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Olivia L. Franklin wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a gentleman who is looking for a Bible study on the Deuterocanonicals. He took a
non-denominational Bible study, and when he started talking from a Catholic perspective, everyone wanted to know more!

I would recommend either:

  • Jeff Cavins "The Great Adventure" or
  • Gail Buckley's "Catholic Scripture Study"
  • What would you recommend?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Olivia L. Franklin

  { Can you recommend a Bible Study for the Deuterocanonicals from a Catholic perspective? }

John replied:

Hi Olivia,

The Great Adventure is a wonderful series by Jeff Cavins. I highly recommend it. A shorter series is called Our Father's Plan which is done by Scott Hahn and Cavins. It is less detailed, but still loaded with great theology.

I'm not familiar with Gail Buckley's work so I can't say anything either way.

As for the Deuterocanonicals; there isn't much out there. You might check with St. Josephs Communications or Ignatius Press to see if anyone has done a study of a particular book.

Catholics don't group the books together as a corpus of work. For instance Sirach is found grouped with the Wisdom Literature. Baruch is grouped with Jeremiah and Lamentations, because Baruch was Jeremiah's scribe. Judith and Tobit are grouped with the "historical books" but most agree that they are simply inspired historical novels. They don't teach exact history.

Some of the Deuterocanonicals are actually adjuncts to books such as Esther and Daniel. This is because our version of these books came from the Alexandrian canon or the Greek Septuagint translation of Old Testament, as opposed to the Palestinian canon which was written in Hebrew and Aramaic. So there is not reason to treat Deuterocanonical books as one body of work like one would treat the letters of St. Paul, the Pentateuch, or Wisdom Literature.

Finally, while the Church recognizes that these books are Holy Scripture and inspired. She doesn't rely on them all that much for doctrinal or liturgical purposes as She does other works in the Bible. Obviously there are some clear references to prayers for the faithful departed and the faithful departed praying for us in Second Maccabees Even so, we don't often hear extensively from these books on Sunday mornings. Poor Baruch is relegated to one of the many readings on the Easter Vigil and more often than not, they skip him because there are so many readings that night.

I don't usually recommend the notes in the New American Bible as I'm not a huge fan of the Historical Critical method, but they do have some fairly decent notes on these books.
For instance, I found the notes helpful in understanding the relationship between First
and Second Maccabbees.

The other option you might want to look into is visiting either the Catholic Answers or the Nazareth Resource Library web sites by Karl Keating and Jimmy Akin, respectively. Both of these sites have tracts about these books. They might have Patristic (writings from the Early Church Father) and other historical proofs dealing with their acceptance in the canon of Scriptures as early as 382 A.D.

The New Advent web site is really loaded with information. The Church Fathers are there and you might try searching that site for specific commentaries on the Deuterocanonicals, both as a group or as individual books.

For the adjuncts to Esther and Daniel, look for Catholic commentaries, by orthodox or conservative scholars on those books. They should include references to the adjuncts.

Below are the links to the sites I mentioned.

I hope this helps,

Under His Mercy,

John

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The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.