The same language affirming the Apocrypha is
repeated by Vatican Council II.
The Apocrypha Rome accepts includes eleven
books or twelve, depending on whether Baruch 1-6 is split into two
pieces, Baruch 1-5 and The Letter of Jeremiah (Baruch 6). The
Deuterocanon includes all the fourteen (or fifteen) books in the
Protestant Apocrypha except the Prayer of Manasseh and 1 and 2
Esdras (called 3 and 4 Esdras by Roman Catholics. Ezra and Nehemiah
are called 1 and 2 Esdras by Catholics).
Although the Roman Catholic canon has eleven more
pieces of literature than does the Protestant Bible, only seven extra
books, or a total forty-six, appear in the table of contents (the
Protestant and Jewish Old Testament has thirty-nine). As noted in the
accompanying table, four other pieces of literature are incorporated
within Esther and Daniel.
The Apocrypha as Scripture.
The larger canon is sometimes referred to as the
"Alexandrian Canon," as opposed to the "Palestinian Canon" which does
not contain the Apocrypha, because it is alleged to have been
part of the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint,
or LXX) prepared at Alexandria, Egypt. Reasons generally advanced
in favor of this broader Alexandrian list are:
1. The New Testament reflects the thought of the
Apocrypha, and even refers to events described in it (cf.
Heb. 11:35 with 2 Maccabees 7,12).
2. The New Testament quotes mostly from the Greek
Old Testament, the LXX, which contained the Apocrypha. This
gives tacit approval to the whole text.
3. Some early church fathers quoted and used the
Apocrypha as Scripture in public worship.
4. Such early fathers as Irenaeus, Tertullian, and
Clement of Alexandria accepted all of the Apocrypha as
5. Early Christian catacomb scenes depict episodes
from the Apocrypha, showing it was part of early Christian
religious life. This at least reveals a great regard for the
6. Important early manuscripts (Aleph, A,
and B) interpose the Apocrypha among the Old Testament
books as part of the Jewish-Greek Old Testament.
7. Early church councils accepted the
Apocrypha: Rome (382), Hippo (393), and Carthage (397).
8. The Eastern Orthodox church accepts the
Apocrypha. Their acceptance shows it to be a common Christian
belief, not one unique to Catholics.
9. The Roman Catholic church proclaimed the
Apocrypha canonical at the Council of Trent (1546) in accord
with the early councils noted and the Council of Florence not long
before the Reformation (1442).
10. The apocryphal books continued to be included
in the Protestant Bible as late as the nineteenth century This
indicates that even Protestants accepted the Apocrypha until
11. Apocryphal books in Hebrew were among Old
Testament canonical books in the Dead Sea community at Qumran, so
they were part of the Hebrew Canon.
(Next time in Part Two: Answers to the Catholic