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I found that some Orthodox seem to have an opinion closer to that of some early reformers regarding the weight of the deuterocanonical books. Is this information which I found on line accurate or generally accepted? Also, Is it true that the Greek Orthodox do not accept Maccabes. I wonder why if the rest of the church does. And maybe there is one different book between Orthodox and Catholic (Esdras?) I also wonder why. Here is the info I am questioning, but I think it has the fact wrong, because I think it was the 7th and not the 6th ecumenical council that acceoted the earlier established canon including the council at Carhage in 419. Here was the Orthodox source I am looking at.

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Even so, there was no official, authoritative "canon" listing all the books until the Sixth Ecumenical Council, at Constantinople in 680 AD. Canon II of that Council ratifies the First through the Fifth Ecumenical Councils, as well as the local councils at Carthage (255 AD), Ancyra (315 AD), Neocaesaria (315 AD), Gangra (340 AD), Antioch (341 AD), Laodicea (364 A), Sardica (347 AD), Constantinople (394 AD), and Carthage (419 AD).

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Basically the Orthodox Church regards the Old Testament canon as consisting of the canonical books (those held in high regard and constitute an authoritative source for doctrine and practice) and the deuterocanonical books (those considered inspiring and edifying but not authoritative for doctrine and practice). Although not used for the formulation of doctrine, the deuterocanonical books do play an important part in the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church. Thus the Orthodox Church's position is that the deuterocanonical books are canonical but having secondary authority.

In his The Orthodox Faith (IV:17) John mentions five groups of books: (1) the Pentateuch, (2) the historical books, (3) the wisdom literature, (4) the Prophets, and (5) the deuterocanonical books. It is important to note that while John relegates the deuterocanonical books to a lower level, he does not altogether exclude them from the biblical canon. He writes,

"...these are indeed admirable and full of virtue, but they are not counted, nor were they placed in the Ark".

Although five groups are mentioned, John of Damascus privileges the first four over the fifth category that he regards as "admirable" and "full of virtue". This corresponds to the Orthodox distinction between canonical and deuterocanonical. Please keep in mind that the boundaries between canonical and non-canonical books is not as black-and-white for the Orthodox as it would be for Protestants.

The Old Testament canon was compiled by Saint Athanasius the Great in 328 AD and ratified by the Sixth Ecumenical Council in 680 AD (Canon 24 of St. Athanasius; Canon 85 of the Apostles). The fact that John of Damascus (c. 675 - c. 749) was a young boy at the time of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680) gives us good reason to infer that he must have known of the Council's ratification of the Old Testament canon when he was an adult. If John of Damascus' listing diverges from the Sixth Ecumenical Council I'm not all that surprised. A decision of a council is not automatically binding upon the members of the Church, a council's decision must be received by the members of the Church (clergy and laity) on a general basis. In time it becomes part of Holy Tradition. The general reception of a council's actions by the Church as a whole reflects not only the catholicity of the Church but also the work of the Holy Spirit guiding the Church into all truth.

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The Wisdom of Solomon, Judith, Tobit, Maccabees, Sirach plus one or two others were affirmed specifically by the Council of Jerusalem in the 17th century.

The best article I have read on the subject is this one.

http://home.it.net.au/~jgrapsas/pages/old_testament.html

The most important point I think it makes is the texts are not authoritative by nature of being in some list somewhere, but by their direct link with the liturgical life of the church. To my knowledge there are no public readings from several Old Testament books such as Esther, and none from the deuterocanonicals.

Last edited by AMM; 11/27/07 01:55 PM.
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SearchingEast,

The Deuterocanonical books (with maybe some exceptions like 4 Ezra if you count that as Deuterocanonical) are part of the Eastern Orthodox canon.

4 Maccabbees is in the appendix in the Greek EO Bible, but it accepts the other Maccabbean books, numbered 1 to 3. The Russians have the first 3 Maccabbean books, not 4 Maccabbees.

4 Ezra is listed as 3 Esdras in the Russian Bible. I read that like the Vulgate Bible, the Russian Church does not consider it canon despite it being in the Russian Bible. That is the Catholic view about 4 Ezra too. It's in the Vulgate Bible but not considered by the Catholic church as canonical. It's like how the KJV has has an Apocrypha section, except that the Russians don't put 4 Ezra in a separate section.

Last edited by rakovsky; 04/17/21 06:20 PM.
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Originally Posted by AMM
To my knowledge there are no public readings from several Old Testament books such as Esther, and none from the deuterocanonicals.
Offhand I recall Wisdom of Sirach being used in the Catholic Stations of the Cross. I tend to think there are some Deuterocanonical readings in the EO church, depending at least on what books you class as Deuterocanon. Wisdom of Solomon is in this list of daily OCA readings:

https://www.oca.org/readings/daily/2041/01/25/2

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Originally Posted by searching east
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Even so, there was no official, authoritative "canon" listing all the books until the Sixth Ecumenical Council, at Constantinople in 680 AD. Canon II of that Council ratifies the First through the Fifth Ecumenical Councils, as well as the local councils at Carthage (255 AD), Ancyra (315 AD), Neocaesaria (315 AD), Gangra (340 AD), Antioch (341 AD), Laodicea (364 A), Sardica (347 AD), Constantinople (394 AD), and Carthage (419 AD).

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Basically the Orthodox Church regards the Old Testament canon as consisting of the canonical books (those held in high regard and constitute an authoritative source for doctrine and practice) and the deuterocanonical books (those considered inspiring and edifying but not authoritative for doctrine and practice). Although not used for the formulation of doctrine, the deuterocanonical books do play an important part in the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church. Thus the Orthodox Church's position is that the deuterocanonical books are canonical but having secondary authority.
I would want to see where you got that last paragraph before trusting it. It sounds like an overstatement to say that Deuterocanon like Wisdom of Solomon is not an authority for teachings, because in fact Orthodox writers will cite those books to explain or support their teachings. If it's part of the canon, I would expect that it has some level of authority, so to say "the Old Testament canon [is] consisting of the canonical books... and the deuterocanonical books (those considered inspiring and edifying but not authoritative for doctrine and practice)" does not sound like a correct definition of the term Deuterocanon.

So basically I would suggest using several reliable EO sources on this topic.


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