Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Deuterocanon books

The Deuterocanon books are a part of the Holy Bible.. The Protestants removed them from their Bible saying they were not the word of God, Although there are many evidences and historical proofs to verify them! The Orthodox and Catholic Churches believe in them.. Here you can find the full text of them in both English and Arabic languages, along with an intro for every one of the Deuterocanonical Books.

It was not until 1519 that there arose a huge uncalled-for controversy about how many books the Bible contains. Is it 73, as Orthodox and Catholics claim, or 66, as Protestants hold? In other words, do the books of Tobit, Judith, 1+2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch, indeed belong to the Bible, or are they not inspired and should not be contained therefore in the Sacred Scriptures? These disputed books are referred to as the "deutero-canonical books" by Orthodox & Catholics, and as the "apocryphal books" by Protestants.
The question is a relevant one, one that divides Orthodox & Catholics and Protestants still to a great extent. Since Protestantism is based on Sola Scriptura, "Scripture alone," the issue about the deuterocanon is extremely significant since it puts into question the very essence of Scripture.
In a brief way, now, let me present the Protestant position by summarizing their main points:
1. The Jews themselves only have 39 books in their Old Testament, that is without the deuterocanonicals.
2. The Council of Trent added the 7 deuterocanonical books to the Bible in 1546.
3. Jesus never quoted from the deuterocanonical books, so they aren't inspired.
Before I go off into answering their assertions, let me point out that one of the best books to consult in defense of the Orthodox & Catholic position here is Mark. P. Shea, By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition (Huntington, IL: Our Sunday Visitor, 1996). Former Protestant Mark Shea deals with all the issues involving biblical authority, and he explains how he could not remain a Protestant after he had researched the origins and essence of the Bible, and especially the epistemological problems revolving around it, that is, the "How do I know?" questions.
To answer the Protestant assertions:

In response to #1.
It is true that ever since 90 AD., the majority of Jews has not accepted the deuterocanonical books as inspired. Ergo, concludes the Protestant, they are not inspired and thus not Scripture, since "the Jews are entrusted with the oracles of God" (Romans 3:2).
We must, however, note that the Jews did not define a canon of their Scriptures until 90 AD., that is after the coming of the Messiah. In 90 AD., the Jews were no longer the true religion, since they had rejected the Messiah. Ever since Pentecost, the Church of Jesus, the Catholic Church, was the institution endowed with all authority (cf. Matthew 16:18-19; 18:18; Ephesians 3:10; Acts 15). Therefore, what the Jews may or may not have decided in a council after Christ, in 90 AD., is irrelevant. They had lost their status as the true religion when they rejected Jesus Christ. It has been the Orthodox Church, from Pentecost on, which is the true and real "Jewish Church," that is the fulfillment and flower of Judaism, that which Judaism was meant to be.
Why is it that the Jews decided on considering only 39 books inspired? Because they knew that the Christians, their arch-enemies, were using the Greek version of the Scriptures (which included the deuterocanonical books!!), and they wanted to be sure to distinguish themselves clearly from the Christians. They wanted their own identity back. Besides, the deuterocanon contains many Christian prophecies and allusions to the New Testament, something the Jews could not stand at all! A perfect example would be Wisdom 2:10-24, which is the clearest prophecy about Jesus' passion in the entire Scriptures. The Jews, however, were anti-Christian! Indeed, the first Christians did use the deuterocanonical books. Proof of this can be found in art versions of the Scriptures (Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic) as well as by looking at early Church liturgy.
Why, then, would or should we trust an institution that put curses on Christians and repudiated the Messiah and his liberating teachings, in order to know what belongs in the Bible? It makes no sense. Furthermore, if we trust the Jews concerning the Scriptural canon, we must be consistent, and thus we should also throw out all the books of the New Testament, since the Jews believe the New Testament has not been written yet (contains zero books therefore). Yet no Protestant does that. Indeed, Protestants want it both ways. They want to have only 39 books in the Old Testament (relying on the Jews for that decision), but yet also wish to have their 27 New Testament books (NOT relying on the Jews this time). Why this inconsistency?

In response to the second objection of Protestants.
This is my favorite, because it makes so little sense.
What really happened was that ever since the Councils of Rome, Hippo, and Carthage in the late 4th century AD, the Christian faithful were taught that the deuterocanonical books are Scripture, and they were used as such. It was not, however, till 1546 that these books were solemnly and dogmatically defined as belonging to the canon, because it was not until then that the inspiration of those books was called into question. And no doctrine is defined till called into question.
Why, though, did Martin Luther deny the inspiration of the deuterocanon? Because the 7 disputed books contain lots of scriptural proof for Orthodox & Catholic doctrine.. This Luther did not like. So he decided it be better to side with the Jews concerning the canon, so as to justify his breaking with Church teaching concerning certain doctrines. What Luther did, then, was simply cowardly. When given biblical proof for a doctrine he disagreed with, he asserted that, "Well, these books shouldn't be in the Bible." But that's easy. Someone could argue that the Virgin Birth of Jesus is not in the Bible. When confronted with passages from Matthew and Luke, the person could just say, "Yeah, well, those books don't belong in the Bible, though." This gets us nowhere.

Finally, a response to the third objection of Evangelicals. Their position is basically that if Jesus didn't quote directly from the deuterocanonical books, they aren't inspired. That charge, though, is insane. First of all, Jesus did not even quote from all of the 39 Old Testament books Protestants considered inspired, either! It is true he quoted from most of them, but that is not enough. "Most" won't do. What about those he did not quote, such as Ruth, Song of Songs, etc.? Are they not inspired? Secondly, we do not know whether Jesus might indeed have quoted from the Deuterocanon, since not all revelation is written down in the Bible (John 21:25). Thirdly, quotation from a book does not imply its inspiration. In Hebrews 11:36, for example, the author alludes to the Ascension of Isaiah 5:1-14. In Jude 9, we are told that Archangel Michael had a dispute with Satan over the body of Moses. This dispute is not found in the Old Testament, but in the Assumption of Moses, which is not inspired. The mere alluding to a book or quotation thereof simply does not make a book more or less God-breathed. An even more important aspect is that it is simply not true to say that the deuterocanonicals are never quoted or alluded to in the New Testament. Sirach 5:13-14 matches with James 1:19, Wisdom 2:12-20 with Matthew 27:41-43, and 1 Maccabees 4:36-59 and 2 Maccabees 10:1-8 with John 10:22-36.
There is really no reason to reject the 7 disputed books. Protestants accept the 27 books of the New Testament which were defined by the Councils of Rome, Hippo, Carthage, Florence, and Trent, and yet not the 46 books of the Old Testament defined by the same councils. Why not? Why this inconsistency?
What I have presented in this brief essay is history, it is fact. It is not merely my opinion. There is no reason to reject the deuterocanonical books as un-inspired. It was simply a turn Martin Luther had to take to justify his break-off from a 1500-year-old Church tradition.
Deuteronomy 4:2: "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it; that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you."