Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On the Canonicity of the Deuterocanonical Books: Part 1

This is one of the debates I mentioned in my last post. The deuterocanon (ie. "second canon") is a set of seven books--Sirach, Tobit, Wisdom, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and Baruch--as well as additions to Daniel and Esther. This debate was well underway when I arrived. Usually, I don't like to get into debates that are already well-developed, but I noticed that a few people were using the "quotation equals canonicity" fallacy so I wanted to at least post the tract I had written on this subject (make sure you read that first). Of course, that drew out "seal", who is always trying to refute me whenever he gets the chance. Here is my first response to him.
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I'll chime in on the convo. What I have gathered thus far is that Cruz, Jnorm, and Phat Catholic are proponents for the Apocrypha to be used as devotion and the latter two may perhaps include it in Canon. Now I've read through all of Phat Catholic's side by side quotes of Christ and the teachings of the Aprocrypha and I don't correllate the teachings "Perhaps he can explain some of them." Christ is the Logos become Flesh (John 1:14) and therefore which word should we consider the Divine. Do teachings from books I think most were saying aren't Divinely Inspired to be considered the foundation drawn upon by the Christ? Christ said he came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, Matthew 5:17-19, notice the Apocrypha isn't mentioned. Also the Sandhedrin (Including Pharisees) was referred to by Christ as the Children of Satan. John 8:44 (John 8 really gives this notion a serious punch and so does Josephus<--even though he's wack as well). Now as far as the Apocrypha having some Truth in it b/c it's inspired by the Torah, well this is a very weak point. I've heard Fred Price preach a not terrible message but that doesn't mean I join his church or go to Sunday school. Why is this? B/c he's not consistent which expository preaching. Heck, there are Egyptians and Pagans (who had a trinity themselves) that had some of the same laws found in Torah, but they didn't serve YHWH. Should they be in devotion as well? Uh no. So if there is no 100% consistent objective which is Divine Truth throughout the books then it's not worth being a devotion and especially not included in Canon. Just some thoughts off the top of my head... I'll try and fill in later...
Your train of thought was a little hard for me to follow here. It seemed like maybe you were trying to type too fast. Anyway, from what I can tell, here are your basic arguments:

The apocryphal (or "deuterocanoncail") books should not be considered devotional or canonical because:
  1. the quotes I provided are not actually quotes of deuterocanonical books
  2. Jesus doesn't mention them in Mt 5:17-19
  3. having elements from the Torah does not mean they are inspired
  4. truth is not found throughout them.
I would like to respond to each one in turn.

I don't know how you can make your first argument. You don't think there was a correspondance in any of the connections I made? Not one? I just find that hard to believe, considering how similar those deuterocanonical passages were to their NT counterparts. Jesus' life and his passion are clearly seen in Wisdom 2, perhaps moreso than in any other book of the Bible. Also, the mention in the letter to the Hebrews of women who receive their dead through resurrection because they chose to suffer torture (Heb 11:35) can only be a reference to 2 Mac 7. Such an incident is not found anywhere else in the Bible. Note that if you concede even one of the examples I provided, then your argument is debunked.

As for #2, "the law and the prophets" is simply a phrase used to describe the Scriptures. There's no reason to believe that the deuterocanonical books couldn't be included in that, especially since it is very clear that Jesus quoted from the Septuagint (see here), which contained the deuterocanonical books. If you take Jesus literally as saying "only the law and only the prophets" then you would have to discount Psalms and the other wisdom literature, and I don't think you want to do that

As for #3, I agree

Finally, #4 will be hard for you to prove. I find much truth throughout these books, and the ECF's did too, which is why they quoted from them so frequently and read from them in the churches (see here).

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

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