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Feedback: Readers Defend English’s Bible Knowledge

In This Edition: Mr. English Had It Right - Letter about Ecclesiasticus - Obviously Not A Catholic - bible scholar?!?

- Andre Hanson’s Letter
- Bill English’s press statement

Mr. English Had It Right

Andre Hanson felt it necessary to correct Mr. English's press release regarding his plans for a memorial and the biblical citation therein. Now I find I must correct Mr. Hanson.

Hanson stated, "Not only did the Nats get the name of the book wrong (it's Ecclesiastes, not Ecclesiasticus), but also there is no chapter 44, verse 7, in that book." Apparently, it didn't occur to Mr. Hanson that English was quoting from a different version of the Bible.

Ecclesiasticus is a book in the Catholic Bible, and is considered part of the Old Testament apocrypha. It's also known as Sirach and it contains the verses English cited. (To read Sirach, aka Ecclesiasticus, for yourself, go to:

Perhaps Mr. Hanson shouldn't be so narrow in his viewpoint. There are other versions of the Bible out there, and completely different religions, after all.

Edward T Yeatts III

Letter about Ecclesiasticus

Dear Andre (the writer) and Editor:

I just ran across "Scoop" and then the letter about some quote from Ecclesiasticus. First, Jews closed their canon at Jamnia about 100 AD. The Protestants during the Reformation decided to pick up on the Jewish Canon of 39 books as the appropriate version of the Old Testament, because they had doubts about Roman Catholic scholarship and dogma concerning the scriptures.

However, the original Christian canon of "Jewish writings" was not always identical with that of the Jewish canon. Remember, Christians had been kicked out of the synagogue long before (@55-60 AD). The earliest versions of the Christian OT depended on the sense that there was a witness to the activity of God in history or through the particular prophet or that there was an essential fore-shadowing of the Jesus Christ in the literature.

Jerome's Vulgate swept up a bunch of Jewish literature, some in the Protestant OT and some not, and called it his canon, and so it became the RC version of the OT. In the so-called deutero-canonicals (meaning they are important for faith but of a lesser degree than the 39 books), you will find "Ecclesiasticus". It was originally written in Hebrew, and translated in Greek. It is sometimes called the Wisdom of Jesus Ben Sirach. The Book consists of maxims and sayings of worldly wisdom and social behavior, with a strong sense of love for the law of Moses (Torah, or the five books), and venerates OT folks. The Romans still cling to this book, and possibly the Orthodox do as well, however, Protestants since the Reformation have dismissed it as a curiosity at best.

--The Teacher of Amherst


Obviously Not A Catholic

Dear Sir,

In Scoop feedback, Andre Hanson accuses Bill English of misquoting the bible.

Like me, Andre Hanson is obviously not a Catholic. He is certainly not a bible scholar. Bill English is Catholic though, but hardly a bible scholar, but his media release quoting the book of Ecclesiasticus, a book of 48 chapters, is from the Catholic bible, It is a book of what is called the Apocropha, a section of the bible not used by Protestants.

So it is not a flawed press release and maybe Mr Hansen should check his own “elementary facts like a bible verse” before shooting off letters to Scoop telling readers that English meant Ecclesiastes. Maybe Hanson should buy a Catholic bible if he has got all the other versions.

Which brings me to another point. Catholics are not the largest denomination in NZ, and why should we have a verse out of a Catholic bible inscribed on the tomb of the unknown warrior when most people in NZ are not Catholic, let alone Christian.


Dave Crampton


bible scholar?!?

Dear Editor,

Your correspondent, a so-called 'Bible scholar', was perhaps unaware that Ecclesiasticus is a book included in Catholic Bibles. It's considered to be extraneous to the canonical books, and hence usually appears in a section called 'Apocrypha'. Many of the apocryphal books (eg Wisdom) have considerable poetic beauty, so 3 cheers to the Nats for raising the tone of parliament.

A handy link:

Here's an expanded extract of chapter 44:

Ecclesiasticus 44:1-15

1 Let us now praise famous men,
and our fathers that begat us.

2 The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning.

3 Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms,
men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding,
and declaring prophecies:

4 Leaders of the people by their counsels,
and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent are their instructions:

5 Such as found out musical tunes,
and recited verses in writing:

6 Rich men furnished with ability,
living peaceably in their habitations:

7 All these were honoured in their generations,
and were the glory of their times.

8 There be of them, that have left a name behind them,
that their praises might be reported.

9 And some there be, which have no memorial;
who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born;
and their children after them.

10 But these were merciful men,
whose righteousness hath not been forgotten.

11 With their seed shall continually remain a good inheritance,
and their children are within the covenant.

12 Their seed standeth fast,
and their children for their sakes.

13 Their seed shall remain for ever,
and their glory shall not be blotted out.

14 Their bodies are buried in peace;
but their name liveth for evermore.

15 The people will tell of their wisdom,
and the congregation will shew forth their praise.

- - - Regards, Robert Papesch

© Scoop Media

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