(Continued from page 335)
Judaism had a solid view of canonicity long before the contradictions of the 'Church Fathers'!
Small groups of heretics cannot alter the clear testimonies of renowned historians, Josephus and Philo!
A longer struggle raged around the question whether Ecclesiastes 'rendered the hands unclean' that touched it, necessitating their washing. The passages bearing on these controversies (see also above under § 2) read as follows:
'All books, except that of the Temple-court, defile the hands' (Kelim xv. 6). [By this expression all Biblical books are meant, as is clear from the Tosefta (ib. ii. 5, 8, p. 584). 'The hands are defiled not only by the book of the Temple-court (, read ) that was taken thence, but also by the prophets, by the separate books of the Pentateuch, and by another book (=Hagiographa; see Blau, l.c. p. 21) that is put there.'] 'The heave-offering is defiled by the book.' (Mishnah Zabim v. 12; Shab. 14a, Rashi: 'all the sacred writings.') 'The holy writings defile the hands'; 'the thongs of the phylacteries defile the hands'; 'the upper and lower edges of the book, as well as those at the end, defile them.' 'Even though a book be so blurred that only 85 letters (as many as in Numbers. x. 35, 36) remain, it will defile.' 'All holy writings ( ... ) defile'; so also the Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes, as R. Judah said: 'The Song defiles; Ecclesiastes is in dispute.' R. Simon said: 'Ecclesiastes belonged to the few cases in which the Shammaites were lenient in their decision and the Hillelites severe.' R. Simon b. Azzai said: 'I have a statement, from the seventy-two elders and dating from the day when R. Eliezer ben Azariah became head of the school, that the Song and Ecclesiastes defile.' R. Akiba replied: 'God forbid! No Jew has ever contended that the Song defiled; for the whole world is not worth so much as the day when the Song was given to Israel. Thus while all the Hagiographa (...) are holy, the Song is most holy; if there was any dispute, it was only concerning Ecclesiastes.' R. Johanan b. Joshua, son of R. Akiba's father-in-law, said: 'The controversy was as Ben Azzai states, and so it was decided.' The Aramaic passages in Ezra and Daniel defile, but if the Aramaic be written in Hebrew, or the Hebrew in Aramaic, or ancient Hebrew characters, it would not be so. 'A book defiles only if it is written in Assyrian (modern Hebrew characters) on animal skin, and with ink' (compare Blau, l.c. pp. 69 et seq.). The Sadducees said: 'We complain of you, Pharisees, for you say,' The Holy Writings, but not the books of Homer (...), defile.'' Then said R. Johanan ben Zakkai: 'Have we only this against the Pharisees that they say the bones of an ass do not defile, but those of the high priest Johanan do?' The Sadducees replied that they believed bones were declared impure lest wicked people should make use of the bones of their parents (Niddah 55a: 'that people might not make saddlery out of their parents' skins'). Johanan answered, that according to them, there was also impurity in the Holy Writings, but that the books of Homer, which were not honored, did not defile (Tosef., Yad. ii. 19: 'in order that no covering for an animal might be made out of the books').
TCE: Here is a clear example of the gulf between the thinking of the two parties: 'The Sadducees said: 'We complain of you, Pharisees, for you say,' The Holy Writings, but not the books of Homer (...), defile.' The debate that follows reveals the foolishness of such lines of thought (also see below) and which was so severely criticized by the Lord Jesus Christ!
The chief passages to the same effect in the Mishnah Yadayim are iii. 2-5; iv. 5, 6. The Tosefta Yadayim takes the same general view, but makes the important addition that the Evangels (Gospels) and the books of heretics (...) or Ben Sira and all books written 'thereafter' (post-prophetic times) did not defile (ii. 13, 683; compare 129, 2, and Shab. 116a). It should also be noted that, according to R. Simon ben Menasya, while 'The Song defiles, since it was inspired by the Holy Spirit, Ecclesiastes does not, because it was produced solely by the wisdom of Solomon' (ii. 14; compare 'Eduy. ii. 7, and Mishnah v. 3; Meg. 7a). The following passage, however, as will be apparent from its contents, dates from a later period:
'Formerly the Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes, because they contained only proverbs, and did not belong to the Hagiographa, were hidden ( = declared non-canonical), until the men of the Great Synagogue explained them' (Ab. R. N., A, i, B, i, pp. 2, 3, ed. Schechter; compare Midr. on Prov. xxv. 1). R. Akiba said: 'He who, for the sake of entertainment, sings the Song as though it were a profane song, will have no share in the future world' (Tosef., Sanh. xii. 10, p. 433; Sanh. 101a).
Canticles and Ecclesiastes.
These passages show that the struggle concerning Ezekiel and Solomon's three books had arisen even before the destruction of the Temple, and that the contention concerning the Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes had attained such considerable magnitude that Akiba was compelled (about 100) to threaten the forfeiture of future life, in order to save Canticles. Since, immediately before the destruction of the Temple, the Sadducees and Pharisees were disputing concerning the defilement of hands by the Holy Writings, the law which declared that the latter did render hands unclean can not have been anterior to this time. In fact, it can not have been made much earlier than one hundred years after the Temple's destruction.
TCE: That Papal Rome should prohibit the reading of the Word of God by lay people for many centuries reveals the nature of the spirit that also guides the popes!
Grätz ('Kohelet,' p. 149) argues that there was about 65 C. E. an assembly of the Hillelite and Shammaite schools in Jerusalem, and that in the year 90, on the day that Gamaliel II. was dismissed, the teachers of the Law decided which books were to be honored as canonical.
The Tannaites of the second century attempted to show that the Esther scroll might be written down; and they based their decision upon Ex. xvii. 14 (Mek., Beshalla, 6; Meg. 7a; Yer. Meg. lxx. a). This eagerness proves that there was at least some question as to its admissibility. The inquiry whether Esther was revealed, and was therefore to be reckoned as Scripture, was by no means discouraged (Yoma 29a). Many sages, Akiba among others, tried to prove from separate sentences (as, for instance, 'Haman spoke in his heart') that it was dictated by the Holy Spirit (Meg. 7a). According to the eminent rabbi Samuel (after 200), Esther 'does not defile.' Simeon (150) states that only Ecclesiastes is doubtful; while Ruth, the Song of Solomon, and Esther 'defile the hands.' It is evident from many sources (compare Sanh. 100a; Yer. Ber. xiv. 15; Meg. 19b) that the canonicity of this book was not certain. The controversies in the Church are merely echoes of the voices raised (but suppressed) in the synagogue against the canonical respect paid to various writings.
Inspiration and Its Degrees.
It is almost impossible to-day to form an adequate conception of the love and admiration felt by the Talmudists for the Torah. Of the many passages illustrating this the following are, in many respects, characteristic:
'The Torah is one of the seven things that existed before the Creation. According to Simeon ben Lakish, it is 2,000 years older (Pes. 54a; Genesis. R. viii. 2; Cant. R. v. 11). Even Abraham obeyed all its laws (Mishnah Kid., end), and when Moses ascended to heaven, he found God with the Torah in His hand and reading the passage about the Red Heifer, Numbers. xix. 1-10 (Pesik. R. 68b). It was given to Israel unconditionally (Mek. 60b) by Moses, who made one copy each for every tribe and corrected them all from the copy of Levi (Pesi?. 197a). He gave it closed up, according to others, in a roll (Git. 68a). He wrote the last eight verses also; for not a single letter emanates from any one else. According to a more liberal opinion, however, Joshua was supposed to have written these verses (B. B. 15a). Before him who denies its divine origin the doors of hell shall never close, and he shall be condemned to stay therein eternally' (Akiba'in 'Seder'Olam,' iii., end; Tosef., Sanh. xiii. 5; compare Sifre, Numbers. 112, 116; ib., Deuteronomy, 102; Sanh. 99a; Yer. Sanh. 27d and elsewhere). 'The Law will endure forever' (Mek.19a). 'Any prophet who attempts to annul one of its laws will be punished by death' (Tosef., Sanh. xiv. 13). 'Though all mankind should combine, they could not abolish one yod (the smallest letter) of it (compare Matthew v. 18). When Solomon took unto himself many wives, the yod of ('he shall multiply'; Deuteronomy. xvii. 17) cast itself down before God, and denounced the king (according to others, this was done by Deuteronomy). Then spake God: 'Solomon and hundreds like him shall be destroyed, but not one of your letters shall ever be annihilated'' (Cant. R. v. 11; Genesis. R. xlvii.; Numbers. R. xviii.; Tan., Korah, No. xii; for the accusing letters, compare Pes. 109a). 'The whole world is but a thirty-two-hundredth part of the Torah' ('Er. 23b). 'When a copy of the Law was burned, people rent their clothes as though one of their dearest relatives had died, and such rents were never to be sewed up (Yer. M. ?. 83b, and elsewhere); but a copy written by a heretic (...) might be burned, and one written by a non-Jew had to be buried' (Git. 45b). 'Before the Torah the people had to stand up in the synagogue; and while it lay unrolled on the reader's desk, speaking (even about Halakah) and leaving the synagogue were forbidden' (Ket. 33b; Pesik. 118a). At least one copy had to be in every town (B. B. 43a; Tosef., ib. xi. 23). Scholars would even take one with them when on a journey (Mishnah Yeb., end). Even if a copy were inherited, it was considered proper to write oneself another copy; and if possible this had to be a beautiful copy (Sanh. 21b; Nazir, 2b). Before birth each one is taught the Torah; but when he sees the light of day an angel touches his mouth, and makes him forget it all (Niddah, 30b).
In those days the knowledge of the Bible was astounding: many scholars were able to write it entire from memory (Yer. Meg. 74d). Instruction in it was gratuitous (Ned. 37, and elsewhere). Even to its last letters the Torah comes from Moses, through whom God gave it to Israel, for only the Decalogue was revealed from the mouth of God Himself, in ten utterances (Sifre, Deuteronomy. 305, 357; Mek. 46a). Moses is therefore called the 'great writer of Israel,' 'the great sage, father of the wise men and of the prophets' (Sotah 13a; Sifre i. 134, ii. 306). In countries other than Palestine, the Word of God was revealed only in a clean place or near a river (Mek. 106a, note 14).
Relation of Torah to Prophets, etc.
Just as all prophecy came from Moses, so all Holy Writings began in the Torah; for there is nothing in the Prophets or the Hagiographa that is not at least suggested in the Torah (Numbers. R. x. 6). Hence the question: 'Is there anything that was not suggested in the Torah?' The answer is given: 'Like the latter, the Prophets and the Hagiographa came from God Himself.' In Sifre, Deuteronomy. 306, to an utterance of Jeremiah is applied: 'Lord of the Universe! Thou wrotest [it]'; and of every book it is said either that God wrote it, or that He caused it to be written. For Talmudic scholars the twenty-four books form one book, known to the Patriarchs, and even to the primeval generations; and accordingly every favorite verse is attributed to some Biblical hero: 'Solomon said'; 'David declared'; 'Daniel stated'; 'Moses, too, affirmed it' (Tosef., Yoma, ii. 1).
Nevertheless, a distinction was made between the Torah, on the one hand, and the Prophets and the Hagiographa, on the other; for, while the study of the latter books would bring the same reward as would that of the Torah (Lam. R. i. 13, iii. 10), the Prophets and the Hagiographa were not of equal importance with the Torah. Thus, the transgression of a commandment in the Prophets or the Hagiographa was not punishable by scourging (Yer. Yeb. iv. 19a; Pesik. R. 61b). Any inference drawn from the Prophets or the Hagiographa had to be authenticated in the Torah (Yer. Kid. 66a). Simeon b. Lakish said outright, 'What need have I of the Psalms? It is stated in the Torah' (Pesik. R. 21b; compare 22a, below; 146a, 10; 174a, below). The Prophets and the Hagiographa are only transmitted ... (Naz. 53a; M. K. 5a), so that no legal (Torah) deductions are to be drawn from the prophecies (... , B. K. 2b, etc.).
As the first and actual revelation of God, the Torah stood far above the Prophets and the Hagiographa; while in the future the latter will cease to be, the existence of the Torah will be an unending one. Tradition thus distinguished, as to rank, between Moses and the other prophets; but it knew nothing of a difference between the prophetical gift and the Holy Spirit (...), as defined by Maimonides: such distinction rests upon verbal expressions for 'prophets' and 'Holy Writings.' In the treatise Soferim, and elsewhere, the Hagiographa are called ('holiness') in distinction from the Prophets, which are styled ('revelation'). The older terminology, however, applied, also, to the Hagiographa; and there is no mention of any alleged difference in degree of inspiration between the two.
Zunz, Gottesdienstliche Vorträge, Berlin, 1832;
N. Krochmal, Moreh Nebuke ha-Zeman, vii., viii., xi.;
J. Fürst, Kanon des Alten Testaments nach den Ueberlieferungen im Talmud und Midrasch, Leipsic, 1868;
Grätz, Kohelet, ib. 1871, Appendix i.;
idem, Monatsschrift, 1886, pp. 281-298;
A. Geiger, Nachgelassene Schriften, iv., Berlin, 1876;
S. Davidson, The Canon of the Bible, Its Formation, History, and Fluctuations, 3d ed., London, 1880;
T. Schiffer, Das Buch Kohelet, Leipsic, 1882;
G. Marx, Traditio Rabbinorum, Veterrima de Librorum V. T. Ordine atque Origine, ib. 1884;
G. Wildeboer, Het Ontstaan van den Kanon des Ouden Verbonds, 2d ed., Gröningen, 1891;
F. Buhl, Kanon und Text des Alten Testaments, Leipsic, 1891;
R. W. Smith, The Old Testament in the Jewish Church, London, 1892;
L. Blau, Zur Einleitung in die Heilige Schrift, Strasburg, 1894;
H. E. Ryle, The Canon of the Old Testament, London, 1895;
M. Friedmann, Ha-Goren, ed. Horodetsky, ii. 66-74, Berdychev, 1900. On 'Defiling the Hands,' etc.;
K. Budde, Der Kanon des Alten Testaments, Giessen, 1900;
the various introductions to the Bible by Eichhorn (4th ed., Göttingen, 1823-25), De Wette-Schrader (8th ed., Berlin, 1869), Bleek-Wellhausen, König, and others;
H. L. Strack, Kanon, des Alten Testaments, in Realencyklopädie für Protest antische Theologie und Kirche, 3d ed., ix., Leipsic, 1901, which gives also the earlier literature.
The word 'canon,' borrowed probably from the Phenicians (from = 'rod,' 'carpenter's rule'; compare, Ezekiel. xl. 3), but which is found in Homer ('Iliad,' viii. 193, xiii. 407, xxiii. 761), seems to have been used among the rhetoricians of Alexandria to denote a collection of literary models or standard works, and a list of such classics (Quintilian, 'Inst. Or.' x. 1, 54, where 'ordo' and 'numerus' are translations of ... ; compare, Jerome, 'Ep. liii., ad Paulinum' and 'Prologus Galeatus in II Regarding.'). In this sense it is used also by Aristeas. 35 C.E.) ('Ep. ad Philocratem,' clxiii., ed. Wendland). In Gnostic circles the authority of the sayings of Jesus was characterized by this term (Ptolemy [c. 200 C.E.], 'Ep. ad Florum,' in Epiphanius, 'Hæres.' xxxiii. 37). As the name of a catalogue of sacred books, the term is used by Athanasius ('Ep. Festalis,' xxxix. 1, 168) in 367 C.E., in the spurious canon 60 of the Council of Laodicea (after 364), and in the possibly genuine 'Iambi ad Seleucum' by Amphilochius (d. 395). Books that were regarded as sacred ( ... ) and God-inspired ( ... ) and had been generally adopted for public reading ( ... ), in distinction from esoteric or heretical writings withdrawn from public use ( ... ), were designated 'canonical' ( ... ).
In Palestine such sacred writings were declared by the Pharisees to be objects 'making the hands unclean' (, Yad. iii. 2, 5; iv. 5, 6), apparently necessitating a ritual ablution after contact with them. While protesting against this innovation, the Sadducees (ib. iv. 6) seem to have been agreed in recognizing a body of sacred Scriptures (...) and in cherishing these above certain other books. The introduction of this custom would naturally tend to fix the limits of the canon. Only contact with books that were actually used or regarded as fit for use in the synagogue would demand such a washing of the hands. It was their employment in the cult that rendered them sacred.
What was, or might be, read in public worship ( ... ) constituted the canon. Therefore the question could arise whether the Aramaic targums made the hands unclean. The new ritual, by accentuating the sanctity of the books publicly read, necessarily abridged the liberty of introducing new works, and raised doubts concerning the fitness of some that had been used. The finally established canon must be looked upon as the result of a critical process reducing the number of books approved for public reading.
TCE: The evidence shows that even the 'Untraditional View' had a view of what was termed 'canonical' - and long before the confused and contradictory perambulations of the 'Church Fathers'!
Inclusion and Exclusion of Apocrypha.
Among the works eliminated by this process were, undoubtedly, on the one hand, many of the writings that maintained their place in the Alexandrian canon, having been brought to Egypt and translated from the original Hebrew or Aramaic, such as Baruch, Ecclus (Sirach), I Maccabees, Tobit and Judith; and, on the other hand, books like Jubilees, Psalms of Solomon, Assumption of Moses, and the Apocalypses of Enoch, Noah, Baruch, Ezra, and others. In some cases the critical tendency may have led only to the removal of what was rightly deemed to be later accretions, such as the additions to Daniel and Esther, while in regard to disputed writings, such as Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Ezekiel (and probably Daniel), the more liberal policy finally prevailed.
While this criticism still continued in the second century of the common era, its main results appear to have been reached as early as the end of the first. Josephus ('Contra Ap.' i. 8), about the year 100, counted twenty-two sacred books. The Greek Bible he used had evidently been brought down to the number required in Pharisaic circles. It is not known with certainty what books were included. It is probable, however, that Lamentations and Baruch formed one book with Jeremiah, and that Ruth was an appendix to Judges. Esther still seems to have had its additions. Among Josephus' thirteen prophets none was included that he regarded as later than Artaxerxes Longimanus. It may perhaps be doubted whether he could have described Canticles as a work laying down principles of conduct ( ... ). This would better suit Ben Sira. But the consideration of supposed greater age and Solomonic authorship may have decided in favor of Canticles. That the number may be the same and yet the constituent books to some extent differ, is evident from the fact that Melito in Palestinian synagogues found a canon containing twenty-two books in which Esther was lacking and Ruth separate (Eusebius, 'Hist. Eccl.' iv. 26), while Origen reports the twenty-two books with their Hebrew titles as including Esther and with Ruth joined to Judges as Baruch and Lamentations to Jeremiah (ib. vi. 25). Again, in Athanasius, l.c., Esther is wanting among the twenty-two canonical books, whereas in Canon 60 of the Laodicean Council, dependent on Athanasius, Esther occurs, as also among the twenty-two canonical books enumerated by Jerome in his 'Prologus Galeatus.' It is scarcely by accident that this number coincides with that of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The same tendency that led poets to write alphabetic psalms prompted scribes to arrange the canon so as to make the total twenty-two.
Twenty-two or Twenty-four Books.
According to the Apocalypse of Ezra xiv. 44, 45. 95 B.C.), this prophet wrote ninety-four sacred books: first twenty-four for the worthy and the unworthy to read, and then seventy to be withheld and to be given only to the wise. This legend shows that twenty-four books were looked upon by this author as intended for public reading. Although the books are not enumerated, there is no reason to doubt that this canon was substantially identical with that of Josephus. The difference may be simply due to the fact that, in some circles, Ruth and Lamentations were copied on separate rolls for convenience in public reading on Shabuot and on the Ninth of Ab. This may have involved the rejection of Baruch, and the removal of the threnody on Josiah from Lamentations. If an additional reason for counting twenty-four books were needed, the twenty-four priestly families (I Chron. xxiv.), or the twenty-four celestial representatives of Israel (Revelation. iv. 4), would readily supply it (if not the twenty-four letters of the Greek alphabet). This number, given in the Baraita preserved in B. B. 14b, coexisted with the other (Jerome, l.c.), and ultimately prevailed.
It is manifest that to Pseudo-Ezra the seventy books were more important than the twenty-four. They had been hidden, preserved as treasures, until they should be made known to the wise. This idea had already been used by Daniel to explain the late appearance of his prophecies (Daniel. xii. 4, 9). These apocalypses were too precious to be read to 'the unworthy.' Possibly this conceit was designed to serve a double purpose: accounting for their recent discovery, and also making a virtue of their rejection from use in the synagogue. With pride and affection their friends called them ( ... ); to those who rightly saw in this literature a danger to the supremacy of the Law, the term came to mean the removal of a book from synagogue use, as in the case of rolls that had been worn out, or of rolls not thought to render the hands unclean (see, however, Apocalyptic Literature).
If some critics continued to urge the exclusion of this or that book from the canon of twenty-two or twenty-four rolls (see below), there are not lacking, on the other hand, signs of a readiness to include one or another of the '...' (outside books). Thus Sirach is occasionally quoted (B. K. 92b) as a representative of the Hagiographa; and Baruch was still read on Yom Kippur in some synagogues in Origen's time (Eusebius, 'Hist. Eccl.' vi. 25). Outside of Pharisaic circles the earlier and less rigid conception of the canon maintained itself, as is evident from the extent of the Greek Bible used by Christian apologists for controversial purposes, and a number of works quoted or used as authorities by New Testament writers, not found even in this Bible, such as 'Jeremiah the Prophet' (Matthew xxvii. 9), 'The Wisdom of God' (Luke xi. 49), Enoch (Jude 14-16), Assumption of Moses (Jude 9), the Apocalypse of Elijah (Ephesians. v. 14; I Corinthians ii. 9), the Martyrdom of Isaiah (Hebrews xi. 37).
TCE: The Jewish Encyclopedia could be correct in claiming that 'Outside of Pharisaic circles the earlier and less rigid conception of the canon maintained itself '(and therefore giving good reason for Jamnia's recognition of the importance of solidifying the canon), but it is in error in then stating that this 'is evident from the extent of the Greek Bible used by Christian apologists for controversial purposes, and a number of works quoted or used as authorities by New Testament writers, not found even in this Bible'. The examples they give [from ' (Matthew xxvii. 9) [to] (Hebrews xi. 37)] are certainly found in the 'Protestant' Bibles without straining to find Apocryphal books that might be the sources of the references, i.e.:
In Matthew 27:9, Judas Iscariot, after betraying Jesus, felt remorse because of his evil deeds and threw the betrayal money into the sanctuary before commiting suicide. Matthew details that this money was taken by the priests and used to buy a potter's field:
'Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 'And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value''.
However, while verse 9 attributes the prophecy to Jeremiah, when Matthew 27:9 is examined and compared to Zechariah 11:12-13, it is clear that this prophecy is the one fulfilled. So why did Matthew assign it to Jeremiah? Some people conclude that Matthew made an error, while others try to connect this prophecy with some part of Jeremiah and others claim an early copyist error, with the original text actually reading Zechariah. Eusebius claimed that the Jews deleted this passage from the Book of Jeremiah but this is mere conjecture and particularly inconsistent with the known reverence of the Jewish scribes' for the Word of God - a reverence so exceptional that, even when they found an obvious error, they refused to alter the text and, instead, made a notation in the margin so that the previous records could also be re-checked.
One possible solution is Jeremiah's priority in the Talmud (Baba Bathra 14b, J. B. Lightfoot, Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae, II, p362) where Jeremiah was placed first in the ancient rabbinic order of the prophetic books. So Matthew may have been quoting from the collection of the books of the prophets, and cited Jeremiah because it was the first and therefore the identifier. The same thing occurs in Luke 24:44, where Psalms was used when the entire third division of the Hebrew canon was being referenced. This solution is criticised in that the New Testament does not cite a passage under the general name 'Jeremiah' anywhere else, e.g. Matthew refers to a passage in Jeremiah itself (Matthew 2:17) and, quoting Isaiah, he goes to passages in Isaiah (4:14; 8:17; 12:17, etc.).
It is also possible that Matthew is combining two prophecies, one from Jeremiah and one from Zechariah, but only quotes Jeremiah because he is the major prophet. While Zechariah says nothing concerning the buying of a field, Jeremiah states that the Lord appointed him to buy a field (Jeremiah 32:6-8) as a solemn guarantee by the Lord that fields and vineyards would be bought and sold in the land in a future day (Jeremiah 32:15, 43f) and one of the fields would be the 'Potter's field'. Zechariah is inspired to supply the details of the thirty pieces of silver and the money cast down on the floor of the temple. Thus it can be seen that Matthew takes the detail of both prophets, but stresses Jeremiah as the one who foretold these occurrences.
The remaining Scriptures are even more easily linked to Old Testament books:
Luke 11:49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send unto them prophets and apostles; and some of them they shall kill and persecute;
Jude 1:14-16 And to these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have ungodly wrought, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their lusts (and their mouth speaketh great swelling words), showing respect of persons for the sake of advantage.
Deuteronomy 33:2-3 And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints: from His right hand went a fiery law for them.
Numbers 16:11 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?
Much has been made by critics, rationalists, and champions of the Apocrypha regarding this reference to Enoch. Scholars have puzzled over the absence of any reference in the Old Testament to this prophecy attributed to Enoch and, since Jude's statement is similar to a passage in the apocryphal 'Book of Enoch' (1:9) which, some argue, was written prior to 110 BC and thus probably known by the early Christians, many have assumed that Jude is quoting from that book. Others suggest that the difference between Jude's words and the 'Book of Enoch' indicates that Jude received the information about Enoch directly from God or that, under divine inspiration, he recorded an oral tradition. None of these views affects the doctrine of inspiration adversely for, if Jude quoted the apocryphal book, he was affirming only the truth of that prophecy and not endorsing the book in its entirety (cf. Paul's quotation of the Cretan poet Epimenides, in Titus 1:12, and the comparable arguments). It should also be obvious that the Papal Roman Catholic Church that can accept any teaching, such as the doctrines of Mariology, without a single supporting verse from the Old or New Testaments (or the Apocrypha!) can never quibble when apostles fail to support their doctrines with clear references to the Old Testament. It is as foolish as the Mormon cult insisting that there are many books 'missing' from the Bible and claiming these are such examples:
Exodus 24:7 - " the book of the covenant"
Numbers 21:14 - "the book of the wars of the Lord"
Joshua 10:13 - "the book of Jashar"
l Kings 11:41 - "the book of the acts of Solomon"
1 Chronicles 29:29 - the chronicles of Samuel, Gad and Nathan
2 Chronicles 9:29 - records of Nathan the prophet, prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, visions of Iddo the seer
2 Chronicles 33:19 - records of the Hozai
Colossians 4:16 - the letter to the Laodiceans
Why do people think that the Bible cannot mention the existence of any other writing without making that work a part of the canon of Scripture? Many of the books mentioned above were obviously secular in nature and part of public or royal records, just as we have shown other examples in the New Testament of quotations from pagan Cretan poets. Some of the books above mentioned in the Bible were clearly of a religious nature, such as the records of Nathan the prophet or the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite. But, again, why believe that these were ever meant to be part of the inspired Bible?
For centuries the Apocryphal 'Book of Enoch' was apparently lost, with the exception of a few fragments, until it was found in (possibly) its entirety in a copy of the Ethiopic Bible in 1773 by Bruce and translated into German and English (translation by Dr. Laurence of Oxford, 1821, republished 1832; article by Professor. Stuart in the Biblical Repository, January 1840, pp. 86-137). Critics claim that the 'Book of Enoch' was used by Jude, inasmuch as he inserted this reference to Enoch, which is almost verbatim found in that book. But according to these critics the 'Book of Enoch' was written in the second century and from this they reason that Jude did not write this Epistle in the year 65 A.D. Other scholars claim that the book of Enoch was in existence before Christ (about 110 BC) but, even if the critics were correct, it is no evidence that Jude could not have written his Epistle in the year stated above. It also does not seem to cross people's minds that the writer(s) of the 'Book of Enoch' might have used Jude's statements about Enoch to build their Apocryphal book around! Is it impossible that the 'Book of Enoch' was written after the Epistle of St. Jude, so that Jude did not draw the prophecy from the book but, rather, the writer of the book inserted in it the prophecy that he might give to his forgery the appearance of truth? Many other Apocryphal creations chose the names of recognised heroes of the faith in order to produce similar creations. The passage found in the 'Book of Enoch' reads:
"Behold he comes with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon them, and destroy the wicked, and reprove all the carnal, for everything which the sinful and ungodly have done and committed against him" (Chap. ii. Bible-believing. Repository, Vol. XV, p86).
If the 'Book of Enoch' was written after the time of Jude, it is natural to suppose that the prophecy referred to by him, and handed down by tradition, would be inserted in it. Either way, Jude is not shown to approve of the 'Book of Enoch' (anymore than it can be proven that any New Testament writer approves of the Apocrypha) but he merely vouches for the fact that the prophecy is recorded that the Lord will execute judgement upon all ungodly sinners, such as the men in question and, enlarging further on the character of the false teachers, he calls them 'murmurers full of complaints', i.e. men who are discontented with their lot, who do as they please, whose speech is boastful and vain for the most part, but who will stoop to flattery when this is advantageous to them.
A final important point is also obvious: if God wanted the 'Book of Enoch' in the canon of Scripture it would have been there for certain - and it would have been in the canon from the days of the apostles and not been hidden in Ethiopea until the 18th century!
The other references given by The Jewish Encyclopedia are clearly from the Old Testament and not Apocryphal works, i.e.:
Ephesians 5:14 - Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
Isaiah 26:19 - Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
1 Corinthians 2:9 - But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Isaiah 64:4 - For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
Hebrews 11:37 - They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
1 Kings 21:13 - And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died.
2 Chronicles 24:21 - And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD.
2 Samuel 12:31 - And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.
1 Chronicles 20:3 - And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes. Even so dealt David with all the cities of the children of Ammon. And David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
1 Kings 19:10 - And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
Jeremiah 26:23 - And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him unto Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.
1 Kings 19:13-19 - And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
Zechariah 13:4 - And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive:
The Jewish Encyclopedia (continued):
In B. B. 14b the canon is divided into three parts; viz., (1) the Law, comprising the five books ascribed to Moses; (2) the Prophets, including Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the Minor Prophets; and (3) the Writings, Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Lamentations, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, and Chronicles. The passage indicates what was regarded, on the basis of a tradition preserved in the school of Hoshaya b. Hama. 230 C.E.), as the proper manner of arranging the component parts of the canon when larger volumes were prepared.
This tripartition no doubt implied an estimate of relative value. The Law, being the first to acquire authority, remained at all times the highest authority. All non-Mosaic books were called ... ('tradition'), whether Prophets or Hagiographa, and considered in the light of a commentary on the Law, as it were, another expression of the oral law (compare Zunz, 'G. V.' 1832, p. 44). This is suggested also by the use of the term for the entire canon (II Esdras xiv. 21, iv. 23; I Corinthians xiv. 21; John x. 34, xii. 34, xv. 25), by the absence of the Torah in the description of the library of religious books in II Macc. ii. 13, and by the fact that the Samaritans limited their canon to the Torah. The veneration for the Law long antedated the completion of the Pentateuch, naturally increasing with the growth of this work. The so-called Covenant Code, Ex. xx. 23-xxiii. 33, must have enjoyed wide recognition in the eighth and seventh centuries, probably because emanating from some sanctuary whose priesthood traced its descent to Moses, since the Deuteronomic code apparently was intended at the outset to take its place. This law-book was enjoined on the people by Josiah in 621 B.C. (II Kings xxii. 8-xxiii.).
Development of the Pentateuchal Law.
It is an exaggeration to say that Judaism became a book religion, or that the canon was born, in that year. While its humanitarian spirit commended this law to many, and some found in its ordinances a source of knowledge concerning the will of Yhwh (Jer. viii. 8), written oracles and royal decrees had existed before; and prophets like Jeremiah were not misled by its Mosaic guise (l.c.). During the Chaldean and Persian periods it naturally grew in importance as the common law of the people. Yet it did not suppress the Jahvistic and Elohistic records with their earlier codes and narratives reflecting quite different religious conceptions. These, with the annals of the kings, were subjected to a Deuteronomistic redaction. As theocracy developed, the attention centred upon the cult. Regulations touching sacrifices and other rites, etiological legends, cosmogonic myths, and genealogical traditions were added. These priestly additions are now generally regarded as a separate work compiled in Babylonia, brought to Palestine by Ezra, and promulgated at the great assembly described in Neh. viii.-x. in 444 B.C. It is more natural, however, to suppose that they gradually grew up at the sanctuary in priestly circles re-enforced from time to time by returned exiles. Recent investigations tend to show that the Artahshashta under whom Nehemiah lived was Artaxerxes II. Mnemon (404-358), that his governorship extended from 385 to 373, and that Ezra came after him, probably in the seventh year of Artaxerxes III. Ochus (352). The story of Ezra is evidently overlaid with a later tradition. Yet it is possible that his zeal for the law of Moses led this 'scribe' to write in one book all the material recognized as Mosaic - leaving out Joshua-Kings - and to inculcate obedience to this law. When Manasse at length secured from Alexander the permission to build a temple to Yhwh on Gerizim, which Ochus and Darius had good reasons for refusing, in view of the effect upon Jerusalem of rebuilt walls and a well-regulated cult (Josephus, 'Ant.' ii. 7, § 8), he had precisely the same interest as his relatives in Jerusalem to possess the law of Yhwh in its completest form containing the most explicit directions as regards the cult. At the time when the necessary Aramaic Targum took the form of a version on the Alexandrian model, the same motive was again operative. According to some critics, additions were made to the Law as late as the second century. Then 'there arose a certain reluctance to write down the further developments of the law.'
Zech. i. 4-6 shows that the pre-exilic prophets were held in high honor as early as 519. But their words naturally came to be read in the light of contemporaneous prophecy, which was exhortation to observance of religious ceremonies enjoined by the Law. Such exhortations could not have as great authority as the Law itself. Daniel. ix. 2 shows that the author was acquainted with works ascribed to Jeremiah in which an exile of seventy years was predicted; the sections Jer. xxv. 1-13, xlvi., xlvii., xlix. and Jer. xxvii.-xxix. were probably known to him. Daniel took his place with the other prophets, as is evident from the Greek versions, and from Matthew xxiv. 15 and Josephus, 'Contra Ap.' i. 8; Job (Ecclus. [Sirach] xlix. 9), Ezra, and Mordecai were still counted as prophets by Josephus. (l.c.). In the reaction against the 'Genuzim' (Apocrypha), probably occasioned by their use by Essenes and Christians, Daniel had maintained a place among the books that made the hands unclean, and as a prophet. The critical movement, however, had not spent its force at the end of the first century; a hundred years later Daniel was no longer accorded a place among the Prophets (B. B. 14b). On the other hand, the effort to remove Ezekiel had proved unsuccessful. The limitation of the prophetic canon to eight books was consequently later than the redaction of the canon as a whole to twenty-two or twenty-four books. How many books were counted as prophets by the grandson of Sirach, who wrote his preface after 132 B.C., by the author of II Macc. ii. 13 et seq., or by the New Testament writers, can not be determined. Josephus numbered thirteen. That Sirach had before him a volume of twelve prophets is not certain. The presence of xlix. 10 in the Hebrew text does not prove that he wrote this verse. Between 180 and 132 the manuscript may have been retouched, as is suggested by the descriptions of Phinehas and Simon. No conclusions can, therefore, be drawn from this passage as to the date of Jonah or of Zech. ix.-xiv., or the title 'Malachi.'
Did the Catholic Church Give Us the Bible?
TCE: Again we see the dubious use of the Apocrypha by those within the Jewish community (e.g. 'Essenes') and some of the 'Christians' (e.g. 'Church Fathers'), as well as the drift away from true worship of YHWH by rabbinic type groups. Again, the importance of Jamnia for any Jew seeking to stay in touch with only genuine Scripture is shown, for 'The critical movement ... had not spent its force at the end of the first century; a hundred years later Daniel was no longer accorded a place among the Prophets ... On the other hand, the effort to remove Ezekiel had proved unsuccessful.' A movement that sought to remove such obvious prophets from the Old Testament canon was clearly as dangerous as the popes - as Sixtus V proves!
The Jewish Encyclopedia (continued):
Sirach's grandson speaks of 'other books' in addition to the Law and the Prophets. II Macc. ii. 13 mentions the Psalter ( ... ) and 'letters of kings concerning temple gifts.' Philo, if he is the author of 'De Vita Contemplativa,' refers to 'hymns' as well as 'laws' and 'inspired words of the prophets' (ii. 475, ed. Mangey). Josephus adds to the thirteen Prophets four books containing 'hymns to God and precepts for the conduct of human life' ('Contra Ap.' i. 8). In Luke xxiv. 44 'the Psalms' are mentioned as also furnishing predictions of the resurrection. These passages, while indicating a special class of books, containing hymns, moral precepts, and temple history, do not suggest either a completed prophetic canon or a definite number of additional works. The finally prevailing number and estimate of the 'writings' can only have been the result of the critical process by which the extent of the canon and the number of the prophets were determined. The attempts to make such books as Ezekiel (Shab. 13b; Men. 45a, b; Hag. 13a), Proverbs (Shab. 30b), Canticles (Yad. iii. 5; Meg. 7a), Ecclesiastes (Yad. l.c.; 'Eduy. v. 3; Shab. 30a, b), Esther (Meg. 7a; Sanh. 100a), and probably the books of Daniel, Job, and Ezra, share the fate of the Genuzim, were only temporary. The use of Canticles, Ecclesiastes, and Esther on certain feast days gave needed support to their canonicity. In the course of the second century of the common era a fixed group of hagiographa, to which relatively less importance was ascribed than to the Prophets, was constituted. The earliest testimony as to the contents of this group is B. B. 14b.
The order of the Prophets and the Hagiographa in this Baraita presents neither the original sequence nor the finally adopted arrangement. In earlier times the reader no doubt was quite free in the choice of his selections. As long as each book formed a separate roll the order could not have been regarded as of much consequence. This apparently was still the case in the year 100 (compare Luke iv. 17; B. B. 13b). It was when larger volumes were produced that the question would arise as to the order in which their constituent parts should be copied. Practical considerations no doubt counteracted the more obvious chronological principle that seems to have been followed in Alexandria. A valuable intimation of this is found in the Baraita quoted. It declares that Isaiah was placed after Jeremiah and Ezekiel because 'the Book of Kings ends in desolation, Jeremiah is all desolation, Ezekiel begins with desolation and ends with consolation, and Isaiah is all consolation.' This is not to be set aside as a mere rabbinic fancy. For the principle of making the beginning of a book attractive and the end encouraging is even characteristic of editorial activity in the arrangement of the smaller collections out of which the larger volumes grew, and is based on a due regard for the effect upon the reader. The transfer of Isaiah to the first place may have been due to external considerations of size. The idea that the twelve Minor Prophets were written by 'the men of the Great Synagogue' (...) was determining. Kuenen asserts that 'the Great Synagogue' is only an unhistorical reflection of the assembly described in Neh. viii.-x. Even if it could be proved that the name was used in the Persian period to denote a regularly constituted authority, the functions ascribed to it would still remain projections into the past of much later conditions. When it is said that 'the men of Hezekiah' or 'the men of the Great Synagogue' wrote certain books it is probably meant that by divine inspiration they produced authoritative texts from material already extant in oral or written form.
TCE: Imaginative invention is linked irrevocably to 'Baraita' and, in the same way that Papal Rome's 'Tradition' can produce non-existent 'evidence' to support any required doctrine, Jewish oral law refers to teachings "outside" of the six orders of the Mishnah. This is all a long way from the certainty of the evidence from preserved manuscripts of the Old Testament and New Testament which 'Protestants' rely on solely!
The Jewish Encyclopedia (continued):
The Psalter furnished the natural starting-point for the differentiated group of Hagiographa. But when Ruth was detached from Judges, and Lamentations from Jeremiah, the former was recognized as an auspicious and suitable introduction to the Psalms, and the latter was assigned to its chronological position between the three Solomonic writings and Daniel (B. B. 15b). As the custom developed of arranging the five Megillot by themselves (Masorah and Spanish Manuscripts), and subsequently in the order of the feasts - viz., Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther (German and French Manuscripts), Chronicles was transferred from the end to take the place of Ruth (Masorah and Spanish Manuscripts).
That Chronicles concluded the collection in the time of Jesus can not be proved from Matthew xxiii. 35 (Luke xi. 51); for this passage drawn from 'The Wisdom of God' contains no word of Jesus, and does not refer to Zechariah b. Jehoiada mentioned in II Chron. xxiv. 20, but to Zechariah, the son of Baruch, mentioned in Josephus ('B. J.' iv. 6, § 4). The connection of Chronicles with Ezra was original and ultimately prevailed; as did also the chronological order of the erstwhile prophetic books, Daniel, Esther, and Ezra.
Two tendencies are visible in the history of the canon: the one, critical, inclining to reduce the number of sacred books by applying rigid standards of doctrinal consistency; the other, conservative of an earlier and truer estimate, and on this account more liberal to new works of the same general character. Both have rendered great service. The former has issued in a recognition of divergent types of teaching and different degrees of credibility in the canon, and of the rights of private judgment to appraise its contents; while the latter has resulted in the preservation of many precious monuments of man's religious life, and the sense of historic continuity and collective growth.
TCE: Clearly, small groups led by unorthodox rabbis who held heretical views at variance with the majority view cannot alter the overall supporting testimony of The Jewish Encyclopedia and the clear testimonies of the renowned historians, Josephus and Philo, are shown to be unshaken.
You write: The canon arrived at by the rabbis at Javneh was essentially the mid-sized canon of the Palestinian Pharisees, not the shorter one used by the Sadducees, who had been practically annihilated during the Jewish war with Rome. Nor was this new canon consistent with the Greek Septuagint, which the rabbis regarded rather xenophobically as 'too Gentile-tainted.' Remember, these Palestinian rabbis were not in much of a mood for multiculturalism after the catastrophe they had suffered at the hands of Rome. Their people had been slaughtered by foreign invaders, the Temple defiled and destroyed, and the Jewish 'religion' in Palestine was in shambles. So for these rabbis, the Greek Septuagint went by the board and the mid-sized Pharisaic 'canon' was adopted. This version was adopted by the majority of Jews - though not all. Even today Ethiopian Jews still use the Septuagint version, not the shorter Palestinian canon settled upon by the rabbis at Javneh. In other words, the Old Testament canon recognized by Ethiopian Jews is identical to the Christian Old Testament, including the seven deuterocanonical books (cf. Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 6, p. 1147).
TCE: Firstly - this is word for word from Mark Shea at:
[also reproduced at http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/2286 #]
# these sometimes have more problems connecting!
Secondly - Shea is hopeful and in error. These 'rabbis' certainly did not reject the Septuagint out of xenophobia but, unlike the heretics, they recognised heretical views when they read them! And they had never been in any kind of 'mood for multiculturalism' at any time they suffered invasions in their history, never mind at 'the hands of Rome'! Israel certainly sinfully co-habited with surrounding pagans on occasions (e.g. Judges 6:1 - when God delivered them unto the hand of the Midianites, among the most ancient and inveterate of the enemies of Israel who joined with the Moabites to seduce them to idolatry, and were nearly extirpated by them; cf. Numbers 31:1-12) - an entirely different matter. As the quotes we have supplied from contemporary 'rabbis' reveal, a very large number of the Jewish people were never enamoured of 'the Greek Septuagint', rejecting the gross improbability of the mythical word-for-word agreement of the translators - and that remains true to this day. That some groups who have long been separated from the majority of Israel, such as Ethiopian Jews, were ignorant of the overall view is no recommendation of the Septuagint version, so your hopeful conclusion ('In other words, the Old Testament canon recognized by Ethiopian Jews is identical to the Christian Old Testament, including the seven deuterocanonical books') is bogus.
It is noticeable that very similar material at:
draws more reasonable conclusions, i.e.:
'The history of the Septuagint is that it was a project begun in the great city of Alexandria about 250 B.C. by a group of seventy rabbis, who supposedly did their translations independently and when they were brought together all were found to be identical, convincing many of their inspiration (The Catholic Bible: Personal Study Edition, p. 217). The translations may have taken decades but what is clear is that this was the Bible of the Jews in the Diaspora and it was the Bible quoted by Jesus and the Apostles in the New Testament in 300 of 350 instances wherein the Old Testament was quoted. The other 50 are usually paraphrases of either the Hebrew or the Greek only. Moreover, it is important to note that at least the Ethiopian Jews, followed a different canon, which is identical to the Septuagint and includes the seven deuterocanonical books (cf. Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 6, p. 1147). [emphasis added]
The point in quoting Volume 6 appears to be in order to deny any legitimacy to the decision by the Rabbis at the council of Javneh (90AD) to determine the canon of Scripture for the Jewish religion, although the next page (Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 6, p. 1147) - which is quoted in your sources - admits that 'The group of Jews which met at Javneh became the dominant group for later Jewish history, and today most Jews accept the canon of Javneh. However, some Jews, such as those from Ethiopia, follow a different canon which is identical to the Catholic Old Testament and includes the seven Deuterocanonical books.' The following page (Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 6, p. 1148) would appear to have no problem with the decision of the Protestants to agree with these rabbis: 'Protestantism derives its Old Testament Canon from the European Jews who followed the Canon of the council of Jamnia or Javneh (90 CE.).'
From that date (90 CE.) one may say that the limits of the Old Testament were once and for all fixed, no writings being included except those written in Hebrew, the latest of these being as old as 100 BC. Since the Jews of the Dispersion spoke and wrote Greek, and they continued to think and write in Greek long after their fellow-countrymen of the homeland had ceased to produce any fresh original literature (in Hebrew), what they did produce might well be considered explanatory of what had been written and practical - but it was nonetheless un-Canonical! It also seems remiss to dismiss the possible differences in 'orthodoxy' that can occur in such disparate locations (cf. the attitude of 'orthodox Jews' against that of other contemporary Jewish groups). While the Greek Bible - the Septuagint - was that of many Jews in Egypt and of those in other Greek-speaking countries, it does not make it the most correct or canonical Bible. It is ironic that Papists should try and question the authority of the rabbis at Jamnia when, as we have already shown on our pages, popes disagreed with and excommunicated one another as heretics (yet those excommunicated remain on the list of popes today); Papal councils disagreed with one another and there were even serious differences of opinion within the same council. There were many dissenters at the Council of Trent - a council which did not represent the mind of the Church at large, yet it still remains the major source of official dogma today. At Vatican I many bishops were opposed to papal infallibility and only later confirmed the vote to spare themselves the pope's wrath - and little changed at Vatican II, when Pope Paul VI smothered opposition.
But, again, we see that even the more moderate view (which seems to be familiar with the preposterous angles of the 'miraculous translation' which caused rabbis of the Diaspora - and outside of it - to reject the Apocrypha and the Septuagint, as we noted earlier) does not overturn our conclusion:
The devastating case against claiming any inspiration for the Apocrypha is that, while there are in all two hundred and eighty-three direct quotations from the Old Testament in the New, there is not one clear and certain case of quotation from the Apocrypha (q.v.).
You write: But remember that by the time the Jewish council of Javneh rolled around, the Catholic Church had been in existence and using the Septuagint Scriptures in its teaching, preaching, and worship for nearly 60 years, just as the Apostles themselves had done. The Church feels no obligation to conform to the wishes of the rabbis in excluding the deuterocanonical books any more than they felt obliged to follow the rabbis in rejecting the New Testament writings. The fact is that after the birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost, the rabbis no longer had authority from God to settle such issues. That authority, including the authority to define the canon of Scripture, had been given to Christ's Church.
TCE: The facts of history show that the embryonic Catholic Church of Rome in its Papal form did not come into existence until Constantine (AD 330) established Constantinople (today's Istanbul) as his new imperial capital, leaving the Bishop of Rome in charge in the West and setting the stage for the later political and religious division of the empire. When Emperor Constantine supposedly became a Christian in AD 313 (a lightly disguised political manoeuver), he gave freedom to Christians as well as giving his 'new religion' official status alongside paganism by signing the Edict of Toleration, which granted freedom to Christians. He made it more than fashionable to join the church but also promised gold pieces and white robes to all converts! Not surprisingly, pagans joined the church by the thousands, taking with them their heathen practices so that the church Constantine created became so worldly - and his world so 'churchy' - that no difference could be seen. And the Papal Roman Catholic Church has continued this pattern ever since.
Since the church was now a recognized religious body in the empire, Constantine, as emperor, had to be acknowledged as its de facto head and - setting the un-Scriptural path that Rome has perpetuated since (a mistake mimicked by the incompletely-Reformed, liberal-heretical, Anglicans in the United Kingdom and abroad!), he convened the first ecumenical council, the Council of Nicea, in AD 325, set its agenda, gave the opening speech, and presided over it, as Charlemagne would over the Council of Chalon-sur-Seine, 500 years later. Attempts to prove that 'the Catholic Church' in its essential form existed before this disastrous intervention is futile. Papal Rome has clearly continued on the same corrupt path ever since with the same agenda: not spreading the truth of the gospel but unifying the empire that was Constantine's but is now 'the popes'. Constantine was the first ecumenist, introducing that error into a persecution-wearied church and heading the 'Christian church' with an inherited pagan priesthood, pagan celebrations, and the endowment of pagan temples - which continued even after he began to build Christian churches! As head of the pagan priesthood he was the Pontifex Maximus and needed a similar title as head of the Christian church, generating the equally un-Scriptural titles, 'Bishop of Bishops,' Vicarius Christi (Vicar of Christ - which translates literally to 'another Christ' acting in the place of Christ and, when translated into Greek, meaning literally 'Antichrist'). Constantine and his successors in Rome are therefore the prototypes of the Antichrist prophesied in Scripture and who is yet to come. The secular persecutions ceased by AD 311 because, under Constantine the Great, the alignment of church and state brought about this key step in the formation of the Papal Roman Catholic Church.
Catholicism therefore arose gradually over a period of several centuries, but it was not until the end of the 6th century that the Catholic pope achieved the position he has held since. Philip Schaff wrote truthfully that Gregory the Great (540-604) was '... the first of the proper popes' and with him began 'the development of the absolute papacy'. (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, I, p15). Thus it was in the Middle Ages that the bishops of Rome began to claim that they were the sole representatives of Christ upon earth and, demanding that the entire worldwide church must be subject to their rule, they forbade any other bishops to be called 'papa' or 'pope' and took to themselves these three (utterly un-Scriptural!) titles of Constantine which they shamelessly retain to this day. One of the most horrendous results of Constantine's deception was that, during the pre-Nicean and pre-Constantine period, if a Christian would not confess 'Caesar is Lord' it was Caesar, the Roman Emperor, the Latin-speaking Pontifex Maximus who killed him. But post-Nicea and post-Constantine, when the popes gained control, if a Christian would not obey the pope it was the pope of the Roman Empire, the Latin-speaking Pontifex Maximus who had him killed. The periods of persecution under a string of emperors inimical to Christianity, who frequently also held an anti-Semitic disposition toward Jews, went from Imperial Rome to Papal Rome with its Inquisitions and pogroms. Both the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ - made up of a small number of believers through the centuries - and the Israelites, are the covenant people of God upon which God's agenda for the salvation of man prophetically depends. Hence the true church and the Jews have been the recurrent targets of the same persecutors, for the same satanic spirit bent on the extermination of the Jews is likewise bent on the extermination of the true church. Beginning with Rome, any nation that turned against the church has largely also turned against the Jews. The traumatic events of AD 70 by Titus against the Jews in Jerusalem followed persecutions by Nero of the church and similar trends were evident in the imperial reigns of Claudius. By the second century, when the post-Apostolic church commenced, the Second Jewish Revolt under Simon Bar Kochba saw a removal of Jews from Jerusalem and a scattering of the Jews from Biblical Israel into the Diaspora which prevailed through the reign of Hadrian. It is astounding how the same allegations made against Christians, faulting them for the self-inflicted calamities of a morally decadent society, were likewise levelled against the Jews, blaming them for everything. The difference is that these kinds of accusations which were used to justify pogroms against Christians, ended when Constantine pseudo-Christianized the Roman Empire, but still continued against the Jews. Papal Rome's claims that they inherited everything from Israel and its 'rabbis,' including the ability to maintain the preservation of the 'canon of Scripture', is repeatedly shown to be a fairy-tale that historical records, and Scripture, refute thoroughly.
You write: Thus, Church and synagogue went their separate ways, not in the Middle Ages or the 16th century, but in the 1st century. The Septuagint, complete with the deuterocanononical books, was first embraced, not by the Council of Trent, but by Jesus of Nazareth and his Apostles - and all the Church Fathers and Councils before. Just a few examples of this acceptance can be found in the Didache, The Epistle of Barnabas, the Council of Rome, the Council of Hippo, the Third Council of Carthage, the African Code, the Apostolic Constitutions, and the writings of Pope St. Clement I (Epistle to the Corinthians), St. Polycarp of Smyrna, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, St. Hippolytus, St. Cyprian of Carthage, Pope St. Damasus I, St. Augustine, and Pope St. Innocent I.
TCE: We have already amply refuted your false claims on this page under these headings:
Catholics decided on the Old Testament Canon?
Catholic bishops decided canonicity of the New Testament?
When was the New Testament Canon Established?
Catholic scholar, Dr. Gigot, exhibits a more mature and factual view of the Septuagint!
The false rabbinical synagogue religion that developed apace after AD 70 and the destruction of the Temple was never connected to any churches founded by the apostles and the disciples who accepted the Gospel message of the New Testament. Between 70 and 90 AD the group of leading Rabbis in Yavne (known to orthodox Jews as the 'Council of Yavne') tried to answer the question of how to carry on their religion now there was nowhere to sacrifice animals. Rabbi Johannan Ben Zakai led the council of rabbis and they came up with the decision to replace the Kohanim and the Levim (the priests and the Levites) with the synagogue system replacing the Temple and ritualistic 'good works' replacing the sacrificial system. Leviticus and Deuteronomy make it clear that the largest single portion of the Law of Moses had to do with sacrifice and Temple rituals but, since these were not possible to practice without the Temple, they had to replace God's methods with their man-made religion based on the synagogue - and this they follow to this day. Thus formalized synagogue worship replaced the Temple (the Torah scroll now wears the crown and breastplate of the Kohen Gadol [High Priest], the Greek version of the Tanakh [Old Testament - 'Septuagint'] was condemned, and the Masoretic Hebrew text was approved as the 'official' version of the Tanakh). Before that time there were eighteen benedictions or blessings, known as the amidah (recited while 'standing') that were recited as part of the daily service of worship. Sometime around 80 CE the Council, at the urging of Rabban Gamli'el II, or Gamli'el of Yavne to distinguish him from his grandfather (Rabbi Sha'ul's mentor), added a nineteenth blessing (actually inserted at the twelfth position in the liturgy) called the Birkat ha Minim (Blessing of the Heretics), which is actually a curse rather than a blessing and reads:
Blessed are You, O Lord our G-d, King of Justice. For the slanderers (minim, or heretics) let there be no hope, and let all wickedness perish as in a moment; let all your enemies be speedily cut off [killed], uproot and crush the dominion of arrogance, and cast down and humble speedily in our days. Blessed are you, O Lord, who breaks the enemies and humbles the arrogant.
Originally directed towards the Sadducees and other 'heretics,' in the Genizah version the word minim was replaced with the word Nozerim (Nazarenes), a direct reference both to Yeshua and to the Messianic Jews who followed Him.
A particularly distressing ruling concerning the amidah was that the entire body could be recited silently or whispered, except for the Birkat ha Minim, which was required to be recited out loud, and anyone who refused was 'excommunicated' or put out of the synagogue.
The precursors to the rabbis who made these decisions had faced Jesus in Nazareth (Luke 4), Stephen in the synagogue in Jerusalem (Acts 7), and Barnabas and Paul suffered under them in Antioch (Acts 13:51) where the Jewish leaders stirred up the people and 'expelled them from their region.' In the beginning the Jewish Christians were protected because they were seen as nothing more than Messianic Jews, a sect within Judaism. But after they had been excommunicated from the synagogues because of their faith in Yeshua (Jesus) as the Jewish Messiah, they lost their status as religio licita - and they became religio illicita - an unlicensed and unlawful religion which would not bow the knee to Rome. Hence the rabbinic establishment gave Jewish Christians over to persecution at the hands of the pagan Romans, as well as frequently persecuting them themselves. Thus the Jewish believers in ancient Philadelphia found themselves ostracized from the synagogue that they had tried to reform with the Gospel message (which they would not compromise) and this pattern was continued by Constantine's newly created Papal religion. So history reveals that the rabbis of the synagogue rejected the Gospel spread by the apostles in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ - and then Constantine's Papal creation did exactly the same to invent its own 'gospel of sacramental good works' that parallels the rabbinical system which was, itself, merely a development from the system of the Pharisees!
Your list supposedly showing 'a few examples of ... acceptance [of the] Septuagint, complete with the deuterocanononical [sic] books' simply does not stand up to careful examination. The Old Testament version of choice and the number and choice of 'Apocryphal/deuterocanonical' books varied from individual to individual and therefore from fellowship to fellowship and church to church! Strange that your original claims that 'Before the precise makeup of Scripture was determined, there abounded numerous texts, accepted as inspired by various Bishops, while others accepted different texts, which were kept through tradition ... nobody knew with certainty what constituted Scripture, until 400 A.D.' has now hardened to illogical, unprovable lists?
Anyone reading through all of these pages will find that we have clearly shown that 'The Septuagint, complete with the deuterocanononical books, was NOT embraced' by all of the 'Church Fathers', never mind 'by Jesus of Nazareth and his Apostles' and all the ... Councils before [Trent]'.
As we have already shown, since the Emperor Constantine had to be acknowledged as the de facto head who convened the first ecumenical council (the Council of Nicea, AD 325), set its agenda, gave the opening speech, and presided over it, this council was utterly un-Scriptural! As Catholic historian Peter de Rosa revealed:
'...one looks in vain in the first millennium for a single doctrine or piece of legislation imposed by Rome alone on the rest of the church. The only general laws came out of Councils such as Nicaea. In any case, how could the Bishop of Rome have exercised universal jurisdiction in those early centuries when there was no [Roman] Curia, when other bishops brooked no interference in their dioceses from anyone, when Rome issued no dispensations and demanded no tribute or taxation, when all bishops, not just the Bishop of Rome, had the power to bind and loose, when no bishop or church or individual was censured by Rome? Further, for centuries, the Bishop of Rome was chosen by the local citizens - clergy and laity. If he had jurisdiction over the universal church, would not the rest of the world want a say in his appointment? When he was believed to have [universal] supremacy the rest of the church did demand a say in his election. This came about only in the Middle Ages' (Peter de Rosa, Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy, Crown Publishers, 1988, pp. 248-49).
While heading the Christian church, Constantine continued to head the pagan priesthood, to officiate at pagan celebrations, and to endow pagan temples even after he began to build Christian churches. As historian Will Durant pointed out: 'throughout his reign he [Constantine] treated the bishops as his political aides; he summoned them, presided over their councils, and agreed to enforce whatever opinion their majority should formulate.' (Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, Simon and Schuster, 1950, Part III, 'Caesar and Christ,' p656).
What was the nature of the councils under Constantine? Doctrine clearly meant nothing or little to Constantine for he sought only that the bishops should agree for the sake of imperial unity and historian De Rosa quoted a fourth-century bishop that 'the church [at that time] was part of the state' and:
'Even the Bishop of Rome - not to be called 'the pope' for many centuries - was, in comparison [to Constantine], a non-entity. In civic terms he was vassal of the emperor; in spiritual terms, he was, compared with Constantine, a second-class bishop. ... Not the pope but he [Constantine], like Charlemagne later, was the head of the church, its source of unity, before whom the Bishop of Rome had to prostrate himself and pledge his loyalty. All bishops agreed that he [the emperor] was 'the inspired oracle, the apostle of Church wisdom. ... It was, therefore, Constantine, not the Bishop of Rome, who dictated the time and place of church synods and even how the votes were cast. Without his approval, they could not pass into law; he alone was legislator of the Empire. (De Rosa, ibid., p43).
Since Constantine and his successor emperors called the councils, it should be no surprise to learn that no council for the first thousand years acknowledged the Bishop of Rome as head of the Church. While Christ exemplified humility and service to others and told His disciples: 'The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them.... But ye shall not be so; but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve' (Luke 22:25-26) we find that the popes emulated the pagan emperors from whom they inherited their position and power.
Since the popes needed support for their claims of being successors of Peter they chose to rewrite history by manufacturing alleged historical documents, beginning with 'The Donation of Constantine' and followed by the 'pseudo-Isidorian Decretals', which were early papal decrees allegedly compiled by Archbishop Isidore (560-636) but actually fabricated in the ninth century. These frauds became the foundation for much 'tradition' still relied upon today - as we explained on earlier pages!
'The Isidorian Decretals' involved about a hundred forged decrees supposedly promulgated by the early popes, along with counterfeit writings of supposed Church authorities and synods. The fraudulent Donation of Constantine was followed by a veritable library of forged documents, false decretals that traced papal authority back to the early bishops of Rome and through them to Peter. There were eight councils of the Church before the schism (in 1054 AD) which caused the split into Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, when the Bishop of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople excommunicated each other. But none of these eight councils was called by the Bishop of Rome, but by the emperor, who also put his stamp of approval upon their decrees. And, as we have already shown, finding a council that genuinely met to 'decide' the canon is unprovable.
We have shown that your claims are unproven and that the 'evidence' that the Apostles quoted even once from 'deuterocanonical' books (never mind 'all'!) is absolutely thread-bare. Jesus clearly did not quote from them even once and the attempts to link New Testament verses with verses from apocryphal works are extremely desperate! Evidence clearly reveals that the 'Church Fathers' did not ever fully agree on the canonicity of 'deuterocanonical' books while the evidence of the Councils is not what you hope it to be - as further evidence, supplied later, will reveal.
For centuries some branches of the Christian church were practically agreed on the limits set by the Jews but there was division in the 'Western Church', some alleging (as you do) that Christ sanctioned the 'larger' canon of Alexandria, including the Apocrypha, while others adhered, as the Jews have always done, to the canon of the Jews in Palestine. Expanding some of the evidence we have already dealt with, we can see that the overall evidence clearly denies your claims. The eastern or oriental church furnishes evidence that, first, The Peshitta, or Syriac version (dating from circa 150 AD) omits Chronicles; Justin Martyr (164 AD) held to a canon identical with that of the Jews; the Canon of Melito, bishop of Sardis, who (circa 170 AD) made a journey to Palestine in order carefully to investigate the matter, omits Esther, and his list (the first Christian list we have) was preserved by Eusebius in his Eccl. Hist., IV, 26. Second, Origen (died 254 AD), who also set himself the task of knowing the 'Hebrew verity' of the Old Testament text, gave a list (also preserved to us by Eusebius, Eccl. Hist., VI, 5) in which he numbered the books at 22 (thus agreeing with Josephus). It is believed that he inadvertently omitted the Twelve Minor Prophets in a clear oversight on the part of either a scribe or of Eusebius, as he stated the number of books as 22, but then named only 21. The so-called Canon of Laodicea (circa 363 AD) included the canonical books only, rejecting the Apocrypha. Athanasius (died 365 AD) gave a list in which Esther was classed among the non-canonical books while elsewhere admitting that 'Esther is considered canonical by the Hebrews.' However, he also included Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah with Jeremiah. Amphilochius, bishop of Iconium (circa 380 AD), wrote that Esther was only received by some believers. Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem (died 386 AD), gave a list corresponding to the Hebrew canon, except that he included Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah. Gregory of Nazianzus in Cappadocia (died 390 AD) omitted Esther, but Anastasius, patriarch of Antioch (560 AD), and Leontius of Byzantium (580 AD) both held to the strict Jewish canon of 22 books. The Nestorians generally omitted Esther, probably due to the influence of Theodore of Mopsuestia (circa 390-457 AD) who disputed the authority of Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther and Job. The oriental churches as a whole never canonized the Apocrypha!
In contrast the Western Church (between 100-400 AD) that was influenced by the 'Church Fathers' who are known to have absorbed many false and heretical views had, as a consequence, a tendency to receive books with less discretion. Usage and theory were often in conflict and therefore we find that, while 'Church Fathers' might declare that the Apocryphal books were uninspired, they were known to quote them as 'Scripture,' and even introduced them with the accepted formula: 'As the Holy Ghost saith.' Theologically, they held to a strict canon, homiletically they used a larger one. But even this usage was not uniform and 3 and 4 Esdras and the Book of Enoch are sometimes quoted as 'Holy Writ,' while the western church never received these books as canonical. The criterion of usage, therefore, is too broad. Because the views of the 'Fathers' was not as authoritative as Papal Rome likes to pretend today, their opinions were gradually forgotten and the prevalent use of the Septuagint and other versions led to the obliteration of the distinction between the undisputed books of the Hebrew canon and the most popular Apocryphal books. As a result of frequent public reading in the churches influenced by the 'Church Fathers' the Apocrypha slowly received a quasi-canonization in some quarters.
Tertullian of Carthage (circa 150-230 AD) was the first of the Latin Fathers whose writings were preserved and he gave the number of Old Testament books as 24, the same as in the Talmud. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers in France (350-368 AD), gives a catalogue in which he wrote of 'Jeremiah and his epistle,' yet his list numbered only 22. Rufinus of Aquileia in Italy (died 410 AD) likewise gave a complete list of 22 books. As already proven, Jerome also gave the number of canonical books as 22, corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and explained that the five double books (1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, Jeremiah-Lamentations) correspond to the five final letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In his famous Prologus Galeatus or 'Helmed Preface' to the books of Samuel and Kings, he declared himself in agreement with the strict canon of the Jews and he rejected the deutero-canonical books in the most outspoken manner, even distinguishing carefully the apocryphal additions to Esther and to Daniel. In his preface to his 'Vulgate', Jerome used the word 'Apocrypha' in the sense of non-canonical books and, as we wrote earlier, his words are: Quidquid extra hos (i.e. the 22 canonical books) inter Apocrypha ponendum: 'Anything outside of these must be placed within the Apocrypha'. As noted in other places, when the Fathers and rabbis assess the books of the Old Testament as numbering 22 (and not 24), it is because Ruth and Lamentations are joined respectively to Judges and Jeremiah. Rufinus (died circa 410 AD), who was in turn Jerome's friend and adversary, was in agreement with his view. While parts of the western church departed from Jerome's views by including the antilegomena of both Testaments among the canonical writings, the general custom was to make apocryphal mean non-canonical. Even Augustine (De Civitale Dei, XV, 23) took the view that the 'apocrypha' denoted obscurity of origin or authorship, and this gradually became the prevailing view in the West. As the Catholic scholar, Dr. Gigot, admitted (General Introduction to the Study of the Scriptures, p43):
'Time and again this illustrious doctor (Jerome) of the Latin church rejects the authority of the deutero-canonical books in the most explicit manner' and, writing of the Septuagint (ibid, p56): 'They (Jesus and the Apostles) never quote them explicitly, it is true, but time and again they borrow ideas and expressions from them.'
In his essay on Christian Doctrine, Augustine catalogued the books of Scripture which had been transmitted by the 'Fathers' for public reading in the church. He gave their number as 44 and wrote that 'the authority of the Old Testament is ended.' But it is not true to claim that Augustine made no distinction between the proto-canonical and deutero-canonical books for, on the contrary, he limited the term 'canonical' in its strict sense to the books which are inspired and received by the Jews and denied that the books of Wisdom and Sirach were of unquestioned authority in the support of doctrine although extensive tradition in some churches had lent them some respect. As already noted, when a passage from 2 Maccabees was urged by his opponents in defence of suicide, he rejected their proof by showing that the book was not received into the Hebrew canon to which Christ was witness. The third Council of Carthage (397 AD) ratified a decree with his approval, effectively placing all the canonical and deutero-canonical books on the same level incline so that, in time, they were considered by some to hold equal authority. The later council at Carthage (419 AD) decided that the authority of Boniface, the bishop of Rome, was required to validate their own decision concerning the canon and thus admitted one of the signs of foolishly accepting one man's authority over genuine testing of Scripture by sound hermeneutics and exegesis.
Thus it was that, from the 4th to the 16th century AD, the procedure of slowly decreasing the genuine testing of Scripture continued and Pope Gelasius (492-496 AD) issued a decretal to include the Old Testament apocrypha in the canon. In yet another blow to 'Papal authority' and 'apostolic succession' this decretal failed to convince all and some continued to follow the strict canon of Jerome (which had been calculated as a result of the most careful scholarship of its day!), while others favoured Augustine's version of the canon, but added the Apocryphal books by failing to carefully note his cautions and the distinctions he made between inspired and uninspired writings. Cassiodorus (556 AD) and Isidore of Seville (636 AD) placed the 'canonical' lists of Jerome and Augustine side by side and failed to make a definitive decision as to their standing, but two bishops of North Africa, Primasius and Junilius (circa 550 AD) numbered 24 books as strictly canonical and affirmed that the others were uninspired. As a result of this failure to even follow the Hebrew tradition voted for by the Jews at Jamnia, and stick to a sound tradition, Papal Rome is repeatedly shown to be incapable of even determining what constitutes the Word of God and what is false. Again, another blow to 'Papal infallibility' and 'Apostolic Succession'.
At a much later date the Council of Florence (1442 AD) under Eugenius IV, and with the approval of the Fathers of that assembly, declared all the books found in the Latin Bibles then in use to be inspired by the same Holy Spirit, without distinguishing them into two classes or categories (cf. Dr. Gigot, ibid., p71). Although the bull of Eugenius IV did not address the canonicity of the Apocryphal books while proclaiming that they were inspired, tellingly, right down to the Council of Trent (1546 AD), the Apocryphal books possessed only inferior authority even within Papal Rome and were not included in lists of canonical Scripture in the logical and calculated way that even the flawed Jerome achieved.
(Continued on page 337)