Why’d the Church Accept the Apocrypha?

E. Earl Ellis, “The Old Testament Canon in the Early Church,” Mikra: Text, Translation, Reading and Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, ed. Martin Jan Mulder (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004) 678.

There is no evidence that elements of Diaspora or Palestinian Judaism had an expanded Septuagint canon distinct from the twenty-two book Hebrew canon, and the historical probabilities weigh heavily against such a supposition.

If even Greek-speaking Diaspora Judaism did not recognize the deutero-canonical writings as Scripture, then what was the basis for early Christians viewing them as inspired? I remember attending a debate between James White and a Catholic apologist on “Is the Apocrypha Scripture?” I vaguely recall that the Catholic said Judaism actually embraced the apocrypha–until the Council of Jamnia in 70 C.E., when Jewish leaders excluded it from the canon because the Christians accepted it. That sort of conspiracy theory probably wouldn’t sit well with Nick Norelli, who says that there was no ‘Council’ of Jamnia!

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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