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Author Topic:   Superiority of the 'Protestant Canon'?
Inactive Member

Message 8 of 154 (663675)
05-26-2012 4:42 AM

My newest writing on the subject is here:


Essentially we have the Dead Sea Scrolls showing the Old Testament was in its current form before the time of Christ, around 250-50 B.C. The Great Isaiah Scroll in particular was even carbon dated as old as 335 B.C.

Concerning the New Testament, we have more than 24,000 manuscripts with 99.5% internal consistency showing the New Testament we have today is accurate with regard to the original autographs. No other ancient historical document has nearly this level of evidence. The closest is the Iliad with 643 manuscripts. Many documents like Caesar's Gallic Wars are considered accurately preserved with just 5-10 manuscripts dating 1,000 years or more after the originals.

However, we have manuscripts for the New Testament dating less than a century after the original documents (autographs) like the John Rylands Papyrus (P52), P104, P90, P64+67, and P98. We have complete or nearly complete copies of the New Testament dating as early as 200-400 A.D. like the Sahidic Coptic Version, Sinaitic Curiac Version, and Codex Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.

Thus, we can look at these early documents to see whether later translations (like the King James Version) were reliable translations of the original Greek/Hebrew text seen in such early manuscripts.


Edited by AdminPD, : Warning

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Inactive Member

Message 10 of 154 (663779)
05-26-2012 6:14 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by jar
05-26-2012 8:57 AM

Re: Please present one of the original autographs.
Sorry but until you present one of the original autographs you have nothing to support that claim.
In addition, even if true, it is irrelevant to the topic.

Why is the Protestant Canon superior to the Ethiopian Short Canon or the Ethiopian Long Canon or the Roman Catholic Canon?

Name one other ancient historical document where the test for historicity is an original autograph. By that standard we'd have to throw out much of what we consider recorded history since often all we have are copies of an original document, not the original itself. Furthermore, it's possible some of the particularly old manuscripts like the John Rylands papyrus may even be the original autographs, as some date them to the 1st century A.D.

As for why the Protestant canon is superior, the manuscript evidence shows which books were found well preserved. 1 Enoch and Jubilees are the only non-canonical Old Testament books found in substantial numbers among the Dead Sea Scrolls:


The Catholic documents don't start showing up until the 4th century A.D. with the Achmimic Coptic (I have trouble telling if the Sahidic Coptic from the 3rd century could include them also but at most it appears the 3rd century if so).


However, there is strong evidence the Protestant Canon's New Testament documents were all in place a full 1-2 centuries earlier, before the Catholic Church yet existed.

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Inactive Member

Message 12 of 154 (663810)
05-26-2012 8:22 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by jar
05-26-2012 6:27 PM

Re: Please present one of the original autographs.
You don't understand how historians evaluate historicity, frankly. They don't have original autographs so they judge whether a document is reliable with regards to said autographs using 3 tests, Internal Evidence, External Evidence, and Bibliographical Evidence. Josh McDowell in "More Than a Carpenter" addressed these tests for historicity (Ch. 4 I believe - need to find my copy), and by them the New Testament is more reliable than any other ancient document in antiquity.


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Inactive Member

Message 20 of 154 (664051)
05-28-2012 8:26 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Dr Adequate
05-27-2012 5:53 PM

But this has nothing to do with what should or shouldn't be included in the canon, does it?

The Dead Sea Scrolls also contain:

(1) The Book of Enoch in the original Aramaic. This is regarded as orthodox by Ethiopian Jews, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Eritrean Orthodox Church, but not by Protestants.

One interesting thing about Enoch is that it is quoted in the book of Jude, which Protestants do count as canonical.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
It would seem on the face of it that a Biblical literalist would have to believe that the book of Enoch really was written by Noah's great-grandfather, and was a genuine prophetic work rather than pseudephigraphic.

(2) Fragments of three copies of the Wisdom of Sirach in Hebrew. This is is the Catholic Canon, the Eastern Orthodox canon, and the Septuagint, but not the Protestant Canon.

(3) The book of Tobit in Aramaic and Hebrew. This is in the Catholic and Orthodox canons and the Setuagint, but not the Protestant canon.

(4) The Epistle of Jeremiah in Greek. This is in the Orthodox canon, the Catholic Canon, and the Septuagint.

(Of course, when one says 'the" Protestant canon, there's a certain amount of ambiguity there. Luther for example, put the Epistle of Jeremiah in his translation of the Bible into German. Now, if Luther wasn't a Protestant, who was?)

So, anyway, the point is that it doesn't matter what is or isn't in the Dead Sea Scrolls --- or if it does matter, then the Protestant canon is definitely wrong. So what does justify the Protestant canon?

Good point about 1 Enoch. I was aware of its possible mention in Jude (although some dispute whether it's definite) and that's why I said earlier:

As for why the Protestant canon is superior, the manuscript evidence shows which books were found well preserved. 1 Enoch and Jubilees are the only non-canonical Old Testament books found in substantial numbers among the Dead Sea Scrolls:

1 Enoch and Jubilees are the two books found in substantial numbers and thus could merit consideration. I actually wondered about 1 Enoch myself recently.

As for who the real Protestants were, Protestantism actually goes back about 1700 years. It's a common misconception that it began during the Reformation. There's a chart called the "Trail of Blood" by J.M. Carroll for example which purports to show a lineage of groups tracing the real Christian Church back, separate from Catholicism. I've written a lengthy post here addressing it, and my disagreements with Catholicism:


I'll quote the info about groups I think were Protestants before Luther and persecuted by Catholicism:

There were actually numerous groups persecuted by Catholicism as heretics long before the Reformation, a little-known fact, as seen from the "Trail of Blood" chart by J.M. Carroll, including Montanists, Novatians, Puritans (no relation to 17th century group), Cathar, Donatists, Paulicians, Henricians, Arnoldists, Albigenses, and Waldenses:



List of Christian groups persecuted before the Reformation as heretics:

-Montanists: A.D. 150-800. Believed God continued giving revelation to the Church. They were the first to call the Holy Spirit God. They emphasized fasting and rejected remarriage after divorce, consistent with Jesus' teachings (Matthew 5:32) but angering Catholicism. Tertullian defended them.

-Novatians: A.D. 254-600. Denied readmission of Christians who denied their faith and sacrificed to pagan deities. They also said remarriage was wrong after divorce. For this they were considered heretics and stamped out. According to Catholic sources, they also held similar beliefs to the Arians in considering Jesus created and subject to God the Father. They called themselves Puritans (no relation to later group in 16th century).

-Donatists: A.D. 311-750. Considered Roman Catholicism the "Church of Judas'. Like the Novatians, they said those who had denied the Christian faith under persecution should not be re-admitted, and were traitors. They rejected infant baptism, and thus practiced rebaptism, a serious crime by Catholicism's standards.

-Arians: A.D. 320-671. Claimed Jesus was created and separate from God the Father. Catholicism instituted the Nicene Creed declaring a Trinity and that Christ was eternal and born of a virgin, in response. Their books were burned, they were killed, and much of what we know about them is written by their enemies. Judaism views them somewhat favorably because they did not seek to persecute Jews when in power.

-Paulicians: A.D. 650-950. They rejected worship of Mary, saints, the cross, and Mass, and believed everyone should be able to freely study the Bible for themselves. Like many others they were accused of Dualism, considering a good God vs. an evil one of the world, and opposition to the materialism Catholicism worshiped.

-Waldenses: A.D. 800-Present. They created a non-Latin translation of the Bible, enraging the Catholic Church, who spent centuries trying to massacre them out of existence. They emphasized poverty and rejected Indulgences, Purgatory, prayer for the dead, popes, holy water, refused to take oaths, and considered Roman Catholicism the Harlot of Babylon.

-Bogamils: A.D. 950-1900. Dualists, rejected worship of the cross and emphasis on external church buildings.

-Cathar: A.D. 1100 - Present. Also called Paterines. Believed in Dualism, that the God of the Bible is opposed by a god of this world, Satan (Biblical - 2 Corinthians 4:4, John 12:31, 16:11). They believed in poverty, rejected priesthood and church buildings, and refused to swear oaths (Biblical - see Matthew 5:34, James 5:12). Despite the Albigensian Crusade, which killed some 500,000 of them, remnants have survived to the present day.

-Albigenses: A.D. 1100-1350. Believed in Dualism, a good God vs. an evil one of this world, Satan, and condemned Catholic "corruption, ritualistic pomp, and superficiality". While they disagreed with Judaism, they coexisted peacefully. Were destroyed in one of the bloodiest massacres in Catholic history, the Albigensian Crusades.

-Petrobrussians: A.D. 1100-1250. Also called Henricians. Rejected an outward visible church, said the real church was in the hearts of all believers. Rejected infant baptism, crucifix worship, prayer to the dead, and Mass/the Eucharist.

-Arnoldists: A.D. 1136-1200: Founded by Arnold of Brescia. Rejected infant baptism and material possessions.



Edited by AdminPD, : Warning

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Inactive Member

Message 23 of 154 (664066)
05-28-2012 9:12 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by Adminnemooseus
05-28-2012 9:02 PM

Re: Link flood (and non-topic response)
I basically was just pointing out in the post that I agreed 1 Enoch and Jubilees are the two books that are well-sourced by the Dead Sea Scrolls separate from the Old Testament. I did get side-tracked with the mention of Protestants though. The beginning of the post was on-topic though.

And actually, the latter part does somewhat relate to the topic since it relates to what Protestants are. By showing that Protestants have been around long before the Reformation, the information is useful in showing that Catholicism was not necessarily the preserver of the Canon through the centuries resulting in the Bible we see now.

Edited by Jzyehoshua, : No reason given.

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Inactive Member

Message 25 of 154 (664069)
05-28-2012 9:16 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Jzyehoshua
05-28-2012 9:12 PM

Re: Link flood (and non-topic response)
I think the information I provided is useful because canonicity deals with who is preserving the canon. Too often people assume Catholics were the only religious group around that first milennia A.D. and thus the canon was constructed and preserved entirely by them. The information I provided shows groups that did provide canons and non-Latin Bibles (e.g. the Waldenses) long before the Reformation. Thus, the Protestant Canon and Protestants were around long before the Reformation. And therefore, my post was perfectly on-topic.

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Inactive Member

Message 26 of 154 (664070)
05-28-2012 9:24 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Dr Adequate
05-28-2012 9:15 PM

I didn't say Luther was the first Protestant, just that he was one --- if he isn't, who is?

So the idea of a Protestant canon is a bit dubious, and becomes more so if we throw in the other groups we mentioned. Not everyone whom we would call Protestants would have removed the Apocrypha from the canon.

Well, thing with Luther is he supported persecuting Protestants like the Anabaptists in the same way the Catholic Church did. Calvinists and Lutherans were actually right there with Catholicism in warfaring persecution and martyring of Protestants like the Anabaptists. So I've never really liked Luther as a Protestant example myself.

I don't see why you would figure out canonicity by counting Dead Sea Scrolls. Why would we assume that the people who hid the scrolls had the right canon?

Well, I figure if the Bible is God's Word, and God did want it preserved, then the strongest examples of that preservation should show what that Word is. The Dead Sea Scrolls against much probability have come down to us from over 2,000 years ago, providing an accurate record with which to cross-check the Old Testament.

So it stands to reason what they best preserve might well be God's Word, and if that includes 1 Enoch and Jubilees, well, that's more reason for me to give those two books serious consideration in canonicity. The Dead Sea Scrolls otherwise preserve perfectly all the books of the Old Testament - the scrolls best preserved are the books of the Old Testament - along with those 2 books.

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Inactive Member

Message 27 of 154 (664071)
05-28-2012 9:28 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by Jzyehoshua
05-28-2012 9:16 PM

Re: Link flood (and non-topic response)
As recently as 2010, the Lutheran World Formation issued a formal statement apologizing for previous violent persecution of Anabaptists.


Lutherans often executed Anabaptists by beheading or drowning. Persecution of the peaceful Anabaptists in the 16th century actually exceeded the persecution of the early Christian Church by Rome. Most people just don't know about them.



Edited by AdminPD, : Warning

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Inactive Member

Message 32 of 154 (664115)
05-29-2012 1:54 AM
Reply to: Message 31 by Dr Adequate
05-28-2012 10:24 PM

Sure, Protestants have been mean to one another for centuries. I'm afraid they're still Protestants, though.


All the books under consideration for membership of the canon have been preserved. The idea of counting manuscripts seems an odd one. One would have to draw the line somewhere: "The Epistle of X just scrapes into the canon with 5 early copies still extant, whereas the Prophetic Book of Y barely misses being the Word of God with only 4."

True. Still, the top 16 mentioned appear to include the typical OT canon, plus 1 Enoch and Jubilees:


Psalms 39
Deuteronomy 33
1 Enoch 25
Genesis 24
Isaiah 22
Jubilees 21
Exodus 18
Leviticus 17
Numbers 11
Minor Prophets 10
Daniel 8
Jeremiah 6
Ezekiel 6
Job 6
1 & 2 Samuel 4

It's tough to tell what books rank next and how many manuscripts they have. It would also depend on the condition of those manuscripts. Still, just as a general rule, you'd think the preservation in general, both age and quality, would give some indication of which ones should be considered canon. So just right there, that looks to me like the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate a clear canon for the Old Testament at least with 1 Enoch and Jubilees as two other considerations.


Edited by AdminPD, : Warning

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