The council of Trent

Why the Deuterocanon Belongs As Scripture

The Argument from Sacred Councils

When I last left off, I gave a small rebuttal to CARM’s article concerning the Deuterocanon. To determine what should be considered scripture, I would implore a test containing only one requisite;

A book of the bible should be considered canonical if it is considered as such by a universally recognized council.

While one can give a plethora of reasons for each book of the Deuterocanon from the Fathers and from scripture, the one authority to settle debate in my mind, especially as a layman, is that of the Church, which represents not just the authority of the present, but also the past. This is why my post on the matter will be short and sweet.

The councils themselves are important because they mark a consensus opinion of believers and authorities within the church. The council of Carthage, and the synod of Hippo, although not ecumenical, are still universally binding given Pope Nicholas I’s declaration that they are, ‘ part of the universal Law of the Church’ [1]. As such. we should give them (as well as Florence, which is also ecumenical) weight in determining the canonicity [2]. Granting that this is a good criteria, criteria one would permit the seven books of the Deuterocanon — Tobit, Judith, Wisdom (also called the Wisdom of Solomon), Sirach (also called Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, the additions to Daniel and Ester, 1 Maccabees, and 2 Maccabees, — as canonical. The last council to put the matter to rest in the face of not only protestant reformers, but also a small minority of Catholic thinkers like Girolamo Seripando [3], and Cardinal Cajetan [4], was the council of Trent, settling the matter once and for all [5].


[1] Gary G. Michuta, Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger, 196

[2] The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by Kevin Knight, here

[3] Gilles Dorival, ‘Has the Category of “Deuterocanonical Books” a Jewish Origin’, in The Books of the Maccabees: History, Theology, Ideology, 1–5

[4] Gary G. Michuta, Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger, 229–230

[5]Ibid, 234–235

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