Please note– this is a VERY meaty post about early church history, and much of it was composed by others (as noted). Good luck getting to the end of it :) It’s the first of 2 posts– the second of which will offer more of my own personal commentary)
So…I learned not that long ago that there were two different kinds of Christian Bibles– the Catholic one, and the Protestant one (without delving into various translations, of which there are MANY).
Below, find a list of books in each version (credit due P. Miron!)
Catholic ______ Protestant
Bible _________ Bible
Genesis _______ Genesis
Exodus ________ Exodus
Leviticus _______ Leviticus
Numbers _______ Numbers
Deuteronomy ___ Deuteronomy
Josue _________ Joshua
Judges ________ Judges
Ruth __________ Ruth
1 Kings ________ 1 Samual
2 Kings ________ 2 Samual
3 Kings ________ 1 Kings
4 Kings ________ 2 Kings
1 Paralipomenon __ 1 Chronicles
2 Paralipomenon __ 2 Chronicles
1 Esdras _______ Ezra
2 Esdras _______ Nehemiah
Tobias _________ (omitted)
Judith __________ (omitted)
Esther _________ Esther (part omitted)
Job ___________ Job
Psalms ________ Psalms
Proverbs _______ Proverbs
Ecclesiastes ____ Ecclesiastes
Canticle of Canticles _ Song of Solomon
Wisdom ________ (omitted)
Ecclesiasticus ___ (omitted)
Isaias _________ Isaiah
Jeremias _______ Jeremiah
Lamentations ___ Lamentations
Baruch ________ (omitted)
Ezechiel _______ Ezekiel
Daniel _________ Daniel (part omitted)
Osee __________ Hosea
Joel ___________ Joel
Amos __________ Amos
Abdias _________ Obadiah
Jonas __________ Jonah
Micheas ________ Micah
Nahum _________ Nahum
Habacuc ________ Habakkuk
Sophonias _______ Zephaniah
Aggeus _________ Haggai
Zacharias _______ Zechariah
Malachias _______ Malachi
1 Machabees ____ (omitted)
2 Machabees ____ (omitted)
So wait a minute…we have books that Protestants don’t have?! What’s THAT about?! Not wishing to reinvent the wheel by restating something already said quite clearly and eloquently, I am going to defer to other authors. The following is text I have stolen (with permission– which makes it borrowing?) from P. Miron.
The Protestant OT is based on the Palestinian (or Hebrew) canon used by Hebrew-speaking Jews in Palestine. The Catholic OT is based on the Alexandrian (or Greek) canon used by the Greek-speaking Jews throughout the Mediterranean, including Palestine.
The city of Alexandria in Egypt possessed the greatest library in the ancient world and during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC), a translation of the entire Hebrew Bible into Greek was begun by 70 or 72 Jewish scholars-according to tradition-six from each of the twelve tribes. From this Alexandrian translation (completed between 250-125 BC) we get the term “Septuagint,” Latin for 70 (LXX), the number of translators.
This Greek translation of the OT was very popular because Greek was the common language of the entire Mediterranean world by the time of Christ. Hebrew was a dying language (Jews in Palestine usually spoke Aramaic), and so it is not surprising that the Septuagint was the translation used by Jesus and the New Testament writers. In fact, 300 quotations from the OT found in the New Testament are from the Septuagint. Remember also that the entire New Testament was written in Greek.
The Septuagint contains 46 books. The Hebrew canon contains only 39.
Why are there seven fewer books in the Hebrew canon?
The Hebrew canon was established by Jewish rabbis at Jamnia, in Palestine about the year 100 A.D., perhaps in reaction to the Christian Church, which was using the Alexandrian canon. The Jews at Jamnia rejected seven books from the Hebrew canon found in the Septuagint-Wisdom, Sirach, Judith, Baruch, Tobit, and 1 and 2 Maccabees (as well as portions of Daniel and Esther)-chiefly on the grounds that they could not find any Hebrew versions of these books which the Septuagint supposedly translated into Greek.
The Christian church continued to use the Septuagint. When the Church officially decided which books comprise the canon of the Bible (Councils of Hippo, 393 A.D., and Carthage, 397 A.D.), it approved the 46 books of the Alexandrian canon as the canon for the OT. For sixteen centuries the Alexandrian canon was a matter of uncontested faith. Each of the seven rejected books is quoted by the early Church Fathers as “Scripture” or as “inspired,” right along with the undisputed books.
In 1529 Martin Luther proposed the Palestinian canon of 39 books in Hebrew as the OT canon. Luther found justification for removing the seven books from the Bible in the old concerns of St. Jerome and the Council of Jamnia that the Greek books had no Hebrew counterparts. However, research into the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran has discovered ancient Hebrew copies of some of the disputed books, 12 making their i-ejection unsupportable on those grounds.
But here is the real question: Which OT would you rather use-the OT used by Jesus, the NT writers and the early Church, or the OT used by the Jews who rejected Christ and persecuted Christianity?
If your Bible includes the seven books, you follow Jesus and the early Church. If your Bible omits the seven books, you follow the non-Christian Jews at Jamnia and Martin Luther-a man who wanted to throw out even more books (James, Esther, Revelation), and who deliberately added the word “alone” to Sacred Scripture in his German translation of Romans 3:28.
Additionally, I found THIS supporting evidence for the Church’s inclusion of ALL books of the ORIGIONAL Christian Bible:
The Protestants of the sixteenth century objected to the additional books because of the doctrinal teachings of these books. The Second Book of Machabees, for example, contains the doctrine of purgatory, of prayers and sacrifices for the dead (12:39-46). The book of Tobias teaches the importance in the eyes of God of good works. The Protestants could not reject some without excluding all of the additional books. Hence, in drawing up their list of Old Testament books they went back to the first collection of Biblical books of the Palestinian Jews. They removed the additional books, which had been in the Bible up till 1517 and placed them at the end of the Bible in a special appendix. In addition, they labelled them as “apocryphal” (spurious, uninspired), a designation which helped to lower them in the estimation of Protestant readers.
The Lutheran and Anglican Bibles still carry these books in the appendix or give them at least a secondary place. But the other Protestant churches reject them entirely. In 1827 the British and Foreign Bible Society decided not to print or handle Bibles that contained the additional books and not to aid financially companies that published Bibles containing them. As a result these books have practically disappeared from Protestant Bibles. The Catholic Church has always considered these books as inspired and of the same rank as the other Old Testament books. Her attitude is based upon the following facts
1) The Apostles and New Testament writers quoted principally the Septuagint. In fact, of the three hundred and fifty Old Testament quotations found in the New Testament, about three hundred are taken from the Septuagint.
2) Some of the New Testament writers made use of the additional books themselves, particularly of the Book of Wisdom, which seems to have been St. Paul’s favorite volume. The Epistle of St. James – to take another example – shows an acquaintance with the Book of Ecclesiasticus. If the Apostles and New Testament writers used some of the additional books, did they not thereby approve the entire Septuagint collection?
3) The additional books were accepted in the Church from the beginning. The Epistle of Pope Clement, written before the end of the first century, makes use of Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom, gives an analysis of the book of Judith, and quotes from the additional sections of the book of Esther. The same is true of other early Christian writers.
4) The oldest Christian Bibles in existence (Codex Vaticanus, etc.) contain the additional books intermingled with the rest, just as we find them in the Catholic Bibles today.
5) The oldest Christian lists of Biblical books contain the additional books. In 382 Pope Damasus in a Roman Council issued a formal list of Old and New Testament books and the list contains the same books as we have in our Bibles.
6) Finally, Christian art of the first four centuries – especially that found in the catacombs and cemeteries – furnishes among others the following illustrations from the additional books: Tobias with the fish (Tobias 6), Susanna (Daniel 13), Daniel and the dragon (Daniel 14), the angel with the three children in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:49), Habacuc and Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 14:35).
In conclusion, let us point out that since they follow the synagogue in their rejection of the additional books of the Old Testament, the Protestants should in all logic follow it in its rejection of the New Testament and of Christ Himself.
So those are the factual differences– to put this into historic context, we need to further examine the life of the “Great Reformer” (or “Unfortunate Heretic”, depending on who you ask!), Martin Luther. Changing the Bible– eliminating books and also blatantly changing and elminating phrases– hinges on the political and religious climate of the Reformation era.
Now I’ll be honest, one blog post is hardly enough space to really deeply examine this issue. Frankly, I’m not entirely certain I’m a competent enough academic to examine it using only the internet as an available resource. I’ll start by sharing what P. Miron has to say on the subject, and continue on with further research in a subsequent post:
One must keep in mind the circumstances of the time. Martin Luther, a “Catholic” priest began with a worthy motive; namely to challenge the CC current PRACTICE of “charging for indulgences.” In other words; With enough money to the “right” people; one could buy access to heaven.
The debate on the Morality of this practice seems to have been limited to saying it was wrong. I’ve never been able to find a teaching that affirms the “practice with the reality.” The Pope at the time was trying to raise funds to build a new Cathedral. It seems clear that God and the Holy Spirit affirm TEACHINGS of the Church; but no such guarantee applies to Church “Practice” which can and do change. [John Chapters 14 and 17].
Having said this; it is clear that Indulgences do TOUCH on the Matter of our Faith. So what happened to Martin Luther to make him lose his faith?! Can’t be sure here– but based on the evidence, it seems his motives were more political than pure! Attacking the ONLY Christian Church seems pretty self-destructive to me, and the motives for doing so are highly suspect! Keep reading! (~FS)
From this point one needs to try to get into Luther’s head and confront with him the challenges of “taking on” The Establishment, now 1,500 years young, firmly founded, well financed, and recognized throughout the world as the One Tue Faith.
There had been others over the years who tried to unseat the CC, but no serious contenders were to be found. Luther understood the challenge; and why others had failed. It was because everyone else was too narrowly focused on a few [but to them, major] theological differences. The church was always able to deflect these attacks by using the Bible or Tradition which still held sway. The others did not offer either sufficient change or EASIER SALVATION.
Luther reckoned that there had to be a SIGNIFINATLY different theology, and philosophy on the issue of Salvation itself if the revolt were to take hold. The problem in “selling” this new-salvation, was of course the Bible.
Luther knew that in his favor was the fact that the CC had prohibited, or at least strongly discouraged, those in the pews from reading the bible. Also, it was not a common practice for the laity to attend DAILY MASS, therefore; almost all the laity were only exposed ONLY to the Sunday’s readings and therefore ignorant about the majority of what the bible said.
Rom. 10: 17 “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.” and similar verses were the Churches foundation for such a position. [And through the window of history; She was correct. Look what has happened to the proliferation of Protestant churches; faiths, beliefs; solely on misunderstanding or disagreements on what the bible means.]
Luther had a group of disenchanted theologians and they conspired to alter the Bible to give what evidence they could in support of their new, easier way to heaven, to the new flocks. They knew better than to remove entire books from the NT, because these text were better known to the laity at large. Luther wanted to eliminate the book of James for example; which destroys his premise of salvation through Faith Alone. [Chapter two].
So they quite brilliantly went back and removed seven books of the OT, which all had passages that contradicted the Faith beliefs they schemed to put forth. The pretext for this was that these books were not accepted by the NEW Jewish [post death of Jesus] Nation, who ALSO deleted them for some of the same base motives!
Then they went though and deviously changed words, phrases and meaning [by footnote explanations], knowing that they intended to allow everyone to read the Bible and to self interpretation [“wherever 2 or 3 are gathered there an I in there midst“.] And sold the idea that EVERYONE has the Holy Spirit as their guide.
They were masters of pulling this or that verse to make there points; while in fact being out of context. (Note from the Faithful Scribbler– I have blogged about this recently, this continued use of Bible quotes of context, brandished about as weapons!~FS)
1 Cor.6: 19 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own;”
They said this affirms that the HS resides in each of us to protect TRUTH. What it actually means is that our bodies are ONLY on LOAN from God. God will judge us on what we do with them. Quite a difference!
Then they denied the Seven Sacraments. Why? So that salvation “would be easier to accomplish.” In particular they denied The Real Presence; an easy sell: They could neither see Christ, nor understand the Love God has for us, so it was easy to convince them that it was only a sign or a symbol. And then the clincher: you can confess your sins to God… God is Mercy and Love” He’ll forgive you. Brilliant Marketing! You don’t have to go to a priest. EASIER IS BETTER??????
The most astounding point to me is how they got away with it. Especially the deletion of books of the Bible. They continue to proclaim that the Bible is “Inspired by God.” If they actually believed this; on what truthful basis did they have to eliminate Seven Entire God Inspired Books from the Bible? [Not to mention the many alterations to text.]
So this brings me to the next post on this subject, which will cover WHY Luther sought to sell this COMPLETELY FALSE version of salvation, and it’s absolutely devestating effects on modern society!