Mike Aquilina

The Bigger Canon That Can

Tuesday June 19th 2007, 3:08 am

One of the most frequently asked questions I get through this blog is: “What’s a good book on the canon of the Bible?” I’ve hemmed and hawed in response, suggesting some big books from a century ago. But, as one scholar pointed out to me, there really hasn’t been a book that takes into account the archeological and other discoveries made since then.

Till now! I just today received a copy of Gary Michuta’s long-awaited Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger: The Untold Story of the Lost Books of the Protestant Bible. This is the most exhaustively documented history of the canon I’ve seen, with abundant examples (full text) from early Jewish sources, the Fathers, and on through the Protestant Reformation. Especially interesting is Michuta’s treatment of the Apostolic Fathers’ use of the Old Testament deuterocanonicals.

Whether you hold to “sola scriptura” or “prima scriptura” (to steal a phrase from my friend Scott Hahn), the question of the canon — the very contents of authoritative Scripture — must be answered. Gary Michuta has given us all the data we need to formulate an answer.

Here’s what a top-flight scholar, Dr. Brant Pitre of Our Lady Of Holy Cross College, New Orleans, has to say about Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger:

For years I have wished that someone would write an up-to-date Catholic study of the questions: How did we get the Bible? And did the Catholic Church really “add” books to the Old Testament? Now we finally have one! In this excellent new book, Gary Michuta provides a detailed explanation of the origin of the Old Testament and why Catholic and Protestant Bibles are different. In it, he shows the indispensable role played by the Catholic Church in gathering and declaring which books belong to the canon of Sacred Scripture. Scholars and laity alike will learn a great deal from this fascinating analysis of a critical issue in apologetics and Church history.