People don’t talk much about the deuterocanon these days. The folks who do are mostly Christians, and they usually fall into two general groupings: Catholics — who usually don’t know their Bibles very well and, therefore, don’t know much about the deuterocanonical books, and Protestants — who may know their Bibles a bit better, though their Bibles don’t have the deuterocanonical books in them anyway, so they don’t know anything about them either. With the stage thus set for informed ecumenical dialogue, it’s no wonder most people think the deuterocanon is some sort of particle weapon recently perfected by the Pentagon.
The deuterocanon (ie. “second canon”) is a set of seven books — Sirach, Tobit, Wisdom, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and Baruch, as well as longer versions of Daniel and Esther — that are found in the Old Testament canon used by Catholics, but are not in the Old Testament canon used by Protestants, who typically refer to them by the pejorative term “apocrypha.” This group of books is called “deuterocanonical” not (as some imagine) because they are a “second rate” or inferior canon, but because their status as being part of the canon of Scripture was settled later in time than certain books that always and everywhere were regarded as Scripture, such as Genesis, Isaiah, and Psalms.
Why are Protestant Bibles missing these books? Protestants offer various explanations to explain why they reject the deuterocanonical books as Scripture. I call these explanations “myths” because they are either incorrect or simply inadequate reasons for rejecting these books of Scripture. Let’s explore the five most common of these myths and see how to respond to them. . . . ( Continue reading.)