Did St. Paul Use the Deuterocanon?

Giovanni Martinelli, Death Comes to the Banquet Table (Memento Mori) (1635)
Giovanni Martinelli, Death Comes to the Banquet Table (Memento Mori) (1635)

Today is All Soul’s Day, in which Catholics pray for the faithful departed. And this practice of praying for the dead has clear Scriptural roots: it’s encouraged in 2 Maccabees 12:43-45. The only catch is that this citation comes from the Deuterocanon, the set of seven Books accepted as Scripture by Catholics but rejected by most Protestants (who tend to refer to these books, erroneously, as “Apocrypha”). It’s also in the Deuterocanon (specifically, 2 Maccabees 15:12-16) that we find the clearest example of praying to the Saints. We can go so far as to say that if Catholics are right about the Deuterocanon, then we are certainly right about praying to the Saints and praying for the departed.

But how do we know whether we should include the Deuterocanon or not? There are several good reasons, a key one being that the early Christians tended to accept these books (and after a few centuries of deliberation, accepted them nearly universally), whereas no one in the early Church used the Protestant canon. Another key reason is that it’s in the Deuterocanon that we find the clearest Old Testament prophecy of the Crucifixion (Wisdom 2:12-20, look it up). But one of the biggest objections to the Deuterocanon remains: if the Deuterocanon is Scripture, why isn’t it quoted in the New Testament?

It turns out, “New Testament quotation” is a pretty bad standard to use. The New Testament doesn’t contain direct quotations from Joshua, Judges, Esther, Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, or Song of Songs, and yet Protestants consider each of these books canonical (arguably, Lamentations and Chronicles aren’t quoted either, but there’s no need to multiply examples). Conversely, Jude quotes from the Book of Enoch (Jude 1:14-15), while St. Paul quotes both Aratus (Acts 17:28) and Epimenides (Titus 1:12), calling the later a “prophet,” yet no one includes any of these three in their Biblical canon. What’s the problem here? Quite simply, there’s no direct connection between quoting an author and believing him canonical.

So we can’t prove a book is inspired simply because it gets quoted in the New Testament, nor we can we reject it as uninspired just because it doesn’t. But even though this standard is broken, it’s on to something: if an inspired Book treats another Book as inspired, that settles the question. For example, if you accept the inspiration of St. Peter’s letters, then you logically need to accept the inspiration of St. Paul’s, since Peter tells us Paul’s letters are Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16). Seem fair so far? Good.

With that in mind, consider a couple of examples of how the New Testament uses the Deuterocanon. The first way is one that I’ve mentioned before: Hebrews 11 contains a list of Scriptural examples of living by faith. Towards the end (Hebrews 11:35-37), the events referred to are from 2 Maccabees 7. You could object that the passage doesn’t specify that these examples must come from Scripture, but every other example does, and it’s about the faith-history of Israel, so that argument seems a bit specious.

But nevertheless, there’s another example, one which I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned before. And it comes right in the heart of the most popular passages amongst Protestants: namely, Romans 9:19-21. Let’s look at it in the broader context of vv. 14-21,

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So it depends not upon man’s will or exertion, but upon God’s mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills.

You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, a man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me thus?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?

This passage gets quoted a lot, but I don’t think the people quoting it tend to realize that Paul is responding to these hypothetical objections with Old Testament quotations. So, for example, he answers the first set of questions by quoting Exodus 33:19 and Ex. 9:16. Then he gets to the second objection, and he says two things in response. First, that the pot has no basis upon which to complain to the potter at how it was made. This, he’s clearly getting from Isaiah 29:16 and Isaiah 45:9, and Protestant Bibles tend to footnote this accordingly. But then he asks, “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?” But there’s nothing in Isaiah about making vessels for noble or ignoble use. That’s not the sense of the passage in either Isaiah 29 or Isaiah 45, or anywhere else in Isaiah… or, for that matter, the rest of the Protestant Old Testament. Instead, Paul is getting this straight from Wisdom 15:7,

For when a potter kneads the soft earth and laboriously molds each vessel for our service, he fashions out of the same clay both the vessels that serve clean uses and those for contrary uses, making all in like manner; but which shall be the use of each of these the worker in clay decides.

This is the exact sense that Paul preserves in Romans: the potter has total sovereignty to determine whether to use the clay for a dignified or an undignified purpose. Nor is this reference in isolation. Wisdom 12:12-24 seems to echo throughout the ninth chapter of Romans:

For who will say, “What hast thou done?” Or will resist thy judgment? Who will accuse thee for the destruction of nations which thou didst make? Or who will come before thee to plead as an advocate for unrighteous men? For neither is there any god besides thee, whose care is for all men, to whom thou shouldst prove that thou hast not judged unjustly; 14 nor can any king or monarch confront thee about those whom thou hast punished.

There are several other points of comparison, as with the descriptions of idolatry found in Romans 1:24-32 and Wisdom 11:15, etc. So we can’t write this off to mere coincidence.

In the past, when I’ve pointed to New Testament citations of the Deuterocanon, a common response has been: “how do we know that the author is quoting it as Scripture, and not simply as history?” And when we’re talking about historical details, that’s a far objection. After all, Jude 9 references historical information found only in the non-canonical Assumption of Moses. But in Romans, St. Paul isn’t citing to Wisdom for mere history. No, he’s using it to prove a theological point, and he’s using it as Scripture, just as he did with Isaiah and Exodus.

So what can we take from this? Namely, that we have good reason to conclude that St. Paul believed the Deuterocanon was Scripture, and that we should believe the same. In fact, the evidence for Paul considering Wisdom canonical is stronger than the evidence for him considering (for example) the Book of Judges canonical, and that’s not a question in any serious doubt. This means, in turn, that those disputed points of theology that are closely tied to the Deuterocanon, like praying to the Saints or praying for the departed, can be neatly resolved in favor of the Catholic position. So with that said, happy Feast of All Souls!

74 Comments

  1. A few things in no particular order:

    1. I personally have no problem with the Deuterocanon and I am agnostic on the issue due to the inconsistent testimony of the early Church, and having read the Deuterocanon a couple of times never feeling compelled of its Canonicity. Neither of these are compelling in which for me to make a case against them, so I do not take any issue whatsoever and find the Deuterocanon quite profitable. I quoted Wisdom 2 at a dinner party on Friday as a warning against those who would take the books lightly, for example.

    2. “Towards the end (Hebrews 11:35-37), the events referred to are from 2 Maccabees 7. You could object that the passage doesn’t specify that these examples must come from Scripture, but every other example does, and it’s about the faith-history of Israel, so that argument seems a bit specious.”

    This is inaccurate. Isaiah being killed by the saw is from the Talmud (not canonical), women receiving their dead by resurrection is obviously in 2 Kings, and the enduring of torture to attain a better resurrection (2 Maccabees AND 3 Maccabees, one canonical in the RCC and one not, but canonical among the EO.) The fact that all of the events in Heb 11:35-37, and may I add verse 38 too, are a spattering of different events that are not entirely Biblical, it seems obvious to me that Paul is referring to historical events and not passing comment on the canonicity of where these events were recorded.

    3. “Instead, Paul is getting this straight from Wisdom 15:7…”

    Awesome! I never caught that. Though I do not think this constitutes Paul passing comment on the canonicity of WoS, as he does not say “as is written” or “the Scripture…”, it does show that Christians ought to be reading the book as Paul obviously found it profitable. As you pointed out, he quoted Greek philosophy when he found it useful.

    4. We already debated 2 Maccabees 12 so I will not add any detail here other than I believe a respectable case can be made that what occurs there really does not connect with the early church traditions of praying for, or to, the dead. The RCC would be better to base such prayers squarely upon the authority of tradition instead of making a stretch of a case from 2 Macc 12. It is a tad painful, sort of like those who try to find purgatory in 1 Cor 3:15.

    God bless,
    Craig

    1. Craig, I’d like to address some of your points regarding Heb 11.

      “Isaiah being killed by the saw is from the Talmud (not canonical)”

      The point to make here is not that Hebrews 11 uses only biblical [sources], but that it uses only biblical [characters]. Even if Hebrews 11 takes it’s info of Isaiah from the Talmud (Ascension of Isaiah) to describe the death of the prophet Isaiah, which is certainly disputable, the fact remains that the prophet Isaiah is a biblical [character]. The introduction of non-biblical [characters] that are nowhere attested to in Scripture would cause, in the context of Hebrews 11, a rather sharp and unwarranted disjuncture from the rest of the text and be in contradiction to its earlier claim that those listed were “attested to”.

      “and the enduring of torture to attain a better resurrection (2 Maccabees AND 3 Maccabees, one canonical in the RCC and one not, but canonical among the EO.) The fact that all of the events in Heb 11:35-37, and may I add verse 38 too, are a spattering of different events that are not entirely Biblical, it seems obvious to me that Paul is referring to historical events and not passing comment on the canonicity of where these events were recorded.”

      Hebrews 11 presents examples of men and women who lived out their supernatural faith in Sacred Scripture. Included among these people of faith are the Maccabean martyrs, as described in the deuterocanonical book of Second Maccabees. Therefore, the inspired author’s Bible included the book of Second Maccabees, which he considered to be an authentic member of sacred scripture.

      Where did the inspired author of Hebrews find these examples of supernatural faith? Was it from his own personal recollection or Jewish folklore or did he choose them from a specific source? Three times in the same chapter, the author states that the characters mentioned were “attested to” or gained a testimony” somewhere:

      “…for by it the men of old gained approval [obtained a good testimony]” (Heb 11:2).

      “…for he [obtained the witness] that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God!” (Heb 11:5)

      “And all these, having gained approval [obtained a testimony] through their faith, did not receive what was promised…” (Heb 11:39).

      Where are these heroes’ faith “attested?” Given that (1) the chapter is recounting sacred history (concerning supernatural faith), not secular history, (2) Hebrews explicitly states three times that these men and women are “attested to” somewhere and (3) the order given roughly corresponds to the order that they appear in scripture, there is little reason to doubt that the characters mentioned came from Sacred Scripture. More specifically, they came from the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament the Septuagint or LXX.

      Among these biblical characters, we find the following “…and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection…” (Heb 11:35). Who were these Jewish martyrs? Hebrews 11:35 provides three identifying marks or traits: (1) they were Jews that were tortured, (2) they did not accept release (from torture), and (3) the motivation for choosing martyrdom was so that “they might obtain a better resurrection.”

      Who in the Protestant Old Testament fulfills all three traits? The answer is no one. However, there are several characters in Second Maccabees that satisfy all three. In the sixth chapter of Second Maccabees, we find two examples of Jews who were (1) Tortured and (2) refused release:

      2 Maccabees 6:22-23, “…So that by doing this he might be saved from death, and be treated kindly on account of his old friendship with them… but he made up his mind in a noble manner… so he declared that above all he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God.”

      2 Maccabees 6:30, “When he was about to die under the blows, he groaned aloud and said: ‘It is clear to the Lord in his holy knowledge that, though I might have been saved from death, I am enduring terrible sufferings in my body under this beating, but in my soul I am glad to suffer these things because I fear him.”

      We also find in the following chapter two examples of those who accepted martyrdom explicitly for sake of the Resurrection:

      2 Maccabees 7:9 – “And when he was at his last breath, he said, ‘You accursed wretch you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe [will raise up to an everlasting renewal of life], because we have died for his laws.'”

      2 Maccabees 7:14 – “When he was near death, he said, ‘[One cannot but choose to die at the hands of mortals and to cherish the hope God gives of being raised again by him]. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!”

      No other individual or group of individuals in the Protestant Old Testament fulfills all three traits.

      The inclusion of the Maccabean martyrs within this context shows that they were also “attested to” in the author’s copy of sacred Scripture. Therefor the inspired author’s Bible included Second Maccabees and his appeal to them shows his tacit approval for the book as authentic Scripture. Otherwise, we would be left with the rather bizarre scenario of the inspired author inserting, in this one verse, a reference to non-biblical characters as examples of supernatural faith for Christians to follow. Not only would a non-biblical character not fit within the overall context and structure of Hebrews 11, but it would contradict the inspired author’s repeated assertion that these “men of old” were “attested to”.

      1. I appreciate your response, but who are the biblical characters who wandered in deserts and lived in caves in verse 38. They would be chronologically after the maccabbean martyrs. It is clear that in the last few verses Paul left the scriptural examples and moved onto more recent examples not attested in scripture.

        1. Craig, sure I’d be happy address that.

          I’ll start with this statement. “It is clear that in the last few verses Paul left the scriptural examples and moved onto more recent examples not attested in scripture.”

          Lets go over the last several verses (32-37) and see if the sacred author has left scriptural character examples. Allusion to Daniel is made in 11:33 who “stopped the mouths of lions” (Dan 6:16-24); Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood unharmed while fire danced around them (11:34; Dan 3:23-27, 24-27); the widow of Zarephath and the Shunammite woman received their children back from the dead (11:35; 1 Kings17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:32-37); the Maccabean martyrs were tortured as they professed faith in the resurrection (11:35; 2 Mac 7); the priest Zechariah was stoned in the Temple (11:35; 2 Chron 24:20-22); the prophet Isaiah was sawn in Two (11:37; Jewish tradition [we already discussed this]); and the prophet Elijah wore animal skins (11:37; 2 Kings 1:8). So I guess I’d just have to disagree with you that no it’s not clear that Paul has moved on to non scriptural characters in the last verses. He’s very much still using biblical characters.

          Now lets address this one. “but who are the biblical characters who wandered in deserts and lived in caves in verse 38.”

          The Maccabees very much fit this bill (not limited to them as some other previously mentioned characters fit as well). “Wandering the desert (or wilderness)” This is a description of persons driven away from their homes, and wandering about from place to place to procure a scanty subsistence. Here are some examples from Maccabees.

          (1 Maccabees 1:53) “they drove Israel into hiding in every place of refuge they had.”

          (1 Maccabees 2:28-29) “Then he and his sons fled to the hills and left all that they had in the town. At that time many who were seeking righteousness and justice went down to the wilderness to live there”

          (2 Maccabees 5:27) “But Judas Maccabees, with about nine others, got away to the wilderness and kept himself and his companions alive [in the mountains] as wild animals do; they continued to live on what grew wild, so that they might not share in the defilement.”

          (2 Maccabees 6:11) “Others who had assembled [in the caves] nearby in order to observe the seventh day secretly, were betrayed to Philip and were all burned together, because their piety kept them from defending themselves, in view of their regard for the most holy day.”

          (2 Maccabees 10:6) “And they kept the eight days with gladness, as in the feast of the tabernacles, remembering that not long afore they had held the feast of the tabernacles, when as they wandered in the mountains and dens like beasts”

          I hope this helps

          1. I have to be quick, but I don’t think that Heb 11:38 is in reference to those verses. It is far too general. Chrysostom thought it was about the new testament saints. Aphrahat thought it was about David, as did Aquinas. Saint Basil takes my interpretation: “Here are the teachers and prophets wandering in deserts and in mountains and in dens and caves of the earth. Hebrews 11:38 Here are apostles and evangelists and solitaries’ life remote from cities.” (Letter 42)

            None of the church fathers or anyone I can dig up take the interpretation it refers to the Maccabees. It doesn’t mean it can’t, but I hope you respect my position that it doesn’t.

          2. Craig, I would like to point out a few things.

            “Aphrahat thought it was about David, as did Aquinas.”

            To this I did mention that Heb 11:38 isn’t limited to just the Maccabees. Indeed there are many that could fit parts of it as well, Moses and the Hebrew people wandered in the desert in Exodus. Elijah wandered the desert. Lot and his daughters lived in a cave at one point. Elijah lived in a cave in 1 Kings 19:9. And yes David camped in a few caves. All these support the view that 11:38 is referring still to biblical characters.

            “Here are the teachers and prophets wandering in deserts and in mountains and in dens and caves of the earth. Hebrews 11:38 Here are apostles and evangelists and solitaries’ life remote from cities.”

            One could take 11:38 and apply it to any number of people (and this can be said for practically any scripture passage that they can be applied to even us in today’s age) but the passage does have a primary meaning and context. the idea that it’s the new testament apostles and evangelists plainly doesn’t fit the greater context of Hebrews 11 nor does it fit it’s immediate surrounding context as I demonstrated earlier was still referring to old testament characters “men of old”. And when reading that quote of St. Basil within it’s context he doesn’t appear to be making a connection between them in the sense you mean, rather they’re just parts of the list of examples he’s making. But that’s irrelevant really.

            “or anyone I can dig up take the interpretation it refers to the Maccabees.”

            Really? I just did a simple yahoo search and found that every annotation or commentary (including protestant commentaries) on Hebrews 11:38 interpret it as referring to the Maccabees or the ones that don’t are still interpreting it as other old testament characters.

            In conclusion, I respect you taking the position you do but would warn that it’s quite a stretch to hold that position as the primary meaning of the text. Context is important and I showed how your basis for holding that position (the idea that it’s immediate context had moved on from old testament characters) doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

          3. “To this I did mention that Heb 11:38 isn’t limited to just the Maccabees…In conclusion, I respect you taking the position you do but would warn that it’s quite a stretch to hold that position as the primary meaning of the text. Context is important and I showed how your basis for holding that position (the idea that it’s immediate context had moved on from old testament characters) doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.”

            This doesn’t make sense, however. If you concede that Heb 11:37-38 is so vague it can be about all sorts of people, the argument that Heb 11 speaks explicitly of only Biblical characters falls apart. Hence, it is your contention that does not hold up against scrutiny, not my own.

            “Really? I just did a simple yahoo search and found that every annotation or commentary (including protestant commentaries) on Hebrews 11:38 interpret it as referring to the Maccabees or the ones that don’t are still interpreting it as other old testament characters.”

            The modern commentaries are out of touch with how the Church has interpreted the passage for 1300 years. But again, I am not necessarily opposed to the idea that we may infer the Maccabees. My point is that Paul is now addressing people in such a vague way, he is no longer explicitly invoking Biblical people and events. THis mitigates against the interpretation that Heb 11 endorses Maccabees as Scripture.

            I wish I had an ancient commentary of the church fathers on Hebrews. I was just given compilations of the ECFs on almost every epistle, but not that one!

          4. Craig, I can’t make a thorough response right now as my wife is nagging me but I will later. I apologize for the confusion on my statement but its probably my use of words or paragraph structure. I’ll try to explain in detail what I meant at a later time. Take care.

  2. 5. You made the comment that no one in the early church used the Protestant canon. This is simply not true.

    Jerome and Victorinus argued that there were only 24 books of the Old Testament, both referring to the 24 elders in the book of revelation as a proof test to prove this. Victorinus writes, “The four and twenty elders are the twenty-four books of the prophets and of the law, which give testimonies of the judgment.”

    What were these 24 books? Jerome tells us:

    “The first of these books is called Bresith, to which we give the name Genesis. The second, Elle Smoth, which bears the name Exodus; the third, Vaiecra, that is Leviticus; the fourth, Vaiedabber, which we call Numbers; the fifth, Elle Addabarim, which is entitled Deuteronomy. These are the five books of Moses, which they properly call Thorath, that is, ‘Law.’

    “The second class is composed of the Prophets, and they begin with Jesus the son of Nave, which among them is called Joshua ben Nun. Next in the series is Sophtim, that is the book of Judges; and in the same book they include Ruth, because the events narrated occurred in the days of the Judges. Then comes Samuel, which we call First and Second Kings. The fourth is Malachim, that is, Kings, which is contained in the third and fourth volumes of Kings. And it is far better to say Malachim, that is Kings, than Malachoth, that is Kingdoms. For the author does not describe the Kingdoms of many nations, but that of one people, the people of Israel, which is comprised in the twelve tribes. The fifth is Isaiah; the sixth, Jeremiah; the seventh, Ezekiel; and the eighth is the book of the Twelve Prophets, which is called among them Thare Asra.

    “To the third class belong the Hagiographa, of which the first book begins with Job; the second with David, whose writings they divide into five parts and comprise in one volume of Psalms. The third is Solomon, in three books: Proverbs, which they call Parables, that is Masaloth; Ecclesiastes, that is Coeleth; and the Song of Songs, which they denote by the title Sir Assirim. The sixth is Daniel; the seventh, Dabre Aiamim, that is, Words of Days, which we may more descriptively call a chronicle of the whole of the sacred history, the book that amongst us is called First and Second Paralipomenon [Chronicles]. The eighth is Ezra, which itself is likewise divided amongst Greeks and Latins into two books; the ninth is Esther.

    “And so there are also twenty-two books of the Old Law; that is, five of Moses, eight of the prophets, nine of the Hagiographa, though some include Ruth and Kinoth (Lamentations) amongst the Hagiographa, and think that these books ought to be reckoned separately; we should thus have twenty-four books of the ancient Law. ”

    The above is from Jerome’s introduction to the Book of Kings. http://www.bible-researcher.com/jerome.html

    1. I also found the following from 2 Esdras 14:45-46 (a 2nd century AD Christian work, which gives us additional insight into the view of the early church in how they viewed Canon):

      And when the forty days were ended, the Most High spoke to me, saying, ‘Make public the twenty-four* books that you wrote first, and let the worthy and the unworthy read them; but keep the seventy that were written last, in order to give them to the wise among your people

      http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=2+esdras+14:45-14:46&version=nrsvae

      1. Craig!

        What would you think of the following argument for determining the OT canon of the N T authors:

        1. Where the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint diverge, the N T heavily favors the LXX. (I think the Hebrews reference to God preparing a Body for Jesus is a really good e.g. of this)

        2. It is pretty well established that the deutero canonicals were part of the LXX. (E. G.Ancient codices include them and early fathers, like Polycarp and Ignatius quote from them)

        3. Jerome DISCOVERED in FOURTH CTY that Palestinian Jews did not consider the deuterocanonicals to be Scripture. (Any more…nor did they think Isaiah 7 predicted a Virgin Birth…any more)

        I think the above indicates that questioning their canonicity was a late development and an anachronism to the Jewish world of the N T.

        1. On my website two weeks ago I posted on how I favored the lxx above the vulgate and masoretic text. It clearly is a better source of accurate scriptures other than perhaps Jeremiah and job.

          1. Great, Craig! I cannot wait to visit your website!

            Since I don’t think I need to waste time convincing you of something of which you already are convinced, i.e. the LXX is overall more accurate–more true to the Holy Spirit’s intention– than the Masoretic text, then there is also a brother thought that goes along with it: Maybe the LXX canon was more in tune with the Holy Spirit’s intention.

            How would you like this definition of what most Protestants term ‘Apocrypha’?:
            ” Jewish holy passages which did not make it into the Masoretic, (post Jamnia??)Hebrew text”. Pretty well sums it up? 🙂

          2. I am going by memory and I am on my phone so I cannot verify, but the canon of the lxx is not exactly clear. Indeed several canonical books and also books rejected by the RCC were translated into Greek. However, the LXX was not a single book but a collection of scrolls. I know lists of the scrolls exist, and the deuterocanon are usually put behind that of the canonical books they correspond to, even when it is anachronistic such as the case with WoS. From this we may infer the secondary status of these books, hence the term deuterocanon. Why Protestants feel obligated to use a word other than Deuterocanon, when the term Dwuterocanon is perfectly accurate is beyond me. As for me, where I am right now is that the books are of secondary importance, inspired by the Spirit of God but not word for word like the Scriptures themselves. The ending of second maccabbees and the fact that no important doctrine hinges upon any of their teachings is suggestive of this.

          3. “As for me, where I am right now is that the books are of secondary importance, inspired by the Spirit of God but not word for word like the Scriptures themselves.”

            This is an interesting position you have. It’s similar to the view Eastern Orthodox have on the extra books outside the 7 Deuterocanonical books. And I have yet to meet any protestant that holds this view so I find this fascinating.

      2. Craig and all,

        Great conversation so far. A few points:

        1) Saint Jerome is the closest you get to someone using the Protestant canon. But it doesn’t really work for a few reasons.

        First, he argues for the longer version of Daniel, fully aware that this isn’t the version received by the Jews.

        Second, he favors the judgment of “the churches” over his own private judgment: we see this in his decision to use the Theodotion version of Daniel (even though he doesn’t like this version).

        Third, this faithful willingness extends not just to use a translation he’s not entirely comfortable with, but to create a Biblical canon he’s not wholly comfortable with. He compiled and translated the Latin Vulgate, which did more to clear up lingering doubts about the Deuterocanon than just about any act in antiquity. In both cases, he airs his grievances about the Church’s decisions, but he submits nevertheless.

        Fourth, Jerome doesn’t exactly think the Deuterocanon isn’t Scripture, so much as that there’s a three-tiered system of books. This system is rejected by both Catholics and most Protestants today (although some Lutherans have tried to resurrect a variation of it).

        Fifth, Jerome sometimes quotes the Deuterocanon as Scripture. To wit, in Letter 108, “for does not the scripture say: ‘Burden not yourself above your power?’” That’s Sirach 13:2, a book that he elsewhere (as you noted) argued shouldn’t be considered Scripture.

        Finally, Jerome’s opposition to the Deuterocanonical Books is based on a belief that the New Testament always sides with the Hebrew version whenever it disagrees with the LXX. As you’ve noted, Craig, this belief is not just false, but radically so. The opposite is closer to being true. That’s a critical point, because Jerome described his entire opposition to the Septuagint (including the Deuterocanon) as being based on his belief that it’s never quoted in the New Testament (which it is, several times, as we now know):

        “Wherever the Seventy agree with the Hebrew, the apostles took their quotations from that translation; but, where they disagree, they set down in Greek what they had found in the Hebrew. And further, I give a challenge to my accuser. I have shown that many things are set down in the New Testament as coming from the older books, which are not to be found in the Septuagint; and I have pointed out that these exist in the Hebrew. Now let him show that there is anything in the New Testament which comes from the Septuagint but which is not found in the Hebrew, and our controversy is at an end.

        So Jerome argued, at times, for the Protestant canon, but it isn’t the canon that he actually compiled and translated, not the canon he quotes as Scripture, and not the canon he would have held if he were aware of the New Testament’s use of the LXX.

        I mention all of this in a blog post, but those are the biggest points.

        2) You’re right that there are several early authors, not limited to 2 Esdras but including Jewish and Christian authors of this period, who argue for a “22” or “24” book canon based on things like the number of characters in the Hebrew alphabet. But as you’re surely aware, even the Protestant canon has way more books than that, so to arrive at that special number, all sorts of combinations are invented, like counting Ruth and Judges as a single Book.

        What’s bizarre about this is that even amongst those using a 22/24 book canon, they’re not using the Protestant / modern Jewish canon. For more on those Fathers, and more on Jerome, I’d point you to the link in the original post (this one).

        Keep it up!

        Joe

        1. I will respond in more detail, but before saying the 22-24 book collections included the Deuterocanon, please read what Jerome wrote (which I quoted). He makes clear the 24 book collection that he and Victorinus were referring to. There’s just no way to shoehorn the deuterocanon into a 24 book canon, but there is a way to shoehorn the Protestant canon.

          On the finer details I will reply later.

        2. “1) Saint Jerome is the closest you get to someone using the Protestant canon.”

          As I said before, the common interpretation that the 24 elders were “the 24 books of the law and the prophets” mitigates against this. There isn’t a scheme that puts the Deuterocanon within that 24.

          “First, he argues for the longer version of Daniel, fully aware that this isn’t the version received by the Jews.”

          Honestly, I do not think that’s a point of contention. THat’s an argument over manuscript accuracy, not canonicity. For example, is the Pericope in John concerning the adultress Scripture? If someone rejects it, does he reject the whole Gospel of John? So, this is an issue of manuscripts and not canonicity.

          “Second, he favors the judgment of “the churches” over his own private judgment: we see this in his decision to use the Theodotion version of Daniel (even though he doesn’t like this version).”

          This is where Jerome clearly differs with Protestants, but again I never argued that Jerome’s mindset was identical to Protestants. Rather, you made the claim no one held to the Protestant canon. This is simply not true, as I showed with Jerome and others with the 24 book OT.

          Let me add one more comment. I think it is a travesty that the Protestants are so wedded to the Masoretic Text, with its inaccuracies, simply because it did not include the Deuterocanon. It strikes me as cutting off your nose to spite your face. Just as the Catholics have made it dogma that the Deuterocanon is Canon in every sense of the word, the Protestants have in effect, with an “invisible council” ruled the exact opposite. It’s dogma and its out of touch with how the early church viewed the issue, with great tension and carefulness knowing that there wasn’t a certainty concerning the matter.

          “Fourth, Jerome doesn’t exactly think the Deuterocanon isn’t Scripture, so much as that there’s a three-tiered system of books.”

          I’d be interested to hear which Lutherans. As I said in another reply here, presently that is my position.

          “Fifth, Jerome sometimes quotes the Deuterocanon as Scripture. To wit, in Letter 108, “for does not the scripture say: ‘Burden not yourself above your power?’” That’s Sirach 13:2, a book that he elsewhere (as you noted) argued shouldn’t be considered Scripture.”

          This is when we need chronology. When did he write this? Before is comments on Kings? After? I quoted Tobit in a reply in another article. Does that mean I put Tobit on par with Romans?

          “Finally, Jerome’s opposition to the Deuterocanonical Books is based on a belief that the New Testament always sides with the Hebrew version whenever it disagrees with the LXX. As you’ve noted, Craig, this belief is not just false, but radically so. The opposite is closer to being true. That’s a critical point, because Jerome described his entire opposition to the Septuagint (including the Deuterocanon) as being based on his belief that it’s never quoted in the New Testament (which it is, several times, as we now know)…”

          As Augustine reminded Jerome (probably on this very issue), all men can err!

    2. Craig, I know you’re just trying to show that there were some fathers that argued against the deuterocanonicals, but I’d like to just remind you that St. Jerome was met with immediate opposition and a series of north African councils were held to affirm the canonicity of the deuterocanonicals and St. Jerome complied with this giving us the Latin Vulgate complete with deuterocanonicals.

      1. Len, I understand but what Joe said was inaccurate and I brought up three examples. 2 esdras is 2nd century. So, as I spoke of in my first point in my initial reply, I do not necessarily object to the deuterocanon, especially WoS, but I am not convinced as the early church fathers were not unanimous.

        1. Yes and I wasn’t arguing that point. I understand. Just pointing out that even those fathers that did disagree (like St. Jerome) still stood corrected and acknowledged the authoritative church when it affirmed what scriptures are held as sacred and binding on Christians. That’s all.

  3. Craig>>>> but the canon of the lxx is not exactly clear. Indeed several canonical books and also books rejected by the RCC were translated into Greek. However, the LXX was not a single book but a collection of scrolls.<<<

    True, however there are the Codices: Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, (4th cty) Alexandrinus (5th) which bind together various of the deuterocanonicals….e.g. all three of the Codices include wisdom of Sol., Sirach, Tobith and Judith. Baruch and the Maccabean books are in 2 of the 3. I think these per se are tangible evidence that most of the books expurgated by Protestants in the 17th cty were part of the pre-Jerome (he did the Vulgate at the 4-5th cty interface) canon. As I stated before, Jerome LEARNED of their controversial status from palestinian Jews, ergo he was unaware of the controversy beforehand. His own Christian tradition was to include them and that tradition went back to the Jewish mileu of the Apostles. (This tradition also included prayers for the dead….as does the tradition of modern religious Jews)

    1. Being that Victorinus also went with the 24 book Canon, I don’t think it was merely something Jerome learned from his Jewish buddy. I would also like to add that even if early LXXs had the Deuterocanon, that is not necessarily a comment upon their canonicity, but rather their importance. 1 Clement is included in early New Testaments and Prayer of Manasseh is included in early Old Testaments. It doesn’t make them canonical, though it shows how important they are.

      1. Craig,

        I think you and we Catholics do not have so much disagreement about the deuterocanonicals. You recognize their value and we should be grateful that you don’t suffer from ‘apocryphobia’ 🙂

        You do however realize that your view stands in opposition to the default view of modern evangelicals which is pretty well summarized in the Westminster Confession, i.e. those books are dangerous because they teach praying for the dead. Imagine yourself at a Wednesday night prayer meeting when someone requests prayers for his dead aunt. Would not the pastor then survey a field of freshly furrowed foreheads? 🙂

        Speaking of this practice. How do you think it came about in the Catholic Church? Do you see it as an accretion? or does it date to the time of the Apostles?

        1. You are asking me to speculate. I do not think it was a Jewish practice and I really think quoting 2 Maccabees as a prooftext is actually counter-productive. I think the practice is pretty early and that it evolved.We live in a communion of living and dead saints. Everyone, living and dead, prays. I think when martyrs started becoming heroes of sorts, they started taking on these other worldly qualities, especially in North Africa (where persecution also seemed to be worse.) So, I think the practice evolved from a mixture of correct doctrine and stories around martyrs.

          1. Craig>>I think the practice is pretty early and that it evolved.We live in a communion of living and dead saints. Everyone, living and dead, prays<<<

            Welcome home, Craig! 🙂 You really do astound me, making my points for me, building my case for me. I should just let you write my next comment…..go ahead…….

            AWLMS, good point….I was just thinking of something a little less spectacular….one of those 'hidden in plain sight' proofs. Fact is, religious Jews have always prayed for the dead ( Akiva ben Joseph, the 1st CTY rabbi credited with banishing our poor deuterocanonicals from the Jewish canon, is also famous for a legend where he freed a departed soul from punishment by teaching the dead man's son to read for the synagogue)

            Logically, having two antagonistic branches of the same religion, i.e. modern Judaism and Catholicism who share a common practice, it makes sense to posit that that practice was inherited from their common ancestor…in this case 1st CTY pharisaical Judaism. So Craig is right again! Right?

          2. Al, the Scripture you quoted has nothing to do with the issue, so I am not going to address it.

            Kneeling Catholics, legends concerning 1st century peoples do not constitute actual historical facts about what people actually did and practiced at the time.

            All the best,
            Craig

        2. “Speaking of this practice. How do you think it came about in the Catholic Church? Do you see it as an accretion? or does it date to the time of the Apostles?”

          Well, if you were one of the Apostles, or disciples, of the Lord in Jerusalem at the time of the resurrection of Christ, you would probably be a believer in the ability of saints to appear and communicate to others after their resurrection, also.

          Why? It says it clearly in scripture that resurrected saints can appear to people:

          “And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent. [52] And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose, [53] And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city, AND APPEARED TO MANY.” (Matt. 27:51)

          1. The way I see it, is that KC asked: “Speaking of this practice. How do you think it (praying for the dead) came about in the Catholic Church? Do you see it as an accretion? or does it date to the time of the Apostles? Craig said that what I answered “has nothing to do with the issue “. I guess he means the issue of praying for the dead as far back as the Apostles.

            Well, it sure seems to pertain to ‘the issue’ to me. We have physical contact between saints who have risen from their graves appearing to many, which assumes that they might have spoken to the many also. And should we overlook this important piece of evidence from the scriptures? Should we think that this had NO impact on the beliefs of the early Church? Andhy would these risen saints try to make contact with these apostles and disciples in the first place? There must be a reason.

            And, at least, this event demonstrates, that, it is indeed POSSIBLE for this to happen. There is so much accusation on the Protestant side that such contact is impossible, because after death there is a impassable ‘chasm’ such as is described in the Lazarus account.

            So, to have evidence that saints can indeed contact others on Earth, after their resurrection, (and as far back as the Apostles, as which what the question asked), is both pertinent and significant. Why does anybody think that it would be included in this most important part of the Gospel narrative, if it had no significance? Again, this is at least another proof, besides the Mt. Tabor account, that it is physically possible.

          2. Al, those verses have nothing to do with the practice. Our previous discussion on the subject should be fresh enough that you should remember backing off some of those contentions. It would be like me citing Saul’s contacting Samuel’s spirit as a proof text against prayers for the dead. With all due respect, it doesn’t really help shed light on the issue.

          3. Craig,

            kneeling catholic says:

            AWLMS, good point….

            Yet, Craig says:
            Al, the Scripture you quoted has nothing to do with the issue, so I am not going to address it.

            That should tell you that there is something, YOU, are missing. The Catholics agree on this point. So, are we simply to accept your understanding because “you say so”?

          4. De Maria, I would argue the point until the cows come home. The physical resurrection of the old testament saints as nothing to do with prayers to the dead. It’s tangential at best.

            Of course Catholics are going to want to slap each other on the back and tell themselves, “Oh, good one!” I can find a bunch of Protestants slapping each other on the back bashing the “apocrypha,” but that doesn’t make their opinion intelligent.

            However, you are not really interested in what’s true anyway, otherwise you wouldn’t come to the defense of a lousy proof-text, a proof-text that no one of importance that I know of equates with the practice of praying to the dead. Do you know of anyone?

            I would much appreciate that you write something constructive or informative for a change.

  4. Craig>>>legends concerning 1st century peoples do not constitute actual historical facts about what people actually did and practiced at the time.<<<

    Thank the Lord we have something to disagree on!

    Before you make me waste brain cells on this, Craig, are you saying that if I can prove to you, concretely, that prayers for dead, something like the mourner's kaddish, was a common jewish practice at the time of our Lord, that then you would be willing to say an Ave for my aunt Beulah? 🙂

      1. Did Jesus ever insinuate that ‘Pharisaical Judaism’ was actually ‘satanical’? OR, did he consider that ‘certain’ Pharisees of His time were not living up to the moral and spiritual ethics demanded of true ‘teachers of Israel’? At least in His association with Nicodemus, nothing seems to indicate that he finds anything that might be described as ‘satanical’. If you DO think Nicodemus was a follower of satan, then consider this:

        “Nicodemus appears three times in the Gospel of John. He first visits Jesus one night to discuss his teachings.[John 3:1–21] The second time Nicodemus is mentioned, he reminds his colleagues in the Sanhedrin that the law requires that a person be heard before being judged.[John 7:50–51] Finally, Nicodemus appears after the Crucifixion to provide the customary embalming spices, and assists Joseph of Arimathea in preparing the body of Jesus for burial.[John 19:39–42]”

        Moreover,
        “He is venerated as a Christian saint.” (Wikipedia)

      2. CRAIG>>Not really, I believe that Pharisaical Judaism, as well as Rabbinic Judaism, are Satanic. 🙂 However, it would be interesting to know from a historical perspective, of course.<<<

        Craig, thanks for the 'heads-up'!

        I must admit, you never cease to amaze….if Pharisaical Judaism was satanic then what non-satanic branch of Judaism did our Lord and Lady and his blessed cousin come from? I have been laboring under the (oversimplified?) assumption that Judaism in the 1st CTY broke rather neatly into the pro-resurrection pro-afterlife Jews (the pharisees) and the anti-resurrection, obliterationist Sadducees.

        Certainly Jesus condemns the pharisees for hypocrisy! I missed the part where He condemns them for Satanic worship or even heresy for that matter. To say someone doesn't practice what he preaches is a backhanded compliment to dogma he preaches, but a compliment nonetheless. No?

        If Jesus' 'own' to whom He came were satanists, then what are we to make of God's Providence, His preparing the way? He'd have been much better off coming to the Zoroastrians!

        1. I missed the memo where it said that Jesus, Peter, the Zebedee brothers, Mary, and others belonged to a specific denomination of Judaism!

          Pharisaical Judaism taught “the traditions of the elders,” traditions in which are now recorded in the Talmud. The Talmud has a lot of really wicked, and terrible stuff in it.

          These traditions added a plethora of laws that did not exist in the Mosaic covenant. Moses warned, “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deut 4:2).

          Granted, the only person Jesus called Satan was Peter, but I don’t actually think that means Peter is Satanic obviously. However, this is not true of the Pharisees who were whitewashed tombs, ignored the word of God to follow the traditions of men, who committed the unforgivable sin, whose doctrines were associated with false, damned Christians in Acts 15 and Gal 2.

          Being that Jesus rejected specific Pharisaical teachings, it is safe to say He was not a Pharisee, nor did He ever claim to be so. However, the Pharisees were right about the resurrection of the dead, so they weren’t wrong about everything.

  5. CRAIG>>I missed the memo where it said that Jesus, Peter, the Zebedee brothers, Mary, and others belonged to a specific denomination of Judaism<<

    Craig, sometimes you say sensible things, but then sometimes you get off on this anti-organized-religion rant. We are getting bogged down, but it's probably worth our while to stop and clarify positions. I believe:

    When the Bible says Jesus came unto His own, but His own received Him not that *own* must have included the Pharisees, perhaps at the top of the list. Why else would He instruct people to do what pharisees say, but not what they do (if they were Satanic)?

    Paul was certainly not afraid to play his pharisee card. (Acts 23) If the pharisees were truly an occult organization, I don't think he could have morally pulled that off.

    1. Kneeling, I am on my phone again so I apologize for yue brief reply. I do not think that Jesus are many others were Pharisees. In Acts 15 there were Legalists “of the party of the Pharisees” that were causing trouble. Obviously Peter, James, Paul, John and others there were all Jews, yet they were not considered the same sort of Jew as these Pharisees. As I said before, the Pharisees had quite a few wrong dogmas that Jesus corrected them for. I think you are drawing too much of an inference that Jesus and the apostles belonged to a specific denomination of Judaism. It is not only anachronistic, but not justified by the text which clearly lumps Pharisees as a different class of Jew as compared to Zealots, Sadduccees, Lawyers, and other groups mentioned in the Scripture. The fact that Simon was a Zealot and Nicosemus a

      1. A pharisee shows that one can be a part of these different groups and become a Christian–not what you are inferring, that all of the apostles and Jesus Himself were Pharisees themselves. The text simply does not allow us to take this conclusion.

          1. The Bible does not call any religion explicitly Satanic. It does say:

            “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth” (1 Tim 4:1-3).

            That describes the Pharisees pretty well, though anachronistically. I believe the word “satanic” is a good adjective of such doctrines.

  6. CRAIG>>>–not what you are inferring, that all of the apostles and Jesus Himself were Pharisees themselves.<<<

    Craig, as CK points out, I am simply trying to have you walk-back your claim that the Pharisaic Judaism was satanic !

    You have NOT responded to my question of why our Lord told his followers to do as the Pharisees told them to do (I really don't understand how that would work if He knew the Pharisees were teaching Satanism!)

    If you would perhaps address our Lord's above instruction, then I think we could figure out whether we just need to 'agree-to-disagree' or whether we have approached an understanding.

    Regardless, we could then get back to our previous topic of prayers for the dead and 1st CTY Judaism. that is, if you still are interested and if Fr. Hershmeyer permits.

    1. “Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.”
      ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23:1-3‬ ‭NABRE‬‬
      http://bible.com/463/mat.23.1-3.nabre

      1. I think you are misapplying Jesus’ Scripture. Obviously, he was not telling His followers to follow the Sabbath in the sense the Pharisees did. He also was not telling His followers to adhere to the “traditions of the elders” in the Talmud, like the Pharisees.

        Chrysostom teaches us otherwise. He says that we should not ignore the teaching of the Pharisees that is actually found in the Old Testament, and not use their wickedness as excuse to not follow their Biblical teachings:

        “But that none should say, For this cause am I slack to practise, because my instructor is evil, He removes every such plea, saying, “All therefore whatsoever they say unto you, that observe and do,” for they speak not their own, but God’s, which things He taught through Moses in the Law. And look with how great honour He speaks of Moses, shewing again what harmony there is with the Old Testament.”

        God bless,
        Craig

        1. Craig – he’s straight up telling to follow their teaching and observe what they tell you. Don’t follow their example. This is Jesus’s command at that point in time. Sacred Oral tradition was relied upon. They did not believe in Sola Scriptura. Talmud did not come about until later. As an example, Hanukkah is not mentioned in your OT yet Jesus observed it because that is what was taught from the Seat of Moses.

          Heck the teaching that one sitts on The Seat Of Moses is in itself an OT sacred oral tradition as its not mentioned in the OT!

          1. I bet when looking at all what he has written Chrysostom does not believe what you think he believes which is Sola Scriptura. I’ll will do some research. I don’t think you can believe what you think he’s saying without contradicting some of your beliefs.

            Case in point, please point me to the OT passage that talks about Hanukkah. You can only point to a book that you do not consider the inspired Word of God, yet Jesus celebrated it. How can this be?

            What is this Chair of Moses. Did Jesus make this up out of the blue?

          2. Craig – That does not answer the question, is Chrysostom wrong on Matthew 23:1-3?

            Me – He is correct on Mathew 23:1-3 as far as Hanukkah is concerned (I don’t know of every Jewish observances, so I can’t give it a blanket “yes”). Jesus and the Jews observed Hanukkah and Hanukkah is mentioned in the OT books of Maccabees (inspired Word of God). I’ve answered your question. So please answer mine.

            Where in your OT books can you point to the celebration of Hanukah. If you can’t then how do you reconcile what Chrysostom teaches with the celebration of Hanukkah.

          3. CK, you have not answered the question clearly so I will ask again. Do you agree with Chrysostom’s analysis of Matt 23:1-3 in that Jesus commanded His followers to obey the Pharisees’ explicitly Biblical teachings, but not their traditions which are not found in the Scripture? This is the plain meaning of what Chrysostom said. Do you agree or disagree?

    2. “Regardless, we could then get back to our previous topic of prayers for the dead and 1st CTY Judaism”

      If prayers for the dead are of no consequence, then why are prayers for the dead effective for bringing them ‘back from the dead’? How then does this happen? If this is not a ‘saints’ prayer for the dead… I don’t know what is! :

      “And Elias said to her: Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him into the upper chamber where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. [20] And he cried to the Lord, and said: O Lord my God, hast thou afflicted also the widow, with whom I am after a so maintained, so as to kill her son?
      [21] And he stretched, and measured himself upon the child three times, and cried to the Lord, and said: O Lord my God, let the soul of this child, I beseech thee, return into his body. [22] And the Lord heard the voice of Elias: and the soul of the child returned into him, and he revived. [23] And Elias took the child, and brought him down from the upper chamber to the house below, and delivered him to his mother, and said to her: Behold thy son liveth. ” (1 Kings 17:19)

      1. …But, I guess some will say, that this type of scripture has nothing to do with Catholic prayers (prayers of Christian saints) for those who have died, or are presently in purgatory. That is, God definitely would listen to a prophet like Elias, an O.T. saint, but of course He wouldn’t listen to us, members of the ‘mystical body of Christ’ when we pray for our dead friends. That is, some Protestants say prayers to God for the dead have no effect once indeed they are dead, as they are definitively either 1. in Heaven or 2. in Hell. That is, there is no state, or place, in between these two states.

        Well, what about the story of Tabitha, in the Acts of the Apostles Ch.9:36? :

        “And in Joppe there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. [37] And it came to pass in those days that she was sick, and died. Whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. [38] And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppe, the disciples hearing that Peter was there, sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not be slack to come unto them. [39] And Peter rising up, went with them. And when he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber. And all the widows stood about him weeping, and shewing him the coats and garments which Dorcas made them. [40] And they all being put forth, Peter kneeling down prayed, and turning to the body, he said: Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes; and seeing Peter, she sat up.”

        1. You guessed it Al, neither of those passages address the issue of communicating to the dead and their intercessory prayers to us. THey speak of how the dead are raised, not their intermediary state (which, I presume was heaven as they did not awake terrified.)

          1. Craig said, “You guessed it Al, neither of those passages address the issue of communicating to the dead and their intercessory prayers TO us”.

            What I actually said was…”I guess some will say, that this type of scripture has nothing to do with ‘Catholic prayers (prayers of Christian saints) FOR those who have died, or are presently in purgatory'”. And the scripture was teaching about a living OT saint, Elias, praying for a dead man, the son of his friend, the widow of Sarepta (1Kings:17). This is to say, that Elias made intercessory prayer to God, and effected the miracle of bringing back his friend’s son to life. Catholics do the same, they make intercessory prayer to God so that the departed might have their sins loosed. And we expect that God hears our prayers even as Jesus told us to “Ask and you shall receive, knock and it shall be opened to you”.

            And Peter did the same for Tabitha. She was dead and Peter “kneeling down prayed”…which indicates intercessory prayer for her, and she returned to life. God listened to his prayer, and effected the great miracle.

            Craig also says: “THey speak of how the dead are raised, not their intermediary state (which, I presume was heaven…).”

            Well, that Elias and Peter are praying for the dead at all, assumes they have a hope that they wish to be accomplished by God for the departed, and that this gift is indeed possible. If these departed souls were in Heaven, as you ‘presume’, it would be a great and tragic disappointment for them to be returned to this miserable and sinful world after witnessing the glories of Heaven. And from everything I have read, if a person is really in Hell, then, as was with the ‘rich man’ in the Lazarus account, nothing can be done for him. So, these miracles of Elias and Peter point indeed to some sort of ‘intermediary state’ between Heaven and Hell, which some have termed the ‘bosom of Abraham’, and others ‘purgatory’. But the terminologies don’t really matter much, it is the truth of an intermediary state between Heaven and Hell that does. And what also matters is that God can listen to a saint here below pray for a person who is in this intermediary condition, that is, not in Heaven and not in Hell, and that his prayer can be heard; and that dead friend, or person, can be brought back to life just as Peter’s intercessory prayer raised the saintly woman Tabitha, and Elias’ intercessory prayer raised the ‘widows’ son. And it can easily be ‘presumed’ this same intermediate state between Heaven and Hell is where the graves were also opened after the death of Jesus on the Cross, of whom the risen dead “appeared to many” in Jerusalem.They were obviously NOT in Hell, as they were raised from their graves by the ‘preaching of Christ’ after His death, and they were also NOT in Heaven, as even Jesus Himself had not ascended to Heaven yet. So, we do have a sort of intermediary state described in these scriptures that indicate a state somewhere between Heaven and Hell

            The intercessory prayer that saints above in Heaven make for us below, and the graces and miracles that they might produce for us below, is another story. I was really focusing on intercessory prayer of saints below for their deceased friends on Earth, using the raising dead as proof of the effectiveness of such prayer. And in the first paragraph of Joe’s post, he mentions…” we are certainly right about praying to the Saints and PRAYING FOR THE DEPARTED.” So, these extra examples from the scriptures that I provided are also pertinent to the conversation in that they highlight the effectiveness of ‘prayer for the departed’ as witnessed in sacred scripture.

          2. “And the scripture was teaching about a living OT saint, Elias, praying for a dead man, the son of his friend, the widow of Sarepta (1Kings:17). This is to say, that Elias made intercessory prayer to God, and effected the miracle of bringing back his friend’s son to life. Catholics do the same, they make intercessory prayer to God so that the departed might have their sins loosed.”

            One does not relate to the other.

            “And we expect that God hears our prayers even as Jesus told us to “Ask and you shall receive, knock and it shall be opened to you”.”

            God hears everything, He does not answer everything.

            “Well, that Elias and Peter are praying for the dead at all, assumes they have a hope that they wish to be accomplished by God for the departed, and that this gift is indeed possible.”

            Yeah, raising people from the dead is possible. Again, if there were a purgatory, it is possible that God could answer such prayers. However, upu cannot use that prayer as proof for your doctrine, because in order to do so you have to hold the presupposition that the doctrine is true to begin with.

            “So, we do have a sort of intermediary state described in these scriptures that indicate a state somewhere between Heaven and Hell.”

            Well, that is Sheol, the common abode of the dead before the Resurrection.

            God bless,

            Craig

          3. The CCC describes ‘Sheol’ as having different states, one for the righteous and one for the evil, so I guess we’re somewhat on the same page :

            633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell” – Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek – because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God.480 Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”:481 “It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell.”482 Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him.483

            634 “The gospel was preached even to the dead.”484 The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfilment. This is the last phase of Jesus’ messianic mission, a phase which is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of Christ’s redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.

            635 Christ went down into the depths of death so that “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”485 Jesus, “the Author of life”, by dying destroyed “him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and [delivered] all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.”486 Henceforth the risen Christ holds “the keys of Death and Hades”, so that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”487

  7. The early printings of both the 1560 Geneva Bible and the 1611 Authorised Version (KJV) actually included the Deuterocanonical books, which is somewhat widely known. However, they also contained cross references to these books, which are sadly gone now since the books have been purged from the Protestant Bible.

    I do not have a fascimile copy, or I would check whether the early editions of the KJV cross referenced Wisdom 15 in Romans 9. An interesting question.

      1. CRAIG>>>>Chrysostom teaches us otherwise. He says that we should not ignore the teaching of the Pharisees that is actually found in the Old Testament, and not use their wickedness as excuse to not follow their Biblical teachings:
        “But that none should say, For this cause am I slack to practise, because my instructor is evil, He removes every such plea, saying, “All therefore whatsoever they say unto you, that observe and do,” for they speak not their own, but God’s, which things He taught through Moses in the Law. And look with how great honour He speaks of Moses, shewing again what harmony there is with the Old Testament.”<<<

        Bravo, Craig!. (Thanks for bringing me around to Chrysostom’s position!!)

        Where were we? Oh yes, prayers for the dead. Several years back I was bowled when I learned that :

        o ALL pious modern day Jews pray for the dead (this excludes atheistic Jews and any who do not believe in the Resurrection)

        Please try to imagine how Catholics and Jews– two estranged communities who share an Old Testament which forbids necromancy–both universally pray for dead people.

        The most simple, uncontorted explanation is that they both must have inherited this practice from their common ancestor, 1st CTY pro-resurrection Judaism.

        There are tangibles which concretely testify to the practice's continuous presence as well: biblical hints, extra-biblical texts, funerary inscriptions, however I think that it is the practice’s modern day existence after 2000 years of antagonism between two rival siblings, per se, indicates it must have been solidly in place before the estrangement.

        Agreed?

          1. Craig, I’m trying to find the really concise article I ran across….I’m tied up this weekend I’ll get you some really good stuff NLT Monday….if you need me to I’ll leave a note on your very scholarly blog!

          2. Kneeling Catholic,

            When you find the source you are looking for, can you please post a link here also, as I too am interested in viewing this information?

      2. There is an online facsimile of the 1611 KJV, and in it, Romans 9:21 is cross-referenced to Wisdom 15:7. Thanks Joe, for the heads up!

        The site is a bit clunky, and when you find a specific page, it does not allow you to zoom in on that page. Or at least I could not. The cross-reference notes are small, but if you expect something specific, you should be able to make it out.

        Paste this into your browser, and make the substitutions, and you should see the site: archive(dot)org(slash)stream(slash)holybiblefacsimi00polluoft

        1. Thanks a lot. I think that though the Protestant position (other than the Anglicans in the 16th and early 17th centuries) has never been of wholesale endorsing of the Deuterocanon, it did not suffer from the Apochryphobia that Protestants suffer from today. Luther took a firm stand against them but Calvin, for example, favored the Canonicity of Baruch.

          Let me tip my caps to the Catholics on this: it reflects the sort of “make it up as I go along” nature of Protestantism which is somewhat counterproductive. I think that Protestants need a lot of humility when approaching the issue of the Deuterocanon.

          1. Sorry for the hiatus..I kept looking to find something concise.I could just refer you to-a one-stop-shop–.sadly looks like l must create this thing for you!

            From your question I would like to focus on two facts:

            1. Praying for the dead’s universality among modern day religious Jews, i.e.those who do not believe the soul is obliterated, be they Orthodox, Conservative or even Reform. (Mourner’s Kaddish | ReformJudaism.org )

            2. Solid evidence (outside the Deuterocanonical texts of II Macc and Baruch 3:4 ) of prayers for the dead among the Jews of Jesus’ time,consisting of

            i) Extrabiblical texts

            Testament of Abraham[[[The Testament of Abraham is preserved in the Pseudepigrapha, which is a collection of assorted texts that are primarily thought to have been written between 200 B.C.E. and 200 C.E. by Jewish writers.]]

            [[[from The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia]]]

            >>>>>>>But the actions of the man are also weighed in the scales, to find out whether the good outweigh the bad, enabling the soul to enter paradise, or whether the bad prevail, resulting in the consignment of the soul to Gehenna. In case, however, his good and evil deeds are equal in weight, the soul has to undergo the process of purification by fire, remaining in an intermediate state (Benoni) corresponding to the purgatory of the Church (compare Tosef., Sanh. xiii. 3; ‘Er. 19a; Ḥag. 27a; Origen, in Psalm xxxvii. hom. 3; Ambrose, enarratio in Psalm xxxvii. No. 26). But the weighing of the sins is also done for the purpose of ascertaining their quality, since there are light and heavy ones, sins such as adultery being compensated for only bymany good actions (R. H. 17a). The name of the weighing angel is very significant—Dokiel (compare Isa. xl. 15, 21, “by the dust [] in the balance”; see Jerome on this passage), while the angel who probes the soul is called Puriel, from the Greek word for fire, πῦρ. This apocrypha contains an utterance of God which is peculiar to it: “I shall not judge man [see Gen. vi. 3]; therefore shall Abel, the first man born of woman, be judge.”
            Abraham is then represented in a touching way as pitying a soul that is just being weighed, and that lacks but one meritorious act to outbalance its evil doings. He intercedes on its behalf; the angels join in; and the soul is at last admitted into paradise. The merit of the pious helping the sinner is often mentioned in rabbinical and apocryphal literature (compare Slavonic Book of Enoch, vii. 4, and Apoc. Mosis, 33; Soṭah, 10b)………<<<<<<<<

            Additionally the Mishnah–also written down circa the same time period as the N. T. —specifically mentions Rabbi Shammai's belief that there is a third class of people-(besides the saints and the damned) who must pass a time in gehenna before entering heaven.

            ii) Sepulchral inscriptions

            Chamber's (19th Cty) Encyclopedia gets right to the heart of the matter
            referring to "its use has recently been discovered in the inscriptions
            disinterred in several Jewish catacombs of the first three centuries, at
            Rome and in Southern Italy, which abound with supplications:'May thy sleep be in peace!'…"(https://books.google.com/books?id=lfkUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA740&lpg=PA74
            0&dq=jewish+sepulchral+prayer+for+dead+in+antiquity&source=bl&ots=tv1jqcJyIt
            &sig=lnr2HVMIX0XGw3WIBr7eaF_KFrQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAGoVChMIuomSr-CDyQI
            Vyjo-Ch1FUAd-#v=onepage&q=jewish%20sepulchral%20prayer%20for%20dead%20in%20a
            ntiquity&f=false)

            Some protestants like Henry Barclay Swete (1835-1917)
            [http://hbswete.co.uk/art35.html#2] acknowledge prayers for the dead among the early Christians but then claim that the modern Catholic practice is way overdone compared to the more simple 'RIP' of the early Christians. However, if you take a walk thru any cemetery, –despite Swete's claim that evangelicals might accept RIP as an innocent prayer and inoffensive — you will not find RIP on a protestant headstone, nor will you ever hear a such a petition in a protestant prayer meeting!

            The above- per se- seems a strong indicator that modern evangelicals' view of the hereafter has to be vastly different from that of the Jews of Antiquity and for that matter, that of the early Christians.

            The strongest opposition to my line of reasoning I could find was– Charles Henry Hamilton Wright—- here—-[[https://books.google.com/books?id=IINPAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA219&lpg=PA219&dq=ancient
            +jewish+tombs+prayer+for+departed+catacomb&source=bl&ots=x7xURWNVdL&sig=iB9a
            cFOKInlD_6mkjGZ3tAeVrPo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CFoQ6AEwDWoVChMI7pjU64KEyQIVTC0mCh2b
            VAve#v=onepage&q=ancient%20jewish%20tombs%20prayer%20for%20departed%20cataco
            mb&f=false ]]-.

            I see Wrights points summarized as:

            1. the subjunctive 'may he rest in peace', latin 'requiescat in pace' discovered on Jewish tombstones of antiquity meant nothing

            2. the Jews adopted their modern universal practice of praying for the dead by imitating their medieval Catholic persecutors during the crusades(!!!???)

            To me, Wright's argument is a classic case of challenging objective facts because they don't agree with one's pet hypothesis. In this case Wright's pet hypothesis is that 'no Jews prayed for dead during Jesus' time'. I think he foresaw that simply admitting what archaeological facts indicated could lead to the further question of why our Lord Jesus never condemned the pharisees' for 'necromancy' if they were practicing it. Necromancy is a violation of the First Commandment. If praying for the dead were Necromancy, Jesus would not have counseled people to obey the pharisees in all things, Mat. 23:3, which He certainly did do!

  8. Craig said: “I personally have no problem with the Deuterocanon and I am agnostic on the issue due to the inconsistent testimony of the early Church, and having read the Deuterocanon a couple of times never feeling compelled of its Canonicity. Neither of these are compelling in which for me to make a case against them, so I do not take any issue whatsoever and find the Deuterocanon quite profitable. I quoted Wisdom 2 at a dinner party on Friday as a warning against those who would take the books lightly, for example.”

    ——

    Craig, I have read your reason and I don’t see anything compelling to make me symphatize with your agnosticism. It really boils down to this: it’s either you follow your own wisdom according to your own knowledge (which isn’t much) or you follow the wisdom of the Church as the Spirit has guided her.

    You are not even a hundred years old, while the Catholic Church is nearly 2,000 years old. The version of Christianity you believe in is only 500 years old, and even among your Protestant brethren, there isn’t a shortage of “wise men” who would disagree with anything you believe. Why should anyone think for a moment you got it right when it comes to the Canon of scripture?

    St Jerome followed the wisdom of the Church instead of his own, although his initial views on the scriptures did not agree with it. St Augustine said he would not have believed the gospel had it not been proclaimed by the Church. Yet the Church was barely 400 years old when this great men lived.

    When the Council of Trent declared the canon of scripture, the Church had already been at least 1,500 years old. Why should anyone think that your lifetime of wisdom on the subject is far superior than the collective wisdom of that great Council?

    God did not give you any authority to determine what is or isn’t in the canon. That is not for you to decide. The Christian Church is not a cafeteria. For the sake of your soul, get off your high horse….

  9. What is the date of the oldest Bible in existence? (After the Canon was agreed) Does it include the Deuterocanonical books as part of the Bible, not as a separate section? Are there any Bibles up to the time of the Protestant Reformation that do not include the Deuterocanonical books?

    1. Before the printing press, complete “Bibles” were rare. The vast number of manuscripts were smaller, more manageable collections, like lectionaries, gospel books, other smaller collections, or single books. (At least that is my impression.)

      It would be interesting to know the representation that the deuterocanonical books do have in the extant manuscripts, and the types of collections that they are found in.

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