The deuterocanonical books (from the Greek meaning belonging to the second canon) are books and passages believed from the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, and the Assyrian Church of the East to become canonical books of the Old Testament but that are deemed non-canonical by Protestant denominations.
So what are the Deuterocanonical books. Reading to find out more.
What Are The Deuterocanonical Books?
The Deuterocanonical Books are considered canonical by the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy but not by the Hebrew Bible. Deuterocanonical means second-canonical in Greek.
This word’s etymology is confusing, but it will show how reluctantly some accepted these writings into the canon. Though it doesn’t mean non-canonical, it’s sometimes used to refer to the Apocrypha.
Protestants frequently exclude “deuterocanonical” texts from the Bible or add them to the Apocrypha. The resemblance between these names confuses the Roman Catholic and Orthodox deuterocanonical and other Christians’ non-canonical texts.
Sixtus of Siena, a converted Jew and Catholic theologian, created the term “deuterocanonical” in 1566 to describe Old Testament books that were canonized for Catholics by the Council of Trent but missing from early canons, particularly in the East.
As early as the fifth and fourth generations, Western regional councils printed official principles containing these volumes.
- Additions to Esther (Vulgate Esther 10:4-16:24, but see also Esther in the New American Bible)rn
- Ben Sira, also called Sirach or Ecclesiasticusrn
- Baruch, including the Letter of Jeremiah (Additions to Jeremiah in the Septuagint )rn
- Additions to Daniel:rn
- Song of the Three Children (Vulgate Daniel 3:24-90)rn
- Story of Susanna (Vulgate Daniel 13, Septuagint prologue)rn
- The Idol Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14, Septuagint epilogue)rn
- 1 Maccabeesrn
- 2 Maccabeesrn
The Catholic deuterocanon and the 1611 King James Bible’s Apocrypha have a lot in common. Along with the deuterocanonical books, this King James Bible’s Apocrypha contains three Trent-uncanonical books:
- 1 Esdras (also known as 3 Esdras)rn
- 2 Esdras (also known as 4 Esdras)rn
- Prayer of Manassesrn
These three books are called out of the Clementine Vulgate’s Apocrypha. The 1609 Douay Bible appends them. Catholic Bibles exclude them. They’re in Protestant bibles’ Apocrypha with the deuterocanonical writings.
Impact of the Septuagint
The Greek Septuagint, which includes the deuterocanonical writings and Apocrypha, is anagignoskomena and provides most New Testament Old Testament allusions. The Hebrew text of several is missing.
Nearly two-thirds of this book of Sirach and fragments of other books were found in the past century. In Roman Iudaea Province in the first century, Jews widely employed the Septuagint, which Christians naturally adopted.
Hebrews 11:35 describes an event mentioned in 2 Maccabees 7.
Even more telling, 1 Cor 15:29 “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?” “Are they then baptized for the dead?” is an allusion to two Maccabees 12: 44, “for if he weren’t expecting the fallen to rise again, it might have been useless and foolish to pray for them in passing.” Anguish is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:29 to help the dead repent.
Jewish historian Josephus rejected the deuterocanonical writings. Athanasius believed they benefited study, but only Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah were canonical.
Impact of the Vulgate
In his prologues, Jerome mentions a canon without deuterocanonical texts, maybe including Baruch. Jerome’s Vulgate included Apocrypha and deuterocanonical literature. He called and quoted them to explain their non-canonical status.
Judith was scriptural from the First Council of Nicaea, he asserted in his preface to Judith, which was not canonical. He staunchly defended Daniel’s deuterocanonical passages in his response to Rufinus: What sin have I committed if I followed the conclusion of those churches?
However, he brings charges against me for the understanding that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the Story of Susanna, the Song of the Three Children, and Bel and the Dragon, which aren’t seen in the Hebrew quantity, proving he is a ridiculous sycophant. It wasn’t my opinions, but the Jews’. (Against Rufinus, 11:33 (402 CE)).
Thus, Jerome confessed that the canon has settled the Church’s conclusion, not his judgment or Jews’.
The Vulgate also determines canonical books. Since the Catholic Church reads the books in the old Latin Vulgate, the Council of Trent described them as complete.
Read more: How Many New Testament Books? [ Best 2024]
A term used out of Catholicism
Apocrypha (Greek: hidden away) suggests that passages should not be included in the Bible’s canon, but it is not always derogatory.
They are paired with specific gospels and New Testament Apocrypha. Academic writing should use deuterocanonical material, not the Apocrypha, according to the SBL Style Manual.
Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy use the term “deuterocanonical” to describe Old Testament texts that aren’t in the Jewish Tanakh or Protestant Old Testament. Orthodox believe they were authored after the Hebrew Bible.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church (an Oriental Orthodox Church) uses the Amharic Bible, which places these Old Testament books in a portion called Deuterocanonical.
The Ethiopian Church canonizes Henok (I Enoch) and Kufale (Book of Jubilees) in addition to the usual set. However, the Books of Maccabees found completely different works from those used by another Church, only sharing names.
The Eastern Orthodox Church has traditionally contained all of the books of the Septuagint in its Old Testament. Regional differences have been based on various versions of the Septuagint.
The Greeks use the term Anagignoskomena to explain all those books of the Greek Septuagint which aren’t within the Tanakh. These books comprise the Roman Catholic deuterocanon recorded above and the following added texts:
- 3 Maccabeesrn
- 4 Maccabeesrn
- 1 Esdras (also included in the Clementine Vulgate)rn
- Odes which includes the Prayer of Manassesrn
- Psalm 151rn
These manuscripts, like the Catholic deuterocanonical books, are included in the Old Testament. Most Protestant Bibles omit them.
At the Council of Jamnia in 100 C.E., Judaism formally pronounced the deuterocanonical and Greek texts recorded here from their Scripture.
Some Orthodox churches add the Psalms of Solomon to these Greek texts. Since it has Egyptian tendencies, 4 Maccabees is often relegated to an appendix in such churches.
Ethiopian Orthodoxy, a branch of Oriental Orthodoxy, studies the Book of Enoch and Book of Jubilees. Jude (1:14-15) quotes Enoch.
The canonical Antilegomena, like the Old Testament’s deuterocanonical, were not universally accepted by the ancient Church, but they are included in the 27 books of the New Testament accepted by most Christians. New Testament deuterocanonicals:
- The Book of Hebrewsrn
- The Second Epistle of Peterrn
- The Second Epistle of Johnrn
- The Third Epistle of Johnrn
- The Epistle of Jamesrn
- The Epistle of Judern
- The Apocalypse of Johnrn
Why did the Jews remove the Deuterocanonical books?
The Reformers eliminated the deuterocanonical in the canon of Scripture since they thought just those books shown to the Jews from Hebrew were canonical, after the… He put the correspondence of James, the post to the Hebrews, the letters of John, and the book of Revelation in the New Testament in an appendix.
Is King James Bible Catholic or Protestant?
The King James Version (KJV) is considered one of the earliest English translations of the Catholic Bible and all the Great Bible and the Bishops Bible because of its first two Language predecessors. The KJV was translated or written with the usage of the very original manuscripts from Hebrew and Greek.
What is the most accurate Bible?
The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT) is a translation of the Bible printed by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
The Deuterocanonical books are a set of texts considered by some Christians to be canonical but which are not part of the Hebrew Bible. These texts include such works as the Book of Tobit, the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Book of Judith.
While there is significant debate among Christians about the status of these texts, they are generally considered to help understand the history and development of early Christianity.
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