Friday, October 21, 2011

Catholic Answers on the Canon


Theophrastus said...

Jimmy Akin's answers here are a bit loose -- in fact, a glance at the tables in the back of The Canon Debate (an excellent book by the way) reveals that the various councils cited by Akin had slightly different lists of OT books. Even as late as the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate, the Pope was putting books in an appendix of apocrypha.

And, as anyone who has looked at an ecumenical Bible will immediately recognize, there is still an OT debate today.

Finally, even though the canon is now set by Church Law, it is still a popular topic in the academy, with dozens of books appearing each quarter translating, analyzing, or defending non-canonical works. I don't think the canon will be re-opened based on the labors of these researchers, but some of these collections (e.g., the Apostolic Fathers) are well worth reading for the lay faithful.

Anonymous said...

Unrelated, but thought you might like this graphical analysis of the books in the bible:

sean1i0 said...

Is the canon of scripture set by Church law though? I thought that the Council of Trent had declared the canon of scripture to be a matter or doctrine? That is, I thought that the Council of Trent had infallibly dealt with that. If it is a matter of canon law, then that would imply that the Church has left this matter open to some sort of debate.

Theophrastus said...

Sean, sorry for any confusion; I was using "Church Law" in an inclusive sense -- not merely limiting myself to the Code of Canon Law.

Of course, you are certainly correct that the Canon is settled for Roman Catholics.

Trent affirmed in 1546, under the penalty of anathema, that the Deuterocanon held equal status as inspired Scripture.

But despite this declaration, the Eastern Churches (including most Eastern Catholic Churches) and Protestants have canons different than Roman Catholics. And it is certainly the case that extra-biblical books are widely studied by Bible scholars.

In fact, the (1590-1598) Clementine Vulgate and the (1610-1611) Douay translation include extra books in the appendix of apocrypha (admittedly, these are explicitly declared to be apocrypha and outside the Canon of Scripture.)