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Rob Bowman

Lost books of the Bible?

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Mormons frequently cite a list of references in the Bible (taken from their Topical Guide) to books that are not part of the canon of the Bible as we know it to establish that the Bible is now incomplete. In order for these books to support the LDS position, there must be some evidence that the books were once considered part of the canon of Scripture. Below I will survey these references, placing them into six categories, and then offer concluding comments on this line of argument. Biblical quotations are from the KJV.

1. POSSIBLE REFERENCES TO PARTS OF EXISTING BOOKS OF THE BIBLE

Some of the alleged

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Ephesians 3:3

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I was intrigued by Lachoneus's post as well. Leaving aside the "book of the covenant" citation from Exodus, which is not at all problematic, one does have to wonder on what grounds Latter-day Saints assume these other "missing" books to have been worthy of canonicity if only they hadn't been lost. I've only seen brute fact arguments in LDS literature. The Bible mentions these books; thus, the Bible is necessarily incomplete since it doesn't contain them.

It's a completely unargued, presupposed, position. Maybe if the Topical Guide latterly canonizes Aratus we can begin to talk about it.

cks

EDIT: the reference to John 21.25 is actually contradictory to Lachoneus's usage of it, as it refers to a state of affairs contrary to the facts assumed by John: "if X were the case, then...." But, clearly, John holds ~X.

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Maybe if the Topical Guide latterly canonizes Aratus we can begin to talk about it.

If you think things are canonized by the Topical Guide, you have a lot to learn. Nevertheless, since Paul cites a portion of Aratus's

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Hi Lach:

You wrote:

If you think things are canonized by the Topical Guide, you have a lot to learn. Nevertheless, since Paul cites a portion of Aratus's

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I'm feeling kind of sick, and I've only picked a few examples to respond to directly, and for completely arbitrary reasons. Enjoy.

5. REFERENCES TO OTHER LETTERS WRITTEN BY PAUL

1 Corinthians 5:9

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And, it's weird because that is precisely the sort of uncritical balderdash I'm actually arguing against. Sort of like the fact of the mention of the book of the wars of the Lord doesn't entail that that lost book should have been part of the Hebrew canon.

It might be helpful if you could describe a Hebrew (or Christian) canon of the era of, say, the Book of the Wars of the Lord (or the first

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Volgadon,

Regarding Colossians and Ephesians, you wrote:

As they were written to different cities, I don't think your proposal is very sound.

Paul's letters were circulated among churches in different cities. Objection overruled.

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A canon is a man made construct, used by the ins to maintain control over dissidents and defend against outsiders.

No, I don't at all grant your premise, LeSellers. God's canon is recognized by man, not constructed by man. I'm with Augustine there.

Best.

cks

EDIT: I do so enjoy the odd LDS punt to Erhman.

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Jerubaal,

I'm sorry you're feeling sick.

You wrote:

As has been pointed out plenty of times before, the "Bible" didn't even exist when Paul was writing his letters, it was compiled long afterwards. The epistle was excluded from the Bible because it was never included. That's the definition of exclusion (to not include).

Not quite what the subject is. The claim I am answering is that the Bible refers to certain books that were once part of the Bible but somehow got taken out of the Bible. If a book was never in the Bible, it could not be taken out of the Bible.

And I grant that the Bible in its completeness as 66 books did not exist until the 66 books were all written, but this really doesn't begin to answer my argument. Mormons claim these books should have been in the Bible, by which I take it they mean that these books should have been accepted and preserved as scripture, but they were wrongfully taken out of the scriptural collection (canon). My answer is that they never belonged in the Bible and we have no good reason to think they should have belonged in the Bible.

Regarding Enoch, you wrote:

As for why we don't use it, that assumes that the version used by the Abyssinian Church is the same one that Jude was quoting from (I'm aware that the Abyssinian version has the portion that Jude quotes, but that alone doesn't establish its authenticity).

This is a bizarre objection, to use your description, coming from a Mormon. You use the books that are in the Bible as scripture while expressing uncertainty as to the extent to which they are faithful to the originals. Why don't you do the same for Enoch?

You wrote:

In any case, Enoch was a prophet, and he prophesied, and Jude clearl believed his prophecy to be true. How can you say the Bible is complete when a book of true prophecy is excluded from it?

Jude clearly believed that what he quoted was true, but Jude did not say or imply that the entire book of Enoch was true. And again, the concepts of true prophecy and scripture are not identical. God might inspire a particular book without intending for that book to function as part of a permanent corpus of inspired writings for use by his people. "Scripture" refers to inspired writings that serve that public function as part of a body of authoritative texts by which God's people are to know the truth and test whatever they hear. Even if the book of Enoch was inspired, then, that fact would not make it scripture.

You wrote:

What do you mean by canon?

The collection of scriptures that together form an authoritative body of texts for the people of God.

You wrote:

The truthfulness or inspiration of a book is independent of whether or not someone bothered to circulate it, and your arguments on those ground don't make any sense to me.

Again, if a book is true, that doesn't make it inspired, and if it's inspired, that doesn't make it scripture.

You wrote:

We are claiming that God inspired people to write things that are not contained in the Bible, and for those who believe that the Bible is complete in the sense that it tells us all we need to know for our spiritual welfare, one would have to claim that such writings are of no importance for our spiritual welfare, which is a dangerous thing to say about holy prophets such as Enoch.

But "holy prophets such as Enoch" are not the issue. The issue is whether Enoch's book was ever supposed to be part of the permanent collection of writings by which all teachings and practices of God's people would be judged. Even if Enoch wrote the book of Enoch (I don't know any scholars who think he did), that doesn't make the book as a whole inspired, let alone make it scripture.

Again, I think you've got a problem if you reject Enoch from the canon even though we have copies of it available for use. You cannot consistently reject it on the grounds it might not be copied correctly while at the same time professing to accept the Bible despite also questioning whether it was copied correctly.

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No, I don't at all grant your premise, LeSellers.

You may, as I have invited everyone here to do, call me Lehi, as my mother-in-law and the President of the united States of America do.

God's canon is recognized by man, not constructed by man. I'm with Augustine there.

Then you'll be so kind as to demonstrate that God created the canon, when and how?

For the histories I have read do not support any such thing.

Lehi

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Then you'll be so kind as to demonstrate that God created the canon, when and how?

Actually, perhaps you'll be so kind as to demonstrate how, why, and that God failed to "create" the canon, when and how? My argument is pretty straightforward. I believe the Hebrew canon is complete. You apparently do not. God didn't create the canon, per your view. That task was left up to humans.

I wonder if you can demonstrate that the "histories" you've read support the canonicity of the erstwhile "canonical" lost books LDS claim as evidence of an incomplete canon.

I'm all ears, LeSellers. Have at it, my friend.

cks

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Volgadon,

Regarding Colossians and Ephesians, you wrote:

Paul's letters were circulated among churches in different cities. Objection overruled.

And did Paul know who was circulating what and where? It seems very unusual in an age of extremely haphazard communications that Paul would leave as much as he did to chance. Again, your argument in that regard is not very strong.

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And did Paul know who was circulating what and where? It seems very unusual in an age of extremely haphazard communications that Paul would leave as much as he did to chance. Again, your argument in that regard is not very strong.

Well I think Paul knew that his letters where circulate. We can read in Col 4:16 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

In that time it was normal that the letters circulate. Because it was from an apostle.

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Actually, perhaps you'll be so kind as to demonstrate how, why, and that God failed to "create" the canon, when and how? My argument is pretty straightforward. I believe the Hebrew canon is complete. You apparently do not. God didn't create the canon, per your view. That task was left up to humans.

I wonder if you can demonstrate that the "histories" you've read support the canonicity of the erstwhile "canonical" lost books LDS claim as evidence of an incomplete canon.

I'm all ears, LeSellers. Have at it, my friend.

cks

I may be a bit dim here, but I don't understand how God could have created something (the canon) yet omit to mention therein that such creation was his and was complete. I believe that God was the source of what is considered the Hebrew canon, but I don't believe that the Hebrew canon is the complete output of that never-failing source.

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Mormons frequently cite a list of references in the Bible (taken from their Topical Guide) to books that are not part of the canon of the Bible as we know it to establish that the Bible is now incomplete.

It would be better to see the discussion in the Bible Dictionary, and here's what that text says:

The so-called lost books of the Bible are those documents that are mentioned in the Bible in such a way that it is evident they are considered authentic and valuable, but that are not found in the Bible today. Sometimes called missing scripture, they consist of at least the following

That the texts were considered authentic and valuable was all that really mattered to Hebrew Bible historiography. That they were considered canon was not something that was possible for them to decide.

In order for these books to support the LDS position, there must be some evidence that the books were once considered part of the canon of Scripture.

First, once you recognize the actual LDS position (shown in the BD quote), your inference becomes false. Second, your inference is false from the beginning. There was no such thing as a canon until the third and fourth century CE, and even then it wasn't the same idea we have today of a canon. Since these books were lost well that time period, there's no reason whatsoever to decide they need to be part of any canon.

3. UNKNOWN BOOKS BY JEWISH (OLD TESTAMENT) PROPHETS

1 Chronicles 29:29

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Well I think Paul knew that his letters where circulate. We can read in Col 4:16 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

In that time it was normal that the letters circulate. Because it was from an apostle.

Yet such is not specifically mentioned in Eph.

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Not quite what the subject is. The claim I am answering is that the Bible refers to certain books that were once part of the Bible but somehow got taken out of the Bible. If a book was never in the Bible, it could not be taken out of the Bible.

Not an accurate representation of the LDS point of view. The Bible didn't exist until AFTER the second century AD. We never claimed that these books "were once part of the Bible" but rather "are those documents that are mentioned in the Bible in such a way that it is evident they are considered authentic and valuable, but that are not found in the Bible today". We don't claim that they were "somehow got taken out of the Bible" because we don't claim that they were EVER put into the "BIBLE" in the first place.

Are you trying to construct a strawman or what?

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Yet such is not specifically mentioned in Eph.

But it isn't always necessary, because Paul put his letters on the same level as the prophets in the OT. The letter is written in a common sense.. not deeply in the problems for the church.

Actually, I think the letter at Collosse is written before the letter at Epheze. It was the basis. And I think too, it was normal, that the letters changed from 'owner'.

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I was intrigued by Lachoneus's post as well. Leaving aside the "book of the covenant" citation from Exodus, which is not at all problematic, one does have to wonder on what grounds Latter-day Saints assume these other "missing" books to have been worthy of canonicity if only they hadn't been lost. I've only seen brute fact arguments in LDS literature. The Bible mentions these books; thus, the Bible is necessarily incomplete since it doesn't contain them.

It's a completely unargued, presupposed, position. Maybe if the Topical Guide latterly canonizes Aratus we can begin to talk about it.

cks

The issue for me is not "if" these books should be canonized

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In order for these books to support the LDS position, there must be some evidence that the books were once considered part of the canon of Scripture.

Does this count?

Many other church fathers: Tatian (110-172); Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (115-185); Clement of Alexandria (150-220); Tertullian (160-230); Origen (186-255); Lactantius (260-330); in addition to: Methodius of Philippi, Minucius Felix, Commodianus, and Ambrose of Milanalso

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But it isn't always necessary, because Paul put his letters on the same level as the prophets in the OT. The letter is written in a common sense.. not deeply in the problems for the church.

Completely irelevant to my point. Authority is not the issue, transmission is.

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I may be a bit dim here, but I don't understand how God could have created something (the canon) yet omit to mention therein that such creation was his and was complete. I believe that God was the source of what is considered the Hebrew canon, but I don't believe that the Hebrew canon is the complete output of that never-failing source.

Hi nic:

I take your point. What I wrote was that the canon is recognized by man, not created by man. On the view I'm endorsing, "canon" is merely a label for the collection of books God actually inspired. Since men don't cause books to be inspired by God, men don't create canon.

I have a very high view of God's providence in history.

Best.

cks

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Actually, perhaps you'll be so kind as to demonstrate how, why, and that God failed to "create" the canon, when and how? My argument is pretty straightforward. I believe the Hebrew canon is complete. You apparently do not. God didn't create the canon, per your view. That task was left up to humans.

As it is impossible to prove a negative, I'll leave the proof of your position to you, where it rightfully belongs.

You made the claim that God created the canon, it is your task to support your claim.

Let's keep in mind that the "canon" is different from "scripture", the former being, in the ideal case, a subset of the latter. The ideal, however, not being likely, it is more than possible that there are spurious books, (e.g., the Song of Solomon) in the canon.

Lehi

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Not sure if someone else mentioned this and I missed it, but I have serious doubts that prexilic Israelites even had the concept of a set canon, so the idea that we must demonstrate that they considered those books part of their canon seems a bit ridiculous.

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