In my last blog I started to talk about the problem of Protestant Canon, being that Protestants deleted books from the agreed upon texts during the 4th century. The second problem is where we get our Old Testament canon and translation from: The Masoretes.
It might surprise you to know that the Masoretic Text (which is used for the KJV) was developed a few hundred years after Christ’s resurrection. It seems to have formed over the course of the 7th to 10th centuries AD. But the Old Testament texts which were used to establish the Christian Canon were formed from the 3rd Century BC until about 50 BC. With just a little bit of reasoning, we can reach the conclusion that by using the Masoretic texts as our basis, we are actually at the mercy of translators which had a prejudice against anything that would affirm the Christian faith. But not only that, the Masoretes recognized they were receiving a corrupt text from the get-go. But I’m not going to harp too much on this, as I believe this author does a much better job at making the case than I could.
The point is, Protestants adopted the Hebrew canon and rejected the Catholic canon. Though, an interesting fact is that these books, now part of the Apocrypha, were included in the KJV for 274 years. We may be all able to agree that the early church past the Apostles and perhaps extending that to the first generation following them were not perfect, but there is value in considering the books we’ve removed from canon (know that this is the first time I’ve explored the concept, I have yet to actually read the Apocryphal books). But I can understand why some people might be skeptical. So let’s look at the 7 books and see if we can find reference to them in the New Testament, minus Pauline letters, Jude and James. In excluding these, we are getting the closest representation of what Christ would have validated. Paul, although an apostle, had his own education as a Pharisee, and therefore may have included scriptures which Christ may not have if we asked his advice. Since this list I found is fairly long, and I’d rather you form your own opinions, I’m going to give you two different lists organized according to my personal opinion: “Positive” and “Iffy”. The Positive will be a list of those I find very obvious references, and the Iffy list will be those which seem more like someone trying to make connections where they may not be.
As we can see from the above charts, the only two books, in my opinion, we cannot see quoted in the Gospels, Acts, Revelations and 1 & 2 Peter are either of the Maccabees. But, there is a hint at Maccabbees in John 10:22 when Christ attends the Feast of Dedication. It doesn’t say that Christ participated, it just says that this was the time of year certain events took place. But what we don’t see is Christ speaking out against the festival, which- again in my opinion- affirms the celebration for a miracle of God, and therefore affirms the story of the Maccabbees.
Knowing that so many of these have at least one reference to them, reading these books and adding commentary will be my next blog project. Perhaps by exploring these different books we can find more examples of positive and negative worship to compare in modern times. I hope it’ll be an insightful journey.