Before we go further, let's define our terms.
The tension-loaded "Apocrypha" as a term solely for the deuterocanonical books (Tobit, Judith, 1 & 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, and Baruch) and using the term to mean 'un-Biblical' is a Protestant trend. The original term "apocrypha" is medieval Latin, from Late Latin, neuter plural of apocryphus secret, from Greek apokryphos obscure, from apokryptein to hide away, from apo- + kryptein to hide. It was generally used by the early church fathers (and Jewish scholars before them) to indicate that EITHER the books were not used by them during their own particular liturgies OR that the books had questionable value and/or contents. Its very earliest usage has been obscured by the passage of time, but it is "highly probable that in its original meaning an apocryphal writing had no unfavorable import, but simply denoted a composition which claimed a sacred origin, and was supposed to have been hidden for generations, either absolutely, awaiting the due time of its revelation, or relatively, inasmuch as knowledge of it was confined to a limited esoteric circle." There are many, many, many Apocryphal writings: among these are the 1st and 2nd books of Adam and Eve, Testament of Reuben, and Gospel of Thomas. The sole reason I have labeled this section of the website "Apocrypha" is because that is- for better or for worse- what the deuterocanonical books have come to be called.
Canon originally meant that it was a valid scripture and used during the liturgy. I'm going to quote from Catholic Bridge.com because they explain this concisely and it matches with what I've read elsewhere. Specifically note that I have read this same thought/ideas/facts at multiple other sources…this is simply a concisely put together definition:
"Before the late 4th Century, each city-church had its own, local "canon" of the Bible, and these local canons differed from city-church to city-church ---some local canons including books which are currently excluded from our present Bible (such as 1 Clement to the Corinthians, or the Epistle of Barnabas, or the Book of Enoch, etc.), and some local canons excluding books which are currently included in our present Bible (such as the Epistle of James, and Hebrews, and 2 Peter, and 2 & 3 John, Jude, and Revelation). The reason that city-churches had different local canons is because city-churches had different local Liturgies --that is, the Liturgy (form of worship) in the city-church of Rome was different from the Liturgy (form of worship) in the city-Church of Corinth, or the city-church of Ephesus, or Antioch, or Jerusalem, etc. This included the yearly Liturgical calendar, with different city-churches celebrating different local feast days on any given date."
For another, exhaustive, very long history of the term canon, see: http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Canon_of_the_Holy_Scriptures
Now, obviously, the term canon has grown to mean more. Currently, the term 'canon' is seen as identical with "Scripture" and/or "inspired" (aka- "official" Word of God). As I'm writing to an educated, but not scholastic audience, I am going to use the current "Apocrypha" and "canon" to mean "deuterocanonical books" and "official Scripture." This is both for ease of understanding and because, as times change, our word usage changes.
Post 1 of this series was "Septuagint: Introduction and Basic Definition"
The material for these posts will probably end up filling many pages when I'm done, but I'll be posting as I go along in "quick bites" for people who are interested in such things. But this means that I won't have read everything or know everything (if such a thing is possible) when I write each blog post. I'm learning as I continue to research. Should you find an error, please let me know! Please, please, reference "Canon History" for the most up-to-date, accurate information!
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Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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Sites I Recommend
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong