Jerome and the Apocrypha

Mr.Butter

New Member
Jerome said
These instances have been just touched upon by me (the limits of a letter forbid a more discursive treatment of them) to convince you that in the holy scriptures you can make no progress unless you have a guide to shew you the way…Genesis … Exodus … Leviticus … Numbers … Deuteronomy … Job … Jesus the son of Nave … Judges … Ruth … Samuel … The third and fourth books of Kings … The twelve prophets whose writings are compressed within the narrow limits of a single volume: Hosea … Joel … Amos … Obadiah … Jonah … Micah … Nahum … Habakkuk … Zephaniah … Haggai … Zechariah … Malachi … Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel … Jeremiah also goes four times through the alphabet in different metres (Lamentations)… David…sings of Christ to his lyre; and on a psaltry with ten strings (Psalms) … Solomon, a lover of peace and of the Lord, corrects morals, teaches nature (Proverbs and Ecclesiastes), unites Christ and the church, and sings a sweet marriage song to celebrate that holy bridal (Song of Songs) … Esther … Ezra and Nehemiah. (Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953, Volume VI, St. Jerome, Letter LIII.6-8, pp. 98-101). As, then, the Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees, but does not admit them among the canonical Scriptures, so let it also read these two volumes (Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus) for the edification of the people, not to give authority to doctrines of the Church…I say this to show you how hard it is to master the book of Daniel, which in Hebrew contains neither the history of Susanna, nor the hymn of the three youths, nor the fables of Bel and the Dragon… (Ibid., Volume VI, Jerome, Prefaces to Jerome’s Works, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs; Daniel, pp. 492-493).
But he also said many things like
Does not the SCRIPTURE say: ‘Burden not thyself above thy power’[SIRACH 13:2] Jerome, To Eustochium, Epistle 108 (A.D. 404), in NPNF2, VI:207
Do not, my dearest brother, estimate my worth by the number of my years. Gray hairs are not wisdom; it is wisdom which is as good as gray hairs At least that is what Solomon says: “wisdom is the gray hair unto men.’[Wisdom 4:9]” Moses too in choosing the seventy elders is told to take those whom he knows to be elders indeed, and to select them not for their years but for their discretion (Num. 11:16)? And, as a boy, Daniel judges old men and in the flower of youth condemns the incontinence of age (Daniel 13:55-59, or Story of Susannah 55-59, only found in the Catholic Bibles) Jerome, To Paulinus, Epistle 58 (A.D. 395), in NPNF2, VI:119
Can someone help me here I am having a lot of trouble actually answering these: https://jmshistorycorner.wordpress.com/2020/07/27/the-church-fathers-real-opinions-on-the-canon/
I emailed Matt asking him to debunk this but that may take a while for an answer
 

Theophilos

Member
The earliest Christian Bibles include the Septuagint (LXX) as the Old Testament with books no longer found in Hebrew scriptures. The manuscripts predate Jerome by several decades. See for example: Codex Sinaiticus - Wikipedia

The LXX is almost certainly the version of the scriptures that Greek-speaking Timothy studied as a child:

. . . from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim 3:15

 

ziapueblo

Member
The LXX is almost certainly the version of the scriptures that Greek-speaking Timothy studied as a child:
What is interesting is that some Scripture scholars believe that St. Paul was speaking of the LXX when he wrote, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness . . ." (2 Timothy 3:16). Makes sense since some, the Sadducees, only used the Pentateuch.
 

Theophilos

Member
What is interesting is that some Scripture scholars believe that St. Paul was speaking of the LXX when he wrote, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness . . ." (2 Timothy 3:16). Makes sense since some, the Sadducees, only used the Pentateuch.
Yes. There was no uniform canon of scripture among Jews in the first century. Rabbinical Judaism developed its canon from the that of the Hebrew scriptures of the Pharisees, but early Christians and Greek-speaking Jews used the LXX. The LXX is still used as the Old Testament for Greek-speaking Christians.
 

rakovsky

Active member
Jerome said

These instances have been just touched upon by me (the limits of a letter forbid a more discursive treatment of them) to convince you that in the holy scriptures you can make no progress unless you have a guide to shew you the way…Genesis … Exodus … Leviticus … Numbers … Deuteronomy … Job … Jesus the son of Nave … Judges … Ruth … Samuel … The third and fourth books of Kings … The twelve prophets whose writings are compressed within the narrow limits of a single volume: Hosea … Joel … Amos … Obadiah … Jonah … Micah … Nahum … Habakkuk … Zephaniah … Haggai … Zechariah … Malachi … Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel … Jeremiah also goes four times through the alphabet in different metres (Lamentations)… David…sings of Christ to his lyre; and on a psaltry with ten strings (Psalms) … Solomon, a lover of peace and of the Lord, corrects morals, teaches nature (Proverbs and Ecclesiastes), unites Christ and the church, and sings a sweet marriage song to celebrate that holy bridal (Song of Songs) … Esther … Ezra and Nehemiah. (Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953, Volume VI, St. Jerome, Letter LIII.6-8, pp. 98-101).
In what you quoted, Jerome never says that the canon is limited to those books that you listed.

Later you quoted where he calls Sirach "Scripture", even though it's not in your list. So it can be what is called a non-exhaustive list.
 
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