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Monday, June 16, 2008

When did the Jews(nonbelieving) "officially" reject the Deuterocanon?

For those that don't know what the term "deuterocanon" mean. It's the historical ussage for what many puritan protestants and some secularists call "Apocrypha". These books weren't really called "Apocrypha" by most christians in the past. It is true that some did call these books apocrypha, but this is mostly seen in the west from the 5th century on. Before the time of Jerome these books were never called "Apocrypha".

The word "deuterocanon" simply means "secondary". Or the secondary order of books. The historical title for the other set of books is "protocanon". Which means, "primary", or the Primary order of books. Some Orthodox Scholars prefer not to use the term "Deuterocanon" because that is a western Roman Catholic term. But whatever the case, in varying degrees, the Church has always embraced at least some of these books as scripture.

So when did the nonbelieving Jews officially reject the "Deuterocanon"?

Well, in 135 A.D. "Akiba ben Joseph" was made head of the Academy of Jamnia. It was under his influence that the Jews "officially" rejected the Deuto-canon.

He supported "Bar kochba" by calling him the Jewish Messiah. The christians refused to see him as the Messiah and thus the hatred for the Deuto-canon and New Testament books. According to Wiki....and no....I don't really like wicki, and I reject their cynicism in thinking Akiba didn't realy support Bar Kocka in the rebellion.....but one thing they did include was his dislike for christianity and the D.C.'s

As quoted from wicki:

"He has, however, no objection to the private reading of the
Apocrypha, as is evident from the fact that he himself makes frequent use of
Ecclesiasticus (W. Bacher, Ag. Tan. i. 277; H. Grätz, Gnosticismus, p. 120).
Akiba stoutly defended, however, the canonicity of the Song of Songs, and Esther
(Yad. iii.5, Meg. 7a). Grätz's statements (Shir ha-Shirim, p. 115, and Kohelet,
p. 169) respecting Akiba's attitude toward the canonicity of the Song of Songs
are misconceptions, as I.H. Weiss (Dor, ii. 97) has to some extent shown. To the
same motive underlying his antagonism to the Apocrypha, namely, the desire to
disarm Christians—especially Jewish Christians—who drew their "proofs" from the
Apocrypha, must also be attributed his wish to emancipate the Jews of the
Dispersion from the domination of the Septuagint
, the errors and inaccuracies in
which frequently distorted the true meaning of Scripture, and were even used as
arguments against the Jews by the Christians."

And in Michuta's book he says:

"The first revolt(of 70 A.D.) was a national uprising; this
second Revolt(around 135 A.D. or maybe 150 A.D.) would be a messianic movement.
By means of Akiba's work, a large number of jews joined in the rebellion. Even
Samaritans and pagans joined Bar Cochba in his revolt. However, there was one
Jewish sect which refused to join: that obstinate tribe known as christians. The
Christians, a majority of whom were still ethnically jewish, were pressed to
join in this life and death struggle with Rome, but they refused. To accept bar
Cochba as Messiah, as Akiba insisted, would have been nothing short of Apostasy;
and because of their refusal to do so, Christians were treated by the Jews as
heretics and traitors. It is this same Rabbi Akiba who is the very first writer
to explicity and forthrightly reject the inspiration of both the christian New
Testament and the books of the Deuterocanon. Akiba's declaration is found in
Tosefta Yahayim 2:13 which reads;

"The Gospel and heretical books do not
defile the hands. The books of Ben Sira and all other books written from then
on, do not defile the hands."

Two outstanding points must be drawn from
this impious declaration: first, it must have been common knowledge even at this
early date that the christians accepted the Deutercanon and used it as Scripture
(along with the Gospels), otherwise, there would have been no need to rule
against them; secondly that at least some jews must also have shared that
acceptance, otherwise Akiba's decree would have been superfluous."
Here we
have a hostile witness confirming through his actions that the earliest
christians accepted both the Gospels and the Deuterocanon as inspired and sacred
Scripture. It was in this watershed event- the naming of the false Messiah Bar
Cochba and the Anathematizing of those who rejected him- which occasioned the
very first unquestionable rejection of the Deuteros by a single, widely
recognized Jewish authority. It was under Akiba's tenure that a single textual
tradition of the Old Testament was first adopted; before this time (as we have
a variety of different texts were in use among the jews. It was here,
sometime in the middle of the second Christian century, that Judaism first
adopted an official normative text(i.e. the Masoretic Text or the MT).

pages 68-70 from the book "Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger: the untold Story of the lost books of the Protestant Bible" by Gary G. Michuta

Alot of modern western christians in America don't know this fact of history. But's it's true. It was around 135 A.D. that Jews officially rejected the D.C.'s. Also I would like to make note that alot of people will talk about the council of Jamnia of 90 A.D.

But the truth is, the Jews didn't have church councils in the way that christians do. So there was never really a Jewish council of Jamnia. Jamnia was a Jewish school. A type of rabbinical Academy, so it would be more accurate to call it, the Academy of Jamnia. The first person to call it a "synod" was the Jewish historian H. Graetz(1817-1891). Some christians who read his work speculated it was a jewish version of a christian church council.

And this is where the whole "council of Jamnia of 90 A.D." comes from. It comes from speculation. The sources that we do have about that time never mentions anything about any books being takin out of a canon. Most of the debates was around the Book of Ecclesiastes and maybe the Song of Songs. This Jamnia assembly didn't lay down the limits of the Old Testament canon.

Therefore, in regards to Jamnia, it is more accurate to point to what happened around 135 A.D. for this is when the Jamnia rabbinical school officially rejected not only the deuteros, but also the christian Gospels.

Related Links:

The myth of the closed canon of 70 - 90 A.D.

Lesson 10: The Canon part 2



Anonymous said...

Great post and great information!

I think I told you recently that my NRSV XL with Apocrypha is due in any day now. I rather enjoy reading the apocrypha. (Perhaps, so did Jude, v.9 -- The Assumption of Moses, and vv.14-15 -- 1Enoch.)

Inspiration, however, is another matter. Tobit, for example, has some inconsistencies, SO I'M TOLD. That one I have not read yet.

And we are quite indebted for 1Maccabees, eh?

Peace in Christ,

Jnorm said...

I might be wrong, but I think the assumption of Moses is from one of the Psuedo-epigrapha.

To be honest, I'm still new to the D.C.'s. I know how to defend the Protcanon, but I'm still learning about the D.C.'s.

I could be wrong, but I think the main difficulty with Tobit has to do with the manuscript copies that we have. Most of the other stuff can be explianed different than the way Liberals/modernists attack the Protocanon with difficulties. Most conservatives explain those away. But from the looks of it, there seems to be a problem in the copies that we have of Tobit. If older copies were found then that would solve the main difficulty. At least from what I see from Roman Catholic Apologists.

What's in 1st Macc? I know Hunnekais found in one of the Maccs, I think Hebrews chapter 11 references one of the Macc's

But yeah, like I said, I'm still new to the deuteros. So it's going to be a while before I get use to them.

Did you know that D.L. Moodies Bible had these books in his appendix? Infanct, I think most protestant bibles had them in thier appendixes until the 17 hundred in England and the mid to late 18 hundreds in North America.

People point the finger at Puritan "Bible societies". Some think that they were the ones that got protestant publishers to stop publishing them in the Bibles.

I know that protestants never saw them as scripture, but at onetime they use to be in the appendixes, after the example of Martin Luther.

Take care


Jnorm said...

I know in the western christian world there was a fued in regards to this books when Saint Jerome put them on blast. And ever since then, you had those that followed Jerome's commentary in regards to these books and those that didn't.

Most of the church councils included these works, but some people still followed Jerome anyway.

The Protestants seemed to follow Saint Jerome in the matter, while Rome did not.

Infact, alot of the arguments against the D.C's and the LXX in general can be traced back to Jerome's commentary in the Latin vulgate.


Anonymous said...

1 Maccabees (and sequels) records the history of the Maccabean revolt, which has been very significant to historians!

Augustine quoted from the DC quite exstinsively! And the DC was in the first edition of the KJV, 1611! Something that William Grady and Gail Riplinger lament!

Good point about Tobit. I had not thought of that.


Jnorm said...

oh ok, my bad. Yeah, Saint Augustin was an advocate of the D.C.'s infanct, he argued with Saint Jerome about the issue.

And your right about the KJV


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