Comparing: New Testament / Deuterocanon

Apocrypha, Deuterocanon, and the New Testament

... for two thousand years the church still has not agreed on the scope of its Bible - even if there is wide agreement on most of it. Today there are four different Old Testament canons current in the Christian church, namely those in the Eastern Orthodox (both Greek and Russian), Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Ethiopian churches. Likewise, there are multiple collections of sacred books in antiquity that are often similar in content, but not entirely so. Most of these differences were present before the fourth century, but some came later. Then as now, the books that one religious community calls apocryphal or even pseudepigraphal (thereby dismissing them), another religious community welcomes as scripture. In addition, the books in question have changed from time to time.

Current research suggests that the larger collections of Old or First Testament writings containing the so-called apocryphal books were more common in the early churches and in Second Temple Judaism than the more limited collection of biblical books in the later Jewish Hebrew Bible and Protestant Old/First Testament. The diverse opinions about the scope of the biblical canon are no doubt rooted in the complexity of the traditions surrounding the origins of the Bible, and what makes matters even more challenging is that there are no ancient documents that explain when the process of canonization began, when it ended, or even what a biblical canon is. Most scholarly conclusions about this process depend upon the inferential evidence stemming from a few well known ancient texts rather than upon explicit statements or discussions in antiquity.