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Stephen Pilkenton wrote:

Hi, guys —

Roman Catholics strongly appeal to Church history but we don't find a unanimous consensus on the Apocrypha. Jerome (340-420 A.D.) who translated the Latin Vulgate which is used by the (RC) Roman Catholic Church, rejected the Apocrypha since he believed that the Jews recognized and established the proper canon of the Old Testament. Remember, the Christian Church was built upon that recognition.

Also, Josephus, the famous Jewish historian of the first century, never mentioned the Apocrypha as being part of the Canon either.

In addition, Early church fathers like:

spoke out against the Apocrypha.

  • So should we be concluding that the Church fathers unanimously affirmed the Apocrypha? <They didn't.>
  • Can you help me understand all this Apocrypha stuff?

Thank you very much.

I'm on a big journey here.

Stephen

  { Did the Church Fathers recognized the Apocrypha as being Scripture? }

Mike replied:

Hi Stephen,

You said:

  • Did the Church fathers recognized the Apocrypha as being Scripture?

Yes, they did. They are referred to as the Deuterocanonical books.

These postings should help elaborate on the answer to your question:

Remember to search our knowledge base. It’s a great time saver for quick answers.

Give it a try!

Mike

Stephen replied:

Mike,

Thank you for your patience and time.

I will re-read the information you sent me and re-visit the AskACatholic search engine.

Thank you again.

I wish you and yours a Blessed Easter.

Stephen

Eric replied:

Stephen —

An excellent and very complete book on this is Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger by Gary Michuta.

People opposed to the Deuterocanon love to bring up Jerome but curiously, he is the only Father one who really objected and he eventually submitted to the judgment of the Church.

He was motivated by a principle he proposed called Hebrew Verity, i.e., that the Hebrew version of the Old Testament he had was the only standard to translate from, and the Septuagint variations were just errors but in this he was wrong:

The Septuagint represented several valid textual traditions as we discovered from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Michuta says,

"Protestant apologists often attempt to make Jerome the spokesman for a large silent majority of knowledgeable Christians in his day; this opinion is supported by no evidence whatsoever. Protestant scholars have long admitted that Jerome was essentially alone in his opposition to the Deuterocanon. It was a product of his own (flawed, we know now) scholarship." (Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger, p. 145)

Eric

John replied:

Stephen,

You said:
In addition, Early church fathers like:

  • Origen
  • Cyril of Jerusalem
  • Athanasius, and
  • the great Roman Catholic translator Jerome

spoke out against the Apocrypha.

  • So should we be concluding that the Church fathers unanimously affirmed the Apocrypha? <They didn't.>

The Canon was disputed by many up until it was canonized.

Jerome and Cyril were influenced by the Jerusalem Church which wanted to keep everything as Jewish as possible. The Jerusalem Church was in fact the only Church that accepted the Palestinian versus the Alexandrian Old Testament Canon.

It is also important to note that various Churches didn't recognize the entire New Testament. Some of the far Eastern Churches, like the Armenians, rejected:

  • Revelation, and
  • the epistles of John . . . or at least some of them.

So while we certainly respect the work of Jerome, the work of the Council takes precedent.

The first was the Council of Rome in 382 A.D which canonized the Scriptures and which Augustine quotes some years later. Subsequently, the Councils of Hippo and Carthage confirmed the very same Canon that has been recognized by the Church ever since.

John

Stephen replied:

Hi guys,

Thank you for the additional information.

It is appreciated. Thank you also for the book recommendation.

Being able to quote [and/or] reference objective data is vital with the individuals in my circle of influence.

Respectfully,

Stephen

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