Apocrypha or Deuterocanon?

In class, we are going to begin discussing the books referred to as “apocryphal” or “deuterocanonical.”  “Apocrypha” is a slightly more negative term used by Protestants who do not consider these texts canonical.  “Deuterocanonical” is the term preferred by Catholics and Eastern Orthodox who do count these texts as canonical.  The word means something along the lines of “second canon.”

I know that many of you grew up in different religious traditions.  Did anyone ever tell you that Catholics had added books to the Bible?  Or, did anyone ever tell you that Protestants had taken some out?  What were the reasons that they gave as to why?  Or, did they not give any reasons at all?


About Jeremy

I work at Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Hammond, LA. I teach part-time classes from time to time, through Loyola University in New Orleans, Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans and St. Joseph's Abbey and Seminary College. I also just finished a doctoral degree in Biblical languages through the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.
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13 Responses to Apocrypha or Deuterocanon?

  1. Jessica Williams says:

    Yes, I was told that Catholics had different books in their Bible. My mom never gave a reason, other than to say “You shouldn’t read those Catholic Bibles, because they throw all kinds of hokey books in there” (true story).

    When I grew up and found out about the other books of the Catholic Bible, and some other books that weren’t found in either my Bible or the Catholic Bible, I was intrigued, and read some of them (I really like the Book of Enoch).

  2. Taifa Goff says:

    No one ever told me that Protestants had taken any books out of the bible, but I did hear that Catholics had added some books to the Bible. I can’t remember the reasons why, but I do remember my aunt telling me that Catholic Bibles had more books in them. I am Baptist, so I didn’t really look into it or question if what my aunt was telling me was true or not. My step-dad is Catholic and he, my mom, and I have all sat down and talked about the differences in religion and he never said that his Bible is different from the Bible my mom and I read. In fact, he even hold most of the same beliefs as I do even though he was raised in a Catholic church.

  3. Victor Harewood says:

    I recall being told that the Protestant Bible and the Catholic Bibles were different. However, I feel as if what I was told was that the Protestant Bible has less books. I was never really given a reason regarding why the Protestants desired their book to be shorter or why the Catholics allowed their book to be longer. Growing up I had a faint belief that perhaps the tradition of many other denominations of Christians was to take the bible literally as fact and that maybe the additional books contradicted the practices that may have had a consensus among the other books. Of course this belief poses a problem, considering that many of the books outside of the dueterocanonical books contradict themselves as well if one were to take the bible as purely literal. I no longer hold this belief, but am torn on what I believe regarding the matter.

  4. Dante says:

    When I was growing I was informed that there were differences between the Catholic and Protestant bibles. There was so much talk growing up about the differences that as a little boy, I thought that there was a different God between the two. As I got older, I learned that the two were very similar ans shared a common deity. Even when I learned more about Islam, I was shocked to learn the similarities between the three. Now as an adult and after the knowledge I have acquired at Loyola, I’m leaning towards Agnostic since there are many good arguments for both sides and I think the arguing about religion is almost barbaric since it almost pampers intolerance

  5. Whittney Smith says:

    Growing up in a strict baptist home, I didn’t learn much about the Catholic or Protestant religions until college, so much of what I knew then was formed from the Catholic friends that I had. I was told that there was a difference in the Catholic bible from every other religion but I never quite knew why or what the difference was. Once Loyola taught me that the bible is different for different religions then I knew what I knew growing up was drastically wrong. So basically, I never learned about the additions and subtractions of books from the bible until college.

  6. Heejoong "PK" Kim says:

    I grew up in a Presbyterian family. As I grew up, I knew absolutely nothing about the Deuterocanonical books. I’ve never heard anyone reference to it. In churches, there weren’t any sermons that referred to those books or condemn that it was false. All I was told was in bible studies where they stated that Catholics later added the books into the Bible. However, they did not give any reasons as to why the Deutrocanonical were there. They stated that the books without the Deuterocanonical are the original.

  7. Alex Hall says:

    Having grown up Catholic I didn’t really realize or take note of the fact that different traditions include different books in their respective canons. I knew that Judaism didn’t include the Catholic new testament in their canon, but that was the extent to which i knew about any differences in the canons. If Deuterocanonical books were ever mentioned to me it was only in passing. I don’t think it was ever emphasized that the Catholic and Protestant bibles had different works in them. Consequently no reason was ever given as to why there were differences.

  8. Naomi Stewart-Rubik says:

    I knew that Catholics and Protestants had different books in their bibles, however I never heard the terms Apocrypha or Deuterocanon. Once in a history class I was told that Protestants took books out, but there was no reason given really. It was just because they were splitting away from the Catholic church.

  9. Jeffrey Ramon says:

    I grew up in a Catholic background, and I was not aware of this in any way really. I was always told that there is one Bible. Of course I knew that there was the Jewish Torah, so I wasn’t completely ignorant of that. My personal reasoning of why there are “added” books go hand in hand with why there are so many different dos and don’ts in the Catholic Tradition. Sadly, this is one area that I think the Catholic Church is looked down upon by other Christian sects. Honestly, why can’t there be just one Bible that all of Christianity follows?

  10. John Hickey says:

    I was once told by a protestant that catholics did add books to the bible. He never really gave me a reason other than “catholics like to do that sort of thing”. I’m not really sure what he meant by that, or what his reasoning behind it was.

  11. Marielly says:

    I remember being in Sunday school when I was younger and being told that the Protestants had removed books from the Bible. The reasoning my teacher gave was very vague, it was somewhere around the lines of ‘the protestant separated from the church because they didn’t agree with everything that was in the bible and our religion and that they thought it was acceptable to change things’. Then they just said you’ll learn more about this when your older. I never really took interest in that until we talked about it in class. That was the first instance I remembered this sunday school class.

  12. Sean Hart says:

    I was aware that Jews, Christians, and Protestants all had different books taken from a similar body of literature, although I wasn’t sure which specific ones. Catholic school taught me that everyone else was wrong and we were the only ones preaching the “real word of god” so I tried not to get into any discussions about the validity of christian scripture.

  13. Jade Tang says:

    I was never told this type of information at church, or at least I can not recall every being told these details.

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