Archive for the ‘Louis Gaussen’ Category

Cajetan on the Canon

November 17, 2009

The following is an excerpt from The canon of Holy Scriptures: from the double point of view of science and faith, by Louis Gaussen, London: 1862, Appendix on the Apocrypha, pp. 642-43 (link).

But Cajetan, on the question of the apocryphal books often expresses the same opinion as ourselves, either in his Commentaries on Thomas Aquinas, or in those he wrote at Rome itself, or very near the Council of Trent, on the Holy Scriptures. [FN: The public library at Geneva possesses the Commentaries of Cajetan, In Omnes Authenticos Veteris Testam. Historiales Libros, printed at Rome in 1533. The Pope’s Penitentiary superintended the edition. Cajetan enumerates the books on which has commented, “Omissis reliquis ab Hieronyme inter apocrypha supputatis.”]
He says, on the first chapter of the Hebrews, “The books that Jerome has handed down to us as canonical, (canonicas tradidit,) we hold to be canonical, and those which he has separated from the canon, (à canone discrevit,) we hold to be out of the canon, (extra canonem habemus.)” But we have already said with what decision Jerome has expressed himself against the Apocrypha. “After Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi,” he says on Isaiah xlix. 21, “I have seen no other prophet till John the Baptist!”

Cajetan also says, in his dedicatory epistle to Pope Clement VII. (at the head of his commentary on the historical books of the Old Testament) — an epistle approved by the Pope — “Most holy father, the whole Latin Church is under the greatest obligations to St Jerome on account of the distinction he has made between the canonical books and the uncanonical. He has delivered us from the OPPROBRIUM which would have rested upon us in the eyes of the Hebrews, (ab Hebraeorum opprobio,) of appearing to regard as part of the canon, books and portions of books which the Hebrews entirely want, (quod fingamus nobis antique canonis libros aut librorum partes quibus ipsi penitus carent.)”

He says again, on the last chapter of Esther, “These books are not canonical (non sunt regulares) to confirm the matters of faith, (ad firmandum ea quae sunt fidei.)” “But yet,” he adds, in the sense in which Augustin sometimes spoke, “they might be called canonical—that is to say, books serving as a rule (regulares) to be employed for the edification of the faithful.

It is thus that Jerome had said, (on the books of Solomon, to Chromatius and Heliodorus,) “In the same way as the Church reads the books of the Maccabees, Tobit, and Judith, without receiving them into the number of the canonical writings, so we may treat Ecclesiasticus and the book of Wisdom, reading them for edification, and not to authorise dogmas. (Sic et haec duo volumina legat ad aedificationem plebis, non ad auctoritatem ecclesiasticorum dogmatum confirmandum.)”

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