- Why do people such as James Hough keep telling the falsehood that Martin Luther "threw out" some books of the Bible, when in fact Luther translated them all, including the "Apocrypha"?
- Answer requested by
- Roy Wilson
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- none/ apprx Masters Latin & Greek, Lund University
- Answered 1m ago
- I would second Seth Pace : Luther denied them status of canon.
I will cite a comment by Roy Wilson:
"Luther didn’t designate them as “Apocrypha”, St. Jerome did, and Luther just followed that. Until the Council of Trent, that was how they were viewed."
No, St. Jerome in his own day was a minority of one man. St. Augustine insisted, on behalf of all bishops he knew, that St. Jerome include these books. The man from Stridon had been unduly impressed by their absence from Masoretic, sorry, pre-Masoretic Jewish canon.
- for some debate.
- Roy Wilson
- 12h ago
- Jerome was definitely not “a minority of one man”; scholars in both the east and west agreed with him, something the Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges, and a situation which continued right down to Trent. Both St. Athanasius and Cyril of Jerusalem held the same view as Jerome: Athanasius does not include them in his list of what comprises the Old Testament, and Cyril counts the Old Testament books the same way the Jews did.
For that matter, Jesus explicitly references the Jewish canon with the description “from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah”, indicating events in the first and last books of the Jewish canon — a list that matched the books written in Hebrew and did not include those written in Greek.
So Jerome was in very good company in his defining the Hebrew canon as the proper Old Testament. The real disagreement was in his use of the term “apocrypha”, as it was used in different ways by different writers. Other terms were “ecclesiastical” and “intertestamental”; “deuterocanonical” is a much later invention.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- Original Author
- 1m ago
- St. Athanasius is in the Church of Alexandria and Cyril as the name implies of Jerusalem.
Also, St. Athanasius’ presumed support for Jewish / Protestant canon is moot, since he debated at least the idea of not counting Esther as canon.
I seem to recall that St. Athanasius uses the Jewish phrase “22 books” and that is the main argument for his not accepting “apocrypha” as canon. In fact “22 books” had become a stereotyped phrase meaning Old Testament.
“Athanasius does not include them in his list of what comprises the Old Testament”
Does he give one? Where?
“and Cyril counts the Old Testament books the same way the Jews did.”
Lists them or merely counts the number to 22 books? See above for that. If he gives a list, show where.
“For that matter, Jesus explicitly references the Jewish canon with the description”
Unless the murder of Zechariah refers to some more recent event, like murdering the father of St. John the Baptist.
Or Jesus could have been aware of His speaking to Pharisees, and being aware of their more restricted canon, while disagreeing, if the Temple had (after Ezra) a wider one.
“So Jerome was in very good company in his defining the Hebrew canon as the proper Old Testament.”
Except that St. Augustine in correspondence with him references the bishops - plural -as disagreeing on the sentiment.
At least the Churches of Africa (not Egypt) and Rome would clearly have been preferring the OT canon we now have, and St. Jerome belonged to the Roman patriarchy. Unless you want to say that the lists of councils of Rome and Carthage call “I and II Maccabees” what we now call “I+II and III+IV Maccabees” (agreeing with Romanian and Greek Bibles) and “I and II Ezra” not what we now call “I and II Ezra” or “Ezra and Nehemiah” but what we count as “Russian I Ezra and Ezra+Nehemiah”. Which reminds me, a list that gives “Jeremiah” need not be just “Jeremiah” but could be “Jeremiah+Baruch”.
Anyway, St. Jerome was obliged to the customs of the Papal Patriarchy, the Latin Church, in which he was a minority of one. Making as - presumed by you - St. Cyril of Jerusalem would have been a bit as if a Latin Rite priest had wanted to celebrate the Eucharist with leavened bread. Or a Byzantine Rite priest with unleavened. Still obviously presuming you are right on St. Cyril.
“Other terms were “ecclesiastical” and “intertestamental”; “deuterocanonical” is a much later invention.”
Both intertestamental and deuterocanonical are later inventions, but “ecclesiastical” rings true, since they are books shared by the EKKLHSIA but not by the ΣYNAΓOΓH.
Luther had a motive, but no real gain, in ditching canonicity of Maccabees. II Maccabees 12 features prayers for the dead, so Purgatory, and even if it were not canonic it would have meant the idea of Purgatory / Prayers for the Dead was already around in Our Lord’s time, and we know He did not speak up against it in the Gospels.
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