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Throughout this epoch, the Bible of the Church contained the protocanonical and deuterocanonical books, without any indication of difference in them. This truth is clearly proven by the many manuscripts existing of this period. Whether the work of chaptering the Bible was done by Hugh of St. Carus or by Stephen Langton is uncertain, but it extended to all the books of the Catholic Canon, and the Correctoria of this period also embrace the books of both classes.

ALBERTUS MAGNUS, in his exposition of the Prologue of St. Jerome on Baruch, manifestly defends the divinity of the book. Commenting the words of Jerome: The Book of Baruch, the secretary of Jeremiah, which is not read by the Hebrews, nor possessed by them, etc., Albert endeavors by scholastic subtlety to benignly interpret Jerome: Nevertheless, the truth of the book is not thereby called in question, because it is joined to canonical Scripture. For it contains nothing except what was enunciated by Jeremiah, and for this reason, it is united in the same truth with the Prophet Jeremiah. For the Hebrews compute twenty-two books in the Canon of Scripture, in accordance with the twenty-two letters of their alphabet; or twenty-four books, corresponding to the twenty-four ancients. But the added books they reckon in the same number, as Baruch is added to Jeremiah, for the reason that he received from Jeremiah whatever he wrote,.… so that the whole truth of this Scripture rests on the revelation of God made to Jeremiah.

Whatever be the defects of this data, it is evident that Albert is an avowed advocate of the deuterocanonical books. He quotes from all of them in his works, assigning them equal place with the books of the first Canon.

ST. BONAVENTURE comprises all the protocanonical and deuterocanonical books in twenty-six books.

He evidences in many ways that he held the books in equal esteem. In the preface to his Commentary on Wisdom he says: The efficient cause of the book is threefold: God who inspired it, Solomon who produced it, and Philo who compiled it. His works evince that he held the like opinion of the other deuterocanonical books.

ALEXANDER NECKAM, professor at the University of Paris at the commencement of the thirteenth century, wrote a commentary on the difficult passages of Holy Scripture and includes the books of both classes in the same category.

ROBERT HOLKOT (†1340), a learned Dominican of Northampton in England, is bold in favor of the deuterocanonical books. St. Augustine, he says, expressly declares in his Christian Doctrine (II. 8) that the Book of Wisdom should be enumerated in the Sacred Scriptures; for, enumerating the books of the Canon and the Bible, he says thus of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus: Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, since they have merited to be received in authority, are reckoned among the prophetic books. Wherefore, it is evident that the book (Wisdom) is counted among the Canonical Scriptures in the Church, though the contrary is held by the Jews … and therefore, although by the Jews rejected, the books are of great authority among the faithful.

THOMAS NETTER, better known as Thomas Waldensis, from his birthplace Walden in England, a Carmelite of such learning that he was sent by Henry IV. of England to the Councils of Pisa and Florence, maintains stoutly in his Doctrinale Fidei that the canonicity of a book must be determined by the authority of the Church. He appeals against the followers of Wicklif to the Decree of Gelasius, to establish the books that are to be held in full authority.

JOHN OF RAGUSA (†1450) a Dominican doctor of the Sorbonne, who was president of the Council of Basle, announces in no doubtful terms, in the aforesaid council, the doctrine of the Church: Moreover, it is manifest that there are many books in the Bible, which are not held in authority with the Jews, but are by them reckoned apocryphal, which, nevertheless, by us are held in the same veneration and authority as the others, and our acceptance of them rests on nothing but the tradition and acceptance of the whole Catholic Church, which it is not lawful pertinaciously to contradict. The voice of the Church speaks through this man, which spoke again through the Fathers of the Council of Trent.

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (†1274) does not treat the question of the canonicity of the deuterocanonical books ex professo. He is falsely, however, placed by some protestants as an adversary of these books.

A just way to judge of a mans opinion of Scripture is by his practical use of it. In his Summa Theologica St. Thomas has quoted Baruch twice: I. Maccabees, more than twelve times; II. Maccabees more than fifty-two times; Judith, more than nineteen times; Tobias, more than seventy times; Wisdom, more than one hundred and twelve times; and Ecclesiasticus, more than one hundred and thirteen times.

The protestant Hody endeavors to shake St. Thomas authority in favor of the deuterocanonical books by the three following testimonies. In his seventh opusculum, Chapter IV., commenting the work of the pseudo Areopagite, De Divinis Nominibus, St. Thomas speaks of a quotation from Wisdom thus: From which it is evident that Wisdom was not yet held (nondum habebatur) among the canonical Scriptures. That this testimony is not unfavorable to our case is evident from a mere reading. But we hope to show that it is a direct testimony in favor of the books. If there is any point to the declaration, in saying that at a certain time a book was not yet, nondum, in the canonical Scriptures, the writer supposes that at his writing it was there.

The second text objected against us is from the Summa Theologica, I. Q. 89, art. 8, ad 2. There, commenting on the apparition of Samuel to Saul (1 Sam. 28:2 et seqq. et Eccli. 46:23), he answers the objection first by the authority of Ecclesiasticus, and then subjoins: Whence it can be said of Samuel that he appeared by divine revelation, as it is stated in Eccli. 46, that he slept and made known to the King the end of his life. Or the apparition was procured by demons, if the authority of Ecclesiasticus is not received, for the reason that it is not among the canonical Scriptures With the Jews. This proposition is of a man who himself receives the book but grants to his opponent the right to doubt it. It is also of a man little interested in the question of the canonicity of Scripture.

In saying that the book was not received by the Jews, he does not establish that it is not received by the Christians; in fact, he seems to imply that it was received by them, but not in such manner as to preclude all doubt. The mind of St. Thomas was not much given to these critical questions. He used the Scriptures as the Church used them, and this is the sole passage in all his works, where he allows any place for doubt concerning them.

The third objection is urged by Hody that St. Thomas speaks of the Fable of Bel and the Dragon, Dan. 13. But all critics now agree that this work is supposititious. The learning of that time consisted chiefly in a command of what the Fathers had written, and often we find conflicting statements made by the same writer, due to the fact that he had drawn from different sources, without weighing the question in se. So this unknown writer of this supposititious work had probably read Jerome and adopted his phraseology.

Among the works of St. Thomas is found a commentary on the books of Maccabees, in the preface of which it is stated, that these books have no authority with the Jews, as have the twenty-four which compose the Canon according to Jerome, but they have authority in the Latin Church, which approved them in a certain council, and ordered them to be read. The authenticity of this work is rejected by many critics, and the work is believed to belong to an English writer named Thomas, and to date from about the close of the fourteenth century, but it still remains a testimony of that time to the Catholic Canon.

HUGH OF ST. CARUS (†1260) follows Jerome on the Canon.

After enumerating the protocanonical books in verse, he continues thus in Latin verse:

Restant apocrypha: Jesus, Sapientia, Pastor,

Et Machabæorum libri, Judith atque Tobias,

Hi quia sunt dubii, sub canone non numerantur;

Sed quia vera canunt, Ecclesia suscipit illos.

(Postil. in Jos., Prol.)

That he does not reject these books from the Scriptures, appears from his prologues in Judith and Ecclesiasticus, wherein he says: The palace of the king is made up of four things: the foundation, the walls, the roof, and the interior ornaments. The foundation is the Law; the walls are the Prophets and the Epistles; the roof is the Gospels, and the ornaments are the Hagiographa and the Apocrypha.

Hugh was hard pressed to keep with the Church, and follow in everything St. Jerome. He called the deuterocanonical books dubii, not that their message was uncertain, but because their authors were unknown, and he admitted them into the deposit of Scriptures because, as they contained the inspired truth, the Church received them. The most extreme of the Jeromists are forced always to confess that the Church received these books, and that is what we are seeking. We wish to know what the Church held in these ages, not what were the personal leanings of the theologians. Hugh declares in his preface to Ecclesiasticus that the Church receives these books, not to prove doctrine, but for moral instruction, but this is a mere fiction borrowed from Jerome. The Church received them as Scripture, and all Scripture is divinely inspired. Hugh has commented all the deuterocanonical books.

WILLIAM OCCAM (†1347) appeals to Jerome and Gregory the Great in asserting that Judith, Tobias, Maccabees, Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom are not to be accepted to confirm that which pertains to faith.… The Church reads them, but does not receive them among her Canonical Scriptures.

When Occam testifies that the Church receives the deuterocanonical Scriptures, he testifies to the fact which we are seeking to establish, and is in line with the whole course of tradition; when he limits the authority which the Church accorded these books he is advancing a mere personal criticism on a fact which the Church had not decided. To be sure, the Church up to that time had not canonized these books by formal decree; whereas, the first books had been received by her, canonized by the approbation of the supreme authority of the first covenant; so that the denial of canonicity was not the denial of inspiration. In saying that the Church did not use these books to confirm faith, Occam speaks against the plain evidences of fact, for we have seen that the representative men in the Church from the beginning made equal use of these books to teach doctrine and to confute error.

NICHOLAS OF LYRA (†1340) is unfavorable to the deuterocanonical books.

According to him the canonical books are of such authority that anything that is contained in them should be firmly and without discussion held as true, as also that which follows directly from them … but the books, which according to Jerome, are not of the canon are received by the Church, to to be read for moral instruction, although their authority seems less fitted to decide those questions concerning which there might be discussion.

In his commentary on Ezra he says: I intend, for the present, to pass over the books of Tobias, Judith, and Maccabees, although they are historical; because they are not in the Canon of the Jews or Christians. Jerome indeed, says they are reckoned among the apocrypha. He afterwards commented all the deuterocanonical books, except the fragments of Esther, because they are not in the Hebrew nor in canonical Scripture, but seem to be invented by Josephus and other writers, and inserted in the Vulgate, as Jerome says. In his preface to Tobias he says: Since by Gods assistance, I have written on the canonical books of Holy Scripture … trusting in the same assistance, I purpose to write upon the other books, which are not in the canon, viz., Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Judith, Tobias and Maccabees. In these testimonies we find two elements, first what the Church held, and second what Nicolas held. He bears witness that the Church receives the books, and she in her subsequent councils tells us in what sense she received them. Nicolas certainly doubted of the divinity of the deuterocanonical books; perhaps he fully judged that the fragments of Esther were spurious. He was a Jew, and like causes moved him and Jerome whom he follows. It would be unreasonable to say that the mere doubts of one man or of a few men on a question not yet defined by the Church should overthrow the weight of tradition.

On the 4th of February, 1441, Pope Eugene IV., by and with the approbation of the Council of Florence promulgated the following bull respecting Holy Scripture: The holy Roman Church … professes that one only and the same God is the author of the Old and New Testament, that is to say, of the Law, the Prophets and the Gospels, because under the inspiration of the same Holy Ghost, spoke the holy men of both Testaments whose books the Church receives and venerates, which are contained under the following titles: The five books of Moses … Josue, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two books of Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemias, Tobias, Judith, Esther, Job, The Psalms of David, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticle of Canticles, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaiah, Jeremiah with Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel, twelve Prophets, … and the two Books of Maccabees.

We see here that the Church attributed no importance to the individual doubts and theories of the writers whom we have cited in opposition to the books of the second Canon. With no evidence of uncertainty, she announces here what she had held in practice from the beginning. The dogmatic import of this decree is incontestable, but still it did not absolutely settle the question. The Council promulgated a list of inspired books which the Church received as the work of God, but it did not use the word canonical. Now perhaps none of those who had opposed the full authority of the deuterocanonical books had denied their inspiration. No one of them had studied the exact concept of inspiration or canonicity, but they had made use of vague distinctions to restrict the dignity and value of the deuterocanonical books somewhat below that of the books of the first Canon. Moreover, the bull of Eugene IV. did not define the Catholic notion of canonicity, neither did it define the question of the absolute equality of all the books. It seems also that the decrees of the Council of Florence were not diffused much through the Western Church in the first years after its celebration. Its legislation affected more especially the Eastern world, and the art of printing had not yet effected the general diffusion of knowledge. Hence we find writers after this decree doubting of the divinity of these books.

Such a one is TOSTATUS, Bishop of Avila (†1455). Tostatus gives evidence that he knew nothing of the decree of Florence. He is thoroughly at sea on the question of the Canon, and from his conflicting statements it appears evident that he had not mastered the question, and knew not clearly what either himself or the Church held on the subject. Commenting the Prologus Galeatus of Jerome, he says: It is said that the Book of Wisdom is not in the Canon, because the Jews expunged it thence; in the beginning they received it, but after they had laid hands on Jesus and slain him, remembering the evident testimonies concerning him in the same book … taking counsel, lest we should impute to them the evident sacrilege, they cut the book off from the prophetic volumes, and interdicted its reading. But we on the Churchs authority, receive the book among the authentic Scriptures, and read it at stated times in the Church. Again, the Book of Jesus, the son of Sirach, is not in the Jewish Canon … and although the Jews never received it into the Canon of Scriptures, the Church receives it and reads it. Of the Book of Judith he speaks in a confused manner, and concludes: These things are true according to the Jews; but with us it is otherwise, for the Book of Judith is received among the authentic Scriptures, for the reason that the Church approved it in the Council of Nice, and received it into the Canon of Scriptures; otherwise the Church would not read it in her divine liturgy, as she reads the other authentic books. Continuing, he asserts the very same of Tobias and Maccabees. Had he remained consistent in these views, no one could have written better on the question than he. This was the Churchs position clearly and definitely enunciated. But in trying to reconcile this position of the Church with Jerome, he becomes oblivious of his former position and assails the authority of the books which he here calls authentic Scripture. Commenting the first preface of Jerome on Chronicles, he speaks thus of the deuterocanonical books: There is a difference between them (deuterocanonical books) and the canonical books that are called authentic (in his former testimony he called all the deuterocanonical books authentic); from the authentic books we may receive a proof of doctrine, and validly argue against both Jew and Christian to prove truth; but from the apocryphal (deuterocanonical) books we may receive doctrine, because they contain holy doctrine, wherefore they are called at times hagiographa; but their authority is not sufficient to adduce in argument against anyone, nor to prove things which are in doubt, and in this they are inferior to the canonical and authentic books … None of these apocryphal books, even though it be included among the other books of the Bible, and read in the Church, is of such authority that the Church may from it prove doctrine and in this regard the Church does not receive them, and thus is to be understood the declaration of Jerome, that the Church receives not the apocrypha. Again, in explaining the prologue on the Gospels, he states: The Church knows not whether writers inspired by the Holy Ghost wrote these (deuterocanonical) books … When, therefore, there is doubt concerning the writers of certain books, whether they were inspired by the Holy Ghost, their authority is taken away, and the Church does not place them in the Canon of Scriptures. Furthermore, regarding these books, the Church is not certain whether or not heretics have not added to, or taken from that which was written by their proper authors. The Church, therefore, receives such books, permitting every one of the faithful to read them; the Church also reads them in her offices on account of the many devout things which are contained in them; but she obliges no one to believe what is contained therein, as is the case with the books of Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Maccabees, Judith and Tobias. For though these books are received by Christians, and proof derived from them in some degree may have weight, because the Church retains those books, yet they are not effectual to prove those things that are in doubt against heretics and Jews, as Jerome says in his prologue upon Judith.

We must agree with Tostatus that up to the Florentine Council the deuterocanonical books were not of absolute authority in doctrine, because there existed no definitive decree, and therefore one who rejected these books could not be branded with heresy. He errs greatly, however, in saying that the Church was ignorant of the inspiration of the books. The contradictions in Tostatus result from the fact that he tried to keep in line with the Church and St. Jerome. In saying that the Church received these books as authentic Scriptures into the Canon of Scriptures, he is with the Church: in doubting of the inspiration of the same books, he is with Jerome against the Church. We are building our Canon on what the Church held, and to this his testimony serves.

The authority of ANTONINUS, Archbishop of Florence (†1459) is sometimes invoked against us. He knew but vaguely of the decree of Florence. According to him, the Church receives these books as true, and venerates them as useful, moral treatises, though, in the discussion of those things which are of faith, not conclusive in argument.… Wherefore, perhaps, they have such authority as have the sayings of holy doctors approved by the Church.

The opinions of Antoninus are often strange and uncritical. His piety moved him to an excessive veneration of the opinions of St. Jerome, in explaining the fact of the Churchs approval of the deuterocanonical books. His testimony is of no avail, since against him stands the authentic decree of Florence, making known to us, that the Church received these books as divine Scripture. St. Antoninus quotes St. Thomas, II. 2., as authority for his strange opinion, but a close examination fails to disclose any such text in the Summa.

DENIS OF CHARTREUX (†1471) declares, that the Church receives the deuterocanonical books as true, but not canonical. He does not regard the fragments of Esther as divine Scripture.

CARDINAL XIMENES (†1517), in the preface of his Complutensian Polyglott Bible, says: The books, indeed, without the Canon, which the Church receives rather for the edification of the people than as an authoritative confirmation of the doctrines of the Church, are only found in the Greek.

We see that the old theory of Jerome endured in some minds, who, while they received the books with the Church, in defect of any absolute decree of the Church, inclined much to the great Scriptural doctor of the Church. The decree of Florence, though it defined the issue in se, failed to establish the absolute equality of the books, first because it was not widely disseminated in those obscure times, and secondly because it did not employ the term canonical.

ERASMUS (†1536) finds that it is not unreasonable to establish different degrees of authority among the Holy Books, as St. Augustine has done. The books of the first rank are those concerning which there has never existed a doubt with the ancients. Certainly Isaiah has more weight than Judith.

The great humanist evidently considered the books as divine Scripture, though of less importance in doctrine.

We close the list of the antetridentine writers with CAJETAN (†1524). At the close of his commentary on Esther he concludes: The Church receives such books, permitting the faithful to read them; the Church also reads them in her offices, on account of the many devout things which they contain. But the Church obliges no one necessarily to believe what is contained therein, which is the case with the books of Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Maccabees, Judith, and Tobit. For though these books are received by Christians, and proof derived from them may, in some way or other, have weight, because the Church retains those books; yet they are not effectual for proving those things which are in doubt, against heretics or Jews. We here terminate our commentaries on the historical books of the Old Testament: for the rest (viz., the books of Judith, Tobit, and the Maccabees) are reckoned by Jerome without the canonical books, and are placed among the apocrypha, together with Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, as appears in his Prologus Galeatus (or Helmeted Prologue). Nor should you be disturbed, O novice, if you should anywhere find those books reckoned among the canonical books, either in the holy councils, or in the holy doctors. For the words of the councils, as well as of the doctors, are to be submitted to the correction of Jerome; and according to his judgment [expressed] to the bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus, those books (and if there be any similar ones in the Canon of the Bible) are NOT canonical, that is, they are not those which are given as a rule for the confirmation of the faith. They may, however, be called canonical (that is, given as a rule) for the edification of the faithful; since [they are] received and authorized in the Canon of the Bible for this purpose.

Cajetan was not a strong independent thinker. He gave himself up to study in two great departments of the Churchs science, dogma and Scripture. In both, he simply followed the master. In dogma he followed St. Thomas, absolutely; in Scripture he followed in the same manner St. Jerome. Study for him simply meant to find out what these two men held. He paid slight heed to the other theologians of his time. Thomas and Jerome for him were supreme. His writings are characterized by a certain self-assurance and contempt for the opinions of others, indicative of a narrow mind. The compass of his knowledge had been narrowed by exclusive devotion to the Summa. Cajetan is the author of many strange opinions, some of them directly opposed to faith. Certainly when he says that the decrees of general councils must be submitted to the correction of Jerome, the statement is false. It was placing Jerome above the Church. And yet this extreme Jeromist had to confess that the deuterocanonical books were received and authorized in the Canon of the Bible.

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