Saturday, September 15, 2012

Catholic’s “Extra Books” in their Bible? Part I

Historical Development of the “Septuagint (LXX) Old Testament” (Greek Translation)
By c.pio

Mr. Juanito Galang my Born-Again Christian friend once asked me that, why we, Catholics has an Extra-Books in our bible? Mr. Galang belongs to a Christian denomination in Bulacan administer by Dr. Allan San Juan (a friend of mine also); both of them are very humble persons. They are not a typical Anti-Catholic Fundamentalist to be exact. J

So today, I will try to illustrate (in as simple way as possible) on how we come up with two known Old Testament collection (the Hebrew Text with 39 books (known as Masoretic Text) and the Greek Text: the Septuagint (LXX) with 46 books)

Historical and Geographical Background for the Development of the Two Old Testament text.

The roots of the double Old Testament text ( Masoretic Hebrew Text and Greek Text) in history center on the beginning of the Diaspora or dispersion of the Jewish communities outside Israel about 600 BC. This occurred at the time of the Babylonian Captivity—the invasion of the Israelites by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar about 605 BC, Jews began to split into three groups:

(a) Some Israelites were taken into captivity (as Babylonian’s captives):

2 Kings 24:10-12 Then Jehoiachin, king of Judah [...] surrendered to the king of Babylon, who, in the eighth year of his reign, took him captive.

2 Kings 25:1–7 In the tenth month of the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon [...] advanced against Jerusalem [...] The king was therefore arrested ... (Nebuchadnezzar) blinded Zedekiah, bound him with fetters, and had him brought to Babylon.

2 Chr 36:20 Those who escaped the sword he carried captive to Babylon, where they became his and his sons’ servants until the kingdom of the Persians came to power.

`                  Jer 52:28–30 This is the number of the people whom Nebuchadnezzar led away captive: in his seventh year, three thousand and twenty-three people of Judah; in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, eight hundred and thirty-two persons from Jerusalem; in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, exiled seven hundred and forty-five people of Judah: four thousand six hundred persons in all.

(b) Some remained in Israel: the so called “remnant”

2 Kings 25:12 But some of the country’s poor, Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, left behind as vinedressers and farmers.

2 Kings 25:22 As for the people whom he had allowed to remain in the land of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, appointed as their governor Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan.

Jer 40:11 ... the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah ...

Eze 33:27 Thus the word of the LORDcame to me: Son of man, they who live in the ruins on the land of Israel reason thus: ... Tell them this: Thus says the LORD God: As I live, those who are in the ruins I swear shall fall by the sword; ...

(c) And some great numbers of Israelites fled to Egypt:

2 Kings 25:26 Then all the people, great and small, left with the army commanders and went to Egypt [...]

Jer 42:14 [...] we will go to Egypt, where we will see no more war, hear the trumpet alarm no longer, nor hunger for bread; there we will live.

Jer 43:7 Against the LORD’s command they went to Egypt and arrived at Tahpanhes [...]
It is very evident that there were three groups of Jews as a result of the invasion of King Nebuchadnezzar: (1) Those who took as captives in Babylon; (2) those who remain in Israel and (3) those that fled to Egypt as refugees.

To continue with, while in captivity, Babylon was captured by Cyrus of Persia:

2 Chr 36:20 ... the Persians came to power.

2 Chr 36:23 Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: “All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me, and he has also charged me to build hima house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people, let him go up, and may his God be with him!”

Thus the captivity of the Israelites came to an end. Some captive Jews began their return to Israel:

Ezra 1:5 Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and Levites—everyone, that is, whom God has inspired to do so—prepared to go up to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.

Ezra 7:28 I therefore took courage and, with the hand of the LORD, my God, upon me, I gathered together Israelite family heads to make the return journey with me.

Neh 2:11 When I had arrived in Jerusalem, I first rested there for three days.

This was not the end of story, many Israelites instead of returning to Israel, they went on to Egypt - the three groups before now turned into two: Israelites who now in Palestine (Israel) and those who settled in Egypt.

But when Alexander founded the city of Alexandria (Northern Egypt) in 332 BC, Israelites who lived there became part of the city. [They became known as Hellinistic Jews or the Greek Speaking Jews].

And in Alexandria, at one point in time, a librarian of Ptolemy II Philadelphus named Demetrius of Phaleron (285–246 BC) wanted copies of the Jewish Law for the Library of Alexandria. Such is perhaps the beginning of a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. The term “Septuagint”, Latin for the number 70 (LXX), may represent the number of translators. Here, they translated the entire body of Hebrew scripture (dating before 300 BC)

Now, we have two Old Testament Text: 1) the Septuagint (LXX) Greek Text and 2) the Ancient Hebrew Text wherein the Septuagint (LXX) Greek Text based its translation.

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As mentioned previously, Jews in Alexandria, Egypt, began translating the Ancient Hebrew Old Testament into Greek hundreds of years before Christ. The resulting translation is called the Septuagint (or LXX) means 70, represents the numbers of Hebrew Scholars/translator.

Objection1 - The Jews in Palestine spoke Hebrew. The readings given in their synagogues were only from the Hebrew Text; there were some sort of strict separation of Hebrew speaking Jews in Palestine and Greek speaking Jews in Alexandria (Egypt)?

Wrong! First, Archeology has revealed that Palestine, and particularly Jerusalem, in the first Christian century was quite Hellenized and a large number of Jew residing in Palestine spoke Greek. It is clear that the Septuagint (Greek text) have also been read in the Palestinian synagogues of this period.

Also with the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, it revealed that the Septuagint is known to have circulated throughout Palestine in the first century. Fragments of the Septuagint (including fragments of Tobit and Sirach) have been found at Qumran and Massada, their presence does demonstrate that the Septuagint was known and used in and around Palestine during first century.

(It is not surprising that this is the translation used by Christ and the New Testament writers: 300 of 350 quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament are from the Septuagint.)

Therefore, is it no longer possible to postulate two well-defined, separate and distinct text (Palestine / Alexandria). The Septuagint is therefore no longer seen as the sole property of the Jews of the dispersion. The Jews in Palestine may have used it as well.

Objection2 – Septuagint Text Old Testament has extra-books while in Hebrew text, after Prophet Malachi there was no any revelation revealed (biblical silence); therefore the 7 extra-books are only an invention.

False! The Hebrew text where Septuagint based its translation is from Ancient Hebrew Text used by early Jews. This is not the latest Hebrew text known as Masoretic text with only 39 books.

I will discuss this later on, but for now I will post a simple chart to give you a simple preview what I will discuss soon. (because making this two charts almost consumed my time lol)

right-click, choose 'open link in new tab' to enlarge


  1. First of all, there is no such a thing that a Protestant is “good Protestant.” I will elaborate: if one is against the very foundation of Christianity, arguing that the bible is overpopulated by five extra books because, the Catholic Church just put them there; this supposedly good Protestant is attacking what the Council of Trent stated dogmatically. A good example suffice my premise, if we, Catholics (the Council of Trent), by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, have under His protection declared as canonicals these sacred books, let no one temper with or against those books. Now, the old trick: “he is a good Protestant, except he is against the canon of the bible.” See there is no “middle term” it must be excluded. This approach to the separated brethren, by us Catholics, is what nowadays is known as the “Church of nice people.” Do am I offending him, no I do not think so. My responsibility is to let him know with charity, that he is attacking the Church of Christ, the “Ark of the Covenant,” and he/she must know that outside of her there is no salvation; when knowingly and consciously he/she rejected her. Virgin of Fatima prays for us and especially for the unity of the Universal Church. God bless

  2. God bless too :)

    this is what i always insist to them:

    //outside of her there is no salvation//

  3. My favorite question, which never has had an answer is, "When did the Bible become the Inspired Word of God? Was it when the Catholic Church codified it, or when Luther corrected God's homework? The most intelligent answer I get is, "Gee, I don't know." I have received this answer even from ministers and preachers. Of course they know! They just don't want to take a hard look at what they believe and how it may just be wrong.

  4. Sir i enjoy reading your lecture,very informative and i'm learning to much . . god bless ! !


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