By H.G. Dr Geevarghese Mar Osthathios
What the Protestants call the Apocrypha is Canonical books for the Orthodox churches and so we have more than 66 books in the Bible. Even the Old Testament Canon was closed only in 100 A. D. in the Council of Jamnia, 13 miles south of Jaffa. The Jews of the Dispersion regarded the Apocryphal books also as Scriptures. During the first three centuries these books were regularly used in the Christian Churches also.
St. Athanasius was one of the first fathers of the church who limited the list of scriptural books into 66 in his list. Jerome of the Western Church (342-420) had a tremendous influence in limiting the canonical books as 72. In accordance with the Hebrew Canon, only 66 books. The Trent Council declared the Vulgate as the authoritative Latin Scripture of the Roman Catholic Church.
Whether canonical or Deutero canonical, the apocrypha has great value. The so-called Apocryphal books, the Books of Maccabees contain prayers for the departed more unambiguously than the prayer of St. Paul in II Tim. 1: 18 for the departed Onesiphorus. The Fathers of the Church have quoted from these books which are not regarded Canonical by the Protestants. To the Orthodox Churches, therefore, there are more than 66 books which are canonical.
Table of Contents: Sec 1 (Q1-18) | Sec 2 (Q 19-33) | Sec 3 (Q 34 - 40) | Previous Question | Next Question
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