Apologetics and the Truth About Catholics: The Apocrypha or Deuterocanon

A Caveat

This hub starts my series The Truth about Catholics . My intent in publishing this series is not aimed at conversion--I don't expect that a simple hub would cause such a life changing event. No, that is better left to prayer and the moving of the Holy Spirit. Rather, it has been my experience that much of what is known about Catholics is actually misunderstanding and myth--we do not "worship Mary", the Pope is not equal to God, and we don't think women are the root of all evil. I am here to give you the true account of Catholicism, to challenge myths, to promote ecumenism, and to at least attempt to quell some Anti-Catholic hate. In the process I desire to have great discussion, expect to make a few enemies, and hope to make a few friends as well. It is my firm belief that understanding breeds love, so let the love begin.

One of my favorite stories from the Apocrypha!
One of my favorite stories from the Apocrypha! | Source

What are we talking about?

If you haven't heard already, the "Catholic Bible" has an additional 7 books in its the Old Testament. The books, called the apocrypha (Gk. "Hidden") or Deuterocanon ("Second Canon"), are 1 & 2 Maccabees, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, Judith, Tobit, and Wisdom. It is important to note that the Catholic and Protestant New Testaments are exactly the same (except for Martin Luther supposedly wanted to throw out the Epistle of James). It also important to remember that all of the major religions have apocrypha and spiritual writings that supplement their scripture. Really, the issue we are talking about is that of "Canon".

Canon refers to a set list of books or rules which a given institution or religion recognizes as authoritative. The issue of who has the power to set Canon, and what the criteria are to be included in Canon, are millenniums old.

Let's Examine some Objections!

Following are the 3 most common myths about the Apocrypha. There are more, but I'm not writing a book here:

The Books were Never Included in the Jewish Scripture, and so shouldn't be in ours!

This is simply false. Starting circa 200 BC a group of 72 Jewish Rabbis translated the OT scripture into Greek, which consisted of 46 books. This "Septuagint" (Lt. Seventy) was written during a period of time when the "Writings" portion of the Old Testament Canon still being decided. The writing of this great work took time, but by the time it was finished, it contained not only the traditional Torah and Prophet texts, but also the now authoritative copies of the Jewish writings, including works written in Greek and written after the Hellenist conquest of Jerusalem. It was only after the Christians started using the Septuagint that the Jews deleted 7 books (the ones not in Hebrew) in an attempt to secure their own identity and distinguish themselves from Christians.

Catholics Added the Books to the Bible.

We could counter and say that "protestants" REMOVED books from the Bible. The fact is that all the books in the Catholic Old Testament appeared in the Septuagint. The OT canon was set, albeit somewhat unofficially, by the end of the 4th century by Bishops such as Irenaeus and Athanasius, including during councils. The Pope, the highest authority of the Catholic Church, ordered the books kept in Bible in the 5th Century, and the issue was permanently settled at Trent in the mid 16th century. The Church has supported these books from the beginning of its very existence.

The Apocrypha shouldn't be included, because they're not quoted in the NT.

Just because they're not quoted, doesn't mean they're not authoritative. Many of the common Old Testament books are not quoted directly in the NT Scripture as well. These include Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. Furthermore, there ARE allusions to the Apocrypha in the NT. Consider comparing the following verses as examples: 1) Rom 1:20-29and Wisdom 13:5,8 ; 14:24,27 2) 2 Cor 5: 1,4 and Wisdom 9:15 3) Jas 1:19 and Sirach 5:11.

You Decide

Of course there are more objections, but I hope you get the basic Idea. Ultimately evidence can be shown for any belief, and it is up to the individual to believe what they want. However, there is only One complete Truth, no matter how hard it is to actually discern. Regardless of your belief, I hope you have come to understand a little better what it is Catholics actually believe and why. The comments are open for civilized and intelligent discussion. With a little understanding, dialogue, and acceptance, our world can go a long way!

© 2010 rdlang05

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Comments 9 comments

RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

I found nothing in this hub in which to disagree. Through having attended a Catholic college for four years and later working side by side with sisters in hospice setting for many years, I gained a greater sense of true Catholicism as I hope they gained a greater sense of true Protestantism. Excellent presentation.

Love, peace and joy in Him!

Forever His,

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 6 years ago from Minnesota Author


Thank you again, your comments are always appreciated. You are a truly a holy woman full of His truth!

LindaQ79 profile image

LindaQ79 4 years ago

So why hasn't the church allowed women to become priests yet? Why are they not worthy of this kind of leadership? Do you think Jesus doesn't deem them worthy?

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 4 years ago from Minnesota Author


Thanks for the question. I'll cover it for the most part in another hub, but for the most part it has nothing to do with being "worthy". Being a priest is a privelage, not a right... just like I might want to be able to Birth a child, but naturally I do not have that power. Women have extreme value in the Church. Mary, the mother of God, was held in even higher regard than the Apostles. While she wasn't an Apostle, she still had the amazing responsibility and privilege of raising Christ. Even for men, not all should be priests, because its not their "right" even if they "want" to. It's about vocation. Anyway, thanks for the question, and I hope this "short" answer at least helped a bit!



LindaQ79 profile image

LindaQ79 4 years ago

I think Jesus felt woman were worthy of being priests and the Catholic church shut them out, only to thier dismay. It's a pity actually that the Catholic church can't grow and evolve with the times. THat's why I have left the Catholic church and gone to protestant churches that actually value woman as equals in the church and let them be priests. Unfortunatly they don't revere Mary as much as the Catholics...You can't have it all I guess.

funnychap profile image

funnychap 4 years ago from Mumbai

LindaQ79 - A strange paradox indeed! you say the protestant churches actually value woman as equals in the church, but don't revere Mary, of whom the Angel said - " Hail, thou are highly favored the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” (Lu 1:28). Secondly, about women being priests, we have to accept the truth even if it is not pleasing, because it is a fact that Jesus did have several women who were travelling with him & he liked them well enough but the duty of being a priest was only given to the 11 disciples (Mr 16:15)

Lindaq79 4 years ago

How were the 11 disciples made priests? The Church wasn't even formed yet and the word priest not even used. Mary Magdelene was a disciple too. Have you forgotten her. She provided money and prophetic dreams for Jesus's Ministry. She was the first minister of the church in my opinion and Dan Brown's.

rdlang05 profile image

rdlang05 4 years ago from Minnesota Author

Dan Brown's book is fiction....

We can see the status of the twelve not only in the Bible (where Paul refers to them as having special status, and as ones like Timothy as "Episkopos"), but even in the earliest writings of the Church Fathers. Clement of Rome, writing around 93AD, Ignatius of Antioch about 110AD, and everyone after them all refer to men as being Bishops and Presbyter and an organized church hierarchy already forming. This is less than a hundred years after Christ died.

funnychap profile image

funnychap 4 years ago from Mumbai

lindaq79 by using Dan Brown's name you have really lowered my regards for you. anyway if you still have any doubts after rdlango5's informative comment then you should read Mark 16 : 14-16 to know when the 11 disciples were ordained as priests.

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