Sources for the Deuterocanon


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I feel familiar with the OT Protocanon, but not the Deuterocanon, which I've never read. There are several somewhat independent sources for the Deuterocanon like there are for the Protocanon (eg. Dead Sea Scrolls, LXX, and Masoretic). So I am starting to read the Deuterocanon for the first time. I don't know Greek, Hebrew, Latin, or Aramaic, unfortunately. But I have a good handle on Russian and Church Slavonic.

- Psalm 151 is in the Orthodox Study Bible and in other translations that use the Septuagint.

It was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls in Hebrew as Psalm 151 A-B, and a shorter version shows up in the Greek LXX. There is also a Syriac Peshitta version that seems to be a translation from this shorter Greek version.

- A version that uses the Septuagint and the Syriac Peshitta can be found here:
I take it that it's from W. Wright, “Some Apocryphal Psalms in Syriac.” (1886-1887), which the page mentions.

- Peter Flint's Bible Odyssey site gives a note showing an argument for Psalm 151 being canonical:
The discovery of Psalms 151A and 151B among the Qumran scrolls is important for several reasons. As in the Septuagint, the Great Psalms Scroll Psalter ends with Psalm 151. Although the Hebrew text differs from the Greek in many ways, this “Qumran Psalter” shows that by the Common Era some Jews were using a collection of Psalms that also closed with Psalm 151.
Flint posts both a translation from the DSS and one from the LXX at the link above.

- The NRSV with footnotes can be found here:

- Brenton's LXX translation is here:

- English and Greek share some words and word roots by both being Centum languages and by virtue of Greek being a major academic language for English for centuries. The Unsettled Christianity blog owner gives the text for the NETS translation and has his own personal translation for the Psalm. He translates David's words about being small as "runt". That didn't sound right, so I looked at the Greek text and saw that it says "micros". Due to Greek's partial similarity with English, I can immediately see that micros means small. That one also does not look like a good translation because it says that David's hands made "music", whereas the Greek says "organ", meaning a musical instrument or musical pipe like other translations say. Organ in Greek must be related to the piano-like English wind instrument called an "organ". (

- The Russian Synodal translation and Church Slavonic are here: and here:

I find interlinear translations helpful for precision.

The opening line and my quick low quality interlinear translation:
οὗτος ὁ ψαλμὸς ἰδιόγραφος εἰς Δαυιδ καὶ ἔξωθεν τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ ὅτε ἐμονομάχησεν τῷ Γολιαδ
This the Psalm self-writing from David and outside the number -- single-fighting Goliath.

Idio means self, as in the Greek word idiographos in the line above or in the English word idiomorphic. The English prefix means peculiar, separate, unique, as in idiomatic, idiosyncratic.
"Emono" and "Makhos" in the line above refer to single and fighting. Mono means single as in Monogamy in English. I recognize Makhos from the EO blog called Monomakhos.

The Orthodox Study Bible has a decent quality translation:
"This is a psalm written with David's own hand, although outside the number, when he fought in single combat with Goliath."

The NETS (New English Translation of the Septuagint) has:
"This Psalm is autographical. Regarding Dauid and outside the number."

I like that the NETS translation calls David "Dauid," because I like precision. But it doesn't mention single combat with Goliath. I am wondering if the omission is just a manuscript issue.

Brenton's LXX has:
"This Psalm is a genuine of David, though supernumerary, composed when he fought in single combat with Goliad."

Peter Flint gives this translation, which he probably bases in part on the DSS:
"This psalm is autographical, ascribed to David (but outside the number), after he had fought with Goliath in single combat."


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Psalm 151 is a bit of a mysterious Psalm for a present day reader like me, separated by 2000+ years from its authorship. Some issues arise:
- What was its original language? Comparing the DSS version with the LXX version, it looks like the Hebrew DSS version is more original. Hebrew is thus likely the original language.
- Was it really written by David like its opening inscription says? It seems pretty hard to say today whether he authored it. One might know Hebrew well enough to check whether it has Greek-based words that must have come from the Hellenistic period, or if there are other clues that it has a version or style of Hebrew that came much later than David.
- Is it canonical in Orthodoxy?
---- The 17th century Synod of Jerusalem approved Psalm 151 as canonical, but that Synod, although very influential for the Greek Tradition was only a Local Council and didn't control the Slavic Orthodox Tradition.
----- The lists approved by the Trullo Council, affirmed by the 7th Ecumenical Council, say that they accept the book of Psalms as canonical, and the Greek LXX that the Eastern Church used had 151 Psalms, but most those lists probably did not get into the debate over whether the book of Psalms had 151 Psalms or not.
---- The canon lists approved by the Trullo Council may include lists that approve of Psalm 151:
The scope of the deuterocanonical portion of the Greek Bible has never been as clearly defined as it became in the Latin tradition (@1.1.4), though today a loosely fixed set of ten such books is generally accepted. The core group of books was the same as in the Latin church: Tobit, Judith, 1–2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, and Sirach, along with the additional sections of Daniel, Esther, and Jeremiah (i.e., Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah). Other books or additions to books—such as 3 Maccabees, the Odes, Psalm 151, 3 Ezra (= 1 Esdras / LXX Esdras A), and, less frequently, 4 Maccabees and the Psalms of Solomon—also appear in Greek manuscripts and are often considered today a part of the so-called LXX-canon.
As for the Apostolic Canons, the edition by Metzger refers to 151 psalms, supported by a Latin fragment (designated FV, sixth century) and ms Vaticanus gr. 1506 (designated “d,” dated 1024); Metzger, Constitutions Apostoliques, 3.308. But an important Greek manuscript (Vaticanus gr. 839, tenth century, designated “a”) mentions 150 psalms.
The Synopsis of Ps.-Athanasius makes clear—what is only implicit in other sources—that the reference to Esdras includes two books (= 3 Ezra / 1 Esdras and Ezra- Nehemiah; PG 28.285c), that the Psalter has 151 psalms (PG 28.285d), that the book of Daniel includes the deuterocanonical sections,98 and that the book of Jeremiah includes not only Lamentations but also Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah (PG 28.364c–65a).
Psalm 151 is not used liturgically, but a verse of this psalm serves as a prokeimenon; see 223, n. 29; Constantelos, “Holy Scriptures,” 81.
The Trullo Council says that it accepts the canons of Athanasius and of other fathers, but I don't know if Athanasius made just a single canon list in his writings. (


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The Wisdom of Solomon chapter in the OSB has nice footnotes and editorial introductory descriptions.

For Chp. 1, I read:
- The OSB (Orthodox Study Bible.
- The Brenton translation. It looks like it's good quality. I like precision in translation.
- The NRSV ( 1&version=NRSV)
- The NETS (
- The Russian Synodal version.
- Church Slavonic version

The first line goes in Greek:
Ἀγαπήσατε δικαιοσύνην οἱ κρίνοντες τὴν γῆν φρονήσατε περὶ τοῦ κυρίου ἐν ἀγαθότητι καὶ ἐν ἁπλότητι καρδίας ζητήσατε αὐτόν
Love righteousness judges of the earth, think about the Lord in kindness and in a simple heart seek him.


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Chapter 2 in the Wisdom of Solomon, which I read the same sources on, is considered by some to prefigure Christ because it talks about how a righteous man comes into the world and gets persecuted by opponents who seek materialistic earthly pleasures.


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I also read those same sources as above for Chapter 3 of the Wisdom of Solomon. The main idea is an assertion that the righteous survive even fatal persecution and in a sense are protected from it even if they undergo it.


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In Chapter 4 verse 10 of the Wisdom of Solomon, the OSB suggests that the unnamed righteous man who was taken up was Enoch. However, I recall another commentary theorizing that the chapter is talking about how good people can die prematurely and yet this protects them from evil people hurting them more. The interpretation and translation in the OSB goes along with the NETS translation, but not as much as some others.


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Chapter 5 of the Wisdom of Solomon says that the righteous have salvation, whereas the wicked recognize that their own path passes away like dust in the wind. Verse 3 mentions them repenting. For Chapters 4-5, I read the same versions as before.

The Church Slavonic says for verse 11 has the unrighteous compare themselves to birds flying through the air, using the word "aera", whereas the modern Russian translation says "vozdukh" for the word air. Here is the Church Slavonic:
или́ я́ко пти́цы, прелета́ющiя по а́еру, ни еди́но обрѣта́ется зна́менiе пути́, я́звою же смуща́яй бiе́мый ду́хъ ле́гкiй,


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Will these type Canon bring better understanding of all that led up to the New Testament Canon?
Yes. Sometimes the NT alludes to the Deuterocanon, like the pharisees' question about the 7 deceased husbands of a widow, which refers to the story of Tobit. Tobit was a young Israelite in exile who saved and married a widow who had been widowed seven times.
Yes. Sometimes the NT alludes to the Deuterocanon, like the pharisees' question about the 7 deceased husbands of a widow, which refers to the story of Tobit. Tobit was a young Israelite in exile who saved and married a widow who had been widowed seven times.
That's a lot of 7's. Numbers have meaning in Judaism.
There's a deeper story there in Tobit maybe?


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That's a lot of 7's. Numbers have meaning in Judaism.
There's a deeper story there in Tobit maybe?
Right. 7 can mean completeness, and there were 7 days on which God maybe the world, with God resting on the 7th day. In Orthodox Christianity, the "8th day" has the concept of God remaking or renewing the world, or a performing a "New Creation". Jesus rose on the 8th day of His entrance into Jerusalem- the 8th day of "Holy Week", while resting on the 7th day, Holy Saturday. The 7 husbands in Tobit's story could be like 7 days of the normal earthly Creation week, with Tobias' marriage being Sarah's 8th.

Here is the relevant verse in Mark:

Mark 12:20​

18 Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) also came to him and asked him, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us: ‘If a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, that man must marry the widow and father children for his brother.’ 20 There were seven brothers. The first one married, and when he died he had no children. 21 The second married her and died without any children, and likewise the third. 22 None of the seven had children. Finally, the woman died too.


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The DSS version of Psalm 151 is in Hebrew here in the right column, whereas the Greek is in the left column:


The first Hebrew line above says word for word:
"Hallelujah of David Son Jesse"

Sander's translation of the Hebrew into English for this line goes:
"A Hallelujah of David the Son of Jesse."

A translation by the DSS Electronic Library at the link above goes:
"Hallelujah! A psalm of David, son of Jesse."

I find Sander's translation better than the DSS Electronic Library's, because the Hebrew does not use the word Psalm, but rather speaks more literally of a "Hallelujah of David".


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I read the same translations for Wisdom, Chp 6 as for Chp. 5. The text starts to focus a lot on the nature of Wisdom, like when it says in Verse 12,
"Wisdom is radiant and unfading
and is easily discerned by those who love her
and found by those who seek her..."
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I read the same sources for Wisdom Chp. 7 as those above.

An interlinear text with English and the LXX is here:

The first verse in Chapter 7 goes in Greek, with this word by word meaning:
"εἰμὶ μὲν κἀγὼ θνητὸς ἄνθρωπος ἴσος ἅπασιν
καὶ γηγενοῦς ἀπόγονος πρωτοπλάστου
καὶ ἐν κοιλίᾳ μητρὸς ἐγλύφην σὰρξ"

I am accordingly also mortal man, equal to everything
And earth-generated progeny of the first-formed
And in womb of mother, [I was] engraved flesh

Now I also am a mortal, the same as all men,​
And earthborn, a descendant of the first-formed man;​
For in the womb of a mother I was engraved as flesh.​

I also am mortal, like everyone else,​
a descendant of the first-formed child of earth;​
and in the womb of a mother I was molded into flesh,​
Brenton's LXX
1. I myself also am a mortal man, like to all,​
and the offspring of him that was first made of the earth,​
2. And in my mother's womb was fashioned to be flesh​

1. I myself also am a mortal man, like to all,​
and the offspring of him that was first made of the earth,​
2. And in my mother's womb was fashioned to be flesh​
1. I myself also am a mortal man, like to all,​
and the offspring of him that was first made of the earth,​
2. And in my mother's womb was fashioned to be flesh​

Russian Synodal
1. И я человек смертный, подобный всем,​
потомок первозданного земнородного.​
2. И я в утробе матерней образовался в плоть​

Church Slavonic
1. Е́смь бо и а́зъ человѣ́къ сме́ртенъ, подо́бенъ всѣ́мъ​
и земноро́днаго вну́къ первозда́ннаго:​
2. и во чре́вѣ ма́терни изобрази́хся пло́ть​

OSB and NRSV seem comparable in quality for the first line. Brenton's looks decent too. NETS's explanatory section said that it uses the NRSV as a guide.

NETS and Brenton must be using the KJV for the phrase
"offspring of him that was first made of the earth,"
But the OSB looks the most precise for this phrase, which the OSB puts as: "And earthborn, a descendant of the first-formed man;"
The Church Slavonic shares the same word order here as the OSB, saying "And of the earthborn, grandson of the first-formed".
OSB and Church Slavonic look the most exact here.

OSB did a good job with the word "engraved as flesh" (eglyphen in Greek).
The Russian Synodal uses a phrase (obrazovalsya v plot') meaning "formed in flesh". It's a bit like Brenton's, the KJV, and NETS.


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I read the same sources for Chp. 8 of Wisdom as for those above. One little issue that comes up in Chapter 8 is whether the narrator's soul pre-existed his body. A common idea in pagan Greek thought was that the soul pre-existed the human body and entered into it at birth. In contrast, the typical patristic Christian idea became the idea that the soul is created at the same time as the body.

People who have read Chapter 8 of Wisdom sometimes have different interpretations of verses 19-20 on that account:

19. παῖς δὲ ἤμην εὐφυὴς ψυχῆς
τε ἔλαχον ἀγαθῆς
20. μᾶλλον δὲ ἀγαθὸς ὢν ἦλθον εἰς σῶμα ἀμίαντον

Word by word translation
19. Child though I was good/well-grown soul and received by lot good
20. rather/more though/while good was, came into body unstained

Here is a good interlinear English-Greek online Bible:

19. As a child I was good by nature and received a good soul;
20. And much more, since I was good, I entered an undefiled body.

OSB Footnote:
Orthodox theology teaches that the body is the outer covering or "tent" of the soul (2Pt 1:13), and that together they comprise the human person. The soul is inherently good and comes into being at the time of conception (see Zec 12:1).

Brenton's LXX
For I was a witty child, and had a good spirit.
Yea rather, being good, I came into a body undefiled.

19. As a child I was naturally gifted,
and a good soul fell to my lot,
20. or rather, being good,
I entered an undefiled body.

I was a naturally clever child;
and I obtained a good soul as my lot,
or rather, being good,
I entered an undefiled body.

Russian Synodal
19. Я был отрок даровитый и душу получил добрую;
20. притом, будучи добрым, я вошел и в тело чистое.
("I was a gifted child and received a good soul; and thereby, being good, I entered a pure body")

When he says in verse 19 that he was a good-natured child and received a good soul by lot, one might imagine that as a matter of grammar, this means that he first existed and got a good soul, implying that he existed before he got the soul. However, if one interprets this aspect verse 19 as just a metaphor or manner of speech, then one might interpret his "coming into" an undefiled body as also not necessarily implying that he pre-existed his body. So it seems unclear whether the author means that he pre-existed his soul and that his soul pre-existed his body when it says that he got a good soul and entered a good body, or if these expressions don't conflict with the concept of the soul and body being created simultaneously and together.


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Chapter 9 is Solomon's prayer to God for Wisdom, and I read it in the same 6 sources as above (OSB, NRSV, NETS, Brenton, Russian Synodal, Church Slavonic). It ends by asserting:
17. And thy counsel who hath known, except thou give wisdom, and send thy Holy Spirit from above?
18. For so the ways of them which lived on the earth were reformed, and men were taught the things that are pleasing unto thee, and were saved through wisdom.


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I read the same sources for Wisdom, Chapter 10. It starts with history from Adam through to Moses, applying the concept of Divine Wisdom to the experience of generations of people, showing how Wisdom helped and protected them.


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I read Chapter 11 in the same 6 sources. It uses the sojourn of the Israelites in the desert to describe how in fact God loves and protects everything, because he made it and could destroy it all and could do whatever he wanted to it. It notices that whereas the Israelites got water from a rock, the Israelites got a fountain of an every flowing river stirred and defiled by blood in rebuke for the Egyptian killing of infants. The chapter theorizes
"For through the very things by which their enemies were punished, they themselves received benefit in their need."
It considers God's punishment for His children to be disciplining in mercy and testing like a parent in warning, whereas the ungodly were examined in condemnation like by a stern king.

Wisdom 11:10:
τούτους μὲν γὰρ ὡς πατὴρ νουθετῶν ἐδοκίμασας
This (one) first of all for as a father, while warning, assesses
ἐκείνους δὲ ὡς ἀπότομος βασιλεὺς καταδικάζων ἐξήτασας
that (those others) though as an abrupt king, while condemning, examines