What Are The Deuterocanonical Books?
The deuterocanonical books are books and passages considered by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church to be canonical books of the Old Testament but which are considered non-canonical by Protestant denominations. They are books from the Septuagint, the standard translation of the Hebrew Bible in the Hellenistic period, written during the reign of Ptolemy II (283–246 BCE) and referenced extensively in the New Testament, particularly in the Pauline Epistles. With the rise of Rabbinic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple Period, the Hebrew Canon was in flux, until the Masoretic Text, compiled between the 7th and 10th centuries, became the authoritative text of the mainstream Rabbinic Judaism. The Masoretic Text excluded the seven deuterocanonical books and formed the basis for their exclusion in the Protestant Old Testament. The term distinguished these texts both from those that were termed protocanonical books, which were the books of the Hebrew canon; and from the apocryphal books, which were those books of Jewish origin that were known sometimes to have been read in church as scripture but which were considered not to be canonical.
The deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament are:
- Canonical by the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church:
- 1 Maccabees
- 2 Maccabees
- Wisdom of Solomon
- Wisdom of Sirach (also called Ecclesiasticus)
- Baruch including the Letter of Jeremiah
- Additions to Esther
- Additions to Daniel:
- Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children (Septuagint Daniel 3:24–90)
- Susanna (Septuagint prologue, Vulgate Daniel 13)
- Bel and the Dragon (Septuagint epilogue, Vulgate Daniel 14)
Canonical only by the Orthodox Church:
- The Prayer of Manasseh
- 1 Esdras
- 3 Maccabees
- Psalm 151
This 16th-century debate drew on traditions witnessing a counterpart debate in the 4th and 5th centuries; occasioned then by the awareness that the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which the early church used as its Old Testament, included several books not recognised in the Jewish canon of the Bible as it had since been defined in Rabbinic Judaism. In this debate, which had preceded the dissemination of Jerome’s Vulgate version, the books in the Hebrew Bible had been termed “canonical”; the additional books that were recognised by the Christian churches had been termed “ecclesiastical”, and those that were considered not to be in the Bible were termed “apocryphal”.
Forms of the term “deuterocanonical” were adopted after the 16th century by the Eastern Orthodox Church to denote canonical books of the Septuagint not in the Hebrew Bible (a wider selection than that adopted by the Council of Trent), and also by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church to apply to works believed to be of Jewish origin translated in the Old Testament of the Ethiopic Bible; a wider selection still.
Since the 16th century, most Protestant Churches have accepted only works in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible as canonical books of the Old Testament, and hence classify all deuterocanonical texts (of whichever definition) with the Apocrypha.
Deuterocanonical is a term coined in 1566 by the theologian Sixtus of Siena, who had converted to Catholicism from Judaism, to describe scriptural texts considered canonical by the Catholic Church, but which recognition was considered “secondary”. For Sixtus, this term included portions of both Old and New Testaments (Sixtus considers the final chapter of the Gospel of Mark as ‘deuterocanonical’); and he also applies the term to the Book of Esther from the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The term was then taken up by other writers to apply specifically to those books of the Old Testament which had been recognised as canonical by the Council of Trent, but which were not in the Hebrew canon
The acceptance of some of these books among early Christians was widespread, though not universal, and surviving Bibles from the early Church always include, with varying degrees of recognition, books now called deuterocanonical. Some say that their canonicity seems not to have been doubted in the Church until it was challenged by Jews after AD 100, sometimes postulating a hypothetical Council of Jamnia. Regional councils in the West published official canons that included these books as early as the 4th and 5th centuries.
The Catholic Encyclopedia states that:
At Jerusalem there was a renascence, perhaps a survival, of Jewish ideas, the tendency there being distinctly unfavourable to the deuteros. St. Cyril of that see, while vindicating for the Church the right to fix the Canon, places them among the apocrypha and forbids all books to be read privately which are not read in the churches. In Antioch and Syria the attitude was more favourable. St. Epiphanius shows hesitation about the rank of the deuteros; he esteemed them, but they had not the same place as the Hebrew books in his regard. The historian Eusebius attests the widespread doubts in his time; he classes them as antilegomena, or disputed writings, and, like Athanasius, places them in a class intermediate between the books received by all and the apocrypha.
In the Latin Church, all through the Middle Ages we find evidence of hesitation about the character of the deuterocanonicals. There is a current friendly to them, another one distinctly unfavourable to their authority and sacredness, while wavering between the two are a number of writers whose veneration for these books is tempered by some perplexity as to their exact standing, and among those we note St. Thomas Aquinas. Few are found to unequivocally acknowledge their canonicity. The prevailing attitude of Western medieval authors is substantially that of the Greek Fathers. The chief cause of this phenomenon in the West is to be sought in the influence, direct and indirect, of St. Jerome’s depreciating Prologus.
Meanwhile, “the protocanonical books of the Old Testament correspond with those of the Bible of the Hebrews, and the Old Testament as received by Protestants.”
Dead Sea scrolls
Fragments of three deuterocanonical books (Sirach, Tobit, and Letter of Jeremiah) have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran, in addition to several partial copies of I Enoch and Jubilees from the Ethiopic deuterocanon, and Psalm 151 from the Eastern Orthodox Church deuterocanon.
Sirach, whose Hebrew text was already known from the Cairo Geniza, has been found in two scrolls (2QSir or 2Q18, 11QPs_a or 11Q5) in Hebrew. Another Hebrew scroll of Sirach has been found in Masada (MasSir).:597 Five fragments from the Book of Tobit have been found in Qumran written in Aramaic and in one written in Hebrew (papyri 4Q, nos. 196–200).:636 The Letter of Jeremiah (or Baruch chapter 6) has been found in cave 7 (papyrus 7Q2) in Greek.:628 It has been theorized by recent scholars that the Qumran library (of approximately 1,100 manuscripts found in the eleven caves at Qumran) was not entirely produced at Qumran, but may have included part of the library of the Jerusalem Temple, that may have been hidden in the caves for safekeeping at the time the Temple was destroyed by Romans in 70 AD.[
Influence of the Septuagint
Deuterocanonical and Apocryphal books included in the Septuagint
|Greek name ||Transliteration||English name|
|Προσευχὴ Μανασσῆ||Proseuchē Manassē||Prayer of Manasseh|
|Ἔσδρας Αʹ||1 Esdras||1 Esdras|
|Τωβίτ||Tōbit ||Tobit or Tobias|
|Ἐσθήρ||Esthēr||Esther with additions|
|Μακκαβαίων Αʹ||1 Makkabaiōn||1 Maccabees|
|Μακκαβαίων Βʹ||2 Makkabaiōn||2 Maccabees|
|Μακκαβαίων Γʹ||3 Makkabaiōn||3 Maccabees|
|Ψαλμός ΡΝΑʹ||Psalmos 151||Psalm 151|
|Σοφία Σαλoμῶντος||Sophia Salomōnios||Wisdom or Wisdom of Solomon|
|Σοφία Ἰησοῦ Σειράχ||Sophia Iēsou Seirach||Sirach or Ecclesiasticus|
|Ἐπιστολὴ Ἰερεμίου||Epistolē Ieremiou||Letter of Jeremiah|
|Δανιήλ||Daniēl||Daniel with additions|
|Μακκαβαίων Δ’ Παράρτημα||4 Makkabaiōn||4 Maccabees|
|Ψαλμοί Σαλoμῶντος||Psalmoi Salomōnios||Psalms of Solomon|
The large majority of Old Testament references in the New Testament are taken from the Koine Greek Septuagint (LXX), editions of which include the deuterocanonical books, as well as apocrypha – both of which are called collectively anagignoskomena (“Readable, namely worthy of reading”). No two Septuagint codices contain the same apocrypha, and the three earliest manuscripts of the LXX show uncertainty as to which books constitute the complete list of biblical books. Codex Vaticanus (B) lacks any of the books of Maccabees, while Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph) omits Baruch and the letter of Jeremiah, but includes 1 and 4 Maccabees. Codex Alexandrinus includes the Psalms of Solomon and Maccabees 1–4. All three codices include Psalm 151 in addition to the canonical 150 Psalms; and all three codices include Greek Esdras as ‘Ezra A’, with the canonical Ezra-Nehemiah counted as ‘Ezra B’.[
Greek Psalm manuscripts from the fifth century contain three New Testament “psalms”: the Magnificat, the Benedictus, the Nunc dimittis from Luke’s birth narrative, and the conclusion of the hymn that begins with the “Gloria in Excelsis”. Beckwith states that manuscripts of anything like the capacity of Codex Alexandrinus were not used in the first centuries of the Christian era, and believes that the comprehensive codices of the Septuagint, which start appearing in the fourth century AD, are all of Christian origin.
Some deuterocanonicals appear to have been written originally in Hebrew, but the original text has long been lost. Archaeological finds discovered both Psalm 151 and the Book of Tobit in Hebrew among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Septuagint was widely accepted and used by Greek-speaking Jews in the 1st century, even in the region of Roman Judea, and therefore naturally became the text most widely used by early Christians, who were predominantly Greek speaking.[
In the New Testament, Hebrews 11:35 is understood by some as referring to an event that was recorded in one of the deuterocanonical books, 2 Maccabees. For instance, the author of Hebrews references oral[ tradition which spoke of an Old Testament prophet who was sawn in half in Hebrews 11:37, two verses after the 2nd Maccabees reference. Other New Testament authors such as Paul also reference or quote period literature which was familiar to the audience but that was not included in the deuterocanonical or the protocanonical Old Testament books.[
The Jewish historian Josephus (c. 94 AD) speaks of there being 22 books in the canon of the Hebrew Bible, reported also by the Christian bishop Athanasius.
Origen of Alexandria (c. 240 AD) also records 22 canonical books of the Hebrew Bible cited by Eusebius; among them are the Epistle of Jeremiah and the Maccabees as canonical books.
The twenty-two books of the Hebrews are the following: That which is called by us Genesis; Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Jesus, the son of Nave (Joshua book); Judges and Ruth in one book; the First and Second of Kings (1 Samuel and 2 Samuel) in one; the Third and Fourth of Kings (1 Kings and 2 Kings) in one; of the Chronicles, the First and Second in one; Esdras (Ezra–Nehemiah) in one; the book of Psalms; the Proverbs of Solomon; Ecclesiastes; the Song of Songs; Isaiah; Jeremiah, with Lamentations and the epistle (of Jeremiah) in one; Daniel; Ezekiel; Job; Esther. And besides these there are the Maccabees.
In the 7th century Latin document the Muratorian fragment, which some scholars actually believe to be a copy of an earlier 170 AD Greek original, the book of the Wisdom of Solomon is counted by the church.
Moreover, the epistle of Jude and two of the above-mentioned (or, bearing the name of) John are counted (or, used) in the catholic [Church]; and [the book of] Wisdom, written by the friends of Solomon in his honour.
Eusebius wrote in his Church History (c. 324 AD) that Bishop Melito of Sardis in the 2nd century AD considered the deuterocanonical Wisdom of Solomon as part of the Old Testament and that it was considered canonical by Jews and Christians. On the other hand, the contrary claim has been made: “In the catalogue of Melito, presented by Eusebius, after Proverbs, the word Wisdom occurs, which nearly all commentators have been of opinion is only another name for the same book, and not the name of the book now called ‘The Wisdom of Solomon’.”
Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 350 AD) in his Catechetical Lectures cites as canonical books “Jeremiah one, including Baruch and Lamentations and the Epistle (of Jeremiah)”.
In Athanasius’s canonical books list (367 AD) the Book of Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah are included and Esther is omitted. At the same time, he mentioned that certain other books, including four deuterocanonical books (the Wisdom of Solomon, the Wisdom of Sirach, Judith and Tobit), the book of Esther and also the Didache and The Shepherd of Hermas, while not being part of the Canon, “were appointed by the Fathers to be read”. He excluded what he called “apocryphal writings” entirely.
Epiphanius of Salamis (c. 385 AD) mentions that “there are 27 books given the Jews by God, but they are counted as 22, however, like the letters of their Hebrew alphabet, because ten books are doubled and reckoned as five”. He wrote in his Panarion that Jews had in their books the deuterocanonical Epistle of Jeremiah and Baruch, both combined with Jeremiah and Lamentations in only one book. While Wisdom of Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon were books of disputed canonicity.
Augustine (c. 397 AD) writes in his book On Christian Doctrine (Book II Chapter 8) that two books of Maccabees, Tobias, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus are canonical books.
Now the whole canon of Scripture on which we say this judgment is to be exercised, is contained in the following books:— Five books of Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; one book of Joshua the son of Nun; one of Judges; one short book called Ruth; next, four books of Kings (the two books of Samuel and the two books of Kings), and two of Chronicles, Job, and Tobias, and Esther, and Judith, and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Ezra …one book of the Psalms of David; and three books of Solomon, that is to say Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes… For two books, one called Wisdom and the other Ecclesiasticus… Twelve separate books of the prophets which are connected with one another, and having never been disjoined, are reckoned as one book; the names of these prophets are as follows: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; then there are the four greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel.
According to the monk Rufinus of Aquileia (c. 400 AD) the deuterocanonical books were not called canonical but ecclesiastical books. In this category Rufinus includes the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Judith, Tobit and two books of Maccabees. Rufinus makes no mention of Baruch or the Epistle of Jeremiah.[
Pope Innocent I (405 AD) sent a letter to the bishop of Toulouse citing deuterocanonical books as a part of the Old Testament Canon.
Which books really are received in the canon, this brief addition shows. These therefore are the things of which you desired to be informed. Five books of Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and Joshua the son of Nun, and Judges, and the four books of Kings (the two Books of Kings and the two books of Samuel) together with Ruth, sixteen books of the Prophets, five books of Solomon, and the Psalms. Also of the historical books, one book of Job, one of Tobit, one of Esther, one of Judith, two of Maccabees, two of Ezra, two of Chronicles.
In later copyings of the canons of the Council of Laodicea (from 364 AD) a canon list became appended to Canon 59, likely before the mid fifth century, which affirmed that Jeremiah, and Baruch, the Lamentations, and the Epistle (of Jeremiah) were canonical, while excluding the other deuterocanonical books.
The Council of Rome (382 AD) in its Decretum Gelasianum, which is a work written by an anonymous scholar between 519 and 553, cites a list of books of Scripture presented as having been made canonical by the Council of Rome. This list mentions all the deuterocanonical books except Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah as a part of the Old Testament Canon.
The Synod of Hippo (in 393 AD), followed by the Council of Carthage (397) and the Council of Carthage (419), may be the first councils that explicitly accepted the first canon which includes a selection of books that did not appear in the Hebrew Bible; the councils were under significant influence of Augustine of Hippo, who regarded the canon as already closed. Canon XXIV from the Synod of Hippo records the Scriptures which are considered canonical; the Old Testament books as follows:
- Genesis; Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy; Joshua the Son of Nun; The Judges; Ruth; The Kings, iv. books; The Chronicles, ii. books; Job; The Psalter; The Five books of Solomon; The Twelve Books of the Prophets; Isaiah; Jeremiah; Ezechiel; Daniel; Tobit; Judith; Esther; Ezra, ii. books; Maccabees, ii. books.
On 28 August 397, the Council of Carthage (397 AD) confirmed the canon issued at Hippo; the recurrence of the Old Testament part is stated:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua the son of Nun, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two books of Paraleipomena, Job, the Psalter, five books of Solomon., the books of the twelve prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezechiel, Daniel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two Books of the Maccabees.
The Council of Carthage (419 AD) in its canon 24 lists the deuterocanonical books except Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah as Canonical Scripture.
The Apostolic Canons approved by the Eastern Council in Trullo in 692 AD (not recognized by the Catholic Church) states as venerable and sacred the first three books of Maccabees and Wisdom of Sirach.
In the Council of Florence (1442 AD), a list was promulgated of the books of the Bible, including the books of Judith, Esther, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch and two books of the Maccabees as Canonical books.
Five books of Moses, namely Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two of Paralipomenon (Chronicles), Esdras (Ezra), Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Job, Psalms of David, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel; the twelve minor prophets, namely Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; two books of the Maccabees.
Finally the Council of Trent (1546 AD) adopted an understanding of the canons of these previous councils as corresponding to its own list of deuterocanonical books. This understanding rested on two historical presumptions which are contested in current research; that where these councils and synods noted the ‘Book of Jeremiah’, they intended the Book of Baruch to be silently understood (including the Letter of Jeremiah); and that where these synods and councils noted ‘two books of Esdras’, these two books were to be understood as Ezra and Nehemiah counted separately, not (as was universal in Septuagint manuscripts of the time, in the Old Latin Bible and in the works of Augustine) as 1 Esdras and Ezra-Nehemiah.
Influence of Jerome
Jerome in the Vulgate’s prologues describes a canon which excludes the deuterocanonical books. In these prologues, Jerome mentions all of the deuterocanonical and apocryphal works by name as being apocryphal or “not in the canon” except for Prayer of Manasses and Baruch. He mentions Baruch by name in his Prologue to Jeremiah and notes that it is neither read nor held among the Hebrews, but does not explicitly call it apocryphal or “not in the canon”. The inferior status to which the deuterocanonical books were relegated by authorities like Jerome is seen by some as being due to a rigid conception of canonicity, one demanding that a book, to be entitled to this supreme dignity, must be received by all, must have the sanction of Jewish antiquity, and must moreover be adapted not only to edification, but also to the “confirmation of the doctrine of the Church”.
J. N. D. Kelly states that “Jerome, conscious of the difficulty of arguing with Jews on the basis of books they spurned and anyhow regarding the Hebrew original as authoritative, was adamant that anything not found in it was ‘to be classed among the apocrypha’, not in the canon; later he grudgingly conceded that the Church read some of these books for edification, but not to support doctrine.”
Eventually however, Jerome’s Vulgate did include the deuterocanonical books as well as apocrypha. Jerome referenced and quoted from some as scripture despite describing them as “not in the canon”. Michael Barber asserts that, although Jerome was once suspicious of the apocrypha, he later viewed them as Scripture. Barber argues that this is clear from Jerome’s epistles; he cites Jerome’s letter to Eustochium, in which Jerome quotes Sirach 13:2. Elsewhere Jerome apparently also refers to Baruch, the Story of Susannah and Wisdom as scripture. Henry Barker states that Jerome quotes the Apocrypha with marked respect, and even as “Scripture”, giving them an ecclesiastical if not a canonical position and use. Luther also wrote introductions to the books of the Apocrypha, and occasionally quoted from some to support an argument.
In his prologue to Judith, without using the word canon, Jerome mentioned that Judith was held to be scriptural by the First Council of Nicaea.
Among the Hebrews the Book of Judith is found among the Hagiographa. …But because this book is found by the Nicene Council to have been counted among the number of the Sacred Scriptures, I have acquiesced to your request.
In his reply to Rufinus, Jerome affirmed that he was consistent with the choice of the church regarding which version of the deuterocanonical portions of Daniel to use, which the Jews of his day did not include:
What sin have I committed in following the judgment of the churches? But when I repeat what the Jews say against the Story of Susanna and the Hymn of the Three Children, and the fables of Bel and the Dragon, which are not contained in the Hebrew Bible, the man who makes this a charge against me proves himself to be a fool and a slanderer; for I explained not what I thought but what they commonly say against us. (Against Rufinus, II:33 [AD 402])
Thus Jerome acknowledged the principle by which the canon would be settled – the judgment of the Church (at least the local churches in this case) rather than his own judgment or the judgment of Jews; though concerning translation of Daniel to Greek, he wondered why one should use the version of a translator whom he regarded as a heretic and judaizer (Theodotion).
The Vulgate is also important as the touchstone of the canon concerning which parts of books are canonical. When the Council of Trent listed the books included in the canon, it qualified the books as being “entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition”. This decree was clarified somewhat by Pope Pius XI on 2 June 1927, who allowed that the Comma Johanneum was open to dispute, and it was further explicated by Pope Pius XII’s Divino afflante Spiritu.
The Council of Trent also promulgated the Vulgate Bible as the official Latin version of the Bible for the Roman Catholic Church. Jerome, the translator of most of this version in the early 5th century, had translated the Old Testament books afresh directly from the Hebrew Bible, rather than from the Greek Septuagint, and had then explicitly rejected all Septuagint books and passages not found in the Hebrew as “apocryphal”; and although he had subsequently translated some of these texts under sufferance (marking them with an obelus), he had maintained throughout that none of these books and additions were canonical and recorded this opinion in his prologues to each book. In the medieval period however, Latin translations of the Septuagint books that Jerome had refused altogether to translate had nevertheless become widely included in the Vulgate Bible; as too had Latin versions of other texts that had never been found in the Septuagint at all.[ The Council of Trent therefore needed to clarify which of the Old Testament books in 16th century Vulgate Bibles were in the canon; and which were not.[
Deuterocanonical and Apocryphal books included in the Latin Vulgate
|Latin name||English name|
|Tobiae||Tobit or Tobias|
|Esther||Esther with additions|
|Machabaeorum I||1 Maccabees|
|Machabaeorum II||2 Maccabees|
|Sapientia||Wisdom or Wisdom of Solomon|
|Ecclesiasticus||Sirach or Ecclesiasticus|
|Baruch||Baruch included the Epistle of Jeremiah|
|Daniel||Daniel with additions|
|3 Esdrae||1 Esdras|
|4 Esdrae||2 Esdras|
|Psalmi 151||Psalm 151|
|Oratio Manasse||Prayer of Manasseh|
|Epistula Ad Laodicenses||Epistle to the Laodiceans|
In the Roman Catholic Church
Philip Schaff says that “the Council of Hippo in 393, and the third (according to another reckoning the sixth) Council of Carthage in 397, under the influence of Augustine, who attended both, fixed the catholic canon of the Holy Scriptures, including the Apocrypha of the Old Testament, …This decision of the transmarine church, however, was subject to ratification; and the concurrence of the Roman see it received when Innocent I and Gelasius I (AD 414) repeated the same index of biblical books.” Schaff says that this canon remained undisturbed till the sixteenth century, and was sanctioned by the Council of Trent at its fourth session, although as the Catholic Encyclopedia reports, “in the Latin Church, all through the Middle Ages we find evidence of hesitation about the character of the deuterocanonicals. …Few are found to unequivocally acknowledge their canonicity,” but that the countless manuscript copies of the Vulgate produced by these ages, with a slight, probably accidental, exception, uniformly embrace the complete Roman Catholic Old Testament.
Exceptions to this narrative are Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah, which appear in the Greek canon lists of the Council of Laodicea, Athanasius (367 AD), Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 350 AD), and Epiphanius of Salamis (c. 385 AD) but are not separately listed as canonical in the Latin accounts of the Canons of Laodicea or any other Western synods and councils, nor are specified as canonical by Innocent I and Gelasius I, nor are present in any complete Vulgate Bibles earlier than the 9th century; and even after that date, do not become common in the Vulgate Old Testament until the 13th century. In the Old Latin version of the Bible, these two works appear to have been incorporated into the Book of Jeremiah, and Latin Fathers of the 4th century and earlier always cite their texts as being from that book. However, when Jerome translated Jeremiah afresh from the Hebrew text, which is considerably longer than the Greek Septuagint text and with chapters in a different order, he steadfastly refused to incorporate either Baruch or the Letter of Jeremiah from the Greek. As the Vulgate Bible supplanted the Old Latin in Western church use in subsequent centuries, so Baruch and the letter of Jeremiah are no longer treated as canonical in the works of Fathers who favoured the Vulgate, Gregory the Great, Isidore of Seville and Bede. In the 9th century these two works were reintroduced into the Vulgate Bibles produced under the influence of Theodulf of Orleans, originally as additional chapters to the Vulgate book of Jeremiah. Subsequently, and especially in the Paris Bibles of the 13th century, they are found together as a single, combined book after Lamentations.
The canonical status of Greek Esdras in the Western church is less easy to track, as references to Esdras in canon lists may refer either to this book, or to Greek Ezra-Nehemiah, or both. Greek Esdras provides a free translation into Greek of the Hebrew canonical book of Ezra-Nehemiah plus chapters 35 and 36 of the Book of Chronicles with other additional matter, but with the sections specific to Nehemiah removed. In the surviving Greek pandect Bibles of the 4th and 5th centuries, this text always stands as ‘Esdras A’ while the Greek translation of the whole of canonical Ezra-Nehemiah stands as ‘Esdras B’; and the same is found in the surviving witness of the Old Latin Bible. When Latin fathers of the early church cite quotations from ‘Ezra’ it is overwhelmingly ‘Esdras A’ to which they refer, as in Augustine ‘City of God’ 18:36. Citations of the ‘Nehemiah’ sections of Old Latin ‘Esdras B’ are much rarer; and no Old Latin citations from the ‘Ezra’ sections of ‘Esdras B’ are known before Bede in the 8th century. Accordingly, Bogaert has proposed that all references to the ‘two books of Ezra’ in both Latin and Greek authorities and councils may be best understood as denoting Esdras A and Esdras B, whereas most previous scholars had interpreted this phrase as an early reference to Ezra and Nehemiah as separate works. In Jerome’s Vulgate Bible however, there is only one Book of Ezra, translating Hebrew Ezra-Nehemiah and corresponding to Greek Esdras B; Esdras A was considered by Jerome as a variant version of the Hebrew originals. In the prologue to Ezra Jerome states that 3 Esdras and 4 Esdras are apocryphal.
From the 9th century, occasional Latin Vulgate manuscripts are found in which Jerome’s single Ezra text is split to form the separate books of Ezra and Nehemiah; and in the Paris Bibles of the 13th century this split has become universal, with Esdras A being reintroduced as ‘3 Esdras’ and Latin Esdras being added as ‘4 Esdras’. At the Council of Trent neither ‘3 Esdras’ nor ‘4 Esdras’ were accepted as deuterocanonical books, but were eventually printed in the section of ‘Apocrypha’ in the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate, along with the Prayer of Manasses..[
The Council of Trent in 1546 restated the list of books included in the canon as it had been set out in the Council of Florence. In respect to the deuterocanonical books this list conformed with the canon lists of Western synods of the late 4th century, other than including Baruch with the Letter of Jeremiah as a separate book, and in excluding Greek Esdras. While the majority at Trent supported this decision there were participants in the minority who disagreed with accepting any other than the protocanonical books in the canon. Among the minority, at Trent, were Cardinals Seripando and Cajetan, the latter an opponent of Luther at Augsburg.
In Orthodox Christianity
Outside the Roman Catholic Church, the term deuterocanonical is sometimes used, by way of analogy, to describe books that Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy included in the Old Testament that are not part of the Jewish Tanakh, nor the Protestant Old Testament. Among Orthodox, the term is understood to mean that they were compiled separately from the primary canon, as explained in 2 Esdras, where Esdras is instructed to keep certain books separate and hidden.[
The Eastern Orthodox Churches have traditionally included all the books of the Septuagint in their Old Testaments. The Greeks use the word Anagignoskomena (Ἀναγιγνωσκόμενα “readable, worthy to be read”) to describe the books of the Greek Septuagint that are not present in the Hebrew Bible. When Orthodox theologians use the term “deuterocanonical”, it is important to note that the meaning is not identical to the Roman Catholic usage. In Orthodox Christianity, deuterocanonical means that a book is part of the corpus of the Old Testament (i.e. is read during the services) but has secondary authority. In other words, deutero (second) applies to authority or witnessing power, whereas in Roman Catholicism, deutero applies to chronology (the fact that these books were confirmed later), not to authority.
The Eastern Orthodox canon includes the deuterocanonical books accepted by Roman Catholics plus Psalm 151, the Prayer of Manasseh, 3 Maccabees and 1 Esdras (also included in the Clementine Vulgate), while Baruch is divided from the Epistle of Jeremiah, making a total of 49 Old Testament books in contrast with the Protestant 39-book canon.
Like the Roman Catholic deuterocanonical books, these texts are integrated with the rest of the Old Testament, not printed in a separate section.[
Other texts printed in Orthodox Bibles are included as an appendix (like the Greek 4 Maccabees, and the Slavonic 2 Esdras).
In the Amharic Bible used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (an Oriental Orthodox Church), those books of the Old Testament that are still counted as canonical, but which are not agreed upon by all other Churches, are often set in a separate section titled “Deeyutrokanoneekal” (ዲዩትሮካኖኒካል), which is the same word as “Deuterocanonical”. The Ethiopian Orthodox Deuterocanon, in addition to the standard set listed above, and with the books of Esdras and Prayer of Minasse, also includes some books that are still held canonical by only the Ethiopian Church, including Enoch or Henok (I Enoch), Kufale(Jubilees) and 1, 2 and 3 Meqabyan (which are sometimes wrongly confused with the “Books of Maccabees”).[
In Christian Churches having their origins in the Reformation
There is a great deal of overlap between the Apocrypha section of the original 1611 King James Bible and the Catholic deuterocanon, but the two are distinct. The Apocrypha section of the original 1611 King James Bible includes, in addition to the deuterocanonical books, the following three books, which were not included in the list of the canonical books by the Council of Trent:[
- 1 Esdras (Vulgate 3 Esdras)
- 2 Esdras (Vulgate 4 Esdras)
- Prayer of Manasseh
These books make up the Apocrypha section of the Clementine Vulgate: 3 Esdras (1 Esdras); 4 Esdras (2 Esdras); and the Prayer of Manasseh, where they are specifically described as “outside of the series of the canon”. The 1609 Douai Bible includes them in an appendix, but they have not been included in English Catholic Bibles since the Challoner revision of the Douai Bible in 1750. They are found, along with the deuterocanonical books, in the Apocrypha section of certain Protestant Bibles (some versions of the King James, for example).[
Using the word apocrypha (Greek: hidden away) to describe texts, although not necessarily pejorative, implies to some people[who?] that the writings in question should not be included in the canon of the Bible. This classification commingles them with certain non-canonical gospels and New Testament apocrypha. The Society of Biblical Literature recommends the use of the term deuterocanonical booksinstead of Apocrypha in academic writing.
The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion of the Church of England lists the deuterocanonical books as suitable to be read for “example of life and instruction of manners, but yet doth not apply them to establish any doctrine”. The early lectionaries of the Anglican Church (as included in the Book of Common Prayer of 1662) included the deuterocanonical books amongst the cycle of readings, and passages from them were used regularly in services (such as the Kyrie Pantokrator and the Benedicite).
Readings from the deuterocanonical books are now included in most, if not all, of the modern lectionaries in the Anglican Communion, based on the Revised Common Lectionary (in turn based on the post-conciliar Roman Catholic lectionary), though alternative readings from protocanonical books are also provided.
Luther did not accept deuterocanonical books in his Old Testament, terming them “Apocrypha, that is, books which are not considered equal to the Holy Scriptures, but are useful and good to read.”
The Westminster Confession of Faith, a Calvinist document that serves as a systematic summary of doctrine for the Church of Scotland and other Presbyterian Churches worldwide, recognizes only the sixty-six books of the Protestant canon as authentic Scripture. Chapter 1, Article 3 of the Confession reads: “The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the Canon of Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.”
The Belgic Confession, used in Reformed churches, devotes a section (Article 6) to “the difference between the canonical and apocryphal books” and says of them: “All which the Church may read and take instruction from, so far as they agree with the canonical books; but they are far from having such power and efficacy as that we may from their testimony confirm any point of faith or of the Christian religion; much less to detract from the authority of the other sacred books.”
The Jewish position
Judaism excludes these books. It is commonly said that Judaism officially excluded the deuterocanonicals and the additional Greek texts listed here from their Scripture in the Council of Jamnia (c. 70–90 AD), but this claim is disputed.
New Testament deuterocanonicals
The term deuterocanonical is sometimes used to describe the canonical antilegomena, those books of the New Testament which, like the deuterocanonicals of the Old Testament, were not universally accepted by the early Church. These books may be called the “New Testament deuterocanonicals”, which are now included in the 27 books of the New Testament recognized by almost all Christians.[ The deuterocanonicals of the New Testament are as follows:[
- The Epistle to the Hebrews
- The Epistle of James
- The Second Epistle of Peter
- The Second Epistle of John
- The Third Epistle of John
- The Epistle of Jude
- The Apocalypse of John (also known as the Book of Revelation)
Luther made an attempt to remove the books of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from the canon (notably, he perceived them to go against his new doctrines such as sola gratia and sola fide), but this was not generally accepted among his followers. However, these books are ordered last in the German-language Luther Bible to this day.
- Bogaert, Pierre Maurice (2012). “The Latin Bible. c 600 to c. 900”. In Richard Marsden; E. Ann Matter. New Cambridge History of the Bible; Vol II. Cambridge University Press. pp. 69–92.
- Bogaert, Pierre Maurice (2012). “The Latin Bible”. In James Carleton Paget; Joachim Schaper. New Cambridge History of the Bible; Vol II. Cambridge University Press. pp. 505–526.
- Canon of the Old Testament, II, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1915
- Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). “Canon of the Old Testament”. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.
- Commonly cited include (1) Melito of Sardis, who went east, to Palestine, and recorded the canon he found being used in the synagogues, as recorded in Eusebius’ Church History 4.26.13–14, (2) Athanasius of Alexandria, (3) Council of Laodicea, (4) Jeromeresiding in Bethlehem
- J.N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p.53
- Stuart G. Hall, Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church, p. 28
- e.g., the Council of Carthage (397), the Council of Rome, the Gelasian decree
- Abegg, Martin; Flint, Peter; Ulrich, Eugene (1999). The Dead Sea Scroll Bible. HarperOne. ISBN978-0-06-060064-8.
- http://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/explore-the-archive/search#q=composition_type_parent_en:’Apocrypha’AND manuscript_type_parent_en:’Non-Biblical Compositions’
- Lena Cansdale 1997, Qumran and the Essenes pp. 14 ff. cites Rengstorf 1963, Golb 1980, and several others, as well as detractors of this theory.
- Zukeran, Patrick (2011). Unless I See … Is There Enough Evidence to Believe?. CrossBooks. ISBN978-1462706204. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
- Karen H. Jobes and Moises Silva (2001). Invitation to the Septuagint. Paternoster Press. ISBN1-84227-061-3.
- Timothy McLay, The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research ISBN0-8028-6091-5.—The current standard introduction on the NT & LXX.
- The canon of the original Old Greek LXX is disputed. This table reflects the canon of the Old Testament as used currently in Orthodoxy.
- also called Τωβείτ or Τωβίθ in some sources.
- or Tōbeit or Tōbith
- Originally placed after 3 Maccabees and before Psalms, but placed in an appendix of the Orthodox Canon
- Not in Orthodox Canon, but originally included in the LXX. http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/
- Prof. Petros Vassiliadisdefines the work thus.
- Ellis, E. E. (1992). The Old Testament in Early Christianity. Baker. p. 34. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- Archer, Gleason, L. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction. Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press. p. 75. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- Hengel, Martin (2004). The Septuagint as Christian Scripture. Baker. pp. 58–59.
- Beckwith, Roger (1986). The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. p. 382.
- James Akin, Defending the Deuterocanonicals, EWTN
- Copan, Paul; Litwak, Kenneth D. (2014). The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas Paulþs Mars Hill Experience for Our Pluralistic World. Intervarsity Pr. p. 131. ISBN978-0830840434.
- Josephus writes in Against Apion, I, 8: “We have not 10,000 books among us, disagreeing with and contradicting one another, but only twenty-two books which contain the records of all time, and are justly believed to be divine.” These 22 books make up the canon of the Hebrew Bible.
- “Athanasius on the Canon of Scripture”. www.bible-researcher.com. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
- Eusebius, of Caesarea. Ecclesiastical History Book 6 Chapter 25:1–2. newadvent. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- Lietzmann, Hans. Muratorian fragment. Retrieved 14 October2017.
- “Church Fathers: Church History, Book IV (Eusebius)”. Newadvent.org. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
- “Canon of the Old and New Testaments Ascertained, or The Bible Complete without the Apocrypha and Unwritten Traditions. – Christian Classics Ethereal Library”. Ccel.org. 15 November 2006. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- Cyril of Jerusalem. Catechetical Lecture 4 Chapter 35. newadvent. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- “NPNF2-04. Athanasius: Select Works and Letters – Christian Classics Ethereal Library”. www.ccel.org. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
- Williams, translated by Frank (1987). The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis 8:6:1–3 (2. impression. ed.). Leiden: E.J. Brill. ISBN9004079262. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- Augustine of Hippo. On Christian Doctrine Book II Chapter 8:2. newadvent. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- Rufinus of Aquileia. Commentary on the Apostles’ Creed #38. newadvent. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- Westcott, Brooke Foss (2005). A general survey of the history of the canon of the New Testament (6th ed.). Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock. p. 570. ISBN1597522392.
- Innocent I, Bible Research
- Synod of Laodicea Canon 60. newadvent. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- Gallagher, Edmon.L.; Meade, John.D. (2017). The Biblical Canon Lists of Early Christianity. OUP. p. 131.
- McDonald & Sanders, editors of The Canon Debate, 2002, chapter 5: The Septuagint: The Bible of Hellenistic Judaism by Albert C. Sundberg Jr., p. 72, Appendix D-2, note 19.
- Everett Ferguson, “Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon,” in The Canon Debate. eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) p. 320.
- F. F. Bruce (1988), The Canon of Scripture. Intervarsity Press, p. 230.
- Augustine, De Civitate Dei 22.8
- “Canon XXIV. (Greek xxvii.)”, The Canons of the 217 Blessed Fathers who assembled at Carthage, Christian Classics Ethereal Library
- B.F. Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament (5th ed. Edinburgh, 1881), pp. 440, 541–42.
- “CHURCH FATHERS: Council of Carthage (A.D. 419)”. www.newadvent.org. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
- Council in Trullo. The Apostolic Canons. Canon 85. newadvent. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- “Eccumenical Council of Florence and Council of Basel”. www.ewtn.com. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
- “Paul III Council of Trent-4”. www.ewtn.com. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
- Bogaert, Pierre-Maurice (2005). “Le livre de Baruch dans les manuscrits de la Bible latine. Disparition et réintégration”. Revue Benedictine. 115 (2): 286–342. doi:10.1484/J.RB.5.100598.
- Bogaert, Pierre-Maurice (2000). “Les livres d’Esdras et leur numérotation dans l’histoire du canon de la Bible latin”. Revue Benedictine. 110 (1–2): 5–26. doi:10.1484/J.RB.5.100750.
- “The Bible”. www.thelatinlibrary.com. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
- Edgecomb, Kevin P. (14 August 2006). “Jerome’s Prologue to Jeremiah”. Biblicalia.
- Since some ancients counted Baruch as part of Jeremiah, it is conceivable though unlikely that Jerome counted Baruch under the name of Jeremiah when he enumerated the canon in his Prologus Galeatus.
- Kelly, J. N. D. (1960). Early Christian Doctrines. San Francisco: Harper. p. 55.
- Barber, Michael (6 March 2006). “Loose Canons: The Development of the Old Testament (Part 2)”. Retrieved 1 August2007.
- Jerome, To Paulinus, Epistle 58 (A.D. 395), in NPNF2, VI:119.: “Do not, my dearest brother, estimate my worth by the number of my years. Gray hairs are not wisdom; it is wisdom which is as good as gray hairs At least that is what Solomon says: ‘wisdom is the gray hair unto men.’ [Wisdom 4:9]” Moses too in choosing the seventy elders is told to take those whom he knows to be elders indeed, and to select them not for their years but for their discretion [Num. 11:16]? And, as a boy, Daniel judges old men and in the flower of youth condemns the incontinence of age [Daniel 13:55–59 aka Story of Susannah 55–59]”
- Jerome, To Oceanus, Epistle 77:4 (A.D. 399), in NPNF2, VI:159.: “I would cite the words of the psalmist: ‘the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,’ [Ps 51:17] and those of Ezekiel ‘I prefer the repentance of a sinner rather than his death,’ [Ez 18:23] and those of Baruch, ‘Arise, arise, O Jerusalem,’ [Baruch 5:5] and many other proclamations made by the trumpets of the Prophets.”
- Jerome, Letter 51, 6, 7, NPNF2, VI:87–8: “For in the book of Wisdom, which is inscribed with his name, Solomon says: ‘God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity.’ [Wisdom 2:23]…Instead of the three proofs from Holy Scripture which you said would satisfy you if I could produce them, behold I have given you seven”
- Barker, Henry (21 October 2010). English Bible Versions. Cambridge University Press. p. 33. ISBN978-1108024549. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- S. Werrell, Ralph (29 August 2013). The Roots of William Tyndale’s Theology (paperback ed.). James Clarke & Co. p. 57. ISBN978-0227174029. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- Edgecomb, Kevin P. (5 August 2006). “Jerome’s Prologue to Judith”. Biblicalia.
- Jerome, “Apology Against Rufinus (Book II)”, in Philip Schaff, Henry Wace, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, 3 (1892 ed.), Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co. (retrieved from New Advent)
- Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, The Fourth Session, 1546.
- “~The Council of Trent – Session 4~”. www.thecounciloftrent.com. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
- Jerome. Vulgate Latin Bible With English Translation. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
- Philip Schaff, “Chapter IX. Theological Controversies, and Development of the Ecumenical Orthodoxy”, History of the Christian Church, CCEL
- of Alexandria, Athanasius. CHURCH FATHERS: Letter 39 (Athanasius). newadvent. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
- Williams, translated by Frank (1987). The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis 8:6:1-3 (2. impression. ed.). Leiden: E.J. Brill. ISBN9004079262. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- Biblia Sacra iuxta vulgatam versionem. Robert Weber, Roger Gryson (eds.) (4 ed.). Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft. 1994. pp. XXXIV. ISBN978-3-438-05303-9.
- DeGregorio, Scott (2006). Bede on Ezra and Nehemiah. Liverpool University Press. pp. xvii.
- “St. Jerome, The Prologue on the Book of Ezra: English translation”.
- Hamilton, Alastair (2006). The Copts and the West; 1439–1822. OUP. p. 54.
- Council of Trent, Session 4, 8 April 1546.
- Hubert Jedin, Papal Legate at the Council of Trent (St Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1947), pp. 270–71, 278.
- Commentary on all the Authentic Historical Books of the Old Testament, In ult. Cap., Esther.
- “Alpha and Omega Ministries”. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
- Orthodox Answer To a Question About Apocrypha, Canon, Deuterocanonical – Answer #39Archived 14 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- S. T. Kimbrough (2005). Orthodox And Wesleyan Scriptual Understanding And Practice. St Vladimir’s Seminary Press. p. 23. ISBN978-0-88141-301-4. as well as the 46 Old Testament books of the Roman Catholic Bible].
- Society of Biblical Literature (2014). The SBL Handbook of Style 2nd Edition. Williston, VT: SBL Press. p. 111. ISBN978-1589839649.
- “VI”, Articles of Religion, The Church of England
- “Kyrie Patokrator”. An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church.
- Thomas, Owen C.; Wondra, Ellen K. (1 July 2002). Introduction to Theology, 3rd Edition. Church Publishing, Inc. p. 56. ISBN9780819218971.
- Consultation on Common Texts, ed. (2012). The Revised Common Lectionary. Augsburg Fortress. pp. 177, 188. ISBN9781451438475.
- The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopædia and Scriptural Dictionary, Fully Defining and Explaining All Religious Terms, Including Biographical, Geographical, Historical, Archæological and Doctrinal Themes, p.521, edited by Samuel Fallows et al., The Howard-Severance company, 1901,1910. – Google Books
- “Chapter I, III”. Westminster Confession of Faith. www.ccel.org.
- America, Reformed Church in (1859). The Psalms and hymns, with doctrinal standards and liturgy of the Reformed Church in America. Board of Publications of the Reformed Church in America.
- Albert C. Sundberg, Jr., “The Old Testament of the Early Church” Revisited 1997
- “Lutherbibel 1545”. Bibelarbeit. Archived from the original on 14 May 2001. Retrieved 5 February 2016. note order: “…Hebräer, Jakobus, Judas, Offenbarung”; see also “German Bible Versions”. www.bible-researcher.com.
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