Deuterocanonical Books

This note is a draft, written from a Roman Catholic perspective—if you have additions or changes to suggest, please feel free to let me know.

The Deuterocanonical ("second canon") books of the The Bible are considered canonical by Catholic and certain Orthodox Churches. Most Protestant ecclesial communities regard the deuterocanonical books as apocryphal, or not part of the canon of scripture.

In the first century there was not an "official" Jewish canon of scripture. Many of the first Christians, including the inspired authors of the New Testament, frequently quoted the Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) commonly known at the time and referred to today as the Septuagint. The difference arises because the deuterocanonical books are present in the Greek Septuagint but not in various Hebrew originals.

St. Jerome's fourth century Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate, was made from the Septuagint and therefore included the deuterocanonical books. (Interestingly, he apparently did not regard all of the Greek text canonical but was obedient to the Pope—I need to learn more about this.) The "official" canon of scripture grew out of this Tradition and was affirmed at various councils, including the Council of Trent.

Protestant rejection of the deuterocanonical books originates in Luther's labeling of these books as the Apocrphya and placement of them between the Old and New Testaments.

  • Deuterocanonical books include:
  • Additional books recognized as canonical by certain Orthodox Churches:
    • Prayer of Manasseh
    • 1 Esdras
    • 2 Esdras
    • 3 Maccabees
    • 4 Maccabees
    • Psalm 151
  • In 350 at the Council of Rome the Church gave a response as to what the Canon is
  • Removed by Luther (because of his disagreement with Purgatory) but confirmed as canonical at the Council of Trent
  • "Today most Protestant Bibles have sixty-six books. Until the 1820s, the Authorized King James Version and all other English Bibles had at least seventy-three books because they included the books which are referred to as the "Deuterocanonical" books by Catholics and the "Apocrypha" by Protestants." —from Some Psalter Reviews
  • "While the New Testament never directly quotes from or names these books, the apostles most frequently used and quoted the Septuagint, which includes them. Some say there is a correspondence of thought, and others see texts from these books being paraphrased, referred or alluded to many times in the New Testament, particularly in the Pauline epistles...The Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which the early Christian church used as its Old Testament, included all of the deuterocanonical books."" —Wikipedia
  • Resources:

Created: 2021-08-12-Thu
Updated: 2023-05-20-Sat