Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Septuagint is Important

As an Anglican, I'm no stranger to the Apocrypha, or deuterocanonical books, of the Old Testament. My husband and I chose the passage from Tobit to be read at our wedding rather than the usual I Corinthians 13. I don't skip over the Apocrypha passages in Daily Office readings. But until recently I never sat down and just read through one of the Apocrypha books from beginning to end.

And guess what I found? Paul quotes or refers to the book of Wisdom more directly than to the book of Isaiah in Ephesians 6. What's more, Paul refers to Wisdom in his other epistles, too. This revelation floored me.

A friend who is a Baptist New Testament professor affirmed what I had noticed. He said Paul's "Jewishness" went beyond the usual Old Testament. Sadly, I have never heard the Apocrypha used in the exegesis of sermons. These books which were known and loved by the Apostles and Jesus Himself are simply thrown out as unimportant! What??

My brother (whose theology degree is from Moody Bible Institute) and his wife crossed the Tiber this past Easter Vigil, so I asked them about this. My brother chuckled and then texted me this link: The Canon of Scripture.

When I took Old Testament waay back at Oklahoma Baptist University, it seemed so logical that Protestants would dismiss the Apocrypha. Although I found my Baptist professor and classmates a little too superstitious in their dislike of the books, it seemed reasonable to not include them in the canon. However, knowing that the books are actually referred to in the New Testament changes the game . . . by a lot!

I've heard Mark Nanos has written books on Paul within the context of first century Judaism. So among the many books on my To Read list, I've added some Nanos.

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