What Should Protestants Do With The Apocrypha?

The other day, Michael Patton posted on why he rejects the Apocrypha. I like Patton’s posts because he does is research and provides all sides. But, I think he has missed the mark on several points here.

In his comments on Protestant responses to the arguments on the inclusion of the Apocrypha in the cannon, Patton writes,

1. It is disputed whether or not these books were included in the LXX

The earliest copies of the LXX that we have are Christian in origin and were not copied until the fourth century. It is hard to tell if the original Alexandrian Jews had this wider canon.

The other major documents out there with the canon are the Masoretic Text. The earliest complete one is the Codex Leningradensisdated to sometime around 1008. The Aleppo Codex dates to sometime in the 10th century, so it is older than the Codex Leningradensis; however, it is incomplete.

For the most part, the Protestant Old Testament is based off of the Masoretic Text. If one of Patton’s concerns is the fact that the codicies of the LXX date to the 4th century CE, how does he get around the MT and the 9-10th century dating of the known copies?

Patton also lists his reasons for rejecting the Apocrypha.

1. Church tradition is too divided about their acceptance to evidence the voice of God

…While acceptance of the Apocrypha was rather widespread, it was not “everywhere, always, and by all.” Can they represent the inspired voice of God with such a history in the church?

Patton then lists several church fathers and their views on the Apocrypha. Here’s the thing, several of the church fathers also did not have The Apocalypse of John in their canon. Are we to reject that book based on the fact that The Apocalypse of John is absent from the canon that a specific church father put forward?

2. The New Testament does not directly recognize them as Scripture

The NT never directly quotes any apocryphal book as Scripture with the common designation “it is written.”

The New Testament also doesn’t quote Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Should we exclude these from the canon of the Old Testament?

I agree with Patton that Protestants should read the Apocrypha. Hell, even Luther stated that they “profitable and good to read.” Now, I’m a bit of a fanboy of the Septuagint, so I have no problem at all with reading the Apocrypha. And for those of us that are in denominations that follow the Lectionary, some of these books make an appearance. And for the record, I would absolutely love it if someone preached a sermon from Tobit!

But, I disagree with Patton on whether or not they should be included in the canon. A few years ago, I might have agreed with him, but it seems to me as if Protestants actually have this wrong. The books were included in the Christian canon long before the Protestant Reformation. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s time to reclaim the LXX (and the Apocrypha)!

And on a total side note not related to Patton or the post itself, it appears as if Little Honey Tee Tee is trolling conservative Christian blogs and misreads Patton’s outlining of traditional arguments made for the inclusion of the Apocrypha as if they were Patton’s own arguments arguments. Never mind that the title of the post is “Why Do I Reject the Apocrypha?” Ugh!


One thought on “What Should Protestants Do With The Apocrypha?

  1. Pingback: Recommended Reading for December 21st, 2012 | Near Emmaus

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