Why Do Catholic Bibles Have Seven More Books Than Protestant Bibles?

By | September 9, 2019


With that, we go to Rockland, Maine, on The
Presence Radio, Linda. Welcome to the show, you’re on the air with Dr. Michael
Barber. Hi. Thank you for taking my call.
You’re welcome. You sound so calm. I like when you’re on the radio. See, I’m just cuddly. I’m just
soft and nerfy, I’ve got my cup of tea and my teddy bear…actually my teddy bear
is Dr. Barber, but that’s a different story. Well you’re doing a whole
lot better than I am. What I wanted to ask was about, this doctor there said
that the books that are in the Bible Canon are the ones that could be
read in the liturgy. That’s right. Uh huh. All right. My question is more about the
deuterocanonical books that are in our Bible–I’m Catholic, I didn’t say that,
but I am–and they’re not in the Protestant Bible.
So Linda is the question “Why? Why does the Catholic Bible have the
extra books? Hold on, let me finish, I’ll make it as short as I
can: why are they not in the Protestant Bible, Part A; Part B,
how come only a couple of them are ever read in the liturgy? The majority of them
are not. There’s just about two or three… yeah. Linda, let me use it
a little hockey analogy: you’ve given a really good slap
shot at the goalie, let me just put my stick up and tip the puck as it goes by
me to ask Dr. Barber to define what Linda means by the deuterocanonical
books. Well sure. Certainly there are books in the Catholic Bible that are not
in the Protestant Bible, or even in the modern Jewish Bible. That’s what she’s referring to.
That’s right, and not in the modern Jewish Bible either. Right, and so why is that? Well, there have
been books written on this, and I’ve done a lot on this myself, but I don’t want to
spend a lot of time–I gotta be careful here because I can get lost in the weeds
pretty quickly. But let’s just point out that,
if you go back to the early Church fathers, you’ll see that they use
these deuterocanonical books. And what’s even more interesting, I think, for non
Catholics, is to find out that the Jews would use many of these
deuterocanonical books, as they’re called, that are no longer in the Jewish Bible
today; but, for example, in the Babylonian Talmud–which is a very authoritative
source for Jewish tradition–actually, in the Babylonians Talmud, Sirach is
actually quoted as Scripture, which is really remarkable. So this
is really interesting. So there’s a long history here where somehow, sometime,
because the Talmud is dated to about the fifth century BC, so somewhere down the
road these books are no longer read by the Jews as Scripture. Some people
will point to a supposed council that happened in the 1st century, it’s called
the Council of Jamia, but now we know that council never really existed. In
fact, there’s a great book–I thought this might come up, so I thought I’d hold
it up because we’ve got a camera here– called “The Canon Debate” by Lee Martin
McDonald and James A. Sanders. There’s a whole article in here on the myth of Jamia,
that it never actually took place. Very scholarly discussion written by
Protestants, in fact. And so many non- Catholic Christians will say, “Well, Jesus
would have not read these books as Scripture!” Well the problem is, in the
first century there wasn’t an official Bible that all Jews agreed upon, right?
You have the Pharisees, you have the Sadducees, they disagreed on a lot of
different things; the Pharisees believed in life after death, the Sadducees did not–that’s why they’re “sad, you see?” Right? *Badum-tiss* So we know that the
early Jews were, you know, debating which books belong in the in the Bible. It
wasn’t until the Church decided, “These are the books that are going to belong
in the Bible.” Now St. Jerome, who was tasked with putting together the
official Latin version of the Bible, at first, because he was working with rabbis,
said, “You know, I don’t think these books should be in the Old Testament, the
rabbis don’t use them.” But he ended up changing his mind on that, and you can
see in later letters he actually refers to books like Sirach
as Scripture. So what ends up happening with the Protestant Reformation is,
Martin Luther doesn’t like certain things taught in some of those
deuterocanonical books, like for example, in the book of Maccabees, in 2
Maccabees we have a line that would seem to imply the existence of purgatory.
Martin Luther didn’t like that, so he wanted to take those books out, and the
fact that Jews weren’t using them in his day gave him a good reason to say, “Oh
look, there’s been a lot of debate.” And there had been debate, some of the
fathers, like I said, Jerome had doubts; but when the Church put the official
list together, it included those books. And what’s
really interesting is, if you look at a Gutenberg Bible–do you know what that is?
The Gutenberg Bible? I sure do. Yeah, if you look at the Gutenberg Bible, it came off the
the printing press before the Protestant Reformation you’ll see–
They had the deuterocanonical. There you go. I’ve seen the Gutenberg Bible myself, actually. Early front editions of the King James Version as well? Yeah, and you’ll actually
see them in other Protestant translations–there are there debates
among Protestants about, you know, this–in fact, what’s really interesting is, one of
the arguments that the rabbis used for not including these books in the
Canon later on was, “Well, we don’t have Hebrew copies of these books, and God
only speaks Hebrew, you know!” Oy vey. That would mean that none of the New
Testament books could be Scripture, because of course they’re written in
Greek– Yeah, that–talk about “proving too much.” Right, exactly.
Linda, does that help? Yeah, I just…I wanted to find out…well, he had, he stated, a
book that…I listen to the radio, they don’t have EWTN on television
anymore where I live–our dirty cable company took it off–so I can’t see
ya. Isn’t that ironic that a dirty cable company would show all manner
of material that’s not EWTN? Can I recommend, Linda, I can’t say everything
I’d like to say about this, but there’s a great book by Gary Michuta called “Why
Catholic Bibles Are Bigger.” Fantastic book. We sell it here at Catholic.com, by the way.
Excellent. And I encourage you to pick that up, because it is the best treatment
of this at a popular level. And we’ll pray you get a good Bishop
there for the to Portland, Linda. Oh, goodness. What’s
the name of the book again, please? It’s called “Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger.” And who
wrote it? Gary Michuta. M-I-C-H-U-T-A. Okay. Thank you very much and God
bless. Merry Christmas, Linda.

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