Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Catholic Bible - extra books?

Hi, what about the extra books in the Catholic bible that is not found in the Protestant Bible?  How can we understand / trust the canonization process when there are such differences?  Can you comment on this?

1 comment:

Daniel Kim said...

They are called deuterocanonical or apocryphal books, and they have been controversial books that sometimes accompanied the canonical bible.

They were books of historical interest, because they recount some of the events that took place in the inter-testamental period (the period 500 years of God's silence between the OT and the NT). But whether they are divinely inspired -- that's the issue. I think it's telling that these books were never included into the New Testament canon throughout all the councils throughout the first millennia, even from the Catholic side.

In 1500's, the Catholic Church placed all these deuterocanonical/apocryphal books into the OT canon... which is a strange thing, because the OT Jews did not accept these as divinely inspired. So the Jews have their Scriptures, which is exactly the same as our Protestant OT (the Jewish OT have fewer books, but don't be confused by that, it's because they didn't separate out books like 1 & 2 Kings, etc.), and both Catholics and Protestants have the same NT. But only the Catholics have the other books inserted into the OT canon, which the OT Jews themselves did not accept. So why would the Catholics insert something back into the OT?

The reason is the Protestant Reformation which happened in the 1500's, which was sparked by the sale of indulgences among other things, which was the idea that you could pay money to atone for your dead family members' sins. As the Protestant Reformers (who were all originally Catholics, by the way), raised an issue by pointing to the Bible and showing that such practices are unbiblical, that's when the Catholic church officially adopted the extra books into the OT in the Council of Trent in 1540's. So the official inclusion of these books into the Catholic Bible seemed to come in the 1500's.. (you can see the reason why - since the Protestant Reformation was calling out the Catholic church based on the Bible, by adopting these books which supported some of the positions of the Catholic church such as purgatory and the whole idea of atoning for someone's sins after their death with money (which shows up in 2 Maccabees 12), the Catholic church could legitimately say that their bible does support the idea of indulgences, which was a huge point of contention during the Protestant Reformation). Of course, from the Catholic's perspective, they would say that the apocryphal books were always in the Bible, and that they were only reaffirming the divine inspiration of these books. Now, the Catholics could not put those books into the NT, because the 27 books of the NT were already set in stone by many times over, for over a millennia. So they put them into the OT, since they felt that it was okay for them to have a different OT than the Jews, since the church does not recognize the authority of the Jews to determine if something is divinely inspired or not. (since the Jews don't even recognize the NT as divinely inspired anyway).

But I think the fact that the Jewish people do not recognize those books as canonical is highly problematic for the Catholic Bible. Because that means Jesus, when he was referring to the "Scriptures", he was referring to the 39 books of the OT that the Jews recognize, not the Catholic OT.

Hope that helps clarify some things.