Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How did we get the Canon of Scripture?

Pope Damasus I convened the Council of Rome in 382AD which compiled an authoritative list of books for the Canon of Scripture. Later, the Council of Carthage (and also Hippo) in August 397AD would re-enforce the Council of Rome's list.  It's been said no actual documents exist from this Council other than information from a letter sent from Pope Damasus to a French/Gaulish bishop telling him of the books for the Sacred Canon. This Canon is the earliest list ever compiled and it is also the same as our modern day Catholic Bible. Here are the books:

The "Damasine list", issued by Pope Damasus I at the council of Rome 382AD, is as follows:
Old Testament
It is likewise decreed: Now, indeed, we must treat of the divine Scriptures: what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she must shun. The list of the Old Testament begins: Genesis, one book;Exodus, one book: Leviticus, one book;Numbers, one book; Deuteronomy, one book; Jesus Nave (Joshua), one book; of Judges, one book; Ruth, one book; of Kings, four books [First and Second Books of Kings,Third and Fourth Books of Kings]Paralipomenon (Chronicles), two books; One Hundred and Fifty Psalms, one book; of Solomon, three books: Proverbs, one book; Ecclesiastes, one book; Canticle of Canticles (Song of Songs), one book; likewise, Wisdom (of Solomon), one book; Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), one book;
Likewise, the list of the Prophets: Isaiah, one book; Jeremias (Jeremiah) (with Baruch), one book; along with Cinoth (Lamentations); Ezechiel, one book; Daniel, one book; Osee (Hosea), one book; Amos, one book; Micheas (Micah), one book; Joel, one book; Abdias (Obadiah), one book; Jonas, one book; Nahum, one book; Habacuc (Habakkuk), one book; Sophonias (Zephaniah), one book; Aggeus (Haggai), one book; Zacharias, one book; Malachias (Malachi), one book.
Likewise, the list of histories: Job, one book; Tobias (Tobit), one book; Esdras (Ezra), two books; Esther, one book; Judith, one book; ofMaccabees, two books.
New Testament
Likewise, the list of the Scriptures of the New and Eternal Testament, which the holy and Catholic Church receives: of the Gospels, one book according to Matthew, one book according to Mark, one bookaccording to Luke, one book according to John. The Epistles of the Apostle Paul, fourteen in number: one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians [First Epistle to the Corinthians and Second Epistle to the Corinthians], one to the Ephesians, two to the Thessalonians [First Epistle to the Thessalonians and Second Epistle to the Thessalonians], one to the Galatians, one to the Philippians, one to theColossians, two to Timothy [First Epistle to Timothy and Second Epistle to Timothy], one to Titus, one to Philemon, one to the Hebrews.
Likewise, one book of the Apocalypse of John. And the Acts of the Apostles, one book.
Likewise, the canonical Epistles, seven in number: of the Apostle Peter, two Epistles [First Epistle of Peter and Second Epistle of Peter]; of the Apostle James, one Epistle; of the Apostle John, oneEpistle; of the other John, a Presbyter, two Epistles [Second Epistle of John and Third Epistle of John]; of the Apostle Jude the Zealot, one Epistle. Thus concludes the canon of the New Testament.
Likewise it is decreed: After the announcement of all of these prophetic and evangelic or as well as apostolic writings which we have listed above as Scriptures, on which, by the grace of God, the Catholic Church is founded, we have considered that it ought to be announced that although all the Catholic Churches spread abroad through the world comprise but one bridal chamber of Christ, nevertheless, the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other Churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall have loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

I don't know how anyone can foster the strength necessary to perform the mental gymnastics required to argue around this evidence. See, the WHOLE Church, the Universal/Catholic Church headed by the Pope and NOT some random "church leaders of the time" convened in 3 sacred councils to determine the Canon of Scripture for ALL Christians to use. And 12 centuries after this fact, (15 centuries if you count before the councils because the 7 OT books in question were used as Scripture by Jesus and the Apostles in the Septuagint), comes along ONE solitary, fallible, anti-semitic, overly-scrupulous, deranged monk named Martin Luther (I am biased), who managed to delude all the Council's work with his fallible decree (God help him if he had his way on the NT books he wanted to remove too) on what the three Councils (Rome (382),Hippo (393), and Carthage (397)) infallibly decreed. All of the 7 Old Testament books are there in their entirety and they're listed in the Canon of all 3 Councils. I highlighted them in RED above to make them easier. Protestants call these 7 OT books the "Apocrypha" when since the Council of Trent in the 16th century, we've called them Deuterocanonical, meaning "secondarily canonical". The Universal Church had to re-enforce the previous 3 Councils and say "yes these books are still part of the Canon even though you Protestants reject them and have removed them." That's why Protestants love to falsely say that at Trent the terrible Roman Catholic Church "added" books to the Bible. That's incorrect and horribly inaccurate. Trent was a defense of doctrine council, just like when the Church defined Transubstantiation, Mary's Immaculate Conception and Assumption, Jesus' Divinity, etc. 

The book of Enoch is a apocryphal book. The Gospel of Peter is an apocryphal book. The 7 OT books Luther removed are called Scripture. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I think it's reasonable and safe to say the Bible is a Catholic book clearly given to the Church by God. The other buckets of water got it from the big bucket of water (elements of truth in the Protestant denominations). The Jewish canon was all over the place. The Sadducee's had a different canon than the Pharisees. One Jewish group only used the Torah while the other used the prophets and history books. Also, the Sadducee's didn't believe in the resurrection while the Pharisee's did. And plus, there were Jews who did use the Septuagint. Jesus and the Apostles being some of them. If you look at when Jesus quotes the OT, you'll notice if you try looking it up in the OT part of your Bible, it doesn't quite match word for word. That's because Jesus and the NT writers are quoting from the Septuagint. Also, the Essenes had in their collection now known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, most, if not all, of the 7 OT "Apocryphal" books missing from Luther's fallible canon. Knowing this truth, it's IMPOSSIBLE to accept Luther's canon.   

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