. And both Carthage and Hippo Synods accepted at least some of the apocryphal books which the others didn't. Who measures or determines to what extent either the OT/NT and the apocrypha is or isn't canon? To be honest though, I do think the general protestant critical approach that explains why they are not biblical is certainly sound, regardless of whatever the EO or RC churches say in these matters.
     
  19. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    There is a distinction between the Apocrypha and the Deuterocanon, which distinction is not plain in what you write. Those books in the deuterocanon are named in the Thirty Nine Articles, and there are a number of books beyond that which might be described as Apocrypha, or perhaps more plainly OT Apocrypha to distinguish them from the NT Apocryphal writings.

    Article 6
    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.​
     
  20. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    I know this already, and yes I'm aware that 'deuterocanon' is used to signify apocryphal works which are accepted in Eastern/Roman canons, since the term apocryphal is more general and broad.
     

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