Talk:Biblical canon

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Archive info[edit]

See /Archive 1 for various discussions from before February 2002. See the state of the page then. Archived by Gadykozma 17:40, 9 Oct 2004 (UTC)

See /Archive 2 for discussions around August-November 2002. The main topic (by far and large) is the formulation of the very first paragraph. See the compromise reached (as of 2004, this paragraph hasn't changed by much). Another discussion, much shorter but still long, is whether to call James a bishop. The Council of Florence section that was stuck in the middle is a late addition from May 2004 (an apocrypha??). Summarized and archived by Gadykozma 19:01, 9 Oct 2004 (UTC)

See /Archive 3 for a discussion around September 2004 about the section concerning the LDS (mormon) books. A suggestion was raised to remove it, since the LDS themselves do not consider it to be part of the Bible. Some agreed, others thought this was not sufficient reason for removal. A second suggestion, to rename the page "Judeo-Christian canon" (in order to make the LDS writing fit in) gathered even less enthusiasm. The discussion dies out and neither was done. Archived by Gadykozma 14:19, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Please note: I fixed the links in the above message, after moving the archives chronologically. Archive 1 was formerly at the subpage name "/Archive2", archive 2 was formerly at the subpage name "/Archive3" and archive 3 was formerly at the subpage name "/Archive". Graham87 15:38, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Council of Florence[edit]

Why does this page say that the Council of Florence was not binding? It was an ecumenical council that promulgated specific doctrine, and specific passages from it occur in Denziger. I am concerned that this page contains a mistake about Florence.

I'm not familiar with the history of this council's authority, aside from the fact that the Eastern Orthodox people rejected the agreements that their representatives made at this council. My guess is that, since Council of Florence redirects to Council of Basel which article is chiefly concerned with the struggle between the Pope and the fathers of Basel at this time, the editor may have considered the Council of Florence non-binding because the matter with the Basel fathers was not yet settled.
It might be a good idea to make Council of Florence its own article again, and clarify its status (and any doubts about its status) there. Anyone else more familiar with the subject? Wesley 16:15, 3 May 2004 (UTC)
As the article now indicates, in the Council of Florence, the list of the canonical books occurs in the "Decree for the Jacobites", where it is not explicitly defined "for the Catholic Church". This is evidence of how well-determined the canon was at that point, of course. I don't think there was a lot of discussion at Trent before accepting this list (which Trent quotes from Florence). (At least this is what I could figure out from Denzinger.... I will look a bit deeper, though.) Mpolo 14:39, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

WikiProject[edit]

Based on a suggestion in Wikipedia:Pages needing attention, I have started the skeleton of a WikiProject to try to cut down on the overlap between the various presentations of the canon. I think that a lot of people working here will want input on this. Feel free! Mpolo 13:23, Sep 14, 2004 (UTC)

I look forward to your efforts! - Nunh-huh 23:33, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Hexateuch[edit]

I suspect this article is on very few watchlists, since it was one sentence long before I started messing with it. Maybe some of the people here would have the expertise to review hexateuch? (I know that some modern scholars claim to have found a "literary inclusion" between Genesis and Joshua that should "prove" that the hexateuch theory is correct, but I can't find any references, so I left that bit out.) The uncited references for what is there are a course handout from Australian Catholic University (found by Google), Catholic Encyclopedia, Jewish Encyclopedia, and maybe a couple more Google hits. Mpolo 07:47, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

I think Wellhausen used the term hexateuch Slrubenstein

Shouldn't there some reference to the dissenting view of Sadducees, perhaps language like "Some Jews recognize the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible as the Tanakh". Thank you. Nobs 23:23, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

Nobs, I don't think that the Saducees so much rejected the "canonized" Tanakh, as that the Tanakh was not canonized until after the Saducees disappeared. During the process of canonization, which ended at the very earliest at the very end of the first century, many people differed or debated what should be considered "holy books." But it isn't until the second century that there is a clear canonized Bible, the Tanakh. By that time there were no more Saducees, so they certainly couldn't object to it! The real important point is that until the Tanakh was canonized, all/many Jews differed over which books were most holy. Slrubenstein | Talk 23:27, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

Yes, but that doesn't reconcile with the information in wiki:
  • "Sadducees (or Zadokites and other variants) - which may have originated as a Political Party - was founded in the 2nd century BC and ceased to exist sometime after the 1st century AD. Their"
  • "the process of canonization of the Tanakh occurred between 200 BCE and 200 CE."

Nobs 23:38, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

"The "Damasian Canon" was published by Sundberg in JTS, v1, 1900, p.554-560."[edit]

Sundberg published most of his stuff in the 60s and 70s; was he even born in 1900? Jayjg (talk) 4 July 2005 16:42 (UTC)

The so-called "Damasian" canon is briefly and extremely tactfully discussed at Decretum Gelasianum. There's nothing authentically to do with Pope Damasus. Is this clear in the article? --Wetman 4 July 2005 20:15 (UTC)
Correction, published by C.H.Turner, JTS, v1, 1900, p.554-560: http://jts.oxfordjournals.org/content/volos-I/issue4/index.dtl
There is a section called "Roman Catholic OT canon" which presents the Damasian canon as authentically from Damasus. You may want to have a look at it.

Pauline Epistles:"there were some who rejected them"[edit]

This is not informative. It tells the reader that there is some information somewhere, and makes an assertion about it, but it does not transmit that information. This kind of writing may be an effect of US public-school education because I see it everywhere. --Wetman 7 July 2005 07:23 (UTC)

How would you rewrite this paragraph:
By the end of the 1st century, the Letters of Paul were collected and circulated, and they were known to Clement of Rome (c. 95), Ignatius of Antioch (died 117), and Polycarp of Smyrna (c. 115) but they weren't called Scripture as the Septuagint was and there were some who rejected them. Acts 21:21 records a rumor that Paul aimed to subvert the Old Testament. Epiphanius Heresies 29 says the Nazarenes rejected him. Irenaeus Against Heresies 26.2 says the Ebionites rejected him. Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 6.38 says the Elchasai "made use of texts from every part of the Old Testament and the Gospels; it rejects the Apostle [Paul] entirely" and 4.29.5 says Tatian the Assyrian rejected Paul's Letters and Acts of the Apostles and 6.25 says Origen accepted a 22 book Old Testament plus Maccabees as deuterocanonical plus the four Gospels but Paul "did not so much as write to all the churches that he taught; and even to those to which he wrote he sent but a few lines." 2 Peter 3:16 says they've been abused by heretics who twist them around.
The text moves from "some who rejected" the letters in the 2nd century to those rejecting Paul's teachings in the first century without signalling the move. (The critical separation of Pauline epistles from Pseudo-Pauline is not mentioned yet.) --Wetman 7 July 2005 20:06 (UTC)

ten traditional letters of Paul[edit]

This term is used by Metzger in his Canon of the NT. He may have coined it. It's used because no one in the early church proposed a smaller canon of Pauline works, even though moderns consider only 7 letters to be authentically Pauline. In fact, Marcion is the first to collect them into a group, but even his opponents agreed with the selection, with Hebrews and Pastorals early on considered of a different status. Hence, you have a number of groups: 14 canonical Paulines, 10 traditional (i.e. Marcion's), 7 authentic (as determined by modern standards).

Current implication is that the Nazarenes were a 4th century sect?[edit]

No, text reads "In the late 4th century Epiphanius of Salamis (died 402) Panarion 29 says the Nazarenes had rejected the Pauline epistles..." --Wetman 22:14, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

Date format[edit]

Yet again, here we have an article where the original editor chose to use the AD/BC date format, but where someone, User:Slrubenstein in this case, comes along with his POV pushing and changes it to CE/BCE. If the original editors (or first major contributors) use CE/BCE then fair enough. I don't like it, but I can live with it. That can't be said for Slr and his band of followers who are systematically changing date formats - and usually not identifying the change in the edit summary. I'm inclined to change this article back to BC/AD and might do so in due course, depending on any other views added here. Arcturus 15:50, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

Of course taking a position either way constitutes a POV, so the only really neutral position is to leave both off and just go with numbers alone. I think a reasonable compromise is to use the BC/AD notation in articles related to Christianity (such as this one), and use BCE/CE for non-Christian articles such as history. --Blainster 02:04, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

Arcturus, you are so full of shit, and I am tired of your slander and hounding me. First, have you ever contributed to this article? I added substance, I didnt muck around with the dates, I added new content. Also, look at the very first version of the article which was not written by me, and which used BCE. SR

Arcturus, please stop trying to stir up trouble where none exists. Your suggestion violates both policy and a recent truce. Jayjg (talk) 16:04, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

Slrubenstein's comment above is well out of order. It breaks Wikipedia:Civility and Wikipedia:No personal attacks. Steven has argued this issue on extremely divisive religio-political grounds and stirred up a whole hornet's nest of trouble throughout Wikipedia. It's time to stop this politicking and think of the reader. BCE/CE notation is not generally used by the general public throughout the world, and it is not our place to make it more widely used. We should think of the reader and use language that he understands. That Slrubenstein can only argue with invective and incivility shows just how weak his position is. Arcturus is completely right to stand up to Slrubenstein's self-serving political campaign, which, if it is ever successful, will only serve to drive our readers away, jguk 18:26, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

If there is any "campaign" going on here, it is your months-long, thousands of articles campaign which has been soundly rejected by Wikipedia consensus. Please stop repeating old arguments from that campaign ad nauseam, and please respect the current consensus. Jayjg (talk) 18:29, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
Please stop stirring this up more, Jayjg. Surely you can't defend Slrubenstein's language above? Nor can you deny that it was Slrubenstein who put forward (without listening to alternative viewpoints beforehand) a proposal that he argued, and was only willing to argue, on religio-political grounds. Nor can you deny that, despite his many attempts to manoeuvre the discussion in the way he wanted, his proposal came nowhere near gaining a majority, let alone the 80% vote he would have needed to make it policy. Nor can you deny that he continued to lend his active and passive support to changing articles to use BCE/CE notation. It's quite clear that a small number of users choose to campaign for BCE/CE notation arguing that their political beliefs should take preference over writing in a way that readers understand in a way that has been highly disruptive to WP. It's time for these BCE/CE campaigns to stop. They have damaged the project enough already, jguk 18:41, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
In response to Steve Rubenstein: You are right, I haven't contributed to this article because, unlike you, this and related topics are not my specialist areas. I'm more interested in date and calendar issues, amongst other things. Regarding the original format of this article. I think this is it [1]. It appears here that the first contributor - and it was a substantial contribution - used BC/AD. Further checking of the edit history apparently shows that you changed this format, but perhaps someone else could confirm that. As I've said, I don't like CE/BCE but if an original edit uses it then so be it. I have in the past changed some CE/BCE to AD/BC but I haven't done so for some time if it's clear that the first editor preferred it. Original use of CE/BCE might be argued as POV since it goes right against mainstream usage. Even Britannica uses BC/AD. Converting articles from BC/AD to CE/BCE is definitely POV.
Jayjg - it no good arguing that this issue has been resolved and there should be no further comment/argument/dissent. That's not going to happen. You must realise that this matter is highly controversial and will continue to attact comment in articles throughout Wikipedia. You'll have to live with it.
I would like to propose a vote on the reinstatement of BC/AD in this article, and then we should look at Bible again. Arcturus 19:13, 29 August 2005 (UTC)


Vote - reinstatement of BC/AD in this article


For

Agree - original editor's usage. Arcturus 19:13, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

Agree - we should use the only global standard - it's only right that we put our readers first (and if we confuse or offend them, we're sunk), jguk 19:23, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

Agree - use the most widely understood format. Wesley 03:32, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Agree - Homestarmy 13:30, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Against Agree - we should keep the original editor´s usage, which was BCE-CE. There is no case to "reinstate" something that was not there to begin with. SR

On what basis do you state this - the earliest version remaining in the history does, as Arcturus states, use BC/AD notation? jguk 19:37, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
The article should remain as it was when the truce on dating conventions came into being. That means that the convention agreed by the editors before the revert war should be respected. It's not the earliest version of the article that matters, but the version that was agreed by contributors – before the intervention of dogmatic believers in either convention. Of course, you do actually know this already. Paul B 11:55, 1 September 2005 (UTC)


Vote as you like, there is currently a truce on these kinds of article changes, and this article will not be the one which breaks that truce. Jayjg (talk) 04:26, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia's own style manual says the date format used in this article is fine. I view the push to change it to another style like campaigns to change spelling style. Both are pointless and needlessly antagonistic to other editors. It dismays me that this crusade continues when I thought a truce was agreed that it would stop. Jonathunder 15:06, 2005 September 3 (UTC)

Against. Having had religious studies in college, the general usage in Biblical critism is BCE/CE. I think the article should reflect this. - Rt66lt 21:16, September 5, 2005 (UTC)

And never mind that 90%+ of the world never use the terminology? This is a text for the general public, not American college-goers, jguk 22:07, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

After two weeks we have two votes in favour of reversion to BC/AD and four votes against. Comments from Jayjg are disregarded since they are a threat rather than a vote. According to this, the BCE/CE format should remain. Arcturus 21:57, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

You are mistaking a statement of fact for a threat. Jayjg (talk) 18:48, 14 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I know I should have kept up with the general discussion better when it was happening, but the fact is I didn't. Where can I learn more about the truce that was arrived at, that appears to be so universally binding? Wesley 03:32, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
It's a good question Wesley. I undestood the so-called truce (actually it was an agreement) related to the article Jesus. I am not aware of any universally binding truce relating to any other articles. However, I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong. Arcturus 21:27, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
I do remember seeing a discussion somewhere about date formats more generally on wikipedia, as well as the discussion on the Jesus article. I guess what I'm wondering is whether it got as far as an official Wikipedia policy or guideline or something of that sort? Wesley 06:21, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

'Against' There is a signficant population that is offended by the BC/AD notation. Much of the current Biblical criticism is now using the BCE/CE. Arguing that we should use the older notation is like arguing that racial slurs are acceptable because everyone knows what they mean. Mjchonoles 22:54, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Agree this article should use the AD/BC format. There is a significant population that is offended by the BCE/CE notation, but that shouldn't really matter. The more common format is more informative and more readily understood; use of this format is generally understood to not imply belief in Jesus as Lord or anything of the kind. But I suspect that if we're to be voting, we ought to be opening a new vote, not trying to continue an old one that was apparently closed months ago. Wesley 05:18, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

"Tests"[edit]

In the following sermonette, whose tests are these? As they stand, they are being presented as if they were neutral, fact-based tests that could be applied by a Wikipedia reader! (Wetman 00:03, 26 September 2005 (UTC))

Tests for the inclusion of the canon: From the writings of biblical and church history we can discern at least five principles that guided the recognition and collection of divinely inspired books.
1. Was the book written by a prophet of God?
2. Was the writer confirmed by acts of God?
3. Did the message tell the truth about God?
4. Does it come with the power of God?
5. Was it accepted by the people of God?


Don't know whose tests they are, but it looks like original research that should probably be left out of the article. Wesley 00:24, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

I'd be curious. Jerome? the Pope? As it stands, "the people of God" is defined as "those who accept these statements". Thus logically this is self-referential nonsense. If we can preface this nonsense with, According to Saint Soandso's Doctrine of XYZ (date)... then it becomes a statement of fact, and part of the history of nonsense. The history of nonsense is one of my favorites, actually. --Wetman 05:51, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
Sounds more like last semester's religion class. Good points given your assumptions (you defined "the people of God" - the article didn't, but should have). Common sense often turns out later to be nonsense as you suggest, so the use of the term nonsense seems a bit of modern hindsight. How much of what we assert today will in the course of future research turn out to be silly? I prefer to not be too hard on those whose ignorance handicapped their intellect. --Blainster 18:36, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Re: "Was the book written by a prophet?" – If we take prophecy to mean prediction of the future, then perhaps it would be good to wait a thousand years or so before canonization, just to be sure.... ;) --Blainster 18:36, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

I added a section Modern interpretation of canonization for this stuff, hopefully references will be provided.

I imagine the 'people of God' could be understood to mean those who called themselves Christians; in other words, was the book widely read and accepted in the Christian community. This doesn't necessarily have to be verified by quoting a specific saint, but could be the result of research finding copies of the book throughout Christendom, or widely quoted, etc. "Prophet" in this context generally means someone who "speaks forth" the word of God, a much broader definition than "one who predicts the future". I'd still like a better reference to keep this though; at least referencing whose modern interpretation of canonization this is. Wesley 02:55, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

The text: Many modern Protestants point to four "Criteria for Canonicity" to determine which books should be included in the Old and New Testament: suggests that the process of determining canonicity is currently being "determined", not as the article states: "all of the below canons are considered to be "closed"." I have amended it to read more accurately, since canonicity is closed: Many modern Protestants point to four "Criteria for Canonicity" to justify the books that have been included in the Old and New Testament, which are judged to have satisfied the following: This adjustment based on "justification" avoids discussing how the canon was arrived at, which was not historically simply by following these criteria. A subject in itself: but no matter. --Wetman 08:32, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Wetman, I like your changes. Good job. I'm all for keeping the section in its present form. Wesley 16:23, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
Agreed. Ideally a reference will pop up for these modern Protestant criteria, however, I don't believe the section should be deleted if a reference doesn't materialize. This topic will continually come up, so it is best to have a section that addresses it, even without references. Certainly one reference would be Josh McDowell, perhaps he is the only reference outside of original research.

Editing Complaint[edit]

I submitted a few sentences on another view of the canonization. This view is widely held within the non-Catholic Christian community. Yet, it and my links were edited out. I believe that since the sentences were accurate, that they need to be in this article (someone also removed them from the Bible article as well). Otherwise, this article is mainly a Roman Catholic point of view article, along with those who accept that explanation. I plan today to add the comments and links back in it. If they are not appropriate, I ask that someone will please explain as they are a correct legitimate attempt to balance this article. USER COGwriter

No original research Cite sources
Several links were to your personal website, which is inappropriate. KHM03 23:40, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

NPOV dispute over validity of Aramaic Primacy[edit]

  1. (cur) (last) 20:49, 8 December 2005 Jayjg m (Aramaic speaking churches are a tiny group, and only they hold this view. Please review "extreme minority opinion" in WP:NPOV)
  2. (cur) (last) 20:10, 8 December 2005 64.169.5.98 (revert, Aramaic primacy is a wikipedia article, held by a minority of reputable scholars, the pov is your claim that it is extreme)
  3. (cur) (last) 19:42, 8 December 2005 Jayjg m (no, Aramaic primacy is an "extreme minority opinion", which is not allowed by WP:NPOV)
  4. (cur) (last) 19:08, 8 December 2005 64.169.5.98 (revert, Aramaic primacy is not extreme, and the issue of Greek primacy (majority) v. Aramaic primacy (minority) is "primary" and belongs in the introduction to the Christian canon, see NPOV)
  5. (cur) (last) 00:44, 8 December 2005 Jayjg m (extreme minority opinions don't belong in intro)
  6. (cur) (last) 22:38, 7 December 2005 64.169.4.104 (→Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant - slight rework of first sentence, Greek Primacy versus Aramaic Primacy)
  7. (cur) (last) 22:26, 7 December 2005 64.169.4.104 (→Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant - (A minority advocates Aramaic primacy, thus an original New Testament in Aramaic that cites the Aramaic Old Testament))

64.169.4.104 proposed text: When Christianity began: it had no well-defined set of scriptures outside of the Septuagint, according to the majority, who advocate Greek primacy, however, a minority advocates Aramaic primacy, thus an original New Testament in Aramaic that cites the Aramaic Old Testament.

Jayjg proposed text: When Christianity began: it had no well-defined set of scriptures outside of the Septuagint.

The "Aramaic Primacy" theory is such a tiny minority in academia, with the VAST majority of scholars holding the dominant view, that there's no need to mention it in the lead. A brief mention later, with a link to the article. KHM03 21:57, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Exactly my point; in fact, it's not even biblical scholars who believe in the Aramaic primacy theory, but really just members of the tiny Aramaic speaking churches. Jayjg (talk) 23:07, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
You don't believe it is a notable minority position? You don't believe it should be pointed out that the majority hold a Greek primacy position? You don't believe this is relevant to an article on the Biblical canon?209.78.22.90 23:16, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
It's an extreme minority opinion. I suppose a very small note of it could be made of it much farther down, as KHM03 says, but it certainly doesn't warrant being up at the top like that. Jayjg (talk) 23:27, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Doesn't it warrant being mentioned in the same sentence that mentions the Septuagint (i.e. Greek primacy)? How bout a footnote on that sentence and then the addition in the footnote? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 64.169.0.68 (talkcontribs) .

Modern Evangelicals[edit]

"Many Evangelical Christian groups do not accept the theory that the Christian Bible was not known until various local and Ecumenical Councils . . ." Can you cite your source(s) please?

Here are a couple:
One thing must be emphatically stated. The New Testament books did not become authoritative for the Church because they were formally included in a canonical list; on the contrary, the Church included them in her canon because she already regarded them as divinely inspired, recognising their innate worth and generally apostolic authority, direct or indirect. The first ecclesiastical councils to classify the canonical books were both held in North Africa-at Hippo Regius in 393 and at Carthage in 397-but what these councils did was not to impose something new upon the Christian communities but to codify what was already the general practice of those communities. (F. F. Bruce[1]).
"The first express definition of the New Testament canon, in the form in which it has since been universally retained, comes from two African synods, held in 393 at Hippo, and 397 at Carthage, in the presence of Augustin, who exerted a commanding influence on all the theological questions of his age. By that time, at least, the whole church must have already become nearly unanimous as to the number of the canonical books; so that there seemed to be no need even of the sanction of a general council." [citing Philip Schaff, 519]
In defining which books composed the New Testament canon, these councils did "not impose any innovation on the churches; they simply endorsed what had become the general consensus of the churches of the west and of the greater part of the east." [citing F. F. Bruce, 97] (Corey Keating (PDF)[2]).
So although the consensus was not perfect, by the end of the fourth century the New Testament canon is officially fixed in the sense of being ecclesiastically defined and universally accepted. From this time on there was no real challenge to the canon until the time of the Enlightenment. (S. Voorwinde[3]).
A few others I can think of offhand are Douglass Moo, Daniel Wallace, Robert Reymond, and James White. --MonkeeSage 07:00, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
I think that "the theory that the Christian Bible was not known until various local and Ecumenical Councils" is a bit of a straw man. Who really advocates such a theory? Which ecumenical council ever attempted to define a biblical canon? I don't think it was until the Council of Trent, which did so in response to Luther's attempt to remove various books from both the Old and New Testaments. Wesley 16:39, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

Yes, actually an Ecumenical Council never did define the canon, thus the canon is different today between Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, etc. The Catholic Church claims the Council of Trent is Ecumenical, but only they believe that claim. The "local council" for Catholicism is the Council of Rome, but this is disputed. The "local councils" for Protestants are Hippo and Carthage, but these are disputed. There are Christians who believe that these councils, rather than defining the canon, merely "affirmed" a canon that is supposed to go back to the Apostles. Of course this is a belief, truth by assertion, there is no evidence of an Apostolic Canon other than the "Law and Prophets". 209.78.17.15 20:19, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Vulgate Prologues[edit]

This paragraph is interesting, but off-topic (it has nothing to do with the Canon per se) and controversial. In the prefaces to the Stuttgart Vulgate, its publishers suggest that this prologue was written by Pelagians. Speculation that the prologue was written by a 5th century Latin-speaking Pelagian seems more plausable (or less implausable) than authorship by a 2nd century Greek-speaking Marcionite. Fairness would seem to require inclusion of alternative hypotheses, which would make this off-topic thread even longer than it is. I suggest moving this paragraph to Vulgate or Marcion.

The offending paragraph is:

The Prologues to the Pauline Epistles (which are not a part of the text, but short introductory sentences as one might find in modern study Bibles [4]), found in several older Latin codices, are now widely believed to have been written by Marcion or one of his followers. Harnack notes [5]: "We have indeed long known that Marcionite readings found their way into the ecclesiastical text of the Pauline Epistles, but now for seven years we have known that Churches actually accepted the Marcionite prefaces to the Pauline Epistles! De Bruyne has made one of the finest discoveries of later days in proving that those prefaces, which we read first in Codex Fuldensis and then in numbers of later manuscripts, are Marcionite, and that the Churches had not noticed the cloven hoof."

Rwflammang 13:17, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

I think you're spot on. Vulgate is probably a better place than Marcion, since Marcion authorship is just one theory about their origin. But since it's a question of commentary about the epistles and not a question of the actual epistles' canonicity, it doesn't really belong here. Wesley 16:33, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Mormon Holy Books[edit]

Why is there a discussion of the book of mormon in this article? This section has nothing to do with how Christians of all denominations obtained the cannon. It's just an off topic duplication of material allready covered in more appropriate places. This article should be focused on how the cannon was obtained and issues regarding the cannon. :) IMHPoV. --DjSamwise 23:54, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Same goes for the "Swedenborgian canon". This is not an appropriate place to list all of the books outside the Bible that all the world's religions consider to be a holy book as well. Let's keep on topic. :) --DjSamwise 23:55, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

I think both of those sections were helpful and not off topic. It is still dealing with the Biblical canon. Both of these movements use a majority of clearly biblical works that most Judeo-Christians can agree upon, their use of others books is just as important as mentioning the early Canon's inclusion of certain non-canonical works, and the use of Apocrypha by Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics. Including the Koran, or including the Lotus Sutra would be attempting to include world religious. Saying that Mormons use the KJV plus some other texts that they believe are ancient is clearly on topic. I propose restoring these sections.--Andrew c 01:44, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for commenting. The book of Mormon has nothing to do with Bible Canon. It has to do with Mormon Religious Canon which accepts the entire Bible cannon unaltered as one of it's holy books. Saying that any sect uses other books in conjunction with the Bible doesn't add to this article. For the sake of your position you might as well add a sentance or two saying "other Christian sects also use other books as well as the Bible such as" and include wikilinks to various religions. All that other stuff is just repeated from those wikilinks. Side note.. why are you following me? :) --DjSamwise 02:54, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Right. Mormons don't include the Book of Mormon in the Bible, but as an additional sacred text, as far as I can tell. Wesley 03:25, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Swedenborgianism is a little different from Mormonism, though - it has a unique Biblical canon, not just the typical Biblical canon plus some other works. I could see completely removing reference to other books that Swedenborgians revere, but the Swedenborgian Biblical canon itself is just as relevant as the Catholic or Protestant canon. --Coleman Glenn 19:03, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
HI thanks for commenting. Please see the Wiki article POV and minor views that are not held by many. In the event that a view is held by a very small percentage (and in this case it's less than a percent of all people who study the cannon) then this is not the place for that view. Anyone can come up with a belief about anything, but that does not make it valid to the discussion. I could start my own religion right here and now but it wouldn't be properly pertinent to the article. here is the link:"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view", "If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it doesn't belong in Wikipedia (except perhaps in some ancillary article) regardless of whether it's true or not; and regardless of whether you can prove it or not." Thanks. --DjSamwise 04:45, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing that out: I didn't know about those guidelines before. I don't think Swedenborgians are an "extremely small" minority, though. They are a minority, yes, but I think that at 50,000 members (according to adherents.com) they are significant enough to warrant mention in the article. --Coleman Glenn 16:07, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
When we are talking about Biblical Canon, an issue that muliple billions of adherents have a doctrine regarding, anything short of millions is historically a very small minority. this should not be a listing of each of the individual opinions of the 4200 religions adherrent.com lists nor the millions of the span of millenia just the major ones. --DjSamwise 18:27, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
OK, I think I understand this issues a little better. The question then is do Mormons consider The Book of Mormon part of their 'bible'? Or do they consider it sacred scripture along with the KJV of the 'bible'? If the latter, I can understand the position of not wanting those things mentioned in this article. But, if Mormons consider all of their scripture as their 'Mormon Bible', then we must mention it. Also, Coleman Glenn, great info on the Swedenborgian stuff. I think that is a valid point and probably worth restoring.--Andrew c 23:24, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
HI, Mormons include the unaltered King James version Bible as part of their inspired collection of books. They also include 4 other books. (edit, whoops forgot to sign --DjSamwise 14:03, 11 July 2006 (UTC))

Disciples of Yeshuwa[edit]

Is this Disciples of Yeshuwa dispute on the canonosity of the Pauline Writing a major enough point to stated without caveat? The group seems like one amongst many minor 20th and 21st century denominations. Most of the disputes here in the article have historical basis. Their point doesn't seem NPOV to me. I don't find their group on wikipedia, and barely on google. I think the DoY edits need a looking at. Can someone rationalize the relevance of the "Disciples of Yeshuwa"? I do recognize the validity of minority views, but this group does not even have a wiki entry and much more than one authentic hit on google. I don't want to remove it without discussion.Hopquick 17:27, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

I flagged it as sectOR ...the section seems like self-promotion by a group, who links to their site. It may be vandalism. But it has gone under the radar for a while. Hopquick 05:00, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
This is an example of WP:NPOV#Undue weight is it not?

I was seeking fellowship in my local area with disciples of Yeshuwa so I did a google search which revealed many entries, yours included. I was intrigued with your particular site in which reference was made to the "relevance of the Disciples of Yeshuwa". In my humble opinion they are very relevant. Their web site document on 'Christian corruptions of scripture' is an absolute eye-opener in itself. In particular I was absolutely shocked to find that the apostle Paul completely corrupted the words of Deuteronomy 25:4 "You shall not muzzle the ox when he treads out the grain". Until I read the disciples of Yeshuwa document I was not aware that the apostle Paul dared in 1 Corinthians 9:9,10 to question the command of Almighty God. Paul, whilst quoting the words of Deuteronomy 25:4, had the sheer audacity to write that "GOD IS NOT CONCERNED WITH OXEN IS HE?. Or is He speaking ALTOGETHER FOR OUR SAKE?". He then proceeds to answer his own question by writing "YES! FOR OUR SAKE IT WAS WRITTEN" ( 1 Corinthians 9:9,10). How could anyone dare to write that "GOD IS NOT CONCERNED WITH OXEN"?. It is obvious that Paul's corruption of the words of Deuteronomy 25:4 was to satisfy the lust for greed of, not only himself, but also of his christian clergymen. I am sure that I speak for many when I say that the disciples of Yeshuwa' web site is a very welcome breath of fresh air showing up the cob-webs and lies of christianity for what they are. You are welcome to publish this. Sean McCarthy. smccarthy@iname.com

Wiki isn't to be used as an advertisement for the extreme minority view point. Your opinion is interesting and highly debateable but that doesn't mean there should be a section in this article entitled "sean's opinion" or "Sean's churchs' opinion". In the grand scheme of Bible readers the percentage of people that would take into consideration the view point of the church you cite it would be so infintesimmaly small that I could not even calculate it. If you read the wiki rules you will se it's not the place for such a small minority viewpoint. --DjSamwise 18:16, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Help with Gospel[edit]

There is a content dispute between myself and another editor on Talk:Gospel. I was wondering if editors here could weigh in because the dispute regards Biblical canon and whether "The Roman Catholic Church officially recognized" the 27 book NT canon at the 3rd Synod of Carthage.--Andrew c 01:00, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, but I'v come very late to Wikipedia, and missed this. Dec '08 I began. As far as I know, The Council of Trent is the only one that answered this and settled it as we know it today. However, in the early Bibles, the Book of Wisdom (of the sons of Solomon), was listed as the first of the NT. Books.

MacOfJesus (talk) 19:32, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

I'v looked at the archive notes.

The Pope endorcing a particular set of books as "Bible" before Trent, is not the same as Trent. Trent was the full Council of the Church together with the Pope airing, viewing, and deciding on what would be the Canon of Scripture. So you were right to disagree. The Synod would not have the same strenght as a Council, and a Council on the standing it was/is set out to do.

MacOfJesus (talk) 23:29, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

Merge Proposal[edit]

I happened upon the article Biblicism, which presents no information. I'm not quite sure whether it needs to simply be deleted or merged into this article. It might also be merged into Fundamentalist Christianity. I'd prefer it to redirect here, though. I initially proposed to merge it into Sola scriptura but it was appropriately suggested to merge here. Thoughts? Amicuspublilius 21:40, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Big time against the merger. It might be a form of biblical textual criticism, but not part of the canon discussion.Hopquick 18:09, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
Then it should be deleted. I understand not wanting to add worthless material here, but I was trying to be balanced and find a home for a page someone created. Thank you. Amicuspublilius 19:22, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
Hiya, I completely disagree that there should be a merger. Biblical inerrency is a topic with a large enough base of interest to be an article on it's own. It's also somewhat of a controversial subject all on its own.. even apart from biblical infalibillity :) --DjSamwise 14:52, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Was it the Humanists that challenged canon?[edit]

Wasn't part of the Reformation (aka Lutheran/Calvinist schism) the challenge to the canon by argueing that the apocrypha was not worthy of canon? I think Humanists are being overstated in the first paragraph, because frankly, the church, (Catholic or Protestant) could frankly care less about the opinion of external forces on their scripture. Rather it was the internal desire for renew and reform that led to the major challenges of canon. IMO. I'd like to see some proof. 70.177.68.209 03:08, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

It was any "humanists", it was Protestants, and a few Catholics, who cited earlier precedence: Jerome. 75.0.7.27 08:52, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Exclusive[edit]

The introduction describes the canon as exclusive and as closed; I assume these two words mean the same thing: that books not explicitly included in the canon are explicitly excluded. I do not think that this is true. The canon of the Council of Trent, for instance, lists a set of books that are definitely intended to be considered canonical, but it does not say that other books not mentioned, but typically found in bibles at that time (e.g. Prayer of Manasses) are definitely excluded from the canon. A later determination might include them. Trent is one of the few canons I have actually read. The few others I have read or read about have excluded a book or two by name to be definitely rejected (e.g. 2 Esdras), but make no other claims of exclusivity or closure. Perhaps there are some exclusive canons decreed by some Protestant bodies, but these should be noted on a case by case basis. I think the statement as it stands is too expansive. Rwflammang 13:35, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

The Catholic cannon is closed, as per the CCC. I could pull the ref if you need. Lostcaesar 13:51, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Closed only in the sense that no new books can be written today and included, not in the sense that old (apostolic and earlier) books cannot be included later, I think. See this elaborate discussion of the issue. I would be interested in that CCC reference, when you have it. Rwflammang 14:22, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

§120 gives the canon as complete, it references Denzinger 179; 1334-1336; 1501-1504 - I'd have to go to the library to follow the source. I will say that I never though of things in the light you now express them. The words exclusive and complete antecede my revision of the intro. Lostcaesar 14:51, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

The Jewish canon is closed too. Perhaps we need more specificity, Slrubenstein | Talk 15:16, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

I can understand how "exclusive" can be a tad misleading... but when I think of the opposite, I understand clearly that biblical canon is not inclusive. So there may be a better word, but I don't see anything wrong with exclusive.--Andrew c 15:24, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the citation, Lostcaesar. I look forward to following up with Denziger. I find the language of the CCC to be inconclusive. The list is complete (integer in Latin) but the complete list only "includes" (implicat) the named books; it is not said to exclude any particular apostolic or prophetic work, like Prayer of Manasses. There is no indication that the named books make up the whole of the elenchus integer. The wording in Latin seems even a little bit weaker than the wording in English.
I suggest qualifying the word. I suggest that "exclusive" is not necessary in the first sentence and can be dropped. I suggest the third paragraph be modified as follows:
At this time the canons below are often considered to be closed: additional books cannot be added. By contrast, an open canon would allow additional books, should they meet the criteria. Generally, the closure of the canon reflects a belief that public revelation has ended, and that texts from that period can be collected into an authoritative body of work.
Rwflammang 15:42, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Why is this page full of mistakes?[edit]

The Talmud records how the Mikra (Tanakh) was cannonalized. The Great Sanhedrin held the authoritize version. Not one indivual person. The Men of the Great Assembly cannonalized Mikra.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 85.250.59.248 (talkcontribs) 17:06, 4 October 2006.

This claim is already covered in the article:

The Mishnah, compiled by the second century, describes some of the debate over the status of some books of Ketuvim, and in particular whether or not they render the hands "impure". Yadaim 3:5 calls attention to the debate over Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. The Megillat Ta'anit, in a discussion of days when fasting is prohibited but that are not noted in the Bible, mentions the holiday of Purim. Based on these, and a few similar references, Heinrich Graetz concluded in 1871 that there had been a Council of Jamnia (or Yavne in Hebrew) which had decided Jewish canon sometime in the late 1st century (c. 70–90). This became the prevailing scholarly consensus for much of the 20th century. However, from the 1960s onwards, based on the work of J.P. Lewis, S.Z. Leiman, and others, this view increasingly came into question. In particular, later scholars noted that none of the sources actually mentioned books that had been withdrawn from a canon, and questioned the whole premise that the discussions were about canonicity at all, asserting that they were actually dealing with other concerns entirely.

Today, there is no scholarly consensus as to when the Jewish canon was set.

75.15.207.108 02:50, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Evangelical v. Protestant[edit]

There is nothing that needs to be said about Evangelical canon, that cannot be said about Protestant canon. They are one and the same. Not all Protestants are Evangelical, but all Evangelicals are Protestant, and therefore share the same view on canon. Hopquick 13:36, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Prose[edit]

It strikes me that the prose of this article is rather choppy and frenetic; also, its format is roughly chronological, but cannot decide if it should be more topical in nature; lastly, because of all this, the entire article seems turgid to me. I think we could use some reorganization and rewriting, regardless of issues with the material. Lostcaesar 15:09, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Any specific proposals (I am not challenging your take on things)? Slrubenstein | Talk 15:20, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Well, two immediate thoughts: (1) the paragraphs and sections in general do not always have a good lead sentence, nor do they flow from one to the other. That is a basic sort of structural issue. (2) The Septuagint is covered twice, once in the section on Judaism briefly and once under Christianity. That is because the article is not sure if is to be structured around topics (Jewish canons and Christian canons), or chronology (where the Septuagint is treated as a scriptural canon in its proper time). Lastly, the article does not seem to have an end in view (current canons) with the description flowing there (tracing the time when the canon became permanent in the sense that it can be seen as continuously accepted by a group from X time to today). That is the kind of thing I had in mind. Lostcaesar 20:12, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't object to your working on (1) and (2) unilaterally, though you may want to wait a day to see what others think. I do think that several people ought to participate in a discussion concerning issue (2) - which I am glad you raise - before we decide how to resolve it. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:59, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
Since I do not plan on changing the substance of the article (adding or removing content), I think such edits will be smoothly received. If you have any thoughts yourself, for improvement, let me know. Lostcaesar 22:22, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Unhappy with intro[edit]

The first sentence seems to be the mush left over from years of edifighting. "The biblical canon is a list of books written during the formative period of the Jewish or Christian faiths, which hold these books to be inspired by God and to express the authoritative historical relationship between God and his people." My comments on a slow Sunday night:

  • a)The "list" wasn't written during the formative periods, the books were. The "list" was decided later. (For Catholics, 1500 yrs later, Council of Trent (This is untrue, for Catholics, and I believe all Orthodox churches, the "list" was compiled at the Third Council of Carthage (See Councils of Carthage) in 397 A.D. The Council of Trent merely reaffirmed that councils canonical list. --Brettbarnes 18:18, 4 March 2007 (UTC))
  • b)Jews dont consider the NT Canon to be inspired by God, which is what this sentence claims. (Either that, or it clams that the "lists" believe themselves to be inspired, not sure which is worse)
  • c) I'm sure "authoritative historical relationship" must mean something, but I'm not sure what it is, certainly doens't belong in the first sentence of an introduction.

Is this really the best you guys can come up with afer x years of trying? Why not ask an intro to religion student to come up with something, it couldn't be worse. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Joelwjohnson (talkcontribs) 15:27, November 5, 2006 (UTC)

It is a common problem for Wikipedia articles to lack cohesiveness, due to multiple separate insertions and deletions. The introductory sentence could be clearer. Feel free to help improve the article. Of course, the canon consensus developed centuries earlier (Third Council or Synod of Carthage 397 A.D.) than its affirmation by the Council of Trent. --Blainster 18:40, 6 November 2006 (UTC)


According to the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Canon of the New Testament:

The idea of a complete and clear-cut canon of the New Testament existing from the beginning, that is from Apostolic times, has no foundation in history. The Canon of the New Testament, like that of the Old, is the result of a development, of a process at once stimulated by disputes with doubters, both within and without the Church, and retarded by certain obscurities and natural hesitations, and which did not reach its final term until the dogmatic definition of the Tridentine Council [ Council of Trent ].


The Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Canon of the New Testament also states that, in reference to the Council of Trent, "This ecumenical synod had to defend the integrity of the New Testament as well as the Old against the attacks of the pseudo-Reformers, Luther, basing his action on dogmatic reasons and the judgment of antiquity, had discarded Hebrews, James, Jude, and Apocalypse as altogether uncanonical." You can't defend something, the canon of the bible, that, according to this poorly manipulated introduction, didn't even exist at the time. So, the Council of Trent was convened to defend the Canon of holy scripture that was defined at the Third Synod of Carthage in 397 (See Councils of Carthage) . Saying that the Council of Trent was the first and only council to define the canon of scripture is historically dishonest. Ironically enough, if it had not been for the Protestants, the Council of Trent would not have been necessary, and yet, Protestants try to use this council as some sort of proof of a missing canon of the bible up until that point--Brettbarnes 18:11, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Outlawed and Destroyed[edit]

I too am unhappy with the intro, both for the reasons mentioned above and because of the colorful language describing the treatment of non-canonical works. A few gripes:

  • The vast majority of all literature ever written, even of all religious literature ever written, is not "canonical". It is hardly surprising that some of that literature has been outlawed and destroyed, not to mention simply forgotten and lost, but this hardly seems relevent to this article. Presumably, what the editor meant to say was that some biblical literature has been outlawed and willfully destroyed.
  • I find the contention that some biblical literature was outlawed and willfully destroyed to be disputable at best. Failing to explicitly include a book in the canon is not the same thing as outlawing or destroying it. Even explicitly rejecting a book from a canon, a la Luther or Westminster, does not constitute outlawing or destroying it.
  • To support his contention, the editor cites the hypothetical Council of Jamnia. Needless to say, there is no documentation of this council ever outlawing or destroying any book. It does seem probable, assuming this council actually occurred, that it failed to include 2 Esdras in its canon, but as I said above, this does not constitute outlawing or destroying 2 Esdras.
  • I seem to recall reading somewhere that 2 Esdras was explicitly rejected from the canon by some mediaeval eastern regional council or other. If this it true, then it might explain the absence of 2 Esdras from the Septuagint, and the subsequent loss of the complete Greek text. It might. But even so, losing is not the same thing as outlawing or willful destruction. I know of no evidence that 2 Esdras was deliberately eradicated. At any rate, it is readily available today in the King James Bible and many other versions, and has never been lost in the West. Destruction seems too strong a word.

Rwflammang 13:20, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Bryennios manuscript and the 2 of Esdras - Roman Catholic Agenda here[edit]

the article states that "2 of Esdras might include 1 Esdras; Esther, Jeremiah and Daniel might include their Septuagint additions" in order to try and give the impression that the early Christians believed some of the Apocrypha to be canonical. This is simply unfounded from the data here presented and is more akin to trying to squeeze in books that really are not mentioned. The list clearly accords with the Hebrew canon of the present day, and the OT canon accepted by the Protestant churches. "2 of Esdras" is clearly the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which in the Jewish canon were originally considered as one book of Ezra. And to suggest that the "Esther, Jeremiah and Daniel might include their Septuagint additions" as being implied in this manuscript is ridiculous, as where are the mention of other Apocryphal books like Maccabes, Widsom of Ben Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) Wisdom of Solomon, Judith etc?

Clearly, the versions of the books that are being referred to in this AD100 manuscript are the Hebrew, Masoretic text versions, and not the Septuagint versions along with its apocrypha. It is a shame that Roman Catholic error is holding sway on this website. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 212.32.112.151 (talk) 09:56, 16 January 2007 (UTC).


The Bryennos manuscript is an 11th century manuscript, not a first century manuscript. It is most famous for containing a copy of the "long lost" Didache, which was originally written in the first century. In addition to this, it includes some other contents, including a "canon" (more like a summary, apparently) witten by John Chrysostom which is identical to the modern Protestant canon, but Chrysostom obviously did not write it in the 1st century. See here for more details. Rwflammang 15:01, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

The reference for the Bryennios canon is stated in the article, which see for details. 75.15.198.7 22:17, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Excellent find [6] by Rwflammang, includes discussion of "Bryennios list". Sunberg's OT of the Early Church Harvard Press 1964 may be the primary text on this topic, along with Metzger's Canon of the NT, can be found in good libraries. 68.126.20.3 22:46, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
The list clearly accords with the Hebrew canon of the present day, says an editor above. Replace the word clearly with plausibly, and I would agree. But very little is clear regarding the Christian canon before the reformation, except that many different and conflicting lists were circulated. Remarkably, the synopsis in Codex Hierosolymitanus, also called the Bryennios canon, does not mention Lamentations. This is a major oversight; it seems more plausible that Lamentations was implied as being included in Jeremiah, as in the LXX. But the LXX also includes Baruch and the Letter of Jeremy in its Jeremiah. Hmmm. So it's not so clear. Especially if you recall that Athanasius explicitly mentioned that Baruch and the Letter are in Jeremiah in his Old Testament canon, which like the Bryennios list was quite restrictive. Hmm. Of course, the Jewish scholars at Jamnia and elsewhere sometimes counted Lamentation as part of Jeremiah too; it seems unlikely that they though that Baruch "defiled the hands" along with the rest of Holy Scripture. Hmmm. I'm not seeing much that's clear here. I lean towards the position of the anonymous editor (regarding contents of the Briennios canon, not the allegation of R.C. bias, and not the date of the list), but wouldn't use the word clearly. Rwflammang 14:23, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
A further note: the order of the books is unusual, the Torah is split up. This makes the list an odd bird indeed, and we can not trust to our usual assumptions. Furthermore, if the reference is right and the canon dates from the 1st century, then it is even odder, and we are looking into a world about which we know very little. Who can say what the state of Jeremiah, or Daniel, or even the Psalms was in those days? Rwflammang 14:23, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Christian Canon section[edit]

The Christian canon section is almost 100% OR, with very few secondary citations. It gives some blockquotes, not always properly sourced, but it is difficult to see if these texts properly apply to the context. The section often merely lists information without putting it in context or even in prose. Much of the info seems oftopic or unnecessary (the huge section on Marcion, and the section on the Diatessaron, for example). I believe that a proper cleanup would require the introduction of sourced into and the omission of the OR or out of context listings. Lostcaesar 08:57, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

I would propose that we examine the material on the canon from the History of Christianity article, which I qoute below with inline ref's visible, and consider using it instead of the current text as a base to which more material may be added as it becomes avaliable with proper citations.

The Biblical canon is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and thus constituting the Christian Bible. Though the Early Church used the Old Testament according to the canon of the Septuagint (LXX), the apostles did not otherwise leave a defined set of new scriptures; instead the New Testament developed over time.

The writings attributed to the apostles circulated amongst the earliest Christian communities. The Pauline epistles were circulating in collected form by the end of the first century AD. Justin Martyr, in the early second century, mentions the "memoirs of the apostles", which Christians called "gospels" and which were regarded as on par with the Old Testament.[ref] Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon", in The Canon Debate. eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) pp. 302-303; cf. Justin Martyr, First Apology 67.3[ref] A four gospel canon (the Tetramorph) was in place by the time of Irenaeus, c. 160, who refers to it directly.[ref]Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon", in The Canon Debate. eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) pp. 301; cf. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 3.11.8[ref] By the early 200's, Origen may have been using the same 27 books as in the modern New Testament, though there were still disputes over the canonicity of Hebrews, James, II Peter, II and III John, and Revelation.[ref]Both points taken from Mark A. Noll's Turning Points, (Baker Academic, 1997) pp 36-37[ref] Likewise by 200 the Muratorian fragment shows that there existed a set of Christian writings somewhat similar to what is now the New Testament, which included the four gospels and argued against objections to them.[ref]H. J. De Jonge, "The New Testament Canon", in The Biblical Canons. eds. de Jonge & J. M. Auwers (Leuven University Press, 2003) p. 315[ref] Thus, while there was a good measure of debate in the Early Church over the New Testament canon, the major writings were accepted by almost all Christians by the middle of the second century.[ref]The Cambridge History of the Bible (volume 1) eds. P. R. Ackroyd and C. F. Evans (Cambridge University Press, 1970) p. 308[ref]

In his Easter letter of 367, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, gave a list of exactly the same books as what would become the New Testament canon,[ref]Carter Lindberg, A Brief History of Christianity (Blackwell Publishing, 2006) p. 15[ref] and he used the word "canonized" (kanonizomena) in regards to them.[ref]David Brakke, "Canon Formation and Social Conflict in Fourth Century Egypt: Athanasius of Alexandria's Thirty Ninth Festal Letter", in Harvard Theological Review 87 (1994) pp. 395-419[ref] The African Synod of Hippo, in 393, approved the New Testament, as it stands today, together with the Septuagint books, a decision that was repeated by Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419. These councils were under the authority of St. Augustine, who regarded the canon as already closed.[ref] Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon", in The Canon Debate. eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) p. 320; F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 230; cf. Augustine, De Civitate Dei 22.8[ref] Pope Damasus I's Council of Rome in 382, if the Decretum Gelasianum is correctly associated with it, issued a biblical canon identical to that mentioned above,Lindberg, A Brief History of Christianity (Blackwell Publishing, 2006) p. 15[ref] or if not the list is at least a sixth century compliation.[ref] F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 234[ref] Likewise, Damasus's commissioning of the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible, c. 383, was instrumental in the fixation of the canon in the West.[ref] F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 225[ref] In 405, Pope Innocent I sent a list of the sacred books to a Gallic bishop, Exsuperius of Toulouse. When these bishops and councils spoke on the matter, however, they were not defining something new, but instead "were ratifying what had already become the mind of the Church".[ref] Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon", in The Canon Debate. eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) p. 320; Bruce Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origins, Development, and Significance (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987) pp. 237-238; F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 97[ref] Thus, from the fourth century, there existed unanimity in the West concerning the New Testament canon (as it is today),[ref]F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 215[ref] and by the fifth century the East, with a few exceptions, had come to accept the Book of Revelation and thus had come into harmony on the matter of the canon.[ref]The Cambridge History of the Bible (volume 1) eds. P. R. Ackroyd and C. F. Evans (Cambridge University Press, 1970) p. 305; cf. the Catholic Encyclopedia, Canon of the New Testament[ref] Nonetheless, a full dogmatic articulation of the canon was not made until the Council of Trent of 1546 for Roman Catholicism,[ref]Catholic Encyclopedia, Canon of the New Testament[ref] the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563 for the Church of England, the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647 for Calvanism, and the Synod of Jerusalem of 1672 for the Greek Orthodox.

Lostcaesar 14:14, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

This might be fine as an added overview, though it has errors, but no reason to delete fully referenced details currently in the article that have been stable for some time now. 75.14.220.213 20:07, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
How is the current section "fully referenced"? Lostcaesar 20:23, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't really understand your question. I didn't claim the current section is "fully referenced", I wrote: "but no reason to delete fully referenced details currently in the article that have been stable for some time now". 75.14.220.213 21:12, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
For all we know, this article IS fully referenced. Look at the large reference section. Wikipedia did not always require inline citation, and many of the oldest articles are referenced, just using a different referencing system. Wikipedia has changed, and with the development with footnote coding and stricter verifiability requirements, we now basically require an inline citation to all new information, and disputed/controversial facts. However, information that has been in the article since before those rules were made shouldn't be blanked, because for all we know, all the information can be traced back to the sources in the reference section. Therefore, I would ask that LC take a look at the state of the article in 2005 and before to get an idea of how things were back then. Perhaps we could try to contact individuals who introduced the content to see if they can't help us with these sourcing issues. But blanking longstanding content is a bad idea.-Andrew c 01:21, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Good points. I will look into things and try and take this slowly. Lostcaesar 06:53, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

I have decided to raise issues one by one. By first is on the Bryennios List. First, I would like to thank the anon editor who has taken care to make certain ammendments here. However, there are still problems. The article gives an except of the OT canon, but no source. I would like to know what the source is for the actual material of the list. Second, there are some OR problems insofar as there are links which assume certain texts are to be associated with others. For example, it gives "2 of Chronicles" linked with "books of chronicles". However, it also says "4 of kings", and then again "kings" linked with "books of kings". In my understanding there must be some conflation or confusion here. Lastly, I do not understand the claims about the NT in regards with the list - does it have a NT canon also? Lostcaesar 09:35, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

The source for the Bryennios List is Jean-Paul Audet, “A Hebrew-Aramaic List of Books of the Old Testament in Greek Transcription,” Journal of Theological Studies, new series, I (1950), 135-54. The list says: 4 of Kings (Samuel and Kings). Does it have an NT canon? That I don't know, that claim is being advanced by User:Rwflammang. Personally, I suspect it does not. Codex Hierosolymitanus includes a "synopsis of the Old and New Testaments in the order given by St. Chrysostom"[7] but I don't personally know what that is. 75.0.10.48 22:50, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

As an aside, for informational purposes, Swete's 1914 Introduction to the OT in Greek is online, for example here: [8]. That might answer some questions. Of course it doesn't have Audet's Bryennios List which dates from 1950. 75.0.10.48 23:15, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Two removals[edit]

I have removed the following sentences: "Even after the Gospels were written and began circulating, some Christians preferred the oral Gospel as told by people they trusted (e.g. Papias, c. 125)." This is OR, and its not what Papias says. Papias says that he recorded the information for his commentaries on the Gospels by listening to people who knew John the Elder and Ariston (still alive) and the Apostles (of whom he names 7). It has nothing to do with such an inference. Also, I removed the section from the article in the Catholic Encyclopedia which I feel is misused here. The removed section was:

"The idea of a complete and clear-cut canon of the New Testament existing from the beginning, that is from Apostolic times, has no foundation in history. The Canon of the New Testament, like that of the Old, is the result of a development, of a process at once stimulated by disputes with doubters, both within and without the Church, and retarded by certain obscurities and natural hesitations, and which did not reach its final term until the dogmatic definition of the Tridentine Council."

That article has a section entitled "THE PERIOD OF FIXATION (A.D. 367-405)" which states:

"So at the close of the first decade of the fifth century the entire Western Church was in possession of the full Canon of the New Testament In the East, where, with the exception of the Edessene Syrian Church, approximate completeness had long obtained without the aid of formal enactments, opinions were still somewhat divided on the Apocalypse. But for the Catholic Church as a whole the content of the New Testament was definitely fixed, and the discussion closed."

The first part, about a "complete and clear-cut canon of the New Testament existing from the beginning" as a falsity is certainly true. But the second section is misleadingly quoted here. It is a statement about dogmatic definition, and not fixation of the canon, which the article blieves was completed in the fifth century. In other words, according to the article, the canon was fixed in the fifth century, but this set canon did not recieve dogmatic articulation until Trent. It does not matter whether this is right or not, only that it is the clear position of the article and that this position is being misrepresented here by the selective quotation. Lostcaesar 15:07, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree with your first removal, but your second is more controversial. It's true that the big orthodox body in the west had a clear cut canon list towards the end of the 4th century. But this didn't stop Epistle to the Laodiceans showing up in 10th century texts. That didn't stop a number of other 'rejected' books showing up all over the place after the 4th century. So both statements in the Catholic encyclopedia are true. While there were these lists that date back to a long time ago, they are not a) representative to all of Christendom and b) weren't even followed as an exclusive list of "read these books and none other" in the manner we generally consider 'canon' to be. So I would support either paraphrasing or re-inserting the quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia, but perhaps qualify it a bit. There wasn't One Single Canon that applied to everyone, and all other books were ignored starting in the 300s, but we also cannot ignore that a very good rough idea of the main and most important 26 or so books was set in that time period (only it wasn't necessarily an exclusive list, and it didn't apply to every Christian by any means).-Andrew c 16:01, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree that there were some matters of discussion beyond antiquity. But my point isnt that this is true, its that the Catholic Encyclopedia quote isnt trying to say this. Its trying to say, if I gather, than the canon was set in the fifth century, but that it didn't receive dogmatic definition until the 16th. In other words, in the sixteenth century (because protestants were changing what had been stable for over a thousand years) the Church felt necessary to stap as dogmatic the list that had been set in the fifth century - thats what I gather the article to be trying to say. So I think the quote is being misused (not that it necessarily is supporting a false position), if you see. Lostcaesar 21:29, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
No, the quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia disagrees with the POV that you are pushing, hence you delete it from the article. As Andrew has pointed out, the existance of the Epistle to the Laodiceans conflicts with your claim that "protestants were changing what had been stable for over a thousand years". But, at this point Wikipedia has little credibility left anyway, see Reliability of Wikipedia, so you may as well promote your particular POV all you like as far as I'm concerned. Who do you think you fool? 75.15.205.97 23:36, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
This is absurd. What PoV is it that I am pushing? How do my edits reflect that? I did not say what I thought about "protestants were changing what had been stable for over a thousand years" - only that this is what the Catholic Encyclopedia is describing. I am not saying that your position (Laodiceans et al.) is wrong, I'm saying that the Catholic Encyclopedia thinks its wrong, and so to quote the Catholic Encyclopedia in support is an abuse of the source. Assume good faith, read my comments carefully, and, please, read the whole source before quoting from it. The only PoV I have expressed here is a desire to get the facts right by properly quoting sources, and this is supported by my edit history. Lostcaesar 07:19, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

I deleted the Jesus Seminar because it is a silly group that has neither constituancy nor an authority other than tenure at de-certified Christian universities.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Tsnyunt (talkcontribs) 16:47, 14 April 2007.

Please sign your talk page comments by typing four tildes. Next, wikipedia policy does not allow for deleting sourced information because you find a group to be silly. You are also incorrect in your summary of the JS. We have a NPOV policy where, which means that views that we may personally disagree with are allowed space in articles as long as we present the views neutrally and consider due weight. I urge you to review our attribution and NPOV policies. Thanks.-Andrew c 21:18, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Does anyone else find these statements currently in the article to be unencyclopedic?[edit]

Thus, while there was a good measure of debate in the Early Church over the New Testament canon, the major writings were accepted by almost all Christians by the middle of the second century.[16]

When these bishops and councils spoke on the matter, however, they were not defining something new, but instead "were ratifying what had already become the mind of the Church".[31]

75.14.218.252 05:06, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

They would be unencyclopedic if they were unsourced. Slrubenstein | Talk 09:10, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
What would be unencyclopedia about them? I'm not disagreeing (or agreeing) so much as just asking what you mean. The first quote comes from what is pretty much an encyclopedia (or at least encyclopedia-like), the "Cambridge History of the Bible" vol 1. If there is something you think is wrong with the sentences please say what you think it is. Lostcaesar 12:05, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
The first sentence has the weasel words of "major writings" and "almost all Christians". The second sentence posits a "mind of the Church" and further posits that "bishops and councils" are able to accurately read this alleged mind. 75.0.5.245 21:50, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
The second sentence is a quote. Wikipedias is not claiming that the Church has a mind. It is claiming - accurately - that someone does think the Church has a mind. Do you know sources with a different POV? Let's add them! Slrubenstein | Talk 08:54, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Slrubenstein that we should add alternate and opposing POVs. However, I disagree with the beginning of Slrubenstein's comment
"The second sentence is a quote. Wikipedias is not claiming that the Church has a mind. It is claiming - accurately - that someone does think the Church has a mind."
The article text reads
When these bishops and councils spoke on the matter, however, they were not defining something new, but instead "were ratifying what had already become the mind of the Church".
The above article text reads as if the assertion was universally accepted fact. If it is not, then it should be couched in more tentative (yes, weasel) language and alternate POVs should be presented.
--Richard 18:20, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Yah, here's a different POV:

"The idea of a complete and clear-cut canon of the New Testament existing from the beginning, that is from Apostolic times, has no foundation in history. The Canon of the New Testament, like that of the Old, is the result of a development, of a process at once stimulated by disputes with doubters, both within and without the Church, and retarded by certain obscurities and natural hesitations, and which did not reach its final term until the dogmatic definition of the Tridentine Council." Catholic Encyclopedia: Canon of the New Testament 68.123.64.66 17:38, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Is this view not already expressed in the article? Well, complying with NPOV would require providing both views. Complying with V requires having a verifiable source. personally I prefer books published by major presses or peer-reviewed journal articles, but obviously we use on-line sources as well. Does anyone object to adding this to the article? Slrubenstein | Talk 17:44, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Lostcaesar deleted it from the article here: [9] claiming: "once again this is quoted comeplty out of context and against the article itself, its about dogmatic definition a seperate matter". 68.123.64.66 17:55, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
And, if you are questioning the Catholic Encyclopedia article because it is on-line, its credentials are stated at the bottom of the page: "Written by George J. Reid. Transcribed by Ernie Stefanik. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York" 68.123.64.66 17:59, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
Let's see if Lost Caeser can explain. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:59, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I already explained above. The CE says, to summarize, that the canon was fixed in the fifth and sixth centuries, but that a dogmatic definiton (a purely theological question) was not set until Trent. The above quotation is taken out of context when it is applied to the historical fixation of the canon. A reading of the article will be enough to support my statement here. I have no problem with the CE or it being online, I just think it is being misreprented. Here is another quote from the same article (this one about the historical fixation of the canon):
So at the close of the first decade of the fifth century the entire Western Church was in possession of the full Canon of the New Testament In the East, where, with the exception of the Edessene Syrian Church, approximate completeness had long obtained without the aid of formal enactments, opinions were still somewhat divided on the Apocalypse. But for the Catholic Church as a whole the content of the New Testament was definitely fixed, and the discussion closed.
See what I mean? Lostcaesar 03:05, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Your extract adds detail to the lead summary paragraph, it certainly doesn't invalidate it. If you feel it's important, lets add your extract as well as the lead paragraph. The lead paragraph is from the section: "A. THE FORMATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON (A.D. 100-220)", your extract is from the section: "C. THE PERIOD OF FIXATION (A.D. 367-405)". Certainly this is much better than the current vague statement: "Thus, while there was a good measure of debate in the Early Church over the New Testament canon, the major writings were accepted by almost all Christians by the middle of the second century." Seems to me that is the point Andrew c was making above which you ignored. 75.0.2.79 07:23, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't have a problem with that, granting we come up with some way to incorporate the CE material besides two bulky quotes, and granting we not be prejudiced against a reliable source such as the one quoted (which you seem to just dislike, personally). Lostcaesar 16:27, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

I think that it would be valuable to our readers if we provide an account that makes the various distinctions you have all raised both conception (what do we mean by a "canon?") and processially (how did the canon come to take its final form?): historical versus theological; de facto versus de jure; in practice versus sanctioned by the Church, etc. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:08, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

I plan on going to the library to pick up a book or two. I think it's important to include the perspective of Church history that the CE gives, but I think what anon is getting at is that the conclusions that a religious body comes up with may not be the same as what more secular scholars come up with. I saw a good book by Helmut Koester that may help. It may be a few days before I get around to doing anything significant, but just wanted to give a heads up that I was putting some research into this matter.-Andrew c 18:15, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Where's Essjay when you need him? Surely he's the expert? 86.136.160.215 20:55, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Research sounds like a good idea to me. Lostcaesar 21:50, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

It appears Lostcaesar has quit over a dispute about purgatory. 75.0.7.37 19:00, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

He will be sorely missed. Rwflammang 00:30, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
It seems like Lostceaser and others had reached a compromise position here - can someone make sure that whatever consensus was reached in this section is applied to the relevant part of the article? Slrubenstein | Talk 12:07, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Council of Trent[edit]

Can anyone explain to me how the Council of Trent established that the Catholic canon is not exclusive? I understand canon's can be open or closed, they can change, but it seems to me that by definition canon's are exclusive; until they are, they are not canonical, right? Slrubenstein | Talk 14:42, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

We've discussed exclusive before. I think there is nothing wrong with it, but others have raised concerns. The second paragraph in the lead discusses this concept in more detail. I could live without it in the first sentence.-Andrew c 14:50, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
I guess it depends what you mean by exclusive. When I hear the phrase exclusive list I understand it to mean that all books not on this list are excluded from the canon. Trent, however, gives a list of books that are to be held pro sacris et canonicis, sacred and canonical. It says nothing about books not in its list. So it is an inclusive list; these books are included. It says nothing about what is excluded. Contrast this with the Council of Carthage which says "Let nothing in the church be read as divine scripture beyond what is canonical; these are the canonical scriptures ...", with a list following. The implication being that if it isn't on this list, you can't read it in church as divine scripture, which means it isn't canonical. Carthage's is an exclusive list. Rwflammang 23:20, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Question: do historians interpret the Council of Trent dictum, do they interpret it to mean an exclusive canon, or that the canon is still open? Slrubenstein | Talk 13:31, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't know if Cardinal Allen counts as a historian, but in 1592 he wrote in the Proemial Annotations of Volume I of the Old Testament of Douay:
True it is that some of these books ... were sometimes doubted of by some Catholics, and called Apocrypha, in that sense as the word properly signifieth hidden, or not apparent. So St. Jerome (in his prologue before the Latin Bible) calleth divers books Apocryphal, being not so evident, whether they were Divine Scripture, because they were not in the Jews' Canon, nor at first in the Church's Canon, but were never rejected as false or erroneous. In which sense the Prayers of Manasses, the third book of Esdras, and the third of Machabees are yet called Apocryphal. As for the fourth of Esdras, and the fourth of Machabees there is more doubt.
Rwflammang 12:38, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

I'd call that a primary source. be that as it may, I do not think the issue here is whether canon's are exclusive or not, I think the question is that canon's are open until they are closed, and there is a question as to when the Catholic canon was closed. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:29, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

If it ever was was closed... Rwflammang 17:03, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Btw, Allen post-dates Trent by 29 years, so he can't be a primary source. His annotations are an analysis of Trent's canon. Rwflammang 17:03, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Okay, anyway these still seem to be issues concerning the history of the Catholic canon rather than the definition of canon as such. Rather than quibble over the definition in the introduction, I think the issue is to make sure that the account of the Christian canon is accurate. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:29, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

The WESTMINSTER CONFESSION OF FAITH. A.D. 1647 would be exclusive. It may be the only one however. 75.0.4.93 01:25, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

It is a very good question: Is the Canon of Scripture open or closed? Did Trent intend to define The Canon that was then definitive and closed? It refered to the books in question as Deutrocanonical, not Apocryphal. It certainly did intend to rule what the books of the Bible are. Hence, what the Bible is for a Catholic.

MacOfJesus (talk) 01:02, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

It refered to the books in question as deutrocanonical, for a ruling was already made on what they should be. Hence, the word Apocryphal now means something else for the Catholic.

MacOfJesus (talk) 12:20, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

This is not quibbling over unimportant details. There is still quite a difference between a Catholic Bible and one of non-Catholic origin. The Book of Wisdom (of Solomon) being one.

MacOfJesus (talk) 14:44, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

39 Articles and Apocrypha[edit]

There seems to be a misunderstanding of the 39 Articles floating around. I'm going to flag the issue for discussion here. There are lots of copies of the 39 Articles, and Article 6 is reproduced in this Wiki article (no pun intended), so I won't reproduce it yet again. The text explicitly excludes the apocryphal books from the canon. The apocrypha is very helpful in understanding historical background to the New Testament, and is read for that reason even in strictly reformed colleges, which do not consider it scripture. Follow this link and use Edit-Find "Articles" to locate the relevant one sentence paragraph.

I have grave concerns about sources that would take other lines. However, if there is a reliable source expressing an alternative view, it must be documented. It may be best to lay out the contrast at 39 Articles rather than here. Cheers. Alastair Haines 11:52, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

I've had the chance to check the reference that was provided. It quoted the author out of context, I should have realized when it started, "On the other hand, ..." usually a good indicator a writer has previously stated a contrary view.

According to The Apocrypha, Bridge of the Testaments at orthodoxanglican.net:

Notes:
1. Author

2. Quotes

  • Earlier in the article he says:
  • Like most good academics, he outlines his basic proposal early on.
  • Note carefully, he is saying "if we leave out the Apocrypha we lose no doctrine" and cites Art 6 as authority.
  • Also, the "narrative is clear without Apocrypha".
  • In other words, Dentan is a true, blue, 39 Articles, orthodox, Protestant Anglican.
  • Art 6 is about a Bible without Apocrypha, but this is just what Dentan goes on to argue is a sad state of affairs.

3. Context

  • Immediately prior to the quote above, Dentan says:
  • Anglican = Protestant = apocryphal books are not canonical = no authority for faith or morals (doctrine/life).
  • He is totally orthodox. Anglicans believe 39 books in OT and 27 in NT.

4. Understanding quote above in context

  • If we paid attention to the title of the article, and how he phrased his thesis at the beginning we'd get the point
  • Title: 'The Apocrypha, Bridge of the Testaments'
  • that is: OT ===== bridge called apocrypha ===== NT
  • the apocrypha is not OT not NT, not canonical, but it is a very helpful (though not essential) bridge

5. The paragraph that follows

  • "Although the books of the Apocrypha are obviously to be regarded as on a somewhat lower plane than the books of the canonical Scriptures, yet the Church rates them higher than any books outside the Bible, as is shown by the fact that they alone may be read in her public worship."

Can anyone tell me why the editor put the long quote in the Wikipedia article (from an anonymous account), when shorter quotes on either side summarized the Anglican understanding of Article 6 so much more concisely? Alastair Haines 12:33, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Discriminatory edits?[edit]

I am getting a little tired of editors who are not researching revisions they believe to be politically appropriate, but are precisely the opposite. For example, Java has twice removed the category "Old Testament topics". No justification has been given, no comment in talk, no seeking of consensus. The category exists, so it is obviously not deemed inappropriate. Christians and their terminology would appear to be as legitimate as any other faith community represented at Wiki.

Is the reason perhaps because Biblical canon is not an Old Testament topic? How can that be, when the majority of discussion of Biblical canon is precisely about what constitutes the Old Testament. Perhaps Java is aware of all sorts of reliable sources that make it plain that Biblical canon is not about the Old Testament and no one uses the expression Old Testament any more. If so, please share this with us, so we can all get on board with it. I'm afraid I'm ignorant of such sources, I'm not aware of any at all. If the academic consensus is so clear it should be easy to demonstrate it.

I am going to revert Java a second time. Admin seem to be making pre-emptive protection of articles to avoid 3RRs at the moment, so I look forward to seeing the version prior to Java's edit being restored and the article protected, until Java has achieved consensus for the change. Unless, of course, such decisions are unilateral and idiosyncratic, which would be a disappointment. Alastair Haines 02:48, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Tanakh is a less bias term old testament implies deceased for example ancient rome, ancient egypt etc. the term Tanakh means the same thing it is more appropiate i assume you have never heard this term before and also jews never use the term old testament or scholars because like i said earlier it offends people i created the tanakh topics category for this reason--Java7837 03:01, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Ancient Egypt means Egypt is deceased? I don't follow your point Java. Alastair Haines 03:54, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

I did nothing bias i removed bias for example, many articles refer to jesus as jesus christ instead of jesus of nazareth or simply jesus it is bias no matter the fact is that is the more common term just because u r christian doesn't mean you have to impose your religion on others by refering to their convenant with god as deceased etc.--Java7837 03:05, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for talking about this Java. :) The term "Old Testament" is not biased. Jesus himself said, "I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets." Jeremiah himself promises HaShem will bring a "new covenant". It is true that Jews and Christians disagree about things that are important to one another. It is also true that moderating terminology can assist disagreeing while maintaining mutual respect. Finally, though, it is a fact that taking offence where there are no grounds for it is not conducive to good communication.
Christians have not adopted the categorization, arrangement or nomenclature of the Tanakh. Jews have not adopted these things wrt to the Old Testament. I know Jews who would be offended if Christians called their translations and ordering and interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures "Tanakh". In fact, it would be crazy, because Tanakh means Law-Prophets-Writings, which is just not how Christians organize their translations of the books. It is not their word, they have no right to claim it as their own. More coming, but I thought I'd give you something to respond to, cause you may still be online. Alastair Haines 03:21, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
When I edit articles that fall in clearly Jewish territory, for example anything related to Hebrew, I always use Tanakh, and write from an NPOV Jewish stance. I know that sounds strange, but what I mean is that as regards Jewish culture, I conform as best I know, but as regards non-cultural issues, I write NPOV. An analogy is editing an article with American spelling, I follow American spelling if it is there, otherwise I use my natural UK spelling. (Though I am no exemplar of spelling!)
Now, when Christians write articles covering their areas, I normally see them following NPOV Christian culture. The name Jesus doesn't require the prefix Christ, but they do have their own words for things, and they are entitled to use them ... in their own space. The problem with the Biblical canon, is that it mainly concerns 39 books + some others. Those 39 books were written by Jews, but have been debated, not only by Jews, but by Christians. Whose language do we use here? There is considerably more debate among Christians reported than among Jews. Those who are quoted speak of the Old Testament, not the Tanakh. We can't correct all those quotes! Modern Christians would not be clear about what was being refered to. Jews could be offended by Gentiles claiming authority to pronounce judgement on the Jewish Tanakh!
Fortunately, there is another way forward, even better than judging what cultural context is appropriate within an article. When speaking of the whole canon, the Tanakh assumes a three-fold distinction, and sometimes a three level hierarchy. The Old Testament assumes a roughly chronological ordering, and chapter and verse divisions that sometimes diverge from the Masoretic Text. Tanakh and Old Testament are words describing different ways of looking at 39 books (Christian count) or 24 scrolls (Jewish count). When an intermediate term is needed, Hebrew Bible is frequently found in academic literature. It refers to the books, not to their arrangement or the theological context of discussion about them. It does not mean Jewish Bible (although ignorant Christians do take offence at the term), it means literally "the book composed in Hebrew". I have one or two more little things to say, but here is some more for you to interact with if you wish. Alastair Haines 03:44, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Finally, I am going to check the Old Testament topics category. I think it may actually refer to topics covered IN the OT, in which case, although Biblical canon is obviously relevant at a "big picture" level, arguably it is a topic "outside" the Old Testament, it is a "meta-OT" topic. In that case, your edit was correct, even if the reasoning was well-intended, but technically incorrect. If so, I will restore your edit by deleting the Cat and defend the deletion in discussion. (Though I won't defend too hard, there's blurriness about it). Alastair Haines 03:53, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
LoLoL -- there is only one topic in Old Testament topics! This article! Propose it for deletion and I will second your nomination! However, I also suggest we delete Tanakh topics. These are covered at Tanakh. Think Jewish! Why would you put your article under Bible, when the Bible IS the Tanakh. Nearly anything under Bible is going to be a Christian topic. Can you see what I mean? You and I were arguing over nothing ... OK I argued first. ;) Alastair Haines 04:01, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Major surgery on the "Christian canons" section[edit]

I have truncated the "Christian canons" section to a longish summary and provided a {{further}} link to the Development of the Christian Biblical canon article which is an expanded version of the text that was formerly in the "Christian canons" section. (Note: the edit history for this article now sits over at Development of the Christian Biblical canon)

The reason that I did this is that I wanted to re-organize and expand the "Christian canons" section of this article but it was already too long and was drowning out the section on the Jewish Biblical canon. Also, it seemed to me that there would be value in having this article describe the Biblical canons with only a light coverage of the history of their development. The history of their development could be covered in a separate article.

Note that the new article Development of the Christian Biblical canon is already 69kb long which underlines my point that the earlier version of this article was too long and too confusing because it mixed too many different ideas together. I think my proposed organization allows each article to focus more sharply on a few topics.

So, being bold, that's what I did.

--Richard 08:22, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

I've undone the history merge, so all the history of this article is now at biblical canon once again. History merges must *only* be used to fix cut-and-paste moves, not for splitting articles! For a start, the old arrangement divorced the content from its talk page and made the history totally unreadable by machines. Graham87 14:48, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Of course importing edits is an exception to the rule. :-) But my vehement objection to the history merge still stands; I wouldn't have checked 482 check boxes by hand unless I was really sure I knew what I was doing. I can't use the shift-click method because I use a screen reader. Graham87 14:59, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
After checking this diff, I can understand why you thought a history merge was a good idea; large swaths of text are the same. However I will not reverse it, as it was not a complete cut-and-paste move, as can be clearly seen from the start of the diff. In fact, the start of the diff is downright confusing. Graham87 15:12, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Splitting this article into subsidiary articles[edit]

IMO, the scope of this article was too broad in that it attempted to cover both the current state of the Biblical canon (both Jewish and Christian) as well as the historical development of the Jewish and Christian canons. The result was a confusing mishmash with no logical flow to the narrative.

I have attempted to fix this by creating the following articles:

On Talk:Development of the New Testament canon, User:Andrew c has expressed some concern that this framework may be confusing.

I think it's a little confusing to have 3 articles on such similar subjects. Maybe we don't need the "Christian" parent article, and we can just use biblical canon as the parent? Also, we should probably come up with a Development of the Tanahk or something to cover the "Old Testament" from a Jewish perspective, or rename Development of the Old Testament canon to Development of the Hebrew Bible canon and include both Christian and Jewish POV to avoid POV forking. -Andrew c [talk] 13:55, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

I see his point but I don't agree. My vision is that this article (Biblical canon) would describe what a Biblical canon is, what canons are being used by Jews and Christian churches today and very briefly outline the key issues in the historical development of those canons.

Development of the Christian Biblical canon is a "glue" article which ties together Development of the Old Testament canon and Development of the New Testament canon. It's not clear to me that Development of the Christian Biblical canon is strictly necessary. The "glue" could be provided here instead. I would like to hear what other people have to say about the need for that article.

I had also been working on another article about the Jewish canon but User:Jayjg rightly deleted it because I had copied text into it which was admittedly a massive copyvio. I was using the copied text as a framework for writing the article but I had copied it into mainspace which admittedly is against policy.

As a result, I am now working on that article in my userspace (as I should have been from the beginning). This is the [[10]] that I am working on. Feel free to pitch in and contribute to the article with the one condition that, if you think a massive re-org or rewrite is in order, I would ask that you create a new page. If there are no copyvio issues, then go ahead and recreate the Jewish canon article.

While I can see the argument that User:Andrew c puts forth about combining Jewish canon with Development of the Old Testament canon, I think that they are actually two separate processes (the Jewish side of it and the Christian side) which interacted at times but were nonetheless distinct. I would like to hear what other people have to say about whether these should be two separate articles or a single combined article.

--Richard 14:46, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

I appreciate what is being attempted here and as a complex subject anything that adds clarity and simplifies is good. The current spilting up of the articles seems to be a good idea but requires the links between them and references to each other to be thought out clearly. There is no single closed 'Christian biblical canon' that is accepted by all Christian groups and that doesn't appear to be reflected Christian Biblical canon. rgds, ||:) johnmark† 17:14, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

IYou have a valid point. I've been using "canon" to refer to the various canons that exist. Perhaps that is a misuse of the term.. So, should we stop using the singular and talk about "Christian Biblical canons" as in Development of the Christian Biblical canons, Development of the Old Testament canons, and Development of the New Testament canons? --Richard 18:06, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

A serious problem with this framework is that it implies that Old Testament canons and New Testament canons were determined differently. The primary Christian proclamations on the Christian Bible canons in chronological order are: Trent, 39 Articles, WCF and the 1672 Synod of Jerusalem. All of these decreed a full canon, i.e. Old and New Testaments. Likewise, if you look at the history of Christian canons, you will see almost all of them are complete Bible canons, i.e. Old and New Testaments. By spliting up the articles into Old and New Testament, you will be creating a lot of needless duplication. 75.15.205.54 18:43, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes, thank you for bringing this up because it is exactly this point that I have been struggling with. I started by creating an article called Development of the Christian Biblical canon which would have lent itself to discussing both canons together as you mention. This is the last revision of the article in which the development of both canons were treated together in the same article.
The problem was that I couldn't figure out how to tell the two parallel stories of the two canons in a coherent and logical flow. It is true that all the ecumenical councils declared "unified canons". Nonetheless, if you dig deeper, you will see that there is very little relationship between decisions regarding the Old Testament canon and the New Testament canon. Despite your suggestion that there will be "a lot of needless duplication", there seems to me to be relatively little duplication.
Look at both Development of the Old Testament canon and Development of the New Testament canon. If you focus on the declarations of ecumenical councils, there is indeed some duplication. However, if you look at the opinions of individuals and the reasoning behind those opinions, you will find very little duplication. The fact that it was so easy to split up the articles suggests that they are nearly independent articles. This suggests that the summary in Development of the Christian Biblical canon could touch on the key decisions of ecumenical councils, the Vulgate, etc. while Development of the Old Testament canon and Development of the New Testament canon can get into the excruciating detail of who thought what and why regarding the inclusion or exclusion of specific books into each testament.
--Richard 19:26, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Merge of Development of the Jewish Bible canon into Tanakh ?[edit]

It's been proposed that the article Development of the Jewish Bible canon (originally created as Jewish canon out of this article) should be merged into Tanakh. Any such merger would (presumably) only be possible with drastic curtailment of the material currently at Development of the Jewish Bible canon.

I've responded with some reasons at Talk:Development of the Jewish Bible canon as to why IMO such a merger would not be a good idea; but editors from this article might also like to express an opinion.

-- Jheald 10:44, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Lutherans[edit]

I removed this sentence ("Lutherans have an open canon but do not practice or accept continuing revelation.") with this footnote ("Do Lutherans believe in an open canon? and note this quote, "To this day it is historically Lutheran not to close the question on the canonicity of the antilegomena." from The Canon-What Is the Import of the Distinction between the Canonical and Deuterocanonical (Antilegomena) Books? by Baumler, Gary P."). Since in practice Lutheras have a closed canon, the difference from other Protestants (if any) is very subtle and IMHO doesn't belong in this article, certainly not in the lead. A proper discussion could go in Lutheranism however. Peter Ballard (talk) 23:42, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Biblical canon navigation box[edit]

I am in the process of trying to create navigation templates for each of the core articles of the Christianity WikiProject. One such template has recently been created for this topic at Template:Biblical canon. If anyone has any suggestions for how to change the template, they are more than welcome. I personally think they would most easily be seen if added below the link to the template at Wikipedia:WikiProject Christianity/Core topics work group/Templates, and would request that the comments be made on that page below the template. Please feel free to make any comments you see fit on any of the other templates on that page as well. Thank you. John Carter (talk) 17:58, 19 April 2009 (UTC)


Section 4.5 Luther[edit]

There is a continuity problem with the opening paragraph: "There is some evidence that the first decision to omit these books entirely from the Bible was ..." What are "these books" that the sentence is referring to?

Is it possible that the three paragraphs in this section are out of order?--OldCommentator (talk) 19:09, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Intro reorder of paragraphs[edit]

Reordered the intro and slight rewording; thoughts?--StormRider 19:19, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
A thought on something you're not resposible for, as it was already there: "many disputed books considered non-canonical or even apocryphal by some are considered Biblical apocrypha or Deuterocanonical or fully canonical, by others." This wording suggests that deuterocanonical is something different from fully canonical. In fact the term was invented by a Catholic, & is mainly used by Catholics, to refer to books the Church regards as fully canonical. Peter jackson (talk) 11:01, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
I just followed the link from this passage to antilegomena, piped from "disputed books". According to that article, it would seem the term is never used for the deuterocanonical books. Of course the article may be wrong, especially as it has a notice saying it uses material from Britannica 11, which is about a century out of date. Peter jackson (talk) 11:04, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Deuterocanical Books versus Apocryphal[edit]

"Deuterocanical Books" refers to those Books that were discussed / referred to at The Council of Trent, if they should be part of The Bible for a Catholic or not. All the books in question were accepted as Canonical. The Book of Wisdom (of Solomon) was never in question. (See the note I left under the title Council of Trent further up this page). "Apocryphal" refers to those books that were already ruled out. ( I hope this helps to clear up the confusion ). The lists of these books and a full outline is best studied from The Jerome Biblical Commentry, for example.

MacOfJesus (talk) 00:05, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

The word: "Deuterocanonical" means: "Before Canonisity is pronounced". This was meant that the Council of Trent were viewing the Books before they were pronounced Canonically.

The Apocryphal Books were books not included in the deuterocanonical, and were not considered, at this step, for Canonicity.

This is how a Council works. So definitions have to be clear at each step. So names have to be given to the different material at each step. In modern days it is usually the colour of the paper, indicating the step. At Trent print was in its infancy.

MacOfJesus (talk) 22:55, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Actually, deuterocanonical means "of the second canon", (deutero means two in Greek) meaning that they were not part of the first group accepted to the canon. The word now carries various meanings - see the article (and spelling). --Blainster (talk) 04:38, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

I was referring to the overall meaning given to it at the Council, to help with the understanding of Trent.

MacOfJesus (talk) 10:02, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

At the Council, incedentally, someone asked regarding the Book of Tobit: where is the Word of God in the quotation - "..and the little dog ran on.." ? (I'm not very familiar in writing with a computer rather with a pen and paper, sorry.){In the neck-of-the-woods that I come from, certain words are spelt differently. i.e.: colour, centre, neighbour, etc.}

MacOfJesus (talk) 12:51, 22 September 2009 (UTC) MacOfJesus (talk) 15:12, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

(OIEnglish is being voted on in our bid to place him on Adm.) MacOfJesus (talk) 18:46, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

The words Apocryphal and deuterocanonical have different meanings and nuances depending whether you are Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox. The Council of Trent is only an issue in the Roman Catholic context. The word deuterocanonical is generally used happily to mean OT books which were not part of the Masoretic text. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ChilternGiant (talkcontribs) 12:48, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Clean up[edit]

this article could do with a clean up of the layout, this layout is ill fitting, and any chance of a chart as ~ http://www.bombaxo.com/canonchart.html

I may get round to this myself if no one objects :)

thanx

Dava —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dava4444 (talkcontribs) 02:34, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Table for OT Canon[edit]

I tried as best as I could to produce a more accurate list for OT Canon but information is lacking for most Oriental Orthodox churches. Apart from Ethiopian Orthodox Church (who has a clear list of canonical books), their stand on 1 and 2 Esdras is faily vague, and none of the more obscure writings, like 2 Baruch, are mentioned on their websites. The entry Christian biblical canons is interesting for historical reasons, but does not really reflect the current belief held by some of these churches. The table as you see now is the best I could come up. mean (talk) 17:33, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

OT Canon[edit]

The OT canon table is a bit misleading in some places. The Coptic Orthodox Church historically included the books of the Apocrypha but have not done so since the 1800s, so they ought not be included, or at least they should be marked as the historic rather than current tradition. The book of 2 Esdras is a Latin book and its shorter form the Apocalypse of Ezra is used in the Armenian, Syriac and Ethiopian Bibles, so it is misleading to refer to this as 2 Esdras. The Ethiopian canon is quite clear and published by the Bible Society of Ethiopia and includes 81 books, where 1 Esdras (Greek) is called 2nd Ezra. The Armenian tradition is split into Eastern and Western Armenian and it is not clear which is specified here. The Apocalypse of Baruch (2 Baruch) and the Letter of Baruch are only in the Syriac tradition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ChilternGiant (talkcontribs) 12:45, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

3 Baruch has no place in the chart!

Coptic Orthodox[edit]

The Coptic Orthodox church still accepts the deuterocanonical books. The only reference to them being removed by Pope Cyril V is in the "Coptic Encyclopedia". This incident, if it actually took place (and was indeed more than simply allowing the use of the protestant Bible), is completely unknown to the Coptic people. They still consider those books canonical and read them during liturgical services every year. Please fix the table! The Cake 2 (talk) 06:37, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Update: I also found out "Two thousand years of Coptic Christianity" p.41 mentions the same story. Nevertheless, I still maintain that in the present, Copts accept these books as "2nd canonical". For example see Bishop Youssef of the Southern U.S. diocese's repeated answers: [11][12][13] The Cake 2 (talk) 08:16, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Definition of Canon[edit]

I like the current definition of canon, to wit, "a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community." However, I was wondering if it would not be better to clarify that scripture in this sense would mean what those communities consider to be divinely inspired or the Word of God. Is this clarification necessary for the definition, instead of merely "authoritative as scripture"? Is it even true of those "particular religious communities"—that is, do all the religious communities of the Bible consider what is in their canon to be inspired of/by God, the Word of God? Joshuajohnson555 (talk) 00:24, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Also, I am pretty sure that we need to include in the definition that we are talking about the Bible, not another religious text (even though the title has "Biblical"). Thus, the definition would be "the list of books of the Bible considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community." Joshuajohnson555 (talk) 00:27, 29 September 2011 (UTC)