Monday, June 25, 2007

On the Canonicity of the Deuterocanonical Books: Part 3

As promised, here is Part 3 in my debate with "seal." Also see Parts 1 and 2.
I'm sorry Phatcatholic that you feel that way about my speech towards you. And I won't call you cookie again. The word cookie means cookie by the way
It's all good.
I thought that you were following the thread so maybe you overlooked redeemed's post....
I remember reading his post earlier, but I thought you would have examples of your own. I can respond to these though.
Please account for these passages from the DB's... Canonical Scripture and verse please.
You got it. Redeem's first objection was with Second Maccabees:
"II Macc. 12:41-45 offers prayers and offerings for the dead"
Believe it or not, there's evidence for this in your canon too:

1 Ki 17:20-22 And [Elijah] cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, hast thou brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?" 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this child's soul come into him again." 22 And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Eli'jah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

Jn 11:41-43 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me." 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Laz'arus, come out."

Acts 9:40 But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, rise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.

2 Tim 1:16-18 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiph'orus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me-- 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day--and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

In these passages, Elijah, Peter, Paul, and Jesus himself all pray for the dead. It is true that in the cases of Elijah, Peter, and Jesus, the prayer is for the person to come back to life. But, that doesn't change the fact that the soul of a dead person is still being prayed for, which according to Protestants is strictly prohibited. Note also that, in order for these souls to return to their bodies, they must have been in an intermediate state, since heaven and hell are irrevocable and eternal judgments. This is what "prayer for the dead" is: prayer for souls in this intermediate state.

As an aside, it appears that even Martin Luther approved of prayers for the dead:
"As for the dead, since Scripture gives us no information on the subject, I regard it as no sin to pray with free devotion in this or some similar fashion: 'Dear God, if this soul is in a condition accessible to mercy, be thou gracious to it.' And when this has been done once or twice, let it suffice." (Luther's Works, vol. 37, p. 369)
Just something interesting I found.

Redeemed's second objection was with Tobit and Sirach:
"Tobit 12:8-9 & Ecclus. 3:30 teach that one can atone for sin via almsgiving"
Atoning for sin via almsgiving and sacrifices is all over the Old Testament. Here are just a few examples of when money in particular is given, instead of animals for sacrifice or grain offerings:

Exo 30:14-16 Every one who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the LORD's offering. 15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when you give the LORD's offering to make atonement for yourselves. 16 And you shall take the atonement money from the people of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tent of meeting; that it may bring the people of Israel to remembrance before the LORD, so as to make atonement for yourselves."

Num 31:50 And we have brought the LORD's offering, what each man found, articles of gold, armlets and bracelets, signet rings, earrings, and beads, to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD."

2 Ki 12:16 The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the LORD; it belonged to the priests.

For more examples of almsgiving to atone for sin, go here and here.

Redeemed's final objection was again with Sirach:
Ecclus. 33:25-27 & 22:3 endorse cruelty to slaves & low and oppressive views of women ["the birth of a daughter is a loss"]--42:14 "better is the wickedness of a man than a woman who does good"
This attitude towards women isn't exclusive to the DB's. The same type of thing can be found in books you consider canonical:

Exo 21:2-4,7 When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. 3 If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's and he shall go out alone. 7 "When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.
[Note: A male slave is free after 6 yrs but a girl slave is a slave forever. Note also that if the master gives his male slave a wife and she bears children, he can be free but the wife and children have to stay.]

Lev 12:2,5 "Say to the people of Israel, If a woman conceives, and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. 5 But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation; and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying for sixty-six days.
[Note: If she bears a son, she is unclean for 7 days, but if she bears a daughter she is unclean for 14 days and her purification lasts 66 days.]

Lev 27:2-7 "Say to the people of Israel, When a man makes a special vow of persons to the LORD at your valuation, 3 then your valuation of a male from twenty years old up to sixty years old shall be fifty shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. 4 If the person is a female, your valuation shall be thirty shekels. 5 If the person is from five years old up to twenty years old, your valuation shall be for a male twenty shekels, and for a female ten shekels. 6 If the person is from a month old up to five years old, your valuation shall be for a male five shekels of silver, and for a female your valuation shall be three shekels of silver. 7 And if the person is sixty years old and upward, then your valuation for a male shall be fifteen shekels, and for a female ten shekels.
[Note: Women are obviously valued less than males here.]

Deut 25:11-12 "When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, 12 then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall have no pity.
[Note: Apparently, a man's private parts are worth more than a woman's hand.]

There are many more examples, but you get the idea. Remember that whatever apologetic you may use to validate these examples can be equally applied to the examples found in the DB's. In other words, if you don't rule out canonical books for discriminating against women, then u can't rule out the DB's for discriminating against women either. The point of all this is to show that, if you are going to reject Tobit, Sirach, and 2 Maccabees b/c they mention prayers for the dead, almsgiving to atone for sin, and ill-treatment of women, then you have to reject canonical books as well.

Now that Second Maccabees, Tobit, and Sirach have been addressed, what about Wisdom, Judith, Baruch, 1 Macc, and the additions to Daniel and Esther? You have yet to point out anything contradictory in those books. I look forward to your evidence.

Pax Christi,

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