Saturday, May 24, 2008

Some Protestants’ Rejection of Deuterocanonical Books (Inter-Testament Apocrypha): Justifiable?, p.5

Observations based on fact 1 and 2

1) There was no fixed canon which was widely recognized by the Jewish and Christian communities during 1st – 4th century AD.

2) There are different sets of canon being recognized depending on the geographical area. Hence Jerome’s initial set of OT canon, which is identical to the Palestinian Jewish community's, is just another set among many which are in existence during that time. Yet Jerome differentiates the Hebrew Bible from the Christian Scripture.

3) The use of LXX of the early Christian communities, including the biblical authors. Though this fact does not mean the biblical authors and the Christian communities regard the deuterocanonical books as Scripture. It neither means they did not. What we know is that some later Christian communities from second century onwards do view the deuterocanon as Christian Scripture. In that case, we can confidently postulate that these later Christians followed the passed down tradition of the list of the canon just like their passed down belief in Jesus Christ. And if that is true, then the probability is high for the earliest Christians (particularly the earliest Jewish Christians) did really regard the deuterocanon as Scripture.

While Jesus did say something about the scripture of His days (Matt 23.35, Lk 11.50), yet the limits and extend of his canonical list is not conclusive given the fluidity of the canon at that time. Craig Evans summarized well, “…Jesus quotes or alludes to all of the books of the Law, most of the Prophets, and some of the Writings.” (The Scriptures of Jesus and His Earliest Followers, in L.M.McDonald & Sanders (ed), The Canon Debate, p.185)

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