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Author Topic: Number of books in O.O. Bibles?  (Read 4307 times) Average Rating: 0
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Eugenio
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« on: June 04, 2007, 11:15:15 PM »

Hello once again with a question from a too-unlearned neophyte. Again, if this question has been answered somewhere else, please point me in that direction.

In my brief readings of the Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches, I seem to recall that each has a different number of books in their Bibles than the Eastern Orthodox. If I recall correctly, their "Apocrypha" (the books at the back of the Old Testament) is even larger than those in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

Is this true? If so, where could I get my hands on these books? I'd be interested in reading them.  Does the split between the Oriental Orthodox and Chalcedonian churches pre-date an agreement on the books of the Bible?
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2007, 11:20:37 PM »

 Shocked

There's an agreement on the canon of Scripture?!
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Eugenio
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2007, 11:23:00 PM »

Well, I thought there was until Martin Luther came along...

 Roll Eyes
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2007, 11:42:29 PM »

Click the "canon of scriptures" tag below and you will see some threads dealing with this.  I think the Ethiopians have the most expansive canon, including Enoch and perhaps one or two other books. 
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2007, 07:44:33 AM »

Quote
Well, I thought there was until Martin Luther came along...

Nah, Luther was just one of the more extreme people. The Epistle of James hadn't really been disputed since the mid-4th century, for example. Then again, the revered John of Damascus had a different NT canon in the 8th century than most of the rest of his Church (in his work ironically titled Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 4, 17), so maybe Luther gets more heat than he deserves. Another interesting bit, if it wasn't for Luther and those who followed him, the Catholics still might not have dogmatized their canon (as they did at Trent in reaction to the Protestant Reformation). After all, there had certainly been "protests" of Catholic dogma before that (e.g., at Basle, the Council that took place shortly before Ferrara-Florence), and there was no sign of getting all dogmatic with the canon.
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Peter J
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2007, 09:55:22 AM »

Another interesting bit, if it wasn't for Luther and those who followed him, the Catholics still might not have dogmatized their canon (as they did at Trent in reaction to the Protestant Reformation).

Not dogmatized; just made official.
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2007, 10:05:48 AM »

Well, Trent anathematizes those who disagree, so I'd consider it more than just official, but maybe I just understand/use the words differently. It doesn't really matter either way, as far as what I was saying goes Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2007, 10:44:28 AM »

Well, Trent anathematizes those who disagree, so I'd consider it more than just official, but maybe I just understand/use the words differently. It doesn't really matter either way, as far as what I was saying goes Smiley

That's a good point. ("But if any one receive not, as sacred and canonical, the said books entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition; and knowingly and deliberately contemn the traditions aforesaid; let him be anathema." -Trent) Perhaps my "made official" doesn't go far enough.

However, I don't believe it would even be possible to dogmatically define which books are in the Sacred Scriptures -- in much the same way as it wouldn't be possible to dogmatically define how many ecumenical councils there have been, or how many papal statement have been ex cathedra.

So I guess the truth lies somewhere in between "made official" and "dogmatized".

-PJ
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Didymus
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2007, 01:48:50 AM »

Eugenio, may I please ask which Church you attend?

Not even the Greeks, Serbians and Russians (who are all EO) have the same Canon of Holy Scripture when it comes to the Deuterocanonical books and they are not all at the back of the Old Testament. (Many are throughout the OT.)

I have a list of books in Ethiopian Canon which was given me by an Ethiopian Orthodox priest if you are interested. It also includes books of Church Order in (or perhaps after seems they're at the end) the New Testament.

In short, there has never been an agreed Canon of Holy Scripture throughout the entire Christian Church. The Canon is fluid and decided by the Bishops.

Also, what ought to be in the Canon can be debated. For example 2 Esdras is in the historical English Canon (although rejected by Rome) and it is received by Russia and the Ethiopians yet it is well known that parts of it are fake and support certain heresies. Nonetheless, large parts of it also contain very pious (in the good sense of the word) teachings which Christians can and ought to learn from.
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Eugenio
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2007, 10:44:11 AM »

Didymus, I attend a church in the Greek Archdiocese of America, although I'm not of Greek ethnic origin.

Lately, I've been curious about this issue, as this seems to be a raging, red-hot topic not just in Orthodoxy, but in the U.S. (Pagel's "Gnostic Gospels" claptrap, the "Gospel of Judas", etc.).

To me, these discrepancies in agreed-upon canon are the Achille's heel of the "sola scriptura" argument. "Sola scriptura, eh?  Huh So, who agreed upon the "scriptura"?
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Eugenio
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2007, 10:49:56 AM »

Didymus wrote:

"I have a list of books in Ethiopian Canon which was given me by an Ethiopian Orthodox priest if you are interested."

Yes, I'm interested!  Grin

"It also includes books of Church Order in (or perhaps after seems they're at the end) the New Testament."

Really? You mean that there are even books in the N.T. that are not used by all churches?  Shocked
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Didymus
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« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2007, 11:36:28 AM »

Eugenio, in regards to the Holy Gospels, remember this:

St. Matthew and the man
St. Mark and the lion
St. Luke and the calf
St. John and the eagle

Our local Church is called The Four Living Creatures so this is something we learn fairly quickly  Wink

As to the Ethiopian Orthodox Scriptural Canon, the list the priest wrote me looks like this:

Old Testament

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Ruth, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Jubilee, Enoch, Ezra & Nehemiah, 2nd Ezra & Ezra, Tobit, Judith, Esther, 1 Macabees, 2 & 3 Macabees, Job, Psalms, Reproof, Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Sirach, Isiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Joseph ben Gurion, Proverbs, Sutuel

(This list is exactly as I received it [except for not being entirely in capital letters and being in a line rather than columns] and includes any mistakes or errors which I may have received. I don't know where Lamentations or Baruch are unless they come under some other name or are connected with Jeremiah. Any tips on this from Ethiopians please?)

New Testament

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts of the Apostles, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, James, Jude, Revelation

Books of Church Order

The Order of Zion
Commandments
Gitzen
Abtils
2 Books of The Covenant
Clement
Didascalia
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Didymus
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2009, 11:33:41 AM »

Eugenio,

Are you still posting on these forums these days?
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2009, 12:26:25 PM »

Eugenio,

Are you still posting on these forums these days?

He's been online in the last 5 days.  You may want to send a PM to re-establish contact or to encourage a response in this thread.
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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2009, 12:08:11 PM »

Christ is risen from the dead
With great power and authority
He has put satan in chains
He has set adam free
Peace! Henceforth is happiness and peace!

(Hymn from St. Yared)

Eugenio, in regards to the Holy Gospels, remember this:
(This list is exactly as I received it [except for not being entirely in capital letters and being in a line rather than columns] and includes any mistakes or errors which I may have received. I don't know where Lamentations or Baruch are unless they come under some other name or are connected with Jeremiah. Any tips on this from Ethiopians please?)


My Amharic bible has the following 18 Deuterocanonical books only:
Ezra Sutuel
2 Ezra
Tobit
Judith
Additions to Esther (Terefe Aster)
1 Macabees
2 Macabees
3 Macabees
Sirach
Prayer of Manasse
Addition to Jeremiah (Terefe Ermias)
Story of Sussana (Sossina)
Baruch
Wisdom
Song of the three children
Addition to Daniel (Terefe Daniel)
Jubilees (Kufale)
Henoch (Enoch)

Regards,

Hiywot
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Didymus
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« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2009, 02:03:18 PM »

Christ is risen from the dead
With great power and authority
He has put satan in chains
He has set adam free
Peace! Henceforth is happiness and peace!

(Hymn from St. Yared)

Eugenio, in regards to the Holy Gospels, remember this:
(This list is exactly as I received it [except for not being entirely in capital letters and being in a line rather than columns] and includes any mistakes or errors which I may have received. I don't know where Lamentations or Baruch are unless they come under some other name or are connected with Jeremiah. Any tips on this from Ethiopians please?)


My Amharic bible has the following 18 Deuterocanonical books only:
Ezra Sutuel
2 Ezra
Tobit
Judith
Additions to Esther (Terefe Aster)
1 Macabees
2 Macabees
3 Macabees
Sirach
Prayer of Manasse
Addition to Jeremiah (Terefe Ermias)
Story of Sussana (Sossina)
Baruch
Wisdom
Song of the three children
Addition to Daniel (Terefe Daniel)
Jubilees (Kufale)
Henoch (Enoch)

Regards,

Hiywot

Lovely hymn! The connection with several ancient Western ones gives an idea of how the mind of the early Church was unified in the Spirit.

It seems as though your Amharic Bible could have been published by Protestants.
Only Protestants refer to "Additions to Esther". Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians refer to these as part of Esther or at most the Rest of Esther. Likewise, the History of Susana, the Song of the Three Holy Children and Bel and the Dragon (which your reckoning appears to deem "Addition to Daniel") are all considered to be part of Daniel by all ancient Churches.
Sadly, it is not an uncommon trick for Protestants to adopt texts similar to those used by native Orthodox Churches when attempting to convert the simple faithful people.
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« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2009, 07:49:14 AM »

It seems as though your Amharic Bible could have been published by Protestants.
Only Protestants refer to "Additions to Esther". Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians refer to these as part of Esther or at most the Rest of Esther. Likewise, the History of Susana, the Song of the Three Holy Children and Bel and the Dragon (which your reckoning appears to deem "Addition to Daniel") are all considered to be part of Daniel by all ancient Churches.

Didymus,

Thank you for your comment. The Amharic bible with its deuterocanonical books was published not by Protestants. It was the work of a committee of very high level of Tewahido scholars assigned by the patriarchate.  The use of the term “addition” is my own mistake in translation. I put the Amharic equivalent in bracket because I myself was doubtful of the term. Now after reading your post I have realized that the Amharic “Terefe” is best translated as “The rest”. Therefore, 

'Terefe Ermias' is 'The rest of Jeremiah'
'Terefe Aster' is 'The rest of Esther'
'Terefe Daniel' is 'The rest of Daniel'

Thank you once again.

Hiywot


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Eugenio
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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2009, 02:13:38 PM »

Wow! This is an old thread, but I'm glad you've revived it, Didymus. Your answer was very interesting. I don't think churches in the communions that accept Chalcedon have the following books in the Old Testament:
Reproof
Joseph ben Gurion
Sutuel

And I'm really curious - what are the "Books of Church Order"? You listed the following:

The Order of Zion
Commandments
Gitzen
Abtils
2 Books of The Covenant
Clement
Didascalia

Does anyone know where I could get a copy of these books?
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Eugenio
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« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2009, 02:15:35 PM »

One more question:

Is there a difference between the Egyptian (Coptic) and Ethiopian churches in regard to the number of books accepted in the Old and New Testament Canons?
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« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2009, 06:37:42 PM »

Is there a difference between the Egyptian (Coptic) and Ethiopian churches in regard to the number of books accepted in the Old and New Testament Canons?

Yes, the Coptic Church follows the same canon as the Catholic Church.
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« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2009, 08:40:45 PM »

I have a question about that.  In the Armenian canon we have three Maccabees.  I've heard that the Copts only have two.  Is that true? 
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« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2009, 09:09:30 PM »

I have a question about that.  In the Armenian canon we have three Maccabees.  I've heard that the Copts only have two.  Is that true?

And I think that the Russians have four of them, correct?
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« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2009, 09:19:24 PM »

This issue of a flexible canon really gets to the heart of criticisms of Protestantism, and it's selection of what constitutes as Holy Scripture.  If the local churches are free to decide on more controversial books, then how can we berate them for only holding to what was universally accepted as being Scripture?  It just seems like a weak critique in some ways, since as of yet there is still no agreement on what can be held as Holy Scripture.

Oh, well!
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« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2009, 09:25:00 PM »

And I think that the Russians have four of them, correct?

The fourth is only in an appendix, not in the canon proper.

And no, Copts do not have the 3rd one afaik.
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« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2009, 10:55:48 AM »

And I'm really curious - what are the "Books of Church Order"? You listed the following:
The Order of Zion
Commandments
Gitzen
Abtils
2 Books of The Covenant
Clement
Didascalia

Our books of church order are: Synodos, Didascalia and Book of covenant. Synodos includes Clement, Abtelis, Apostolic constitutions, Nicene canons, and Homilies of John Chrysostome.

Hiywot
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« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2009, 12:57:58 AM »

AAAGGHHH! Now the Ethiopians have even more books!

I'd like to ask this once and for all. Just how 'closed' is the Canon of Scripture? Obviously not completely. So...are there different levels of authority? Or is it just not revealed, and we shouls trust that God guides His Church. Is there a difference between the NT and the OT?
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« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2009, 01:21:39 AM »

I don't think there has ever been a point in time in history when all Christians in all parts of the world all had the exact same Old Testament.  This could be troublesome to a person who believes the Church is founded on the Bible.  However, we Orthodox believe that our Church is built upon Christ Himself.  He is our Foundation.  Therefore, even if there are some differences in our Old Testament canons, we all hold the same faith, as our Church is ultimately built on the same Christ.

I wouldn't let the differences in canons confuse you too much.  Most of the books are the same in all the different Churches. 

With regard to authority, and which parts are more important, I've been told there are different levels, with the Gospels being the most important part of the Bible.  It is my understanding that in the Armenian Church, it is a book holding only the four Gospels which actually rests on the altar.
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