Catholic Answers Shares Why Catholic Bibles Have Seven More Books than Protestant Bibles
Dr. Michael Barber explains why Protestants exclude the Deuterocanonical books from their Bibles.
Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger
Book by Gary Michuta
This book was mentioned by Dr. Michael Barber in the above video (synopsis from Amazon): Why do Catholic bibles have more books in their Old Testaments than Protestant and Jewish bibles? Did the Catholic Church add books to Scripture, or did Protestantism remove them? What was the bible of the earliest Christians? Does my bible have the same books as the historic Christian bible?
In this fascinating book, Gary Michuta takes the reader on a journey through history to find out what happened to these books of Scripture. Michuta traces the path of the Deuterocanon (apocrypha) from it pre-Christian roots through the Protestant Reformation to the nineteenth century and definitively settles the question of whether the Council of Trent added books to Scripture in reaction to Protestantism.
Not since 1897 has their been a book, written by a Catholic, on the topic of the Old Testament. Many commonly held myths are exposed, while uncovering little known and surprising information concerning these lost books of the Protestant bible.
A review of the book (by John):
Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger tells the story of how some Protestants used the removal of the Deuterocanon from the Bible as a proxy for their attack on Catholicism. Some reviewers have characterized this work as unscholarly, but the 770 footnotes (not to mention the numerous in-line citations), and the argument-response approach of the author stand in evidence against that charge.
The facts are devastating to the Protestant case, which has been held as the conventional wisdom in the English-speaking Christian world, including among Catholics.
The following chain of facts was especially enlightening, as it shows the origin of the Deuterocanon being ‘questionable’:
* At the time of the Apostles, there exist various Jewish sects (Sadducees, Pharisees, and many others) most of whom have very sharp theological disagreements.
* There is no defined Jewish canon at this time, but many accept the Deuterocanon via the Greek Septuagint, which had been around for close to 2 centuries and held in great respect. Both Philo and Josephus ascribed divine inspiration to its authors
* The Dead Sea Scrolls testify to Deuterocanon books in Hebrew intermixed with the Protocanon.
* During the Second Jewish Revolt (A.D. 132-135) Christians (then still considered a Jewish sect) were pressured by Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph to renounce Jesus, join the revolt, and accept Bar Cochba as the Messiah.
* Christians refused this apostasy and were treated by Jews as heretics and traitors.
* The same Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph noted above becomes the first Jewish writer to explicitly reject the New Testament and the Deuterocanon – thus proving that Christians and some Jews saw the Deuterocanon as scripture, or Akiba would not have had to inveigh against it.
* Under Akiba in the middle of the 2nd century, Judaism begins to adopt a definitive canon that excludes the Deuterocanon, and this would eventually become the Masoretic Text.
So there it is. Well into the 2nd century of Christianity, the Deuterocanon is declared unclean by a Rabbi that also rejected the New Testament as revelation and Jesus Christ as the Messiah: Protestants, meet your canonical grandpa.
The above point is one of many established within the first 70 pages of this work. There is much, much more, and most of it is even more convincing since the historical record is richer as the author proceeds through the centuries.
Some other interesting points:
* An overwhelming number of the Early Fathers – including Jerome(1), whom Protestants make great appeal to – quoted the Deuterocanon as scripture in their writings, as did an astounding number of the early Reformers:
* The King James Version contained the Deuterocanon, with cross references from the Protocanon in the margins.
* The Feast of the Dedication mentioned in John 10 (Hanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, and the backdrop of Christ’s light of the world speech) is only mentioned 1 Maccabees 4 of the Deuterocanon.
The saddest part of the whole mess is that the same tactics those Protestants steadily employed to slowly remove the Deuterocanon from the Bible eventually where taken up by the ‘Enlightenment’ and Modernists to attack first the Protocanon and eventually the New Testament. As the Reformed scholar Edward Ruess predicted: “the scoffs thrown at the little fish of Tobit will sooner or later destroy Jonah’s whale.”
(1) “Does not the Scripture say: ‘Burden not thyself above thy power’ [Sirach 13:2]…” (Jerome, To Eustochium, Epistle 108, in NPNF2, VI:207)