Deuterocanonical Books -- Inspired or Uninspired?

  1. Deuterocanonical Books-- Inspired or Uninspired?

    • If so, why are they not a part of the canon?
    • If not, why were they placed in the center or the back of some translations (e.g KJV)?
    • Are they still included today?
  2. Who wrote them?

    • Were they written by a single author or by several individuals and over what time span?
    • How many are there?
    • What are the names?
    • When were they written and for what purposes?
  3. Do they have any relevance or current use for today's Bible students?

  4. Overall, are the Deuterocanonical Books the product to encourage a community or the efforts to reject the Inspired Word (OT) and/or to rewrite history and the Inspired Revelations)?

For a greater understanding of the Bible, many want to know. What says ye? CM


  • reformed
    reformed Posts: 3,176

    Not inspired. They were placed in parts of some translations for historical context. Also, most of these translations explain they are not part of the inspired text.

    Various authors wrote them, you would have to research that.

    They have relevance for historical context.

    This was settled long ago.

  • C Mc
    C Mc Posts: 4,463

    @reformed said:
    Not inspired. They were placed in parts of some translations for historical context. Also, most of these translations explain they are not part of the inspired text.

    Various authors wrote them, you would have to research that.

    They have relevance for historical context.

    Thanks, Reformed. Are they reflective of true history or historical fiction? CM

  • reformed
    reformed Posts: 3,176

    @C_M_ said:

    @reformed said:
    Not inspired. They were placed in parts of some translations for historical context. Also, most of these translations explain they are not part of the inspired text.

    Various authors wrote them, you would have to research that.

    They have relevance for historical context.

    Thanks, Reformed. Are they reflective of true history or historical fiction? CM

    True history as far as I know for the most part. Obviously, like Scripture, there are some things that are not historical narrative in nature so keep that in mind.

  • C Mc
    C Mc Posts: 4,463

    The Apocryphal Writings -- Apart from the sacred Scriptures, there are numerous other religious writings. For example: (see J. Barton). There are also people who believe the Bible includes the deutero-canonical books, in addition to the canonical ones (Okoye, James Chukumwa. Israel and the Nations: A Mission Theology of the Old Testament. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2006).

    Writings found in the Jewish/Christian community is the apocryphal writings.

    • These writings were not accepted into the canon of Scripture.
    • They were valued to a certain extent.
    • They provide additional valuable information that may not found in Scripture.
    • Some authors of canonical books quoted from some of these apocryphal writings (cf. Jude 14).

      “It is commonly believed that Jude quoted from this [1 Enoch] noncanonical work, though some hold the reverse to have been the case. ...”

    F.F. Bruce found that,

    • “Throughout the centuries from Jerome to the Reformation most users of the Bible made no distinction between the apocryphal books and the others; all alike were handed down as part of the Vulgate. The vast majority of the western European Christians, clerical as well as lay, in those centuries could not be described as ‘users’ of the Bible. They were familiar with certain parts of the Bible which were repeated in church services, and with the well known Bible stories, but the idea of well-defined limits to the sacred books was something that would not have occurred to them. Even among the most literate Christians a lack of concern on such matters sometimes manifests itself.

    • "Even Luther showed his acceptance of Jerome’s distinction between the two categories of Old Testament books by gathering the Apocrypha together in his German Bible as a sort of appendix to the Old Testament (1534), instead of leaving them as they stood in the Vulgate. These were largely translated by various helpers, while he himself composed the prefaces...Luther had little regard for the Apocrypha in general, but his guidance in matters of the canon was derived not from tradition but from the gospel. In both Testaments ‘what preaches Christ’ was for him the dominant principle; in the Old Testament Genesis, Psalms and Isaiah preached Christ with special clarity, he found.” (see F.F. Bruce, 1988).

    The Apocrypha is regarded by some scholars to be another source of tension within the Christian family of churches (see D.G. Bloesch).

    It is important to note that, in the concrete practice of doing theology, theologians decide on some kind of unity of text or texts to ascribe to Scripture and not to other kinds. Kelsey suggests that it may be helpful to draw a distinction between a theologian’s ‘working canon’ and the ‘Christian canon’.

    1. By ‘Christian canon’ Kelsey means
    • the historical canon, ‘Protestant’ or ‘[Roman] Catholic’.
    • It is NOT A part of the meaning of ‘Scripture’
    1. A ‘working canon’:
    • Is not what is often called ‘a canon within a canon’.
    • It's a part of the meaning of ‘Scripture’.

    A theologian will make a decision regarding which biblical texts of Scripture to appeal to in authorizing a theological position but does not appeal to all of the texts in the historical ‘Christian canon’ (see D.H. Kelsey).

    Many Christian denominations have made a decision not to appeal to apocryphal writings. But Bloesch observes:

    • both the historical sources and the theological issues play a significant role in determining the status of the Apocrypha as divine Scripture.
    • The Apocrypha belongs to the Alexandrian Jewish tradition, and many were originally composed in Hebrew (see D.G. Bloesch).

      *An Australian scholar found that some of the Apocryphal (“hidden”) books, such as the books of the Maccabees, were included in the ancient Greek translation of the Bible called the Septuagint (or LXX).

    This is believed because the Jews of the Diaspora (i.e. Alexandrian Jews) took a more liberal attitude toward the apocryphal books and therefore included a number of additional books in the Septuagint. F.F. Bruce argues that this was not canonizing them, but that it was done based on a mistaken belief that they already formed part of an Alexandrian Canon.

    This vast corpus of literature is sometimes known as “Pseudepigrapha” - (false writings or falsely entitled).

    1. These writings are religious in nature, reflecting the political and intellectual movements of their times.
    2. They not generally accepted by Protestants, and thus not usually included in their Bible editions today.
    3. The apocryphal books (including the Pseudepigrapha) are considered by Roman and Greek Catholics as canonical and may be found in Bibles used by them.

    The Palestinian rabbis called these books ‘outside books’ to indicate being outside the sacred collection of the Hebrew list.

    Bruce contends that there is no evidence that the apocryphal books were ever regarded as canonical by Jews, whether inside or outside Palestine, whether they read the Bible in Hebrew or in Greek. Martin notes that the term, Apocrypha, gradually took on a pejorative sense; the teaching of this literature came to be regarded as questionable from an orthodox standpoint.

    Some of the early Christian church fathers such as St. Augustine, like Jerome, inherited the canon of Scripture as something ‘given’. It was part of the Christian faith which he embraced at his conversion in 386 and, as with so many other elements of the Christian faith, he set himself to understand it, defend it, and expound it. But he is charged to have been responsible for keeping the door open to the inclusion of the Apocrypha in sacred Scripture, whereas the Hebrew scholar Jerome relegated to Apocrypha to a secondary status in his Vulgate translation. In his writings, however, St. Augustine began to distinguish between the books of the original Hebrew canon and the deuterocanonical books accepted and read by the churches.

    While not part of the canonical Scripture, the apocryphal books can nevertheless be appreciated by both Jews and Christians as a rich historical source.

    Many of these documents are valuable because they mirror with considerable accuracy the religious, political, and social conditions in Judea following the close of the Old Testament period proper. While Protestants church may make allusions to the Apocrypha, many religious artists have also found inspiration in the Apocrypha.

    Where do I stand on the matter? CM


    -- Barton, J. (2007). The Old Testament: Canon, Literature, and Theology, Collected Essays of John Barton. England: Ashgate Publishing Limited., pg 63.
    -- Bruce, F.F. (1963). The Books and the Parchments. (Rev. ed.). Westwood, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company., pg 95, 164.
    -- R.P. Martin, 1979: 98-99. --Martin, R.P. (1979). New Testament Foundations: A Guide For Christian Students, Vol. 1. The 4 Gospels. (Reprint). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company.
    -- F.F. Bruce. 1988. The Canon of Scripture. Downers Grove, ILL: InterVarsity Press. pp 99, 102, 230.
    -- Bloesch, D.G. (1994). Holy Scripture: Revelation, Inspiration, and Interpretation. Downers Grove, ILL: InterVarsity Press. pp 161, 162, 163, 168.
    -- Kelsey, D.H. (1999). Proving Doctrine: The uses of Scripture in Modern Theology. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International., pp 103, 104
    -- Metzger, B. M., and R. E. Murphy, eds. The New Oxford Annotated Apocrypha: The Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books of the Old Testament. New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.



    -- Lancelot C. L. Brenton, The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1986).
    -- See also A Concordance to the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books of the Revised Standard Version, with a foreword by Bruce M. Metzger (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983).
    -- See also Lester T. Whitelocke, An Analytical Concordance of the Books of the Apocrypha, 2 vols. (Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1978).
    -- See also Robert H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913).
    -- See also James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols. (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985).

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