Against the Deutero-Canonical Books

I have now finished Whitaker’s book on Scripture. It is an amazing piece of work. I encourage all Roman Catholic readers to read this book carefully. At the very least, you should be convinced that not all Reformed authors either reject tradition or ignore it. Practically half the book is quotations from the early church fathers.

I will continue my way through the book, although I will probably skip some major sections, just so that the series doesn’t grow stale. Here is an argument I thought was rather powerful against the Deutero-Canonical books:

These books were not received by the church of the Israelites; therefore they are not canonical. The syllogism may be framed thus: The ancient church of the Hebrews received and approved all the books of the old Testament. That church did not receive these books; therefore they are not canonical. (paragraph break) The major proposition is certain, and may be easily demonstrated. For, first, if that church had rejected a part of the Lord’s Testament,-especially so large a part,- she would have been guilty of the highest crime and sacrilege, and would have been charged with it by Christ or his apostles…But neither Christ, nor his apostles, nor any others, ever accused the Jews of mutilating or tearing to pieces their canon of the sacred books (p. 52).

He anticipates the arguments of his Romanist adversaries by saying the following: “The allegation of Canus, that these books were neither received nor rejected, is merely ridiculous. For, surely, if the Jews did not receive these books, what else was this but rejecting them utterly?” (p. 53).

37 Comments

  1. Phil Derksen said,

    August 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    I think Whitaker may have stated things a little too strongly by saying that the Jews rejected the Deutero-canonical writings “utterly”. It is true that orthodox Judaism has never considered them part of its official canon of Scripture, which is clearly distinguished as the Tanakh. While it is organized somewhat differently, the Tanakh contains the exact same writings as the Old Testament canon historically recognized by Protestants.

    However, by the 1st century standard versions of the Septuagint included a translation of those works. Also writing in the late 1st century, Josephus gave clear indication that the religious Jews in his day respected these works as historically valuable, while making it equally plain that they were not scripture: “…Our history hath been written since Artaxerxes [a Persian king who reigned BC 465–424] very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time.” (Against Apion, 1.8 [41])

    F.F. Bruce’s “The Canon of Scripture”, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988) is actually a pretty good book in terms of allowing laypersons to get a basic, but still pretty comprehensive overview of canonical issues that includes modern scholarship on the topic.

  2. D. T. King said,

    August 9, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Since Derksen offered his opinion with respect to Whitaker, I will offer mine. In context (p. 53) when Whitaker employs the word “utterly,” he most certainly meant that the Jews rejected them utterly in terms of being canonical. To push Whitaker’s use of the word “utterly” beyond that context is to have misread Whitaker. Here is the pericope of Whitaker in question…

    William Whitaker (1547-1595): As to Bellarmine’s pretence (Lib. i. cap. 10), that these books have the testimony of the apostolic church, and that the apostles declared these books canonical, whence does its truth appear? The apostles never cite testimonies from these books, nor can anything be adduced to shew that any authority was attributed to them by the apostles. Indeed when Cajetan affirmed, in his commentary on 1 Cor. xii., that only to be sacred and divine scripture which the apostles either wrote or approved, he was blamed by Catharinus (Annot. Lib. i.) on that account; and Catharinus lays it down in that place, that the church receives certain books as canonical which certainly were neither written nor approved by the apostles. The allegation of Canus, that these books were neither received nor rejected, is merely ridiculous. For, surely, if the Jews did not receive these books, what else was this but rejecting them utterly ? He who does not receive God rejects him: so not to receive the word of God, is to refuse and reject it. “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.” Luke xi. 23. Besides, how could that church either receive or rather not reject books written in a foreign tongue? William Whitaker, A Disputation on Holy Scripture Against the Papists, Especially Bellarmine and Stapleton, trans. and ed. William Fitzgerald (Cambridge: University Press, reprinted 1849), p. 53.

  3. D. T. King said,

    August 9, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Please pardon me, I truly meant to say Mr. Derksen. Please forgive me Mr. Derksen, I meant no disrespect for you, sir.

  4. Phil Derksen said,

    August 9, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Mr. King,

    No offence taken at all, on any count. In re-reading the context of Whitaker’s remark I would agree that you are correct. Thank you for pointing this out.

  5. D. T. King said,

    August 10, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Mr. Derksen, thank you for your kindness.

  6. Richard said,

    August 10, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    What is Whitaker’s evidence for saying that “These books were not received by the church of the Israelites”? Modern scholarship indicates otherwise.

  7. D. T. King said,

    August 10, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    What is Whitaker’s evidence for saying that “These books were not received by the church of the Israelites”? Modern scholarship indicates otherwise.

    Whitaker’s arguments are readily accessible, http://www.archive.org/details/adisputationonho00whituoft , within pp. 25-109.

    As for modern scholarship, I suppose that depends on what scholarship you’re convinced sufficiently indicates otherwise.

  8. John said,

    August 11, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Prove that the Jews rejected them. Not just that one or two Jews did, but all of them. Or even most of them. Or even a sizeable minority. It can’t be done. In fact there are quotes in the Mishna and other places that accept one or more deutero books.

  9. Reed Here said,

    August 11, 2010 at 6:21 am

    John: do you agree with Phil’s summary in comment no. 1?

  10. John said,

    August 11, 2010 at 6:34 am

    No I don’t. Overlaying later “orthodox” judaism on the 1st century is anachronistic. Josephus is just one guy from one sect, who is generally acknowledged to be writing as a biased apologist. If Josephus were the last word, it doesn’t explain other Jewish sources that acknowledge one or more deuteros as scripture. It also doesn’t explain early Christians who held to canons that whilst more similar to the shorter canon, still nevertheless include several deuteros.

    There is a major problem here. Even if you think a shorter canon is more authentic, there is no particular reason to draw the line at the exact 39 books that Protestants hold to. The options are not deuteros or no deuteros. The whole notion of deuteros is an anachronism. Even assuming a shorter canon is better, prove that Esther should be in. Prove that Baruch or Wisdom should be out. Prove your exact list.

  11. louis said,

    August 11, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Whitaker also deals with individual books like Baruch, etc. And he explains the “inclusion” of books that were considered beneficial for reading but were still not considered “scripture.” There are many citations there to church fathers, councils, and other historical evidence. You’re asking for proof? Read the book, then dispute his evidence if you wish.

  12. John said,

    August 11, 2010 at 8:24 am

    I can see what the book says, there is zero substance to it. Apparently everyone who thought Baruch was scripture was stupid and/or ignorant in thinking it was part of Jeremiah. But Whitaker knows best, he has supernatural knowledge of what the ignorant church fathers were thinking and why they were thinking it. Supposedly it wasn’t written in Hebrew, which on the one hand is irrelevant, and on the other hand is disputed since many experts think that the Greek has the character of a clear translation. Supposedly some of the book does not have Hebrew idiom, which is a fallacious argument against a translation, besides which many experts argue it does have Hebrew idiom. Baruch 1:14 says that the book was meant to be read publicly in the Temple; hence it must have been composed in Hebrew for that purpose.

    So what argument of substance is left? None. Casting aspersions against a book from the armchair is an easy exercise, but it doesn’t actually amount to anything. One can do that against any book in the bible.

  13. D. T. King said,

    August 11, 2010 at 8:42 am

    It seems to me that given the precise topic of this thread that one ought to refrain from commenting if one has not even read Whitaker; otherwise people are making off-the-cuff comments about Whitaker when they haven’t even bothered to read him.

  14. louis said,

    August 11, 2010 at 8:57 am

    “Jerome says, in the preface to Jeremiah, that this book is not read by the Hebrews, nor extant amongst them.”

    “Athanasius… produces something from the book of Baruch: but the same writer does also, in the same oration, bring forward… the third of Esdras, which book our adversaries confess to be apocryphal…. so that it is manifest that the cause is not concluded by this argument.”

    “This John Driedo, one of the chief popish writers expressly testifies… For thus he writes: ‘So Cyprian, Ambrose, and other fathers cites sentences from the book of Baruch, and from the third and fourth of Esdras, not as if they were canonical books, but as containing salutary and pious doctrines… consanant to our faith.’ A papist [thus] answers the objection of the papists.”

    There are many other testimonies and evidences brought forward, which I don’t have the time to type out for you. “Casting aspersions against a book from the armchair is an easy exercise, but it doesn’t actually amount to anything.” Exactly.

  15. D. T. King said,

    August 11, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Ditto louis :)

  16. Phil Derksen said,

    August 11, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I find it interesting that in #10 John dismisses the usefulness of the testimony a prominent 1st century Jewish historian (Josephus) on the canon, after having approvingly cited a 2nd or 3rd century source (the Mishna) to try and support his argument (#8).

  17. Richard said,

    August 11, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    D T King,

    Thanks for the link, have you read The Canon Debate by Lee Martin McDonald and James A. Sanders?

  18. D. T. King said,

    August 11, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for the link, have you read The Canon Debate by Lee Martin McDonald and James A. Sanders?

    I have the book, and have read much of it, and much of the scholarship expressed therein is not without the bias of what seems to me to be a rather liberal approach, and seems, as well, to have bought into the old Bauer theory that the whole notion of the canon was an “after the fact” concept imposed on the New Testament books. I have also read much of McDonald’s book, The Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon.

    I have also read much of Roger Reckwith’s The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church, which I think is the most exhaustive, modern treatment of the subject, published in 1985.

    But we are drifting off subject.

  19. John said,

    August 11, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    I don’t “dismiss” the usefulness, I just point out that one conflicting witness among many doesn’t settle zip. That includes the Mishna.

    When I first read “The Canon Debate” by LMM I thought it was liberal too. Later on I realised it wasn’t really liberal, just (mostly) factual. Many people who are not liberal nevertheless recognise that the canon debate is not the simple cut and dried argument that some would like to make out. People like DT King are expert apologists at papering over the problems, but thats all it is, a thin layer of wallpaper over a gaping hole.

  20. TurretinFan said,

    August 11, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    I noticed this comment from you, John: “People like DT King are expert apologists at papering over the problems, but thats all it is, a thin layer of wallpaper over a gaping hole.” You’ve clearly stated your negative opinion, but you haven’t actually substantiated it. Would you care to point us to an example of DT King’s wallpaper argument, and some sort of demonstration that it is actually a wallpaper argument rather than a substantial one? That would be much more useful than your boldly asserted negative opinion.

  21. John said,

    August 11, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    TF, since the subject is Whitaker, I did that above in this thread concerning Baruch.

  22. TurretinFan said,

    August 11, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Which argument from DTKing were your assertions regarding Baruch intended to interact with?

    In #8, you demand: “Prove that the Jews rejected them.”

    In #10, you get a little more specific and demand: “Prove that Baruch or Wisdom should be out.”

    In #12, you present the following:

    I can see what the book says, there is zero substance to it.

    This is the conclusion that you apparently intend to establish. We’ll examine whether you do, or whether this was an unsupported assertion.

    Apparently everyone who thought Baruch was scripture was stupid and/or ignorant in thinking it was part of Jeremiah.

    This is not really a formal argument. The rebuttal is “Apparently everyone who thought Baruch was not scripture was stupid and/or ignorant in failing to recognize that it was part of Jeremiah.” That’s not really an argument that has any merit – as I hope you can see. Your argument likewise lacks merit.

    But Whitaker knows best, he has supernatural knowledge of what the ignorant church fathers were thinking and why they were thinking it.

    Whitaker obviously doesn’t claim that. So, at best, this is a straw man.

    Supposedly it wasn’t written in Hebrew, which on the one hand is irrelevant, and on the other hand is disputed since many experts think that the Greek has the character of a clear translation.

    You haven’t established why the language is irrelevant, nor have you identified the “many experts” who think that it is a translation (of what, you don’t say – possibly because those experts don’t say).

    Supposedly some of the book does not have Hebrew idiom, which is a fallacious argument against a translation, besides which many experts argue it does have Hebrew idiom.

    You don’t identify any fallacy in the use of the absence of Hebrew idiom as evidence against the document being originally in Hebrew. And – again – you vaguely appeal to “many” unnamed “experts” who claim that it does have “Hebrew idiom” (though your grammatically poor sentence leaves us wondering whether you mean they think it has one somewhere, whether you mean that it has more than one, or whether you don’t know what idiom means).

    Baruch 1:14 says that the book was meant to be read publicly in the Temple; hence it must have been composed in Hebrew for that purpose.”

    Well, Baruch 1:1 says the book was written in Babylon. Therefore, why not assume it was written in Chaldee? Why assume Hebrew?

    But, of course, the historical narrative of Baruch 1 is somewhat problematic. Baruch acts as though the temple of Solomon is still standing during the captivity, through we know from Holy Scripture that it was destroyed.

    2 Chronicles 36:18-19
    And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon. And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.

    And while there was an interim period between the beginning of the captivity and the destruction of Jerusalem, Baruch pins itself to the destruction of Jerusalem:

    Baruch 1:2 In the fifth year, and in the seventh day of the month, what time as the Chaldeans took Jerusalem, and burnt it with fire.

    And in case one might have the impression that the temple survived, Ezra 3 should set one straight in that regard. Even if we make the assumption that the book was written for the purposes it says, the author of the book seems to be unaware that the temple has been destroyed. So, it does not seem that the book is inspired, for at least this reason.

    So what argument of substance is left? None.

    Here’s the conclusion again. However, it really hasn’t been substantiated, as I’ve shown above.

    Casting aspersions against a book from the armchair is an easy exercise, but it doesn’t actually amount to anything.

    I think others have noted that it is you in the armchair casting aspersions at Whitaker’s book (and now apparently via your attempted rebuttal of Whitaker, also at DT King).

    One can do that against any book in the bible.

    People do criticize the books of the Bible, and we Reformed believers respond to their arguments.

    After #12, you don’t interact with the Baruch issue any more. I don’t see where you interacted with any argument made by DT King, and even where you attempted to interact with Whitaker, your responses are easily struck down, as demonstrated above.

    It seems your claims about DT King were even less justified than your claims about Whitaker.

    – TurretinFan

  23. John said,

    August 11, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    “Which argument from DTKing were your assertions regarding Baruch intended to interact with?”

    Non-sequitur. I never said that.

    “This is not really a formal argument.”

    Its a statement meant to highlight that claiming that the Church Fathers who accepted Baruch really did so under false pretences is a claim without proof and utterly begs the question. I might just as well say that yes you quote Josephus, but unfortunately he was under false pretences about what books were read in the temple (see Baruch 1:14), so therefore we just dismiss Josephus, because clearly he made a faux pas.

    “You haven’t established why the language is irrelevant”

    That’s because (I believe) Whitaker does not establish why it is relevant. If he attempted to, I’m sure it could be shot down quite easily.

    “nor have you identified the “many experts” who think that it is a translation”

    Whitaker doesn’t cite experts nor prove that it isn’t a translation.

    The Catholic encyclopedia cites these reasons for believing it is a translation of the Hebrew:

    * It is highly probable that Theodotion (end of the second century of our era) translated the Book of Baruch from a Hebrew original.
    * There are some marginal notes of the Syro-Hexaplar text stating that a few words in the Greek “are not found in the Hebrew”.
    * Baruch 1:14 says that the book was meant to be read publicly in the Temple; hence it must have been composed in Hebrew for that purpose.

    Anchor bible dictionary says: “There is a virtual concensus since Kneucker (1879) that the original language of 1:1–3:8 was Hebrew. Concerning the second part (3:9–5:9) views are still divided between either a Hebrew or Greek original.”

    In other words, Whitaker’s “proof”, is junk.

    “You don’t identify any fallacy in the use of the absence of Hebrew idiom as evidence against the document being originally in Hebrew.”

    Isn’t it obvious? If the translator turns Hebrew idioms into Greek ones, then the Hebrew idioms would disappear.

    “Well, Baruch 1:1 says the book was written in Babylon. Therefore, why not assume it was written in Chaldee? Why assume Hebrew?”

    If you think Chaldee was read in the Jewish temple, then you just abandoned the language argument. Nice and fun having you exploding your own arguments.

    “And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem”

    Nice try, but Jer 41:5 and Lam 1:4 maintain that worship in the burnt temple continued.

    “After #12, you don’t interact with the Baruch issue any more.”

    What more is there to interact with? Whitaker throws out some weak junk loaded with fallacies, I shot it down, end of story.

  24. TurretinFan said,

    August 12, 2010 at 1:41 am

    John:

    You had said: “People like DT King are expert apologists at papering over the problems, but thats all it is, a thin layer of wallpaper over a gaping hole.”

    I asked this: “Would you care to point us to an example of DT King’s wallpaper argument, and some sort of demonstration that it is actually a wallpaper argument rather than a substantial one? ”

    You responded: “TF, since the subject is Whitaker, I did that above in this thread concerning Baruch.”

    Now when I point out: “Which argument from DTKing were your assertions regarding Baruch intended to interact with?”

    You responded: “Non-sequitur. I never said that.”

    Perhaps I should just stop there. I will stop there for now, and consider whether there is any value in responding to your other points, later.

    -TurretinFan

  25. TurretinFan said,

    August 12, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Ok, I’ll take a nibble at this:

    “Nice try, but Jer 41:5 and Lam 1:4 maintain that worship in the burnt temple continued.”

    Jeremiah 41:5 is prior to the burning of the temple:

    Jeremiah 52:12-14
    Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, and burned the house of the LORD, and the king’s house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire: and all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about.

    And Lamentations 1:4 says pretty much the direct opposite of the idea that there is a continuation of worship in Zion: “The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.”

    And Lamentations 2:7 states: “The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the house of the LORD, as in the day of a solemn feast.”

    :eyeroll:

    -TurretinFan

  26. TurretinFan said,

    August 12, 2010 at 2:09 am

    Am I correct in understanding that the “many scholars” you are relying directly on are (1) the “Catholic” Encyclopedia, and (2) the Anchor bible dictionary? (with some indirect reference to whatever scholars are behind or cited in those works)

    -TurretinFan

  27. John said,

    August 12, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Instead of wasting your time eyerolling, you’d be better off studying the word of God. Jeremiah is not a strictly chronological account. The events of Ch 39 and 52 are the same events.

    Consider 39:1, Nebuchadnezzar comes to Jerusalem and lays seige. v2 the walls are breached. v4 Zedekiah flees. v5 the Chaldeans pursue and seize him. v7 he blinds Zedekiah v8 they burn the palace and houses and break down the walls.

    Now consider Ch 52. v1 Zedekiah becomes king. v4 Nebuchadnezzar lays siege. v7 the walls are breached and Zedekiah flees. v8 Zedekiah is captured. v11 Zedekiah is blinded. v13 they burn the temple, the palace and houses.

    So unless you want to claim Nebuchadnezzar did all this stuff twice and blinded Zedekiah twice, which would be a neat trick, the point remains unassailed.

    I’ll consider your request about King later.

  28. TurretinFan said,

    August 12, 2010 at 3:40 am

    That’s a good point about my error with respect to Jeremiah. I’m persuaded that the assassination of Ishmael took place a couple months after the destruction of the temple. These men, however, may well have the excuse that they did not know the temple had been destroyed when they first left.

  29. John said,

    August 12, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Except that “their beards shaved off and their clothes torn and their bodies gashed” is generally understood as a sign of their mourning over the calamity that has taken place, indicating that they are informed.

    In any case, there is plenty of doubt about the exact state of the temple and sequence of events and destruction and continuing ability to use the temple that the objection fails. Want a copy of Baruch to paste into your bible? Glue stick is on me.

  30. TurretinFan said,

    August 12, 2010 at 8:53 am

    It indicates that they are informed of the invasion, perhaps even of the sack of Jerusalem, but not of the destruction of the temple. Your own personal doubt about the state of the temple is not particularly compelling for me.

    Here’s why. Who in the world is this Joachim the high priest?

    The Jewish historian tells us:

    After those thirteen high priests, eighteen took the high priesthood at Jerusalem, one m succession to another, from the days of king Solomon, until Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, made an expedition against that city, and burnt the temple, and removed our nation into Babylon, and then took Josadek, the high priest, captive; the times of these high priests were four hundred and sixty-six years, six months, and ten days, while the Jews were still under the regal government. But after the term of seventy years’ captivity under the Babylonians, Cyrus, king of Persia, sent the Jews from Babylon to their own land again, and gave them leave to rebuild their temple; at which time Jesus, the son of Josadek, took the high priesthood over the captives when they were returned home.

    – Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, Chapter 10

    Josephus’ account agrees with the Scriptural record, which tells us of Joshua the son of Josedech the high priest (in Haggai, Zechariah, and Ezra), and which informs us

    1 Chronicles 6:14-15
    And Azariah begat Seraiah, and Seraiah begat Jehozadak, and Jehozadak went into captivity, when the LORD carried away Judah and Jerusalem by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.

    There was a high priest named something close to Joachim, but he was post-exilic high priest (see this list).

    What’s the closest we can find to a reference to this “Joachim the high priest, the son of Chelcias” (Baruch 1:7)? Well we find something sort of close in the apocryphal sub-work Susanna (

    Daniel (Apocryphal portion) 13:1-2
    There dwelt a man in Babylon, called Joacim:and he took a wife, whose name was Susanna, the daughter of Chelcias, a very fair woman, and one that feared the Lord.

    So, there’s a guy named Joacim with a father-in-law named Chelcias. And we’re told that “Now Joacim was a great rich man, and had a fair garden joining unto his house: and to him resorted the Jews; because he was more honourable than all others.” (Daniel (Apocryphal portion) 13:4)

    Maybe he’s your man (if that one even existed), but the inspired Scriptures do not tell us of a high priest Joachim living in Jerusalem during the exile, or of anyone named Joachim who had a farther named Chelcias, or even of anyone named Chelcias who had a father named Salom, or even a Salom,

    The easiest explanation is that Baruch is fiction. Perhaps, though, I have overlooked something (wouldn’t be the first time, as you’ve kindly demonstrated). Is there some reason not to reject Baruch as fictional on the basis that it names a high priest who wasn’t in the high priestly line, and who is alleged to have served during the time period when the temple was destroyed?

    -TurretinFan

  31. D. T. King said,

    August 12, 2010 at 9:08 am

    1. The book of Baruch is little more than a patchwork of verses that have been copied from the canonical writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Job, and Daniel, with a splash of Deuteronomy and even the apocryphal work of the Psalms of Solomon.

    2. A number of church fathers (Lactantius, Methodius, Basil, Chrysostom, Augustine, John Cassian) often confused the book of Baruch with Jeremiah, citing the former under the name of the latter. Thus they didn’t always know best.

    3. The prophecy of Jeremiah indicates that when Jeremiah went to Egypt (Jer 43:6-7), Baruch the son of Neriah accompanied him there; yet, the book of Baruch states that Baruch the son of Nerias was among the captive Jews in Babylon (Bar 1:1-4). Jeremiah was not among the captives taken to Babylon (Jer 39:9-14; 40:4-7). So while many church fathers ascribe the words of the book of Baruch to Jeremiah, it could not have been Jeremiah’s prophecy from the pen of Baruch unless one wants to contend that Baruch was channeling Jeremiah from Babylon. But the fact is, apart from the book of Baruch, there is no evidence that Baruch the son of Nerias was ever among the captive Jews in Babylon.

    It doesn’t require the status of a scholar or genius to see the historical contradiction.

  32. Phil Derksen said,

    August 12, 2010 at 9:29 am

    John, may I ask why out of all the apocryphal writings (to use Protestant terminology) you have chosen to single out and defend Baruch? Do you think that the other books historically in question in this context should also be deemed canonical? If so, why? – and if not so, why not?

  33. Richard said,

    August 12, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    D T King, I don’t think it is ‘off topic’ rather any canonical account has to deal with the evidence and this includes Qumran, evidence which Whitaker lacked. Beckwith is interesting, E. Ulrich takes him to task for his conclusions but the evidence he amasses is spot on. Also worth a read is Stephen Chapman’s Law and Prophets.

    Was there a closed ‘Hebrew’ canon within 2TJ? No. Does that mean we should all become Roman Catholic? No. It is not an either or issue IMO. :)

  34. D. T. King said,

    August 12, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Richard, thanks for sharing, but not interested. I’m not about to be sucked into a discussion on 2TJ.

  35. August 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    […] Whitaker Against the Deutero-Canonical Books […]

  36. David deSilva said,

    October 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I might be a fool for trying to speak to a two-year old conversation, but, having spent a considerable amount of time studying and writing on the Deuterocanonical Books, I would say:

    1. Yes, the Jewish community as a whole did not use them as Scripture. Not only are there explicit statements to this effect (like the Josephus quote cited above), but the indirect evidence is voluminous. Nowhere does Philo, Josephus, or even a New Testament (Jewish) author recite a passage from one of the Deuterocanonical Books as Scripture, as they do the 24 books (by the Jewish count) of the Hebrew Bible. Sure, these books have left an impressive and, in my mind, undeniable influence on the teachings of Jesus, Paul, James, and others (see my Introducing the Apocrypha [Baker Academic, 2002] or my Jewish Teachers of Jesus, James, and Jude [Oxford University Press, 2012]), but the fact is that they never quote one with a preface like “as it is written” or “as the Spirit says” or any such thing.

    2. But why should anyone argue that the Jewish canon of the OT should be determinative for the Christian Church? We have adopted 27 texts outside of the Jewish canon, and tend to rely on them more heavily than all 39 books of the Jewish canon (by our count) for our theology and ethics. If, then, the same church decides that Ben Sira, Wisdom of Solomon, 1-2 Maccabees, etc., are of equal value as authoritative resources, does not the same Spirit that gave us to select the 27 books of the NT empower us (speaking of “us” as the early church) to select other books outside the Jewish canon as well? I write this as a Protestant, by the way (one who will never buy a Bible for himself or for another without the Apocrypha printed in between the Testaments — I know that’s second best from a Catholic point of view, but it’s quite a statement from a Protestant point of view). Origen said something quite poignant to this effect in a letter to Julius Africanus. He was talking about the different text traditions of Daniel and Esther, but the principle seems to me to apply to broader canonical issues as well.

    For what it’s worth,
    David deSilva

  37. xpusostomos said,

    October 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    David deSilva: “Nowhere does Philo, Josephus, or even a New Testament (Jewish) author recite a passage from one of the Deuterocanonical Books as Scripture, as they do the 24 books (by the Jewish count) of the Hebrew Bible.”

    I keep asking this question to anybody who makes this argument, but have never got a response: Why should we a priori divide the OT books into proto canonical and deutero canonical, and then pass judgement on the deuteros as a uniform block? Yes, the number of Jewish witnesses for the deuteros is a lot less than for, oh say Genesis. BUT, one could say the same about Esther and quite a few books in the proto canon. Virtually nobody ever quotes Esther, not Jewish nor Christian. The whole idea of proto and deutero canon is based on the post-Christian Jewish community forming their canon, and projecting that back in time. If we want to talk about lack of Jewish support for the deuteros, then we have to put a lot of the protos up for grabs too, like Esther for a start, but not just Esther. I can’t see any rational justification for starting with the later Jewish canon as “proto-canon”, THEN having a discussion of “do we or don’t we include the deuteros”. Rather, every book has to stand on its own merits and its own attestation.


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