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July 27, 2007 / vivator

The Old Testament of the first two centuries Christians

What books did the first Christians in the first two centuries recognize as Old Testament?  Did they accept only the twenty four books of Jewish Scripture, which are equal to thirty-nine books of Protestant’s Old Testament?  From their writings we know that they recognized more books than the ones we have now in either Catholic or Protestant’s Old Testament.  

1 Clement (written c 96 AD) quoted from the Wisdom, Judith and from unknown scripture.

For this reason righteousness and peace are now far departed from you, inasmuch as every one abandons the fear of God, and is become blind in His faith, neither walks in the ordinances of His appointment, nor acts a part becoming a Christian, but walks after his own wicked lusts, resuming the practice of an unrighteous and ungodly envy, by which death itself entered into the world.  [Wisdom 2:24]

1 Clement 3

He established all things, and by His word He can overthrow them. “Who shall say unto Him, What hast thou done? or, Who shall resist the power of His strength? “ [Wisdom 12:12]

1 Clement 27

Many women also, being strengthened by the grace of God, have performed numerous manly exploits. The blessed Judith, when her city was besieged, asked of the elders permission to go forth into the camp of the strangers; and, exposing herself to danger, she went out for the love which she bare to her country and people then besieged; and the Lord delivered Holofernes into the hands of a woman. [Judith 8]

1 Clement 55

Such examples, therefore, brethren, it is right that we should follow; since it is written, “Cleave to the holy, for those that cleave to them shall [themselves] be made holy.”  [unknown scripture]

1 Clement 46

Didache, written in 1st or 2nd century AD quoted from Sirach. 

Be not a stretcher forth of the hands to receive and a drawer of them back to give. [Sirach 4:31]

Didache 4:5

In his epistle to the Magnesians Ignatius (died c. 107 AD), bishop of Antioch quoted from Susanna. 

For Daniel the wise, at twelve years of age, became possessed of the Divine Spirit, and convinced the elders, who in vain carried their grey hairs, of being false accusers, and of lusting after the beauty of another man’s wife.  [Susanna or Daniel 13]

Ignatius, Epistle to Magnesians 3 (longer version)

Polycarp (died c. 156), bishop of Smyrna, quoted Tobit in his epistle. 

When you can do good, defer it not, because “alms delivers from death.”  [Tobit 4:10]

Polycarp, Epistle to the Philippians 10

Epistle of Barnabas written in c. 130 AD cited Wisdom, 1 Enoch as scripture and quoted from unknown work.   Note that 1 Enoch 1:9 is also quoted in Jude 14-16.

For the prophet speaks against Israel, “Woe to their soul, because they have counselled an evil counsel against themselves, saying, Let us bind the just one, because he is displeasing to us.” [Wisdom 2:12]

Barnabas 6

What, then, says He in the prophet? “And let them eat of the goat which is offered, with fasting, for all their sins.”   [unknown scripture]

Barnabas 7

In like manner He points to the cross of Christ in another prophet, who saith, “And when shall these things be accomplished? And the Lord saith, When a tree shall be bent down, and again arise, and when blood shall flow out of wood.”  [unknown scripture]

Barnabas 12

For the Scripture saith, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the Lord will deliver up the sheep of His pasture, and their sheep-fold and tower, to destruction.” [1 Enoch 89:56,66]

Barnabas 16

Shepherd of Hermas (written c. early second century) cited as scripture the apocryphal (now lost) Eldad and Modad.  Eldad and Modat are the names of two prophesying Jews in Numbers 11:26-27.

The Lord is near to them who return unto Him, as it is written in Eldad and Modat, who prophesied to the people in the wilderness.”

Shepherd of Hermas, Second Vision 3

Irenæus, bishop of Lyon (c. 115 to 202) quoted from Baruch, Susanna, Bel and Dragon and 1 Enoch. 

And Jeremiah the prophet has pointed out, that as many believers as God has prepared for this purpose, to multiply those left upon earth, should both be under the rule of the saints to minister to this Jerusalem, and that [His] kingdom shall be in it, saying, “Look around Jerusalem towards the east, and behold the joy which comes to thee from God Himself. Behold, thy sons shall come whom thou hast sent forth: they shall come in a band from the east even unto the west, by the word of that Holy One, rejoicing in that splendour which is from thy God. O Jerusalem, put off thy robe of mourning and of affliction, and put on that beauty of eternal splendour from thy God. Gird thyself with the double garment of that righteousness proceeding from thy God; place the mitre of eternal glory upon thine head. For God will show thy glory to the whole earth under heaven. For thy name shall for ever be called by God Himself, the peace of righteousness and glory to him that worships God. Arise, Jerusalem, stand on high, and look towards the east, and behold thy sons from the rising of the sun, even to the west, by the Word of that Holy One, rejoicing in the very remembrance of God. For the footmen have gone forth from thee, while they were drawn away by the enemy. God shall bring them in to thee, being borne with glory as the throne of a kingdom. For God has decreed that every high mountain shall be brought low, and the eternal hills, and that the valleys be filled, so that the surface of the earth be rendered smooth, that Israel, the glory of God, may walk in safety. The woods, too, shall make shady places, and every sweet-smelling tree shall be for Israel itself by the command of God. For God shall go before with joy in the light of His splendour, with the pity and righteousness which proceeds from Him.” [Baruch 4:36 to 5:9 quoted as part of Jeremiah]

Irenæus, Against Heresies 5.35.1

For who is the God of the living unless He who is God, and above whom there is no other God? Whom also Daniel the prophet, when Cyrus king of the Persians said to him, “Why dost thou not worship Bel?” did proclaim, saying, “Because I do not worship idols made with hands, but the living God, who established the heaven and the earth and has dominion over all flesh.”  [Bel and Dragon or Daniel 14:24-25]

Irenæus, Against Heresies 4.5.2 

and they shall hear those words, to be found in Daniel the prophet: “O thou seed of Canaan, and not of Judah, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust perverted thy heart, Thou that art waxen old in wicked days, now thy sins which thou hast committed aforetime are come to light; for thou hast pronounced false judgments, and hast been accustomed to condemn the innocent, and to let the guilty go free, albeit the Lord saith, The innocent and the righteous shalt thou not slay.”  [Susanna or Daniel 13:56]

Irenæus, Against Heresies 4.26.3

Enoch, too, pleasing God, without circumcision, discharged the office of God’s legate to the angels although he was a man, and was translated, and is preserved until now as a witness of the just judgment of God, because the angels when they had transgressed fell to the earth for judgment, but the man who pleased [God] was translated for salvation.  [1 Enoch 12:4-5, 13:4-7 and 15:2]

Irenæus, Against Heresies 4.16.2

Justin Martyr (died c. 165), martyr and apologist, alluded to 1 Enoch. 

God, when He had made the whole world, and subjected things earthly to man, and arranged the heavenly elements for the increase of fruits and rotation of the seasons, and appointed this divine law-for these things also He evidently made for man-committed the care of men and of all things under heaven to angels whom He appointed over them. But the angels transgressed this appointment, and were captivated by love of women, and begat children who are those that are called demons; and besides, they afterwards subdued the human race to themselves, partly by magical writings, and partly by fears and the punishments they occasioned, and partly by teaching them to offer sacrifices, and incense, and libations, of which things they stood in need after they were enslaved by lustful passions; and among men they sowed murders, wars, adulteries, intemperate deeds, and all wickedness.

Justin Martyr, 2 Apology 5

Clement of Alexandria (c. 160 to 215), Christian writer and theologian, quoted Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch and 4 Ezra. 

At this stage some rise up, saying that the Lord, by reason of the rod, and threatening, and fear, is not good; misapprehending, as appears, the Scripture which says, “And he that feareth the Lord will turn to his heart; “ [Sirach 21:6]

Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor 1.8

This Scripture has briefly showed, when it says, “What thou hatest, thou shalt not do to another.”  [Tobit 4:15]

Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 2.23

By ignorance he means, in my opinion, death. “And he that is near the Lord is full of stripes.” [Judith 8:27]

Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 2.7

“By alms then, and acts of faith, sins are purged.”  [Sirach 3:30]

Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 2.15

And so it is said in the book of Wisdom: “For He hath given me the unerring knowledge of things that exist, to know the constitution of the word,” and so forth, down to “and the virtues of roots.” Among all these he comprehends natural science, which treats of all the phenomena in the world of sense. And in continuation, he alludes also to intellectual objects in what he subjoins: “And what is hidden or manifest I know; for Wisdom, the artificer of all things, taught me.” [Wisdom 7:17,20,21,22]

Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 2.2

Accordingly it is rightly said in Solomon, “Wisdom is in the mouth of the faithful.  [Sirach 15:10] …….  aided doubtless by Solomon, who says, “If thou lovest to hear, thou shalt comprehend; and if thou incline thine ear, thou shalt be wise.  [Sirach 6:33] 

Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 2.5 

 “Why did my mother’s womb not become my tomb, to prevent me from seeing Jacob’s trials and the troubles of the house of Israel?” says the prophet Esdras.  [4 Ezra 5:35]

 Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 3.16

It is in relation to these matters that the prophet says, “It was through your own sins that you were sold,” [Isaiah 50:1] and again, “you experienced defilement in an alien land.” [Baruch 3:10]

Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 3.12


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