Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cipriano de Valera: A Spanish Reformer, Part 5

This is the fifth post in a series. Access prior posts below:

A Forgotten Reformer (sbcIMPACT!) published September 23, 2011

Cipriano de Valera, the great Spanish reformer and editor of the 1602 Reina-Valera translation of the Bible, made changes to Casiodoro de Reina’s 1559 translation regarding the apocrypha:

In relation to the order of the sacred books Valera introduced an improvement into Reina's Bible, for he distributed them again into two parts, those which had been translated from the Hebrew, and the apocryphal books, which had been translated out of Greek or Latin; whilst Reina following the Septuagint and the Vulgate had mingled the protocanonical with the deuterocanonical books… Nor did Valera admit marginal references to the apocrypha. (155).[1]
Early editions of various translations of the Bible into modern languages typically contained the apocrypha, which Roman Catholics prefer to call the deuterocanonical books since apocrypha doesn’t mean “hidden” so much anymore as it means “false”.
The apocrypha were never considered part of God’s inspired writings. When Jerome set about translating the Latin Vulgate he was at first hesitant to include them but was finally persuaded by Augustine. That’s not to say they believed the writings were inspired by God. Actually, Jerome noted that they were not, and Augustine criticized an opponent for having so poor an argument as to have to appeal to the apocrypha for support.

It wasn’t until the Council of Trent, partially as a response to Martin Luther and the growing Protestant Reformation, that the Roman Catholic Church officially added the apocrypha to the canon of Scripture. Some important Roman Catholic practices doctrines, such as purgatory and prayers for the dead, are founded on passages from the apocrypha.

Cipriano de Valera, like other Reformers, recognized the value of the apocrypha for historical and cultural information from the period between the Testaments leading up to the birth of Christ. But they also recognized that these works were not inspired by God. Valera intentionally kept these books distinct.

[1] Boehmer, Edward & Benjamin B. Wiffen. (1904). Bibliotheca Wiffeniana: Spanish Reformers of Two Centuries from 1520. Karl J. Trübner: Strassburg. Google Books. Digitized May 15, 2008.

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