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Studium Scripturae
Greek vs. Latin canon 
5th-Mar-2010 04:55 pm
I Want to Believe
Does anyone know why the Orthodox Church considers 3 Maccabees canonical yet relegates 4 Maccabees to the appendix of their Bibles? Both texts are part of the Septuagint (LXX). I don't have access to the Orthodox Study Bible, but it would be great if someone could summarize what it says on this issue, if anything. There is no ancient Latin version of either of those books, which is why they are not considered canonical by the Western Catholic Church. Is this at all a problem for Orthodox theology? If 3 Maccabees is indeed canonical, why is there no ancient Latin version of it? It would seem more logical to relegate both books to the appendix.

On a similar note, does anyone know on what basis the Council of Trent excluded the Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151, and 3 Esdras (which is called 1 Esdras in the LXX) from the canon? All existed in ancient Latin versions! Even the post-Tridentine Clementine version of the Vulgate included the Prayer of Manasseh and 3 Esdras in the appendix (along with 4 Esdras, which has no Greek equivalent), and the critical edition of the Vulgate begun in the early 20th century by order of Pope Pius X also includes Psalm 151 albeit with the label "Appendix." This discrepancy makes the Catholic canon look illogical.
6th-Mar-2010 05:48 pm (UTC)
Probably the first thing to realize is that when we refer to the Septuagint, we're not talking about a published book in the way we think of published books; at first, only the Pentateuch was translated into Greek, and other books of the Old Testament were translated over time, with vastly differing degrees of quality. This is one reason why using "the Septuagint" (whatever incarnation of a collection of texts that might mean) to discuss canon is not particularly useful.
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