Canon of Scripture

It seems to me that the real reason for Protestant abridgement of the scriptural canon has more to do with product branding and market differentiation than with doctrine, per se.

However recent scholarship on the importance of Second Temple Judaism for understanding the New Testament writings, say of Paul for example, provide another argument for including what Protestants refer to as the Old Testament Deuterocanonical books.  For use of these texts in the New Testament and early Church writings, see:

Abridging Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, etc from the Scriptures has the effect of making the New Testament seem more of a break from, and less a fulfillment of, earlier Scripture. Thus it favors a revolutionary model of reformation rather than a continuity model of reformation.

Over at the Soul Device blog, there’s an interesting series on these books with the first article on Defending the Deuterocanonicals

And, for those with abridged Bibles, here’s Wisdom, chapter 2:

1 For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves, “Short and sorrowful is our life, and there is no remedy when a man comes to his end, and no one has been known to return from Hades.

2 Because we were born by mere chance, and hereafter we shall be as though we had never been; because the breath in our nostrils is smoke, and reason is a spark kindled by the beating of our hearts.

3 When it is extinguished, the body will turn to ashes, and the spirit will dissolve like empty air.

4 Our name will be forgotten in time and no one will remember our works; our life will pass away like the traces of a cloud, and be scattered like mist that is chased by the rays of the sun and overcome by its heat.

5 For our allotted time is the passing of a shadow, and there is no return from our death, because it is sealed up and no one turns back.

6 “Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist, and make use of the creation to the full as in youth.

7 Let us take our fill of costly wine and perfumes, and let no flower of spring pass by us.

8 Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither.

9 Let none of us fail to share in our revelry, everywhere let us leave signs of enjoyment, because this is our portion, and this our lot.

10 Let us oppress the righteous poor man; let us not spare the widow nor regard the gray hairs of the aged.

11 But let our might be our law of right, for what is weak proves itself to be useless.

12 “Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training.

13 He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child* of the Lord.

14 He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;

15 the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange.

16 We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father.

17 Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;

18 for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him, and will deliver him 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.”

21 Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them,

22 and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hope for the wages of holiness, nor discern the prize for blameless souls;

23 for God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own eternity,

* 24 but through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his party experience it.

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1 Response to Canon of Scripture

  1. Soul Device says:

    Good thoughts! When I used to teach NT Survey at my evangelical seminary, I always began with the book of 1 Mac. and spent an entire class on what happened “between Malachi and Matthew.”

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