Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Apocrypha, the ESV & RSV & KJV

Dear Father Kim,

One of your correspondents asks me to explain why I want to see the Apocrypha in the ESV as it is in the RSV. Here is my answer.

Apocrypha (Books that are edifying to read)

In Luther’s German version of the Bible (1534) the Apocrypha stand between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Coverdale gave them the same position in the English version of 1535 and they appear in the King James Version of 1611 in the same place. The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England from the sixteenth century list the books of the Apocrypha and states that the Church reads them not for doctrine but for example of life. And thus they are included in the Lectionary of the Church of England.

In contrast the Puritans – followed by radical Protestants in the USA – did not read them in divine worship or daily prayer, but only rarely as religious books for information about the Jewish people. So in editions of versions of the English Bible for these folks the Apocrypha were omitted.

The Apocrypha, as explained in the Thirty-Nine Articles, are part of Reformed Catholicism, which is another name for the Anglican Way! There is no escaping this fact. Thus all versions of the Bible used for public reading in Anglican Churches ought to have them included.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.)

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