I recently stumbled upon a fundamentalist site, so absurd that it has lingered with me, explaining “why the Apocrypha isn’t in the Bible.” It’s absurd as any patent circular “reasoning” is absurd: the Apocrypha isn’t in the Bible, in substantial part, because it teaches false doctrine. And how does one discern false doctrine? By seeing if it’s in the Bible.
This is low-hanging fruit. The frenzied author of the site is the kind of guy who writes portions with capital letters followed by as many as (by casual count) 38 exclamation points.
That’s basic illogic.
A second claim is that “The apocryphal books were never acknowledged as sacred scriptures by the Jews, custodians of the Hebrew scriptures.” That’s not illogical, but it’s ignorant. Here’s the real skinny (emphasis added):
THE BIBLE OF THE APOSTLES
My initial attitude was that whatever was good enough for the Apostles would be good enough for me. This is where I got my first surprise. As I mentioned previously, I knew that the Apostle Paul regarded Scripture as being inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16). But I had always assumed that the “Scripture” spoken of in this passage was the whole Bible-both the Old and New Testaments. In reality, there was no “New Testament” when this statement was made. Even the Old Testament was still in the process of formulation, for the Jews did not decide upon a definitive list or canon of Old Testament books until after the rise of Christianity. As I studied further, I discovered that the early Christians used a Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint. This translation, which was begun in Alexandria, Egypt, in the third century B.C., contained an expanded canon which included a number of the so-called “deuterocanonical” (or “apocryphal”) books. Although there was some initial debate over these books, they were eventually received by Christians into the Old Testament canon. In reaction to the rise of Christianity, the Jews narrowed their canons and eventually excluded the deuterocanonical books-although they still regarded them as sacred. The modern Jewish canon was not rigidly fixed until the third century A.D. Interestingly, it is this later version of the Jewish canon of the Old Testament, rather than the canon of early Christianity, that is followed by most modern Protestants today. When the Apostles lived and wrote, there was no New Testament and no finalized Old Testament. The concept of “Scripture” was much less well-defined than I had envisioned.
Actually, I give the guy too much credit when I say he’s ignorant. Rather, he’s Romophobic, knowing full well that the early Church used the deuterocanonical books:
The apocryphal books were not permitted among the sacred books during the first four centuries of the real Christian church (I’m certainly not talking about the Catholic religion which is not Christian).
His “real Christian church” is unhistoric. He fabricates it with a few cherry-picked quotes from some of the Church Father’s who weren’t entirely confident about the deuterocanonical books before the Christian canon had been settled.
Not even all Catholic “Church Fathers” believed the Apocrypha was scripture.
Not that this really means anything. The truth is not validated by the false. Nevertheless, this may be of interest to some… Jerome (340-420) rejected the Apocrypha:
“As the Church reads the books of Judith and Tobit and Maccabees but does not receive them among the canonical Scriptures, so also it reads Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus for the edification of the people, not for the authoritative confirmation of doctrine.”Jerome
Jerome’s preface to the books of Solomon
New Testament writers regularly quote the Septuagint and generally seem to prefer it over the Hebrew text. Christ seems to have quoted deuterocanonical books.
As I say, the guy’s a crank, so I’ll not waste more time on him. But, gentle reader, if your Bible only has the 66 books of the Protestant Bibles, can you explain why?