Saturday, May 24, 2008

Some Protestants’ Rejection of Deuterocanonical Books (Inter-Testament Apocrypha): Justifiable?, p.1

The current Protestant’s Canon of the Old Testament (OT) has the similar list of books with the Hebrew Bible (otherwise known as Hebrew canon). Due to this point, Protestants contests that their OT canon follows the Hebrew authorities in the ancient time, and thus their rejection of the deuterocanon is entirely justifiable. Hence, in order for us to understand whether are the Protestants justifiable in rejecting the deuterocanonical books, we have to give our focus to the Hebrew authorities on this issue.

I, a Protestant, come to this study without assuming the answer presumptuously. This was an open issue to me before the conclusion is reached. Hence, it is good for me to place down my card prior to your further reading so that you may be aware of my presuppositions and hence able to evaluate and criticize with more precision.

First of all, my concern is more towards the history behind the canonization process of the Hebrew Bible. Hence, it does not concern me if there might be possible uprising of theological differences such as the doctrine of purgatory, or ecclesiastical practices such as prayer to the dead to a Protestant like myself.

It does not concern me not because I am being theologically apathetic but rather because of my firm theological conviction that Jesus Christ is and remains to be the horizon of interpretation for theological construction. That means the interpretation of the OT and the deuterocanonical texts have to be done through understanding the words and works of Jesus.

Secondly, I am drawing heavily from the secondary sources that are at my disposal. I do not have access to most of the primary sources. And as such, my dependence on the available sources is strong if only they are true; Just as the dependence of the 39 Articles on Jerome’s testimony on the 22 books of the Hebrew Bible is strong if only Jerome got his list right.

Thirdly, this study is to satisfy my own curiosity and hence bear no prescription to the reader, especially so if you are a Protestant. Hence if after reading my study and you still find other authorities (such as the Westminster Confession, the 39 Articles, etc) prevailing, please let me know why so. I would be interested to carry this conversation further.

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