Sources for the Deuterocanon


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One explanation for the term "peace" when Wisdom of Solomon complains that the idolators perform sinful acts and call them or the situation "peace", could be that it refers to Jerusalem or Salem in the OT, since "Salem" (Shalom in Hebrew) means peace. Wisdom is complaining especially about the practices of the idolatrous Canaanites and mentions child sacrifice in its complaints. Another explanation could be that it refers to the Pax Romana (Roman peace), but the Romans weren't sacrificing children still anymore in the 1st century.

Melito (c. 165 AD) considers it canonical, and Melito otherwise seems to restrict the OT canon to the rabbis' Tanakh, so his opinion seems to suggest that its Jewish author wrote in the pre-Christian period or at least without accepting Christianity. For him to mistakenly think it was an OT-era scripture, it would likely have been written in the 1st century AD or earlier, since he would have been born around the early 2nd century.

The Muratorian Canon puts it near the list of its canon, which suggests to me that the author of the Muratorian Canon may have considered it to have been written by Christians or in the NT era. However, by including it in its canon, the Muratorian fragment's author implied that he considered it to be from the OT era. Further, the Muratorian fragment doesn't have an OT section otherwise, so its OT canon is lost from the fragment or else the Muratorian canon never included a comprehensive OT canon list.

The fragment includes:
Moreover, the epistle of Jude and two of the above-mentioned (or, bearing the name of) John are counted (or, used) in the catholic [Church]; [7] and [the book of] Wisdom, (70) written by the friends [7a] of Solomon in his honour. (71) We receive only the apocalypses of John and Peter, (72) [7b] though some of us are not willing that the latter be read in church.

7b Tregelles suggests that the Latin translator of this document mistook the Greek Philonos "Philo" for philon "friends." Many in ancient times thought that the so-called "Wisdom of Solomon" was really written by Philo of Alexandria. —M.D.M.


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When I read chapter 15, the ending part was a bit curious for me as to whether it was talking about idol worship or Egyptian worship of animals (like crocodiles and bulls):

Verses 18-19: OSB Translation
The enemies of Your people worship the most hateful animals (or "living creatures"),
For they are worse than all others in stupidity.
Not even as animals are they so beautiful in appearance
That one would desire them,
But they escaped both the praise of God and His blessing.

Verses 1-3 extols dedication to God, and verses 4-17 complain about idolatry and how senseless it is. So when I read verses 18-19, I thought it might be talking about idolatry as well, either because the idols were in the form of animals (like a bull) or else that the idols, being ascribed life by their followers, could be called "animals/living creatures" in a metaphorical sense. This is because the writer complains about the worshipped animals' "stupidity", and an idol is unthinking.

But now I think that out of a contrasting symmetry with verses 1-3, the writer might be complaining about how the Israelites' Egyptian enemies worshiped animals like bulls, crocodiles, cats, and hawks. Sometimes in ancient Jewish writing there was a chiastic form that used symmetry so that the beginning and end of a passage had some common theme that differed from the rest of the text. In this case, a common theme could be worship of real living beings (God and animals), and the difference would be that the middle of the passage dealt with worship of inanimate idols. This is confirmed by the next chapter, where the author writes how the Egyptian enemies were punished by creatures like the animals being worshiped in Chapter 15, referring to the animal plagues in the Exodus.


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When I listened to Andrey Desnitsky's audio commentary on Wisdom of Solomon, he asserted that the author of the book was alluding to an event not in the OT when the book talked about the fire aimed at the Israelites' enemies. This shows up in Wisdom Chp. 16 that I read today:

Brenton's translation:
16. For the ungodly, that denied to know thee, were scourged by the strength of thine arm: with strange rains, hails, and showers, were they persecuted, that they could not avoid, and through fire were they consumed.
17. For, which is most to be wondered at, the fire had more force in the water, that quencheth all things: for the world fighteth for the righteous.
18. For sometime the flame was mitigated, that it might not burn up the beasts that were sent against the ungodly; but themselves might see and perceive that they were persecuted with the judgment of God.
The chapter continues about this fire.

The Orthodox Study Bible notes that this event is in Exodus 9:22-26, however. This passage says in part (KJV translation):
23. And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.
24. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.


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I finished reading Wisdom of Solomon in the sources that I was using. It ends in a nice way in Chapter 19 (NRSV):

For in everything, O Lord, you have exalted and glorified your people,
and you have not neglected to help them at all times and in all places.

The OSB (Chp. 19, v. 22)
For in everything, O Lord, You have exalted and glorified Your people,
And have not neglected to be present with them in every time and place.


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The Book of Tobit can be found in the DSS here:
It says in part:
Cave 4 has revealed remains of four Aramaic (4Q196-9) and one Hebrew (4Q200) manuscripts, of which two scrolls, the papyrus Tob a (196) and the leather Tob b (197), have yielded copious extracts. They all basically represent the Semitic original from which the longer Greek recension, attested by the fourth-century CE Codex Sinaiticus, and the Old Latin version were made.
- I read the 1st chapter in the DSS, Douay Rheims Bible, RUSV, Church Slavonic, and Orth. Study Bible.
- I read the 1st chapter in the Sinaiticus version (Preview version):
- I read the 1st chapter in the SInaiticus G2 and Vaticanus G1 versions in the NETS translation.

The NETS translation has both G1 (Vaticanus) and G2 (Sinaiticus) versions. It suggests that the G2 version (longer version of Tobit in Greek) is more original, based on the Qumran discoveries.
The introduction notes that older English translations like in the RSV and KJV used the G1 version, and newer translations like NRSV used the G2 version.

I found the Old Latin version online in Latin, but not an English translation of it.

The Douay Rheims version tends to be a close translation of Jerome's Vulgate. ( )


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For Chapters 3-4 of Tobit, I read the DSS, OSB, G2, G1, Douay Rheims, Russian Synodal, and Church Slavonic versions.

In the end of Chapter 4, Tobit tells his son Tobias, "I will inform you that I placed ten talents of Silver in trust with Gabaelos son of Gabri at Rhaga in Media." Thus he sends Tobias on a journey to Gabaelos son of Gabri for the silver. The archangel Raphael joins Tobias on the journey. The name Gabaelos son of Gabri feels to me an allusion to another archangel, Gabriel, who shows up in the Book of Daniel.


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I read the same sources for Chapter 5. There are two curious moments in it. One is that the story says that Tobias' dog went with him on his journey, and it's a curious detail as to whether the author gave it any special meaning. In Judaism, "dogs" seem to me to be a reference metaphorically to gentiles or to bad gentiles. The second moment is that Tobit asks Raphael what is name, family, and tribe are. Raphael answers that he is Azariah, the son of Hananiah the Great, Tobit's relative. Tobit replies that he knew Hananiah from going to make offerings at Jerusalem when the rest of his own tribe failed to worship at Jerusalem. This is a curious exchange, because it raises the issue of what is the relationship between the real person Azariah and the angel Raphael.
-- Is Raphel impersonating a real person, Azariah, who has a real life elsewhere?
-- Was Azariah's father Hananiah actually an angel whom Tobit knew when traveling to Jerusalem but mistakenly thought to be a normal man? That is, were Azariah and Hananiah actually both literal angels who held themselves out as men?
-- Is Raphael making up a name for himself (Azariah means God's help) and claiming to be the son of Hananiah the Great?
-- Is Raphael the angel entering into the body of the real, literal man Azariah and guiding Tobias, so that in effect Tobit and Tobias deal with both Azariah and to Raphael?