(Continued from page 336)
Since Rome could no longer control Bible-reading they set out to use the 'Protestant' Bible Societies!
Further immovable nails in the coffin carrying the claims of Papal Rome concerning the Vulgate and the Apocrypha!
John Burgon concluded that B and Aleph were 'two false witnesses' and wrote:
'We suspect that these two manuscripts are indebted for their preservation, solely to their ascertained evil character; which has occasioned that the one eventually found its way, four centuries ago, to a forgotten shelf in the Vatican library: while the other, after exercising the ingenuity of several generations of critical Correctors, eventually (viz. in A.D. 1844) got deposited in the waste-paper basket of the Convent at the foot of Mount Sinai. Had B and Aleph been copies of average purity, they must long since have shared the inevitable fate of books which are freely used and highly prized; namely, they would have fallen into decadence and disappeared from sight. (Burgon, The Revision Revised, p319; cf. p30-31).
Astute researchers note that witnesses who both disagree with the vast majority of other witnesses, and also disagree with one another as much as they disagree with the majority, are rejected in law courts! Such are the manuscripts of 'B and Aleph'.
Ironically, the 'modern textual critics' who built their theses on these manuscripts to produce the 'modern Bible versions', which 'Protestant' Bible Societies have distributed in collusion with Papal Rome (who previously opposed the distribution of the Word of God for centuries!), thereby tacitly admit that the Scriptures were not divinely preserved (never mind the fiction of 'Apostolic Succession' and 'Papal infallibility') because they must allegedly be recovered after having been corrupted for 1,500 years! Modern textual criticism is clearly built upon the premise that the original text of the New Testament needed to be restored in the 19th century and most of the standard works on textual criticism know nothing of divine preservation, e.g.:
The New Testament in the Original Greek (Introduction) by Westcott and Hort (1881)
The Text of the New Testament by Kirsopp Lake (1900, 1949)
Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the Greek New Testament by Eberhard Nestle (1901)
The Canon and Text of the New Testament by Casper Rene Gregory (1907)
The Text and Canon of the New Testament by Alexander Souter (1912)
The Text of the Greek Bible by F.G. Kenyon (1936, 1975)
New Testament manuscript Studies by Parvis and Wikgren (1950)
The Text of the New Testament by Bruce Metzger (1968)
The Text of the New Testament by Kurt and Barbara Aland (1981)
'Modern textual criticism' has invented a relatively small group of theories to support its use of corrupt Alexandrian-type manuscripts. They are, in truth, merely poor hypotheses for they are all unproven and, like Darwin's hypothesis that is now quoted as 'theory', being unproven has not stopped many in the world from swallowing what it wants to believe. The 'Modern Textual Criticism Principle' that, when it comes to Bible manuscripts, the shorter reading is to be preferred because corruption by addition is more likely than corruption by omission has been amply debunked. This 'principle' has not been proven by actual textual evidence and is merely a theory designed to support the shorter Alexandrian text for, in fact, the evidence points in the opposite direction, as B.H. Streeter noted:
'The notion is completely refuted that the regular tendency of scribes was to choose the longer reading. ... The whole question of interpolations in ancient MANUSCRIPTS has been set in an entirely new light by the researches of Mr. A.C. Clark, Corpus Professor of Latin at Oxford. ... in The Descent of Manuscripts, an investigation of the manuscript tradition of the Greek and Latin Classics, he proves conclusively that the error to which scribes were most prone was not interpolation [addition] but accidental omission. (Streeter, The Four Gospels: A Study of Origins, 1930).
This fact is born out by everyday experience which demonstrates that, when copying written text, it is easier to omit words than add words! What is equally clear is that when deliberate changes are made, i.e. by heretics such as Pope Sixtus V, it is easier to get away with omissions rather than additions. It is a proven fact that the vast majority of extant manuscripts throughout the church age have the 'longer readings' that are left out of the modern Bible versions, or questioned if left in, such as the 'long' ending to Mark 16.
Another 'Modern Textual Criticism Principle' is that the hard reading is to be preferred to the easy reading and was stated in Johann Bengel's Greek New Testament (p420). This is another 'theory' that is no more than an unproven hypothesis backed by zero evidence and which was devised specifically to support the corrupt Alexandrian text that was preferred by these 'scholars'. Bengel developed this 'principle' out of a hypothesis that orthodox Christian scribes tended to prefer 'difficult texts'! Foolishly, this accuses orthodox Christians of deliberately corrupting their own New Testament as well as flying in the face of the love that God-fearing, Bible-believing, Christians have for the Scriptures based on His Word (Deuteronomy. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Isaiah 66:2; 2 Thessalonians. 2:17; Revelation. 22:18-19) while the Bible clearly warns that it is the Devil that corrupts the simplicity of God's truth (2 Corinthians 11:3):
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (KJV)
The theory also ignores the fact that there were countless heretics tampering with manuscripts and creating spurious ones in the second and third centuries. Wilbur Pickering wrote:
'In any case, the amply documented fact that numerous people in the second century made deliberate changes in the text, whether for doctrinal or other reasons, introduces an unpredictable variable which invalidates this canon. Once a person arrogates to himself the authority to alter the text there is nothing in principle to keep individual caprice from intruding or taking over - we have no way of knowing what factors influenced the originator of a variant (whoever he was) or whether the result would appear to us to be 'harder' or 'easier.' This canon is simply inapplicable'. (Pickering, The Identity of the New Testament Text, Chapter 4).
A typical example from the Septuagint (LXX) reveals a simple, but glaring, error that massively influences a prophesy of the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the way a reader would approach Matthew 2:15. 'Out of Egypt have I called my son' - this is quoted from Ho 11:1, where the deliverance of Israel, and that only, is referred to - unless you have eyes to see the prophecy! God is clearly referring to this future bringing up of his son Jesus from Egypt, under the type of the past deliverance of Israel from the same land. Midrash Tehillin, on Ps 2:7, has these remarkable words: I will publish a decree: this decree has been published in the Law, in the Prophets, and in the Hagiographia: in the Law, Israel is my first-born son: Ex 4:22; in the Prophets, Behold, my servant shall deal prudently: Isa 52:13; in the Hagiographia, The Lord said unto my lord: Ps 110:1. All of these passages refer to the Messiah and faithful Jews retained the prophesy. But what do we find the LXX reading: 'I called his children' - and the prophecy is removed!
Many Egyptian manuscripts have also been discovered to contain nonsensical readings created by the carelessness and ineptitude of corrupt scribes and the ludicrous readings are obviously not just 'harder readings' but, despite Bengel's hypothesis that orthodox Christians would 'prefer' them, they are clearly unbelievable.
Missionary and author Jack Moorman wrote the truth about these hypotheses:
'You will not have to look at these 'rules' for long before realizing that they are 'weighted' in the direction of their own pre-determined preference for the Alexandrian Text. For example, if the Alexandrian Text is shorter than the Traditional, then one firm rule is 'The shorter reading is to be preferred.' And, if ninety percent of the manuscripts support the Traditional Text and the remaining ten percent must be divided between the Alexandrian, Western and Caesarean texts, then of course, 'numerical preponderance counts for nothing, the Traditional Text is merely one of four competing text types.' And, should it be pointed out that the Alexandrian Text is less distinct doctrinally: then it is an established fact that 'there are no signs of deliberate falsification of the text for doctrinal purposes during the early centuries.' And on it goes! (Jack Moorman, Early Manuscripts and the Authorized Version, A Closer Look, 1990, p6).
Zane Hodge, former professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminary, clearly warned:
'The acceptance of the newer critical editions of the New Testament does not rest on factual data which can be objectively verified, but rather upon a prevailing consensus of critical thought. It will be the purpose of this discussion to show that contemporary critical texts are, in fact, the fruit of a rationalistic approach to New Testament textual criticism. (Hodges, Rationalism and Contemporary New Testament Textual Criticism, Bibliotheca Sacra, January 1971, pp. 27-35).
Clear 'Romanizing influences' spread through the theological scholars of Britain in the nineteenth century, much of it via the partially 'Reformed' Anglican church and groups such as 'The Oxford Movement' (aka 'The Tractarian Movement') which led an Anglo-Catholic revival within the Church of England. The leader of the movement was John Henry Newman (1801-1890), who began disseminating his views in 1833 by publishing 'Tracts for the Times'. Of the ninety tracts distributed by 'The Tractarians', Newman authored twenty-three and the Anglo-Catholic movement attracted hundreds among the undiscerning clergy until, finally, on October 9, 1845, John Newman joined the Roman Catholic Church and was named a cardinal in 1875.
Many of the readings preferred by Westcott and Hort and the revisers of 1881 were those that had appeared in Catholic Bibles for centuries and had previously been condemned as corrupt by 'Protestants'. After a careful examination of all of the various readings introduced by the Westcott-Hort text, Andrew Edgar (who worked on the revision committee) testified:
It is certainly a remarkable circumstance that so many of the Catholic readings in the New Testament, which in reformation and early post-reformation times were denounced by Protestants as corruptions of the pure text of God's word, should now, in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, be adopted by the revisers of our time-honoured English Bibles. ... We have seen that in a large number of cases in which the revisers have departed from the text believed to underlie the authorised version of the New Testament they have adopted readings that Catholics have all along maintained to be the true letter of Scripture. ... The most remarkable thing however, about some of the revised readings is that they have no apparent point of either resemblance or contrast to those they have superseded (Edgar, The Bibles of England, 1889, pp. 347, 70, 76).
After centuries of straining to keep the Word of God from the world and two centuries of attempting to halt the 'Reformation', Papal Rome found a way to begin to, at least, partially neutralize the effect the true Gospel was having on the world. Since they could not prevent the printing and distribution of Bibles worldwide they began to use the 'Protestant' Bible Societies to spread the Word according to Rome.
The first Bible society, the British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS), was formed in 1804 and 'The American Bible Society' in 1814. Similar societies multiplied throughout the world over the last two centuries and 'The United Bible Societies' (UBS), formed in 1946, now co-ordinates the work of most of the world's Bible societies (Andrew Brown, The Word of God Among All Nations, p124). 'The United Bible Societies' or an affiliate is to be found at the forefront of any ecumenical activity, particularly involving Bible translation and distribution activities, and responsible for the world's most commonly used Greek New Testament which has been used for the majority of the new Bible translations produced this century. While many Bible organizations are not a part of 'The United Bible Societies', such as the 'Trinitarian Bible Society', and are relatively free of the influence of Papal Rome, others, such as 'Wycliffe Bible Translators', are extremely ecumenical and have close ties with the Roman Catholic Church, using the corrupt UBS Greek text in their translations and working closely with them in many projects.
The first Bible Society (British & Foreign Bible Society, BFBS), formed in 1804 in England, was a founding member of the UBS in 1946 but contaminated by heretics from its inception:
'Roman Catholics also enjoyed the support of the BFBS. Soon after its founding, the BFBS sent funds to Bishop Michael Wittmann [Roman Catholic] of Regensburg. When the Bavarian priest, Johannes Gossner prepared a German translation of the New Testament, he too was supported by the BFBS. The main Catholic agent of the BFBS was, however, Leander van Ess, a priest and professor of [Catholic] theology at Marburg' (The History of Christianity, p558).
'The policy of the United Bible Societies regarding the Apocrypha and inter-confessional co-operation with Roman Catholic scholars on Bible translations was outlined in a booklet published by the American Bible Society in 1970 ... Referring to the interdenominational character of the Bible societies, [the booklet] states that Roman Catholics participated in the founding of some Bible societies in Europe, and that 'the British and Foreign Bible Society from the beginning co-operated with Roman Catholic groups.' It is also acknowledged that Roman Catholic churchmen were invited to participate in the founding of the American Bible Society in 1816' ('The Bible Societies,' Trinitarian Bible Society Quarterly Record, Jan.-Mar., 1979, p13-14).
The BBS also invited Unitarians, who deny the very Triune God of the Scriptures, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and deny Christ's Deity, to participate at its founding in 1804 and the record shows the severe problems this soon caused as the 'Unitarians gained substantial influence upon the affairs of the Bible Society, particularly in Europe, where some auxiliary societies were run almost exclusively by persons of Unitarian beliefs' (Andrew Brown, The Word of God Among All Nations, p12).
These supposedly 'Protestant' Bible societies degenerated to the point where they began to actively distribute versions produced by the Roman Catholic Church, as this example from the Society in Canada proves:
'The Canadian Bible Society [a member of the United Bible Societies] is prepared to make use of Roman Catholic versions like that of Ronald Knox, a modern English translation of the Latin Vulgate [Roman Catholic version]. Copies of this version have been circulated bearing on the front cover, 'The New Testament, presented by the Canadian Bible Society, an Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society.' The title page has the words, 'This New Testament is a gift from the Canadian Bible Society, an Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society. ' . . . The Preface continues with commendations by Cardinal Griffin and Pope Pius XII. The title page bears the names of the publishers - Montreal: Palm Publishers, London: Burns and Oates. Publishers to the Holy See [the Roman Catholic Vatican in Rome]: (Perry F. Rockwood, God's Inspired Preserved Bible, p39-40).
The BFBS supported versions produced by Roman Catholic priests working with the Latin Vulgate over two hundred years ago had to contain the approved notes that taught Catholic heresies and, according to the Catechism prescribed by Pope Pius X in 1911:
'Any translation of the Bible into our mother tongue may be read, if it has been approved by the Catholic Church ... and if it is accompanied by the explanations approved by the Church. If a Christian should be offered a Bible by a Protestant, or by some emissary of the Protestants, he ought to reject it with horror, because it is forbidden by the Church; and if he should have accepted it without noticing what it was, he should at once pitch it into the fire, or fetch it to his Pastor. The [Catholic] Church prohibits Protestant Bibles, because they are either altered and contain errors, or not having her approval and notes explaining obscure passages, they may be injurious to faith. For this reason the Church also prohibits translations of Holy Scripture which she has already approved, but which are reprinted without the explanations approved by her.'
As already shown, Papal Rome has no claims to have preserved the Canon of the Word accurately, yet continues to deceive the world that her doctrines alone are true while the very opposite is the truth. That 'Protestant' apostates have been inveigled into co-operating with Papal Rome in the production of Bibles tailored to lead the unwary to Rome does not alter the historical truth regarding this deception - but it clearly reveals how the Vatican's claims of consistent holy protection of the Word are a colossal lie for, while claiming that 'Protestants' were led by the Devil, how could the popes then allow these 'deceivers' to spread His Word?
In more recent years ecumenism has even increased this co-operation but it is clear that, from the moment the 'Protestant' Bible Societies began to sponsor the work of Catholic priests (even prior to Vatican II), the versions produced had the tacit approval of Papal Rome. Even when accurate versions (e.g. the King James Bible in English and the Old Luther Bible in German) were also distributed by these Societies, since the Word of God reminds us that 'a little leaven leavens the whole lump' (1 Corinthians 5:6-8; Galatians. 5:9), we can recognise the existing dangers to those who could also receive the versions from the same source but infected with the notes of Papal Rome as well as the oft included Apocrypha.
When the New Oxford Annotated Bible RSV (1973) first appeared in 1962, as the Oxford Annotated Bible, it apparently became the first 'Protestant' annotated edition of the Bible to be approved by an 'official' Roman Catholic authority when it received an imprimatur (in 1966) by Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, Massachusetts. Presumably, Cushing would not approve the view of the Apocryphal books - 'Ostensibly historical but actually quite imaginative are the books of Tobit, Judith, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon, which may be called moralistic novels' - found in the Oxford Annotated Apocrypha, p. xi.
The 'Protestant' Bible Societies unashamedly admit the early ecumenism:
'A booklet published by the American Bible Society acknowledged that Roman Catholics participated in the founding of some Bible societies in Europe. ... It is also acknowledged that Roman Catholic churchmen were invited to participate in the founding of the American Bible Society in 1816. ...' (Trinitarian Bible Society Quarterly Record, Jan.-Mar., 1979, p13).
'The work of joint Bible translation and distribution between Protestants and Catholics was encouraged by the Driebergen conference of Bible societies in June 1964, which was attended also by Roman Catholics. The chief recommendations of the conference were: to prepare a 'common text' of the Bible in the original languages, acceptable to all Churches, including Roman Catholics; and to explore the possibility of preparing a 'common translation' in certain languages, which could be used by Protestants and Roman Catholics alike. It was further recommended that the Bible societies should consider translating and publishing the Apocrypha when Churches specifically requested it' (Andrew Brown, The Word of God Among All Nations, p122).
'In 1965, the Second Vatican Council set a seal of approval on this form of co-operation. In the Constitution on Divine Revelation it was stated that 'Easy access to sacred Scripture should be provided for all the Christian faithful.' ... Further: 'If given the opportunity and the approval of Church authority these translations are produced in co-operation with the separated brethren [non-Catholics!] as well, as Christians will be able to use them.' [The Documents of Vatican II, translated in W.M. Abbott-J. Gallagher, 1966, 'Constitution on Divine Revelation' VI/22]. These provisions meant that new translations did not have to be based on the Latin Vulgate, and inter-confessional co-operation was permitted' (Brown, op. cit., p122).
'One result of Vatican II was the setting up in 1966 of the Vatican Office for Common Bible Work ... An example of the new spirit of co-operation was soon found, in the revision of the Bible in Swahili. It was reported in 1966 that the Roman Catholic Tanganyika Episcopal Conference had reached agreement with the British and Foreign Bible Society on the use of the text of the Union Version of 1952, with the understanding that the Apocrypha would be included as well as selected notes and comments from the Jerusalem Bible [a Roman Catholic Version]. ... The BFBS thus again abandoned its former policy of excluding the Apocrypha, and notes and comments' (The Bible Translator, United Bible Societies, April 1966; The Word of God Among All Nations, p123-124).
The Bible Society's 'Today's English Version New Testament' was first published in 1966 and gained almost immediate acceptance by the Papal Roman Catholic Church:
'The best-selling Bible translation in history has been cleared for use by Catholics as well as Version of the New Testament published by the American Bible Society. ... The translation has received the official approval or imprimatur, of Cardinal Richard Cushing, the Catholic archbishop of Boston. It was Cardinal Cushing who earlier gave an imprimatur to the Protestant-sponsored Revised Standard Version. Protestant and Catholic scholars in recent years have reached substantial agreement on the translation of the Bible into English, and Cardinal Cushing's expert consultants did not seek a single change in the text of the TEV before approving it for Catholic use' (United Press International report, Louis Cassels, Religious writer).
'In 1969 another development took place, with the formation of the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate. The object of this organization was to co-ordinate the Bible translation work of Catholic scholars and facilitate their co-operation with the United Bible Societies' (Brown, op. cit., p124).
In 1969 a Catholic edition of the Today's English Version was presented to Pope Paul VI ('American Bible Society Welcomes Pope,' Assist News Service, April 15, 2008).
By 1976, in the decade following the Second Vatican Council, more than one hundred and thirty inter-confessional translation projects had been undertaken, and more than fifty inter-confessional translations of the New Testament completed. Projects on complete Bibles included the Apocrypha. It also remained a requirement that translations prepared and published by Catholics 'in co-operation with the 'separated brethren' should be accompanied by 'suitable explanations'' (The Word of God Among All Nations, p124).
It was in 1976 that the complete 'common language' New Testament was published in Italian as a joint project of the United Bible Societies and a Catholic group with explicit Vatican approval. 'Bishop Ablondi said that two Catholic priests are working for the Italian Bible Society for the distribution of this New Testament, with the approval of their Bishop, and that the translation of the Old Testament started after a seminar held under the auspices of the United Bible Societies during June 1977. The Ludwigshafen assembly was informed that the Italian New Testament was presented to the Bishops attending the Synod in Rome as 'an example of modern dynamic equivalent translation, and as a model of inter-confessional co-operation'' (Trinitarian Bible Society Quarterly Record, op. cit.).
In 1978, the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate made the following report:
'By 1977 the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate has become a major instrument of the Catholic Church in the realization of the goal [of ecumenical Bible distribution], in particular with regard to co-operation with the United Bible Societies. 'Each year witnesses to closer and more significant collaboration between these two organizations'' (Activities Report 1977, World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate).
In 1979, United Bible Societies leaders attended a Catholic conference in Mexico and pledged closer co-operation with Rome:
'The [Catholic] Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopacy took place at Puebla, in Mexico, and was opened by Pope John Paul II. At the conference, representatives of the United Bible Societies participated in an ecumenical religious service, and also provided a Bible information stand and closely co-operated with the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate. Regarding this co-operation, we are told: 'It signifies an official recognition of the services being offered by the UBS and announces the beginning of a new era and a new spirit of collaboration at the service of God's Word. It is the firm hope of the WCFBA [World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate] that this prophetic breakthrough has opened doors of communication and co-operation which will become a sign and instrument of the power of God's Word to renew the continent'' (Word-Event, United Bible Societies, No. 36, p27).
By 1982, one Vatican secretariat sponsored more than a hundred full-time scholars in co-operation with the United Bible Societies in Scripture translation in many lands (Hastings, The Commission, Sept. 1982).
1986 was a high water mark in relations between the UBS and Rome. That was the year the UBS presented a copy of the new Italian interconfessional Bible to the Pope:
'The Italian Bible Society recently presented Pope John Paul II with a copy of a new Italian interconfessional Bible in a ceremony at the Vatican. Italian President Francesco Cossaga has also received a copy in the presidential palace. Both Protestants and Catholics co-operated in translating the new Bible, which is the result of seven years' work. It has been published jointly by the Italian Bible Society and a Salesian publishing firm. ... The presentation of the Bible to Pope John Paul II was made by Luca Bertalot, the young grandson of the Italian Bible Society's general secretary Revealed Dr. Renzo Bertalot. United Bible Societies was represented by consultant to the UBS, Revealed Dr Laton E. Holmgren. 'Addressing the Pope, Dr. Holmgren said, 'For the first time in four centuries the Bible is a bond of unity rather than a source of division. Despite differences of tradition, dedicated people are producing more and more common Bibles which are being used in scores of lands and languages.'
'Pope John Paul replied, 'Accept the warmest expression of my grateful appreciation for the result of your efforts. The task which you have undertaken is an important moment of collaboration. I ardently desire that it should not pass in vain, but that it truly produce a fertile rediscovery of our common base of origin. In returning to it, the entire Church cannot fail to benefit in rejuvenation, mutual cohesion and effective testimony to the world. I invoke the Lord's blessing upon all of you and upon your work.'
'The edition presented to the Pope carries the imprimatur (official Catholic approval) of the Bishop of Turin. ... Also present at the Vatican ceremony was Bishop Alberto Ablondi of Livorno, Italy, who is a member of the United Bible Societies General Committee and president of the World Catholic Federation for the Biblical Apostolate. Members of the Bible translation team attended with him. 'Copies of a new Catholic Study Bible, which uses the Good News Bible text, were presented to guests at the ceremony. The Bible contains notes on the text approved by the Catholic Church and has been published by American publishers Thomas Nelson' ('Pope Receives New Bible', Word in Action, British and Foreign Bible Society, Spring, 1986, No. 49, p. 4).
Papal Rome's involvement in the production of 'inter-confessional' translations would result in inevitably heretical Catholic interpretations in each version, even if they only existed in the form of the 'explanatory notes' provided, but the fact that liberal and outright apostate 'Protestant' groups - and even cults - are also involved makes the insertion of damaging ideas directly into the text an easy matter for these 'Inter-faith Bible Societies'.
In 1997 the Polish Bible Society began publishing a new translation by Roman Catholic Bishop Kazimierz Romaniuk and further work on Polish inter-confessional Bible books continued with Romaniuk co-ordinating the project. The Society launched a new translation of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark followed (in 2001) by the New Testament and Psalms and by the Wisdom Books (in 2008). Numerous denominations participate in this endeavour, including Papal Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Reformed, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal, Churches of Christ and even 'The Seventh-day Adventist' cult co-founded by false prophetess Helen G. White. Representatives of these groups gathered with academics, government officials, journalists, translators, editors and Bible Society supporters at the National Library in Warsaw on February 17, 2012, to celebrate the launch of a new translation of the Deuterocanonical Books work by translators, biblical scholars and linguists, and others, from this consortium. The Society plans to publish the inter-confessional translation in six volumes, the next being the Pentateuch.
By 1997, 174 of the UBS translation projects were joint enterprises with the Roman Catholic Church!
This situation has been repeated in many other countries, e.g., during Pope John Paul II's visit to Cuba in 1998, Bible Commission Secretary Jose Lopez of the Cuban Council of Churches presented him with a United Bible Societies Bible. A UBS Special Report for November 1998 noted that 'one of the most important aspects of Pope John Paul's visit to Cuba was that it helped lower barriers between Roman Catholics and Evangelicals.' The same report described an ecumenical service that was held in 1996 during which '55 Catholics and 200 Evangelicals worshipped together.'
In March 1998, an ecumenical meeting was held in Embu, Kenya, to observe the publication of the inter-confessional gospel of Mark in the Kiembu-Kimbeere language. The Bible Society of Kenya is in charge of the project, which features Anglican and Roman Catholic translators. Catholic priest Gabriel Muverethi, Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Embu, addressed the meeting.
In June 1998, eight Protestant and six Roman Catholic members of the Bible Society of Cambodia paid a visit to King Norodom Sihanouk to mark the launch of a new Khmer Common Language Bible. Among the participants was Catholic priest Francois Ponchaud. The king expressed his pleasure in observing Protestants and Catholics 'united around the Bible'.
Clearly, this king has no idea of the Biblical meaning of genuine 'unity'!
On May 31, 1999, Pope John Paul II commented on the new inter-confessional Polish Bible translation while speaking at the 46th Eucharistic Congress in Wroclaw, Poland, and praised the ecumenical spirit of the Bible societies and said that once Christians are committed to the path of ecumenism there is no turning back.
The same ecumenical story has been played out in Africa by the Bible Society of Burkina Faso, by the Austrian Bible Society, the American Bible Society, the United Bible Societies and Bible Societies of Europe and the Middle East, and the RCC-UBS Partnership in the Philippines where 'The Bible Distributor', a UBS publication, declared:
'The collaboration of the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) with Roman Catholics began in 1967. After the Vatican II Council, Roman Catholics approached the PBS to request permission to use existing Bible Society Scriptures in local languages. Aware of the inadequacy of these old texts for the young people at that time, the Bible Society proposed instead a cooperative venture to produce local language Bibles that could be used by Protestants and Catholics alike, and which would be in contemporary, or popular, language. ...To date, there are Bibles in six out of the eight major languages in the Philippines, and work is under way in the other two languages. ... Any material intended for Roman Catholics has to be carefully planned, discussed and approved by both parties to ensure effective and meaningful distribution. It involves consultation and co-ordination with the established commissions of the Roman Catholic Church. ... since 1967, when Scripture translation projects in popular versions began in the Philippines, the Roman Catholic Church has been delegating representatives to the Philippine Bible Society through the Episcopal Commission on the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA). Planning and preparation is much easier today because of the Roman Catholic representation on the PBS Board of Directors. This Roman Catholic representation did not happen overnight. Amendments to the PBS By-Laws were gradually introduced by the PBS Board of Directors as they saw and understood more clearly the mission of the Bible Society in the country. Roman Catholic membership on the PBS board has increased from one out of 11 members in 1979 to five out of 18 members today. These Roman Catholic Board members help pave the way of joint cooperation between the PBS and the Roman Catholic Church ... A total of 655,000 Bibles with deuterocanonicals and 1,426,000 New Testaments with the Roman Catholic Imprimatur have been produced and distributed in the past six years. ...Efforts have been made to provide English Bibles which are acceptable to Roman Catholics; e.g. the following Bibles have been produced locally: Good News Bible with Deuterocanonicals ... New American Bible ... Jerusalem Bible... Other material being produced for Roman Catholics in the Philippines are the Roman Catholic Daily Bible Reading Guide (ROMAN CATHOLIC DBRG) and the Lectionary. ... readings from the Lectionary produced by the Philippine Bible Society are based on the popular version translations and are used by the Roman Catholic clergy during the Mass. Therefore, it promotes the use of dynamic equivalent translations, thus making the Word of God available in a language that people can easily understand. In the past five years, the Philippine Bible Society has distributed a total of 4,100,000 ROMAN CATHOLIC DBRG and 21,000 Lectionaries. ... Establishing an effective working relationship between the PBS and the Roman Catholic Church requires a clear understanding of the mission of the Bible Society in the country in which it is situated. ... Serving the churches is one of the missions of the Bible Society. The 'Church' refers to all Christian churches in the country' (Nathanael P. Lazaro, Serving Roman Catholics in the Philippines, The Bible Distributor, Oct.-Nov. 1986, pp. 8-11,13; Lazaro is Distribution Secretary of the Philippine Bible Society).
Rome defended the Vulgate for centuries - but now produces 'Bibles' with the help of 'heretical Protestants'!
Papal Roman Catholics, who make a big deal out of the flawed view that the Word of God was preserved in perfect form in Jerome's Vulgate (in 'the Divine language' Latin!) while protected by 'Papal infallibility' and 'Apostolic Succession', have to face the reality that their popes have proved the falseness of their pipe dream and have united with apostate 'Protestants' through the ecumenism of these Bible Societies.
Further, Papal Rome has united in declaring '... the inadequacy of these old texts for the young people at that time', admitted that 'popular version translations are used by the Roman Catholic clergy during the Mass' and have swallowed the lie that the Holy Spirit could not lead men 'into all truth' (John 16:7ff.) as Jesus declared, but had to wait nearly 2,000 years for uninspired men to discover the 'wonders' 'of dynamic equivalent translations, thus making the Word of God available in a language that people can easily understand''!
All of these facts are further immovable nails in the coffin that carries the claims of the Papal Roman Catholic concerning the Vulgate and the Apocrypha! The evidence reveals that the supposedly 'infallible church' led by 'Papal infallibility' not only failed to carefully preserve the canon of Scripture but also failed to preserve the Word of God that supposedly existed for centuries as 'The Vulgate' and now, instead, accepts Bible versions translated (in alliance with 'separated brethren' formerly considered worthy only to be strangled or burnt at the stake) from a manuscript kept unused and hidden away in the Vatican - and another rescued from a waste-paper basket (at St. Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai)! What does God say:
'But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace' (Romans 11:4-5).
Could anything appear stranger to orthodox Christians than seeing 'Bible societies', supposedly dedicated to the publication of God's Holy Word, bending over backwards to serve the apostate Papal Roman Catholic Church that kept the Word of God from men for so many centuries. These United Bible Societies have even provided Scripture portions for the Pope to give away in his endless papal audiences.
That the supposedly 'Protestant' United Bible Societies now collude with Papal Rome in Bible translation and distribution and distribute Bibles that contain the 'apocryphal books', which the overall evidence clearly shows should not be part of the inspired Word of God and have never been considered canonical by Bible-believing churches, reveals the apostate state of all involved in these endeavours. Obviously Papal Rome will not give up its false teachings because it is involved in these ecumenical Bible projects for, again, the evidence clearly shows that the ecumenical movement is a one-way street as far as the Vatican is concerned, and that street leads straight to Rome to further the ambitions of the popes. In these 'inter-confessional translations', the dupes of the United Bible Societies even provide the money and personnel for the publication of 'Catholic Bibles', Bibles that contain the Catholic apocryphal books and notes promoting Papal Rome's doctrine!
The Canadian Bible Society revealed the attitude of the United Bible Societies toward Papal Rome when it stated: 'The Canadian Bible Society considers itself totally at the service of Catholic Bible work' (Trinitarian Bible Society Quarterly Record, July-September, 1978, p6-8). At the Vatican on October 7, 2008, the American Bible Society presented Pope Benedict XVI with a special Polyglot Bible (the text of the Bible in five languages - Hebrew, Greek, Latin, English, and Spanish) created 'in honor of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' and bearing the seals of the Vatican and the American Bible Society ('American Bible Society,' Christian Post, Oct. 7, 2008).
Considering the classic 'fundamentalist' Papal Roman Catholic view you hold of 'Protestants' and their supposedly abundant proliferations (which prove to be less at variance from the Bible than the widely held views of 'Cafeteria Catholics'), it should concern you that your popes have encouraged this liaison with such heretics for two centuries.
One 'Catholic doctrine' that is all too obviously un-Scriptural, yet is continually promoted in these 'ecumenical' endeavours, is that of the position and attributes of Jesus' mother, Mary. At the 'Third General Conference of the Latin American Episcopacy' (in 1979), opened by Pope John Paul II and attended by representatives of the United Bible Societies, the conference document contained a section entitled 'Mary, the Mother and model of the Church.' It described the non-existent and utterly un-Scriptural role of Mary in evangelism, Mary's 'Immaculate Conception', and her bodily 'Assumption to Heaven' (Trinitarian Bible Society Quarterly Record, April-June 1981, p14-15).
It is yet another irony that Papal Roman Catholics who attempt to indulge in apologetics must know that the 'doctrines of Mary' are amongst the most obviously un-Scriptural and therefore indefensible - which is why they chose to debate anything but 'Mariology'. That supposed 'Protestants' hear these doctrines at ecumenical meetings and still fail to register that there is anything seriously wrong with their actions ('unequal yoking' being just part of their seriously heretical behaviour - ref. 2 Corinthians 6:14) makes it all the more obvious that these End-Times delusions have blinded all of these players to the reality of their situation. 2 John 1:9-11 and Revelation 18:4 also warn true believers that to fellowship with or assist false teachers is to become partakers of their evil deeds and no orthodox Christian who truly loves God should give even the smallest offering toward such work, let alone affiliate with and bless any who exalt their false tradition above the authority of God's Word (Romans 16:17-18)!
These 'Protestant' Bible Societies have entered into an unholy ecumenism with the Papal Roman Catholic Church which preaches a false gospel that leads multitudes to Hell, but Papal Roman Catholics writing to 'The Christian Expositor' should never assume that we accept these deceivers as brothers who should not be exposed for what they are in reality. To claim to 'serve all churches' while ignoring what the Word of God clearly declares concerning these matters is to fall into the same trap that engulfed the 'scribes and Pharisees' (Matthew 5:20-21; Matthew 23:13-15, 23-29; Mr 2:16; Lu 5:30; Lu 6:7; Lu 11:44; John 8:3) and to therefore risk the wrath of God!
Papal Rome tries to teach that all believers must receive continual guidance from its magisterium and only using its own Bible translations in order to stay in favour with Mother Church. In this they share the same un-Scriptural characteristics as other cults, such as the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses, e.g. The Watchtower magazine (December 1, 1981, p27) claimed:
'Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do.'
The Mormon claim to be the 'only true church on earth' also parallels the 2007 statement by Pope Benedict XVI, who re-asserted the primacy of Papal Rome by approving a document which declared other Christian communities to be either 'defective' or 'not true churches' and that 'Roman Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation'. The morons of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, a fellowship of ~75 million Protestants in more than 100 countries, responded:
'It makes us question whether we are indeed praying together for Christian unity ... It makes us question the seriousness with which the Roman Catholic Church takes its dialogues with the reformed family and other families of the church.'
Benedict claimed to be correcting erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and continued by reviving the old Latin Mass - a move promptly cheered by Catholic traditionalists but criticized by more liberal ones as a backward step from Vatican II whose key developments were claimed to be an ecumenical outreach and the development of the 'New Mass' in the vernacular, which essentially replaced the old Latin Mass - to the chagrin of traditionalists.
Benedict, who attended Vatican II as a young theologian, had long complained about what he considered its erroneous interpretation by liberals, saying it was not a break from the past but rather a renewal of church tradition - and thus revealing his own confusion over the obvious contradictions. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Benedict headed before becoming pope, claimed that it was issuing the new document because some 'contemporary theological interpretations' of Vatican II's ecumenical intent had been 'erroneous or ambiguous' and had prompted confusion and doubt.
The new document - formulated as five questions and answers - restated key sections of a 2000 text the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, 'Dominus Iesus,' which had irritated 'Protestant' and other foolish ecumenical groups by simply re-stating Papal Rome's historical position that 'they were not true churches' but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the 'means of salvation.' Benedict's commentary also repeated Papal Rome's teaching that always claimed that only they 'had the fullness of the means of salvation.' The old claims that other 'communities ... cannot be called churches in the proper sense because they do not have apostolic succession - the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ's original apostles - and therefore their priestly ordinations are not valid' were also repeated.
While the 'Reverend' Sara MacVane, of the Anglican Centre in Rome, said that the document contained nothing new and commented:
'I don't know what motivated it at this time ... but it's important always to point out that there's the official position and there's the huge amount of friendship and fellowship and worshipping together that goes on at all levels, certainly between Anglicans and Catholics and all the other groups and Catholics.'
In another typical display of the contradictions of Papal Rome the document stated that 'Orthodox churches' were indeed 'churches' because they have apostolic succession and enjoyed 'many elements of sanctification and of truth.' But it also stated that they do not recognize the primacy of the pope and this lack was 'a defect', or a 'wound that harmed them' and 'This is obviously not compatible with the doctrine of primacy which, according to the Catholic faith, is an 'internal constitutive principle' of the very existence of a particular church'.
Despite all of these contradictions the document managed to trump all that went before by stressing that Benedict remained 'committed to ecumenical dialogue ... However, if such dialogue is to be truly constructive it must involve not just the mutual openness of the participants, but also fidelity to the identity of the Catholic faith'.
In a statement titled 'Lost Chance,' Lutheran Bishop Wolfgang Huber, apparently considered the leading 'Protestant' cleric in Benedict's homeland, Germany, complained that the Vatican apparently did not consider that 'mutual respect for the church status' was required for any ecumenical progress. Hardly surprising!
The Vatican statement, signed by the congregation prefect, American Cardinal William Levada, was approved by Benedict on June 29, 2007 (feast day of 'Saint' Peter and Paul - and a major ecumenical feast day) led to pointless speculation about why Benedict released it, particularly since his 2000 document summed up the same principles. Analysts suggested it could be a question of internal church politics or that the congregation was sending a message to certain theologians it did not want to single out but the only theologian cited by name in the document (for having spawned erroneous interpretations of ecumenism) was Leonardo Boff, a Brazilian clergyman who left the priesthood and was a target of then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's crackdown on liberation theology in the1980s.
This official pronouncement enunciates the single most important doctrine of many cults, not just Papal Rome. Jehovah's Witnesses also believe that people can only have a relationship with God through The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. If you are not 'in touch with this channel of communication that God is using,' your Bible reading is useless, your prayer is pointless, and your fellowship with other believers is a waste of time. You can progress along the road to 'everlasting life in God's kingdom' only by listening obediently to the Watchtower Society's Brooklyn headquarters. This is the most important doctrine of the Jehovah's Witnesses because all the other teachings of the cult depend on this one. In fact, all of their other doctrines are subject to change whenever the 'channel of communication' sees fit to change them - just as in Papal Rome. At various times the Watchtower organization has expressed various doctrinal flip-flops: it has promoted Christmas and attacked Christmas; presented Christ as Almighty and denied that Christ is Almighty; attributed the Great Pyramid to God and attributed it to Satan; banned organ transplants and recommended organ transplants, and so on. Like all cults it clearly parallels Papal Rome in its predictable contradictions. In the same manner the only doctrine that never changes is the organization's claim to speak for God on all these matters: 'It is vital that we … respond to the directions of the 'slave' as we would to the voice of God' (The Watchtower, June 15, 1957, p370; cf. Faithful and Discreet Slave).
The Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs are not based on evidence or logic but, just like Papal Rome, on the authority of the organisation - in one case The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society and on the other the Papal Roman Catholic Church. This fact is demonstrated in both 'organisations' whenever the leadership does a turnabout on a doctrinal issue: the new interpretation is published in The Watchtower magazine and millions of Jehovah's Witnesses simultaneously change their mind as to what to believe - or a Papal bull type document, such as the one above, is issued and Papal Roman Catholics change their minds. There are a few members of both cults who finally wake up to the repeated contradictions but, compared with the overall numbers, they are hardly missed and will be accused of back-sliding, or losing their faith, and the resultant ostracisation by the other members will make it unlikely that they will convince anyone else of the obvious logic of their final decision to stay away from the deceiving cult.
How else can anyone explain how a logical human being can observe teachings 'communicated' over the years in God's name, whether they be failed prophecies, doctrinal flip-flops, or just plain dishonest deceptions that characterize communications as clearly coming from man and definitely not from God. It takes many years for all but the most brain-washed and completely indoctrinated to finally realize that their leaders have spoken with man's confused voice in these obvious instances, but only then may it become apparent that the more abstract theological teachings also originate from this Satanic source rather than from 'the Holy Spirit' or 'the voice of God.'
There is another obvious question to ask the 'Infallible Popes' who waited centuries before utilising manuscripts that escaped Jerome - who supposedly produced a Vulgate containing a perfect translation of the Word of God: why did Papal Rome defend the Vulgate for centuries, refuse to allow the average 'believer' to read it at all - while even priests were discouraged from reading it in case they discovered the truth - and then desert this acclaimed work in favour of producing joint versions from previously rejected manuscripts with the help of 'heretical Protestants'?
TCE: If you really believe that 'the Lord and His Apostles addressed Greek-speaking Diaspora Jews [and] they made use of an even bigger collection of Scripture - the Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek - which many Jews (the vast majority, in fact) regarded as inspired Scripture' then it is incumbent upon you to supply the quotes from Scripture and history to support your claims. Regarding the use of 'numerous Septuagint quotes' from the Old Testament in the New Testament it is clear that they are not made according to any uniform method. When the New Testament was written the Old Testament was not divided, as it now is, into chapters and verses, and hence such peculiarities as these occur: When Luke (Luke 20:37) refers to Exodus 3:6, he quotes from 'Moses at the bush', i.e., the section containing the record of Moses at the bush; Mark (Mark 2:26) refers to 1 Samuel 21:1-6, in the words, 'in the days of Abiathar;' and Paul (Romans 11:2) refers to 1 Kings Chapter 17-19, in the words, 'in Elias', i.e., in the portion of the history regarding Elias.
Although, in general, the New Testament writers quote from the Septuagint version of the Old Testament because it was then in common use, at least among the Greek-speaking Jews, it is noticeable that these quotations are not made in any uniform manner. Sometimes, for example, the quotation does not agree literally with either the LXX or the Hebrew text - and this occurs in about one hundred instances. Sometimes the LXX is literally quoted (in about ninety instances), and sometimes it is corrected or altered in the quotations (in over eighty instances). Quotations are also sometimes made directly from the Masoretic Hebrew text (e.g. Matthew 4:15-16; John 19:37; 1 Corinthians 15:54). Besides the direct quotations there are also numberless allusions, more or less distinct, showing that the Holy Spirit inspired the minds of the New Testament writers to use expressions and ideas as well as historical facts recorded in the Old Testament.
If, as you later infer, the Septuagint was so widely regarded by Jesus and the Apostles that 'The Septuagint, complete with the deuterocanononical [sic] 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 ... The Apostles allude to and quote all the deuterocanonical books', how was it that they 'corrected or altered ... quotations' from the Septuagint, but there are no known absolute quotations from the deuterocanonicals in the New Testament to correct? Could it possibly be that the answer is because they did not consider the 'deuterocanonical' books to be Scripture!
Merely talking about 'The Septuagint', as if it existed in one form widely known to all, is to ignore the recognised existence of seven or more other Greek versions of the Old Testament, most of which did not survive except as fragments (some parts of these being known from Origen's Hexapla, a comparison of six translations in adjacent columns, now almost wholly lost). Of these Greek versions of the Old Testament, the most important are those often termed 'the three:' those by Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion.
How is it acceptable for Papal Roman Catholics to recognise that Jerome (342-420) translated the Bible into Latin to give people the Vulgate (the name coming from Latin for 'common' or 'vulgar' tongue) yet Rome later prevented the Bible from being translated into other 'vulgar tongues' because of some new, laughable, Gnostic view that 'vulgar' Latin somehow became the 'language of a heavenly priesthood'! Jerome not only translated both Testaments but took the Old Testament from the Hebrew instead of from the Septuagint, the Greek version translated in 270 BC, because he recognised the superiority of a translation directly from the original language rather than through another translation and also recognised the pollution that had occurred in the Septuagint, particularly with the addition of the Apocrypha. Jerome is also to be credited with pointing out that the Epistle to the Romans makes it clear that the Old Testament canon was given to the Jews who are by no means to ever be left out of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ - which is another false teaching shared by Papal Rome and the many false 'Replacement Theology' groups who carried this into 'Protestantism'.
Why do Jews generally reject the Septuagint - because of the history of the work? Although secular historians question whether Alexander the Great ever entered Jerusalem, the Talmud records in striking detail the Jewish tradition of Alexander's arrival in the Holy City and many Jews believe its account of how, after his conquest of the Persian Empire, Alexander acquired dominion over Israel and its inhabitants. These included not only the Jews but the Samaritans who had nursed an ideological grudge against the Jewish sages for generations. Seeing the current change of political fortunes as an opportunity to advance their own political agenda they claim that the Samaritans presented themselves to Alexander, proclaimed their loyalty, and offered urgent warnings of Jewish treachery: 'Crush the Jews and destroy their Temple before they have an opportunity to rebel against you.'
Their history accepts that the High Priest at that time was Shimon the Righteous, the last surviving member of the Great Assembly of Sages that had led the Jewish people back from exile in Babylon. Since military resistance against Alexander's army was unthinkable and diplomacy seemed hopeless as well, Shimon adorned himself in his priestly garments and, with a small entourage, went out to greet the approaching conqueror.
When Shimon presented himself before Alexander, the Samaritan advisors were flabbergasted as they witnessed the mighty Emperor climb down from his chariot and prostrate himself upon the ground before this 'insignificant' Jewish Priest. Alexander explained that, on the eve of every battle, he had been visited in a dream by the vision of a man leading him to victory and this Jew was the man he had seen in his dream! Thus, in a sudden reversal of fortunes, Alexander received Shimon as a friend and ally and ordered that the Samaritan advisors be dragged to their deaths by horses!
In the Jewish account of many rabbis, Alexander appeared in every way the model of a benevolent ruler. According to some he studied Jewish philosophy with the sages and may even have returned to teach his mentor, Aristotle, what he had learned among the Jews. But Alexander was too driven by ambition to stay long in one place and soon embarked on his last campaign to India and subsequently died in Babylon at the age of 33.
Having failed to make preparations for transfer of authority, Alexander left the door open for a power struggle among his officers. The Jews soon found themselves under the rule of Alexander's general, Ptolemy, who had seized control of Egypt and the surrounding regions. A capable and authoritarian ruler, Ptolemy devoted most of his reign to military adventures in an effort to expand his kingdom. Although the Jews of Israel lived in relative physical security the influence of Greek culture and philosophy seeped gradually and inexorably into the hearts and minds of a large minority of Jews and Jewish Hellenism began to blossom.
When Ptolemy II ascended the Egyptian throne in the year 3476 (Jewish calendar) he initially appeared to be a far more benevolent ruler than his militant father. The young Ptolemy was an ardent scholar who managed a relatively peaceful kingdom where intellectual and cultural pursuits occupied much of society and he seems to have been a protector of the Jewish middle-class from the excesses and power-plays of the political elites.
According to the Talmud, it was Ptolemy II who, toward the end of his 40-year reign, commissioned the Septuagint, the 'Translation of the Seventy.' Ptolemy's love of literature might appear to have been his sole motivation in commanding the translation of the Torah, but his method of 'commissioning' the project suggested to the Jews a far more sinister objective. Ptolemy summoned the 71 sages of the Sanhedrin and isolated each of them in a separate room, only then issuing his command that they translate the Torah into Greek.
The view that has been passed on through the Jewish Rabbinic heritage is that, like a many-faceted diamond that acquires a singular appearance from every angle, the Torah possesses virtually endless levels of interpretation including the literal, the allegorical, the analytical, and the mystical. As a result, the translation of the Torah from the uniquely versatile language of Biblical Hebrew into another tongue offered the very real possibility that the 71 separate translations would differ significantly from one another.
Had Ptolemy discovered discrepancies between the sages' translations, he would then have found justification to denounce the Torah as a mere religious icon, open to subjective interpretation and therefore not binding based on its literal meaning. Such a claim would have been disastrous, legitimizing Hellenist ideology and discrediting the sages in their opposition to the influence of Greek culture.
This rabbinic tradition believes that, miraculously, all 71 sages produced identical translations, despite their emendation of ten separate passages subject to easy misinterpretation. Despite this undisguised miracle the Talmud teaches that, when the sages completed their translation, on the 8th day of the month of Teiveis, darkness descended upon the world and remained for 3 days, a tragedy commemorated by the fast of the 10th of Teiveis (which also commemorates the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem that resulted in the destruction of the First Temple).
The rabbinic account waxes lyrical about the result: 'Like the sun lost behind the pall of darkness, the brilliance of the Torah had become eclipsed to all those who would now depend upon its rendering in a foreign language, with all its levels of depth and meaning lost. The Torah had become 'like a lion in cage,' no longer the king of the beasts striking fear into all who heard its roar, now behind bars and stripped of its freedom and power; so too had the Septuagint reduced the Torah to just another cultural document.'
The Jews of Egypt rejoiced that this translation would bring them respect and regard from the Gentiles among whom the lived. The sages lamented that the translation would cause the Hebrew language to become forgotten among Egyptian Jews and hasten their assimilation. The view of many Jews is that the crises of the next generations, leading to the spiritual darkness that preceded the miracle of Chanukah, proved that the sages' fears were not unfounded and they therefore have no hesitation in rejecting the Septuagint (and any apocryphal attachments - no matter when they occurred) as 'a Trojan horse' that opened the flood-gates to persecution of the nation of Israel and to world anti-Semitism.
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.).
The situation is somewhat similar in the New Testament to that of the Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran. The question is whether the New Testament cites only the Old Testament books as authoritative. Scholars such as A. C. Sundberg insist that the New Testament books are acquainted with the Apocrypha (i.e. the seven books accepted by Roman Catholics but not by Protestants) and 'in addition they know and use the Psalms of Solomon, II (IV) Esdras, Enoch, the Assumption of Moses, the Assumption of Isaiah and IV Maccabees' (A. C. Sundberg, The Old Testament of the Early Church, Harvard Theological Series XX, 1964, 53-55). Renowned Greek and New Testament expert Professor Bruce M. Metzger has been quoted to the effect that there is no direct quotation in the New Testament from the Books of Joshua, Judges, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, Obadiah, Zephaniah and Nahum. Metzger noted:
'Perhaps the emphasis in such enumerations has been wrongly placed. The absence in the New Testament of a direct quotation from, for example, the prophet Nahum does not remove his work from the list of canonical books. Nor, on the other hand, should the presence of allusions, more or less clear, to passages in the Apocrypha be construed as conferring upon these books any authority which they do not otherwise possess. The reason is obvious. When Paul quotes a line from the play 'Thaïs' by the Greek comic poet, Menander, in 1 Corinthians 15:33 ...or when the author of Titus 1:12 repeats the popular squib of the semi-legendary Epimenides about the Cretans - in none of these cases does the quotation by a New Testament writer impart a special sanctity to the words that are quoted' (B. M. Metzger, An Introduction to the Apocrypha, New York: Oxford University Press,1957, p171 - emphasis added).
We have already examined the contemporary evidence to the extent of the Old Testament corpus, such as the work of the important historian Josephus, the 'library' at Qumran to some extent, and the listing of Melito. The use of the Old Testament books is clear and extensive even if a few were chosen by God to be neglected from being directly quoted in the New Testament. None of the non-canonical books, except for the possible instance of Enoch in Jude 14 referred to earlier, make any clear appearance. Sundberg (ibid.) listed a table of extra canonical literature in the New Testament including some 135 entries taken from the margins of Nestle's Greek Testament and, when examined, the evidence claimed to support the appearance of apocryphal works is extremely sparse to say the least. The extent of the first claimed allusion is that Matthew 1:11 refers to Jechoniah as the son of Josiah instead of the grandson, as does 1 Esdras 1:32. This is hardly enough to suggest that 1 Esdras is inspired! The first claimed parallel in Mark is 3:21 where Jesus' friends said: 'He is beside himself.' This is claimed as an allusion to Wisdom of Solomon 5:4, spoken of a righteous man: 'we fools accounted his life madness, and his end without honour.' Clearly, chance verbal similarity means nothing. The first allusion to Acts is 1:10, 'two men stood by them in white apparel,' compared with 2 Maccabees 3:26, narrating how the heathen persecutor Heliodorus saw an apparition of a horse and a terrible rider attacking him, and beside the horseman were 'two other ... young men notable in their strength and beautiful in their glory and splendid in their apparel, who stood by him on either side and scourged him unceasingly.' The scenes in Acts and 2 Maccabees are another example of accidental verbal similarities and ten of the most 'valid' of Sundberg's supposed '135' examples that might be taken seriously were examined and refuted by Professor W.H. Green over a century ago (W. H. Green, General Introduction to the Old Testament, The Canon, London: Murray, 1899). The few New Testament allusions to histories that appear in the Apocryphal books include the tortures of Hebrews 11:37 which are claimed to allude to events in the Ascension of Isaiah, but may also be nothing more than a general coincidence for more than one martyr has been 'sawn asunder.' Of course, such allusions still mean nothing regarding the reverence held for the book in question. The only slightly plausible account in the whole list concerns the possible quotation of Enoch 1:9 in Jude 14. The Early Church Fathers also disputed this 'best example', although some accepted Enoch because it seemed to be quoted in Jude (Tertullian, On the Apparel of Women 1. 3). Although Tertullian knew the Jews did not accept Enoch, he argued illogically that they rejected Enoch because it predicted 'The Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ'! Perhaps he knew Jews who actually read Isaiah 53 in his day for, while the chapter has long been omitted by the rabbinic religion that developed over the centuries but now avoids reading it because Christ so clearly appears in it as 'The Suffering Servant', by Tertullian logic it may as well never have been in their Bibles. Jerome took another questionable line and rejected Jude because of this connection with Enoch, while orthodox believers resolve the 'difficulty' by comparison of the content with Scripture and by spiritual discernment.
And, of course, besides quotations in the New from the Old Testament, there are in Paul's writings three quotations from Greek poets (Acts 17:28; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Titus 1:12) which are probably quotations that the Holy Spirit inspired him to use from his early classical education. To try and argue that the Apocrypha should be part of the canon of Scripture - despite the fact that 'there is not one clear and certain case of quotation from the Apocrypha' - is to be forced to accept that uninspired Greek poets should be in the canon because their work definitely appears in the New Testament! Just as Paul quoted these secular writers without endorsing them as inspired so, also, Jude may possibly have been inspired to quote Enoch without endorsing the whole book. Such a conclusion is sound and irrefutable. So, while most of the Old Testament books are quoted in the New Testament as authoritative and no other books are even directly quoted, except for possibly Enoch and these Greek poets, these latter works are obviously not to be considered as inspired books in any way!
You write: The Septuagint version of Scripture, from which Christ quoted, includes the Deuterocanonical books, books that were supposedly 'added' by Rome in the 16th century. And this is by no means the only citation of the Septuagint in the New Testament. In fact, fully over [sic] two thirds (86%) of the Old Testament passages that are quoted in the New Testament are from the Septuagint. So why aren't the deuterocanonical books in today's official Jewish collection, anyway? Because the Jews who formulated the modern Jewish canon were a) not interested in Apostolic teaching and, b) driven by a very different set of concerns from those motivating the Apostolic community.
In fact, it wasn't until the very end of the Apostolic age that the Jews, seeking a new focal point for their religious practice in the wake of the destruction of the Temple, zeroed in with intensity on Scripture and fixed their 'canon' at the rabbinical gathering, known as the 'Council of Javneh' (sometimes called 'Jamnia'), about AD 100. Prior to this point in time there had never been any formal effort among the Jews to 'define the canon' of 'Scripture.' In fact, Scripture nowhere indicates that the Jews even had a conscious idea that the canon should be closed at some point.
TCE: This is only colossal speculation lacking absolute facts to support such a view - while we have amply refuted this point with the known facts from historians who were nearest to the action, e.g. the clear testimony of men such as Josephus, Philo and Jerome which contradicts the view you are trying to establish (through the use of the abundant material supplied on the Internet by Mark Shea!), e.g.:
http://catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0120.html (often problems connecting)
Firstly, no one knows exactly what was in 'The Septuagint version of Scripture' that existed at the time of Christ. Secondly, as we have just shown, the variation in the nature of the Old Testament 'quotes' shows that the apostles did not copy any single known version so it is impossible to limit or identify the exact quotations. Writing 'from which Christ quoted, includes the Deuterocanonical books' is therefore wishful thinking. By the use of biased phrasing ('books that were supposedly 'added' by Rome in the 16th century') you try and make it appear that Protestants claim that the apocryphal books were not present in some forms of the Septuagint whereas the truth is that the Papal Roman Catholic Church shoe-horned them into their new revised Vulgate at the Council of Trent to support doctrines for which they had no true Scriptural support. We repeat - while the New Testament contains about 283 direct quotations and 370 allusions to passages in the Old Testament, there is not a single reference either by Christ or any of the apostles to the Apocryphal writings. But they quoted from every major book of the Old Testament and from all but four of the smaller ones and thus set their stamp of approval upon the Jewish Old Testament held by many Jews outside of the Diaspora. There are alleged allusions to the Apocrypha (e.g., Hebrews 11:35 is claimed to allude to 2 Maccabees 7, 12), but this may be a reference to the canonical book - 1 Kings 17:22). There are many similar examples, as previously shown. But there are hundreds of quotations in the New Testament clearly citing the Old Testament canon because they were believed to be part of the 'Law and Prophets' [i.e., whole Old Testament] which was believed to be the inspired and infallible Word of God (Matthew 5:17-18; cf. John 10:35). Jesus quoted from throughout the Old Testament 'Law and Prophets,' which he called 'all the Scriptures' (Luke 24:27) and plainly quoted the widely recognised canon as authoritative with the Words: 'The Scriptures cannot be broken' (John 10:35). The reason that neither Christ nor the apostles ever once referred to the Apocryphal books is obvious: they did not regard those books as Scripture, and they did not intend that those legendary books should become a part of the Bible. While the desperate claim of Papal Roman Catholics is that Protestants 'cut the books out of the Bible' the Biblical record itself makes it clear that if anyone cut them out it was Christ Himself.
To continue to insist that because these books were found in some versions of the Septuagint this must then mean that they were considered part of the Jewish canon and should therefore be accepted by all claiming to be 'Christians' as Scripture is to completely ignore the testimony of the inspired writing of Paul in Romans:
'What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there in circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.' (Romans 3:1-2)
So the clear testimony of God's Word is that the Jews were given the responsibility and privilege of protecting, transmitting, and disseminating the inspired Scriptures given by revelation from God to man. Therefore we should clearly look to the Jews and the overall record of their treatment of the Old Testament record, developed and maintained from before the time of Christ, to ascertain what the complete picture tells us. So what do we find? The apocryphal books were not included in the Hebrew canon, and never appeared in the Hebrew Bibles. Through an extensive system of painstaking, detailed record keeping the Hebrew canon had been stabilised during the inter-testamental period and the general three-fold division of the Scriptures in which the 39 books of the Old Testament were assembled in three divisions:
The Law (Torah) - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
The Prophets (Neviim) - Joshua, Judges, I and II Samuel (united), I and II Kings (united), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the twelve 'Minor' Prophets (united)
The Writings (Kethubim) - Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ruth, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah (united), and I and II Chronicles (united)
These divisions were used to keep the Hebrew Old Testament bound together in scrolls and the apocryphal books did not appear among these Scriptures in any of the three divisions. This was because the Jews did not consider the apocryphal works to be inspired scripture and the clear testimony of Jewish authorities on this matter confirms that they considered the Holy Spirit inspired prophetic gift had departed from Israel during the time of Artaxerxes, king of Persia (468-425 BC).
As we have already pointed out the renowned historian, Josephus, made it clear that this opinion was the general and prevailing one among his countrymen when he wrote:
'For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life. It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time...'
These books correspond exactly to the Jewish and Protestant Old Testament, which excludes the Apocrypha and the record shows clearly that Jewish teachers acknowledged that their prophetic line ended in the fourth century B.C. but, tellingly, as even most Catholics apologists acknowledge, all apocryphal books were written after this time. Additional rabbinical statements on the cessation of prophecy support this view, e.g. Seder Olam Rabbah 30 declares 'Until then [the coming of Alexander the Great] the prophets prophesied through the Holy Spirit. From then on, 'Incline thine ear and hear the words of the wise.' ' Baba Bathra 12b declares: 'Since the day when the Temple was destroyed, prophecy has been taken from the prophets and given to the wise.' Rabbi Samuel bar Inia wrote: 'The Second Temple lacked five things which the First Temple possessed, namely, the fire, the ark, the Urim and Thummin, the oil of anointing and the Holy Spirit [of prophecy].' Thus, the Jewish fathers (rabbis) acknowledged that the time period during which their Apocrypha was written was not a time when God was giving inspired writings.
Josephus makes it clear that a closed canon was the prevailing view of Jews, in his time and before, for he speaks of the books written after the time of Artaxerxes as not being 'esteemed of the like authority' by the Jewish forefathers. It was not just Jews in his day (late 1st century AD) who rejected the apocryphal books but, clearly, this body of literature was also rejected as canon and held in low esteem by Jews in the inter-testamental period long before the Christian era.
Josephus also confirms the departure of the prophetic spirit from Israel after the time of Artaxerxes so that we know that the canon ended with Nehemiah, Ezra, Malachi, and the Chronicles (which were all written during the period of Artaxerxes Longimanus' reign - ca. 450-425 BC). And he not only clearly assigns divine status to the books written before, or during, Artaxerxes' reign but pointedly denies any such authority to those written after.
Josephus makes it clear that only twenty-two books were considered canonical, which is two less than found in the traditional Hebrew Old Testament, but the difference is explained easily by the fact that Jeremiah was joined with Lamentations and Ruth with Judges. This is also concomitant with the twenty-two book Old Testament canon recorded by most early Christian writers who write on the subject, as can be shown.
The opinion of Josephus is also supported by Jewish philosopher and prolific writer, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria (20 BC-40 AD) who produced voluminous literature while Jesus lived on the earth and repeatedly quoted from, and used, all 39 of the canonical Old Testament books while pointedly ascribing divine inspiration to many of them and recognising the same three-fold division of the canon indicated by Josephus and the early church. He quoted widely from the Old Testament and expressed his amazement at its unchangeableness. Concerning the law of Moses he wrote: 'They (the Jews) have not changed so much as a single word in them. They would rather die a thousand deaths than detract anything from these laws and statutes.' (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p559). He also never, ever, quoted from or alluded to an apocryphal work. Clearly he knew that the Apocrypha were excluded from the Jewish canon despite having been influenced by Greek Stoics, as shown by his allegorical method of exegesis which exercised a far-reaching influence not only on Jewish thought but even more so on subsequent early Alexandrian 'Christian' writers and then further afield (Augustine was influenced by this method of 'interpretation', finding a spiritual or mystical meaning latent under the natural or historical detail, following a line from Philo, via Ambrose, Basil, and Origen - see later). His purpose in employing his allegorical method was, mainly, to reconcile Greek philosophy with the Old Testament. But Philo recognised positively what was regarded as canonical, both by his direct statement regarding works, and by his inferred view regarding his recognition of the three-fold canon. Negatively he recognised what was un-canonical by his disuse of the apocryphal body of Jewish literature which would have clearly been readily available to him in Alexandria (which was possibly where these works had originated). Since Philo wrote extensively on a large number of topics he would surely have made use of these works to support his arguments if he had viewed them as canonical and, that he does not, supplies further evidence of his negative view of them.
The facts repeatedly show that Papal Catholic arguments forwarded to try and support the canonicity of the apocryphal books can get no further than showing that they were given varied degrees of esteem by some of the 'Church Fathers' - but these fall short of overwhelming and unequivocal support for the books' canonicity. Even when Augustine and the local councils he dominated gave them support and they gained wider usage, they failed to obtain recognition from all quarters and even the extremely tardy, politically contrived, eventual 'infallible acceptance' by the Council of Trent (who ignored the superior intellectual scholars present within their ranks!) cannot overturn these facts. This falls far short of the rapid and full recognition among even the still weak Protestant Christian churches of the canonical books of both the Protestant Old Testament and the Jewish Torah (which exclude the Apocrypha). While true canonical books were received immediately by Holy Spirit led people of God into the growing canon of Scripture the debate came from those who, unlike the immediate audience of inspired believers, were not in a position to know whether they were from an accredited apostle or prophet, or who were nominal Christians devoid of the Spirit or mere intellectuals already polluted with Platonic/Hellenistic ideas. As a result the debate over the authenticity and canonicity of the antilegomena spluttered along through successive generations while 'Protestants' rejected all of the Apocrypha and even most Roman Catholics reject 3 Esdras, 4 Esdras and The Prayer of Manasseh. How any Papal Roman Catholic can believe their church can be fulfilling Christ's promise to lead them 'into all truth' (John 16:7ff. etc.) is beyond logical comprehension.
By contrast the 'Protestant' canon you malign, consisting of the thirty-nine books of the Hebrew Bible and excluding the Apocrypha, is shown to be the true canon and the only difference between this canon - faithfully adhered to since the escape from the Cult of Rome - and the ancient Palestinian Canon lies in organization. The Palestinian Jews represented Jewish orthodoxy and their canon was therefore recognized as the orthodox one and was therefore the canon of Jesus and His Apostles, Josephus and Philo, as well as being the canon of many early 'Church Fathers', among them Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, and Jerome.
(Continued on page 338)