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Number of books in Catholic Bible
Question from Bonnie Butcher on 8/17/2010:

I am wondering the origin of the Catholic Bible having more books than the Protestant Bible and how to explain this to Protestant family

Answer by Fr. John Trigilio on 8/20/2010:

The Catholic Bible came BEFORE the Protestsant Bible. Saint Jerome translated the ancient Greek and Hebrew Old Testment (46 books) and the Greek New Testament (27 books) into Latin and combined them into the first one volume set of Sacred Scriptures called "the Bible".

The Guttenberg Bible has 46 O.T. + 27 N.T. books, but it was Martin Luther in 1517 who removed seven books from the Old Testament (reducing the number to 39) Yet, for 15 centuries (1,500 years) Christianity recognized all 46 books of the O.T. The seven that are missing in the King James Version are found in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (called the Septuagint) and were written between 250 and 150 BC. The older 39 were written in Hebrew but these later seven (Baruch, Maccabees 1&2, Tobit, Judith, Ecclesiasticus or Sirach, and Wisdom) were written in Greek because of the Diaspora. The Babylonians captured and dispersed 2/3 to 3/4 of the world's Jews when they defeated the Kingdom of Judah.

The Assyrians had conquered the northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC and the Babylonians conquered the remaining southern Kingdom of Judah in 586 BC. By 250 BC, a majorit of Jews no longer lived in what was then called Palestine and this majority no longer spoke fluent Hebrew. Only the remnant left behind in Jerusalem spoke and read and wrote Hebrew. The larger dispersed population of Jews outside the Holy Land spoke, read and wrote GREEK. Hence, during 250-150 BC, we have seven O.T. books written in Greek with the previous 39 being written in Hebrew (before the Diaspora).

So it was not the Catholic Church that ADDED seven books, it was the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther who REMOVED those seven books. Why? Because one of them, Maccabees, is used to formulate the doctrine of Purgatory. Luther already repudiated that teaching and justified himself by dumping those seven 'deuterocanonical' books.

Ironically, the FIRST edition of the King James Bible HAD the seven books, albeit, they were inserted at the end of the Old Testament as 'apocrypha'. Only an act of Parliament had them formally removed all together.

The seven books found in the Septuagint were known and used by Jesus and His Disciples.

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