Talk:Biblical apocrypha

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Christianity / Anglicanism (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Christianity, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Christianity on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Anglicanism (marked as High-importance).
WikiProject Bible (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Bible, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the Bible on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Religious texts (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Religious texts, a joint subproject of WikiProject Religion and WikiProject Books, and a project to improve Wikipedia's articles on Religious texts-related subjects. Please participate by editing this article, and help us assess and improve articles to good and 1.0 standards, or visit the wikiproject page for more details.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Religion (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Religion, a project to improve Wikipedia's articles on Religion-related subjects. Please participate by editing the article, and help us assess and improve articles to good and 1.0 standards, or visit the wikiproject page for more details.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.


Catholic bibles[edit]

Not sure whether we are talking in circles or not. Most Catholic bibles today don't have an apocrypha section, but some Catholic bibles, especially older ones, do. They are mentioned in the article. The Proeemial annotations in the Douay bible are cited in the article, which describes the books in the appendix of volume two as apocrypha. The Clementine and Stuttgart vulgates both have apocrypha sections.

We can all speculate about the reasons why most modern Catholic bibles lack these sections or appendices, but without a source such speculation would be original research and rightly banished from the article. We should also avoid language that implies whether any particular bible should or should not have an apocrypha section; it is a simple matter of fact whether such and such a bible has one or not.

A mention that most modern bibles lack apocrypha sections is certainly necessary, but please keep in mind that, per its subject title, this article is primarily about bibles that do have such sections. Rwflammang (talk) 13:29, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

I don't think were talking in circles. I'd just like to point out that if a Bible lacks an apocrypha section, it is not necessarily because it is not included, per se. It may be that what would be apocrypha in a Bible of a different denomination, is cannon in that particular faith's Bible.Mk5384 (talk) 05:31, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
Have we an example of a Catholic Bible which uses the heading "Apocrypha"? Just because the article says so, does not mean that its true. - ClemMcGann (talk) 11:17, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Just the Douay bible mentioned above, which, in its proemial annotations, describes the books in its appendix as apocrypha. The Clementine vulgate describes the books following the Apocalypse as "sepositited" there because they were outside the series defined by Trent. Rwflammang (talk) 20:45, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Please explain "books following the Apocalypse" - ClemMcGann (talk) 23:17, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
The books following the apocalypse are Oratio Mannassae regis, III Esdrae, and IV Esdrae. Rwflammang (talk) 11:53, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
and I thought that they formed an appendix rather than an apocrypha - ClemMcGann (talk) 16:41, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
Please note, as written also in this Talk page, that the term "Apocrypha" is used by Catholics only for the not-Biblical texts, usually known in the English-Protestant world as "pseudepigrapha". "Deuterocanonical books" are considered by Catholics/Orthodox fully part of the Bible, thus never defined as "Apocrypha". Accordingly, C Here anyway a modern Catholic Latin study Bible which has in "appendix" the books of Prayer of Manasse, 1 Esdra, 2 Esdra, Psalm 151, Laodiceans, which according to the English-Protestant use (that Wiki follows in this article) can be said "Catholic Biblical apocrypha". A ntv (talk) 17:16, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
OK, thanks. Nonetheless it still strikes me as confusing. ClemMcGann (talk) 00:22, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
It really is confusing, but under the circumstances, I think that we're doing a fairly decent job of clarifying everything.Mk5384 (talk) 02:09, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. Perhaps we should add footnotes to try to explain? - ClemMcGann (talk) 12:35, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
Well, if you don't count Saint Jerome, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Walifrid Strabo, Cardinal Ximines, Cardinal Allen, etc., etc. as Catholic, then I guess you could say they don't call Biblical books apocrypha. But I don't see any reason why we should say that in this article, in a footnote or elsewhere. It sounds like something a modern (American) apologist would say, not like something a scholar would say. Rwflammang (talk) 20:45, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Please explain - are you saying that catholic bibles do use the term 'apocrypha' ? - ClemMcGann (talk) 23:24, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes. Rwflammang (talk) 11:53, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Introduction (Jun 2011)[edit]

This section is to discuss the Introduction to the article. C.jeynes made a long version yesterday (8 June) which was immediately drastically cut by Rwflammang.

Thanks for your interest, Rwflammang. But it seems to me you have been too ruthless. I found the original very confusing, and spent some time finding out what the position actually is. It seems to me that there is a) a pejorative and non-pejorative usage, b) there are different terminologies used between the Roman church and the Protestants, and c) "apocryphal" has a different meaning when applied to the Christian era books.

A parenthetical comment: I use "Roman church" as more accurate than the term they use themselves - "Catholic", which is a propagandistic usage in my opinion. "Catholic" means "universal" (or "orthodox"), and the implication is that non-Catholics are heretics. This is, strictly, the official (and contentious) position of the Roman church.

Curiously, Jerome held a position that Luther maintained (so Luther is the Catholic!): namely that the Apocryphal books are non-canonical, in the sense given elegantly by the Geneva Bible explanation I inserted (which you left, thanks; and also, thanks for cleaning up the text, inserting refs properly etc!).

I am thinking of restoring my text, after leaving it a few days to see what your attitude is. It seems to me that the Intro ought to pick up all the various confusions (a, b, c) above that are rife, and try to say something authoritative about them. You point out correctly (for example) that the Encyclopaedia ought not to be classing this or that POV as "pejorative", but I wasn't trying to be prescriptive, I was trying to be clear. Some views are simply incorrect. Many Protestants consider the description "apocryphal book" to be a pejorative one. But when one of the deuterocanonical books is in view this is an incorrect position. And we ought to say so.

So. You have flattened my text. I am trying to make clear:

  1. Protestant "Apocrypha" (non-canonical) = Roman "deuterocanonical" (canonical)
  2. Luther = Jerome
  3. Vulgate = Septuagint
  4. Apocrypha = Septuagint - Masoretic_text. Of course, "Septuagint" is itself rather imprecise, since it is not a well-defined text. But I haven't gone into that - too detailed for the Introduction IMO.
  5. Apocrypha is good reading! Non-canonical does not mean bad!
  6. The "apocryphal" New Testament books are not well defined. "Apocrypha" is not applied to NT. Eusebius mentions "disputed books" (Hebrews, 2 Peter, Revelation etc) but since Jerome there has been no debate about the NT canon. (Luther considered the debate, but concluded that Jerome was right.) Didache, Shepherd of Hermes, Barnabas and 1 Clement could be called "NT Apocrypha" with the same meaning as for the OT Apocrypha, but isn't! (We have generally forgotten these books now.) But (eg) Thomas is and always was rejected.

I think that my text makes these things clear, where yours doesn't.  ???

C.jeynes (talk) 06:58, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

You are certainly right that my edits have not (yet) made things clear. So far I have merely cut out objectionable parts, without replacing them with improvements, leaving a few disjointed fragments. Let's try to patch these into an integrated whole. Let's address your points in order.
  • Protestant "Apocrypha" (non-canonical) = Roman "deuterocanonical" (canonical)
Not correct. However some link needs to be made in the lead to Deuterocanonical books, perhaps something like this, Although there is a great deal of overlap between the Apocryphal books in a Protestant edition of the Bible and the deuterocanonical books of the Roman Catholic Church, the two are distinct, e.g., the Prayer of Manasses can be found in the Apocrypha, although it is not a deuterocanonical book.
  • Luther = Jerome
This is an important point, and I think I left words to this effect in the lead. These words can be improved, and the idea can be expanded in the Canon / Vulgate Prologues subsection of the article.
  • Vulgate = Septuagint
Not correct. Septuagint does not contain 4 Esdras, and Vulgate does not contain 3 or 4 Maccabees. These details can be found in the body, and do not need to be in the lead.
  • Apocrypha = Septuagint - Masoretic_text. Of course, "Septuagint" is itself rather imprecise, since it is not a well-defined text. But I haven't gone into that - too detailed for the Introduction IMO.
Not generally correct, although it is true the KJV apocrypha are Clementine Vulgate minus Tanakh minus New Testament. This is stated in the body. It is not true for the RSV apocrypha though. These kinds of particulars are best left to the body, since they need to be so heavily qualified and are not general. At best, we can say something like, many of the apocrypha can be found in the Septuagint, or, none of the apocrypha can be found in the Tanakh nor in the canonical New Testament, or what have you.
  • Apocrypha is good reading! Non-canonical does not mean bad!
True, and this is still stated in the lead. I have no objection to clarifying or expanding on this.
  • The "apocryphal" New Testament books are not well defined. "Apocrypha" is not applied to NT. Eusebius mentions "disputed books" (Hebrews, 2 Peter, Revelation etc) but since Jerome there has been no debate about the NT canon. (Luther considered the debate, but concluded that Jerome was right.) Didache, Shepherd of Hermes, Barnabas and 1 Clement could be called "NT Apocrypha" with the same meaning as for the OT Apocrypha, but isn't! (We have generally forgotten these books now.) But (eg) Thomas is and always was rejected.
The apocrypha in general are not well defined for either Catholics or Protestants, for either the New Testament or the Old. However, they are well defined for any given edition of the Bible. That is why the meat of this article is necessarily the breakdown, edition by edition, of what the apocrypha are. That means that this article must necessarily avoid sweeping generalizations.
I once tried to put in the sweeping generalization to the effect that the apocrypha are those books that are included in an edition of the Bible by a publisher despite rejecting or having doubts about their canonicity, but this statement was shot down by a fellow editor. I still think it is true, though.
The New Testament Laodiceans can be found in the Apocrypha section of the Stuttgart Vulgate, as is mentioned in the body; I've also heard that it can be found in some pre-reformation German translations of the Bible, though I've never seen one. The Pastor is mentioned in the Vulgate Prologues, so it must have once been considered biblical, although I've never seen a printed edition that has one.
So to include a statement that the apocrypha are Old Testament, we would need to employ weasel words, like so, The apocryphal books found in most editions that include them are restricted to books generally found in the Old Testament of pre-reformation editions of the Bible. I'm not opposed to such a statement, but weasel words are generally frowned on at Wikipedia, and I don't think the lead needs it.
Rwflammang (talk) 16:38, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
I more or less agree with Rwflammang. However here some considerations:
a) the lead of the Article shall be as simple as possible. It shall simply explain the different meaning of the term "apocrypha" and their use. Why Luther arrived to as certain understanding, or the long quote from the Geneva Bible, shall go into the sections of the Article
b) we shall be very NPOV. "biblical apocrypha" is not simply a issue related to Protestant editions of the Bible, but it belongs also to the other 3/4 of the Christians in the world, i.e. Catholic and Orthodox. Now there is in the lead a strong overweight for the Protestant position. Otherwise we shall chance the name of the Article in "Apocrypha (Protestantism)" (which by the way could be a solution).
c) the above identities of C.jeynes (as Apocrypha=deuterocanonical, Luther=Jerome, Vulgate=Septuagint, etc.) are over-simplifications which are not correct. We shall avoid them.
d) after a long debate Wiki decided for Catholic Church and not for Roman Catholic Church. We cannot debate the same issue in all articles...let us conform to the decision taken.
e) finally I suggest to return to the lead as before C.jeynes edits (i.e. [1]) which was a well balanced text resulted from a long edit work, and to add the interesting facts added by C.jeynes (as the clarification about Luther position, or the Protestant position in their regard with the Geneva bible quote) to the relevant sections of the Article or in new sections. A ntv (talk) 17:35, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

My "identities" were intended as useful abbreviations. I was aware that they are oversimplifications. I am still not clear exactly how oversimplified, and this is the problem! But I do think the lead in the article should be a useful summary, and therefore cannot flatten out all the difficulties.

C.jeynes (talk) 07:48, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

I am warming to the current text. But someone was talking about "weasel text", and IMHO it is better not to qualify if possible. And it is always bad to overqualify. I would prefer to make clear statements whenever possible. For example, it seems to me clear that the current understanding of "Apocrypha" (meaning the biblical Apocrypha) derives from Luther's separation of the LXX books not found in the MT that Jerome highlighted. And it seems to me that the Catholics agree with this statement, see the Catholic Encyclopaedia, and here is a very nice summary from the entry "canon of scripture" in the "Theological Glossary" of my copy of the Jerusalem Bible (the "Readers Edition" of 1990): "One tradition within the Church excluded the Greek books, and this tradition was taken up by the 15th century (sic) Reformers, who relegated these books to the Apocrypha. 1Maccabees 12:9."

Please can you revisit my "identities", not considering them as "summary statements" (as which they are inadequate of course) but as abbreviations of clear points that could be made correctly.

C.jeynes (talk) 10:12, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

I like your identities; we just need a way to express them that is not wrong or misleading and that does not apply a preposterous number of weasel words nor over qualifications. Of course, this is easier said than done. It is not helpful, furthermore, that this whole hot topic is an editorial minefield. Nevertheless, I have attempted to express your identities (approximations really) in my recent edits. I request your comments and recommendations for improvement. Rwflammang (talk) 00:57, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
The term "Apocrypha" is used by the Catholic Church and by Catholic scholars only for the not-Biblical texts, i.e. for what Protestants usually call "Pseudepigrapha". That is a cause of infinite misunderstanding. The Deuterocaninical books, wherever are placed in the Bibles, are considered 100% canonical/inspired. The same for the Orthodox anagignoskomena.
The big issue is to understand that the need to define what is "canonical/inspired" in a on/off way arose only from the 16th century doctrine of "Sola Scriptura", so it is quite pretentious to force the ancient Christian writers to have our own meaning of "canonical". It passed about 15 centuries before the Christianity had the concern to define exactly the canonicity in a on/off way. What at least was important was if some books were worth to be read during Masses and liturgical services or not (and the "protestant apocrypha" were surely used as liturgical readings). By the way the Jerusalem Bible is surely highly questionable as Catholic source.
for these reasons Jerome's prologues to the Vulgate are to be considered as literary introduction to the texts, not as doctrinal statements. What Luther did was to take these prefaces and to use the historical content in them as marker of his new doctrinal division between inspired/not-inspired texts. That was not in continuity with any previous tradition, and actually the wording following a distinction found in the prologues of the Latin Vulgate between the Greek Old Testament and the Hebrew Old Testament is misleading, because it was with Luther for the first time that this literary distinction assumed a doctrinal value. A ntv (talk) 12:00, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

A ntv says it is quite pretentious to force the ancient Christian writers to have our own meaning of "canonical". Hardly! The distinction is already perfectly clear in Eusebius! Do you want me to multiply quotes? Of course, Luther's distinctions were something new, and read Jerome in a new light. Luther's revolution "succeeded" where Wyclif's and Hus' failed, and the bloody 30 Year's War followed. But everyone understood canonical/not_canonical. These are unambiguous terms. It is of course true that the category "canonical" obtained a new meaning with Luther, related to the "sola Scriptura" cry. This was the attitude to authority, which same thing after all is what led to the death of Hus. But this is a different issue.

Why is the "Jerusalem Bible" questionable as a Catholic source? The Catholics are very careful as to what gets their imprimatur. Besides, my quote from the JB only supported my previous quote from the Catholic Encyclopaedia. Here I think you are wrong.

C.jeynes (talk) 06:44, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

OK. I have boldly redone the section. I hope I have kept everyone's good points while eliminating weaselliness (is that a word?). I repositioned the Geneva quote (pace A_ntv) since it is an authoritative statement of the Protestant position. I have also included quotes (in the references) to the Catholic Encyclopaedia, which must be authoritative statements of the Catholic position. Note that both the Geneva and the CE statements are very POV! And mutually contradictory, although Geneva is more polite (astonishingly!). You may want to promote the quotes to the text to emphasise that the article is NPOV. ??
It seems to me that "Apocrypha" really is usually a Protestant term today (again, pace A_ntv). At least in English. Note that it is important to keep in "Jerome" and "Luther" and the dates to make sense of the Catholic position expressed in the quotes. Jerome is canonised, and the fact that the Roman church did not follow his opinion is rather surprising.
It also seems to me that my text incorporates all my "identities" in a suitably nuanced (and hopefully reasonably correct) way. Thoughts?
C.jeynes (talk) 12:47, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
Made some changes to the recent text in order to:
- clarify as early as possible in the lead that the different usage of the term apocripha between Protestants and orthers;
- re-insert the clear wording about the partial overlap with the deut. and anagig. this time without weasel words and with a clear ref.
- added a scholar ref for the use of the term "apocripha" by Catholics. The 1913 Catholic Enciclopedia is often outdated and I try not to use it on Wiki (and not every printed material with a "imprimatur" is a valid source for Catholics !!)
- more clear the relation between Luther and Jerome's Vulgate prologues: the segregation of the texts was not find in the Vulgate as it could be understood by the previous wording.
Hope to have helped. In case you need help in understanding Orthodox or Catholic position I may help.
I again think that Geneva's quote shall go in sections, not because not important, but because the lead section shall be kept as lean as possible, stating only the main core points and disanbiguations needed, while the supports shall be in the section. So I suggest to create a section about "Protestant considerations of the Ap." which shall contain the Geneva's quote as well as other expansions. A ntv (talk) 14:09, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Thanks A_ntv. But I think that Geneva should go in the lead since it represents very well the classical opinion, even (with quibbles) of Catholics. "Apocrypha" is a confusing and deeply misunderstood term, for everyone, and the lead should set out the main argument. I think it would be helpful to add quotes representing other traditions too.

What is wrong with the Catholic Encyclopaedia? It seems very clear and correct (given the POV) to me? And it is supported by the indubitably modern JB. I am no expert on Catholic thought, so you have to go into details. Please.

Reversion by Editor2020. I have reverted your reversion, since you haven't bothered to discuss it. (Sorry everyone!) Please respect the WP:BRD cycle.

C.jeynes (talk) 07:31, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Yes, when I made my edits (now superseded), I did not touched the GB statment because there was not consensus in moving it. I try to be always fair.
When you want to check a doctrinal position of the Catholic Church, you shall refer to official documents of the Magisterium. When checking a Catholic doctrine, I suggest you to use the Cathechism of the Catholic Church which is very complete and well done. The JB is highly critized by many Catholic theologians, and JB and CE are not part of the Magisterium. A ntv (talk) 12:18, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Thankyou A_ntv. Very helpful (as are your comments below), although you haven't got the text right IMHO. But does this mean you are Editor2020? I really don't understand the actions of Editor2020, since he (you?) didn't discuss either of his reversions. It seems to me like gross edit warring, and very discourteous on one side. I am doing the discussing and he is doing the reverting. Please, whoever you are, explain. C.jeynes (talk) 07:17, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

No, I make edits only as "A ntv", always logged. I'm not Editor2020 nor That is easy to verify beacuse my IP is from Italy and my English is not at all fluent. I remember you the existence of the "three edits rule", and in case you need you can contact an administrator. A ntv (talk) 07:30, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the comment A_ntv. The Three Revert Rule refers to 3 reverts in 24 hours. No-one is anywhere near this here!
On your points, the Jerusalem Bible has the imprimature of the CBCEW, so I think you are mistaken there. It seems to me that the Catholic Encyclopaedia is here entirely uncontroversial. Indeed, the details of the books listed are only of secondary interest. You comment validly on the Magisterium. But from a catholic POV there is no doctrinal issue! Jerome's opinion on the deuterocanon is irrelevant today, doctrinally. But it is very interesting for people who want to understand what the Apocrypha is: that is, in modern terms, an invention of Luther which stuck precisely because of its pedigree!
I don't consider the JB particularly germane to this article, despite its ecclesiastical credentials, for the simple fact that it has no Apocrypha section. Rwflammang (talk) 16:49, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
See my comment below, RwflammangC.jeynes (talk) 22:40, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
It seems to me that the article has slid back into unhelpful vagueness. Since "Biblical Apocrypha" is an oxymoron for catholics, why not say so? (Pace Rwflammang's point and his useful quote from the Douay Rheims below - have to integrate this! Is it not the case that Trent and the 30 years war hardened opionions?) The Westminster Confession text is minimal, stating merely that the Apocrypha is not canonical. Why is it substituted for the Geneva Bible, which is much more informative?
The subject of this article is the Apocrypha sections of bibles, both Catholic and Protestant bibles. To say that biblical apocrypha is an oxymoron for Catholics and then go on to describe the biblical apocrypha of Catholic bibles makes no sense. Rwflammang (talk) 16:49, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
OK, Rwflammang, it's like this. The JB does have (most of) the Apocrypha that Luther, Geneva & KJV print, but because of Trent these books are printed in the same order that Jerome found them in the LXX : the Vulgate was affirmed as authoritative. That is, the JB does have what the Protestants call the Apocryphal books (mostly) but interspersed through the text. So Susanna and Bel & the dragon are extra chapters of Daniel, for example. I was commenting on the JB because it gave the interesting definition of Apocrypha from a Catholic POV that I quoted before which bears out my point: "One tradition within the Church excluded the Greek books, and this tradition was taken up by the 15th century (sic) Reformers, who relegated these books to the Apocrypha. 1Maccabees 12:9." Catholic Bibles don't have an "Apocrypha" section.
It seems to me that the article gets this more or less right, actually. But I would like to sharpen the wording a little - make it less weaselly. "Biblical Apocrypha" is a Protestant terminology. "Apocrypha" to catholics means extra-biblical (non-canonical) books (which Protestants don't rate at all!). What Protestants call "Apocrypha", catholics call "deuterocanonical" (more or less). Similarly for Orthodox. C.jeynes (talk) 22:40, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
The "distinction" between proto- and deuterocanonical in the Catholic (and, equivalently, Orthodox with different terms) traditions is one only of convenience. No-one is saying that there is any doctrinal difference (from the POV of these traditions). It is a convenient shorthand for specifying various groups of books. It remains a good approximation to identify (broadly speaking) the protestant Apocrypha and the catholic deuterocanon. Exceptions like the Prayer of Manasses, which Geneva prints in the History section and Clement puts in an appendix, or 2Esdras which Geneva prints but Luther doesn't, are interesting but belong in the body, not the lead. IMO the lead should clearly state what is clear, point to the body for quibbles and do its best to unpick all the confusions that beset us (that sent me to Wiki in the first place!). Thoughts? C.jeynes (talk) 23:41, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Mutually contradictory[edit]

Note that both the Geneva and the CE statements are very POV! And mutually contradictory, although Geneva is more polite (astonishingly!). They certainly are very POV, nothing wrong with that per se, as long as that POV is identified. Dunno about contradictory. Since their elenchus of the canon are different, there is certainly plenty of room for argument, but both caths and prots pretty much agree on the purpose of the Apocrypha section. Here is the Douay Rheims version's prologue on the same topic, albeit the apocrypha in this case is only a few books:

"True it is that some of these books ... were sometimes doubted of by some Catholics, and called Apocrypha, in that sense as the word properly signifieth hidden, or not apparent. So St. Jerome (in his prologue before the Latin Bible) calleth divers books Apocryphal, being not so evident, whether they were Divine Scripture, because they were not in the Jews' Canon, nor at first in the Church's Canon, but were never rejected as false or erroneous. In which sense the Prayers of Manasses, the third book of Esdras, and the third of Machabees are yet called Apocryphal. As for the fourth of Esdras, and the fourth of Machabees there is more doubt."

Note that 4 biblical books are called currently apocryphal, so the term does not just mean pseudipigrapha for caths. Note also that it defends calling the deuterocanonicals "apocrypha", at least in a historical context (I.e., they used to be apocrypha, if they aren't anymore.)

To sum, I find the quote from the GB quite appropriate, and equally applicable to both prots and caths.

Rwflammang (talk) 20:48, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

No, the quote of GB is not at all appropriate for catholics, because it refers to books which mainly overlap with the deuterocanonical (for example Tobit or Sirach). These deuterocanonical books for Catholics are considered fully inspired, are/were used in church services and are used as proof of faith without the need of other scriptures. Thus the formal position of the CC does not even separe them nor make any distintion from other other OT books. See for example the par 120 of the Cathechism [2] which strictly follows the statments of the pre-Luther council of Florence and of the Council of Trent. The dinstiction between proto-canonical and deutero-canonical does not exist in the doctrine of the CC.
There is the case of three books: the Prayers of Manasses and 3 and 4 Esdras which were printed as appendix to the Clementine Vulgate, are not "deuterocanonical" and are included in the Protestant list of apochripha. These books for Catholics have not any special status, not being inspired nor being canonical. There is not for Catholics a middle way of consideration as described by the GB for the Protestant apocripha. When the Catholics use for them the term "apocripha", it means they shall be considered as all the other "false" writings as the Book of Enoch. Because they have not any relevance for the faith (even if thet are historically very intresting) the Cathechism of the CC, as well as all other formal Catholic documents, does not even mentions them. Hope to have been clear.A ntv (talk) 12:04, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the quote is quite appropriate. The DR editors felt the same way about including extra-canonical biblical works in their version as the GB editors felt about the same topic. The quote never mentions Tobit or Sirach; this is a red herring. The DR editors did not put Enoch in their version; this is a straw dog. The quote should be restored. Rwflammang (talk) 17:02, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Quibbles with a recent edit[edit]

A recent edit has added a few good points, but in a way which is not correct in detail, IMHO. A misleading implication is made that all of the anagignoscomena are considered canonical by all the Orthodox Churces. I don't believe that this is true, though I am not an expert. The statement itself is protected from being a falsehood since it employs the weasel words "even if". Although I am on record as defending the use of (some) weasel words in the heading, their unavoidable necessity should make it all the more necessary to avoid them where possible. Do we really need to use them here? Does even mentioning the anagignoscomena in the heading lead to any clarification or conciseness? At all? Rwflammang (talk) 01:09, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

Oh, and another thing. A parenthetical statement has been made, (even for different books), which makes no sense to me. Let's please replace it with something else, preferably not needing parentheses. (When was the last time you saw the Britannica use parentheses? Exactly.) Also the edit that replaces many with most modern editions omit the apocrypha entirely. Is it true? The only versions I can think of that have no apocrypha sections are the NKJ and the NIV. Oh, and the modern Catholic versions, Challoner, NAB, JB, Neo-Vulgate, but nobody reads those outside of church, of course. But most other versions have apocrypha, like the Geneva, Clementine Vulgate, Douay-Rheims, KJV, RSV, NRSV, GNB, NEB, etc. Certainly, the most popular editions omit them, of course, but is that really the same as most editions? Unless you have a good source, I'd rather see far too many editions, or even just many editions, than most editions. Rwflammang (talk) 01:23, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

yes all the anagignoscomena are considered canonical by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and most of the bibles now on print do not include the section of apocripha, which is for example no more printed by the Bible Society. However the text is superseded by new wording.A ntv (talk) 13:17, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
What about 4 Maccabees? That's an anagignoscomenon, isn't it? Didn't the Moscow patriarchate leave off the anagignoscomena from its canon? Rwflammang (talk) 20:53, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
The anagignoscomena are not segregated in Orthodox Bibles and are considered fully inspired. There are anyway a few texts (4 Maccabees, 2(4) Esdras) which are listed as "additional books" to the anagignoscomena. See [3]. My personal copy of the "Orthodox Study Bible" not even has these additional books as appendix (but has all the anagignoscomena in their place). A ntv (talk) 19:06, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Interesting discussion here about the canon of the Moscow Patriarchate, something I know nothing about. Rwflammang (talk) 22:22, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

The WP:BRD cycle[edit]

As I explained in my edit summaries, I reverted C.jeynes changes because, in my opinion, they were not an improvement. This is how Wikipedia is supposed to work. It's WP:BRD, Bold, REVERT, discuss. This is not edit warring, it is the process we are supposed to follow.Editor2020 (talk) 13:45, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

WP:BRD is nor a policy nor a guideline. It shall be used with circumspection mainly as a way to discover the "Most Interested Persons". It requires surely to check the Talk page and recent edits before to act. In this case there were already "Most Interested Persons" working on the Article, and making refinements to a new lead section, and trying to share information to improve the texts. In this cases it is preferable IMHO to use Talk Page. By the way the BRD cycle does not contain another "R" after the "D", so I kindly ask not to use such method for the third time here. A ntv (talk) 16:53, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
Thank you A_ntv. Precisely so. Editor2020 was out of line because he was trampling over the discussion without participating. What was not an improvement? If you had explained your reasoning I would have took it in good part. You have misunderstood how Wiki is supposed to work!
But I do apologise since I was inviting a revert by invoking BRD ... I had not intended the invitation to be taken so literally!C.jeynes (talk) 22:45, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Introduction (July 2011)[edit]

Here is a new version of the Introduction. It seems to me that I have kept everyone's main points. Let me add a few comments:

I have put back the quote from Geneva. I think this is interesting for its own sake, and because Geneva was regarded as authoritative until well into the 17th century (the KJV did not completely displace it until the Restoration of 1660 penalised Dissent). It seems to me that this assessment of Geneva has never been overturned. Westminster did not dissent from it, even though it is markedly less enthusiastic. Thus, broadly speaking, Geneva still fairly sums up current Protestant opinion.

I have reworded the reference to Florence and Trent. It seems to me that Rwflammang is mistaken to insist that Florence ought to have explicitly mentioned the canon to regard the Florentine list of Biblical books as canonical. It was to contradict Luther that Trent calls them "canonical". If you look at what Florence says about the books it is clear that it regarded the books as what we would call "canonical".

I have put names and dates back in. This is because the details are a bit arcane, and it is very easy for newcomers to lose track of the argument, which ranges over two millenia. We know when Jerome was, but most people have never even heard of him! And uninformed opinion about the "Vulgate" is (often) that it is the "Catholic Bible" and that the catholics and protestants have different bibles! Such opinion may not even have heard of the orthodox. So I think it is worth not making the text too brief.

I also note that other Wiki articles are quite straightforward about "Apocrypha" being a Protestant usage (see the lead of the Apocrypha article). — Preceding unsigned comment added by C.jeynes (talkcontribs) 10:26, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

(Sorry - forgot to sign!) C.jeynes (talk) 10:28, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

My overall impression: I don't care for it.
First of all, it's too long.
Second of all, it's too much about the canon. There are already a preposterously long list of articles about the canon. (Biblical canon, Deuterocanonical books, Protocanonical books, Old Testament canon, Apocrypha, Books of the Bible, I could go on.) Wikipedia really doesn't need yet another article rehashing the same old baloney and acting as a magnet for POV-pushing canonistas to be attracted to. While the canon issue needs to be mentioned here, it should not hijack the introduction. The subject of this article is the often missing "third section" of the Bible, apart from the Old and New testaments. That should be the focus of the introduction.
I don't care for the tone. It's too colloquial. An encyclopedia should have a "just the facts" type of tone.
All that said, I do like the quote from the GB. It captures perfectly the POV of all those who publish bibles with apocrypha sections. Although they were written by Protestants, these same words could have just as easily come from the mouths of Catholic publishers of the Douay-Rheims version or the Clementine Vulgate.
Rwflammang (talk) 17:10, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
Good rewording. About the GB quote IMHO it is important but it shall go in a separate section, not in the WP:LEAD. However I may suggest a huge change: what about to change the name to "Apocrypha (Protestantism)" ? I think that the main issue of the Article is that it is not clear among the editors what is the Article about. It is about the books published as appendix to the Bibles? It is about the canonicity of books not in the Protestant canon? or it is about the books usually known in the English countries as "Apocrypha", i.e. the ones in appendix to the KJV? Perhaps it is this latter meaning the one more searched by the readers, while we shall give a balanced and universal view of the subject. Thus I may suggest to change the name of the Article in "Apocrypha (Protestantism)" and to deep this aspect, movening the other materials, as the comparison among different lists of apocrypha, to article Apocrypha.A ntv (talk) 17:43, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
What do you propose an article about the 3rd section of the Bible be named? Rwflammang (talk) 19:58, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I propose to change the name of this Article from "Biblical Apocrypha" to "Apocrypha (Protestantism)" and to deal with the books usually known in the English countries as "Apocrypha", i.e. the ones in appendix to the KJV. Actually the title "Biblical Apocrypha" is itself a source of discussions because the "borders" of the Bible are POV according to different traditions. It is the same strategy used many times in articles as Bishop (Catholic Church), Bishop (Latter Day Saints) or Bishop (Orthodox Church) to clarify from the very title the frame of the Article. Let's remember we have also the Article Apocrypha. A ntv (talk) 20:14, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
I understand. But where do you propose that we move the current contents of this article, which is all about the apocrypha that are found in bibles, and not just on their borders? Perhaps, since you want to give this article a new name, we can re-use its old name and move its contents to a new article called Biblical apocrypha. Does that make sense? Rwflammang (talk) 22:52, 28 June 2011 (UTC)
When you say "books found in bibles", this statement is ambiguous. These books are printed in appendix of (some) bibles, but are not "Bible" (are not considered canonical). The point is: this article is about
1) the book printed in appendixes to Bible (from an editorial point of view) regardless of their canonicity, or
2) all the biblical books which are not universally recognized, or
3) the books usually known in the English countries as "Apocrypha", i.e. the ones in appendix to the KJV (or other similar editions as GB) ?
The title itself IMHO should clarify which is the matter of this Article. I suggest n. 3 with title "Apocrypha (Protestantism)". A ntv (talk) 23:10, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

So they are ambiguous. Okay. What do you propose that we name an article about these ambiguous books that are in these ambiguous bibles? I have just opened up my ambiguous copy of the Clementine Vulgate, which, by the way, possesses a certain magisterial authority. I peruse its ambiguous Old Testament and see nothing that contradicts the wikipedia article Old Testament. I peruse its ambiguous New Testament. Again, I see nothing surprising. I then procede to the three ambiguous books that follow the New Testament. What would be a good name for the article that describes these books? Not the Old Testament, not the New Testament, but something else. Maybe the Apocrypha? But that name is already taken. You suggest the name Apocrypha (Protestantism), but is that name really appropriate to this particular tertium quid, however ambiguous?

It seems to me that you and C.jeynes are itching to write an article on the Protestant canon. I think that's a fine idea, but that is not what this article has been about in the past, and I don't think that's what is should be about in the future. (It has the wrong name for that subject, for starters.) This article has been about, and should be about, the ambiguous Apocrypha that are in the ambiguous Bible.

Rwflammang (talk) 16:18, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Well, the ambiguity is only in the title and in the scope of this Article, not in the consideration to the such texts by Catholic Church or other Churches which have a very clear ideas of the value/canonicity/not-canonicity of these texts, ideas different among the Christian bodies but nevertheless very clear and non-ambiguous. A ntv (talk) 11:45, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks everyone for this interesting discussion. Rwflammang, I am not itching to write an article about the Protestant canon! This is very well done elsewhere as you correctly point out. A_ntv, there may be merit in your idea of renaming the article, but my view is that to do that would miss an opportunity of increasing understanding and wisdom in the world. Probably most people today who would turn to Wiki to find out what "Apocrypha" means will have a set of preconceptions and prejudices that militate against clarity and truth, and many of them would be put off by the apparently restricted applicability of an article named for the Protestants.

Actually, I think that we are a very good group of Editors for this since we have very different POVs. Rwflammang is a Latin Rite Catholic, A_ntv appears to have Orthodox sympathies, and I am Protestant (brought up a Lutheran, confirmed Anglican, and currently with Anabaptist - not the Münster type! - sympathies). I would call myself "Catholic" in the proper sense, that is, orthodox.

Let me make a number of assertions to emphasise my views. Hopefully I will include sufficient justification to be persuasive :-

  • The current title "Biblical Apocrypha" is not POV. On the contrary, it has rather a well defined meaning independent of all POVs. It means, "those books printed in Bibles and called Apocrypha".
  • A_ntv's three "meanings" are all taken. IMHO they are not incompatible, and the Article should address all of them. "Biblical books" means "books printed in Bibles"! Not all traditions agree in detail on what should be in Bibles (although actually there is essential unanimity among Christians about the Canon; in the big scheme of things the disagreements are really very marginal and of little consequence!). And the term "Biblical Apocrypha", if it means anything at all must necessarily mean at least "those books printed in English language Bibles called Apocrypha". We don't need to choose between these meanings.
What a perfect and elegant definition of Biblical apocrypha! You've discovered the holy grail for this article.Rwflammang (talk) 01:09, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
  • A_ntv very helpfully points to WP:LEAD. I have read this carefully and believe that my wording conforms to it rather precisely.
  • A_ntv contradicts Rwflammang about my wording. One likes it, the other doesn't ... (must be doing something right!). Seriously, I have reread the lead, being stung by Rwflammang's criticism that it was "... too colloquial. An encyclopedia should have a "just the facts" type of tone". Sorry, Rwflammang, my intention certainly was to write it straight, and I can't see anything "colloquial" in it! Actually, it is rather a condensed statement IMO. You say it is "too long", but there are lots of "facts" to "summarise" (as WP:LEAD instructs us). My criticism of the previous versions was precisely that they were "teasing" (as WP:LEAD puts it).
I'll try to be more specific and constructive in my criticisms.Rwflammang (talk) 01:09, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
  • On the other hand A_ntv wants to demote the GB quote where Rwflammang accepts it. Here I appeal to WP:LEAD. "The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article." The GB quote belongs in the lead precisely because, as Rwflammang says, "It captures perfectly the POV of all those who publish bibles with apocrypha sections". It was, besides, authoritative in England in the early period, and in the later period the practice of including the Apocrypha was largely dropped, for various reasons, good and bad.
  • The issue of the canon, which Rwflammang thinks is overemphasised in my wording, is crucial. It is (IMHO) only when you understand the canonical basis of the distinctions that the distinctions themselves can be properly recognised. This is why Luther's appeal to Jerome can be considered a central fact, as Rwflammang was the first to acknowledge last month. Of course, I entirely agree with Rwflammang that there are many articles about the canon which we don't want to repeat (indeed, I think I linked to most of them!).
  • On my mention of Florence, I was encapsulating the interesting discussion between Rwflammang and A_ntv (and thanks to both of you for extending my knowledge here). Following on from the last point, since the understanding of the canon is crucial to the modern understanding of the term Apocrypha, a clear statement of how the canon was understood by Catholics then is helpful and illuminating. I did not know when the Catholics had defined the canon. I thought it was at Nicea or Calcedon or something. I knew of course that it was defined operationally by Jerome (his text, not his Prologues). I think my statement is a) accurate, b) minimal and c) helpful. Helpful to people like me, that is.

I reiterate that the very term "Biblical Apocrypha" is today a Protestant usage since for Catholics and Orthodox it is an oxymoron (a clarification that I myself only reached after this discussion here!). But the term is a good one since it elegantly encapsulates (in an NPOV way) the ambiguity and confusions inherent in the idea, together with shadows of its polemical history.

I still disagree with you about the oxymoron. The official Bible of the Catholic church contained "apocrypha", which were therefore "biblical" right up to 1978. Now if you are limiting yourself to the websites of Catholic apologist and their Protestant controversialists, then maybe it is an oxymoron, but I would hope that our article could be more generalist (dare I say "catholic?") than that. Rwflammang (talk) 01:09, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
OK Rwflammang, thanks for your kind words above, but now I don't follow. Please explain what exactly you mean. I thought I understood, but maybe I don't ... I am after what is true, and I must confess that I am sceptical of internet text. I try to refer to books and written or printed texts and their representations on the internet. C.jeynes (talk) 08:18, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

I turned to Wikipedia in the first place since I wanted to read the story of Susanna to my fellowship group, and I wanted to be able to say to them, "you can get more details of the Apocrypha from Wikipedia". As usual, I was greatly informed by the article I found, and thanks to you all for putting all this interesting stuff in! But I knew that the article as it then stood would not have been appreciated by the people I wanted to refer to it.

C.jeynes (talk) 10:28, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

It seems to me that there is now general agreement about the article lead, no? (Rwflammang doesn't like "oxymoron", but that word is not used in the article so we don't have to argue about it.) C.jeynes (talk) 08:04, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Council of Florence[edit]

I'm not sure what benefit bringing up the Council of Florence (and in the intro, no less) provides to this article. It is not like Florence advocated removing non-canonical works from the Old (or New for that matter) Testament. It was Trent, and not Florence, that Clement VIII cited when he threw these books out of the Old Testament of his famous bible. Rwflammang (talk) 16:28, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

usually it is the last document the one more referred to (for example now the Popes usually refers to the "Dei Verbum" of CVII and not the canons of Trent). Thus the fact that Clement VIII quoted Trent, it does not mean he did not deemed as mandatory also Florence. Trent simply re-stated what affirmed by Folorence.
Florence did not use the term "canonicity" because the the issue of canonicity was not jet important (it was before Luther's Sola Scripture). The issue for Florence was to underline the agreements with the Orthodox, but in this way it arrived to the same result. A ntv (talk) 11:53, 1 July 2011 (UTC)
All true, but not necessarily relevant to this article, which is not primarily about the canon, and which has no need to repeat the same old stuff already included in Wikipedia's numerous canon articles. Florence sheds no light on the phenomenon of segregating the apocrypha from the rest of the Bible. None of the bibles between Florence and Trent treated the apocrypha any differently than the rest of the books (apart from mentioning the distinction in the prologues, which was already common practice before Florence). After Luther's bible, we begin to see the creation of apocrypha apartheid in Protestant bibles, and after Trent, we begin to see the same phenomenon in Catholic bibles as well. Rwflammang (talk) 16:08, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Please see my comment above in "July2011". C.jeynes (talk) 10:29, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

To quote, you wrote,
... since the understanding of the canon is crucial to the modern understanding of the term Apocrypha, a clear statement of how the canon was understood by Catholics then is helpful and illuminating. I did not know when the Catholics had defined the canon. I thought it was at Nicea or Calcedon or something. I knew of course that it was defined operationally by Jerome (his text, not his Prologues). I think my statement is a) accurate, b) minimal and c) helpful. Helpful to people like me, that is.
I am missing something. The canon that Jerome described, he described in his so called "prologues", which were, of course, a text. I do not for a second believed that he "defined" any canon in any sense of the word. He was describing a canon which had been (presumably) "defined" by some Particular church, which church he does not say, presumably the archdiocese of Jerusalem. In Jerome's time, there were various canons defined in various places, there was no universal canon defined by the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, certainly not before Trent.
Not that any of this matters. We are far afield of the subject matter of this article. Rwflammang (talk) 02:13, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Hi Rwflammang. You misunderstand me. I was taking the liberty of speaking approximately. The text of the Vulgate (a brilliant achievement for which Jerome is justly remembered) implicitly defines a "canon" (that is, in this case, those books considered to be the word of God). Of course, there was still some debate at the margins at that time, but actually Jerome was more or less reflecting pretty much a consensus. I think the "canon" he described (explicitly) in the Prologues was precisely his view of this consensus, which he didn't get from any identifiable place. It is curious that the Christian canon of Scripture was essentially achieved through consensus and not through decree.

You are right to say that all this is neither here nor there for the purposes of this article. But to repeat, a modern (post-Reformation) understanding of the place of the "Apocrypha" does need an appreciation of what is considered canonical, and why. To be honest, I had no idea that Clement printed the Vulgate differently after Trent. So I greatly appreciate your contribution! Thanks (again). C.jeynes (talk) 08:09, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Just to clarify a couple of points. Jerome was a very controversial figure, and for sure he did not looked for any consensus. He was a rich Roman with high-class friendships, and he went to Palestina. Unfortunately his approach was "I'm always right and you wrong", and so he immediately clashed with the local bishops (excommunications...). He made a lot of new arbitrary statements (as that brothers of Jesus were his cousins, or that the true OT is the one Hebrew text) which were not at all the "consensus" at the moment, but were new. The Christian East (at the time the 80% of the Christian world) never accepted his propositions, while the West accepted his proposition, but only partially. Concerning the Bible, his suggestion to look at the Hebrew texts was quite an innovation (up to there all the texts were from the Greek LXX, usually from the "Hexaplar" LXX version) and he too could not go too far in this direction, thus also the Vulgate has a lot of LXX material, and Jerome couldnt touch very used LXX-based texts such as the Psalms. Also his suggestion to exclude the "KJV Biblical aprocrypha" did not obtained consensus, nor in the East and not even in the West. The Jerome Vulgate (well, it is not all by him) did not obtained any official recognition till the council of Trent, and for the first centuries it was simply one of the possible translations. Only Luther's innovations forced the Western Catholic Church to take a stand on both the canon and the translation to be used, which previously were not "issues worth to be defined" A ntv (talk) 14:37, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
You are certainly right about the novelty of Jerome's turn toward the Hebrew (at least for the Latin church; the Syriac church had been looking toward the Hebrew earlier. In some ways, the Latin churches maintained closer ties to the Syriac churches than the Greek churches did.) I suspect also that Luther's new take on sola scriptura, by which, of course, he meant sola scriptura canonica was a driver for defining the Western canon. But I disagree with you about the novelty of Jerome's canon. See below. Rwflammang (talk) 22:25, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
well, it is true that the Vetus Latinas (pre-Jerome translations) are very similar to Syriac Curtonian and Sinaitic codexes, but this only for the NT, being the Vetus Latina OT a translation of the LXX quite distant from the OT Syriac Peshitta (which however come from the LXX too).A ntv (talk) 09:28, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I should have been more clear. I was merely pointing out that the Vulgate was following the Pehitta in translating direct from Hebrew. Also, Roman litrugists have often looked to the Syriac liturgy for inspiration; there is an old legend that the earliest Latin liturgies in Rome were translations of Syriac liturgies, and not translations of the Greek liturgies that were used there prior to the adoption of Latin. Rwflammang (talk) 16:29, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
Just for your information (we are off topic), both the OT and the NT Peshitta (which are very different in history) are translations from the Greek, as well as the SYRc and the SYRs. The claim of a their direct translation from the Hebrew is simply a religious, not a scholar claim. I can provide you scholar literature on this issue. And there is no doubt about scholars of early liturgies (read for example the Mazza) that the Roman liturgy was in the 2 century quite near to the Alexandrian liturgy by far more than to the Syrian liturgy.A ntv (talk) 20:16, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
According to Britannica 2005, it was a translation from the Hebrew and Aramaic with LXX influence; sounds a lot like the Vulgate. I did say that the Syriac liturgical link was legendary. An accusation of novelty looses much of its oomph if the accused is following in the footsteps of a legend, even when the legend is false. Rwflammang (talk) 23:09, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

On the Vulgate, my understanding is that essentially there was only one version by the time of the 16th century. There were many variants, but these were introduced by copyist error and not as a result of a multiplicity of manuscript traditions. In any case, by then any varying MS traditions could no longer be confidently assigned to real MS variation as opposed to copyist corruption. Is this correct? If so it makes the details of what Jerome thought strictly irrelevant (as Rwflammang says) to the subject of "Biblical Apocrypha", the primary meaning of which today I think we agree is a category of the Reformation.

It seems to me that we have reached agreement on the scope of the article? No? C.jeynes (talk) 08:01, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Jerome and the canon[edit]

There was no consensus on the Canon throughout Christendom in the 4th or 5th century. Each particular church had a canon, typically one drawn up by a regional council or archbishop. Jerome knew this full well. When he wrote his Prologus galeatus he was describing one of these canons, similar but not identical to one used in Alexandria earlier, and similar to a contemporary one used in Mopsuestia. If this was an innovation, it was not one of his making. I don't know when the canon ceased being controversial in the East (Or indeed, if it ever did; the 11th century Codex Hierosolymitanus records a canon identical to Jerome's.), but it remained controversial in the West right up until the promulgation of Trent. Trent created a consensus for Catholics, and, ironically, it seems to have inspired a consensus for the otherwise rapidly fragmenting Protestant movement as well.

"Trent ... seems to have inspired a consensus for the ... Protestant movement": I think this is right, and points up a respect in Protestant scholarship for (Roman) Catholic scholarship, which continues to this day. C.jeynes (talk) 08:37, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

As for his "text" making some sort of "definition" of a canon, this is unsupportable. Not only does he make no such claim for his text, but his text includes Song of the three, Bel and the dragon, Susanna, Rest of Esther, Tobit, and Judith which are incompatible with the canon he describes in his prologues. Nevertheless, he described them all as scriptural. So apparently "biblical" and "apocryphal" were not components of an oxymoron for Jerome. (Or anyone else I know of in the early church.) Jerome never suggested that the apocrypha ought to be "excluded" from the Bible.

The issue of the canon was indeed controversial, and Jerome did what he could to avoid being dragged into the controversy. When Augustine suggested a discussion of the issue with him, Jerome said that he was just a monk, who would not argue with a bishop, it being the bishop's job it was to say what the canon was. When Rufinus criticized him for being inconsistent, Jerome replied that he was just following his church. In short Jerome was saying, If you want to know what your canon is, ask your bishop. If you want to know what my canon is, ask my bishop. It seems to me that Jerome found the arguments of the 5th century canonistas every bit as distasteful as I find those of their 21st century descendants.

Not that any of this matters. None of this should be included in this article. Rwflammang (talk) 20:48, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

This is a very elegant statement, Rwflammang, and very informative to boot. I only knew bits of this, and not the most interesting bits either. Thank you!

My only quibble with it (and it is just that, a quibble) is your category of "unsupportable" when commenting on my suggestion that Jerome's Vulgate was a de-facto definition of the canon. I intended this only in the sense that the Vulgate text was itself considered more or less canonical (using the word loosely) for a millenium. I did not intend it as the sort of strict statement that I agree would be unsupportable. I am not myself particularly interested in the canon as such, except insofar as it helps to understand old controversies. In my view the canon of Scripture is essentially agreed, and the differences of even the most opposed parties are, in reality, Lilliputian. What I am interested in is the truth of the Gospel, and the founding of this truth on the veracity of the Gospel records. And the veracity of the Gospel records is of a piece with the veracity of the Scripture. C.jeynes (talk) 07:36, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Rwflammang is correct about Jerome non-definition of the canon and also about the different importance of the canon itself in at Jerome's time in comparison with post-Luther understanding. The wording essentially agreed is a WP:WEASEL. However the issue of the canon is a very hot point in the polemic Protestants vs Catholics/Orthodox, the Protestant apologetics trying to demostrate that the canon is (at least essentially) defined as earlier as possible and the Catholics/Orthodox having an easy task to point out all discrepancies/non-definition in the canon up to Luther. So we cannot solve the issue in one line, and we shall try to have a wording as NPOV s possible. A ntv (talk) 09:28, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
By essentially agreed I mean no more than that these canons were short, of 22, 24, or 27 books, like that described by Jerome, and not long, like those of Carthage, Rome, or Trent. Rwflammang (talk) 16:25, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
A_ntv, I think you are mistaken to say that essentially agreed is a WP:WEASEL. There is a place for a sense of proportion! Of course, the article is about the bits of the "canon" that are not agreed; nevertheless, those bits are really of rather limited importance. The fact that the "canon" became a political football at the Reformation did nothing to change the real importance of the various books. Susanna remains a brilliant story, Maccabees remains essential history, however one places them in the "canon" (itself a secondary category, as this discussion has made manifestly clear). C.jeynes (talk) 08:37, 10 July 2011 (UTC)


An editor recently replaced the phrase "whole Christian Bible" with a link to [[[Alexandrian text]].

Is the Peshitta Alexandrian? Really? What about the Vulgate?

I don't like the clunky phrase "whole Christian Bible", and I'd like to see it improved. But I don't think it's accurate to imply that only Alexandrian manuscripts contained the Apocrypha.

As clunky as the phrase "whole Christian Bible" is, it is used here for a reason. There are plenty of psalters, New Testaments, Lectionaries, and fragments that don't include an apocryphon, and there are no Jewish bibles that contain any apocrypha, but you will look in vain for an early codex whose content matches, say, the NIV's. Those codices that do contain the whole Old Testament and whole New Testament inevitably contain a bit more.

How about a phrase like, the Apocrypha are well attested in early manuscripts of the Christian Bible.

Rwflammang (talk) 00:19, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Introduction (August 2012)[edit]

User:JohnChrysostom recently made some good faith edits which have, probably un-intentionally, undone some of the improvements discussed in the Introduction (June 2011) and Introduction (July 2011) sections of the talk page, which can be found above. To be specific:

  • The new wording says, Biblical apocrypha ... denotes the collection of ancient books regarded as canonical by Catholics and Eastern Orthodox ... but not by Protestants. While this is a pretty good definition of deuterocanonical books, this is not at all what this article has ever been about. For instance, 2 Esdras is neither deuterocanonical nor anagignoskomenal.
  • These works are fully integrated into the Old Testaments of Catholic and Orthodox bibles. That depends on the edition of course, and which editions count as Catholic, and which editions count as Orthodox. At any rate, in the editions described here, this is most definitely not true. E.g., the Clementine Vulgate segregates the apocrypha into an appendix, and it is usually considered a Catholic bible.
  • Nor is the statement about the Old Testament true for all editions. Laodiceans was presumably never placed in any edition's Old Testament.

I purpose to remove these statements from the lead.

We currently have a hat note that directs readers looking for the non-biblical apocrypha to the apocrypha article. Perhaps we should add another hat note for those looking for the deuterocanonical books article.

Rwflammang (talk) 22:16, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Let me try and think up some further edits and post them here before integrating them in to the article; I accept your correction in imprecision of language (sorry for the grammar), but, as it stands, the lead does not conform to NPOV, with a bias towards the Protestant view of canon (the very titles themselves are, in a sense, as "apocrypha" and "pseudepigrapha" are hopelessly confused); the hat-note to deuterocanonicals is a decent stopgap measure. I believe it needs to be pointed out clearly that the majority of these books are considered canonical by a majority of Christians (I don't think it's just me, although it may be, who takes "apocrypha" as having a slightly pejorative connotation, such as - I know this is not intended - in a phrase, "The Papists added the Apocrypha to their Bibles at the Council of Trent"), and a quotation from the Decrees of Trent on the Canon and/or the Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem 1672 need to also be in the lead to balance the passage from the XXXIX Articles, so WP:WEIGHT is observed (that is, "majority Christian" - Catholic and Orthodox, together ~1.5 out of ~2.2 billion - view is represented along with the dominant Anglo-American Protestant view).
As mentioned in my first sentence, I shall attempt to draft a revision that meets your objections, and then post it here for criticism and redaction. I look forward to a (hopefully, as the AP Style Guide now allows it [the word "hopefully"] to be used in that manner) an amicable and fruitful collaboration in improving this article. St John Chrysostom Δόξατω Θεώ 04:21, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
I think that the lead already points out the canon issue adequately; especially the last few sentences. Since this article is about the tertium quid (not the Old Testament, not the New) found in older bibles (and fewer and fewer new bibles) I'd hate to see this article degenerate into just another canon article. Too much discussion of the canon in the lead will give readers a skewed idea of what this article is about.
The lead as it stands most certainly does conform to NPOV. Since this article is about the table of contents of various different editions of the bible, there really is no POV, just a description of what is there and what is said. There isn't the slightest hint of what ought to be there, or what ought to be said.
Rwflammang (talk) 12:38, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Merge with Deuterocanonical books[edit]

This article should be merged with Deuterocanonical books, since most of the books listed here as Apocrypha are the same. There is a lot of duplicate information. El Huinca (talk) 00:25, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

There is a bit of duplicate information, but not much. Read the articles. That article is primarily about the apocrypha sections of printed editions; this one is primarily about canons and church councils and the Septuagint. Both articles are probably too long; merging them will make one article that's nearly twice the length. Rwflammang (talk) 14:41, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
While there is a great deal of overlap in the contents of the books, neither article is primarily about the books, each of which has its own article. Rwflammang (talk) 14:45, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
I Oppose to the merge per the same reasons highlighted by Rwflammang. A ntv (talk) 15:05, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
Ok I'll remove the proposal --El Huinca (talk) 22:10, 12 December 2013 (UTC)