Why is the belief in Biblical inerrancy important to people?

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  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    That tells you that they saw those books as special. What it doesn't tell you is whether they saw them as "special" in the way inerrantists seem to - standalone, untouchable.
    ISTM that the Jewish scribes were more fundamentalist about their holy books that the strictest inerrantists.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Woe unto them.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited February 8
    Apologies in advance for rearranging your quote, @MPaul, but I wanted to end with the basic issue that I think is presented, rather than sticking it in the middle of my response.
    MPaul wrote: »
    I think that you cannot know how settled the questions were.
    I’ll admit it’s not totally clear, but there are historical records, including records that conflict as to which books were considered canonical, or even how many books were considered canonical.
    What we can know is that Jesus, in the gospels quoted or referred to the Torah, the prophets and the writings about 200 times. I do not think he referenced the apocrypha.
    There are numerous things Jesus said that mirror things in the deuterocanonical books and that can be interpreted as having been derived from them, but I agree than it those instances there’s nothing that firmly establishes that would be a correct interpretation. But the NT frequently quotes the Septuagint, which would seem to indicate that’s what the writers and the communities to which they wrote were familiar with. And the Septuagint does include the deutercanonicals (which circles back to the question of whether Jesus might have been referencing them in certain things he said).

    Of course, looking at what is and isn’t quoted gets one only so far. There are books of the OT that are never quoted in the NT, and there are various other Greek writings that are quoted in the NT.
    This is why I stated above that we all stand on the shoulders of others and in the end you trust..or you don’t what you cannot know.
    Right. But the question I’ve been asking is how are we to know which shoulders to stand on? In the case of the scriptural canon, it seems there are primarily two sets of shoulders to choose from—those of the early church and of councils such as Nicea (which you cited as having settled the canon), or those of the Reformers, who may have been relying at least in part on Jerome and on Jewish resolution of the canon. The former considered the deuterocanonical writings part of the canon, the latter did not. As you noted above, there’s always an agenda at work. So how do we know which agenda aligns with reliably identifying inspired Scripture and which does not?

    As one in a tradition that rests on the shoulders of the Reformers in this regard and that affirms the authoritative nature of Scripture, I think this a question worth wrestling with. If we’re going to claim that Scripture is authoritative, and if we’re not going to recognize some writings as Scripture that the rest of Christianity does recognize and did recognize long before the Reformation, we need to be able to articulate why. Or we may need to be willing to revisit the question ourselves.
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    Nick:
    how are we to know which shoulders to stand on?

    Without talking round in circles, too much you have the work of Wycliffe in 1322 followed by Erasmus 1525 who provided the basis of Textus Receptus and was followed by, Tyndale, Luther and Coverdale in the 1530s then you had the result of the KJV in 1611. Later you have the controversial work of Westcott and Hort in the 19C who tried to dethrone the KJV and looked to the Alexandrian codexes. which many think were corrupted and later translations like the NIV have been based more on these from all accounts.

    As I say, I am no scholar but am happy to go with the KJV as pretty reflective of good translation from good docs.. The point is that pseudo scholars everywhere do a bit of googling and think they have touched the bottom of the swamp. It is doubtful they have. The thing is that you cannot include the apocrypha based on best evidence IMV and that is because the Jewish scholars, despite the fact that they translated it in the LXX, mostly seem to have rejected it as scripture. and the question cannot be revisited at this stage in the game as even forensic historians no longer have the available evidence. The Bible is what it is IMV.
  • What we call the apocrypha were part of the Writings. They weren't two different things in the LXX.
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    edited February 8
    mousethief wrote: »
    What we call the apocrypha were part of the Writings. They weren't two different things in the LXX.
    Well, while they translated the Apocrypha, your confidence regarding their attitude to it is only speculation. They divided their holy writings into Torah, Prophets and writings. Do you know where the apocrypha fits with that?

    Also what is your reason for supporting the apocrypha, a body of writings that according to Unger’s Bible dictionary, is full of historical and geographical inaccuracies, promotes false doctrines, resorts to literary types and display an artificiality of subject matter and lack prophetic power?

    Philo, (20BC-40AD)quoted the OT prolifically but not the apocrypha. Josephus excludes it as well numbering the OT books as 29. Jesus and the NT writers do not quote from it. The Jamnia council does not recognise it. Many of the church fathers rejected it eg Cyril of Alexandria and Origen. Jerome rejected it. Many Catholic scholars rejected it and Catholicism only accepted it after Trent. As I said above, it is probably the doctrine of Purgatory that was behind that.
  • The Hebrew canon of the Bible is full of historical and geographical inaccuracies too, doesn't seem to stop you regarding it as inerrant. And claiming that the Greek texts contain false doctrine is yet another exercise in question-begging.
  • What is your reason for supporting Unger's? The LXX was the first Christian bible. It was the bible of the early church. If any justification must be given for two ways of doing things, I believe the person suggesting a change needs to make the justification. Something that has been in place for 2000 years may be unjustifiable, it is true. But the person who has made a change needs to defend it. Quoting some book smearing the scriptures doesn't cut it.
  • Uh, yes, we know which books were the Torah, and we know which books were the prophets (major and minor). Everything else was Writings. This is not fancy modern theory. This is ancient fact.
  • While it is true that Jesus did not quote a chunk of the deuts directly, the deuts run throughout the gospels. All of them can of course be explained away if one has a mind. But the preponderance of evidence suggests Jesus knew the deuts and regarded them highly.

    https://www.scripturecatholic.com/deuterocanonical-books-new-testament/
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Uh, yes, we know which books were the Torah, and we know which books were the prophets (major and minor). Everything else was Writings. This is not fancy modern theory. This is ancient fact.
    Well, I have a question for you. How about laying out what you think and why instead of the assumption you are owed explanations all the time?

    What is your reason for supporting the apocrypha when pretty well no one did? The writings did not include the apocrypha. It was Psalms, Proverbs, Job, song of S, Ruth, Lamentations,Esther, Ecclesiastes, Ezra-Neh, Chronicles,
  • Pretty well no one except the Catholics and the Orthodox, about 68% of world Christians. So, your "no one" is a little hollow. You mean no one you like, perhaps. You list the Writings from your Bible as if somehow your bible's canon were the whole story. Clearly it isn't.
  • I will repeat. The LXX was the bible of the early church. It wasn't until much much later that the deuts were dumped, by the Protestants. The Protestants need to explain on what authority they did this, and why. I don't need to explain why I have kept doing what Christians have been doing since 33 AD.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited February 8
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Dude. I am telling you I see problems with an error-free bible that is only "mistranslated"*. (...)

    *The exact quote where you said you were at, bold mine:
    The second is that it may not be so much that the bible has errors, so much that the interpretations we have of it change over time - and that dynamic change may also be divinely inspired.

    Firstly, it was not me who said that, but @Doublethink, here.

    I quoted that part of her post and said that was where I was at, which I am, but they were not my words.

    Secondly, she said the problem was not so much one of errors but one of interpretation.

    This falls far short of asserting there are no errors and I am 100% certain Doublethink meant no such thing, and neither did I.

    Thirdly, she said the problem was more one of changing interpretations. I am also 100% certain Doublethink did not mean incorrect translations of Hebrew or Greek, but the way the text is understood and applied theologically changes over time. There is a difference between translation and interpretation and I should know, it's how I earn my living.

    And fourthly, she offered up the idea that "dynamic change" (by which I take her to mean a revision of previous interpretations for the present context) may also be divinely inspired, a line of thought which I am on record as espousing.

    Now will you admit you have grossly misrepresented me - again?
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Pretty well no one except the Catholics and the Orthodox, about 68% of world Christians. So, your "no one" is a little hollow. You mean no one you like, perhaps. You list the Writings from your Bible as if somehow your bible's canon were the whole story. Clearly it isn't.

    No, the writings are what the Jews thought they were. And Jerome was Catholic. I’d kind of like you to justify your own view.
  • Eutychus has me right, though I did also mention that the text was written by fallible humans - which would be the source of what errors there are in the text.
  • Thanks, @Doublethink . I think I agree with your caveat about fallible humans, too, but more importantly I agree with you that fixating on the errors is not helpful in deciding if and how the texts are authoritative and what role interpretation plays.

    (I've also noticed in the meantime that the legacy thread I linked to above sprang directly from the issue of how to deal with apparently divinely-ordained violence).
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Tangent

    @mousethief is this word 'deuts' a normal idiomatic expression where you come from, or is it a Mousethief idiolect? I've not met it elsewhere, and it's not normal usage round here.
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    I will repeat. The LXX was the bible of the early church. It wasn't until much much later that the deuts were dumped, by the Protestants. The Protestants need to explain on what authority they did this, and why. I don't need to explain why I have kept doing what Christians have been doing since 33 AD.

    OK then, perhaps you can explain why the NT writers freely quote from the canonical books of the LXX but never from the apocrypha?

    But you won’t explain anything you really think will you?
  • I'm not sure quoting a text is proof of its eligibility in the canon, or more specifically, that absence of such quotes is proof of its ineligibility.

    I'm not sure all protestant canonical OT books are quoted in the NT, and I'm sure reference is made to non-canonical works in the NT. Did Jannes and Jambres become the actual names of those disputing the body of Moses merely because Paul alluded to them in what is now part of the canon?
  • Paul explicitly quotes from secular sources in his Acts 17 address. However this is reportage, not Luke (or whoever) using them directly.
  • MPaul wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Pretty well no one except the Catholics and the Orthodox, about 68% of world Christians. So, your "no one" is a little hollow. You mean no one you like, perhaps. You list the Writings from your Bible as if somehow your bible's canon were the whole story. Clearly it isn't.
    No, the writings are what the Jews thought they were.
    I'm afraid I don't see how that answers any questions. The translators/compilers of the LXX were Jews. Those who used the LXX—including Jesus and the apostles—were Jews.
    MPaul wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    What we call the apocrypha were part of the Writings. They weren't two different things in the LXX.
    Well, while they translated the Apocrypha, your confidence regarding their attitude to it is only speculation. They divided their holy writings into Torah, Prophets and writings. Do you know where the apocrypha fits with that?
    As has been stated repeatedly, the LXX did not segregate what Protestants call the Apocrypha from the rest of Scripture. Some of the writings in the Apocrypha were considered part of and included with the Prophets. Others were considered part of and included with the Writings. In some cases, those writings were part of OT books everyone otherwise agrees on, such as Daniel.
    MPaul wrote: »
    Nick:
    how are we to know which shoulders to stand on?

    Without talking round in circles, too much you have the work of Wycliffe in 1322 . . .
    Wycliffe’s Bible was a translation from the Vulgate and included not only the deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha as part of the OT, but also included the Epistle to the Laodiceans in the NT.
    . . .followed by Erasmus 1525 who provided the basis of Textus Receptus . . .
    Erasmus and the Textus Receptus relate to the NT, to the OT, whether with or without the deuterocanonical books.
    . . . and was followed by, Tyndale, Luther and Coverdale in the 1530s then you had the result of the KJV in 1611.
    Right. Luther was the first to separate the deuterocanonical writings from the rest of the OT and place them in a separate section between the OT and the NT, indicating that they were of lesser value and authority than the rest of the OT. Coverdale and the KJV followed suit, partially because portions of the Apocrypha continued to be read in churches in England until the mid-17th Century.
    The thing is that you cannot include the apocrypha based on best evidence IMV and that is because the Jewish scholars, despite the fact that they translated it in the LXX, mostly seem to have rejected it as scripture. and the question cannot be revisited at this stage in the game as even forensic historians no longer have the available evidence.
    Sorry, but I just don’t think the history makes it as clean as that. If nothing else, if you're argument is that "the question cannot be revisited at this stage in the game as even forensic historians no longer have the available evidence," then it seems to me it would be just as baseless to say that Jews of the apostolic and early church eras did not accept the deuterocanonical books as it is to say that they did. If the evidence isn't there, it isn't there. From what I have read, the best we can say is that the evidence is mixed at to agreement on the Jewish canon and the authority of various deuterocanonical writings until sometime after—possibly well after—the destruction of the Second Temple and the rise of Rabbinic Judaism.
    The Bible is what it is IMV.
    I’m afraid I don't see how that really answers anything. Except that I guess it does bring things to a close by answering the question posed by @mousethief that started this particular discussion by saying that when you say "Bible" or "Scripture," you mean the OT and the NT of the KJV, the texts from which it was translated, or a translation consistent with it (if that's the right way of putting it). Would that be accurate?

    While for mousethief, "Bible" or "Scripture" means the LXX, or translations from it, and the NT. And for others, it may mean something in between or slightly different, I suppose.


  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    MPaul wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    I will repeat. The LXX was the bible of the early church. It wasn't until much much later that the deuts were dumped, by the Protestants. The Protestants need to explain on what authority they did this, and why. I don't need to explain why I have kept doing what Christians have been doing since 33 AD.

    OK then, perhaps you can explain why the NT writers freely quote from the canonical books of the LXX but never from the apocrypha?

    But you won’t explain anything you really think will you?
    But there are examples in the Gospels and New Testament where deuterocanonical books are referenced - Matthew 27:43 references Wisdom 2:18-20, for example.

    In a catholic or orthodox bible the deuterocanonical books are not in a separate apocrypha, but included in the different sections. In my NJB, Baruch is a prophet, Wisdom and Sirach are included in the Books of Wisdom, Maccabees, Tobit and Judith are history books, Susanna and Bel and the Dragon are part of Daniel, along with other material and Esther is augmented. Those books are included in the sections of the Bible you cite.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    Tangent

    @mousethief is this word 'deuts' a normal idiomatic expression where you come from, or is it a Mousethief idiolect? I've not met it elsewhere, and it's not normal usage round here.

    Idiolect.
  • MPaul wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Pretty well no one except the Catholics and the Orthodox, about 68% of world Christians. So, your "no one" is a little hollow. You mean no one you like, perhaps. You list the Writings from your Bible as if somehow your bible's canon were the whole story. Clearly it isn't.

    No, the writings are what the Jews thought they were. And Jerome was Catholic. I’d kind of like you to justify your own view.

    I have justified my view. The LXX is the OT of the original church, and is still the OT of 68% of Christians. That's my justification. What's yours? Some Bible commentary?
  • MPaul wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Pretty well no one except the Catholics and the Orthodox, about 68% of world Christians. So, your "no one" is a little hollow. You mean no one you like, perhaps. You list the Writings from your Bible as if somehow your bible's canon were the whole story. Clearly it isn't.

    No, the writings are what the Jews thought they were.

    Really? Where do they list them? Let's talk PRE-Christian era, since the LXX precedes the Christian era by some 200 years, I believe.
  • MPaul wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    I will repeat. The LXX was the bible of the early church. It wasn't until much much later that the deuts were dumped, by the Protestants. The Protestants need to explain on what authority they did this, and why. I don't need to explain why I have kept doing what Christians have been doing since 33 AD.

    OK then, perhaps you can explain why the NT writers freely quote from the canonical books of the LXX but never from the apocrypha?

    But you won’t explain anything you really think will you?

    Cool it with the personal attacks. I have told you over and over what I really think.

    If quoting from a pre-NT text means they thought it was Scripture, that must mean you believe as canonical multiple books that we Orthodox call non-canonical. A pretty good list is here. Books quoted or alluded to include the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jasher, The Epistle to the Laodiceans, and many others. As one example see Jude 1:14-15.

  • Eutychus wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Dude. I am telling you I see problems with an error-free bible that is only "mistranslated"*. (...)

    *The exact quote where you said you were at, bold mine:
    The second is that it may not be so much that the bible has errors, so much that the interpretations we have of it change over time - and that dynamic change may also be divinely inspired.

    Firstly, it was not me who said that, but @Doublethink, here.

    I quoted that part of her post and said that was where I was at, which I am, but they were not my words.

    I didn't say they were your words, I said you said that is were you were at. Which is what you just said, so colour me confused.
    Secondly, she said the problem was not so much one of errors but one of interpretation.

    This falls far short of asserting there are no errors and I am 100% certain Doublethink meant no such thing, and neither did I.
    To be pedantic, 'not so much' is typically used to nullify, or reduce the importance of, one thing in preference of the other. So, even given the softer usage, this is still problematic. For how does one interpret away a command to commit genocide if it is not an error?
    Thirdly, she said the problem was more one of changing interpretations. I am also 100% certain Doublethink did not mean incorrect translations of Hebrew or Greek, but the way the text is understood and applied theologically changes over time. There is a difference between translation and interpretation and I should know, it's how I earn my living.
    Wow. An appeal to oneself as authority. Is this a variation of a fallacy or a new one?
    Again, please explain how mere interpretation can take the curse out of genocide. Seriously, the only interpretation of that instance (along with others, of course) which is inline with a contemporary Christian view of God as All Powerful, Knowing and Loving is that it is a people's justification of their actions and not divinely guided text. AKA, in error. If you agree that it is in error, it is simple enough a sentence to type.

    And, if you might, at just what point is an interpretation divinely inspired? Are all of them? Everything from "Kill 'em all, I'll sort them out" to "Naw, just kidding"...? This is serious question, as not all Christians agree with what is exactly correct and those views have changed over time as well. So I have difficulty with the divine inspiration of interpretation.
    Now will you admit you have grossly misrepresented me - again?
    Pretty much don't think I did.

  • Eutychus has me right, though I did also mention that the text was written by fallible humans - which would be the source of what errors there are in the text.
    I still have an issue with the idea that people might think that the problem is 'not so much' errors. ISTM, the errors are very problematic. ISTM, they are part of the justifications used to do Very Bad Things in the name of God. The God of the OT, as written, is a bastard and not the same God as in the NT. And even the NT is problematic unless viewed through a lens that corrects for error.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited February 8
    Your. Exact. Words, addressed to me:
    You said your position is that the Bible doesn't contain errors

    I never said that. Now are you going to retract and attempt to behave with something approaching good faith and fewer insults, or have you learned nothing from the Hell thread with your name on it?

    I'm simply not prepared to engage here with you unless you can make some effort towards the guidelines I suggested. I don't think they're unreasonable; do you?
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Eutychus has me right, though I did also mention that the text was written by fallible humans - which would be the source of what errors there are in the text.
    I still have an issue with the idea that people might think that the problem is 'not so much' errors. ISTM, the errors are very problematic. ISTM, they are part of the justifications used to do Very Bad Things in the name of God. The God of the OT, as written, is a bastard and not the same God as in the NT. And even the NT is problematic unless viewed through a lens that corrects for error.

    I was thinking that, in the current context, very few people cite the bible as justification for genocide (in the sense of going out and slaughtering people wholesale) - whereas hundreds of millions of people cite it, for example, to condemn abortion. As far as I know the bible actually says nothing directly about abortion at all. Which illustrates what I mean about changing interpretations.

    (The “lens that corrects for error” is what I would call a new interpretation.)

    I should be clear that I am not inerrantist, I don’t claim the bible is without error.
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    Your. Exact. Words, addressed to me:
    You said your position is that the Bible doesn't contain errors
    Actually, I said this:
    You said your position is that the Bible doesn't contain errors, just that interpretations change over time. I challenged the position that translation differences cover every biblical problem.
    Perhaps not perfect shot on goal, but still in the penalty area.
    So, you believe that the Bible contains errors. It still seems to me that you are minimising them. I do not think this is a good thing to do.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Eutychus has me right, though I did also mention that the text was written by fallible humans - which would be the source of what errors there are in the text.
    I still have an issue with the idea that people might think that the problem is 'not so much' errors. ISTM, the errors are very problematic. ISTM, they are part of the justifications used to do Very Bad Things in the name of God. The God of the OT, as written, is a bastard and not the same God as in the NT. And even the NT is problematic unless viewed through a lens that corrects for error.

    I was thinking that, in the current context, very few people cite the bible as justification for genocide (in the sense of going out and slaughtering people wholesale) - whereas hundreds of millions of people cite it, for example, to condemn abortion. As far as I know the bible actually says nothing directly about abortion at all. Which illustrates what I mean about changing interpretations.
    In the past, the bible has been used as justification of genocide, invasion, slavery, etc. At present, it is used against LGBT+.
    (The “lens that corrects for error” is what I would call a new interpretation.)
    Without saying, This bit is wrong, it still lends credence to it. I get why using the Big W is not where people like to be. In the end, though, I think it counter-productive to avoid it.
    I should be clear that I am not inerrantist, I don’t claim the bible is without error.
    Never though you were. I took that initial post as working out how different people think.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Your. Exact. Words, addressed to me:
    You said your position is that the Bible doesn't contain errors
    Actually, I said this:
    You said your position is that the Bible doesn't contain errors, just that interpretations change over time. I challenged the position that translation differences cover every biblical problem.
    Perhaps not perfect shot on goal, but still in the penalty area.

    Oh, that's what it is for you, is it? I can only respond here.


  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    (The “lens that corrects for error” is what I would call a new interpretation.)
    Without saying, This bit is wrong, it still lends credence to it. I get why using the Big W is not where people like to be. In the end, though, I think it counter-productive to avoid it.

    Leaving what happens in Hell to stay in Hell, the trouble is the varying values of "error" and "wrong".

    The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy goes a lot further than even many self-proclaimed inerrantists when it "affirms", most unhelpfully in my view, that "without error" means
    without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives

    To my mind whether or not these kinds of things constitute "error" depend a lot on what the Bible is supposed to be conveying - which is an issue of interpretation. Does a lack of scientific accuracy make the Bible "wrong"? I certainly don't think so.

    These kinds of error are not at all in the same category as saying "word "x" has been "wrongly" translated as "down" when it actually means "up".

    (Although even that is not as straightforward as it seems, see Ursula Le Guin's short story The Author of the Acacia Seeds for how "up" can quite convincingly be understood to mean "down" in certain circumstances).

    And both of these are in a different category from "wrong" in the sense of "genocide is morally wrong".

    These things are clearly distinct, so it's important to be clear on what various people are saying. If one is seeking to at least understand others' points of view (cf the OP).

    With that caveat in mind, and bearing in mind the varying meanings of "error", "lens that corrects for error" is an idea I am going to explore.
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    Some of the writings in the Apocrypha were considered part of and included with the Prophets. Others were considered part of and included with the Writings. In some cases, those writings were part of OT books everyone otherwise agrees on, such as Daniel

    You see you assume that. I do not think that can be known. The Jews IFAICS along with multiple ancient sources, as I noted above, separated their holy books from Apocrypha. The Jews last book was actually 2 Chronicles and they thought the prophetic voice was stilled after Malachi put down his pen. There is no prophecy in the Apocrypha which I understand is post exilic. You find Jewish lists of the writings do not include it. There official list is what I quoted above. They include Ezra-Nehemiah as one book.

    In addition, the Jewish scholars of Jamnia in AD 90 did not recognise the apocrypha and for the first 4 centuries of the church neither did any council. Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem and Athanasius spoke against it and Jerome, 340-420, rejected it as well. They were brought into the vulgate after his death.

    This is what FF Bruce says:

    “In addition to the 22 books of the OT, the LXX contains a number of books that were never part of the Hebrew canon. Apparently, these books were circulated in the Greek speaking world but were never part of the Hebrew canon.”

    Some here seem to think it is a devilish plot to get rid of it when really, they are merely claiming authority for their tradition.

    There is in fact nothing of value there that demands inclusion and Catholics apparently only insisted on it from the time of Trent. As I say, that is probably about justifying the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory that gives the sinful dead a second chance. Something you won’t find elsewhere.

    @Curiosity Killed: Matt27:43 references Ps 22:8 in my Bible. I would be interested in any other references in the NT that refer to Apocrypha. In fact the NT quotes the old 250 times. There is a reference in John to a festival that celebrates the Festival of Lights that I think is Purim and derives from Esther. Speaking of Esther, that makes it into the Jewish canonical list and I know there were plenty of discussions.
  • MPaul wrote: »
    In fact the NT quotes the old 250 times.
    How is this relevant to a sub-discussion of the limits of the canon? Is being quoted in the NT a criterion of canonicity for you? If so, why are Ezra/Nehemiah, Esther, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Obadiah, Nahum or Zephaniah canonical? They are not quoted in the NT.
  • MPaul wrote: »
    You see you assume that. I do not think that can be known.
    I do not think I am assuming anything more than you are. I am certainly not assuming where the deuterocanonical writings were found in the LXX.

    What I am trying not to do is force my view of the historical record into a predetermined outcome.
    There is no prophecy in the Apocrypha which I understand is post exilic.
    There are, as has been noted, portions of the Septuagint's Book of Daniel in the Apocrypha.
    You find Jewish lists of the writings do not include it.
    And you will find Jewish lists that do include it, or at least include portions of it.
    There official list is what I quoted above. They include Ezra-Nehemiah as one book.
    Who is "they," and exactly when did they put together the "official list."
    In addition, the Jewish scholars of Jamnia in AD 90 did not recognise the apocrypha . . .
    There is no actual evidence of the rabbis of Jamnia defining the Jewish canon. That such a council was held at Jamnia at which the Jewish canon was deternined was first hypothesized in the 1870s. Jewish scholar Sidney Leiman wrote: "The widespread view that the Council of Jamnia closed the biblical canon, or that it canonized any books at all, is not supported by the evidence and need no longer be seriously maintained.” FF Bruce, whom you cite, counseled against suggesting that the rabbis of Jamnia decided on any list of what was and wasn't in the Jewish canon.
    Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem and Athanasius spoke against it and Jerome, 340-420, rejected it as well.
    They did indeed question or reject at least some of the deuterocanonical books. Jerome did not reject them all. Others in that era did not, which suggests to me it was an open question. Indeed, the context in which they "spoke against" the deuterocanonical writings suggests they were speaking against a common understanding.
    They were brought into the vulgate after [Jerome's] death.
    Nope. And Jerome at times referred to at least some of them as "Scripture."
    Some here seem to think it is a devilish plot to get rid of it when really, they are merely claiming authority for their tradition.
    Whether "some" think that or not, that is not what I think or what I am doing, especially since my tradition does not accept the Apocrypha as authoritative.

    What I am trying to explore is this: How do those of us who consider Scripture inspired and authoritative—whatever we may precisely mean by those terms—decide what is and isn't Scripture? How do those who believe in inerrancy decide which writings are to be considered inerrant and which are not?

    It would be nice if there was a list in Scripture, but there isn't. Unlike Islam, we do not have scriptures that we claim were directly dictated to and written down by a single prophet as one whole. What we have are writings written over a span of centuries, some of which have been pretty much uniformly recognized as Scripture by Israel/Jews and the church, some of which have been pretty uniformly rejected as Scripture, and some of which lingered for some time in a gray area.

    In other words, how do we know or decide which writings to consider inspired and authoritative, or inerrant, and which writings not to consider as such? Most of us are trusting the evaluations made by others who came before us—standing on other shoulders, as you put it. How do we decide which shoulders to stand on?
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    I do not think I am assuming anything more than you are
    I think there is lots of support for the Bible as we have it. You seem to be nit picking quite frankly. Re Jamnia, I never read or said it decided the canon.
  • MPaul wrote: »
    I do not think I am assuming anything more than you are
    I think there is lots of support for the Bible as we have it.
    I don't disagree, though I think there's support for the deuterocanonicals as well.

    Perhaps more to the point, I think this simple statement "the Bible as we have it" reflects part of the problem. Who is "we"? It appears to mean Protestants, because the Bible as Protestants have it is not the Bible as Catholics or the Orthodox have it.
    You seem to be nit picking quite frankly. Re Jamnia, I never read or said it decided the canon.
    And you seem to be brushing aside as assumptions any historical evidence, including the makeup of the LXX, that doesn't fit with your conclusion.

    As for Jamnia, no you didn't say it decided the canon. You said they didn't recognize the Apocrypha, though I'm not sure of the evidence to support that.

    But you did say that there was an official list. I asked when that list was decided upon and by whom. You didn't answer that question. I would be interested to know what list you're referring to.

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    How do those of us who consider Scripture inspired and authoritative—whatever we may precisely mean by those terms—decide what is and isn't Scripture?
    Thinking about this, not least because of the last thread we had on the canon, has moved me towards more recognition of the role of tradition. Anyone fulfilling the category you mention is de facto ascribing some authority to some sort of tradition.

    At the sharp end, I think another part of the answer to this question is that functionally, believers also tend to have a 'canon within the canon'. Not only do we effectively classify some books of the Bible ahead of others, we neglect some and highlight others. Non-protestant churches, with more emphasis on the authority of the Church and Tradition, are less hung up about doing this, but we all do it.

    What I'm trying to say is even a 66-book Chicago inerrantist has a functionally different and uneven canon, not a uniform 66-book one.

    (I've mentioned before the irony that those keenest on insisting on a very strictly defined 66-book, uniformly authoritative canon are often also the most keen on giving out tiny portions of that canon).
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    MPaul wrote: »
    In fact the NT quotes the old 250 times.
    How is this relevant to a sub-discussion of the limits of the canon? Is being quoted in the NT a criterion of canonicity for you? If so, why are Ezra/Nehemiah, Esther, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Obadiah, Nahum or Zephaniah canonical? They are not quoted in the NT.
    I just think it is significant what Jesus and the apostles cited. Whatever they cited was obviously authoritative and pretty well all scholarship views this as a criterion. In much the same way, that the NT criteria for scripture was apostolic authority.

  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    And you seem to be brushing aside as assumptions any historical evidence, including the makeup of the LXX, that doesn't fit with your conclusion
    Well, if you are discussing historical issues, you have limits. You can’t go back and observe. You can argue about Jerome but the best evidence I have seen is that he rejected apocrypha. However, I doubt some people are ever satisfied. It is true we all bring baggage to the discussion and argue to support our conviction that is not really open to negotiation. That is a given. I am sure you do it too unless you are just here to sharpen debating skills. I think the Bible we have inherited is the Christian Bible. It is neither Protestant nor Catholic. Do what you want with that.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    So how do you account for the different Bibles we have inherited - the 66 books of the Protestant Bible or 66 + or minus the different additional books included in the bibles of the Roman Catholic and different Orthodox churches?
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    ... the KJV followed suit, partially because portions of the Apocrypha continued to be read in churches in England until the mid-17th Century.
    Not quite. Portions of the Apocrypha have remained in the 1662 BCP lectionary down to the present day and are in the Common Worship lectionary. Alternatives are usually provided in the Common Worship one for those that don't approve of them. This doesn't apply to the BCP lectionary.

    They occur more frequently on weekdays than Sundays, but I notice that there's a passage from Wisdom next Sunday evening, with something from Hosea as an alternative.

    So strictly, a church Bible should be complete.

    I think printing Bibles without the Apocrypha also only dates from the early C19, and was done partly to save money and partly because the Scots didn't like it. Printers wanted to be able to sell their Bibles both sides of the border.

    Three extra titbits. First, the Geneva Bible included the Apocrypha. Second, quite a lot of what seems to be an original Hebrew text of Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) came to light during the C20. And third, it often surprises people, particularly the more Proddy, to learn that there are passages in the Hebrew Bible that are not in the LXX, part of the story of David and Goliath for example.
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    So how do you account for the different Bibles we have inherited - the 66 books of the Protestant Bible or 66 + or minus the different additional books included in the bibles of the Roman Catholic and different Orthodox churches?

    I do not have anything to add to what I already said. The apocrypha was not regarded as canonical by the rabbis despite being in the LXX. That was confirmed at Jamnia 9AD. But you know as well as I that there are all kinds of splits through church history. The key issue of the Reformation was Catholic authority. Luther saw that it was not scriptural. So the issue is if you kick Catholicism out, what do you base authority on? Luther had a number of tenets among which was sola scriptura. That was his authority.

    As far as the scriptures and what they were. ISTM not a matter that the church ever decided. Rather the true believers corporately recognised through use, what they were. Firstly, the Jews, then Christ, then the apostles. To me basically it is what it is at this stage in history. I am surprised to read above that Anglicanism uses apocryphal readings.

    The link posted above by Mousethief looking for links between NT scripture and apocrypha does seem fairly strained and based only on quite tenuous associations. There s also the fact that this is a self justifying Catholic site. They could, like the one you cited be centred in the real canon..you could find better links.

    I rejected Catholicism though was raised strong Catholic. This leaves one open to the charge of private interpretation and certainly schism. In the end the way I figure it, is that if I buy back into Romanism I get this great illusion of comforting authority and unity. However, I also get a very dubious history and a bunch of unbiblical traditions. I really have no option at all. The limited history I do know suggests that Luther was right in his assertion of sola scriptura though obviously not right in everything.

  • Enoch wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    ... the KJV followed suit, partially because portions of the Apocrypha continued to be read in churches in England until the mid-17th Century.
    Not quite. Portions of the Apocrypha have remained in the 1662 BCP lectionary down to the present day and are in the Common Worship lectionary. . . .
    Thanks for the correction and additional information, Enoch.

    MPaul wrote: »
    I think the Bible we have inherited is the Christian Bible. It is neither Protestant nor Catholic. Do what you want with that.
    Rather than making assumptions, I’d prefer to know what you do with that—what significance stating it that way has for you.

    And I’d also like to know what “official list” you were referring to above. Who compiled that list and when?

  • So, you reject anything done by Catholics. It remains indisputable that Jude quotes the book of Enoch, and if being quoted by a NT writer makes something scripture, then Enoch is scripture.
  • The problem with citing Luther for a 66 book canon is that he is pretty much a textbook case of deciding books are dodgy based on your own theological biases. Recall that Luther wanted to trim the New Testament too, objecting to James, Revelation, Hebrews and Jude because they undermined his Solas. Incidentally, the 4th century council of Rome listed the canon in full, including most of the deuterocanonical texts, the same canon affirmed at Trent.
  • MPaulMPaul Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    So, you reject anything done by Catholics. It remains indisputable that Jude quotes the book of Enoch, and if being quoted by a NT writer makes something scripture, then Enoch is scripture.
    No, just saying it is not unbiased is all . Jude indeed may refer to Enoch but really, that is a key verse in Jude for the Angel theory in Gen 6. The book of Enoch is fascinating and does seem to reinforce the genetic corruption caused by the sons of God or Bene Elohim. One can suppose that theory apart from the Book of Enoch though which I understand is very late in the piece, 150 BC? It seems to contain what would otherwise be oral traditions. It does not quote it though certainly, Jude may have it in mind. Is the book of Enoch even part of the Apocrypha anyway?
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