Why did Athanasius and Melito of Sardis say that Esther doesn’t belong in the canon of scripture?

NathanH83

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What was it about Esther that caused them to think that it’s apocryphal and an invention of heretics? And do you think they might be right?

I really like the book of Esther.
But then again, it’s not quoted or referenced by Jesus or the apostles in any of the New Testament books.

I mean, in the Old Testament, Ezra references both Mordecai and Ahasuerus. Nehemiah also mentions Mordecai. So Esther does have some Old Testament verification. But it’s not referenced in the New Testament, and of course the New Testament is all that matters.

It was also the ONLY book missing from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Plus, secular historians cannot verify its historical information. Was this book maybe missing from the Bible that Jesus and the disciples used?

I know Clement of Rome referenced Esther as scripture in his letter to the Corinthians. And he was alive the same time as Peter and Paul, and probably knew them personally. But Clement believed in the existence of the Phoenix, a mythical bird that bursts into flames and lives for 500 years. So, since he had some misconceptions about what animals exist in wildlife, then we can probably throw out all of the solid scriptural training that the disciples personally gave him.
 

Origen

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What was it about Esther that caused them to think that it’s apocryphal and an invention of heretics?
You comment is blatantly false. Neither Athanasius or Melito claimed that Esther was apocryphal or an invention of heretics.

Why did Athanasius and Melito of Sardis say that Esther doesn’t belong in the canon of scripture?
Also the title of your thread also contains false information. Melito never said Esther does not belong in the canon. We have no idea why Esther is missing from his list.
 
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RichWh1

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I recall that the name of God was not mentioned in the book therefore they thought that it did not belong in the Bible.


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Origen

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I recall that the name of God was not mentioned in the book therefore they thought that it did not belong in the Bible.
Again we have no idea why Esther is missing from Melito's list. We don't even know if its omission was accidental or intentional.

As far as I aware Athanasius does not cite the lack of God name in Esther as a reason.
 

NathanH83

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You comment is blatantly false. Neither Athanasius or Melito claimed that Esther was apocryphal or an invention of heretics.


Also the title of your thread also contains false information. Melito never said Esther does not belong in the canon. We have no idea why Esther is missing from his list.


“But for the sake of greater exactness I add this also, writing under obligation, as it were. There are other books besides these, indeed not received as canonical but having been appointed by our fathers to be read to those just approaching and wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness: Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being merely read; nor is there any place a mention of secret writings. But such are the invention of heretics, who indeed write them whenever they wish, bestowing upon them their approval, and assigning to them a date, that so, using them as if they were ancient writings, they find a means by which to lead astray the simple-minded.”

-From Athanasius' 39th Festal Letter in the year 367

So, do you agree with Athanasius that Esther is apocryphal and an invention of heretics, which doesn’t belong in the canon, and is used to lead astray the simple minded?
 
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NathanH83

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Again we have no idea why Esther is missing from Melito's list. We don't even know if its omission was accidental or intentional.

As far as I aware Athanasius does not cite the lack of God name in Esther as a reason.

Probably the same reason Athanasius included Esther in his list of apocrypha. Because the Jews at that time rejected Esther, until the Jews later changed their minds and included it.
 

NathanH83

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Also, Athanasius includes Baruch among the canonical books.
So, I guess anyone who accepts Athanasius’ instruction must insert Baruch and delete Esther, since, you know, he gave a DIFFERENT LIST than what we use today.
 

Origen

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“But for the sake of greater exactness I add this also, writing under obligation, as it were. There are other books besides these, indeed not received as canonical but having been appointed by our fathers to be read to those just approaching and wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness: Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being merely read; nor is there any place a mention of secret writings. But such are the invention of heretics, who indeed write them whenever they wish, bestowing upon them their approval, and assigning to them a date, that so, using them as if they were ancient writings, they find a means by which to lead astray the simple-minded.”
You are misrepresenting Athanasius.

Athanasius makes it clear there are three groups of books.

First, there are the canonical books.

Second, there are "other books" which are not canonical "but having been appointed by our fathers to be read to those just approaching and wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness: Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd."

Third, there are the "secret writings" which Athanasius considers heretical.

Athanasius in regard to the first two group states "But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being merely read" and then he adds on his third group, "nor is there any place a mention of secret writings. But such are the invention of heretics."

The antecedent of the phrase "such are the invention of heretics" are the "secret writings" he had just mentioned.

Athanasius had already stated that Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd these books been appointed by our fathers to be read to those just approaching and wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness."

It make zero sense for Athanasius to claim they been appointed by our fathers to be read to those just approaching and wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness" and then to turn around and claim they are heretical.

Again, you are misrepresenting Athanasius.
 
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Origen

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Probably the same reason Athanasius included Esther in his list of apocrypha. Because the Jews at that time rejected Esther, until the Jews later changed their minds and included it.
Please provide primary sources for these claims.
 

NathanH83

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You comment is blatantly false. Neither Athanasius or Melito claimed that Esther was apocryphal or an invention of heretics.


Also the title of your thread also contains false information. Melito never said Esther does not belong in the canon. We have no idea why Esther is missing from his list.

You said that Athanasius did NOT claim Esther is apocryphal.

And yet, now you’re agreeing that he said Esther is Apocryphal.

Do you care to take back your statement?

Athanasius DID state that Esther is Apocryphal, and it is NOT a part of the canon.

So are you going to include Judith and Tobit alongside the book of Esther? Or are you going to take out Esther just as Judith and Tobit are taken out?
 

Origen

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You said that Athanasius did NOT claim Esther is apocryphal.
Yes I did and I am correct.

And yet, now you’re agreeing that he said Esther is Apocryphal.
I never make such a claim. You are trying to mislead.

Do you care to take back your statement?
There is no reason since you are wrong.

Athanasius DID state that Esther is Apocryphal, and it is NOT a part of the canon.
That is not correct. He not did claim Esther was apocryphal. You are misrepresenting Athanasius.
 
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NathanH83

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Yes I did and I am correct.


I never make such a claim. You are trying to mislead.


There is no reason since you are wrong.


That is not correct. He not did claim Esther was apocryphal. You are misrepresenting Athanasius.

Well, now you’re confusing me.
Athanasius included Esther among the books of Judith, Tobit, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach. And he said that they’re not canonical.

So…I’m confused. How did he not just say that Esther is Apocryphal? He included it among the Apocryphal books.

Uh, am I missing something here? What in the world?

How is Athanasius saying that Tobit and Judith are apocryphal and Esther isn’t, when he included them all in the same list?

Huh????
 

Origen

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Athanasius included Esther among the books of Judith, Tobit, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach. And he said that they’re not canonical.
Yes.

So…I’m confused. How did he not just say that Esther is Apocryphal? He included it among the Apocryphal books. How is Athanasius saying that Tobit and Judith are apocryphal and Esther isn’t, when he included them all in the same list?
Athanasius did not believe they were Scripture, but that does not mean he thought they were apocryphal.
 

NathanH83

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Yes.


Athanasius did not believe they were Scripture, but that does not mean he thought they were apocryphal.

Ok. So you agree with him then that Esther is not scripture? Have you removed it from your Bible yet?
 

Origen

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Ok. So you agree with him then that Esther is not scripture? Have you removed it from your Bible yet?
I never said I agreed. My goal was to draw attention to the facts concerning what Athanasius actually did say verses what he clearly did not say (as well as Melito).
 
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NathanH83

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I never said I agreed. My goal was to draw attention to the facts concerning what Athanasius actually did say verses what he clearly did not say (as well as Melito).

Ah, so you believe that he’s wrong about Esther but right about the other books?

Why would anyone bother appealing to the list of Athanasius when he uses a DIFFERENT LIST than the one in our Bibles today?
 

Origen

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Ah, so you believe that he’s wrong about Esther but right about the other books?
I never said that either. Again, my goal was to draw attention to the facts concerning what Athanasius actually did say verses what he clearly did not say (as well as Melito).
 
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NathanH83

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I never said that either. Again, my goal was to draw attention to the facts concerning what Athanasius actually did say verses what he clearly did not say (as well as Melito).

So do you agree with Athanasius or not?
 

Origen

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So do you agree with Athanasius or not?
What matters is the accuracy of the information provided by you in this thread and which has been proven to be suspect to say the least. The only reason you care about my view is so that you can divert attention away from your factual errors.
 
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NathanH83

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What matters is the accuracy of the information provide by you in this thread and which has been proven to be suspect to say the least. The only reason you care about my view is so that you can divert attention away from your factual errors.

I’m blocking you. Please stop responding to me. I’m not playing your games. Either answer if you agree with Athanasius or go away. I won’t be able to see your comments from now on since I’m blocking you. Goodbye.
 
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