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The deuterocanonical books (from the Greek meaning "belonging to the second canon") are the books and passages of the Christian Old Testament that are not part of the Hebrew Bible. The term, used since the 16th century by the Catholic Church and sometimes by Orthodox Christianity, distinguishes these texts from the protocanonical books, which are the books contained in the Hebrew canon. The distinction arose as a result of the debate in the early Church as to which texts should be classified as canonical. The term is used as a matter of convenience by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and other Churches to refer to books of their Old Testament which are not part of the Masoretic Text.
The deuterocanonical books are considered canonical (that is, authoritative parts of the Bible) by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and the Church of the East, but they are considered non-canonical by most Protestants.
The original usage of the term distinguished these scriptures both from those considered non-canonical and from those considered protocanonical. However, some editions of the Bible include text from both deuterocanonical and non-canonical scriptures in a single section designated "Apocrypha". This arrangement can lead to conflation between the otherwise distinct terms "deuterocanonical" and "apocryphal".
Philip Schaff says that "the Council of Hippo in 393, and the third (according to another reckoning the sixth) Council of Carthage in 397, under the influence of Augustine, who attended both, fixed the catholic canon of the Holy Scriptures, including the Apocrypha of the Old Testament, ... This decision of the transmarine church however, was subject to ratification; and the concurrence of the Roman see it received when Innocent I and Gelasius I (AD 414) repeated the same index of biblical books. Schaff says that this canon remained undisturbed till the sixteenth century, and was sanctioned by the Council of Trent at its fourth session," although as the Catholic Encyclopedia reports, "in the Latin Church, all through the Middle Ages we find evidence of hesitation about the character of the deuterocanonicals...Few are found to unequivocally acknowledge their canonicity," but that the countless manuscript copies of the Vulgate produced by these ages, with a slight, probably accidental, exception, uniformly embrace the complete Roman Catholic Old Testament.
The exceptions to this narrative are the Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah, which were not separately listed as canonical by any of these Western synods and councils, nor are specified as canonical by Innocent I and Gelasius I, nor are present in any complete Vulgate bibles earlier the 9th century; and even after that date, do not become common in the Vulgate Old Testament until the 13th century. In the Old Latin version of the bible, these two works appear to have been incorporated into the Book of Jeremiah, and Latin Fathers of the 4th century and earlier always cite their texts as being from that book. However, when Jerome translated Jeremiah afresh from the Hebrew text, which is considerably longer than the Greek Septuagint text and with chapters in a different order, he steadfastly refused to include either Baruch or the Letter of Jeremiah. As the Vulgate bible supplanted the Old Latin in western church use in subsequent centuries, so Baruch and the letter of Jeremiah are no longer treated as canonical in the works of Fathers who favoured the Vulgate; Gregory the Great, Isidore of Seville and Bede. In the 9th century these two works were reintroduced into the Vulgate bibles produced under the influence of Theodulf of Orleans, originally as additional chapters to the Vulgate book of Jeremiah. Subsequently, and especially in the Paris Bibles of the 13th century, they are found together as a single, combined book after Lamentations.
The Council of Trent in 1546 supported the decisions about which books to include in the canon that were determined by earlier councils, other than including Baruch with the Letter of Jeremiah as a separate book. While the majority at Trent supported this decision there were participants in the minority who disagreed with the books accepted in the canon. Among the minority, at Trent, were Cardinals Seripando and Cajetan, the latter an opponent of Luther at Augsburg. The Fathers in session at Trent confirmed the statements of earlier regional councils which also included the deuterocanonical books, such as the Council of Rome (382), the Synod of Hippo (393), the Council of Carthage (397) and Council of Carthage (419) and the Council of Florence (1442) and provided "the first infallible and effectually promulgated pronouncement on the Canon" by the Roman Catholic Church.
Since 1546 Catholic deuterocanonical scriptural texts have been:
Deuterocanonical is a term coined in 1566 by the theologian Sixtus of Siena, who had converted to Catholicism from Judaism, to describe scriptural texts of the Old Testament considered canonical by the Catholic Church, but which are not present in the Hebrew Bible today, and including some texts which had been omitted by some early canon lists, especially in the East.
Their acceptance among early Christians was widespread, though not universal, and the Bible of the early Church always included, with varying degrees of recognition, books now called deuterocanonical. Some say that their canonicity seems not to have been doubted in the Church until it was challenged by Jews after AD 100, sometimes postulating a hypothetical Council of Jamnia. Regional councils in the West published official canons that included these books as early as the 4th and 5th centuries.
The Catholic Encyclopedia states that "At Jerusalem there was a renewal, or at least a survival, of Jewish ideas, the tendency there being distinctly unfavourable to the deuteros. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, while vindicating for the Church the right to fix the Canon, places them among the apocrypha and forbids all books to be read privately which are not read in the churches. In Antioch and Syria the attitude was more favourable. St. Epiphanius of Salamis hesitated about the rank of some deuteros. While he esteemed them, they did not hold the same place as the Hebrew books in his regard. On the other hand, the Oriental versions and Greek manuscripts of the period are more liberal. They have all the deuterocanonicals and, in some cases, certain apocrypha."
"In the Latin Church, all through the Middle Ages, there is evidence of hesitation about the character of the deuterocanonicals. One is favourable, the other unfavourable to their authority and sacredness. Wavering between the two are a number of writers whose veneration for these books is tempered by some perplexity as to their exact standing, and among those is St. Thomas Aquinas. Few are found to unequivocally acknowledge their canonicity. The prevailing attitude of Western medieval authors is substantially that of the Greek Fathers. The chief cause of this phenomenon in the West is to be sought in the influence, direct and indirect, of St. Jerome's depreciating Prologus."
Meanwhile, "the protocanonical books of the Old Testament correspond with those of the Bible of the Hebrews, and the Old Testament as received by Protestants."
Fragments of three deuterocanonical (Sirach, Tobit & Baruch) books have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran, in addition to several partial copies of I Enoch and Jubilees from the Ethiopic deuterocanon, and Psalm 151 from the Eastern Orthodox Church deuterocanon.
Sirach, whose Hebrew text was already known from the Cairo Geniza, has been found in two scrolls (2QSir or 2Q18, 11QPs_a or 11Q5) in Hebrew. Another Hebrew scroll of Sirach has been found in Masada (MasSir).:597 Five fragments from the Book of Tobit have been found in Qumran written in Aramaic and in one written in Hebrew (papyri 4Q, nos. 196–200).:636 The Letter of Jeremiah (or Baruch chapter 6) has been found in cave 7 (papyrus 7Q2) in Greek.:628 It has been theorized by recent scholars that the Qumran library (of approximately 1,100 manuscripts found in the eleven caves at Qumran) was not entirely produced at Qumran, but may have included part of the library of the Jerusalem Temple, that may have been hidden in the caves for safekeeping at the time the Temple was destroyed by Romans in 70 AD.
The large majority of Old Testament references in the New Testament are taken from the Koine Greek Septuagint (LXX) – editions of which include the deuterocanonical books, as well as apocrypha – both of which are called collectively ἀναγιγνωσκόμενα anagignoskomena (things that are read or "profitable reading"). No two Septuagint codices contain the same apocrypha, and the three earliest manuscripts of the LXX show uncertainty as to which books constitute the complete list of the Apocrypha. Codex Vaticanus (B) lacks any of the books of Maccabees, while Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph) omits Baruch and the letter of Jeremiah, but includes 1 and 4 Maccabees. Codex Alexandrinus includes the Psalms of Solomon. All three codices include Psalm 151 in addition to the canonical 150 Pslams; and all three codices include Greek Ezra as the 'first book of Ezra', with the canonical Ezra and Nehemiah counted as the 'second book of Ezra'.
Greek Psalm manuscripts from the fifth century contain three New Testament "psalms": the Magnificat, the Benedictus, the Nunc dimittis from Luke's birth narrative, and the conclusion of the hymn that begins with the "Gloria in Excelsis". Beckwith states that manuscripts of anything like the capacity of Codex Alexandrinus were not used in the first centuries of the Christian era, and believes that the comprehensive codices of the Septuagint, which start appearing in the fourth century AD, are all of Christian origin.
Some deuterocanonicals appear to have been written originally in Hebrew, but the original text has long been lost. Archaeological finds discovered some of the texts which are written in Hebrew among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Septuagint was widely accepted and used by Greek-speaking Jews in the 1st century, even in the region of Roman Judea, and therefore naturally became the text most widely used by early Christians, who were predominantly Greek speaking.
In the New Testament, Hebrews 11:35 is understood by some as referring to an event that was recorded in one of the deuterocanonical books, 2 Maccabees. For instance, the author of Hebrews references oral tradition which spoke of an Old Testament prophet who was sawn in half in Hebrews 11:37, two verses after the 2nd Maccabees reference. Other New Testament authors such as Paul also reference or quote period literature which was familiar to the audience but that was not included in the deuterocanonical or the protocanonical Old Testament books.
The twenty-two books of the Hebrews are the following: That which is called by us Genesis; Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Jesus, the son of Nave (Joshua book); Judges and Ruth in one book; the First and Second of Kings (1 Samuel and 2 Samuel) in one; the Third and Fourth of Kings (1 Kings and 2 Kings) in one; of the Chronicles, the First and Second in one; Esdras (Ezra–Nehemiah) in one; the book of Psalms; the Proverbs of Solomon; Ecclesiastes; the Song of Songs; Isaiah; Jeremiah, with Lamentations and the epistle (of Jeremiah) in one; Daniel; Ezekiel; Job; Esther. And besides these there are the Maccabees.
In the Muratorian fragment (170AD) it can be found that the book of the Wisdom of Solomon was counted by the church, although it is not known if another one was accepted because the document lacks a part.
Moreover, the epistle of Jude and two of the above-mentioned (or, bearing the name of) John are counted (or, used) in the catholic [Church]; and [the book of] Wisdom, written by the friends of Solomon in his honour.
Eusebius wrote in his Church History (c. 324 AD) that Bishop Melito of Sardis in the 2nd century AD considered the deuterocanonical Wisdom of Solomon as part of the Old Testament and that it was considered canonical by Jews and Christians. On the other hand, the contrary claim has been made: "In the catalogue of Melito, presented by Eusebius, after Proverbs, the word Wisdom occurs, which nearly all commentators have been of opinion is only another name for the same book, and not the name of the book now called 'The Wisdom of Solomon'."
In Athanasius's canonical books list (367 AD) the Book of Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah are included and Esther is omitted. At the same time, he mentioned that certain other books, including four deuterocanonical books (the Wisdom of Solomon, the Wisdom of Sirach, Judith and Tobit), the book of Esther and also the Didache and The Shepherd of Hermas, while not being part of the Canon, "were appointed by the Fathers to be read". He excluded what he called "apocryphal writings" entirely.
Epiphanius of Salamis (c. 385 AD) mentions that "there are 27 books given the Jews by God, but they are counted as 22, however, like the letters of their Hebrew alphabet, because ten books are doubled and reckoned as five". He wrote in his Panarion that Jews had in their books the deuterocanonical Epistle of Jeremiah and Baruch, both combined with Jeremiah and Lamentations in only one book. While Wisdom of Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon were books of disputed canonicity.
Now the whole canon of Scripture on which we say this judgment is to be exercised, is contained in the following books:— Five books of Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; one book of Joshua the son of Nun; one of Judges; one short book called Ruth; next, four books of Kings (the two books of Samuel and the two books of Kings), and two of Chronicles, Job, and Tobias, and Esther, and Judith, and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Ezra (Ezra-Nehemiah)...one book of the Psalms of David; and three books of Solomon, that is to say Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes... For two books, one called Wisdom and the other Ecclesiasticus... Twelve separate books of the prophets which are connected with one another, and having never been disjoined, are reckoned as one book; the names of these prophets are as follows: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; then there are the four greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel.
Which books really are received in the canon, this brief addition shows. These therefore are the things of which you desired to be informed. Five books of Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and Joshua the son of Nun, and Judges, and the four books of Kings (the two Books of Kings and the two books of Samuel) together with Ruth, sixteen books of the Prophets, five books of Solomon (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom of Solomon, and Ecclesiasticus), and the Psalms. Also of the historical books, one book of Job, one of Tobit, one of Esther, one of Judith, two of Maccabees, two of Ezra (Ezra–Nehemiah), two of Chronicles.
In a fith century supplement to the Canons of Laodicea (in 364 AD) a canon list was appended affirming that Jeremiah, and Baruch, the Lamentations, and the Epistle (of Jeremiah) were canonical, while excluding the other deuterocanonical books.
The Council of Rome (382 AD), where the Decretum Gelasianum, which is a work written by an anonymous scholar between 519 and 553, cites a list of books of Scripture presented as having been made canonical by the Council of Rome. This list mentions all the deuterocanonical books except Baruch and the Letter of Jermiah as a part of the Old Testament Canon.
The Synod of Hippo (in 393 AD), followed by the Council of Carthage (397) and the Council of Carthage (419), may be the first councils that explicitly accepted the first canon which includes the books that did not appear in the Hebrew Bible; the councils were under significant influence of Augustine of Hippo, who regarded the canon as already closed.
Canon XXIV from the Synod of Hippo (393 AD) records the Scriptures which is considered canonical; the Old Testament books as follows:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua the son of Nun, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two books of Paraleipomena, Job, the Psalter, five books of Solomon [the five books of Solomon refer to Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom of Solomon, and Ecclesiasticus]., the books of the twelve prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezechiel, Daniel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras [Ezra-Nehemiah], two Books of the Maccabees.
The Apostolic Canons approved by the Eastern Council in Trullo in 692 AD (not recognized by the Catholic Church) states that are venerable and sacred the first three books of Maccabees and Wisdom of Sirach
Five books of Moses, namely Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two of Paralipomenon (Chronicles), Esdras (Ezra), Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Job, Psalms of David, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel; the twelve minor prophets, namely Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; two books of the Maccabees.
Jerome in the Vulgate's prologues describes a canon which excludes the deuterocanonical books, possibly excepting Baruch. In his Prologues, Jerome mentions all of the deuterocanonical and apocryphal works by name as being apocryphal or "not in the canon" except for Prayer of Manasses and Baruch. He mentions Baruch by name in his Prologue to Jeremiah and notes that it is neither read nor held among the Hebrews, but does not explicitly call it apocryphal or "not in the canon". The inferior status to which the deuterocanonical books were relegated by authorities like Jerome is seen by some as being due to a rigid conception of canonicity, one demanding that a book, to be entitled to this supreme dignity, must be received by all, must have the sanction of Jewish antiquity, and must moreover be adapted not only to edification, but also to the "confirmation of the doctrine of the Church".
J. N. D. Kelly states that "Jerome, conscious of the difficulty of arguing with Jews on the basis of books they spurned and anyhow regarding the Hebrew original as authoritative, was adamant that anything not found in it was 'to be classed among the apocrypha', not in the canon; later he grudgingly conceded that the Church read some of these books for edification, but not to support doctrine."
Eventually however, Jerome's Vulgate did include the deuterocanonical books as well as apocrypha. Jerome referenced and quoted from some as scripture despite describing them as "not in the canon". Michael Barber asserts that, although Jerome was once suspicious of the apocrypha, he later viewed them as Scripture. Barber argues that this is clear from Jerome's epistles; he cites Jerome's letter to Eustochium, in which Jerome quotes Sirach 13:2. Elsewhere Jerome apparently also refers to Baruch, the Story of Susannah and Wisdom as scripture. Henry Barker states that Jerome quotes the Apocrypha with marked respect, and even as "Scripture", giving them an ecclesiastical if not a canonical position and use. Luther also wrote introductions to the books of the Apocrypha, and occasionally quoted from some to support an argument.
Among the Hebrews the Book of Judith is found among the Hagiographa... But because this book is found by the Nicene Council to have been counted among the number of the Sacred Scriptures, I have acquiesced to your request.
In his reply to Rufinus, Jerome affirmed that he was consistent with the choice of the church regarding which version of the deuterocanonical portions of Daniel to use, which the Jews of his day did not include:
What sin have I committed in following the judgment of the churches? But when I repeat what the Jews say against the Story of Susanna and the Hymn of the Three Children, and the fables of Bel and the Dragon, which are not contained in the Hebrew Bible, the man who makes this a charge against me proves himself to be a fool and a slanderer; for I explained not what I thought but what they commonly say against us. (Against Rufinus, II:33 [AD 402]).
Thus Jerome acknowledged the principle by which the canon would be settled – the judgment of the Church (at least the local churches in this case) rather than his own judgment or the judgment of Jews; though concerning translation of Daniel to Greek, he wondered why one should use the version of a translator whom he regarded as heretic and judaizer (Theodotion).
The Vulgate is also important as the touchstone of the canon concerning which parts of books are canonical. When the Council of Trent listed the books included in the canon, it qualified the books as being "entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition". This decree was clarified somewhat by Pope Pius XI on 2 June 1927, who allowed that the Comma Johanneum was open to dispute, and it was further explicated by Pope Pius XII's Divino afflante Spiritu.
Outside the Roman Catholic Church, the term deuterocanonical is sometimes used, by way of analogy, to describe books that Eastern Orthodoxy, and Oriental Orthodoxy included in the Old Testament that are not part of the Jewish Tanakh, nor the Protestant Old Testament. Among Orthodox, the term is understood to mean that they were compiled separately from the primary canon, as explained in 2 Esdras, where Esdras is instructed to keep certain books separate and hidden.
The Eastern Orthodox Churches have traditionally included all the books of the Septuagint in their Old Testaments. The Greeks use the word Anagignoskomena (Ἀναγιγνωσκόμενα "readable, worthy to be read") to describe the books of the Greek Septuagint that are not present in the Hebrew Tanakh. When Orthodox theologians use the term "deuterocanonical," it is important to note that the meaning is not identical to the Roman Catholic usage. In Orthodox Christianity, deuterocanonical means that a book is part of the corpus of the Old Testament (i.e. is read during the services) but has secondary authority. In other words, deutero (second) applies to authority or witnessing power, whereas in Roman Catholicism, deutero applies to chronology (the fact that these books were confirmed later), not to authority.
The Eastern Orthodox canon includes the deuterocanonical books listed above, plus 3 Maccabees and 1 Esdras (also included in the Clementine Vulgate), while Baruch is divided from the Epistle of Jeremiah, making a total of 49 Old Testament books in contrast with the Protestant 39-book canon.
Like the Roman Catholic deuterocanonical books, these texts are integrated with the rest of the Old Testament, not printed in a separate section.
Other texts printed in Orthodox Bibles are considered of some value (like the additional Psalm 151, and the Prayer of Manasseh) or are included as an appendix (like the Greek 4 Maccabees, and the Slavonic 2 Esdras).
In the Amharic Bible used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (an Oriental Orthodox Church), those books of the Old Testament that are still counted as canonical, but not by all other Churches, are often set in a separate section titled "Deeyutrokanoneekal" (ዲዩትሮካኖኒካል), which is the same word. The Ethiopian Orthodox Deuterocanon, in addition to the standard set listed above, along with the books of Esdras and Prayer of Minasse, also includes some books that are still held canonical by only the Ethiopian Church, including Enoch or Henok (I Enoch), Kufale (Jubilees) and 1, 2 and 3 Meqabyan (which are sometimes wrongly confused with the "Books of Maccabees").
There is a great deal of overlap between the Apocrypha section of the original 1611 King James Bible and the Catholic deuterocanon, but the two are distinct. The Apocrypha section of the original 1611 King James Bible includes, in addition to the deuterocanonical books, the following three books, which were not included in the list of the canonical books by the Council of Trent:
These books make up the Apocrypha section of the Clementine Vulgate: 3 Esdras (1 Esdras); 4 Esdras (2 Esdras); and the Prayer of Manasseh, where they are specifically described as "outside of the series of the canon". The 1609 Douai Bible includes them in an appendix, but they have not been included in English Catholic Bibles since the Challoner revision of the Douai Bible in 1750. They are found, along with the deuterocanonical books, in the Apocrypha section of certain Protestant Bibles (some versions of the King James, for example).
Using the word apocrypha (Greek: hidden away) to describe texts, although not necessarily pejorative, implies to some people that the writings in question should not be included in the canon of the Bible. This classification commingles them with certain non-canonical gospels and New Testament apocrypha. The Style Manual for the Society of Biblical Literature recommends the use of the term deuterocanonical literature instead of Apocrypha in academic writing.
The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion of the Church of England lists the deuterocanonical books as suitable to be read for "example of life and instruction of manners, but yet doth not apply them to establish any doctrine". The early lectionaries of the Anglican Church (as included in the Book of Common Prayer of 1662) included the deuterocanonical books amongst the cycle of readings, and passages from them were used regularly in services (such as the Kyrie Pantokrator and the Benedicite).
Readings from the deuterocanonical books are now included in most, if not all, of the modern lectionaries in the Anglican Communion, based on the Revised Common Lectionary (in turn based on the post-conciliar Roman Catholic lectionary), though alternative readings from protocanonical books are also provided.
Luther did not accept deuterocanonical books in his Old Testament, terming them "Apocrypha, that are books which are not considered equal to the Holy Scriptures, but are useful and good to read."
The Westminster Confession of Faith, a Calvinist document that serves as a systematic summary of doctrine for the Church of Scotland and Presbyterian churches worldwide, recognizes only the sixty-six books of the Protestant canon as authentic Scripture. Chapter 1, Article 3 of the Confession reads: "The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the Canon of Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings."
The Belgic Confession, used in Reformed churches, devotes a section (Article 6) to "The difference between the canonical and apocryphal books" and asserts that "All which the Church may read and take instruction from, so far as they agree with the canonical books; but they are far from having such power and efficacy as that we may from their testimony confirm any point of faith or of the Christian religion; much less to detract from the authority of the other sacred books."
Judaism and most Protestant versions of the Bible exclude these books. It is commonly said that Judaism officially excluded the deuterocanonicals and the additional Greek texts listed here from their Scripture in the Council of Jamnia (c. 70–90 AD), but this claim is disputed.
The term deuterocanonical is sometimes used to describe the canonical antilegomena, those books of the New Testament which, like the deuterocanonicals of the Old Testament, were not universally accepted by the early Church. These books may be called the "New Testament deuterocanonicals", which are now included in the 27 books of the New Testament recognized by almost all Christians. The deuterocanonicals of the New Testament are as follows:
Luther made an attempt to remove the books of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from the canon (notably, he perceived them to go against his new doctrines such as sola gratia and sola fide), but this was not generally accepted among his followers. However, these books are ordered last in the German-language Luther Bible to this day.
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