Did Some Church Fathers Reject the deuterocanonicals
A look at Origen, St. Athanasius, St. Cyril of Jerusalem,
St. Hilary of Poitiers, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory Nazianzen,
Rufinus, St. Gregory the Great, St. John Damascene
and St. Jerome
Background and Overview
Protestant Apologists on the Fathers
But Didn’t the Jews Decide the Canon?
A Look at the Fathers
Origen, [185-253/254 A.D]
St. Athanasius [295-373 A.D.]
St.Cyril of Jerusalem, [315-386 A.D.]
St. Hilary of Poitiers, [315-367/368 A.D.]
St. Basil the Great, [330-379 A.D.]
St. Gregory Nazianzen, [330-389 A.D.]
Rufinus, [345-410 A.D.]
St. Gregory the Great, Pope, [590-604, A.D.]
St. John Damascene, [645-749 A.D.]
St. Jerome, [347-419/420 A.D]
Pre-Trent Ecumenical Councils
Appendix: Did Inspiration Cease for 400 years?: An examination of Norman
Geisler's Attack on the Deuterocanonicals
What did the Church Fathers think of the Old Testament canon? In any discussion of the extent of the Old Testament canon, the answer to that question is important. There are many issues that are central to our discussion of the extent of the canon. This discussion is on whether the Deuterocanonicals (The books of Wisdom, Judith, 1st and 2nd Maccabees, Sirach also known as Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, and Baruch) which are seven books that Catholic and the Orthodox Church have, are part of the Bible (and other sections that are supplements to the books of Daniel and Esther, that are not in Protestant Bibles). Did the Church Fathers think that these books were inspired Scripture? That is the issue I will tackle in this study.
Before I do that I will briefly address some objections that Protestants will use for saying that the Deuterocanonicals are not Scripture. Then I will address the subject on whether the Church Fathers accepted the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture.
There are several reasons that Protestants use for rejecting the Deuterocanonicals, and they belittle them by using the term ‘Apocrypha’ in reference to these books. Ron Rhodes is a former co-host of ‘The Bible Answer Man’ and an author of a book which supposedly teaches Evangelicals how to ‘share the Good News with Catholics’. After giving his analysis that the 66 books of the Old Testament and New Testament apparently pass the test but the Deuterocanonicals do not, he concludes with the following statements:
Measuring the Apocrypha against these tests shows the Apocrypha falls far short of the Old and New Testaments.
1) The books were not written by prophets or apostles of God.
2) The books do not ring with the sense of "thus saith the Lord."
3) The books contradict doctrines revealed in the pages of the Old and New Testaments.
4) While some church fathers used the books for devotional purposes, the books nevertheless fail to have the transforming effects of the Old and New Testaments.
5) The books, for the most part, were not accepted on a broad scale by the people of God-at least not until 1500 years later when the Catholic Council of Trent pronounced them canonical. Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 2000, p. 42.
It is not the purpose of this essay to address the first four arguments substantively. Those arguments have been addressed in other essays. My purpose in this study is to address the Fifth one. Briefly though, I will comment on each of them before I specifically go into the Fathers on the issue:
1) Who is Rhodes to determine what a prophet is? Where does the Bible say that in order to be Scripture, it must be written by a prophet? Where is Esther mentioned as a prophet? Is there any hint that 1st and 2nd Chronicles are written by prophets? Where does Ecclesiastes come off as ‘prophetic’? Mark and Luke were neither prophets or apostles, so that would eliminate some New Testament books as well. Besides that, the Book of Wisdom, one of the books that Rhodes rejects as non-prophetic, specifically says this about how evil people will speak of someone who is God’s Son who will be put to death:
18 for if the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him (See Mt. 27:43) from the hand of his adversaries. 19 Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. 20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected."
If this is not prophetic about God’s Son, I don’t know what is.
Besides that, as we will see, many of the Fathers that Rhodes allege deny the Scriptural status of the Deuterocanonicals, will speak of the writers of those books as 'prophets', thus verifying their Scriptural status.
2) What objective criteria does Rhodes use to say that these books do not ring with the sense of ‘thus saith the Lord’? When one reads 2nd or 3rd John, or 1st and 2nd Chronicles, or the letter of Philemon, or Ecclesiastes does one just say, "This is definitely God’s Word"? No, it is only one's tradition that one has come to believe in, that says that this is God’s Word, and this is not. Otherwise, the Rhodes approach is pure subjectivism based on feelings alone. This 'criteria' is similar to the Mormons 'burning in the bosom' mentality of identifying Scripture (which they use to 'validate' the Book of Mormon.) No one can honestly say, "Well, this feeling comes to me, when I read the Letter of Paul to Philemon, it rings: ‘thus saith the Lord.’" When one reads the book of Numbers, and all the dietary laws that are there, or the genealogies, where does one get a feeling this says ‘thus saith the Lord?’ This is purely a subjective bias of Rhodes with no objective criteria given.
3) The idea that the Deuterocanonicals contradict Scriptural Doctrines is another purely subjective assertion by Rhodes. Any criteria applied to the Deuterocanonicals as contradicting other Scriptures can be applied to other New and Old Testament books. In fact there are many books written by Protestant Scholars who will recognize 'apparent' contradictions within the New and Old Testament 66 books. They will rightly say that they are only ‘apparent contradictions’, not real contradictions. Books have been written by Protestants (and Catholics as well) to explain why one Scripture does not contradict another one both in fact and in doctrine. For example, James 2:24 and Romans 4:3 seem to teach different doctrines on salvation and whether one is saved by faith alone or by faith plus works. However, all Christians recognize the fact that both James and Romans are Scripture, and there must be a way to reconcile those Scriptures. One can find many things in Scriptures that can appear to be contradictory. Christians make an attempt to reconcile, or explain how the various Scriptures can be reconciled. The style of writing must be taken into account when studying the biblical texts. However, when it comes to the Deuterocanonicals, Protestants will see one passage that they can jump on and automatically say "See, that is not Scriptural and it contradicts other Scriptures. Therefore it is not Scripture." They make no effort at all to see how the Deuterocanonical passages that they claim contradict other passages can be reconciled while at the same time they will jump hoops to reconcile apparent discrepancies between non-Deuterocanonical books. Protestants will often times even misrepresent what the Deuterocanonical book teaches, misrepresent the teaching on the matter in the New or Old Testament, and then say ‘voila’, the "Apocrypha" contradicts Scripture. (In fact that is what Rhodes did in his book, p. 38) This proves nothing against the Deuterocanonicals.
4) The idea that in order to be Scripture it must transform the lives of believers is another subjective criteria. If I look at 2nd Maccabees 7, we see heroic displays of virtue, where those who knew what God’s laws were, and refused to violate the laws that God had given them, instead of violating that law subjected themselves to torture and eventually death, with their Mother also refusing to violate God’s law. They looked forward to the 'resurrection of life'. That is a very New Testament concept. I have never been called to that type of thing, and I hope to never have to, but this example is transformative to me. I go through nothing like that, but nonetheless that example encourages me to do what God wants me to do. The book of Wisdom’s prophecy of Christ in Wisdom 2:12-20 encourages me with even further evidence that Christ fulfills prophecy. The example of Judith helps to transform my life. The book of Wisdom and Sirach gives further evidence of good wisdom that transforms lives. True, not all portions of the Deuterocanonicals transform lives. That is like many portions of the rest of the Bible, such as Ecclesiastes ("all is vanity"), Philemon, the portions of Scripture that have lots of names without commentary, rules about dietary laws, in and of themselves don’t seem to transform lives. That does not mean that if a passage does not transform lives, it is not inspired Scripture.
5) The focus of this study is how the Fathers viewed the Deuterocanonical books. A strong part of the basis for the Protestant argument against the Deuterocanonicals is that many Fathers denied the inspiration and Scriptural status of the Deuterocanonicals. There is a range of Protestant views, but officially, they are unanimous in denying the inspiration of the Catholic books. The Westminster confession of faith in their treatment of the canon specifically repudiate the canonicity of those books and just sees them as secular books (Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 1, Section 3). The Anglican Articles (The 22nd article of the Thirty Nine Articles) refers to these books as instructional and edifying, but also specifically deny their inspiration and can never be used to establish or confirm doctrine.
Norman Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, 1995, p. 162, write:
Many of the early Fathers of the Christian church spoke out against the Apocrypha, including Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, and the great Roman Catholic Bible translator, Jerome, (A.D. 340-420), the greatest biblical scholar of the early medieval period and translator of the Latin Vulgate, explicitly rejected the Apocrypha as part of the canon. He said the church reads these books "for example and instruction of manners" but does not "apply them to establish any doctrine."
Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 2000, writes under the subtitle "Many Church Fathers Denied the Apocrypha" , p. 35:
Even though certain church fathers spoke approvingly of the Apocrypha, then there were other early church fathers-notably Origen, Jerome, Athanasius, and Cyril of Jerusalem that denied their inspiration and canonicity. So merely quoting some church fathers in favor of the Apocrypha is not a convincing argument.
Further, as Norman Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie have noted, it is clear that some church fathers used apocryphal books for devotional or preaching purposes, but did not consider them as canonical. One can demonstrate respect for a book without necessarily considering that book canonical.
Geisler and Rhodes bank their whole argument on the idea that if the Fathers did not put the Deuterocanonicals on the list of the canon, ipso de facte, that Father rejected the inspiration of those book: If it is not in the canon, it is not inspirational:
Citations of the church fathers in support of the canonicity of the Apocrypha are selective and misleading. While some Fathers accepted their inspiration, others used them only for devotional or homiletical (preaching) purposes but did not accept them as canonical. Geisler, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, p. 161 write
This study will show that the whole presumption behind this statement is false. The presumption that if it is not in the canon, it is not inspired Scripture is the whole presumption behind Geisler’s statement. That assumption is the one that is misleading. Because as I will document thoroughly in this study, those Fathers who left the Deuterocanonicals off the list of a canon, did not in any way shape or form ever deny those books inspiration, and did not merely use them for devotional purposes, but used these books as Scripture and called them Scripture. Forcing the 20th century presumption that canon = inspiration is a false premise, as we will see.
William Webster speaks of many Fathers who denied the Deuterocanonicals' Scriptural status and thus were contrary to the Councils that affirmed the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture:
There are major fathers in the Church prior to the North African Councils who rejected the judgment of these councils such as Origen, Melito of Sardis, Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nazianzen, Hilary of Poitiers, Epiphanius, Basil the Great, Jerome, Rufinus and a host of others.....
Webster also writes in reference to the term ‘canon’:
This is why I believe that the term canonical in the early Church had 2 meanings, one broad in the sense that it encompassed all the books which were permissible to be read in the Church and another narrow which included only those books which were authoritative for the establishment of doctrine.
(This article can be found here: http://www.christiantruth.com/canon.html He also gave a response to Dr. Art Sippo, a Catholic Apologist, who argues for the Deuterocanonicals, here: http://www.christiantruth.com/sippocanon.html I will give Dr. Sippo’s articles down below). Webster thus in addition argues that for many Fathers the Deuterocanonicals were permissible to be read, but weren’t of the same authority as Scripture to establish or confirm doctrine. He actually hints at something which will exactly explain why he is wrong on whether the Fathers think that the Deuterocanonicals were inspired. He admits that the term ‘canon’ in many cases only refers to those books that are ‘read in the Church’. It does not necessarily mean that if it not in the ‘canon’, that it is not inspired. We will examine the repercussions of this admission later on. The other authors, Geisler and Rhodes argued on the basis of the Fathers having canons that ignore the Deuterocanonicals, that they rejected the inspiration of those books. Nevertheless, Webster’s theory in effect is that the Fathers who denied them as Scripture treated them as the 22nd Anglican article suggested.
The comments of Webster, Rhodes and Geisler, (in reference to whether the Fathers saw the Deuterocanonicals as inspired Scripture or not) we will see, are contrary to the truth. First, as JND Kelly, the respected Protestant historian writes, the Church from its inception did accept the Deuterocanonicals, even before any Catholic Council declared them to be Scripture. Kelly, whose book 'Early Christian Doctrine' is standard in many Protestant seminaries, admits that the Deuterocanonicals were commonly accepted by the early church as scripture (pages 53-55). Kelly writes:
It should be observed that the Old Testament thus admitted as authoritative in the Church was somewhat bulkier and more comprehensive than the [Protestant Old Testament] . . . It always included, though with varying degrees of recognition, the so-called Apocrypha or Deutero-canonical books. The reason for this is that the Old Testament which passed in the first instance into the hands of Christians was . . . the Greek translation known as the Septuagint. .. . most of the Scriptural quotations found in the New Testament are based upon it rather than the Hebrew.. . . In the first two centuries. . . the Church seems to have accepted all, or most of, these additional books as inspired and to have treated them without question as Scripture. Quotations from Wisdom, for example, occur in 1 Clement and Barnabas. . . Polycarp cites Tobit, and the Didache [cites] Ecclesiasticus. Irenaeus refers to Wisdom, the History of Susannah, Bel and the Dragon [i.e., the Deuterocanonical portions of Daniel], and Baruch. The use made of the Apocrypha by Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian and Clement of Alexandria is too frequent for detailed references to be necessary" (JND Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, 53-54).
The People of God as a whole, did accept the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture. Now in this essay, I will concentrate on a minority of Fathers. Many Fathers did accept the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture without qualifications. My focus in this paper will be to concentrate on the minority of Fathers that the varying Protestant apologists concentrate on in 'proving' that they did not accept the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture. We will first see a statement from the Father that does seem to indicate that they do not accept the Deuterocanonicals as canonical Scripture. Then we will see how they viewed the Deuterocanonicals in their quotations and references. This is not so much on whether the Council of Carthage which affirmed the Deuterocanonical books as Scripture, was seen as infallible when Rome confirmed it in the early 5th century. Art Sippo has written on the infallibility of the earlier Councils via their confirmation by the Popes in the 5th century here: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/3517/kanon.html He has responded to the Webster piece I gave earlier. Sippo’s response to the Webster piece can be found here: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/3517/webster.html and then he gave a response to Webster’s rebuttal here: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/3517/sippo/webster1.html That will not be the focus here. My focus is that we will see that the Church Fathers unanimously treated them as Scripture, even if at the same time these very Fathers suspected that they were not canonical.
Nowadays we see no difference between the term 'canon’ and Scripture. The main assumption that the Protestant (such as Rhodes and Geisler, though Webster did take a slightly different approach) makes is since these books were termed by some Fathers as non-canonical, they are thus unscriptural. In fact we saw that argument above. However, we will see that except Jerome himself, those who had reservations about their canonical status, still considered them as Scripture, even though they termed them non-canonical. And we will see in practice even St. Jerome quoted them and even called those books Scripture. The Fathers quoted these Scriptures authoritatively to establish and confirm doctrines, contrary to Geisler, Rhodes, and Webster.
How is a Catholic to respond to what sometimes seem as contradictory statements from some Fathers? Some Catholics will say that these Fathers are just inconsistent in their practice and theory: They say one thing and do another. In this theory when they speak of the books as a whole they term the Deuterocanonicals as unscriptural, but in reality they do quote them as Scripture. This theory has the Father treating them in theory different from its practice. Another more likely theory that seems to makes more sense that may explain this only seeming discrepancy is that though these Fathers termed these books as non-canonical, they still termed them as Scriptural. Thus, they were thus not inconsistent. While they denied these books ‘canonical’ status, in fact they treated them just as authoritative as other Scriptural books. Catholic Apologist Mark Bonocore, writes (in an email) the following theory explaining this seeming discrepancy (email, July 29, 2001):
We must remember what Sacred Scripture was originally for. Originally, it was not supposed to be one book ("the Bible") that we could carry around and use for our personal interpretation or personal prayer life. Indeed, this was not even possible until the invention of printing many centuries later (which made the Protestant reformation possible). Rather, the canon of Scripture's original and primary purpose was in the service of the various Liturgies of the Church. In this, we must remember that ...up until the 4th or 5th Century ...each city-church possessed its own Liturgy (its own form of the Mass), complete with its own liturgical calendar. And so, while the city-church of Rome might celebrate the feast day of a particular saint or martyr on March 1st, the city-church of Corinth might celebrate something else on that day (the feast of another saint), while the city-church of Antioch might celebrate still another feast. And so, the readings for this same Liturgical date were different in each city-church. And, indeed, since there were just so many days in the year, each city-church used readings from different Scriptural books throughout the year ...and, in many cases, some books were simply not used (e.g. the Epistle of James or 2nd Maccabees, in many places); and for the simple reason that they did not fit in with the yearly Liturgical schedule of a particular city-church. And so, ... When some fathers speak of a particular book as "non-canonical," they do not necessarily mean that it is not inspired or authoritative. Rather, in many cases, they merely mean that it is not used in the Liturgy of their particular city-church ...thus it is a "hidden book" ("apocrypha"), which could be read privately for edification but not in the Liturgy itself (the public worship of the Church --"Lex orendi, lex credendi"). For example ... To this day in the Greek Orthodox Church, the Book of Revelation is not read in the Liturgy. You will never hear it at their Mass (or as they term it ‘Liturgy’). Yet, the Greek Orthodox would **never** say that Revelation is not Sacred Scripture or that it is uninspired. Yet, they will sometimes speak of it as "non-canonical" because it has no place in the "canon" of their Liturgy (e.g. a **canonized** saint is so-called because they have been granted feast days within our **Liturgical** calendars). So, throughout Church history, the word "canonical" has been used in several ways. It does not always mean what Martin Luther and the Protestants mean when they speak of a book being canonical or non-canonical. Rather, "non-canonical" can mean that:
1) a book is heretical (e.g. the Gospel of Thomas), or
2) That it is a good book with historical and spiritual merit, but uninspired (e.g. the Shepherd of Hermas), or
3) That it is an inspired book, but not used in the Liturgy of a particular city-church or even in the Liturgy of many city-churches (e.g. Revelation or 2 Maccabees).
Mark’s theory seems to fit the evidence on most of the Fathers that had any reservations about the Deuterocanonicals. When these books are not on a list of the canon of a particular Father, it does not mean that they are less inspired, but only that these books were not read in the Liturgy in their area. They are sometimes termed 'Ecclesiastical.' In reference to these Fathers who indeed rejected their canonical status, the Deuterocanonical books seem more likely to fit the third category that Mark mentioned: These Fathers only mean that they are not read in the Liturgy, and are thus not in the canon, but still are inspired Scripture. Just because they are not in the canon does not reject their Scriptural status!!! We will see that these very Fathers quote them as inspired Scripture. This theory would mean that the Fathers are not contradicting themselves: In fact it is true that none of the Fathers, even St. Jerome, ever deny their inspiration. You will see that the Fathers who questioned them, never termed them as ‘Apocryphal’ in the sense that Protestants say they are (the standard term that Protestants use when speaking of them). None of the Fathers said that they were ‘against Scripture’, or contradicted Scripture, or had historical or doctrinal errors, as Geisler and Rhodes argue. When the Fathers spoke of real ‘apocryphal’ books, they would say those books have errors. They don't term the Deuterocanonicals as having errors. Mark’s theory satisfactorily explains how they could speak of them as ‘non-canonical’ while still seeing them as Scripture. When using the term ‘Apocrypha’ the Fathers would generally use that term in reference to non-Deuterocanonical books (although we do see St. Cyril of Jerusalem and St. Hilary of Poitiers use that term for the Deuterocanonicals, they also recognized them as Scripture, and surely did not give them the meaning that Protestants do in declaring them uninspired).
Even if one does not accept this theory, one will see that the Fathers unanimously treated these books in practice as Scripture. That is what I will show in this study. Whether one accepts the theory that the Fathers are inconsistent in practice and theory, or one says that because one says a book is not 'canonical' does not deny its inspiration, and it is still Scripture, the fact is that the Fathers, even those who allegedly 'reject' these books, unanimously refer to these books as Scripture.
But Didn’t the Jews Decide the Canon?
Before we go into the Fathers as a whole, I want to address one other argument that is often used to deny the Deuterocanonicals Scriptural status. A commonly used argument is that the Jews decided the Old Testament canon, and that canon excluded the Deuterocanonicals. They will quote Romans 3:1-2 which says:
1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews are entrusted with the oracles of God.
As one example, Norm Geisler in his book writes that this Scripture gives validation for the Jews to determine Scripture.
The Jewish scholars at Jamnia (c. A.D. 90) did not accept the Apocrypha as part of the divinely inspired Jewish canon. Since the New Testament explicitly states that Israel was entrusted with the oracles of God and was the recipient of the covenants and the Law (Rom. 3:2), the Jews should be considered the custodians of the limits of heir own canon. And they have always rejected the Apocrypha. Norman Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, p. 169.
The Jews were indeed through Moses and the prophets given the Word of God and preserved it. Now, does that mean that the Jews were entitled to determine the limits of the Old Testament after they rejected their Messiah? That is a question that must be determined. First, however, the Romans text does not say that the Jews would override the Church established by Christ in determining the canon. The specific point that Paul speaks of here is the advantage of circumcision. Circumcision was necessary to enter the old covenant family of God. At the same time, the Jews were entrusted in the old covenant with the oracles of God as well. However, Paul goes on to write that circumcision is no longer necessary to enter the covenant with God (Rom. 3&4, cf., Gal. 3, 4, 5). The basis on which he makes his statement on the oracles is in reference to circumcision. As Paul makes the tie-in with the Jews being entrusted with the oracles of God with circumcision, which is done away with as a necessity for entrance into God’s family, it is a tremendous stretch to say that this gives the Jews the Ok to determine the extent of the canon, while ignoring the Church that Jesus established. Just as circumcision is done away with as a necessity, so the Jews no longer had the authority to determine the extent of the canon. The Church that accepted Jesus and who Jesus gave authority to bind and loose on earth that which is in heaven (Mt. 16:18, 18:18) certainly had more authority to determine the extent of the canon. Jesus or Paul did not give the Pharisees the authority to determine the canon. Of course, in the Old Covenant, the Jews had been entrusted with God’s inspired Scripture, but Romans 3:2 does not mandate that the Church accepts whatever Judaism proclaimed as its canon. Of course the Sadduccees had one canon. The Pharisees had another canon. The Greek speaking Jews had another canon. We know from history that the Ethiopian Jews had and maintain a different canon. There was no unanimous Jewish canon in Jesus’ time anyway (we will see this further below). Judaism proclaimed that the New Testament was not from God so why would they be given authority over the Old Testament canon? In fact there are prophetic texts in the Deuterocanonicals, such as Wisdom 2:12-20 which point to Jesus, which the Jews who wanted to reject Jesus would like to exclude from Scripture that Christians can use as proof that Jesus is Messiah.
If Romans 3:2 applies to the Jewish ability to determine the Old Testament, why would it not apply to the New Testament as well? After all, the ‘oracles of God’, as spoken by Jesus himself were given to the Jews first. He spoke to the Jews. The apostles preached to the Jews first. It was only after a vision and through Peter’s authority did the message begin to be preached to the Gentiles (Acts 10, 11, 15). Paul went to the Jews first. An important question is, if Christians were bound to follow the Jewish Rabbis, 60 years after they rejected Jesus and their decision on the canon of the Old Testament, what if they changed their decision now? At what point did the Church have authority? Not 33 or 34 AD? Not 65 AD? Not 90 AD? Not in the 2nd or 3rd century? Not even now? If we were bound to follow the Jewish rabbi's assessment of the canon, applying to the Old Testament, it must apply to the New Testament as well. Norman Geisler certainly doesn’t accept their verdict on the New Testament canon so why does he accept their mandate on the Old Testament one? Again, the Jews were given the oracles of God directly from Jesus himself. Of course most Jews rejected Jesus and those who try to apply Romans 3:2 to the Old Testament, but forget what they say in rejecting the New Testament, are inconsistent. In fact Jesus gave the Church the power to proclaim to his followers the extent of the canon, through the binding authority given it (Mt. 16:18, 18:18): Whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatsoever, would include the canon that had not been decided by the Jews in any case. Christianity should not be subject to the whims of those who rejected Jesus.
Nonetheless, what is the main assumption behind the rush to accept the Hebrew canon of 39 books? It is that the Protestants agree with the Hebrew canon that most of the Jews ultimately accepted. Through such authors as Beckwith, they argue that the Jewish canon was settled by the First century, and therefore, Christianity should accept it because it was settled by them. Now, was the canon of the Old Testament settled by the 1st century? Some say that Josephus claims that the canon was settled by his time (70 AD) or so, and there was ‘no prophet’ after the time of Ezra. The assumption is that the Council of Jamnia finalized what had already been true: The Hebrew canon that Protestants have. There had been a period of 400 years or so, according to Josephus, that there were no prophets. Not only is that presumption wrong with the Deuterocanonical prophets, but the New Testament prophets. However, the presumption that Judaism had settled on those assumptions are false. AC Sundberg, a Lutheran historian shows that there are several things wrong with each of those assumptions. He has written several works on this issue. (Here is an article online that discusses this issue. http://department.monm.edu/classics/Speel_Festschrift/sundbergJr.htm References that I give here are available online at this url.)
We have some writings from early second century which shows that in no way as of even 120 AD was it settled on what was the inspired writing for the Jews. Included in this writing is 4 Ezra, written approximately 120 AD. Sundberg points to these facts in Ezra 4:
4 Ezra has a fabulous story of Ezra and five companions rewriting (by inspiration) ninety-four books, twenty-four of which were to be published for the reading of the worthy and the unworthy (the Hebrew canon). He also was to keep seventy books to deliver to the wise, "For in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom, and the stream of knowledge." Thus, 4 Ezra (ca. 120 C.E.) is the earliest witness to the closed Hebrew canon of twenty-four books. However, so far as this author was concerned, inspired writing was not limited to the canonical books; he viewed another seventy books also as inspired and to held in secret by the wise for understanding, wisdom and knowledge. 21
The oblique reference to seventy other books in 4 Ezra raises the question of extra-canonical books. Apocalyptic writings appeared in Judaism from the Maccabean times to the end of the first century C.E. According to the consensus, these were completely ignored (except for Daniel) by the rabbinical leaders. However, they enjoyed great popularity among some circles. Clearly, the writers and readers of these books did not hold that inspiration had ceased. Also for Greek-speaking Jews of the Diaspora, especially in Alexandria, the canon was thought to have been considerably enlarged. The influence of these additional writings circulating in Alexandrian and Diaspora Judaism was greatly felt in early Christianity. There are quotations from a number of these writings in the New Testament. According to Jerome, Matt. 27.9 quotes an apocryphal writing of Jeremiah. 1 Cor. 2.9, according to Origen, and Eph. 5.14, according to Epiphanius, quote the apocalypse of Elijah. Jude 14-16 names and quotes Enoch 1.9. There are quotations from unknown sources in Jn. 7.38; Lk 11.49 and Jas. 4.5 f. Without making direct quotations, Sirach 5.11 is used in Jas. 1.19; 2 Macc. 6-7 in Heb. 11.35 f.; the Assumption of Moses in Jude 9 (according to Origen). 2 Tim. 3.8 cites the Book of Jannes and Jambres. Probably Heb. 11.37, "they were sawn asunder," refers to the Martyrdom of Isaiah. It is evident, therefore, that the New Testament writers made use of a wider selection of Jewish writings then the Hebrew canon (Pfeiffer 1941:66).
The consensus agreed that Christians had already adopted their scriptures and separated from Judaism before the Council of Jamnia. Since the church became increasingly Greek, it was the Septuagint, with its additional books, that they adopted.
The main argument that we have between Catholics and Protestants is “What are the inspired writings?” If we look back at both the Church Fathers and the Jewish writers it is not enough to ask what the extent of the canon is, as it has several meanings. Thus, the canon is not the extent of inspired writing. As we will later see, this point applies not only in reference to the Fathers, but also the Jews of the era that we are examining. We see that the Jews in both the 1st and 2nd centuries AD saw many other writings as being inspired than that which is in the canon. And of course, even the canon itself was larger in the Diaspora. Also, the above shows that the Christians were not dependent upon a Christ-rejecting Jewish Council of Jamnia, 60 years after Jesus was crucified, to give them their list of the books of the Bible, which of course not only excluded the Deuterocanonicals, but also the New Testament. Christians had already accepted the Septuagint which happened to include the Deuterocanonicals.
Another common presumption is that the only canon in Palestine was the Hebrew canon which excluded the Deuterocanonicals. However Sundberg shows that this is not true. (For information sake, the Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Old Testament which included the Deuterocanonicals):
It has become evident that the Septuagint circulated in Palestine. This inference was suggested to Semler (1771:1.124-128) by the use of the Septuagint in the earliest Christian writings of the New Testament. As noted, Murabaât produced fragments of six Minor Prophets (Micah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephniah and Zechariah) in Greek. Barthélemy has shown that the text of these fragments, assigned to the end of the first century C.E., is most probably a recension of the Septuagint and is very similar to Justins Old Testament quotations (Barthélemy 1953). This shows that a Greek text type used among Christians of the second century was current among Jews in Palestine in the first century C.E. Similarly, K. Stendahl (1954:177-180) has provided support for Swetes suggestion that the venue for the text of the New Testament quotations from the Old is to be found in a Palestinian Septuagint tradition. Pfeiffer was probably right saying that the Christians took their Old Testament in Greek before the closing of the canon at Jamnia. But the implication of the above is that the Greek Old Testament adopted by the Christians was received from Palestinian rather than Diaspora Judaism (Cross 1995:128, n. 2).
Thus, the presumption that in Palestine the only canon that was circulated was the Hebrew canon is proved false. Even at the center of the Jewish rabbis the Septuagint was heavily circulated.
Now there were several books that Catholics would term as ‘apocryphal’ that were not included in the Septuagint:
The supposition that, since all profane literature was in Greek in Alexandria, it was natural to regard all writings translated from Hebrew or Aramaic as sacred also is insupportable. It does not account for the inclusion in the Christian Old Testament of books written in Greek, such as Wisdom of Solomon and 2 Maccabees. Likewise, the books we term Pseudepigrapha that were composed in Hebrew or Aramaic, such as Enoch, Jubilees and Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, were not included despite their Semitic origin.
The Christian Old Testament included these Deuterocanonical books, but distinguished those books that Catholics accept, from real apocryphal books such as Enoch and Jubilees.
Sundberg gives further evidence that the Jews were not settled on the canon even in the first century:
There are evidences of a continued use of this apocryphal literature in rabbinic literature of later times. Sirach is quoted three times in the Talmud as scripture. It is twice quoted with the introductory formula, "for so it is written in the Book of Ben Sira."35 Ben Sira is also sometimes quoted as "Writings" when the rabbis were proof-texting, e.g., "This matter is written in the Pentateuch as written. . . , repeated in the Prophets, as written. . . , mentioned a third time in the Hagiographa, as written, (here Sirach 12.15 is quoted), it was learned in the Mishnah, . . . ."36
Thus even well after Jamnia in the second century, the Talmud indicates that the book of Sirach (Ben Sira means the Book of Sirach, which is a Deuterocanonical book) is Scripture.
Thus, the main presumptions that Protestants have in reference to the Old Testament Hebrew canon are false: Christians had independently from the Jews adopted the Greek Septuagint, which included the Deuterocanonicals. Also, the Jews’ Old Testament was not settled either prior to or even after the Council of Jamnia, approximately 90 AD, 60 years after Jesus established authority. Whatever canon there was, indeed that was not to be the extent of that which was inspired. Thus, in the unlikely event that Jews who rejected Jesus had authority over the Church to determine the extent of Old Testament Scripture, what they had was not settled anyway. As we have seen, in some quarters Sirach was referred to as Scripture in the second century, doing away with the 39 book canon theory in any case.
Now with this background look at the issue, we will look at each of the Fathers that Protestants use to supposedly reject the Deuterocanonicals Scriptural status. One thing that we will see that some Fathers, especially St. Jerome and Origen, did the study of the Old Testament with Jews who had an influence on them. As the Jews did ultimately reject the Deuterocanonicals, they did create a more negative outlook on those books for those Fathers. However we will see that in practice, even with that influence, those Fathers still treated the Deuterocanonical books as Scripture. Here I am ignoring many Fathers who treated them as Scripture without question. A bulk of the work that follows comes from investigation of the Schaff edition of the Church Fathers, 38 volumes, the Anti-Nicene Fathers and Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers (Heretoforward it shall be noted as ANF, NPNF2 or 1). There will be other citations from other sources as well, and those will be noted, but most of the quotes come from the Schaff, 38 volume edition.
Origen, [185-253/254 A.D]
Supposedly Origen spoke against the Deuterocanonicals. We are going back to the Third century here. Origen gives his version of the ‘canonical’ books.
" 'It should be stated that the canonical books, as the Hebrews have handed them down, are twenty-two; corresponding with the number of their letters.' Farther on he says: 'The twenty-two books of the Hebrews are the following: That which is called by us Genesis, but by the Hebrews, from the beginning of the book, Bresith, which means, 'In the beginning'; Exodus, Welesmoth, that is, 'These are the names'; Leviticus, Wikra, 'And he called'; Numbers, Ammesphekodeim; Deuteronomy, Eleaddebareim, ' These are the words'; Jesus, the son of Nave, Josoue ben Noun; Judges and Ruth, among them in one book, Saphateim; the First and Second of Kings, among them one, Samouel, that is, 'The called of God'; the Third and Fourth of Kings in one, Wammelch David, that is, 'The kingdom of David'; of the Chronicles, the First and Second in one, Dabreiamein, that is, 'Records of days'; Esdras, First and Second in one, Ezra, that is, 'An assistant'; the book of Psalms, Spharthelleim; the Proverbs of Solomon, Me-loth; Ecclesiastes, Koelth; the Song of Songs (not, as some suppose, Songs of Songs), Sir Hassirim; Isaiah, Jessia; Jeremiah, with Lamentations and the epistle in one, Jeremia[Baruch 6]; Daniel, Daniel; Ezekiel, Jezekiel; Job, Job; Esther, Esther. And besides these there are the Maccabees, which are entitled Sarbeth Sabanaiel." Origen, Canon of the Hebrews, Fragment in Eusebius' Church History,6:25[A.D. 244],in NPNF2,I:272
Origen approximately a century and a half before the Councils of Rome and Carthage, identified Scripture as he saw it. Though he is quoted by the Protestant apologists as being anti-Deuterocanonical, and does not mention all the Deuterocanonical books, he does put Baruch and the two Maccabees books in the canon. Remember, canonical does not necessarily mean all that is Scripture. We will see this in his following statements.
"In all these cases consider whether it would not be well to remember the words, 'Thou shalt not remove the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set.' Nor do I say this because I shun the labour of investigating the Jewish Scriptures, and comparing them with ours, and noticing their various readings. This, if it be not arrogant to say it, I have already to a great extent done to the best of my ability, labouring hard to get at the meaning in all the editions and various readings; while I paid particular attention to the interpretation of the Seventy, lest I might to be found to accredit any forgery to the Churches which are under heaven, and give an occasion to those who seek such a starting-point for gratifying their desire to slander the common brethren, and to bring some accusation against those who shine forth in our community." Origen, To Africanus, 5 (ante A.D. 254), in ANF,IV:387
Origen notes that the Scriptures that are in the Church are different from the Hebrew Scriptures. Thus, he speaks approvingly of the Septuagint, which contains all the Deuterocanonical books. Now, Africanus had written to Origen that the passage was a forgery. Let us see how Origen responds:
2. You begin by saying, that when, in my discussion with our friend Bassus,I used the Scripture which contains the prophecy of Daniel when yet a young man in the affair of Susanna, I did this as if it had escaped me that this part of the book was spurious. You say that you praise this passage as elegantly written, but find fault with it as a more modern composition, and a forgery; and you add that the forger has had recourse to something which not even Philistion the play-writer would have used in his puns between prinos and prisein, schinos and schisis, which words as they sound in Greek can be used in this way, but not in Hebrew. In answer to this, I have to tell you what it behoves us to do in the cases not only of the History of Susanna, which is found in every Church of Christ in that Greek copy which the Greeks use, but is not in the Hebrew, or of the two other passages you mention at the end of the book containing the history of Bel and the Dragon, which likewise are not in the Hebrew copy of Daniel; but of thousands of other passages also which I found in many places when with my little strength I was collating the Hebrew copies with ours. For in Daniel itself I found the word "bound" followed in our versions by very many verses which are not in the Hebrew at all, beginning (according to one of the copies which circulate in the Churches) thus: "Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael prayed and sang unto God," down to "O, all ye that worship the Lord, bless ye the God of gods. Praise Him, and say that His mercy endureth for ever and ever. And it came to pass, when the king heard them singing, and saw them that they were alive." Or, as in another copy, from "And they walked in the midst of the fire, praising God and blessing the Lord," down to "O, all ye that worship the Lord, bless ye the God of gods. Praise Him, and say that His mercy endureth to all generations." [The Song of the Three Children, found in Daniel 3 of the Catholic Bible] But in the Hebrew copies the words, "And these three men, Sedrach, Misach, and Abednego fell down bound into the midst of the fire," are immediately followed by the verse, "Nabouchodonosor the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors." For so Aquila, following the Hebrew reading, gives it, who has obtained the credit among the Jews of having interpreted the Scriptures with no ordinary care, and whose version is most commonly used by those who do not know Hebrew, as the one which has been most successful. Of the copies in my possession whose readings I gave, one follows the Seventy, and the other Theodotion; and just as the History of Susanna which you call a forgery is found in both, together with the passages at the end of Daniel, so they give also these passages, amounting, to make a rough guess, to more than two hundred verses. Origen,To Africanus, 5 (ante A.D. 254), in ANF,IV:386
Notice that Origen defends the use of the passage in Daniel 3 that Catholics have, the Song of the 3 children, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon, as found in Daniel 13 and 14 of the Catholic Bible. He says that Bel and the Dragon and Susanna, Daniel 13 and 14 and only found in the Catholic Bible, is found in every single Church of Christ. Origen himself acknowledges that all Churches use these books. And in which way? He notes that he refers to them as Scripture. His opponent said it was a forgery. He corrects his opponent. It is not a forgery, but he notes his own use of them as Scripture.
Why did the Jews remove them from their Scriptures? Origen speaks of why he thinks that the passage on Susannah was removed. The Jews did not want passages showing elders being condemned. In the story of Susannah, Susannah is lusted after by two elders, who attempt to sexually assault her. Daniel comes to her defense and condemns the elders. Here is Origen’s theory on why the Jews threw out these Scriptures:
Let us see now if in these cases we are not forced to the conclusion, that while the Saviour gives a true account of them, none of the Scriptures which could prove what He tells are to be found. For they who build the tombs of the prophets and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, condemning the crimes their fathers committed against the righteous and the prophets, say, "If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets." In the blood of what prophets, can any one tell me? For where do we find anything like this written of Esaias, or Jeremias, or any of the twelve, or Daniel? Then about Zacharias the son of Barachias, who was slain between the temple and the altar, we learn from Jesus only, not knowing it otherwise from any Scripture. Wherefore I think no other supposition is possible, than that they who had the reputation of wisdom, and the rulers and elders, took away from the people every passage which might bring them into discredit among the people. We need not wonder, then, if this history of the evil device of the licentious elders against Susanna is true, but was concealed and removed from the Scriptures by men themselves not very far removed from the counsel of these elders. Origen,To Africanus,9(ante A.D. 254),in ANF,IV:389
Thus, Origen speaks of the validity and the true Scriptural status of the Deuterocanonical portion of Daniel. He says that Christians don’t have to doubt its veracity. He claims the Jews just concealed and removed it from their Scriptures for the sake of protecting their elders. The Church does not participate in this concealment, as Origen indicates, as it is true Scripture.
And I make it my endeavour not to be ignorant of their various readings, lest in my controversies with the Jews I should quote to them what is not found in their copies, and that I may make some use of what is found there, even although it should not be in our Scriptures. For if we are so prepared for them in our discussions, they will not, as is their manner, scornfully laugh at Gentile believers for their ignorance of the true reading as they have them. Origen, To Africanus, 5(ante A.D. 254),in ANF,IV:387.
The only reason that he doesn’t use the passages with the Jews is because they don’t accept them. However, when speaking to Christians, he not only defends their Scriptural status, but refers to them as such. Now we will look at how he treats the Deuterocanonicals:
"But he ought to know that those who wish to live according to the teaching of Sacred Scripture understand the saying, 'The knowledge of the unwise is as talk without sense,' [Sirach 21:18] and have learnt 'to be ready always to give an answer to everyone that asketh us a reason for the hope that is in us.’ [1 Pt 3:15] " Origen, Against Celsus, 7:12 (A.D. 248),in ANF, IV:615
Origen terms Sirach, Sacred Scripture. In order to live according to Sacred Scripture we must heed Sirach, according to Origen. That is self-explanatory. This book is Scripture.
[A]s is written in the book of Tobit: 'It is good to keep close the secret of a king, but honourable to reveal the works of God,' [Tobit 12:7]--in a way consistent with truth and God's glory, and so as to be to the advantage of the multitude." Origen, Against Celsus, 5:19(A.D. 248),in ANF,IV:551.
He uses the phrase, "As is written", in reference to Tobit. The phrase "It is written" always is a reference to Scripture, both in Scripture itself as well as its use by the Fathers. Thus, Origen sees Tobit as Scripture.
Tobias (as also Judith), we ought to notice, the Jews do not use. They are not even found in the Hebrew Apocrypha, as I learned from the Jews themselves." However, since the Churches use Tobias, you must know that even in the captivity some of the captives were rich and well to do. Tobias himself says, "Because I remembered God with all my heart; and the Most High gave me grace and beauty in the eyes of Nemessarus, and I was his purveyor; and I went into Media, and left in trust with Gabael, the brother of Gabrias, at Ragi, a city of Media, ten talents of silver" (Tobias, 1:12-14). Origen, To Africanus, 13 (ante A.D. 254), in ANF, IV:391.
Though the Jews don’t use it Origen notes that the Church uses both Tobias (or) Tobit, and Judith. He quotes from Tobit, just as he does the rest of Scripture.
But that we may believe on the authority of holy Scripture that such is the case, hear how in the book of Maccabees, where the mother of seven martyrs exhorts her son to endure torture, this truth is confirmed; for she says, ' ask of thee, my son, to look at the heaven and the earth, and at all things which are in them, and beholding these, to know that God made all these things when they did not exist.' [2 Maccabees 7:28]" Origen, Fundamental Principles, 2:2 (A.D. 230),in ANF, IV:270
Notice that it is not on Origen’s authority, but on the authority of the Scripture of Maccabees, that God made all things out of nothing. This is proof of the doctrine that God made everything out of nothing. He calls Maccabees Holy Scripture and uses it to prove doctrine.
[T]he Wisdom of Solomon, a work which is certainly not esteemed authoritative by all. In that book, however, we find written as follows: "For thy almighty hand, that made the world out of shapeless matter, wanted not means to send among them a multitude of bears and fierce lions.' [Wisdom 11:17] Origen, Fundamental Principles, 2:2 (A.D. 230), in ANF, IV:270.
He quotes from Wisdom as though it is authoritative as Scripture, which of course the Jews don’t find as authoritative.
And that which is written about wisdom, you may apply also to faith, and to the virtues specifically, so as to make a precept of this kind, "If any one be perfect in wisdom among the sons of men, and the power that comes from Thee be wanting, he will be reckoned as nothing " or "If any one be perfect in self-control, so far as is possible for the sons of men, and the control that is from Thee be wanting, he will be reckoned as nothing; (Wisdom 9:6) Origen, Commentary on Matthew, 4 (ante A.D. 254), in ANF, IX:427.
He quotes from Wisdom as a matter of factly presenting truth from Scripture about faith. The term is written is the book of Wisdom, another clear reference to its Scriptural status.
And as a general principle observe the expression "behind"; because it is a good thing when any one goes behind the Lord God and is behind the Christ; but it is the opposite when any one casts the words of God behind him, or when he transgresses the commandment which says "Do not walk behind thy lusts." (Sirach 18:30) And Elijah also in the third Book of Kings, says to the people "How long halt ye on both your knees? If God is the Lord, go behind Him, but if Baal is the Lord, go behind him." (1 Kings 18:21) Origen, Commentary on Matthew 23 Origen, 22, in ANF, IX:463 AD 254
Origen notes that what Sirach says, is a commandment of God. That is Scripture. If it was merely something that was not Scripture, it could not be a commandment from God. Then he quotes Elijah from the Book of Kings in the same vein. No distinction in authority between the two books.
Thus, the Protestant apologists who argue that Origen spoke against the Books and did not view the Deuterocanonical books as Scripture, are wrong. Though it is true that some of these books (only some of these books, as some are canonical) are not termed 'canonical', that is irrelevant. The question is whether he saw these books as Scripture. Origien clearly terms these books as Scripture, according to Origen himself. He also uses these books to teach doctrine.
St. Athanasius, in the Festal letter number 39, gives a list of the canon. Now, of the Deuterocanonicals he does term Baruch as a canonical book. He does exclude the other Deuterocanonicals. He also excludes Esther. So Protestants pointing to him is of no use as his list does not match the Protestant canon. However, as we will also see with St. Cyril of Jerusalem and others, the list of the canon is not all of inspired Scripture, and because books are excluded from the canon does not necessarily mean that they are not Scripture.
St. Athanasius says this about the Deuterocanonicals:
But for greater exactness I add this also, writing of necessity; that there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being [merely] read... Athanasius the Great: Part of Festal Letter 39 (c. 367 A.D.)
Mark Bonocore elaborates on the possible meaning of St. Athanasius excluding the Deuteros from the canon itself:
In regard to Athanasius, what I think we need to consider is that, in his Epistle 39, he is speaking as the Patriarch of Alexandria --a **liturgical** office. What he seems to be doing, therefore, is defining the ***Liturgical*** canon for the Alexandrian Patriarchate (a diocese including all of Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis in Palestine ...and, by association, Ethiopia). Such an address by a reigning Patriarch can only be Liturgical in nature, and would not ...at this time ...address the inspiration or lack of inspiration of a particular book. In this, what cannot be denied is that the Egyptian and Libyan Church **did** believe the books of Tobit, Judith, Maccabees, etc. to be inspired Scripture. They were unquestionably included in the Alexandrian Septuagint from pre-Christian times; and remain in the Biblical canon of the Ethiopian Jews to this very day. (Email from Mark Bonocore, August 2, 2001)
Thus, the theory that we saw at the beginning of this paper, that the term ‘canon’ sometimes only means ‘those books that are read in the Liturgy’ will most seem to fit St. Athanasius when we see him in practice. He is not meaning to describe through the term ‘canon’ the full extent of Scripture. That is what the Protestant apologists falsely assume when he gives us the list. St. Athanasius refers to the Deuterocanonical books according to my count 46 times, as noted in the index of Schaff, NPNF2, Volume 4, which does not in fact give all his writings. Here is a sampling of some of St. Athanasius' citations and references to the Deuterocanonicals:
"[T]he sacred writers to whom the Son has revealed Him, have given us a certain image from things visible, saying, 'Who is the brightness of His glory, and the Expression of His Person;' [Heb 1:3] and again, 'For with Thee is the well of life, and in Thy light shall we see lights;' [Ps 36:9] and when the Word chides Israel, He says, 'Thou hast forsaken the Fountain of wisdom;' [Baruch 3:12] and this Fountain it is which says, 'They have forsaken Me the Fountain of living waters' [Jer 2:13]"  Athanasius the Great: Defense of the Nicene Faith,2 (A.D. 351), in NPNF2, IV:158.
He terms the Sacred Writings, which include Hebrews, Psalms, and Jeremiah, with Baruch as well. He refers to Baruch as Sacred Writings which are thus, inspired Scriptures. The Word, or Sacred Scripture, chides Israel through Baruch.
"And where the sacred writers say, Who exists before the ages,' and 'By whom He made the ages,’ [Heb 1:2] they thereby as clearly preach the eternal and everlasting being of the Son, even while they are designating God Himself. Thus, if Isaiah says, 'The Everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth;’ [Is 40:28] and Susanna said, 'O Everlasting God;' [Daniel 13:42-Susanna] and Baruch wrote, 'I will cry unto the Everlasting in my days,' and shortly after, 'My hope is in the Everlasting, that He will save you, and joy is come unto me from the Holy One;' [Baruch 4:20,22]" Athanasius the Great: Discourses Against the Arians, 1:4 (A.D. 362), in NPNF2, IV:313
In the same breath that St. Athanasius speaks of Sacred Writings in Isaiah and Hebrews, he speaks of the Story of Susanna, only found in the Catholic Bible, and Baruch. He speaks in the same language of the other three Biblical citations. He preaches here on the doctrine of the Son’s eternal status. He makes no distinctions between the books. Unquestionably St. Athanasius sees these writings as Scripture, as only Scripture can be termed authored by ‘sacred writers.’
[I]t is written that 'all things were made through the Word,' and 'without Him was not made one thing,’ [John 1:3] and again, 'One Lord Jesus, through whom are all things,’ [1 Cor 8:9] and in Him all things consist,’ [Col 1:17] it is very plain that the Son cannot be a work, but He is the Hand of God and the Wisdom. This knowing, the martyrs in Babylon, Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, arraign the Arian irreligion. For when they say, 'O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord,', they recount things I heaven, things on earth, and the whole creation, as works; but the Son they name not. For thy say not, ‘Bless, O Word, and praise O Wisdom; to shew that all other things are both praising and are works’; but the Word is not a work nor of those that braise but is praised with the Father and worshipped and confessed as God.’ [Daniel 3:57-Three Youths] Athanasius the Great: Discourses Against the Arians, 2:71 (A.D. 362), in NPNF2, IV:387.
This passage of the three youths in the furnace is found in the Catholic Bible, not the Protestant Bible. It is preceded by the passage "It is written" which applies only to Scripture. St. Athanasius refers to Colossians, 1st Corinthians, and John in the same breath as referring to the Deuterocanonical portion of Daniel. He is using this passage to say that Jesus is not a creation, but is confessed as God. This is an important doctrinal point he is establishing. He makes no distinction between the inspiration of these books. He is showing through the Deuterocanonical passage, proof of the doctrine of Jesus deity.
Daniel said to Astyages, 'I do not worship idols made with hands, but the Living God, who hath created the heaven and the earth, and hath sovereignty over all flesh;' [Daniel 14:5-Bel & the Dragon]" Athanasius the Great: Discourses Against the Arians, 3:30 (A.D. 362),in NPNF2, IV:410.
Here is another Deuterocanonical part of Daniel not contained in the Protestant Bible.
"But if this too fails to persuade them, let them tell us themselves, whether there is any wisdom in the creatures or not? If not how is it that the Apostle complains, 'For after that in the Wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God?’ [1 Cor 1:21] or how is it if there is no wisdom, that a 'multitude of wise men' [Wisdom 6:24] are found in Scripture? for 'a wise man feareth and departeth from evil;’ [Prov 14:16] and 'through wisdom is a house builded;’ [Prov 24] and the Preacher says, 'A man's wisdom maketh his face to shine;' and he blames those who are headstrong thus, 'Say not thou, what is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire in wisdom concerning this.’ [Eccl 8:1,7:10] But if, as the Son of Sirach says, 'He poured her out upon all His works; she is with all flesh according to His gift, and He hath given her to them that love Him,'[Sirach 1:8,9]"  Athanasius the Great: Discourses Against the Arians, 2:79 (A.D. 362), in NPNF2, IV:391
Here he quotes Wisdom and Sirach along with other Scriptural books. The reference to Wisdom is termed ‘Scripture’. In the same breath that he quotes from Ecclesiastes that the Preacher ‘says’, He says that the Son of Sirach ‘says’. He can refer to them in one breath as 'non-canonical' while still quoting them as Scripture. These books were not read in the Liturgy, but were still seen as Scripture and inspired.
Since, however, after all his severe sufferings, after his retirement into Gaul, after his sojourn in a foreign and far distant country in the place of his own, after his narrow escape from death through their calumnies, but thanks to the clemency of the Emperor,- -distress which would have satisfied even the most cruel enemy,-- they are still insensible to shame, are again acting insolently against the Church and Athanasius; and from indignation at his deliverance venture on still more atrocious schemes against him, and are ready with an accusation, fearless of the words in holy Scripture, 'A false witness shall not be unpunished;’ [Proverbs 19:5] and, 'The mouth that belieth slayeth the soul;' (Wisdom 1:11) we therefore are unable longer to hold our peace, being amazed at their wickedness and at the insatiable love of contention displayed in their intrigues. [Athanasius the Great: Defence Against the Arians, 3 (A.D. 362), in NPNF2, IV:101
Here St. Athanasius speaks of the fearless words of Holy Scripture. First he quotes Proverbs and then he quotes the Book of Wisdom. He thus terms Wisdom as ‘the fearless words of Holy Scripture.’ He uses it against his enemies. Obvious, even his enemies recognized the Book of Wisdom as the 'fearless words of Holy Scripture'. It is almost amazing to think that some people will use St. Athanasius as an important benchmark of rejecting the Deuteros, but either are ignorant of or conveniently ignore the fact that the Saint himself uses the term ‘fearless words of Holy Scripture’ in reference to the Book of Wisdom.
Let us not fulfill these days like those that mourn but, by enjoying spiritual food, let us seek to silence our fleshly lusts(Ex. 15:1). For by these means we shall have strength to overcome our adversaries, like blessed Judith (Judith 13:8), when having first exercised herself in fastings and prayers, she overcame the enemies, and killed Olophernes. And blessed Esther, when destruction was about to come on all her race, and the nation of Israel was ready to perish, defeated the fury of the tyrant by no other means than by fasting and prayer to God, and changed the ruin of her people into safety (Esther 4:16) [Athanasius the Great: Letter 4, 2 (A.D. 333), in NPNF2, IV:516.
St. Athanasius refers to the need to go to spiritual food to overcome fleshly lusts. He calls Judith 'Blessed', and shows how her example shows how to overcome fleshly lusts through prayers. He also terms Esther 'Blessed'. Thus, he keeps the books and persons of Esther and Judith at the same level of inspiration. Again, no distinction.
The Spirit also, who is in him, commands, saying, 'Offer unto God the sacrifice of praise, and pay to the Lord thy vows. Offer the sacrifice of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord (Sir. 18:17).') [Athanasius the Great: Letter 19, 5 (A.D. 333), in NPNF2, IV:546
The Holy Spirit inspires Scripture, as all Christians agree (2 Tim. 3:16). St. Athanasius sees the Scripture of Sirach where the Spirit 'commands', through the book of Sirach. If Sirach was unscriptural, how could it 'command'? Obviously St. Athanasius sees Sirach as Scripture.
But this wearied them, for they were not anxious to understand, 'for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory(1 Cor. 2:8).' And what their end is, the prophet foretold, crying, 'Woe unto their soul, for they have devised an evil thought, saying, let us bind the just man, because he is not pleasing to us’(Wis. 2:12). The end of such abandonment as this can be nothing but error, as the Lord, when reproving them, saith, 'Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures(Mt. 22:29).’ [Athanasius the Great: Letter 19:5 (A.D. 347), in NPNF2, IV:546
St. Athanasius terms the Book of Wisdom as written by a prophet. He terms Wisdom 2 as speaking of Jesus, as he was crucified. This is right in the midst of his quotations of 1 Corinthians and the book of Matthew. He quotes his opponents, just as Jesus alludes to his opponents in Matthew, of not knowing the Scriptures. Just as Jesus reproves the Sadduccees for not ‘knowing’ Scripture, Athanasius reproves them for not knowing Wisdom, which is obviously Scripture.
According as the wisdom of God testifies beforehand when it says, "The devising of idols was the beginning of fornication." (Wis. 14:12)Against the Heathen, 9 (A.D. 347), in NPNF2, IV:9.
Here we see St. Athanasius arguing against idolatry, using the book of Wisdom. He calls it 'the wisdom of God'. He uses the passage to teach against idolatry. Again, he sees this as authoritative in reproving idolatry.
With the actual outlook of St. Athanasius on those books in practice, it is obviously a misreading of St. Athanasius in the 39th festal letter to say that his list of the canon is meant to be a list of all the Books that he considers Scripture. Included here we have seen citations from Baruch, Wisdom, Sirach, Judith, and the Deuterocanonical portions of Daniel. He calls the books Scriptures, calls the books as written by prophets, and uses it in proving doctrine. A side note is that as I said earlier he does not list Esther as part of the canon, and is ‘noncanonical’ but he does refer to the book a couple of times in the Schaff edition. (NPNF2, Vol. 4, pp. 516, 531) He does not say ‘It is written’ about Esther and makes no distinguishing from that book from other ‘canonical’ books. That is the same way he mostly refers to the Deuterocanonical books. He doesn’t feel he has to ‘prove’ they are Scripture, he assumes it. He quotes it in support of what he is saying, without the need in many cases to say "It is written" or ‘As scripture says’. That is the same way he mostly refers to the non-Deuterocanonical books (without saying ‘As Scripture says’ or "it is written’, or ‘fearless words of Scripture.’) That is the same as with other Fathers. In this study, I am going to those type of quotes because those are more explicit in identifying those passages as Scripture. Many times St. Athanasius doesn’t say those distinguishing comments at all (i.e. ‘Scripture says’, or ‘It is written’) but takes for granted that the Deuterocanonicals are Scripture (the same way he speaks of the Protocanonicals). He goes to these noncanoncal books but still considers them Scripture. All these books are Scripture, and treated as Scripture, so it is obvious that the term ‘canon’ does not mean ‘the full extent of Scripture.’ Most likely, the term is used only in reference to its use in a liturgical context, as indicated by Mark Bonocore. In fact this theory that the term ‘canon’ by St. Athanasius only refers to those books read in the Liturgy, makes perfect sense with the book of Esther. He excluded Esther from the liturgical canon. In fact, since the book of Esther never even uses the word ‘God’ it would make perfect sense to not use it in the Liturgical worship where worship of God is the focus. However, that does not mean that St. Athanasius saw either Esther or the Deuterocanonicals as uninspired. We’ve seen St. Athanasius use words unhesitatingly ascribing the Deutercanonicals as the ‘fearless words of Holy Scripture.’
Let us look at what St. Cyril sees as the canon. Remember, the extent of the canon does not necessarily mean the extent of Scripture.
35. Of these read the two and twenty books, but have nothing to do with the apocryphal writings. Study earnestly these only which we read openly in the Church. Far wiser and more pious than thyself were the Apostles, and the bishops of old time, the presidents of the Church who handed down these books. Being therefore a child of the Church, trench thou not upon its statutes. And of the Old Testament, as we have said, study the two and twenty books, which, if thou art desirous of learning, strive to remember by name, as I recite them. For of the Law the books of Moses are the first five, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. And next, Joshua the son of Nave, and the book of Judges, including Ruth, counted as seventh. And of the other historical books, the first and second books of the Kings are among the Hebrews one book; also the third and fourth one book. And in like manner, the first and second of Chronicles are with them one book; and the first and second of Esdras are counted one. Esther is the twelfth book; and these are the Historical writings. But those which are written in verses are five, Job, and the book of Psalms, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, which is the seventeenth book. And after these come the five Prophetic books: of the Twelve Prophets one book, of Isaiah one, of Jeremiah one, including Baruch and Lamentations and the Epistle; then Ezekiel, and the Book of Daniel, the twenty-second of the Old Testament. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 7, Lecture 4:35, p. 25.
Now he does include the Deuterocanonical book of Baruch, but excludes the rest of the Deuterocanonical books. He does even use the term ‘apocryphal’ in reference to the other Deuterocanonical books not in the canon and says not to have anything to do with them, and not to read them. Again, these are the books not to ‘be read in the Churches’, thus with a Liturgical function from which they are excluded. Thus, as in Athanasius, he is only speaking of those books that are read in the Liturgy. That is what the canon is. But what about the idea that he said to not even read the ‘apocryphal’ books? Cyril himself does not give an explanation on what he means.
It is possible that at the time, there were certain books, not in the canon, that were able to be twisted in an unorthodox manner, by those opponents of the Catholic Church. It is possible that the Deuterocanonicals were twisted by some. We know that many years later, there were some times where even some of even the protocanonical books were forbidden to be read for short periods of time because Scriptures were being twisted for heretical purposes. However, that doesn’t mean that the books noted aren’t Scripture. In fact we see that Cyril saw those books (the Deuterocanonicals) as Scripture. He in fact not only reads from those books but used them as a teaching tool. Now let us look at how Cyril actually treated the Deuterocanonicals:
For thou knowest that the words which come next in the Creed teach thee to believe in Him "Who ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY, AND ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, AND SAT DOWN ON THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER." I suppose then certainly that thou rememberest the exposition; yet I will now again cursorily put thee in mind of what was then said. Remember what is distinctly written in the Psalms, God is gone up with a shouts; remember that the divine powers also said to one another, Lift up your gates, ye Princes(Ps. xxiv. 7), and the rest; remember also the Psalm which says, He ascended on high, tie led captivity captive(Ps. lxviii. 18); remember the Prophet who said, Who buildeth His ascension unto heaven(Amos ix. 6); and all the other particulars mentioned yesterday because of the gainsaying of the Jews. 25. For when they speak against the ascension of the Saviour, as being impossible, remember the account of the carrying away of Habakkuk: for if Habakkuk was transported by an Angel, being carried by the hair of his head (Bel and the Dragon, 36, or Daniel 14:36), much rather was the Lord of both Prophets and Angels, able by His own power to make His ascent into the Heavens on a cloud from the Mount of Olives. Wonders like this thou mayest call to mind, but reserve the preeminence for the Lord, the Worker of wonders; for the others were borne up, but He bears up all things. Remember that Enoch was translated (Heb. 11:5); but Jesus ascended: remember what was said yesterday concerning Elias, that Elias was taken up in a chariot of fire (2 Kings ii:11); but that the chariots of Christ are ten thousand-fold even thousands upon thousands (Ps. ixviii. 17. ): and that Elias was taken up, towards the east of Jordan; but that Christ ascended at the east of the brook Cedron: and that Elias went as into heaven (1 Mac. 2:58); but Jesus, into heaven: and that Elias said that a double portion in the Holy Spirit should be given to his holy disciple; but that Christ granted to His own disciples so great enjoyment of the grace of the Holy Ghost, as not only to have It in themselves, but also, by the laying on of their hands, to impart the fellowship of It to them who believed. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 7, Lecture 14:24-25 p. 101
Here, St. Cyril quotes as support of the doctrine of the ascension of Jesus, that the prophet Habakkuk was carried by an angel in the Deuterocanonical portion of Daniel (Bel and the Dragon). This gives at least some kind of Biblical precedent, or support for Jesus’ resurrection. This is established through this Deuterocanonical passage in Daniel, according to St. Cyril. At the same time Maccabees is referred to in the same breath just as other Old Testament passages. St. Cyril thus makes no distinction from ‘inspired’ protocanonical vs. ‘uninspired’ deuterocanonicals. Thus, not only is St. Cyril reading from it, thus not only ‘having something to do with’ the Deuterocanonicals, but establishing doctrinal points from two different Deuterocanonical passages.
30. And again in Ezekiel, And he brought me in a vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldaea, to them of the captivity (Ezek. 11:24). and other texts thou heardest before, in what was said about baptism; Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you (Ezek. 36:25), and the rest; a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you (Ezek. 36:26); and then immediately, And I will put My Spirit within you (Ezek. 36:27). And again. The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord (Ezek. 37:1).
31. He endued with wisdom the soul of Daniel, that young as he was he should become a judge of Elders. The chaste Susanna was condemned as a wanton; (Daniel 13:34-41, or Susanna 41-45); there was none to plead her cause; for who was to deliver her from the rulers? She was led away to death, she was now in the hands of the executioners. But her Helper was at hand, the Comforter, the Spirit who sanctifies every rational nature. Come hither to me, He says to Daniel; young though thou be, convict old men infected with the sins of youth; for it is written, God raised up the Holy Spirit upon a young stripling (Daniel 13:45, or Susanna 45); and nevertheless, (to pass on quickly,) by the sentence of Daniel that chaste lady was saved. We bring this forward as a testimony; for this is not the season for expounding. Nebuchadnezzar also knew that the Holy Spirit was in Daniel; for he says to him, O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, of whom I know, that the Holy Spirit of God is in thee Daniel 4:9). One thing he said truly, and one falsely; for that he had the Holy Spirit was true, but he was not the master of the magicians, for he was no magician, but was wise through the Holy Ghost. And before this also, he interpreted to him the vision of the Image, which he who had seen it himself knew not; for he says, Tell me the vision, which I who saw it know not (Dan. 2:26, 31). Thou seest the power of the Holy Ghost; that which they who saw it, know not, they who saw it not, know and interpret. 32. And indeed it were easy to collect very many texts out of the Old Testament, and to discourse more largely concerning the Holy Ghost. But the time is short; and we must be careful of the proper length of the lecture. Wherefore, being for the present content awhile with passages from the Old Testament, we will, if it be God's pleasure, proceed in the next Lecture to the remaining texts out of the New Testament. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Lecture XVI:30-31 Volume 7, p. 123.
There is a reason that I give a large background to the citations of Cyril of Jerusalem. He is speaking of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and in the midst of his other citations from Daniel, he refers to the Deuterocanonical portion of it as proof of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. He uses the particular term "It is written" before he quotes Daniel 13, a Deuterocanonical book. St. Cyril thus unambiguously refers to this passage as Scripture. He next refers to Daniel 13:45, (or Susanna 45) which is in the Catholic Old Testament. He brings proof of the doctrine from the Old Testament, and thus uses the Deuterocanonical portion of Daniel as proof of doctrine. This is one of the ‘many’ texts that he uses in the Old Testament. He doesn’t say, ‘well, this passage is of less authority than the other ones.’ He also quotes from the portion of Daniel that Protestants accepts ane makes absolutely no distinction in authority between those portions of Daniel.
2. The Divine Nature then it is impossible to see with eyes of flesh: but from the works, which are Divine, it is possible to attain to some conception of His power, according to Solomon, who says, "For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionally the Maker of them is seen" (Wis 13:5). He said not that from the creatures the Maker is seen, but added proportionably. For God appears the greater to every man in proportion as he has grasped a larger survey of the creatures: and when his heart is uplifted by that larger survey, he gains withal a greater conception of God. 3. Wouldest thou learn that to comprehend the nature of God is impossible? The Three Children in the furnace of fire, as they hymn the praises of God, say "Blessed art thou that beholdest the depths, and sittest upon the Cherubim" (Song of the Three Children, 32, or in Daniel 3, between verses 23 and 24, there are 68 verses, of which this is verse 32. This is part of the Deuterocanonical portion). Tell me what is the nature of the Cherubim, and then look upon Him who sitteth upon them. And yet Ezekiel the Prophet even made a description of them, as far as was possible, saying that every one has four faces, one of a man, another of a lion, another of an eagle, and another of a calf; and that each one had six wings (Ezek. 1:6-11), and they had eyes on all sides; and that under each one was a wheel of four sides. Nevertheless though the Prophet makes the explanation, we cannot yet understand it even as we read. But if we cannot understand the throne, which he has described, how shall we be able to comprehend Him who sitteth thereon, the Invisible and Ineffable God? To scrutinize then the nature of God is impossible: but it is in our power to send up praises of His glory for His works that are seen. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, NPNF2, Lecture IX:2-3, Volume 7, p. 51.
Here, St. Cyril of Jerusalem is out to prove the power of God. He points to both the Book of Wisdom and the Deuterocanonical portion of Daniel as proof of his power. He uses those passages to prove the veracity of the Creed where it says: "We believe in one God, the Father, Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and of all things visible and invisible;". He uses this very text to, as St. Cyril says "to comprehend the nature of God." He matter of factly intersperses the use of Ezekiel with the Song of the Children (as found in the Deuterocanonical portion of Daniel 3) and the Wisdom of Solomon as proof for doctrine. Thus, he treats these passages just as the rest of Scripture.
Learn then thine own weakness; learn from this instance the mightiness of God: for He hath numbered the drops of rain [Job 36:27], which have been poured down on all the earth, not only now but in all time. The sun is a work of God, which, great though it be, is but a spot in comparison with the whole heaven; first gaze steadfastly upon the sun, and then curiously scan the Lord of the sun. Seek not the things that are too deep for thee, neither search out the things that are above thy strength: what is commanded thee, think thereupon [Sir. 3:21-22]. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Lecture VI:4, Volume 7, p. 34.
Right after quoting the prophet Job, he tells his readers what to focus on. He is so sure of the reliability of the Scriptural message of Sirach, that he just repeats Sirach’s message to his readers. He is sure of the message being Scripture, so just the repetition of Sirach’s message suffices to instruct.
Hear the Prophet saying, 'This is our God, none other shall be accounted of in comparison with Him. He hath found out every way of knowledge, and given it to Jacob His servant, and to Israel His beloved. Afterwards He[she] was seen on earth, and conversed among men' [Baruch 3:35-37]. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 9:15(A.D. 350),in NPNF2, VII:68
Just as St. Athanasius saw the author of the Deuterocanonical book of Wisdom as a prophet, St. Cyril also sees Baruch as a prophet. Thus, this is clearly Scripture in St. Cyril's eyes.
Clearly St. Cyril, though denying the Deuterocanonicals ‘canonical’ status, did not deny them Scriptural status. He saw prophets writing them, and used them to teach doctrine. He uses the qualifying phrase "It is written", which is only used of Scripture, to the Deuterocanonicals. Although these books are not read in the Liturgy, he not only reads from these books in general, but uses these books as teaching tools from Scripture that those he is instructing also assume these book’s Scriptural status.
Here St. Hilary gives us the list of the Old Testament:
[T]he Old Testament is reckoned as consisting of twenty-two books...so that of Moses there be five books...with the Lamentations and the Letter [Baruch 6-Epistle of Jeremiah], and Daniel...bringing the number of the books to twenty-two. It is to be noted also that by adding to these Tobias and Judith, there are twenty-four books, corresponding to the number of letters used by the Greeks." Hilary of Poitiers, Prologue to the Psalms,15 (A.D. 365), in JUR, 1:383
Here in St. Hilary’s list of the Old Testament, he includes in his list the books of Tobit and Judith. True, he does not give a list of all the Deuterocanonical books, but he gives us an indication that his list of Old Testament books is not limited to the Hebrew Scriptures.
They say that the Father has prescience of all things, as the blessed Susanna says, 'O eternal God, that knowest secrets, and knowest all things before they be' [Daniel 13:42-Susanna]" Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 4:8 (A.D. 359), in NPNF2, IX:73.
He calls Susanna "Blessed." He uses her saying to prove that the Father has prescience of all things. Thus, he is proving doctrine from Susanna. He uses Susanna to prove God’s Omniscience, a foundational doctrine. It is thus accorded Scriptural status.
As you have listened already to Moses and Isaiah, so listen now to Jeremiah inculcating the same truth as they:--'This is our God, and there shall be none other likened unto Him, Who hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant and to Israel His beloved. Afterward did He shew Himself upon earth and dwelt among men.' [Baruch 3:36-38] Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 4:42 (A.D. 359), in NPNF2, IX:84
Notice how St. Hilary begins the passage. He already describes that his listeners have already heard Moses and Isaiah. In the same way that Moses and Isaiah speak, so does Jeremiah. What book is St. Hilary referring to? Jeremiah speaks through Baruch in the same manner as he speaks through the book "Jeremiah", but also Moses and the prophet Isaiah. Baruch is of Scriptural status, according to St. Hilary.
Such suggestions are inconsistent with the clear sense of Scripture For all things, as the Prophet says [ref 2 Maccabees 7:28], were made out of nothing; it was no transformation of existing things, but the creation into a perfect form of the non-existent." Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 4:16 (A.D. 359), in NPNF2, IX:76
What is the clear sense of Scripture? What Maccabees says is clear Scripture and is the word of a Prophet, according to St. Hilary. It proves that God made everything out of nothing. This very important doctrine, according to St. Hilary, is proved through the Prophet who writes Maccabees, which he identifies as Scripture. Thus not only does St. Hilary affirm Prophet Status for a Deuterocanonical book, but Scriptural status.
Then, while the devout soul was baffled and astray through its own feebleness, it caught from the prophet's voice this scale of comparison for God, admirably expressed, 'By the greatness of His works and the beauty of the things that He hath made the Creator of worlds is rightly discerned' [Wisdom 13:5]." Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 1:7 (A.D. 359), in NPNF2, IX:42
The book of Wisdom, another Deuterocanonical book, is said to be written by a prophet, according to St. Hilary. The Prophet who writes in Wisdom proves the greatness of God. Again, Wisdom is clearly Scripture.
Thus, we see that St. Hilary allude to three prophets in the Deuterocanonicals as authors of Baruch, Maccabees and Wisdom. He explicitly calls these books Scripture. He uses these books to teach Doctrine. Another supposed anti-Deuterocanonical Father actually strongly affirms these book’s Scriptural status.
Mr. Webster in his piece on the canon also claimed that St. Basil denied the Deuterocanonical’s canonical status. I emailed him asking for a specific citation. He did not provide a book in which St. Basil made this statement, but did write that St. Basil did make such a statement that can be found at Pholocalia, chapter 3. I could not verify that. However, since his other citations of the Fathers did have them leave out the Deuterocanonicals when they provided the ‘canon’, I presume that there is such a statement made by St. Basil. However, I do not have the contents of this specific citation. Nonetheless, since St. Basil is used by Webster to be another Father that supposedly rejected the Deuterocanonicals, I decided to look into him as well. How is he in practice? One thing for sure: I found nothing from him (or any Father) denying the inspiration of the Deuterocanonical books. In the index of NPNF2, volume 8, Basil the Great refers to the Deuterocanonicals 21 times. Here are some samples:
"What Scripture says is very true, 'As for a fool he changeth as the moon.' [Sirach 27:11] Basil, Hexaemeron, 6:10 (A.D. 370), in NPNF2, VIII:88
St. Basil quotes from Sirach and directly calls it Scripture. Nothing need be commented on: This Deuterocanonical book is Scripture.
Standing and sitting, I apprehend, indicate the fixity and entire stability of the nature, as Baruch, when he wishes to exhibit the immutability and immobility of the Divine mode of existence, says, 'For thou sittest for ever and we perish utterly.' [Baruch 3:3] Basil, On the Holy Spirit, 6:15 (A.D. 375), in NPNF2, VIII:10
Here he goes to Baruch who proves the immutability of God. This is clearly an important doctrine being established. The context is of the Holy Spirit and his immutability. Thus, Basil has no qualms in seeing Baruch as Scriptural proof for the immutability of God.
But the Spirit is believed to have been operating at the same time in Habakkuk and in Daniel at Babylon, [ref Daniel 14:35-Bel & the Dragon] and to have been at the prison with Jeremiah,[ref Jer 20:2] and with Ezekiel at the Chebar. [ref Ez 1:1] Basil, On the Holy Spirit, 23:54 (A.D. 375), in NPNF2, VIII:35
Here Baruch shows how the Holy Spirit operated with Habakkuk in the Deuterocanonical portion of Scripture, along with other Scriptures. St. Basil’s reference to Habakkuk in the Deuterocanonical portion of Scripture is spoken of matter of factly and in the same breath of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Absolutely no differentiation at all between the Scriptures.
Furthermore if he calls the Holy Ghost a creature he describes His nature as limited. How then can the two following passages stand? "The Spirit of the Lord filleth the world;" [Wisdom 1:7] and "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? "[Psalm 139:7] But he does not, it would seem, confess Him to be simple in nature; for he describes Him as one in number. And, as I have already said, everything that is one in number is not simple. And if the Holy Spirit is not simple, He consists of essence and sanctification, and is therefore composite. Basil, Lettter VIII, 10 (A.D. 375), in NPNF2, VIII:121
Here, St. Basil refers to the Holy Spirit’s omnipotence. This very important doctrine of God is proven by quoting not only the Psalm, but also the Book of Wisdom. He calls it a Scriptural ‘passage.’ Thus, doctrine again is established through the Deuterocanonicals by St. Basil.
For what extent of time is needed by Him who "upholds all things by the word of His power", (Heb. 1:3) and works not by bodily agency, nor requires the help of hands to form and fashion, but holds in obedient following and unforced consent the nature of all things that are? So as Judith says, "Thou hast thought, and what things thou didst determine were ready at hand." (Judith 9:5-6) Basil, On the Holy Spirit, 8, 19 (A.D. 375), in NPNF2, VIII:13
St. Basil uses Judith to demonstrate how God uses people to uphold all things by his power. Again, the Deuterocanonical is used interchangeably with other Scriptures to prove doctrine.
The inner man consists of nothing but contemplation. The kingdom of the heavens, then, must be contemplation. Now we behold their shadows as in a glass; hereafter, set free from this earthly body, clad in the incorruptible and the immortal, we shall behold their archetypes, we shall see them, that is, if we have steered our own life's course aright, and if we have heeded the right faith, for otherwise none shall see the Lord. For, it is said, into a malicious soul Wisdom shall not enter, nor dwell in the body that is subject unto sin [Wisdom 1:4]. Basil, Lettter VIII, 12 (A.D. 375), in NPNF2, VIII:122
St. Basil here shows the importance of holiness to see God. The phrase, "It is said", is used in a way very similarly to "It is written", a clear reference to Scripture, and he refers to the book of Wisdom. He uses Wisdom to prove that in order to see God, we must free ourselves from earthly desires by putting on that which comes from above and rightly heed the faith.
St. Gregory Nazianzen here gives us his list of books for the canon:
These are all twelve of the historical books. Of the most ancient Hebrew wisdom: First there is Genesis, then Exodus, Leviticus too. Then Numbers, and the Second Law. Then Josue and Judges. Ruth is eight. Ninth and Tenth the Acts of Kings and Paralipomenon. Last you have Esdras. The poetic books are five: Job being first, Then David, and three of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Canticle and Proverbs. And five prophetic, likewise inspired. There are the twelve written in one book: Osee and Amos, and Micheas the third; Then Joel, and Jonas, Abdias. And Nahum, and Habacuc, and Sophonias, Aggeus, and Zacharias, Malachias. All these are one. The second is Isaias. Then the book called Jeremias, of the New-born Babe. Then Ezechiel, and Daniel’s gift. I reckon, therefore, twenty-two old books, Corresponding to the number of the Hebrew letters. St. Gregory of Nazianzen, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1979, Poems, Book 1, Section 1, 12, Vol. 2, p. 42.
His canon excludes all of the Deuterocanonicals. His list of the Old Testament canon is identical to the books of Athanasius. Just as Athanasius excluded the book of Esther, he excludes the book of Esther as well. Thus, Esther is non-canonical as well as the Deuterocanonical books. But in no way was this list meant to be an exclusive list of the Scriptures. According to the Schaff index of references, we see that he quotes and refers to each of the Deuterocanonical books in a similar way as he treats the rest of Scripture except 1st Maccabees, (He does refer to 2nd Maccabees) which he does not quote or refer to. BTW, St. Gregory also gives us a list of New Testament books, which happens to exclude the book of Revelation. However, as noted with all the other Fathers, he does not write that "these are the only books that are inspired", or ‘there are no other books that are Scripture". In the Schaff index, there are absolutely no quotations or references to the book of Esther. However, that does not mean that the book of Esther is not Scripture, just as his lack of reference to 1st Maccabees does not indicate that as well. St. Gregory in the index of Schaff’s Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, in fact refers to Deuterocanonical books 27 times. This include the following passages:
Here am I, my pastors and fellow-pastors, here am I, thou holy flock, worthy of Christ, the Chief Shepherd,(1 Pet 5:4) here am I, my father, utterly vanquished, and your subject according to the laws of Christ rather than according to those of the land: here is my obedience, reward it with your blessing. Lead me with your prayers, guide me with your words, establish me with your spirit. "The blessing of the father establisheth the houses of children," (Sirach 3:9) and would that both I and this spiritual house may be established, the house which I have longed for, which I pray may be my rest for ever, (Psalm 132:13,14) when I have been passed on from the church here to the church yonder, the general assembly of the firstborn, who are written in heaven (Heb. 12:23). St. Gregory Nazianzen: In Defense of His Flight to Pontus, VIII, NPNF2, Vol. 7, p. 227.
He teaches using the exact words of Sirach to teach on the need to pastor the flock. He mixes it with all kinds of other passages that are Scripture, including 1 Peter, Psalms and Hebrews with no distinction of ‘inspired’ vs. ‘uninspired.’.
Again, the same passage in Sirach is used, and he writes ‘God says’ through Sirach:
God doth not so; but saith Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee; and He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. Similarly He gave honour to good and punishment to evil. And, "The blessing of a father strengtheneth the houses of children" (Sirach 3:9), but "the curse of a mother uprooteth the foundations." (Sirach 3:1), See the equality of the legislation. There is one Maker of man and woman; one debt is owed by children to both their parents. St. Gregory Nazianzen, The Fifth Theological Oration , VI, NPNF2, Vol. 7, p. 340.
In the same place where St. Gregory refers to the Commandment of Honoring the parents, and where God says this in this Exodus passage is, the phrase "God Says" similarly, is applied to two passages in Sirach which is directly quoted from and is similarly authoritative as the passage of one of the Ten Commandments!! The legislation of Sirach thus equals the legislation of the Ten commandments. Hardly a belittling of these books but a strong affirmation of their Scriptural status.
And how shall we preserve the truth that God pervades all things and fills all, as it is written "Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord (Jer. 23:24)" and "The Spirit of the Lord filleth the world" (Wisdom 1:7) if God partly contains and partly is contained. For either He will occupy an empty Universe, and so all things will have vanished for us, with this result, that we shall have insulted God by making Him a body.... St. Gregory Nazianzen: The Second Theological Oration, VIII, NPNF2, Vol 7, p. 291.
In the same vein that St. Gregory Nazianzen refers to Jeremiah to prove that God is omnipotent, he refers to Wisdom, as that which is written, that proves the very doctrine of God’s omnipotence. The Spirit fills the world, showing his omnipotence. He uses the term ‘It is written’ to refer to both the Jeremiah passage and the Wisdom passage as both Scriptures, that both prove this very important doctrine.
After speaking of the Passover, and how the Lamb was slain, he speaks of the Scriptural account of the plagues in Egypt. St. Gregory Nazienzen writes:
Then the last and gravest plague upon the persecutors, truly worthy of the night; and Egypt mourns the firstborn of her own reasonings and actions which are also called in the Scripture the "Seed of the Chaldeans" (Judith 5:6) removed, and the children of Babylon dashed against the rocks and destroyed; (Psalm 138:9). and the whole air is full of the cry and clamour of the Egyptians. St. Gregory Nazianzen: The Second Oration on Easter, XV, NPNF2, p. 428.
He specifically refers to the passage in Judith as Scripture. He says "In the Scripture" with the quotation from Judith. St. Gregory speaks for himself that the book is Scripture. He interchangeably goes from Scripture to Scripture in his treatment of passages with no distinction of one being of less inspiration.
How did God sustain her? Not by raining down manna, as for Israel of old (Ex. 16:14), or opening the rock, in order to sustain to give drink to His thirsting people (Ex. 18:6) or feasting her by means of ravens, as Elijah 1 King 17:6), or feeding her by a prophet carried through the air, as He did to Daniel when a-hungered in the den (Daniel 14:33(Bel and the Dragon, V:33). St. Gregory Nazianzen: On the Death of the Father, 30, NPNF2, Vol. 7, p. 265.
Here St. Gregory shows how God sustains His people. He treats in the same way the passages about God providing for Israel of his provision of manna to provide for his people as prophet Habbakuk getting carried through the air in Daniel 14, or Bel and the Dragon, only found in the Catholic Scriptures. No distinction in authority between Exodus and this Deuterocanonical passage.
And, I will give the kingdom to one who is good above Thee.(1 Sam. 15:28) ... Words of God, speaking to Saul about David. Or again, Do good, O Lord, unto the good(Psalm 125:4) ... and all other like expressions concerning those of us who are praised, upon whom it is a kind of effluence from the Supreme Good, and has come to them in a secondary degree. It will be best of all if we can persuade you of this. But if not, what will you say to the suggestion on the other side, that on your hypothesis the Son has been called the only God. In what passage? Why, in this:--This is your God; no other shall be accounted of in comparison with Him, and a little further on, after this did He shew Himself upon earth, and conversed with men.(Baruch 3:35,37) St. Gregory Nazianzen: The Fourth Theological Oration, XIII, NPNF2, p. 314.
In this passage St. Gregory speaks of the Word of God in both the Psalm and 1st Samuel. What Scriptural passage does he prove that the Son of God is the Only God? He refers to Baruch in two passages to prove that the Son is called God. If that is not establishing and confirming doctrine through the Deuterocanonicals I don’t know what does.
Thus, we have another ‘anti-Deuterocanonical’ Father citing a Deuterocanical book as Scripture. St. Gregory applies the tell-tale sign of Scripture, ‘It is written’ to a Deuterocanonical book. He says ‘God says’ through a Deuterocanonical book. He uses these books to teach fundamental doctrines on the essence of God. St. Gregory on the contrary affirms the Scriptural status of the Deuterocanonical books.
Rufinus gives us a list of Old Testament books that does seem to exclude the Deuterocanonicals.
"And therefore it seems proper in this place to enumerate, as we have learnt from the tradition of the Fathers, the books of the New and of the Old Testament, which according to the tradition of our forefathers, are believed to have been inspired by the Holy Ghost, and have handed down to the churches of Christ. Of the Old Testament, therefore, first of all there have been handed down five books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; then Jesus Nave, (Joshua the son of Nun), the Book of Judges together with Ruth; then four books of Kings (Reigns), which the Hebrews reckon two; the book of Omissions, which is entitled the Book of Days (Chronicles), and two books of Ezra (Ezra and Nehemiah), which the Hebrews reckon one, and Esther; of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; moreover of the twelve minor Prophets, one book; Job also and the Psalms of David, each one book. Solomon gave three books to the Churches, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles. These comprise the books of the Old Testament.....
But it should be known that there are also other books which our fathers call not 'Canonical' but 'Ecclesiastical:' that is to say, Wisdom, called the Wisdom of Solomon, and another Wisdom, called the Wisdom of the Son of Syrach, which last-mentioned the Latins called by the general title Ecclesiasticus, designating not the author of the book, but the character of the writing. To the same class belong the Book of Tobit, and the Book of Judith, and the Books of the Maccabees. In the New Testament the little book which is called the Book of the Pastor of Hermas (and that) which is called the Two Ways, or the Judgment of Peter; all of which they would have read in the Churches, but not appealed to for the confirmation of doctrine. The other writings they have named 'Apocrypha.' These they would not have read in the Churches. These are the traditions which the Fathers have handed down to us, which, as I said, I have thought it opportune to set forth in this place, for the instruction of those who are being taught the first elements of the Church and of the Faith, that they may know from what fountains of the Word of God their draughts must be taken" (Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, NPNF2, Vol. 3 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953), Rufinus, Commentary on the Apostles' Creed 36, p. 557.
Here, Rufinus terms these books ‘non-canonical’. However, in a little different fashion, he says that these books are read in the Churches. That is different from how St. Athanasius and St. Cyril approached these books, who termed them not only non-canonical, but also not to be read in the Churches. And Rufinus says that they are not used to confirm doctrine. Now, Rufinus is not a heavily indexed writer in the NPNF edition, in comparison to others already noted. So the documentation for him on the Deuterocanonical books, is less than others I have already noted. However, it must be noted that 23 of the 39 books of the Old Testament Protestant canon, Rufinus does not refer to or quote as well. Nonetheless, in the two quotations of the Deuterocanonicals available, he treats them as Scripture.
That Book of Wisdom also which is read to us as the work of Solomon says: "Into a malicious soul wisdom shall not enter, nor dwell in the body that is subject to sin.(Wisdom 1:4-5) For the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee deceit and remove from thoughts which are without understanding.
Rufinus matter of factly quotes the book in teaching morals. He uses Wisdom to teach discipline.
For it is evident that the Son, not the Father, became incarnate and was born in the flesh, and that from that nativity in the flesh the Son became "visible and passible." Yet so far as regards that immortal substance of the Godhead, which He possesses, and which is one and the same with that of the Father, we must believe that neither the Father, nor the Son, nor the Holy Ghost is "visible or passible." But the Son, in that He condescended to assume flesh, was both seen and also suffered in the flesh. Which also the Prophet foretold when he said, 'This is our God: no other shall be accounted of in comparison of Him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant and to Israel His beloved. Afterward He shewed Himself upon the earth, and conversed with men.' [Baruch 3:36-38]" Rufinus of Aquileia, The Apostles Creed, 37-38 (A.D. 404), in NPNF2, III:545
We should notice that in the very book, The Apostles Creed, where Rufinus had given a canon which supposedly rejected the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture, and is not used to confirm doctrine, he quotes from Baruch as Scripture to confirm doctrine!!! I give the background to the quotation of Baruch for a purpose. The background is the speaking of the incarnation of Jesus. He speaks of ‘the immortal substance’ of the Godhead. Baruch, a Deuterocanonical book is quoted as written by a prophet, and is thus inspired. Remember Rhodes objection that the reason why the Deuterocanonicals are not Scripture because they are not prophetic? Well, Rufinus, who supposedly rejected the Deuterocanonicals calls Baruch a prophet, as we have seen other Fathers who supposedly rejected the Deuterocanonicals do the same thing. Rufinus is yet another Father who thus verifies he is speaking of Scripture.
Between 578 and 595 AD, in "The Moral Teaching", St. Gregory wrote the following on what is ‘canonical’. He wrote this, or at least began this work (with no notes dividing the time he was in Rome from the time from Constantinople), according to the notes of Rev. James Barmby, in NPNF2, Vol. 12, Prolegomena p. XV, from Constantinople (prior to assuming the role of Pope). Thus, he is speaking of the canon from Constantinople where he was located. The following says that 1st Maccabees is not in ‘the canon.’ Notice he does not say that 1st Maccabees is ‘uninspired’ or not Scripture.
With reference to which particular we are not acting irregularly, if from the books, though not Canonical, yet brought out for the edification of the Church, we bring forward testimony. Thus Eleazar in the battle smote and brought down an elephant, but fell under the very beast that he killed" (1 Macc. 6.46). (Joseph Gildea, Gregory the Great, A Synthesis of Moralia in Job (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 1991, Part 1, Book 3, p. 126.)
Remember, just because he is terming it non-canonical does not mean it is not Scripture. Again, he began this work in 578 and ended in 595. He began being Pope only in 590 AD and reigned to 601 AD. This book is divided into two parts, with each one having six books. This book is only part one, and only book three. Thus, this passage is done in the first quarter of his whole work, well before he was Pope, where he is in Constantinople, where Maccabees is not part of the canon. As we have seen with other Fathers who did not put these books in their canon, he still refers to these books as Scripture. Notice, even here, while he is in Constantinople, he does not term it Unscriptural, or uninspired. In Constantinople at the time, he most likely was only speaking of the canon in that area, which only consists of what is read in the Liturgy. The canon that he is speaking of is not the full extent of Scripture, as we saw with St. Athanasius and the other Fathers. Now, to go on to what he thought of the Deuterocanonical books in the very work where the above passage is cited. Did he consider the Deuterocanonical books as Unscriptural, which Protestants who make much hay about the reference to 2nd Maccabees as ‘uncanonical’, assume? Let us check this very work. The following quotes, not found in the Schaff NPNF2 edition, volume 12, which has some of St. Gregory the Great's writings. I take these quotes from Joseph Gildea, St. Gregory the Great, A Synthesis of Moralia in Job (New York: Peter Lang Publishing) 1991. I will put the book, part and page number as taken from the book:
Pride is of course the root of all evil, of which it is said, as Scripture bears witness: Pride is the beginning of all sin. (Sirach 10:26) Moreover; proliferating from this poisonous root as its first offspring are seven capital sins: vainglory, envy, anger malancholy, avarice, gluttony, lust. For because he grieved that we were held in bondage by these seven derivatives of pride, on that account our Redeemer, full of the spirit of sevenfold grace, joined spiritual battle for our liberation. St. Gregory the Great, A Synthesis of Moralia in Job, Part 1, Book 3, p. 85.
The former, it is said by Holy Scripture: Do not become like the horse and the mule which have no understanding (Psalm 31:9). The proud effort of the latter is blamed when it is said: Seek not the things that are too high for thee, and search not into things above thy ability (Sirach 3:22). To the former it is said: Mortify your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, lust, eveil consupiscence (Col. 3:5), to the latter it is said: Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceipt (Col. 2:8) St. Gregory the Great, A Synthesis of Moralia in Job, Book 1, Part 3, 21, p. 116
Here is the same book and same part (Book 1, Part 3) as the mentioned quote which some Protestants will use to say that St. Gregory denies the Scriptural status of Maccabees. However, in the very same part of the same book, St. Gregory calls Sirach Scripture. Sirach is ‘Scripture bearing witness.’ Maccabees is in the very same category of books as Sirach on every list known to us. Not only does Scripture bear witness, but he affirms this even more when he teaches on morals, that Sirach is termed 'Holy Scripture' in the very same category as Psalms and Colossians. These two passages in and of themselves give further evidence that St. Gregory clearly shows that when he speaks of uncanonical, that does not mean that the book is ‘unscriptural.’ On the contrary, St. Gregory positively affirms Sirach, the very same category of books from which Maccabees comes, as Scripture.
Hence it is that with difficulty is eternal rest attained by the powerful who are surrounded by numberless hosts of lieges and bound with the tight coils of a great variety of concerns. In this regard Scripture says A most severe judgment shall be for them that bear rule. (Wisdom 12:6) Hence Truth says in the Gospel: Unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required (Luke 12:48). It rarely happens that those who possess gold strive for eternal rest, inasmuch as Truth himself says: How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God (Mt. 19:25). St. Gregory the Great, A Synthesis of Moralia in Job, Part 1, Book 4, 3, p. 133.
Here we have St. Gregory term in the immediate book and part that is right after his denying the canonicity of a Deuterocanonical book (while at the same time affirming their Scriptural status), at the same time declare affirmatively, the Book of Wisdom, which is in the very category of books as Maccabees, as ‘Scripture says.’ Thus, we have yet another Deuterocanonical book, the book of Wisdom, in the immediate vicinity of the very same part of this book of Morals where Protestants quote to claim that Pope Gregory deny the inspiration of the Deuterocanonicals, termed yet again as Scripture.
I quote here again in the same book and part of the book (Book 1, Part 3) from St. Gregory:
He is king over all the children of pride (Job 41:25). It is written: Pride is the beginning of all sin ( Sirach 10:15). St. Gregory the Great, A Synthesis of Moralia in Job, Part 1, Book 3, 2, P. 87.
In this regard it is written: By the envy of the devil, death came into the world (Wisdom 2:24). For when the decay of envy has corrupted the vanquished heart, exterior indications show how greatly mad impulses provoked the mind. St. Gregory the Great, A Synthesis of Moralia in Job Part 1, Book 3, 7, p. 96.
Anger indeed killeth the foolish : and envy slayeth the little one (Job 5:2 ). Since it is written: But thou, Lord, judgest with tranquility (Wisdom 12:18), we must particularly take note that as often as we restrain our turbulent emotions by the virtue of mildness, we are trying to return to the likeness of our Creator. St. Gregory the Great, A Synthesis of Moralia in Job Part 1, Book 3, 9, p. 98.
By anger life is lost although wisdom may seem to be retained, as it is written: anger destroyeth even the wise (Sirach 32:26), for indeed the confused mind is not effective even if it is able to judge anything wisely. By anger righteousness is abandoned, as it is written: The anger of man worketh not the justice of God (Jer. 9:14). St. Gregory the Great, A Synthesis of Moralia in Job Part 1, Book 3, 9, p. 98.
We have Pope St. Gregory, in the very same Part and book of his work on the book of Morals, that we have focused on (where he denies the canonicity of a Deuterocanonical book) affirm the Scriptural Status of these books an additional four times, where the quotations of these books are preceded by the phrase It is written. As we have seen that phrase is an even more unmistakeable reference to these books as Scripture.
For hence it is said by Solomon: If a man live many years , and have rejoiced in them all, he must remmeber the darksome time, and the many days: which, when they shall come, the things past shall be accused of vanity (Eccl. 11:8). Hence again it is written: In all thy works, remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin (Sirach 7:40). St. Gregory the Great, A Synthesis of Moralia in Job, Part 1, Book 2, 32, p. 82.
For now any sinner casts away the fear of God and yet lives, blasphemes and yet prospers, because the merciful Creator in seeing does not wish to punish the one whom he wishes to correct by waiting of him as it is written: Thou overlookest the sins of men for the sake of repentance (Wisdom 11:24). But when the sinner is looked upon hereafter, he shall be no more, because when the strict judge precisely examines his deserts, the guilty one is not equal to the torments. St. Gregory the Great, A Synthesis of Moralia in Job, Part 2, Book 1, 11, p. 204.
Observe how through his angels he comes down to establish misdeeds and immediately strikes the evildoers. And he who is patient, who is mild, of whom it is written: But thou, Lord, judgest with tranquility, of whom (Wisdom 12:18) it again is written: The Lord is a patient rewarder (Sirach 5:4), Gregory the Great, A Synthesis of Moralia in Job, Part 2, Book 4, 15, p. 289
Three more times in the book of Morals we see the Scriptural identifying phrase It is written. In this one book of Morals, St. Gregory refers to the Deuterocanonical books approximately 37-40 times in the same way as other Scriptures. He takes for granted their Scriptural status. Not one quote did I see where St. Gregory treat them as anything but Scripture. This includes many more times where he used the Scripture identifying phrase It is written before giving the quote, but for space purposes I have not given further quotes. The evidence that St. Gregory provides is overwhelming: The Deuterocanonical books are Scripture and any attempt to read one quote which denies the ‘canonical status’ of the Deuterocanonical book, and go with that as denying Scriptural status, is absolutely false. These books are undoubtedly Scripture and any attempt to use Pope St. Gregory against the Scriptural status of these books is either badly misinformed and/or horribly misleading.
Now, on to the quotes which shows at what level of authority Pope Gregory gives the Deuterocanonical books in his other writings. In the NPNF2 series, vol. 12, which gives some of his writings (but does not give all his writings, for example it does not have Morals on the Book of Job which I cited extensively above), he quotes from the Deuterocanonicals 25 times.
But, if your Holiness knew both what I referred to in my letter and what had been done, whether against John the presbyter or against Athanasius, monk of Isauria and presbyter, and wrote to me, I know not; what can I reply to this, since the Truth says through His Scripture, "The mouth that lieth slayeth the soul" (Wisd. i. 11) St. Gregory the Great, Book III, Epistle 13, NPNF2, vol. 12, p. 136.
To St. Gregory, truth speaks through God’s Scripture, which happens to be given through the Book of Wisdom, a Deuterocanonical book. This is an explicit and clear-cut citation of a Deuterocanonical book as Scripture. Thus, the attempt to read the prior quote against the canonicity of the Deuterocanonicals as a denial of their Scriptural status, is false: He is explicit in his affirmation of Wisdom as Scripture. Again, non-canonical does not mean uninspired as God’s truth is spoken dogmatically through the Book of Wisdom.
Lest they should give nothing at all to those on whom they ought to bestow something, let them hear what is written, Give to every man that asketh of thee (Luke vi. 30). Lest they should give something, however little to those on whom they ought to bestow nothing at all, let them hear what is written. "Give to the good man, and receive not a sinner: do well to him that is lowly, and give not to the ungodly" (Sir.. xii. 4). And again, "Set out thy bread and wine on the burial of the just, but eat and drink not thereof with sinners (Tobit iv. 17). St. Gregory the Great, Book of Pastoral Rule, Chapter XX, NPNF2, vol. 12, p. 45.
St. Gregory uses the phrase "It is written" three times in this passage. As noted before, this phrase is used in Scripture to identify passage as Scripture. St. Gregory is speaking in the same vein here. He first quotes Luke as Scripture, but in the absolutely same manner, refers to both Tobit and Sirach. He says listen to what they say, because this is God speaking. God speaks through Scripture again.
But the Lord shews with what strong censure he disowns them, saying through a certain wise man, "Whoso offereth a sacrifice of the substance of the poor doeth as one that killeth the son before the father's eyes" (Sir. xxxiv. 20). St. Gregory the Great, Book of Pastoral Rule, Chapter XXI, NPNF2, vol. 12, p. 48.
The Lord censures through the book of Sirach. Censure is a strong word, meaning strong rebuke, using the passage from Sirach as the means to do so. Scripture commands one. Scripture speaks again through Sirach as a command. If the book was not authoritative as Scripture, the passage makes no sense.
For hence it is written, The dog is returned to his own vomit again, and the saw that was washed to her wallowing in the mire (2 Pet. ii. 22). For the dog, when he vomits, certainly casts forth the food which weighed upon his stomach; ... Hence again it is written, "Repeat not a word in thy prayer"(Sir. vii. 14). For to repeat a word in prayer is, after bewailing, to commit what again requires bewailing. St. Gregory the Great, Book of Pastoral Rule, Chapter XXX, NPNF2, vol. 12, p. 62
St. Gregory uses the phrase "It is written" two times and in the same manner in reference to 2nd Peter and Sirach yet again. "It is written" is a phrase only used in reference in Scripture. No distinction between a supposed ‘uninspired Deuterocanonical’ as opposed to an ‘inspired Protocanonical’.
As to what you say you desire to be done for you near the most sacred body of the holy apostle Peter, be assured that, though your tongue were silent, your charity bids the doing of it. Would indeed that we were worthy to pray for you: but that I am not worthy I have no doubt. Still, however, there are here many worthy folk, who are being redeemed from the enemy by your offering, and serve our Creator faithfully, with regard to whom you have done what is written; "Lay up alms in the bosom of the poor, and it shall pray for thee" (Sir. xxix. 15). Epistles of St. Gregory the Great, Epistle XXXII, NPNF2, vol. 12, p. 156
One serves the Creator, our Lord faithfully, by doing what is written in the following passage of Sirach yet again. According to St. Gregory, Sirach is unquestionably Scripture.
Yet surely this is a promise of the life to come, seeing that it is said, "The righteous shall shine forth as the sun" (Matth. xiii. 43; Wisd. iii. 7). For, in whatsoever virtue any one may excel, how can he shine forth as the sun while still in the present life, wherein "The corruptible body presseth down the soul, and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth upon many things" (Wisd. ix. 15); wherein We see another law in our members warring against the law of our mind, and bringing us into captivity by the law of sin which is in our members (Rom. vii. 23); wherein Even in ourselves we have the answer of death, that we should not trust in ourselves (2 Cor. i. 9); wherein also the Prophet cries aloud, Fear and trembling are canto upon me, and darkness hath covered me (Ps. liv. 6)? For it is written also, "A wise man abideth as the sun; a fool changeth as the moan" (Sir. xxvii. 12); where the comparison of the sun is not applied to the splendour of his brightness, but to perseverance in well-doing. Epistles of St. Gregory the Great, Epistle VII, NPNF2, vol. 12, p. 214.
St. Gregory quotes seven times from the Old Testament and New Testament. He uses interchangeably Matthew, 2 times from Wisdom, Romans, Psalms, 2nd Corinthians and Sirach yet again, including the commanding phrase "It is written" applied yet again to Sirach. Again no distinction in the authority of these Scriptures.
It was that you would not speak by letters to a man, having by a good deed made your address to Almighty God. For this same deed of yours has a voice of its own, which calls to the secret ears of God, as it is written, "Hide thy alms in the bosom of the poor, and it shall entreat for thee" (Sir. xxix. 15). And indeed to me, I confess, it is sad to expend what is not my own, and to add to the accounts which I keep of the substance of the Church those also of the property of my most sweet son the lord Theodore. And yet I rejoice with your benignity that you carefully attend to and observe what the Truth says; Give alms, and behold, all things are clean unto you (Luke xi 41); and this which is written, "Even as water quencheth fire, so alms quench sin" (Sir. iii. 33). Paul the apostle also says, Let your abundance supply their want, that their abundance also may be a supply to your want (2 Cor. viii. 14). Tobias admonishes his son, saying, "If thou hast much, give abundantly; but if thou hast little, of that little impart willingly" (Tob. iv. 9) Epistles of St. Gregory the Great, Book VII, Epistle XXVIII, NPNF2, vol. 12, p. 222.
"It is written", yet again identifies two passages of Sirach as Scripture. Tobit (or Tobias) is quoted as well, in the same manner as the quotations of Paul and Luke. Again, the passages of both Deuterocanonical books are treated the same as other Scriptural passages.
To such, under the guise of a learner, it is well said in Solomon, "My son, do nothing without counsel, and after it is done thou shalt not repent (Sir. 32:24)." And again, Let thine eyelids go before thy steps (Prov. iv. 25). St. Gregory the Great, Book of Pastoral Rule, Chapter XX, NPNF2, vol. 12, p. 39.
St. Gregory quotes Sirach, alternatively known as Ecclesiasticus, and immediately after this quotation quotes from Proverbs. He uses the word ‘Again’ when quoting Proverbs. Proverbs is of the same level of inspiration as Sirach. He doesn’t write, here is the 'uninspired' word of Solomon, but here is the ‘real thing’ in Proverbs. No distinction between the Scriptural authority of one from the other.
This is the supposed ace in the hole for anti-Deuterocanonical Protestants. We have a Roman Bishop used by Protestants to supposedly deny the Deuterocanonical books. Again, all he denied was one book’s canonical status, not its inspiration. We saw him quote from the Deuterocanonical books, and call them Scripture. He uses the phrase ‘it is written’, which is only used of Scripture, and applies that phrase numerous times to varying Deuterocanonical books. He uses those books interchangeably with the other inspired books and treats them at the same level. Thus, the Protestant apologist’s ace in the hole, a Roman Bishop, does not deny, but only affirms the Deuterocanonicals’ Scriptural status.
Here we go in the century after Pope Gregory, 7th and 8th century. St John Damascene is quoted by Webster as being against the Deuterocanonicals. Here is the quote that Webster refers to as denying that book’s Scriptural status:
"Observe, further, that there are two and twenty books of the Old Testament, one for each letter of the Hebrew tongue. For there are twenty-two letters of which five are double, and so they come to be twenty-seven. For the letters Caph, Mere, Nun, Pe, Sade are double. And thus the number of the books in this way is twenty-two, but is found to be twenty-seven because of the double character of five. For Ruth is joined on to Judges, and the Hebrews count them one book: the first and second books of Kings are counted one: and so are the third and fourth books of Kings: and also the first and second of Paraleipomena: and the first and second of Esdra. In this way, then, the books are collected together in four Pentateuchs and two others remain over, to form thus the canonical books. Five of them are of the Law, viz. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. This which is the code of the Law, constitutes the first Pentateuch. Then comes another Pentateuch, the so-called Grapheia, or as they are called by some, the Hagiographa, which are the following: Jesus the Son of Nave, Judges along with Ruth, first and second Kings, which are one book, third and fourth Kings, which are one book, and the two books of the Paraleipomena which are one book. This is the second Pentateuch. The third Pentateuch is the books in verse, viz. Job, Psalms, Proverbs of Solomon, Ecclesiastes of Solomon and the Song of Songs of Solomon. The fourth Pentateuch is the Prophetical books, viz the twelve prophets constituting one book, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel. Then come the two books of Esdra made into one, and Esther. There are also the Panaretus, that is the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Jesus, which was published in Hebrew by the father of Sirach, and afterwards translated into Greek by his grandson, Jesus, the Son of Sirach. These are virtuous and noble, but are not counted nor were they placed in the ark.
The New Testament contains four gospels, that according to Matthew, that according to Mark, that according to Luke, that according to John: the Acts of the Holy Apostles by Luke the Evangelist: seven catholic epistles, viz. one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude: fourteen letters of the Apostle Paul: the Revelation of John the Evangelist: the Canons of the holy apostles, by Clement." St. John of Damascus, An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter XVII, NPNF, p. 89
It is true the list of books that he gives does not include the Deuterocanonicals and only two of them are mentioned, Wisdom and Sirach. It is also true that even the canon of the New Testament (if seen as only being the list of Scritptures) is incorrect. He gives a list of the ‘canon of the holy apostles by Clement’. This in all likelihood is the Didache. Thus, the books in the list are not meant to be limited to Scriptures that are accepted. That book obviously is not a New Testament book that are not recognized by anybody as Scripture. However, we see that in the Schaff edition, volume nine, St. John of Damascus gives twelve references to Deuterocanonical texts.
And hence it is that in the Old Testament the use of images was not common. But after God (Jn 1:14, Tit. 3:4) in His bowels of pity became in truth man for our salvation, not as He was seen by Abraham in the semblance of a man, nor as He was seen by the prophets, but in being truly man, and "after He lived upon the earth and dwelt among men, (Bar. 3:37) worked miracles, suffered, was crucified, rose again and was taken back to Heaven, since all these things actually took place and were seen by men, they were written for the remembrance and instruction of us who were not alive at that time in order that though we saw not, we may still, hearing and believing, obtain the blessing of the Lord. St. John of Damascus, An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter XVI, NPNF2, p. 88
This is in the very same book 4, on the ‘Exposition of the Orthodox Faith’. Chapter XVII where he gives the list of Scriptures which did not include the Deuterocanonicals. St. John of Damascus doesn’t even mention Baruch and other books in the Deuterocanonicals though in passing he speaks of Wisdom and Sirach. However, in Chapter XVI (which is only one page before Chapter XVII. where he gave the list that Webster referred to), he refers to Biblical events and in speaking of Jesus, he refers to Baruch in description of Jesus. Baruch obviously prophecies about how Jesus would come to dwell among men. The background is St. John proving that the use of images is Ok. The basis for it becoming Ok is when Jesus became man. He writes that the Old Testament did not use images much, but per a prophecy of Baruch 3 fulfilled in Jesus, the situation would change.
So before he gave the list of Scriptures in Chapter XVII of this book, St. John refers to a text in Baruch to establish doctrine on images in Chapter XVI. In Chapter XVIII, (approximately 1 page after giving the list of Scriptures that seem to exclude the Deuterocanonicals,) St. John again refers to Baruch right in the midst of other Biblical passages.
Some, again, have a prophetic sense, and of these some are in the future tense: for instance, He shall come openly, (Psalm 50:3) and this from Zechariah, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, (Zech. 9:9) and this from Micah, (Mic. 1:3) Behold, the Lord cometh out of His place and will came down and tread upon the high places of the earth. But others, though future, are put in the past tense, as, for instance, This is our God: "Therefore He was seen upon the earth and dwell among men," (Baruch 3:37) and The Lord created me in the beginning of His ways for His works (Prov. 8:22), and Wherefore God, thy God, anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows, and such like. (Psalm 14:7) St. John of Damascus, An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter XVII, NPNF, p. 90
Here St. John is showing how there are Scriptures in the Old Testament that speak of Jesus and how he fulfills them, some in the past tense, and some in the Prophetic sense. He quotes Zechariah, Micah, Proverbs, Psalms and right in the midst of all these Scriptures, he quotes Baruch again in the same fashion.
The divine Scripture likewise saith that 'the souls of the just are in God's hand’ [Wisdom 3:1] and death cannot lay hold of them." John Damascene, Orthodox Faith, 4:15 (A.D. 743), in NPNF2, IX:87
St. John Damascene directly quotes Wisdom as 'the Divine Scripture". The explicit citation of Wisdom as Divine Scripture needs very little comment. God clearly speaks through the book of Wisdom as Divine Scripture.
But others, though future, are put in the past tense, as, for instance, This is our God: 'Therefore He[she] was seen upon the earth and dwell among men' [Baruch 3:38]. John Damascene, Orthodox Faith, 4:18 (A.D. 743), in NPNF2, IX:90
St. John Damascene quotes Baruch as an explanation of who God is.
It appears then that the most proper of all the names given to God is "He that is," as He Himself said in answer to Moses on the mountain, Say to the sons of Israel, He that is hath sent Me (Ex. 3:14). For He keeps all being in His own embrace, like a sea of essence infinite and unseen. Or as the holy Dionysius says, "He that is good." For one cannot say of God that He has being in the first place and goodness in the second.
The second name of God is o qeos, derived from qeein, to run, because He courses through all things, or from aiqein, to burn: For God is a fire consuming all evils (Deut. 4:24): or from qeasqai, because He is all-seeing (2 Macc. 9:5): for nothing can escape Him, and over all He keepeth watch. For He saw all things before they were, holding them timelessly in His thoughts; and each one conformably to His voluntary anti timeless thought, which constitutes predetermination and image and pattern, comes into existence at the predetermined time.
Here St. John Damascene is speaking of God’s immensity. He is out to prove that God is omniscient. He refers here to God as all-seeing. (This specific term is not used of God in any non-Deuterocanonical book.) The Protestant editor Philip Schaff acknowledges that it is a reference to 2nd Maccabees 9:5.
Another supposed witness to deny the Scriptural status of the Deuterocanonicals proves again that the ‘canon’ spoken of is not the full list of Scriptures. A Deuterocanonical book is called Divine Scripture. It is called to be written by a ‘prophet’ Baruch, in the same book and immediate chapters where St. John excluded these books from the canon. Deuterocanonical books again establish doctrine on the essence of God as it shows his omniscience.
I will round out my look at the Fathers out of sequence chronologically as I will look at St. Jerome. St. Jerome is the person most often used by Protestants to say that he denies the inspiration of the Deuterocanonicals. His attitude towards the Deuterocanonicals is indeed the harshest of the Fathers. Our first focus here though is on what he termed canonical Scripture:
These instances have been just touched upon by me (the limits of a letter forbid a more discursive treatment of them) to convince you that in the holy scriptures you can make no progress unless you have a guide to shew you the way...Genesis ... Exodus ... Leviticus ... Numbers ... Deuteronomy ... Job ... Jesus the son of Nave ... Judges ... Ruth ... Samuel ... The third and fourth books of Kings ... The twelve prophets whose writings are compressed within the narrow limits of a single volume: Hosea ... Joel ... Amos ... Obadiah ... Jonah ... Micah ... Nahum ... Habakkuk ... Zephaniah ... Haggai ... Zechariah ... Malachi ... Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel ... Jeremiah also goes four times through the alphabet in different metres (Lamentations)... David...sings of Christ to his lyre; and on a psaltry with ten strings (Psalms) ... Solomon, a lover of peace and of the Lord, corrects morals, teaches nature (Proverbs and Ecclesiastes), unites Christ and the church, and sings a sweet marriage song to celebrate that holy bridal (Song of Songs) ... Esther ... Ezra and Nehemiah. (Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953, Volume VI, St. Jerome, Letter LIII.6-8, pp. 98-101).
As, then, the Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees, but does not admit them among the canonical Scriptures, so let it also read these two volumes (Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus) for the edification of the people, not to give authority to doctrines of the Church...I say this to show you how hard it is to master the book of Daniel, which in Hebrew contains neither the history of Susanna, nor the hymn of the three youths, nor the fables of Bel and the Dragon... (Ibid., Volume VI, Jerome, Prefaces to Jerome's Works, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs; Daniel, pp. 492-493).
Looking at this at face value, St. Jerome does specifically say that they are not Scripture. He even says that they are not to be used for doctrine. The theory that he is only speaking of denying their canonicity (and not reading them in the Liturgy as we see did apply to the other Fathers) and not their Scriptural status would not apply. Of all the Fathers, he does have the most negative view of the Deuterocanonicals, as are seen in statements he made elsewhere.
Nonetheless, we will see in practice that St. Jerome quoted from these books as Scripture, and held them at the same level of inspiration as other Scriptures. If one goes to the index of Quotations from Schaff, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series, volume 6 (which does not contain all of St. Jerome's writings), you will see that he refers to and quotes from the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture. In my perusal of the index, I found him quoting/referring to passages in the Deuterocanonicals approximately 55 times: Here is a sampling of his quotes:
Does not the SCRIPTURE say: 'Burden not thyself above thy power' [SIRACH 13:2] Jerome, To Eustochium, Epistle 108 (A.D. 404), in NPNF2, VI:207
St. Jerome himself calls Sirach, which he had referred to as non-canonical, as Scripture. Thus, in practice, to support doctrine, he calls it Scripture. This quotation, even if there were no other quotations from him on the Deuterocanonicals, show that his view on what is and is not Scripture can not be seen from his earlier citation.
Do not, my dearest brother, estimate my worth by the number of my years. Gray hairs are not wisdom; it is wisdom which is as good as gray hairs At least that is what Solomon says: "wisdom is the gray hair unto men.’ [Wisdom 4:9]" Moses too in choosing the seventy elders is told to take those whom he knows to be elders indeed, and to select them not for their years but for their discretion (Num. 11:16)? And, as a boy, Daniel judges old men and in the flower of youth condemns the incontinence of age (Daniel 13:55-59, or Story of Susannah 55-59, only found in the Catholic Bibles) Jerome, To Paulinus, Epistle 58 (A.D. 395), in NPNF2, VI:119
Here St. Jerome mixes use of the Book of Wisdom with Moses’ writing. In the midst of referring to Moses, he also refers to the Story of Susanna to establish a point. He makes no distinction in practice from the writing of Moses, from the two Deuterocanonical books.
"I would cite the words of the psalmist: 'the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,’ [Ps 51:17] and those of Ezekiel 'I prefer the repentance of a sinner rather than his death,’ [Ez 18:23] AND THOSE OF BARUCH,'Arise, arise, O Jerusalem,’ [Baruch 5:5] AND MANY OTHER PROCLAMATIONS MADE BY THE TRUMPETS OF THE PROPHETS." Jerome, To Oceanus, Epistle 77:4 (A.D. 399), in NPNF2, VI:159
Notice how Jerome makes no distinction at all between the Psalmist, Ezekiel, and Baruch. They are all Scripture, God's Word. Also, contrary to Rhodes' assertion that the Deuterocanonicals had no prophets, Jerome himself calls Baruch a prophet, thus according his writing Scriptural status. According to Jerome, Baruch thus authoritatively spoke God's Word. He uses Baruch in tandem with these prophets to prove David in Psalm 51 correct.
still our merriment must not forget the limit set by Scripture, and we must not stray too far from the boundary of our wrestling-ground. Your presents, indeed, remind me of the sacred volume, for in it Ezekiel decks Jerusalem with bracelets, (Eze. 16:11) Baruch receives letters from Jeremiah,(Jer. 36, Bar. 6) and the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove at the baptism of Christ.(Mt. 3:16) Jerome, To Eustochium, Epistle 31:2 (A.D. 384), in NPNF2, VI:45
Notice that St. Jerome quotes in reference to Scriptures, and the Sacred Volumes. Then he refers to 3 passages. Ezekiel, Baruch, and Matthew. Now, St. Jerome here refers to Jeremiah giving letters (plural) to Baruch. One time in Jeremiah 36, and another time in Baruch 6, as the Protestant Schaff editor indicates. Thus, Baruch is clearly Scripture, and he is clearly an author of the Sacred Volume, the Bible.
As in good works it is God who brings them to perfection, for it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that pitieth and gives us help that we may be able to reach the goal: so in things wicked and sinful, the seeds within us give the impulse, and these are brought to maturity by the devil. When he sees that we are building upon the foundation of Christ, hay, wood, stubble, then he applies the match. Let us then build gold, silver, costly stones, and he will not venture to tempt us: although even thus there is not sure and safe possession. For the lion lurks in ambush to slay the innocent. [Sir. 27:5] "Potters' vessels are proved by the furnace, and just men by the trial of tribulation." And in another place it is written: [Sir. 2:1] "My son, when thou comest to serve the Lord, prepare thyself for temptation." Again, the same James says: [James 3:22]"Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only. For if any one is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was." It was useless to warn them to add works to faith, if they could not sin after baptism. Jerome, Against Jovinianus,, Book 2, 3 NPNF2, VI:390
As we have seen, "It is written" is a phrase that both the authors of Scripture, and the Church Fathers use only in reference to Scripture. Jerome uses the phrase identifying the quote to come as Scripture. The quote he uses comes from the book of Sirach. Thus, Sirach is Scripture. He then quotes James interchangeably as just another Scripture as of the same level of authority as Sirach.
"Yet the Holy Spirit in the thirty-ninth(9) psalm, while lamenting that all men walk in a vain show, and that they are subject to sins, speaks thus: "For all that every man walketh in the image."(Psalm 39:6) Also after David's time, in the reign of Solomon his son, we read a somewhat similar reference to the divine likeness. For in the book of Wisdom, which is inscribed with his name, Solomon says: "God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity."(Wisdom 2:23) And again, about eleven hundred and eleven years afterwards, we read in the New Testament that men have not lost the image of God. For James, an apostle and brother of the Lord, whom I have mentioned above--that we may not be entangled in the snares of Origen--teaches us that man does possess God's image and likeness. For, after a somewhat discursive account of the human tongue, he has gone on to say of it: "It is an unruly evil ... therewith bless we God, even the Father and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God."(James 3:8-9) Paul, too, the "chosen vessel,"(Acts 9:15) who in his preaching has fully maintained the doctrine of the gospel, instructs us that man is made in the image and after the likeness of God. "A man," he says, "ought not to wear long hair, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God."(1 Cor. 11:7) He speaks of "the image" simply, but explains the nature of the likeness by the word "glory."
7. Instead of THE THREE PROOFS FROM HOLY SCRIPTURE which you said would satisfy you if I could produce them, BEHOLD I HAVE GIVEN YOU SEVEN"--- Jerome, Letter 51, 6, 7, NPNF2, VI:87-8
St. Jerome himself had written that the Deuterocanonicals are not used to establish doctrine. However, with the larger context given, on this occasion speaking of how we are made in God's image, a doctrine, he specifically uses the Book of Wisdom to establish that. St. Jerome doesn't make any distinctions between the other Scriptural books that he uses to speak on doctrine. The Book of Wisdom is one of Seven Scriptural proofs to establish the meaning of the image of God.
A. "Your argument is ingenious, but you do not see THAT IT GOES AGAINST HOLY SCRIPTURE, which declares that even ignorance is not without sin. Hence it was that Job offered sacrifices for his sons, test, perchance, they had unwittingly sinned in thought. And if, when one is cutting wood, the axe-head flies from the handle and kills a man, the owner is[Num. 35:8] commanded to go to one of the cities of refuge and stay there until the high priest dies; that is to say, until he is redeemed by the Saviour's blood, either in the baptistery, or in penitence which is a copy of the grace of baptism, through the ineffable mercy of the Saviour, who[Ezek. 18:23] would not have any one perish, nor delights in the death of sinners, but would rather that they should be converted and live. C. It is surely strange justice to hold me guilty of a sin of error of which my conscience does not accuse itself. I am not aware that I have sinned, and am I to pay the penalty for an offence of which I am ignorant? What more can I do, if I sin voluntarily?
A. DO YOU EXPECT ME TO EXPLAIN THE PURPOSES AND PLANS OF GOD? THE BOOK OF WISDOM GIVES AN ANSWER TO YOUR FOOLISH QUESTION: [Sir 3:21] "LOOK NOT INTO THINGS ABOVE THEE, AND SEARCH NOT THINGS TOO MIGHTY FOR THEE." AND ELSEWHERE, "Make not thyself overwise, and argue not more than is fitting." And in the same place, "In wisdom and simplicity of heart seek God." You will perhaps deny the authority of this book;" "Jerome, "Against the Pelagians, NPNF2, VI:464-5"
Notice at the beginning of his statement he speaks how he is going to prove his point by using Holy Scripture. Then he gives a series of Scriptures to prove the folly of his opponent. Part of those Scriptures that he uses to prove his point is the book of Sirach. The books of Wisdom and Sirach, according to Jerome, explain the plan and purpose of God, which refutes his opponents doctrine. Actually, although he says it is from Wisdom the quotation is actually from Sirach 3:21. Thus, both books are Scripture in Jerome’s eyes. They are quoted by Jerome to prove doctrine!. He says that maybe his opponent will deny the authority of the book, but not St. Jerome. He thus affirms its authority. The rest of the paragraph he actually quotes other Scriptures to support his quotation of Sirach.
"And in the proverbs Solomon tells us that as "the north wind driveth away rain, so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.(Prov. 25:23)" It sometimes happens that an arrow when it is aimed at a hard object rebounds upon the bowman, wounding the would-bewounder, and thus, the words are fulfilled, "they were turned aside like a deceitful bow," (Psalm 128:57) and in another passage: "whoso casteth a stone on high casteth it on his own head." (Sir. 27:25) Jerome, To Rusticus, Epistle 125, 19 (A.D. 404), in NPNF2, VI:251
Jerome interchangeably quotes the Proverbs as fulfilling other Scriptures. He says the 'words are fulfilled.' What are the Words that are fulfilled? Then he quotes two Scriptures. First, he quotes the Psalm. Then he quotes Sirach. Proverbs is thus a fulfillment of Sirach. If Sirach was of inferior status it would make no sense for Jerome to phrase it that way. He uses the term, 'another passage’ in reference to Sirach thus making an equivalent level of authority the book of Sirach as to the Psalms.
The above books are clear, explicit references to undoubtedly what Jerome considers Scripture, and clearly shows the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture. Now there are other references to Scripture, where he doesn’t explicitly say, ‘It is written’ or ‘Scripture says’ or ‘the Prophet says’, where he undoubtedly defines these books as Scripture as he does above. In most of the treatment of passages, whether it is Exodus, Numbers, or Sirach, he just gives the quote without explicitly saying that it is Scripture, just as I mentioned earlier with other Fathers. He assumes these passages are Scripture without necessarily saying ‘This is Scripture’, or "It is Written", or "The Prophet says" as the above passages indicate. Now below are some passages from other Deuterocanonical books where he treats them just as he treats other canonical Scriptures, without saying ‘This is Scripture." In fact most of the times the Fathers quote Scripture, they just quote the Scripture to support their view, without making that identifiable mark. Thus, the below passages show that he treats these books in practice as he does non-Deuterocanonical books, thus giving them equivalent status and identifying them as Scripture, though in a less explicit way.
9. Let me call to my aid the example of the three children, (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3) who, amid the cool, encircling fire, sang hymns, (Song of Three Holy Children, found only in Deuterocanonical portion of Daniel 3) instead of weeping, and around whose turbans and holy hair the flames played harmlessly. Let me recall, too, the story of the blessed Daniel, in whose presence, though he was their natural prey, the lions crouched, with fawning tails and frightened mouths.(Daniel 6) Let Susannah also rise in the nobility of her faith before the thoughts of all; who, after she had been condemned by an unjust sentence, was saved through a youth inspired by the Holy Ghost (Susanna 45, or Daniel 13:45). In both cases the Lord's mercy was alike shewn; for while Susannah was set free by the judge, so as not to die by the sword, this woman, though condemned by the judge, was acquitted by the sword. Jerome, Letter 1:9, NPNF2, VI:2, 370 AD
6. I salute your mother and mine with the respect which, as you know, I feel towards her. Associated with you as she is in a holy life, she has the start of you, her holy children, in that she is your mother. Her womb may thus be truly called golden. With her I salute your sisters, who ought all to be welcomed wherever they go, for they have triumphed over their sex and the world, and await the Bridegroom's coming, (Mt. 25:4) their lamps replenished with oil. O happy the house which is a home of a widowed Anna, of virgins that are prophetesses, and of twin Samuels bred in the Temple! (Luke 2:36, Acts 21:9, 1 Sam. 2:18) Fortunate the roof which shelters the martyr-mother of the Maccabees, with her sons around her, each and all wearing the martyr's crown! (2 Macc. 7) For although you confess Christ every day by keeping His commandments, yet to this private glory you have added the public one of an open confession; for it was through you that the poison of the Arian heresy was formerly banished from your city. Jerome, to Chromatius, Jovinus, and Eusebius, Letter 7:6, NPNF2, 374 AD, VI:10
But now that a virgin has conceived (Isa. 7:14) in the womb and has borne to us a child of which the prophet says that "Government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called the mighty God, the everlasting Father," (Isa. 9:6) now the chain of the curse is broken. Death came through Eve, but life has come through Mary. And thus the gift of virginity has been bestowed most richly upon women, seeing that it has had its beginning from a woman. As soon as the Son of God set foot upon the earth, He formed for Himself a new household there; that, as He was adored by angels in heaven, angels might serve Him also on earth. Then chaste Judith once more cut off the head of Holofernes (Jud. 13).Then Haman--whose name means iniquity--was once more burned in fire of his own kindling (Est. 7:10) Then James and John forsook father and net and ship and followed the Saviour: neither kinship nor the world's ties, nor the care of their home could hold them back. Then were the words heard: "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34) For no soldier goes with a wife to battle. Even when a disciple would have buried his father, the Lord forbade him, and said: "Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." (Mt. 8:20-22) So you must not complain if you have but scanty house-room. In the same strain, the apostle writes: "He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married careth for the things of the world how she may please her husband." (1 Cor. 7:34-36). Jerome, to Eustochium, Letter 22:21, 384 AD, NPNF2, VI:30
For it is not ecclesiastical rank that makes a man a Christian. The centurion Cornelius was still a heathen when he was cleansed by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Daniel was but a child when he judged the elders.( Dan. 13:55-63, or Susanna 55-63) Amos was stripping mulberry bushes when, in a moment, he was made a prophet (Amos 7:14) David was only a shepherd when he was chosen to be king.(2 Sam. 16:11-13) And the least of His disciples was the one whom Jesus loved the most. My brother, sit down in the lower room, that when one less honorable comes you may be bidden to go up higher (Luke 14:10). Jerome, to Heliodorus, Letter 14:9, 374 AD, NPNF2, VI:17.
These things, dearest daughter in Christ, I impress upon you and frequently repeat, that you may forget those things which are behind and reach forth unto those things which are before (Phil. 3:12). You have widows like yourself worthy to be your models, Judith renowned in Hebrew story (Jud. 13) and Anna the daughter of Phanuel (Lk 2) famous in the gospel. Both these lived day and night in the temple and preserved the treasure of their chastity by prayer and by fasting. One was a type of the Church which cuts off the head of the devil (Jud. 13:8) and the other first received in her arms the Saviour of the world and had revealed to her the holy mysteries which were to come (Lk 2:36-38). Jerome, to Salvina, Letter 79:10, 400 AD, NPNF2, VI:168.
In sum, Jerome calls the Deuterocanonicals Scripture. The proofs he gives for doctrine come from the Deuterocanonicals. He calls Baruch a prophet in the same sense as Ezekiel. He quotes from Wisdom & Sirach and gives it the same authority as other Scripture and he complains about his opponent denying the authority of the book, not him. His references to the Deuterocanonical portions of Daniel, including Susannah and Bel and the Dragon, he uses in support of doctrine, clearly seeing them as Scriptures. Jerome mixes them right along with the rest of Scriptures and he treats them just as the rest of Scriptures. Scriptures are used to 'fulfill' Sirach on the same terms that it fulfilled a Psalm, which can thus only be speaking of Scripture. I have shown Jerome quoting and referring to each of the Deuterocanonical books. This includes Sirach, Wisdom, 2nd Maccabbees, Tobit, Esther, Baruch, and even the Deuterocanonical portions of Daniel, including Susannah, Bel and the Dragon and the Song of the Three Children, treating each of these books as the same authority as the other books. Thus, the greatest supposed 'detractor' of the Deuterocanonicals, treats the books as Scripture.
It is often said by Protestant apologists that the Council of Trent was the first council to affirm the Scriptural status of the Deuterocanonical books. Well, besides the fact that Rome in the 5th Century affirmed these books in a binding manner, we can see that in Ecumenical Councils from the 8th century forward, the Deuterocanonical books were quoted to affirm dogmatic teachings and disciplines. I give references from Dr. Sippo’s piece here: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/3517/sippo/webster1.html.
Deuterocanonical Quotations from the Ecumenical Councils:
Nicea II: Canon 16 (787) - Sirach 1:25 (scripture)
Constantinople IV: Canon 10 (869) - Sirach 11:7 (scripture)
Lateran IV: Section 70 (1215) - Sirach 2:12, 3:28** (it is written)
Vienne: Section 14 (1311) - Sirach 24:17
Section 24 (1311) - Wisdom 5:6**
Section 38 (1312) - Sirach 24:31, 1:5; Susannah/Daniel 13:42**
Basle/Florence: Session 21(1435) - Sirach 18:23 (scripture)
Session 3 (1438) - Wisdom 10:20 (it is written)
Session 6 (1439) - Tobit 12:20**
Session 7 (1439) - Susannah/Daniel 13:9
Session 9 (1440) - Wisdom 5:21**
(**These citation I could not find in research, but all the other ones I could find. The numbering of the ones I could not find is based on the Dhouay Rheims translation. The ones I could find in the Dhouay Rheims but I could not find in my search of the Council citations. Dr. Art Sippo, in his previous research, did verify those citations. A Father Tanner, who did this study, is the one who originally found these citations. In email, Dr. Sippo wrote that he verified that he could find those citations, but since I could not, I leave the citation there, with the qualifier that I could not find these ones in the Councils. I give the citations that I could find (9 citations in the period of 7 centuries of Councils, down below.)**
I will here give some of the above citations. These Ecumenical Councils are called to affirm various dogmatic decrees and disciplines. I went into the actual canons and sessions and here is a sampling of how the Deuterocanonical books were actually used: Nicea II: Canon 16 (787):
All indulgence and adornment bestowed on the body is alien to the priestly order. Therefore all those bishops and clerics who deck themselves out in brilliant and showy clothes should be called to order, and if they persist let them be punished. The same holds for those who use perfumes. However, since the root of bitterness has sprouted, there has appeared in the catholic church the plague of a heresy which delights in the defamation of Christians. Those who adopt this heresy not only heap insults on representational art, but also reject all forms of reverence and make a mockery of those who live pious and holy lives, thus fulfilling in their own regard that saying of scripture, for the sinner piety is an abomination.(Sir. 1:25) So if persons are found who make fun of those who wear simple and respectful clothing, they should be corrected with punishment. Indeed, from the earliest times all those ordained to the priesthood have been accustomed to present themselves in public dressed in modest and respectful clothing, and anyone who adds to his apparel for the sake of decoration and not out of necessity deserves, as the great Basil remarked, to be accused of "vainglory". Neither did anyone dress in variegated clothes made of silk, nor did they add various coloured ornaments to the fringes of their garments. They had heard the tongue that spoke God's words declare, Those who dress in soft clothes are in the houses of kings.
So in this canon of a solemn Ecumenical Council, the book of Sirach is quoted matter of factly as Scripture. Any idea that Trent is the first Ecumenical Council to refer to these books as Scripture is thus off by about 8 centuries. And the citation given is done in passing. It is such that it is taken for granted that all assume that it is Scripture. The Council does not have to make a declaration that Sirach is Scripture. It is just assumed so.
Here is canon 10 of Constantinople IV, 869.
As divine scripture clearly proclaims “Do not find fault before you investigate, and understand first and then find fault, (Sir. 11:7) and does our law judge a person without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?. Consequently this holy and universal synod justly and fittingly declares and lays down that no lay person or monk or cleric should separate himself from communion with his own patriarch before a careful enquiry and judgment in synod, even if he alleges that he knows of some crime perpetrated by his patriarch, and he must not refuse to include his patriarch's name during the divine mysteries or offices
Sirach is quoted in this Ecumenical Council as “Divine Scripture”. It has binding force on Christians.
Next, Lateran IV, in 1215 continues the tradition of Ecumenical Councils quoting Deuterocanonicals as Scripture in section 70:
Jewish converts may not retain their old rite
Certain people who have come voluntarily to the waters of sacred baptism, as we learnt, do not wholly cast off the old person in order to put on the new more perfectly. For, in keeping remnants of their former rite, they upset the decorum of the Christian religion by such a mixing. Since it is written, cursed is he who enters the land by two paths, (Sirach 2:12) and a garment that is woven from linen and wool together should not be put on, we therefore decree that such people shall be wholly prevented by the prelates of churches from observing their old rite, so that those who freely offered themselves to the Christian religion may be kept to its observance by a salutary and necessary coercion. For it is a lesser evil not to know the Lord's way than to go back on it after having known it.
The Council uses the term “It is written”, identifying the passage from the book of Sirach as Scripture.
In the next century, the Council of Vienne, Section 14 refers to Sirach (1311) as well:
[That nothing unbecoming or corrupt find its way into that field of the Lord, namely the sacred order of the black monks, or anything grow into a ruinous crop, but rather that the flowers of honour and integrity may there produce much fruit, (Sir. 24:17) we decree as follows.
Sirach is cited as proof of the need for integrity to lay the Biblical foundation for the decree that will follow. Its biblical veracity is assumed by the Council Fathers.
Here is part of section 38 of the Council of Vienne, 1312:
I came out of paradise, I said: I will water my garden of plants. (Sir. 24:31) Thus speaks the heavenly cultivator, “who is truly the source of wisdom, God's Word, begotten by the Father from eternity, (Sirach 1:5) yet remaining in the Father.
The Council of Vienne continues the tradition of quoting a Deuterocanonical book.
Next, we have the Council of Florence in 1435:
[How the canonical hours should be recited outside choir]
This holy synod admonishes all holders of benefices, or those in holy orders, since they are bound to the canonical hours, if they wish their prayers to be acceptable to God, to recite the day and night offices, not in a mumble or between their teeth, nor swallowing or abbreviating their words, nor intermingling conversation and laughter, but, whether they are alone or with others, reverently and distinctly and in such a place as will not diminish devotion, for which they ought to dispose and prepare themselves, as the scripture says: Before prayer prepare your soul, and do not be like someone who tempts God. Sirach 18:23
Sirach is again quoted as Scripture.
Next, we have the Book of Wisdom, as quoted in the Council of Florence, Section 3, 1438, Section 3:
Merchants of all kinds, who have gone to Basel on account of the former council, shall depart under the same pain of excommunication. If there are some who ignore these orders of ours, daring perhaps to convey goods after the time-limit to those at Basel persisting in contumacy, since it is written that the righteous plundered the ungodly, (Wisdom 10:20) such persons may be despoiled without penalty by any of the faithful and their goods shall be ceded to the first takers.
The book of Wisdom is clearly cited as Scripture. The Council goes on to punish those who misuse the Scripture. However, the quotation from Wisdom is clearly recognized as Scripture. Florence, in 1439, Session 7 (1439) gives us another citation of another Deuterocanonical book: Susannah/Daniel 13:9
In this, those utterly pernicious men, masking their malice with the rosy colour of a truth of the faith, gave to the council of Constance an evil and mischievous meaning completely opposed to its true teaching, imitating in this the teaching of other schismatics and heretics who always amass for their support fabricated errors and impious dogmas drawn from their perverse interpretation of the divine scriptures and the holy fathers.
Finally, completely perverting their mind and turning away their eyes from looking to heaven or remembering righteous judgments, (Susannah/Daniel 13:9) after the manner of Dioscorus and the infamous synod of Ephesus, they proceeded to a declaratory sentence of deprivation, as they claimed, from the dignity and office of the supreme apostolate, a poisonous and execrable pronouncement involving an unforgivable crime.
After all the citations of the Fathers who unanimously referred to these books as Scripture, we have a continuous record of Ecumenical Councils quoting from the Deuterocanonicals up to the point of the ‘reformation’. Thus, the Pope’s confirmation in the 5th century of the Council of Carthage’s list of the Deuterocanonical books alongside the Protocanonical books as inspired, is played out in the ensuing Ecumenical Councils who quoted the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture. Any attempt to say that the Council of Trent was the first Ecumenical Council to affirm these books are Scripture, is belied by the fact that numerous Councils previous to Trent over numerous centuries referred to these books as Scripture, and all assumed they were Scripture. There is no record of any Father at any of these Councils objecting to the use of these Deuterocanonicals in these solemn Councils.
In this study, first we examined some of the main arguments used against the Deuterocanonicals. The ideas that were used to deny those books Scriptural status were inconsistent in application. On the basis of the content of Scripture itself (such as being inconsistent with the rest of Scripture, not written by Prophets, etc.) any criteria that was used to deny the Deuterocanonical books Scriptural status would also apply to the rest of Scripture. A Protestant historian, Sundberg, also showed that the argument that Protestants will sometime use (that the canon was already settled and Jamnia in 90 AD only confirmed the already existent canon) is false. We saw citations indicating that for the Jews, their list of books in the canon, did not indicate all that which is inspired. We also saw that even the Book of Sirach was quoted in the Talmud as Scripture, and that was in the 2nd Century.
We examined statements of Protestant apologists who argued that the Fathers denied the inspiration of the Deuterocanonicals. Although as JND Kelly indicated, the majority of Fathers cited the Deuterocanonicals without much differentiation between those and the Protocanonicals, there were some Church Fathers who gave lists of canons that did exclude the Deuterocanonicals that at first glance seemed to deny them as Scripture. Now the most common argument used by Protestants is that when those Fathers gave those lists, the Fathers meant to give the whole list of that which is inspired, and that which was left off those lists were considered uninspired. The Protestant apologists claimed that those Fathers considered them edifying, but not Scripture. We saw, though that even the answer to the solution was hinted at by Protestant apologist William Webster, who did argue that when those Fathers gave lists of canons, the term canon did not necessarily mean ‘This is all of inspired Scripture.’ The term ‘canon’ had various possible meanings, as he admits. Thus, just giving the list of the canon did not necessarily mean that if the books were not in that list, the books were uninspired. We examined one possible explanation: That in many cases the list of the canon only meant those books that are read in the Liturgy. It did not mean that those books left off the list were uninspired.
In fact, the supposition taken by Protestants that when these lists are given by the varying Fathers, (i.e. Webster, Rhodes, and Geisler), is proven false when we look at the writings of the very Fathers who supposedly deny the Deuterocanonicals. We saw quotes from the predominant Fathers who are cited against the Deuterocanonicals, including the one who is often considered the most avid anti-Deuterocanonical Father of them all, St. Jerome. He is the only one who said that those books were not Scripture, although he nowhere denied their inspiration. He later does term them Scripture, unambiguously through his own words. He applied the phrase “It is written” , which is only used of Scriptural books by both Scripture and the Fathers, to the Deuterocanonicals. He applied the term ‘prophet’ to a Deuterocanonical book. In addition, all the other Fathers quoted directly from the Deuterocanonicals and treated them just as the rest of Scripture. They used it for proof for doctrine. Geisler in his book had written:
Although some individuals in the early church had a high regard for the Apocrypha, there were many who vehemently opposed it. For example Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Origen, and the great Roman Catholic biblical scholar and translator of the Latin Vulgate, Jerome, all opposed the Apocrypha. Norman Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, 1995, p. 162.
Geisler even uses the phrase ‘vehemently opposing it’, in reference to these Fathers supposed treatment of the Deuterocanonicals. However, just in the index of the Schaff edition, which has just some of the writings of the Fathers, we saw that each of the Fathers quoted these books they supposedly rejected dozens of times and more often than not, more than 20 times in support of whatever they were teaching. We saw St. Athanasius, one of the ones who supposedly ‘vehemently opposed’ the Deuterocanonicals, call these very books ‘The fearless words of Holy Scripture’, and had the ‘Spirit commanding’ through the Deuterocanonical books. St. Jerome himself referred to or directly quoted the Deuterocanonicals approximately 55 times!!! They quoted them in proof of doctrine and did not make the distinctions that ‘while I am quoting them to you, these are not Scriptures’. These ‘vehemently opposing Fathers’ applied “Scripture says’ to the Deuterocanonical books. “The prophet says” applied to the Deuterocanonicals. “It is written” applied to the Deuterocanonicals. Those are tell-tale signs of unmistakingly referring to these books as Scripture that no one who is objective will ignore. I did not quote the numerous other times where each of these Father quoted and referred to the Deuterocanonicals in the same manner that they referred to the other Scriptural passages. And these are written by the ones who vehemently oppose the Deuterocanonicals???? Not quite. They saw them as Scripture and they saw them as inspired. You will never see the Fathers deny the Deuterocanicals’ inspirational status. I in fact even provided the quote at the beginning of each of the Fathers (except St. Basil, because that citation could not be found), which that are used by Protestant apologists to say they denied them as Scripture. I showed that when they actually wrote about the Deuterocanonical books, they only affirmed their equal status to the rest of the books.
One of the main objections that Protestants have is that these books were not written by prophets. Yet, most of the same Fathers who are termed by Geisler as ‘vehemently opposing the Deuterocanonicals’ at least once referred to these books as written by prophets. This included (just of these supposedly vehemently anti-Deuterocanonical Fathers) the books of Baruch, Wisdom, Sirach, and Maccabees. Of course, contrary to the Protestant apologists, there is nothing in Scripture which indicates that in order to be inspired, a book must be written by a prophet. But yes it is true that the fact that they are termed as such, does indicate that the books that are so quoted are so inspired. Thus, the supposedly vehemently anti-Deuterocanonical Fathers attest to these books as inspired, on that alone (the fact that they termed these books to be written by prophets), plus the other witnesses they give to the other books indicate that they saw the Deuterocanonical books as Scripture.
These same Fathers who are considered anti-Deuterocanonical consistently referred to these books as Scripture and termed it as such. There is no question that the Fathers had varying ways of looking at the Deuterocanonical, but all of the Fathers considered them as Scripture and absolutely none denied their inspiration. Finally, we saw Ecumenical Councils do as the Fathers did, and quote these books as Scripture without raising any qualifications. Here is as close as we can get to the ‘unanimous consent of the Fathers’, as we can get: No matter the list of books that the Fathers gave on what the canon was, they unanimously accepted these books as Scripture. The Ecumenical Councils confirmed this understanding as well, as these books were cited as Scripture.
Appendix: Did Inspiration Cease for 400 years?:
An Examination of Norman Geisler's Attack
on the Deuterocanonicals
In this appendix, I will examine arguments taken from a book by Norm Geisler that Protestants will often use to say that the Deutercanonical books are not Scripture: That prophecy had stopped for more than 400 years, and therefore the Deuterocanonical books must not be inspired. He also gives a subset of arguments based on that premise to further delegitimize the Deuterocanonical books. These arguments are taken from Norman Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, 1995, p. 167. I have already referred to this book several times. In this appendix, I will examine and critique 2 paragraphs in the Geisler book. He gives one paragraph with a general statement, and then, another paragraph where he gives seven 'proofs' that the Deuterocanonicals thus are not Scripture. I will examine each of his 'proofs'. His writing is in black font, and my responses will follow:
In fact the entire Protestant Old Testament was considered prophetic. Moses, who wrote the first five books, was a prophet (Deut. 18:15.) The rest of the Old Testament books were known as the “the Prophets” (Matt. 5:17) since these two sections are called “all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:27). The “apostles and [New Testament] prophets” (Eph. 3:5) composed the entire New Testament. Hence, the whole Bible is a prophetic book, including the final book (cf. Rev. 20:7, 9-10). As we will see, this cannot be said for the apocryphal books.
Not all was considered prophetic. Where is Nehemiah, Ruth, 1 and 2 Chronicles, or Esther termed ‘prophetic’? All who are aware of the different writings will know that there is another category called ‘writings’, of which there was little or no prophecy. 1 & 2 Chronicles is not written by a prophet. Ezra is a priest who gives no pretension of being a prophet. Neither was Nehemiah. Esther, who does not even use the term ‘God’, certainly was not a prophet. Ecclesiastes makes absolutely no prophecies nor claims to be written by a prophet and is totally ignored in the New Testament, as are 11 other Old Testament Protocanonical books. 1 & 2 Chronicles, Joshua, and 1 & 2 Kings make no inference of being written by a prophet. Matthew 5:17 does not say that all the rest of the books of the Old Testament are termed “the Prophets”. Jesus said in Mt. 5:17: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” The Law is the Pentateuch, or Moses’ books. The prophets are the 12 minor prophets and 3 major prophets. Of course some of the other books have prophecies, but Jesus gives us no hint that 'all of the books' are written by prophets. Of course Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies, but not all inspired books necessarily have prophecies about Jesus. If those books do not have prophecies about Jesus, that does not render them uninspired. Nowhere does Jesus give us a ‘test’ that a book only is inspired if is written by a prophet. This criteria, that it must be written by a prophet (or apostles) would also exclude Luke and Mark, from the New Testament canon, as they were not written by Apostles or Prophets. In the Old Testament there are the prophets I just referred to, but most of the other books are not, nor claim to be written by prophets. Jesus fulfilled the prophecies, but he did not say, ‘well, only those books written by prophets are Scripture’, otherwise, the Protestant’s Old Testament would be much smaller than currently exists. Not all historical writings, such as found in 1 & 2 Chronicles, must be written by prophets. The same goes for the Maccabees.
When Jesus said that he went to the ‘Prophets’ and all the Scriptures that he fulfilled, it did not say, as Geisler indicates that Jesus thus termed all the inspired books as ‘the Prophets.’ Of course he referred to writings that were fulfilled in him. Going to ‘all the Scriptures the things concerning himself’ does not mean that he pulled out a prophecy found in the book of Esther. There was no prophecy found in Esther specifically about Christ, nor does any New Testament author cite Esther at all. The same would apply to other Protocanonical books. Nor did Jesus give us Esther as a book that is prophecy. In fact the book of Esther, among many other Protocanonical books, is never mentioned at all in the New Testament.
There is strong evidence that the apocryphal books are not prophetic. But since propheticity is the test for canonicity, this would eliminate the Apocrypha from the canon.
Again, the test that Geisler gives would eliminate many of the books that he cites as Scripture. I would love for Geisler to give some indication that Ecclesiastes is ‘prophetic’. Again, Scripture does not say that ‘in order for this to be Scripture, it must be prophetic.’ This is a Geisler, man-made tradition, that in order for a book to be Scripture, it must pass some test of propheticity.
First, no apocryphal books claim to be written by a prophet. Indeed, as already noted, one apocryphal book even disclaims being prophetic (1 Macc. 9:27).
Again a false premise that would eliminate many of the Protocanonical books along with the Deuterocanonical books only backfires on the Protestant. 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ecclesisastes, Ezra, Nehemiah, Job, Esther, etc., nowhere claim to be written by a prophet. Again, Scripture nowhere says that ‘in order for this to be Scripture, I must be a prophet.’
Here is the passage in Maccabees that Geisler refers us to:
1 Maccabees 9:27: --speaking about the persecutions under Bacchides, who killed all of the Jewish leaders: "There has not been such great distress in Israel since the time prophets ceased to appear among the people."
Another similar passage:
1 Maccabees 14:41: "The Jewish people and their priests have therefore made the following decisions. Simon shall be their permanent leader and high priest until a true prophet arises."
On this issue, Mark Bonocore give some important insight:
First of all, I see no mention, that "the inspiration of God had ceased" at this time. It doesn't say that at all. In fact, it was during this time that God created the oil miracle in the Temple, still commemorated today by Jews as the feast of Hanukkah.
But, secondly, ... Notice that both these quotes refer to the **leadership.***of the Jewish people; and both associate leadership with a "prophet." But, do you know why? It is because neither the Maccabees, nor any descendants of David himself, couldn't declare themselves to be kings because a **prophet** was needed to anoint a legitimate King of Israel (just as Samuel anointed Saul and David). So, there could be no successor to David without a prophet to choose him. Well, ... Guess who that prophet is eventually going to be? It's John the Baptist: the last prophet of the Old Testament, whose Baptism anoints Jesus as the Messiah (e.g. John 1:31-33). Therefore, 1 Maccabees looks an awful lot like Sacred Scripture to me, since it lays the foundation for the coming of St. John.
What's more, as Luke 1:41, Luke 1:46, Luke 1:67, Luke 1:25-27, and Luke 1:36 reveal to us, the prophetic charism existed in Israel **before** the coming of John the Baptist. Thus, when 1 Maccabees speaks of no prophet to anoint a legitimate King (the role that John the Baptist would eventually come to fulfill), it is not discounting the existence of minor prophets or Divine inspiration among the Chosen People of God.
So, the need for a prophet in the time of 1 Maccabees was because of a crisis in **legitimate** leadership, not because of Divine inspiration needed to write the books.
Thus, only, the prophet of the Messiah, John the Baptist, would be the Prophet that would be of necessity proclaim the New King of Kings, Jesus Christ. Maccabees actually lays the foundation for that necessity.
The Book of Wisdom certainly prophecies about the Messiah:
18 for if the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him (See Mt. 27:43) from the hand of his adversaries. 19 Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. 20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected."
In the Protocanonicals, there is often not someone saying: “This is a prophecy about the Messiah”, but a clear prophecy, as in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. In the same way, Wisdom 2 does not say, “this is a prophecy about the Messiah”, but gives a powerful forecast of, and can only be explained by what happened to Jesus the Messiah who indeed was God's Son who was condemned to death, and mocked.
As Samuel anointed David, as the True King of Israel, it is John the Baptist, who who through his baptism anointed Jesus as the New King of the New Kingdom (Jn 1:29-35, 49).
Also, besides the fact that Wisdom clearly speaks of Jesus, the Geisler claim that there is not even a claim for prophecy in the Deuterocanonicals is falsified by the following passage from the Book of Sirach, 24:32-34:
32 I will again make instruction shine forth like the dawn, and I will make it shine afar; 33 I will again pour out teaching like prophecy, and leave it to all future generations. 34 Observe that I have not labored for myself alone, but for all who seek instruction.
He had previously written that the book of the Covenant of the Most High God was written by Moses (Sir. 24:23). Now he writes that what he writes is again pouring out prophecy . This book is written for all future generations for all who seek instruction. Thus, not only do the books actually have a predictive prophecy (Wis. 2:12-20) in reference to Jesus, but also claims to speak for God in the same manner as Moses did, and for all future generations (Sir. 24:32-34).
Finally, any attempt to latch on a misreading of Maccabees or to quote Josephus, who also said that prophecies stopped 400 years prior, only harms those who say that Jesus is the Messiah. If prophecy stopped for 400 years, then Jesus is not the Messiah, as John the Baptist is not a prophet, and the writings of the New Testament can not be used at all, as it would have no prophetic insight whatsoever. Any attempt to attack the Deuterocanonicals only comes back to attack the foundation of the New Testament. It is either all of nothing: If more than 400 years before, no prophets at all existed, then not only are the Deuterocanonicals not valid, but then so is the New Testament not valid. If the prophets did exist, then certainly not only are the Deuterocanonicals valid, so are the New Testament writings.
The whole premise behind the argument: “books had to be written by prophets in order for it to be Scripture” is false. But I do affirm with all the Church Fathers who supposedly were anti-Deuterocanonical, that some of these books were written by prophets.
Second, there is no divine confirmation of any of the writers of the apocryphal books, as there is for prophets who wrote canonical books (e.g., Exod. 4:1-2).
If one looks at both the New and Old Testament, most books do not have ‘divine confirmation’ of the writers of each of the books. In the New Testament 27 books, only the Book of Revelation confirms the writing of a book (Rev. 1:11). That would eliminate 26 out of 27 books, not too good of a record for Mr. Geisler. Sure, some of the prophets of the Old Testament such as Moses were given divine confirmation of their writings, but many if not most books, did not have explicit divine confirmation of those writings. But even with that strange and contradictory criteria that Geisler himself does not follow, the statement itself is wrong. In the book of Tobit, there is indeed divine confirmation not only of the author, but that of the writing that followed. Angels give divine confirmation to Tobit: Tobit 6:12-15:
6 Then the angel called the two of them privately and said to them: "Praise God and give thanks to him; exalt him and give thanks to him in the presence of all the living for what he has done for you. It is good to praise God and to exalt his name, worthily declaring the works of God. Do not be slow to give him thanks.7 It is good to guard the secret of a king, but gloriously to reveal the works of God. Do good, and evil will not overtake you.8 Prayer is good when accompanied by fasting, almsgiving, and righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than much with wrongdoing. It is better to give alms than to treasure up gold.9 For almsgiving delivers from death, and it will purge away every sin. Those who perform deeds of charity and of righteousness will have fulness of life;10 but those who commit sin are the enemies of their own lives.
11 "I will not conceal anything from you. I have said, 'It is good to guard the secret of a king, but gloriously to reveal the works of God.'12 And so, when you and your daughter-in-law Sarah prayed, I brought a reminder of your prayer before the Holy One; and when you buried the dead, I was likewise present with you.13 When you did not hesitate to rise and leave your dinner in order to go and lay out the dead, your good deed was not hidden from me, but I was with you.14 So now God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah.15 I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One."
Thus, we see that Tobit is confirmed by an angel of God. He promises that God will be with him, and he is God’s instrument. Thus, here is the divine witness that Geisler had said didn’t exist. Not only does the angel Raphael confirm Tobit in his mission, but he also tells him to write:
16They were both alarmed; and they fell upon their faces, for they were afraid.17 But he said to them, "Do not be afraid; you will be safe. But praise God for ever.18 For I did not come as a favor on my part, but by the will of our God. Therefore praise him for ever.19 All these days I merely appeared to you and did not eat or drink, but you were seeing a vision.20 And now give thanks to God, for I am ascending to him who sent me. Write in a book everything that has happened." 21 Then they stood up; but they saw him no more.22 So they confessed the great and wonderful works of God, and acknowledged that the angel of the Lord had appeared to them.
Just as Moses and the other prophets were at first fearful of being called, Tobit and his son Tobias were afraid, and then was confirmed by a divine messenger. Not only that, but he actually tells him to write in a book everything that has happened. What we have is not only Tobit himself given divine witness for his mission, but he actually is told to write a book that describes this. This book that he wrote is the book of Tobit, one of the seven Deuterocanonical books.
Third, there is no predictive prophecy in the Apocrypha, such as we have in the canonical books (e.g., Isa. 53; Dan. 9; Mic. 5:2) and which is a clear indication of their propheticity.
Where is predictive prophecy in Esther, Nehemiah, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, etc? Again, this criteria only boomerangs on those who selectively apply one criteria for the Deuterocanonicals and a totally different criteria for the Protocanonicals. That is clearly false as I’ve shown (in the answer to point one) through the book of Wisdom 2:12-20. It points to a Son of God who would be mocked and put to death. Part of the reason that these books were thrown out by the Jews was exactly because it had predictive prophecy about Jesus in Wisdom 2. Many of the Fathers pointed to Baruch as pointing to Christ, who would live among man as one who would come down and live among men (Bar. 3:36-38). In my study of the Fathers, the citations of the Deuterocanonicals often would be applied to doctrine about Christ.
Fourth, there is no new messianic truth in the Apocrypha. Thus, it adds nothing to the messianic truths of the Old Testament.
False again. The what is now old “I eliminate the Deuterocanonicals using this criteria, but I won’t mention the fact that this would eliminate many of the Protocanonical books” argument rears its head again. Show me where Ruth and Esther and Nehemiah and Ezra, etc. each add messianic truths, whereas the book of Wisdom does not. But in fact there are Messianic truths that are more apparent in the Deuterocanonical books that Christians affirm that are vague in the rest of the Old Testament. Talk of the resurrection to life is more apparent in 2nd Maccabees 7 than all the rest of the Protocanonical books combined. Here is a sampling of the citations that speak of the Resurrection of Life. The context is where there are seven brothers who refused to eat meat that was not allowed by the law. Of course, predating Christ, all were still under the Mosaic Law. Nonetheless, the language used in 2nd Maccabees affirms hope in the resurrection of life. Here are some samples found in 2 Maccabees 7:
12 "One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!"
13 When he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. 14 And when he was near death, he said, "One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!"
Even the mother saw this hope:
22 "I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. 23 Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws."
35 You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty, all-seeing God. 36 For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of everflowing life under God's covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance. 37 I, like my brothers, give up body and life for the laws of our fathers, appealing to God to show mercy soon to our nation and by afflictions and plagues to make you confess that he alone is God.
29 Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God's mercy I may get you back again with your brothers."
The background is that a King was demanding that they eat meats that were forbidden by the Mosaic Laws. Not only in this chapter is there a heroic display of courage, but in the passages I highlight here, we see that the brothers and the mother 5 times refer to the hope of a resurrection of life. That is more of a mention here than in all the rest of the Old Testament passages combined. In all the rest of the Bible, much of the discussion of that area is vague. We even have in Ecclesiastes 9:2 saying: Everything before them is vanity, since one fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good man, so is the sinner... Ecclesiastes by the way would be eliminated by all the criteria used by Geisler. It would be labeled as 'contradictory' to the rest of the Bible. The Psalms when it speaks of Hades does not speak of any resurrection of life. Daniel 12 once mentions the resurrection of life. However, we see that the heroic brothers had a hope of a resurrection of life, which of course is ultimately found in Jesus Christ, for those who die in him. There is also a mention that the souls of the unjust will be punished eternally. This mention of hope is a messianic truth spoken of at great length in this chapter that is not found elsewhere in the Old Testament. This gives precedent for Paul’s writing on the resurrection of life found in 1 Corinthians 15. Thus, Geisler’s statement that there is no Messianic truth found in the Deuterocanonicals is false.
We have another statement that clearly teaches on the immortality of the Soul: Wisdom 3:1-4
1 But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. 2 In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be an affliction, 3 and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace. 4 For though in the sight of men they were punished, their hope is full of immortality.
This passage is the clearest passage that explicitly teaches the immortality of the soul. Only Jehovah Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventist types would see a problem with this passage.
Again, as seen earlier, we saw the Wisdom passage prove how Christ would die, and how people would mock him (Wisdom 2:12-20), and put to death one who calls himself the Son of God. If the premise was true (that in order for a book to be valid, it has to have new truths about the Messiah) it would eliminate many Protocanonical books. Nonetheless the premise is not true, as the books do have Messianic truths in them.
Fifth, even the Jewish community, whose books they were, acknowledged that the prophetic gifts had ceased in Israel before the Apocrypha was written (see quotes above).
Well, the same Jewish community that did not acknowledge the inspiration of the Deuterocanonical books also did not acknowledge the inspiration of the New Testament. Any attempt to corral the Jewish community into denying the inspiration and propheticity of the Deuterocanonical books also must realize that this same community denied the inspiration and propheticity of the New Testament. All of the authors of the New Testament were Jews as well, with only Luke having something besides Jewish blood.
Sixth, the apocryphal books were never listed in the Jewish Bible along with the “Prophets,” or any other section for that matter.
That is partly incorrect. Obviously the Septuagint was organized with both the Protocanonical books with the Deuterocanonical books also alongside them. Thus, the Jewish Bible that most of the Jews had, included all the books that are in the Catholic Bible. So the fact that the Septuagint existed, which included all these books that Geisler calls ‘apocryphal’, demonstrate that the idea that the apocryphal books were ‘never’ listed in the Jewish Bible is flat out false and Geisler should know that.
The Jews did not have a set canon for a long time. The Sadducees had a separate canon. The Pharisees had a separate canon. The Essene Jews had a separate canon. The Ethiopian Jews had (and still have) a separate canon. The Alexandrian Jews did have a canon that included these books, and as demonstrated even in the center of Jerusalem, the Septuagint in the first century was widely distributed. The question of the Jews and the canon was not settled for many years even after Jesus was crucified so even if the statement was correct, it would be irrelevant on whether Christians are supposed to accept their canon I have shown that at this url
Finally, the fact that the Jews did not have an organized canon until long after Christianity started, shows that they did not operate on a Sola Scriptura basis. If Scripture was the sole binding authority, obviously the extent of the canon would have been decided long before Christianity existed.
Seventh, never once is any apocryphal book cited authoritatively by a prophetic book written after it.
The following books, almost 1/3rd of the books of the Protestant Old Testament) are NOWHERE quoted or even alluded to in the New Testament: Ecclesiastes, Esther, Song of Songs, Obadiah, Zephaniah, Judges, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations, Nahum. Thus, the same argument excludes all these books. In fact, all of these mentioned books would have been excluded by many of these points attempted to be used by Geisler to exclude the Deuterocanonicals.
Even if there were no specific citations where there was “It is written” in the New Testament in reference to the Deuterocanonical books, there are clear references to the Deuterocanonicals. The book of Hebrews, Hebrews 11:35 is:
Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life.
This is as close to a citation as one could get, as it is obvious that Hebrews 11:35, the second part, is speaking of the brothers in the Maccabees who died in the hope to rise again to a better life. No Protocanonical book has those events. Also, there is a borrowing from Deuterocanonicals in the New Testament, even if there is not formal citations which are preceded by “It is written.” Paul in Romans 1:19-32, clearly alludes to Wisdom 13, for example. Also, James 1:19 clearly alludes to Sirach 5:11:
James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, life.
Sirach 5:11: Be quick to hear, and be deliberate in answering.
There are other references as well. Even if there are not quotations per se, the ideas are clearly intertwined and a borrowing from the Deuterocanonicals is clear. An url that goes into even more allusions and borrowing from the Deuterocanonicals is here (including prophecies): http://scripturecatholic.com/deuterocanon.html
Taken together this provides overwhelming evidence that the Apocrypha was not prophetic and, therefore, should not be part of the canon of Scripture. (Geisler, p. 167).
In sum, taken together, no points are made at all. The criteria that he used to deny the Deuterocanonical either don't apply to those books, or if they do apply they would also eliminate a large portion of both New and Old Testament books that Geisler himself accepts.
Arnold Sundberg’s piece "The Old Testament of the Early Church" Revisited can be found here: http://department.monm.edu/classics/Speel_Festschrift/sundbergJr.htm
William Webster, Protestant apologist who writes on the issue has articles on the issue here: http://www.christiantruth.com/canon.html His attempted rebuttal to Art Sippo can be found here: http://www.christiantruth.com/sippocanon.html
Art Sippo’s article on the canon is here: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/3517/kanon.html His first rebuttal to the Webster piece can be found here: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/3517/webster.html. His unrefuted response to Webster’s rebuttal can be found here: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/3517/sippo/webster1.html
Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 2000
Norman Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1995.
Most of the citations for the Fathers that I found come from the 38 volume: Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts, 1995. This 38 volume series is divided into three sections: There are 10 volumes of: Anti-Nicene Fathers; 14 volumes of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, first Series ; and 14 volumes of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, second Series. I have the books at home, but the full series is actually found online here. http://www.ccel.org/fathers2 Each of the Fathers cited, who have quotes from the NPNF, or ANF Schaff citations can be found online through that series with the volume cited. (Except for Vol. 10 of the Anti-Nicene Series, which is the index of all the writings. The indexes for the individual books, which was instrumental to my ability to do this research, is not available online. That is only available with the book series. The book series can be purchased here: Christian Book Distributors):
One can also find each of the citations from the Schaff series by going directly to each of the Father’s writings which can also be found online here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers
Other quotes of the Fathers, not found in the Schaff series, are taken from: Joseph Gildea, St. Gregory the Great, A Synthesis of Moralia in Job Peter Lang Publishing, New York, 1991; and
William Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1979, Vol. 1.
The Ecumenical Councils. from where these citations come from, are here: http://www.newadvent.org/directory/14388a_04423f.htm
©2001, "Did Some Church Fathers Reject the Deuterocanonicals as Scripture?", written by Matt1618. This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.
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