Biblical canon

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A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as authoritative scripture.[1] The English word canon comes from the Greek κανών, meaning "rule" or "measuring stick". Christians were the first to use the term in reference to scripture, but Eugene Ulrich regards the notion as Jewish.[2][3]

Most of the canons listed below are considered by adherents "closed" (i.e., books cannot be added or removed),[4] reflecting a belief that public revelation has ended and thus some person or persons can gather approved inspired texts into a complete and authoritative canon, which scholar Bruce Metzger defines as "an authoritative collection of books".[5] In contrast, an "open canon", which permits the addition of books through the process of continuous revelation, Metzger defines as "a collection of authoritative books".

These canons have developed through debate and agreement on the part of the religious authorities of their respective faiths and denominations. Christians have a range of interpretations of the Bible; ranging from taking it completely as literal history dictated by God, to divinely inspired stories that teach important moral and spiritual lessons, or to human creations recording encounters with or thoughts about the divine. Some books, such as the Jewish–Christian gospels, have been excluded from various canons altogether, but many disputed books—considered non-canonical or even apocryphal by some—are considered to be biblical apocrypha or deuterocanonical or fully canonical by others. Differences exist between the Jewish Tanakh and Christian biblical canons, although the Jewish Tanakh did form the basis for the Christian Old Testament, and between the canons of different Christian denominations. In some cases where varying strata of scriptural inspiration have accumulated, it becomes prudent to discuss texts that only have an elevated status within a particular tradition. This becomes even more complex when considering the open canons of the various Latter Day Saint sects and the scriptural revelations purportedly given to several leaders over the years within that movement.

Different religious groups include different books in their biblical canons, in varying orders, and sometimes divide or combine books. The Jewish Tanakh (sometimes called the Hebrew Bible) contains 24 books divided into three parts: the five books of the Torah ("teaching"); the eight books of the Nevi'im ("prophets"); and the eleven books of Ketuvim ("writings"). It is composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, and its Septuagint is the main textual source for the Christian Greek Old Testament.[6]

Christian Bibles range from the 73 books of the Catholic Church canon, the 66 books of the canon of some denominations or the 80 books of the canon of other denominations of the Protestant Church, to the 81 books of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church canon. The first part of Christian Bibles is the Greek Old Testament, which contains, at minimum, the above 24 books of the Tanakh but divided into 39 (Protestant) or 46 (Catholic) books and ordered differently. The second part is the Greek New Testament, containing 27 books; the four canonical gospels, Acts of the Apostles, 21 Epistles or letters and the Book of Revelation.

The Catholic Church and Eastern Christian churches hold that certain deuterocanonical books and passages are part of the Old Testament canon. The Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Christian churches may have minor differences in their lists of accepted books. The list given here for these churches is the most inclusive: if at least one Eastern church accepts the book it is included here. The King James Bible—which has been called "the most influential version of the most influential book in the (English) world, in what is now its most influential language" and which in the United States is the most used translation, is still considered a standard among Protestant churches and used liturgically in the Orthodox Church in America—contains 80 books: 39 in its Old Testament, 14 in its Apocrypha, and 27 in its New Testament.

Jewish canons[edit]

Rabbinic Judaism[edit]

Rabbinic Judaism (Hebrew: יהדות רבנית) recognizes the twenty-four books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh (Hebrew: תַּנַ"ךְ) or Hebrew Bible.[7] Evidence suggests that the process of canonization occurred between 200 BC and 200 AD, and a popular position is that the Torah was canonized c. 400 BC, the Prophets c. 200 BC, and the Writings c. 100 AD[8] perhaps at a hypothetical Council of Jamnia—however, this position is increasingly criticised by modern scholars.[9][10][11][12][13][14] According to Marc Zvi Brettler, the Jewish scriptures outside the Torah and the Prophets were fluid, different groups seeing authority in different books.[15]

Scroll with the text of the Book of Esther in Hebrew
A scroll of the Book of Esther; one of the five megillot of the Tanakh.

The Book of Deuteronomy includes a prohibition against adding or subtracting (4:2, 12:32) which might apply to the book itself (i.e. a "closed book", a prohibition against future scribal editing) or to the instruction received by Moses on Mt. Sinai.[16] The book of 2 Maccabees, itself not a part of the Jewish canon, describes Nehemiah (c. 400 BC) as having "founded a library and collected books about the kings and prophets, and the writings of David, and letters of kings about votive offerings" (2:13–15).

The Book of Nehemiah suggests that the priest-scribe Ezra brought the Torah back from Babylon to Jerusalem and the Second Temple (8–9) around the same time period. Both I and II Maccabees suggest that Judas Maccabeus (c. 167 BC) likewise collected sacred books (3:42–50, 2:13–15, 15:6–9), indeed some scholars argue that the Jewish canon was fixed by the Hasmonean dynasty.[17] However, these primary sources do not suggest that the canon was at that time closed; moreover, it is not clear that these sacred books were identical to those that later became part of the canon.

The Great Assembly, also known as the Great Synagogue, was, according to Jewish tradition, an assembly of 120 scribes, sages, and prophets, in the period from the end of the Biblical prophets to the time of the development of Rabbinic Judaism, marking a transition from an era of prophets to an era of Rabbis. They lived in a period of about two centuries ending c. 70 AD. Among the developments in Judaism that are attributed to them are the fixing of the Jewish Biblical canon [source required], including the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Esther, and the Twelve Minor Prophets; the introduction of the triple classification of the oral Torah, dividing its study into the three branches of midrash, halakot, and aggadot; the introduction of the Feast of Purim; and the institution of the prayer known as the Shemoneh 'Esreh as well as the synagogal prayers, rituals, and benedictions.[citation needed]

In addition to the Tanakh, mainstream Rabbinic Judaism considers the Talmud (Hebrew: תַּלְמוּד ) to be another central, authoritative text. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs, and history. The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah (c. 200 AD), the first written compendium of Judaism's oral Law; and the Gemara (c. 500 AD), an elucidation of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Tanakh. There are numerous citations of Sirach within the Talmud, even though the book was not ultimately accepted into the Hebrew canon.

The Talmud is the basis for all codes of rabbinic law and is often quoted in other rabbinic literature. Certain groups of Jews, such as the Karaites, do not accept the oral Law as it is codified in the Talmud and only consider the Tanakh to be authoritative.

Beta Israel[edit]

Ethiopian Jews—also known as Beta Israel (Ge'ez: ቤተ እስራኤል—Bēta 'Isrā'ēl)—possess a canon of scripture that is distinct from Rabbinic Judaism. Mäṣḥafä Kedus (Holy Scriptures) is the name for the religious literature of these Jews, which is written primarily in Ge'ez. Their holiest book, the Orit, consists of the Pentateuch, as well as Joshua, Judges, and Ruth. The rest of the Ethiopian Jewish canon is considered to be of secondary importance.[citation needed] It consists of the remainder of the Hebrew canon—with the possible exception of the Book of Lamentations—and various deuterocanonical books. These include Sirach, Judith, Tobit, 1 and 2 Esdras, 1 and 4 Baruch, the three books of Meqabyan, Jubilees, Enoch,[note 1] the Testament of Abraham, the Testament of Isaac, and the Testament of Jacob. The latter three patriarchal testaments are distinct to this scriptural tradition.[note 2]

A third tier of religious writings that are important to Ethiopian Jews, but are not considered to be part of the canon, include the following: Nagara Muse (The Conversation of Moses), Mota Aaron (Death of Aaron), Mota Muse (Death of Moses), Te'ezaza Sanbat (Precepts of Sabbath), Arde'et (Students), the Apocalypse of Gorgorios, Mäṣḥafä Sa'atat (Book of Hours), Abba Elias (Father Elija), Mäṣḥafä Mäla'əkt (Book of Angels), Mäṣḥafä Kahan (Book of Priests), Dərsanä Abrəham Wäsara Bägabs (Homily on Abraham and Sarah in Egypt), Gadla Sosna (The Acts of Susanna), and Baqadāmi Gabra Egzi'abḥēr (In the Beginning God Created).[citation needed]

In addition to these, Zëna Ayhud (the Ethiopic version of Josippon) and the sayings of various fālasfā (philosophers) are sources that are not necessarily considered holy, but nonetheless have great influence.[citation needed]

Samaritan canon[edit]

Another version of the Torah, in the Samaritan alphabet, also exists. This text is associated with the Samaritans (Hebrew: שומרונים; Arabic: السامريون), a people of whom the Jewish Encyclopedia states: "Their history as a distinct community begins with the taking of Samaria by the Assyrians in 722 BC."[18]

The Abisha Scroll, the oldest scroll among the Samaritans in Nablus.

The Samaritan Pentateuch's relationship to the Masoretic Text is still disputed. Some differences are minor, such as the ages of different people mentioned in genealogy, while others are major, such as a commandment to be monogamous, which only appears in the Samaritan version. More importantly, the Samaritan text also diverges from the Masoretic in stating that Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Gerizim—not Mount Sinai—and that it is upon this mountain (Gerizim) that sacrifices to God should be made—not in Jerusalem. Scholars nonetheless consult the Samaritan version when trying to determine the meaning of text of the original Pentateuch, as well as to trace the development of text-families. Some scrolls among the Dead Sea scrolls have been identified as proto-Samaritan Pentateuch text-type.[19] Comparisons have also been made between the Samaritan Torah and the Septuagint version.

Samaritans consider the Torah to be inspired scripture, but do not accept any other parts of the Bible—probably a position also held by the Sadducees.[20] They did not expand their canon by adding any Samaritan compositions. There is a Samaritan Book of Joshua; however, this is a popular chronicle written in Arabic and is not considered to be scripture. Other non-canonical Samaritan religious texts include the Memar Markah (Teaching of Markah) and the Defter (Prayerbook)—both from the 4th century or later.[21]

The people of the remnants of the Samaritans in modern-day Israel/Palestine retain their version of the Torah as fully and authoritatively canonical.[18] They regard themselves as the true "guardians of the Law." This assertion is only re-enforced by the claim of the Samaritan community in Nablus (an area traditionally associated with the ancient city of Shechem) to possess the oldest existing copy of the Torah—one that they believe to have been penned by Abisha, a grandson of Aaron.[22]

Christian canons[edit]

The apostles did not leave a defined set of scriptures; instead the canon of both the Old Testament and the New Testament developed over time. Different denominations recognize different lists of books as canonical, following various church councils and the decisions of leaders of various churches.

For mainstream Pauline Christianity (growing from proto-orthodox Christianity in pre-Nicene times) which books constituted the Christian biblical canons of both the Old and New Testament was generally established by the 5th century, despite some scholarly disagreements,[23] for the ancient undivided Church (the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, before the East–West Schism). The Catholic canon was set at the Council of Rome (382),[24] the same Council commissioned Jerome to compile and translate those canonical texts into the Latin Vulgate Bible. In the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the Council of Trent (1546) affirmed the Vulgate as the official Catholic Bible in order to address changes Martin Luther made in his recently completed German translation which was based on the Hebrew language Tanakh in addition to the original Greek of the component texts. The canons of the Church of England and English Presbyterians were decided definitively by the Thirty-Nine Articles (1563) and the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), respectively. The Synod of Jerusalem (1672) established additional canons that are widely accepted throughout the Orthodox Church.

Various forms of Jewish Christianity persisted until around the fifth century, and canonicalized very different sets of books, including Jewish–Christian gospels which have been lost to history. These and many other works are classified as New Testament apocrypha by Pauline denominations.

The Old and New Testament canons did not develop independently of each other and most primary sources for the canon specify both Old and New Testament books. For the biblical scripture for both Testaments, canonically accepted in major traditions of Christendom, see Biblical canon § Canons of various Christian traditions.

Early Church[edit]

Earliest Christian communities[edit]

The Early Church used the Old Testament, namely the Septuagint (LXX)[25] among Greek speakers, with a canon perhaps as found in the Bryennios List or Melito's canon. The Apostles did not otherwise leave a defined set of new scriptures; instead, the New Testament developed over time.

Writings attributed to the apostles circulated among the earliest Christian communities. The Pauline epistles were circulating in collected forms by the end of the 1st century AD. Justin Martyr, in the early 2nd century, mentions the "memoirs of the Apostles", which Christians (Greek: Χριστιανός) called "gospels", and which were considered to be authoritatively equal to the Old Testament.[26]

Marcion's list[edit]

Marcion of Sinope was the first Christian leader in recorded history (though later considered heretical) to propose and delineate a uniquely Christian canon[27] (c. AD 140). This included 10 epistles from St. Paul, as well as a version of the Gospel of Luke, which today is known as the Gospel of Marcion. By doing this, he established a particular way of looking at religious texts that persists in Christian thought today.[28]

After Marcion, Christians began to divide texts into those that aligned well with the "canon" (measuring stick) of accepted theological thought and those that promoted heresy. This played a major role in finalizing the structure of the collection of works called the Bible. It has been proposed that the initial impetus for the proto-orthodox Christian project of canonization flowed from opposition to the list produced by Marcion.[28]

Apostolic Fathers[edit]

A four-gospel canon (the Tetramorph) was asserted by Irenaeus in the following quote: "It is not possible that the gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four-quarters of the earth in which we live, and four universal winds, while the church is scattered throughout all the world, and the 'pillar and ground' of the church is the gospel and the spirit of life, it is fitting that she should have four pillars breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh ... Therefore the gospels are in accord with these things ... For the living creatures are quadriform and the gospel is quadriform ... These things being so, all who destroy the form of the gospel are vain, unlearned, and also audacious; those [I mean] who represent the aspects of the gospel as being either more in number than as aforesaid, or, on the other hand, fewer."[29]

Folio from Papyrus 46, containing 2 Corinthians 11:33–12:9 in Greek
A folio from P46; an early 3rd-century collection of Pauline epistles.

By the early 3rd century, Christian theologians like Origen of Alexandria may have been using—or at least were familiar with—the same 27 books found in modern New Testament editions, though there were still disputes over the canonicity of some of the writings (see also Antilegomena).[30] 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 four gospels and argued against objections to them.[31] 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 3rd century.[32]

Eastern Church[edit]

Alexandrian Fathers[edit]

Origen of Alexandria (184/85–253/54), an early scholar involved in the codification of the Biblical canon, had a thorough education both in Christian theology and in pagan philosophy, but was posthumously condemned at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 since some of his teachings were considered to be heresy. Origen's canon included all of the books in the current New Testament canon except for four books: James, 2nd Peter, and the 2nd and 3rd epistles of John.[33]

He also included the Shepherd of Hermas which was later rejected. The religious scholar Bruce Metzger described Origen's efforts, saying "The process of canonization represented by Origen proceeded by way of selection, moving from many candidates for inclusion to fewer."[34] This was one of the first major attempts at the compilation of certain books and letters as authoritative and inspired teaching for the Early Church at the time, although it is unclear whether Origen intended for his list to be authoritative itself.

In his Easter letter of 367, Patriarch Athanasius of Alexandria gave a list of exactly the same books that would become the New Testament–27 book–proto-canon,[35] and used the phrase "being canonized" (kanonizomena) in regard to them.[36] Athanasius also included the Book of Baruch, as well as the Letter of Jeremiah, in his Old Testament canon. However, from this canon, he omitted the Book of Esther.

Fifty Bibles of Constantine[edit]

In 331, Constantine I commissioned Eusebius to deliver fifty Bibles for the Church of Constantinople. Athanasius[37] recorded Alexandrian scribes around 340 preparing Bibles for Constans. Little else is known, though there is plenty of speculation. For example, it is speculated that this may have provided motivation for canon lists, and that Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus are examples of these Bibles. Those codices contain almost a full version of the Septuagint; Vaticanus is only lacking 1–3 Maccabees and Sinaiticus is lacking 2–3 Maccabees, 1 Esdras, Baruch and Letter of Jeremiah.[38] Together with the Peshitta and Codex Alexandrinus, these are the earliest extant Christian Bibles.[39]

There is no evidence among the canons of the First Council of Nicaea of any determination on the canon, however, Jerome (347-420), in his Prologue to Judith, makes the claim that the Book of Judith was "found by the Nicene Council to have been counted among the number of the Sacred Scriptures".[40]

Eastern canons[edit]

The Eastern Churches had, in general, a weaker feeling than those in the West for the necessity of making sharp delineations with regard to the canon. They were more conscious of the gradation of spiritual quality among the books that they accepted (for example, the classification of Eusebius, see also Antilegomena) and were less often disposed to assert that the books which they rejected possessed no spiritual quality at all. For example, the Trullan Synod of 691–692, which Pope Sergius I (in office 687–701) rejected[41] (see also Pentarchy), endorsed the following lists of canonical writings: the Apostolic Canons (c. 385), the Synod of Laodicea (c. 363), the Third Synod of Carthage (c. 397), and the 39th Festal Letter of Athanasius (367).[42] And yet, these lists do not agree. Similarly, the New Testament canons of the Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, Egyptian Coptic and Ethiopian Churches all have minor differences, yet five of these Churches are part of the same communion and hold the same theological beliefs.[43] The Revelation of John is said to be one of the most uncertain books; it was not translated into Georgian until the 10th century, and it has never been included in the official lectionary of the Eastern Orthodox Church, whether in Byzantine or modern times.

Peshitta[edit]

The Peshitta is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition. Most of the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament are found in the Syriac, and the Wisdom of Sirach is held to have been translated from the Hebrew and not from the Septuagint.[44] This New Testament, originally excluding certain disputed books (2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation), had become a standard by the early 5th century. The five excluded books were added in the Harklean Version (616 AD) of Thomas of Harqel.[45]

The standard United Bible Societies 1905 edition of the New Testament of the Peshitta was based on editions prepared by Syriacists Philip E. Pusey (d.1880), George Gwilliam (d.1914) and John Gwyn.[46] All twenty seven books of the common western New Testament are included in this British & Foreign Bible Society's 1905 Peshitta edition.

Western Church[edit]

Latin Fathers[edit]

The first Council that accepted the present Catholic canon (the Canon of Trent of 1546) may have been the Synod of Hippo Regius, held in North Africa in 393. A brief summary of the acts was read at and accepted by the Council of Carthage (397) and also the Council of Carthage (419).[47] These Councils took place under the authority of St. Augustine (354–430), who regarded the canon as already closed.[48] Their decrees also declared by fiat that Epistle to the Hebrews was written by Paul, for a time ending all debate on the subject.

Augustine of Hippo declared without qualification that one is to "prefer those that are received by all Catholic Churches to those which some of them do not receive" (On Christian Doctrines 2.12). In the same passage, Augustine asserted that these dissenting churches should be outweighed by the opinions of "the more numerous and weightier churches", which would include Eastern Churches, the prestige of which Augustine stated moved him to include the Book of Hebrews among the canonical writings, though he had reservation about its authorship.[49]

Philip Schaff says that "the council of Hippo in 393, and the third (according to another reckoning the sixth) council of Carthage in 397, under the influence of Augustine, who attended both, fixed the catholic canon of the Holy Scriptures, including the Apocrypha of the Old Testament, ... This decision of the transmarine church however, was subject to ratification; and the concurrence of the Roman see it received when Innocent I and Gelasius I (A.D. 414) repeated the same index of biblical books. This canon remained undisturbed till the sixteenth century, and was sanctioned by the council of Trent at its fourth session."[50] According to Lee Martin McDonald, the Revelation was added to the list in 419.[51] These councils were convened under the influence of St. Augustine, who regarded the canon as already closed.[52][53][54]

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.[35] If not, the list is at least a 6th-century compilation.[55] Likewise, Damasus' commissioning of the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible, c. 383, proved instrumental in the fixation of the canon in the West.[56]

In a letter (c. 405) to Exsuperius of Toulouse, a Gallic bishop, Pope Innocent I mentioned the sacred books that were already received in the canon.[57] When these[which?] 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".[58][failed verification][59][need quotation to verify][60][need quotation to verify] Thus from the 4th century there existed unanimity in the West concerning the New Testament canon (as it is today,[61] with the exception of the Book of Revelation). In the 5th century the East too, with a few exceptions, came to accept the Book of Revelation and thus came into harmony on the matter of the New Testament canon.[62]

As the canon crystallised, non-canonical texts fell into relative disfavour and neglect.[63]

Reformation era[edit]

Before the Protestant Reformation, there was the Council of Florence (1439–1443). During the life, and with the approval of this council, Eugenius IV issued several Bulls, or decrees, with a view to restore the Oriental schismatic bodies to communion with Rome, and according to the common teaching of theologians these documents are infallible statements of doctrine. The "Decretum pro Jacobitis" contains a complete list of the books received by the Church as inspired, but omits, perhaps advisedly, the terms canon and canonical. The Council of Florence therefore taught the inspiration of all the Scriptures, but did not formally pass on their canonicity.[64]

It was not until the Protestant Reformers began to insist upon the supreme authority of Scripture alone (the doctrine of sola scriptura) that it became necessary to establish a dogmatic canon.[citation needed]

Luther's canon and apocrypha[edit]

Martin Luther (1483–1546) moved seven Old Testament books (Tobit, Judith, 1–2 Maccabees, Book of Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch) into a section he called the "Apocrypha, that are books which are not considered equal to the Holy Scriptures, but are useful and good to read".[65] To refer to these books without calling them "apocrypha", after the Council of Trent (1545-1563), the Catholic Church referred to them as the deuterocanonicals—while still accepting their full canonicity.

Luther removed the books of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from the canon (echoing the consensus of some Catholics such as Cardinal Cajetan and Erasmus, and partially because some were perceived to go against certain Protestant doctrines such as sola scriptura and sola fide),[66][failed verification] while defenders of Luther cite previous scholarly precedent and support as the justification for his marginalization of certain books,[67] including 2 Maccabees [68] Luther's smaller canon was not fully accepted in Protestantism, though apocryphal books are ordered last in the German-language Luther Bible to this day.

All of these apocrypha are called anagignoskomena by the Eastern Orthodox per the Synod of Jerusalem.

The Anglican Communion accepts "the Apocrypha for instruction in life and manners, but not for the establishment of doctrine",[69] and many "lectionary readings in The Book of Common Prayer are taken from the Apocrypha", with these lessons being "read in the same ways as those from the Old Testament".[70] The Protestant Apocrypha contains three books (3 Esdras, 4 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh) that are accepted by many Eastern Orthodox Churches and Oriental Orthodox Churches as canonical, but are regarded as non-canonical by the Catholic Church and are therefore not included in modern Catholic Bibles.[71]

Council of Trent[edit]

In light of Martin Luther's demands, the Council of Trent on 8 April 1546 approved the present Catholic Bible canon, which includes the Deuterocanonical Books, and the decision was confirmed by an anathema by vote (24 yea, 15 nay, 16 abstain).[72] The council confirming the same list as produced at the Council of Florence in 1442,[73] Augustine's 397-419 Councils of Carthage,[50] and probably Damasus' 382 Council of Rome.[35][74] The Old Testament books that had been rejected by Luther were later termed deuterocanonical, not indicating a lesser degree of inspiration, but a later time of final approval. Beyond these books, the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate contained in the Appendix several books considered as apocryphal by the council: Prayer of Manasseh, 3 Esdras, and 4 Esdras.[75]

Protestant confessions[edit]

Several Protestant confessions of faith identify the 27 books of the New Testament canon by name, including the French Confession of Faith (1559),[76] the Belgic Confession (1561), and the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647). The Second Helvetic Confession (1562), affirms "both Testaments to be the true Word of God" and appealing to Augustine's De Civitate Dei, it rejected the canonicity of the Apocrypha.[77]The Thirty-Nine Articles, issued by the Church of England in 1563, names the books of the Old Testament, but not the New Testament. The Belgic Confession[78] and Westminster Confession named the 39 books in the Old Testament and, apart from the aforementioned New Testament books, expressly rejected the canonicity of any others.[79]

The Lutheran Epitome of the Formula of Concord of 1577 declared that the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures comprised the Old and New Testaments alone.[80] Luther himself did not accept the canonicity of the Apocrypha although he believed that its books were "Not Held Equal to the Scriptures, but Are Useful and Good to Read".[81]

Other apocrypha[edit]

Various books that were never canonized by any church, but are known to have existed in antiquity, are similar to the New Testament and often claim apostolic authorship, are known as the New Testament apocrypha. Some of these writings have been cited as scripture by early Christians, but since the fifth century a widespread consensus has emerged limiting the New Testament to the 27 books of the modern canon.[82][83] Thus Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches generally do not view these New Testament apocrypha as part of the Bible.[83]

Canons of various Christian traditions[edit]

Final dogmatic articulations of the canons were made at the Council of Trent of 1546 for Roman Catholicism,[84] the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563 for the Church of England, the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647 for Calvinism, and the Synod of Jerusalem of 1672 for the Eastern Orthodox. Other traditions, while also having closed canons, may not be able to point to an exact year in which their canons were complete. The following tables reflect the current state of various Christian canons.

Old Testament[edit]

The Early Church primarily used the Greek Septuagint (or LXX) as its source for the Old Testament. Among Aramaic speakers, the Targum was also widely used. All of the major Christian traditions accept the books of the Hebrew protocanon in its entirety as divinely inspired and authoritative, in various ways and degrees.

Another set of books, largely written during the intertestamental period, are called the biblical apocrypha ("hidden things") by Protestants, the deuterocanon ("second canon") by Catholics, and the deuterocanon or anagignoskomena ("worthy of reading") by Orthodox. These are works recognized by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches as being part of scripture (and thus deuterocanonical rather than apocryphal), but Protestants do not recognize them as divinely inspired. Orthodox differentiate scriptural books by omitting these (and others) from corporate worship and from use as a sole basis for doctrine.[citation needed] Some Protestant Bibles—especially the English King James Bible and the Lutheran Bible—include an "Apocrypha" section.

Many denominations recognize deuterocanonical books as good, but not on the level of the other books of the Bible. Anglicanism considers the apocrypha worthy of being "read for example of life" but not to be used "to establish any doctrine."[85] Luther made a parallel statement in calling them: "not considered equal to the Holy Scriptures, but...useful and good to read."[86]

The difference in canons derives from the difference in the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint. Books found in both the Hebrew and the Greek are accepted by all denominations, and by Jews, these are the protocanonical books. Catholics and Orthodox also accept those books present in manuscripts of the Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament with great currency among the Jews of the ancient world, with the coda that Catholics consider 3 Esdras and 3 Maccabees apocryphal.[citation needed]

Most quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament, differing by varying degrees from the Masoretic Text, are taken from the Septuagint. Daniel was written several hundred years after the time of Ezra, and since that time several books of the Septuagint have been found in the original Hebrew, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Cairo Geniza, and at Masada, including a Hebrew text of Sirach (Qumran, Masada) and an Aramaic text of Tobit (Qumran); the additions to Esther and Daniel are also in their respective Semitic languages.[citation needed]

The unanimous consensus of modern (and ancient) scholars consider several other books, including 1 Maccabees and Judith, to have been composed in Hebrew or Aramaic.[citation needed] Opinion is divided on the book of Baruch, while it is acknowledged that the Letter of Jeremiah, the Wisdom of Solomon, and 2 Maccabees are originally Greek compositions.[citation needed]

Some books listed here, like the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs for the Armenian Apostolic Church, may have once been a vital part of a Biblical tradition, may even still hold a place of honor, but are no longer considered to be part of the Bible. Other books, like the Prayer of Manasseh for the Roman Catholic Church, may have been included in manuscripts, but never really attained a high level of importance within that particular tradition. The levels of traditional prominence for others, like Psalms 152–155 and the Psalms of Solomon of the Syriac churches, remain unclear.

In the Oriental Orthodox Tewahedo canon, the books of Lamentations, Jeremiah, and Baruch, as well as the Letter of Jeremiah and 4 Baruch, are all considered canonical by the Orthodox Tewahedo Churches. However, it is not always clear as to how these writings are arranged or divided. In some lists, they may simply fall under the title "Jeremiah", while in others, they are divided in various ways into separate books. Moreover, the book of Proverbs is divided into two books—Messale (Prov. 1–24) and Tägsas (Prov. 25–31).

Additionally, while the books of Jubilees and Enoch are fairly well-known among western scholars, 1, 2, and 3 Meqabyan are not. The three books of Meqabyan are often called the "Ethiopian Maccabees", but are completely different in content from the books of Maccabees that are known or have been canonized in other traditions. Finally, the Book of Joseph ben Gurion, or Pseudo-Josephus, is a history of the Jewish people thought to be based upon the writings of Josephus.[note 3] The Ethiopic version (Zëna Ayhud) has eight parts and is included in the Orthodox Tewahedo broader canon.[note 4][87]

Additional books accepted by the Syriac Orthodox Church (due to inclusion in the Peshitta):

The Ethiopian Tewahedo church accepts all of the deuterocanonical books of Catholicism and anagignoskomena of Eastern Orthodoxy except for the four Books of Maccabees.[88] It accepts the 39 protocanonical books along with the following books, called the "narrow canon".[89] The enumeration of books in the Ethiopic Bible varies greatly between different authorities and printings.[90]

Protestants and Catholics[6] use the Masoretic Text of the Jewish Tanakh as the textual basis for their translations of the protocanonical books (those accepted as canonical by both Jews and all Christians), with various changes derived from a multiplicity of other ancient sources (such as the Septuagint, the Vulgate, the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc.), while generally using the Septuagint and Vulgate, now supplemented by the ancient Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts, as the textual basis for the deuterocanonical books.

The Eastern Orthodox use the Septuagint (translated in the 3rd century BCE) as the textual basis for the entire Old Testament in both protocanonical and deuteroncanonical books—to use both in the Greek for liturgical purposes, and as the basis for translations into the vernacular.[91][92] Most of the quotations (300 of 400) of the Old Testament in the New Testament, while differing more or less from the version presented by the Masoretic text, align with that of the Septuagint.[93]

Diagram of the development of the Old Testament[edit]
The books of the Old Testament, showing their positions in both the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible, shown with their names in Hebrew) and Christian Bibles. The Deuterocanon shown in yellow and the Apocrypha shown in grey are not accepted by some major denominations; the Protocanon shown in red, orange, green, and blue are the Hebrew Bible books considered canonical by all major denominations.[citation needed]
Table[edit]

The order of some books varies among canons.

Western tradition Eastern Orthodox tradition Oriental Orthodox tradition Assyrian Eastern tradition Judaism
Books Protestant
[O 1]
Lutheran Anglican Roman Catholic[94]
[O 2]
Greek Orthodox Slavonic Orthodox Georgian Orthodox Armenian Apostolic[O 3] Syriac Orthodox Coptic Orthodox Orthodox Tewahedo[95][O 4] Assyrian Church of the East the Hebrew Bible
Pentateuch Torah
Genesis Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bereshit
Exodus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shemot
Leviticus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Vayikra
Numbers Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Vayikra
Deuteronomy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Devarim
History Nevi'im
Joshua Yes Yes Yes Yes
Josue
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yehoshua
Judges Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shofetim
Ruth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rut (part of Ketuvim)
1 and 2 Samuel Yes Yes Yes Yes
1 and 2 Kings
Yes
1 and 2 Kingdoms
Yes
1 and 2 Kingdoms
Yes
1 and 2 Kingdoms
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shemuel
1 and 2 Kings Yes Yes Yes Yes
3 and 4 Kings
Yes
3 and 4 Kingdoms
Yes
3 and 4 Kingdoms
Yes
3 and 4 Kingdoms
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Melakhim
1 and 2 Chronicles Yes Yes Yes Yes
1 and 2 Paralipomenon
Yes
1 and 2 Paralipomenon
Yes
1 and 2 Paralipomenon
Yes
1 and 2 Paralipomenon
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Divrei Hayamim (part of Ketuvim)
Prayer of Manasseh No − inc. in some eds. No
(Apocrypha)[O 5]
No
(Apocrypha)[O 5]
No – inc. in some mss. Yes (?)
(part of Odes)[O 6]
Yes (?)
(part of Odes)[O 6]
Yes (?)
(part of Odes)[O 6]
Yes (?) Yes (?) Yes[96] Yes[97] Yes (?) No
Ezra
(1 Ezra)
Yes Yes Yes Yes
1 Esdras
Yes
Esdras B'
Yes
1 Esdras
Yes
1 Ezra
Yes
1 Ezra
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ezra–Nehemiah (part of Ketuvim)
Nehemiah
(2 Ezra)
Yes Yes Yes Yes
2 Esdras
Yes
Esdras Γ' or Neemias
Yes
Neemias
Yes
Neemias
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
1 Esdras
(3 Ezra)
No − inc. in some eds. No No
1 Esdras
(Apocrypha)
No
3 Esdras
(inc. in some mss.)[98]
Yes
Esdras A'
Yes
2 Esdras
Yes
2 Ezra
Yes
2 Ezra[O 7]
No (?) – inc. in some mss. No – inc. in some mss. Yes
Ezra Kali
No (?) – inc. in some mss. No
2 Esdras 3–14
(4 Ezra or Apocalypsis of Esdras)[O 8]
No − inc. in some eds. No No
2 Esdras
(Apocrypha)
No
4 Esdras
(inc. in some mss.)
No
(Greek ms. lost)[O 9]
No
3 Esdras
(appendix)
Yes (?)
3 Ezra
Yes
3 Ezra
[O 7]
No (?) – inc. in some mss. No – inc. in some mss. Yes
Ezra Sutu'el
No (?) – inc. in some mss. No
2 Esdras 1–2; 15–16
(5 and 6 Ezra or Apocalypsis of Esdras)[O 8]
No − inc. in some eds. No No
(part of 2 Esdras apocryphon)
No
(part of 4 Esdras)
No
(Greek ms.)[O 10]
No No No No No No No No
Esther[O 11] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ester (part of Ketuvim)
Additions to Esther No − inc. in some eds. No
(Apocrypha)
No
(Apocrypha)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Tobit (Tobias) No − inc. in some eds. No
(Apocrypha)
No
(Apocrypha)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Judith No − inc. in some eds. No
(Apocrypha)
No
(Apocrypha)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
1 Maccabees [O 12] No − inc. in some eds. No
(Apocrypha)
No
(Apocrypha)
Yes
1 Machabees
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
2 Maccabees[O 12] No − inc. in some eds. No
(Apocrypha)
No
(Apocrypha)
Yes
2 Machabees
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
3 Maccabees No − inc. in some eds. No No − inc. in some eds. No Yes Yes Yes Yes[O 7] Yes No – inc. in some mss. No Yes No
4 Maccabees No No No No No
(appendix)
No
(appendix)
Yes No
(early tradition)
No (?) – inc. in some mss. No
(Coptic ms.)
No No (?) – inc. in some mss. No
Jubilees No No No No No No No No No No Yes No No
Enoch No No No No No No No No No No Yes No No
1 Ethiopian Maccabees No No No No No No No No No No Yes No No
2 and 3 Ethiopian Maccabees[O 13] No No No No No No No No No No Yes No No
Ethiopic Pseudo-Josephus (Zëna Ayhud) No No No No No No No No No No Yes
(broader canon)[O 14]
No No
Josephus' Jewish War VI No No No No No No No No No – inc. in some mss.[O 15] No No No – inc. in some mss.[O 15] No
Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs No No No No No
(Greek ms.)
No No No – inc. in some mss. No No No No No
Joseph and Asenath No No No No No No No No – inc. in some mss. No No No
(early tradition?)[O 16]
No No
Wisdom Ketuvim
Book of Job Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Iyov
Psalms 1–150[O 17] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tehillim
Psalm 151 No No No No – inc. in some mss. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Psalms 152–155 No No No No No No No No Yes (?) No No No (?) – inc. in some mss. No
Psalms of Solomon[O 18] No No No No No – inc. in some mss. No No No No – inc. in some mss. No No No – inc. in some mss. No
Proverbs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
(in 2 books)
Yes Yes
Mishlei
Ecclesiastes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Qohelet
Song of Songs Yes Yes Yes Yes
Canticle of Canticles
Yes
Aisma Aismaton
Yes
Aisma Aismaton
Yes
Aisma Aismaton
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shir Hashirim
Book of Wisdom or Wisdom of Solomon No − inc. in some eds. No
(Apocrypha)
No
(Apocrypha)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Wisdom of Sirach or Sirach (1–51)[O 19] No − inc. in some eds. No
(Apocrypha)
No
(Apocrypha)
Yes[O 20]
Ecclesiasticus
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Prayer of Solomon
(Sirach 52)[O 21]
No No No No (?) – inc. in some mss. No No No No No No No No No
Major prophets Nevi'im
Isaiah Yes Yes Yes Yes
Isaias
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yeshayahu
Ascension of Isaiah No No No No No No No No –
liturgical (?)[O 22]
No No No –
Ethiopic mss.
(early tradition?)[O 23]
No No
Jeremiah Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jeremias
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yirmeyahu
Lamentations (1–5) Yes Yes Yes Yes[O 24] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
(part of Säqoqawä Eremyas)[O 25]
No Yes
Eikhah (part of Ketuvim)
Ethiopic Lamentations (6; 7:1–11,63) No No No No No No No No No No Yes
(part of Säqoqawä Eremyas)[O 25]
No No
Baruch No − inc. in some eds. No
(Apocrypha)
No
(Apocrypha)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[O 26][O 27] Yes No
Letter of Jeremiah No − inc. in some eds. No
(Apocrypha)
No
(Apocrypha)
Yes
(chapter 6 of Baruch)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
(part of Säqoqawä Eremyas)[O 28][O 25][O 27]
Yes No
Syriac Apocalypse
of Baruch
(2 Baruch 1–77)[O 29]
No No No No No No No No Yes (?) No No No (?) – inc. in some mss. No
Letter of Baruch
(2 Baruch 78–87)[O 29]
No No No No No No No No Yes (?) No No Yes (?) No
Greek Apocalypse
of Baruch
(3 Baruch)[O 30]
No No No No No
(Greek ms.)
No
(Slavonic ms.)
No No No No No No No
4 Baruch No No No No No No No No No No Yes
(part of Säqoqawä Eremyas)
No No
Ezekiel Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ezechiel
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Yekhezqel
Daniel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Daniyyel (part of Ketuvim)
Additions to Daniel[O 31] No − inc. in some eds. No
(Apocrypha)
No
(Apocrypha)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Twelve Minor Prophets Trei Asar
Hosea Yes Yes Yes Yes
Osee
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Joel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Amos Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Obadiah Yes Yes Yes Yes
Abdias
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jonah Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jonas
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Micah Yes Yes Yes Yes
Micheas
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nahum Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Habakkuk Yes Yes Yes Yes
Habacuc
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Zephaniah Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sophonias
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Haggai Yes Yes Yes Yes
Aggeus
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Zechariah Yes Yes Yes Yes
Zacharias
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Malachi Yes Yes Yes Yes
Malachias
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Table notes[edit]

The table uses the spellings and names present in modern editions of the Bible, such as the New American Bible Revised Edition, Revised Standard Version and English Standard Version. The spelling and names in both the 1609–1610 Douay Old Testament (and in the 1582 Rheims New Testament) and the 1749 revision by Bishop Challoner (the edition currently in print used by many Catholics, and the source of traditional Catholic spellings in English) and in the Septuagint differ from those spellings and names used in modern editions that derive from the Hebrew Masoretic text.[99]

The King James Version references some of these books by the traditional spelling when referring to them in the New Testament, such as "Esaias" (for Isaiah). In the spirit of ecumenism more recent Catholic translations (e.g., the New American Bible, Jerusalem Bible, and ecumenical translations used by Catholics, such as the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition) use the same "standardized" (King James Version) spellings and names as Protestant Bibles (e.g., 1 Chronicles, as opposed to the Douaic 1 Paralipomenon, 1–2 Samuel and 1–2 Kings, instead of 1–4 Kings) in the protocanonicals.

The Talmud in Bava Batra 14b gives a different order for the books in Nevi'im and Ketuvim. This order is also quoted in Mishneh Torah Hilchot Sefer Torah 7:15. The order of the books of the Torah are universal through all denominations of Judaism and Christianity.

  1. ^ The term "Protestant" is not accepted by all Christian denominations who often fall under this title by default—especially those who view themselves as a direct extension of the New Testament church. However, the term is used loosely here to include most of the non-Roman Catholic Protestant, Charismatic/Pentecostal, Reformed, and Evangelical churches. Other western churches and movements that have a divergent history from Roman Catholicism, but are not necessarily considered to be historically Protestant, may also fall under this umbrella terminology.
  2. ^ The Roman Catholic Canon as represented in this table reflects the Latin tradition. Some Eastern Rite churches who are in fellowship with the Roman Catholic Church may have different books in their canons.
  3. ^ The growth and development of the Armenian Biblical canon is complex. Extra-canonical Old Testament books appear in historical canon lists and recensions that are either exclusive to this tradition, or where they do exist elsewhere, never achieved the same status. These include the Deaths of the Prophets, an ancient account of the lives of the Old Testament prophets, which is not listed in this table. (It is also known as the Lives of the Prophets.) Another writing not listed in this table entitled the Words of Sirach—which is distinct from Ecclesiasticus and its prologue—appears in the appendix of the 1805 Armenian Zohrab Bible alongside other, more commonly known works.
  4. ^ Adding to the complexity of the Orthodox Tewahedo Biblical canon, the national epic Kebra Negast has an elevated status among many Ethiopian Christians to such an extent that some consider it to be inspired scripture.
  5. ^ a b The English Apocrypha includes the Prayer of Manasseh, 1 & 2 Esdras, the Additions to Esther, Tobit, Judith, 1 & 2 Maccabees, the Book of Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, and the Additions to Daniel. The Lutheran Apocrypha omits from this list 1 & 2 Esdras. Some Protestant Bibles include 3 Maccabees as part of the Apocrypha. However, many churches within Protestantism—as it is presented here—reject the Apocrypha, do not consider it useful, and do not include it in their Bibles.
  6. ^ a b c The Prayer of Manasseh is included as part of the Book of Odes, which follows the Psalms in Eastern Orthodox Bibles. The rest of the Book of Odes consists of passages found elsewhere in the Bible.
  7. ^ a b c 2 Ezra, 3 Ezra, and 3 Maccabees are included in Bibles and have an elevated status within the Armenian scriptural tradition, but are considered "extra-canonical".
  8. ^ a b In many eastern Bibles, the Apocalypse of Ezra is not an exact match to the longer Latin Esdras–2 Esdras in KJV or 4 Esdras in the Vulgate—which includes a Latin prologue (5 Ezra) and epilogue (6 Ezra). However, a degree of uncertainty continues to exist here, and it is certainly possible that the full text—including the prologue and epilogue—appears in Bibles and Biblical manuscripts used by some of these eastern traditions. Also of note is the fact that many Latin versions are missing verses 7:36–7:106. (A more complete explanation of the various divisions of books associated with the scribe Ezra may be found in the Wikipedia article entitled "Esdras".)
  9. ^ Evidence strongly suggests that a Greek manuscript of 4 Ezra once existed; this furthermore implies a Hebrew origin for the text.
  10. ^ An early fragment of 6 Ezra is known to exist in the Greek language, implying a possible Hebrew origin for 2 Esdras 15–16.
  11. ^ Esther's placement within the canon was questioned by Luther. Others, like Melito, omitted it from the canon altogether.
  12. ^ a b The Latin Vulgate, Douay-Rheims, and Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition place First and Second Maccabees after Malachi; other Catholic translations place them after Esther.
  13. ^ 2 and 3 Meqabyan, though relatively unrelated in content, are often counted as a single book.
  14. ^ Some sources place Zëna Ayhud within the "narrower canon".
  15. ^ a b A Syriac version of Josephus's Jewish War VI appears in some Peshitta manuscripts as the "Fifth Book of Maccabees", which is clearly a misnomer.
  16. ^ Several varying historical canon lists exist for the Orthodox Tewahedo tradition. In one particular list Archived 10 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine found in a British Museum manuscript (Add. 16188), a book of Assenath is placed within the canon. This most likely refers to the book more commonly known as Joseph and Asenath. An unknown book of Uzziah is also listed there, which may be connected to the lost Acts of Uziah referenced in 2 Chronicles 26:22.
  17. ^ Some traditions use an alternative set of liturgical or metrical Psalms.
  18. ^ In many ancient manuscripts, a distinct collection known as the Odes of Solomon is found together with the similar Psalms of Solomon.
  19. ^ The book of Sirach is usually preceded by a non-canonical prologue written by the author's grandson.
  20. ^ In some Latin versions, chapter 51 of Ecclesiasticus appears separately as the "Prayer of Joshua, son of Sirach".
  21. ^ A shorter variant of the prayer by King Solomon in 1 Kings 8:22–52 appeared in some medieval Latin manuscripts and is found in some Latin Bibles at the end of or immediately following Ecclesiasticus. The two versions of the prayer in Latin may be viewed online for comparison at the following website: BibleGateway.com: Sirach 52 / 1 Kings 8:22–52; Vulgate
  22. ^ The "Martyrdom of Isaiah" is prescribed reading to honor the prophet Isaiah within the Armenian Apostolic liturgy (see this list). While this likely refers to the account of Isaiah's death within the Lives of the Prophets, it may be a reference to the account of his death found within the first five chapters of the Ascension of Isaiah, which is widely known by this name. The two narratives have similarities and may share a common source.
  23. ^ The Ascension of Isaiah has long been known to be a part of the Orthodox Tewahedo scriptural tradition. Though it is not currently considered canonical, various sources attest to the early canonicity—or at least "semi-canonicity"—of this book.
  24. ^ In some Latin versions, chapter 5 of Lamentations appears separately as the "Prayer of Jeremiah".
  25. ^ a b c Ethiopic Lamentations consists of eleven chapters, parts of which are considered to be non-canonical.
  26. ^ The canonical Ethiopic version of Baruch has five chapters, but is shorter than the LXX text.
  27. ^ a b Some Ethiopic translations of Baruch may include the traditional Letter of Jeremiah as the sixth chapter.
  28. ^ The "Letter to the Captives" found within Säqoqawä Eremyas—and also known as the sixth chapter of Ethiopic Lamentations—may contain different content from the Letter of Jeremiah (to those same captives) found in other traditions.
  29. ^ a b The Letter of Baruch is found in chapters 78–87 of 2 Baruch—the final ten chapters of the book. The letter had a wider circulation and often appeared separately from the first 77 chapters of the book, which is an apocalypse.
  30. ^ Included here for the purpose of disambiguation, 3 Baruch is widely rejected as a pseudepigraphon and is not part of any Biblical tradition. Two manuscripts exist—a longer Greek manuscript with Christian interpolations and a shorter Slavonic version. There is some uncertainty about which was written first.
  31. ^ Bel and the Dragon, Susanna, and The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children.

New Testament[edit]

Among the various Christian denominations, the New Testament canon is a generally agreed-upon list of 27 books. However, the way in which those books are arranged may vary from tradition to tradition. For instance, in the Slavonic, Orthodox Tewahedo, Syriac, and Armenian traditions, the New Testament is ordered differently from what is considered to be the standard arrangement. Protestant Bibles in Russia and Ethiopia usually follow the local Orthodox order for the New Testament. The Syriac Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East both adhere to the Peshitta liturgical tradition, which historically excludes five books of the New Testament Antilegomena: 2 John, 3 John, 2 Peter, Jude, and Revelation. However, those books are included in certain Bibles of the modern Syriac traditions.

Other New Testament works that are generally considered apocryphal nonetheless appear in some Bibles and manuscripts. For instance, the Epistle to the Laodiceans[note 5] was included in numerous Latin Vulgate manuscripts, in the eighteen German Bibles prior to Luther's translation, and also a number of early English Bibles, such as Gundulf's Bible and John Wycliffe's English translation—even as recently as 1728, William Whiston considered this epistle to be genuinely Pauline. Likewise, the Third Epistle to the Corinthians[note 6] was once considered to be part of the Armenian Orthodox Bible,[100] but is no longer printed in modern editions. Within the Syriac Orthodox tradition, the Third Epistle to the Corinthians also has a history of significance. Both Aphrahat and Ephraem of Syria held it in high regard and treated it as if it were canonical.[101] However, it was left-out of the Peshitta and ultimately excluded from the canon altogether.

The Didache,[note 7] The Shepherd of Hermas,[note 8] and other writings attributed to the Apostolic Fathers, were once considered scriptural by various early Church fathers. They are still being honored in some traditions, though they are no longer considered to be canonical. However, certain canonical books within the Orthodox Tewahedo traditions find their origin in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers as well as the Ancient Church Orders. The Orthodox Tewahedo churches recognize these eight additional New Testament books in its broader canon. They are as follows: the four books of Sinodos, the two books of the Covenant, Ethiopic Clement, and the Ethiopic Didascalia.[102]

Table[edit]
Books Protestant tradition Roman Catholic tradition Eastern Orthodox tradition Armenian Apostolic tradition[N 1] Coptic Orthodox tradition Orthodox Tewahedo traditions Syriac Christian traditions
Canonical gospels[N 2]
Matthew Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[N 3]
Mark[N 4] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[N 3]
Luke Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[N 3]
John[N 4][N 5] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[N 3]
Apostolic history
Acts[N 4] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Acts of Paul and Thecla[N 6][103][104] No No No No
(early tradition)
No No No
(early tradition)
Pauline epistles
Romans Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
1 Corinthians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2 Corinthians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Corinthians to Paul and
3 Corinthians[N 6][N 7]
No No No No − inc. in some mss. No No No
(early tradition)
Galatians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ephesians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Philippians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Colossians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Laodiceans No − inc. in some eds.[N 8] No − inc. in some mss. No No No No No
1 Thessalonians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2 Thessalonians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
1 Timothy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2 Timothy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Titus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Philemon Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
General epistles
Hebrews Yes[N 9] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
James Yes[N 9] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
1 Peter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2 Peter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[N 10]
1 John[N 4] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2 John Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[N 10]
3 John Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[N 10]
Jude Yes[N 9] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[N 10]
Apocalypse[N 11]
Revelation Yes[N 9] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[N 10]
Apostolic Fathers[N 12] and Church Orders[N 13]
1 Clement[N 14] No
(Codices Alexandrinus and Hierosolymitanus)
2 Clement[N 14] No
(Codices Alexandrinus and Hierosolymitanus)
Shepherd of Hermas[N 14] No
(Codex Siniaticus)
Epistle of Barnabas[N 14] No
(Codices Hierosolymitanus and Siniaticus)
Didache[N 14] No
(Codex Hierosolymitanus)
Ser'atä Seyon
(Sinodos)
No No No No No Yes
(broader canon)
No
Te'ezaz
(Sinodos)
No No No No No Yes
(broader canon)
No
Gessew
(Sinodos)
No No No No No Yes
(broader canon)
No
Abtelis
(Sinodos)
No No No No No Yes
(broader canon)
No
Book of the
Covenant 1

(Mäshafä Kidan)
No No No No No Yes
(broader canon)
No
Book of the
Covenant 2

(Mäshafä Kidan)
No No No No No Yes
(broader canon)
No
Ethiopic Clement
(Qälëmentos)[N 15]
No No No No No Yes
(broader canon)
No
Ethiopic Didescalia
(Didesqelya)[N 15]
No No No No No Yes
(broader canon)
No
Table notes[edit]
  1. ^ The growth and development of the Armenian Biblical canon is complex. Extra-canonical New Testament books appear in historical canon lists and recensions that are either distinct to this tradition, or where they do exist elsewhere, never achieved the same status. Some of the books are not listed in this table. These include the Prayer of Euthalius, the Repose of St. John the Evangelist, the Doctrine of Addai (some sources replace this with the Acts of Thaddeus), a reading from the Gospel of James (some sources replace this with the Apocryphon of James), the Second Apostolic Canons, the Words of Justus, Dionysius Aeropagite, the Acts of Peter (some sources replace this with the Preaching of Peter), and a Poem by Ghazar. (Various sources also mention undefined Armenian canonical additions to the Gospels of Mark and John, however, these may refer to the general additions—Mark 16:9–20 and John 7:53–8:11—discussed elsewhere in these notes.) A possible exception here to canonical exclusivity is the Second Apostolic Canons, which share a common source—the Apostolic Constitutions—with certain parts of the Orthodox Tewahedo New Testament broader canon. The correspondence between King Agbar and Jesus Christ, which is found in various forms—including within both the Doctrine of Addai and the Acts of Thaddeus—sometimes appears separately (see this list). It is noteworthy that the Prayer of Euthalius and the Repose of St. John the Evangelist appear in the appendix of the 1805 Armenian Zohrab Bible. However, some of the aforementioned books, though they are found within canon lists, have nonetheless never been discovered to be part of any Armenian Biblical manuscript.
  2. ^ Though widely regarded as non-canonical, the Gospel of James obtained early liturgical acceptance among some Eastern churches and remains a major source for many of Christendom's traditions related to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
  3. ^ a b c d The Diatessaron, Tatian's gospel harmony, became a standard text in some Syriac-speaking churches down to the 5th century, when it gave-way to the four separate gospels found in the Peshitta.
  4. ^ a b c d Parts of these four books are not found in the most reliable ancient sources; in some cases, are thought to be later additions; and have therefore not historically existed in every Biblical tradition. They are as follows: Mark 16:9–20, John 7:53–8:11, the Comma Johanneum, and portions of the Western version of Acts. To varying degrees, arguments for the authenticity of these passages—especially for the one from the Gospel of John—have occasionally been made.
  5. ^ Skeireins, a commentary on the Gospel of John in the Gothic language, was included in the Wulfila Bible. It exists today only in fragments.
  6. ^ a b The Acts of Paul and Thecla, the Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul, and the Third Epistle to the Corinthians are all portions of the greater Acts of Paul narrative, which is part of a stichometric catalogue of New Testament canon found in the Codex Claromontanus, but has survived only in fragments. Some of the content within these individual sections may have developed separately, however.
  7. ^ The Third Epistle to the Corinthians often appears with and is framed as a response to the Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul.
  8. ^ The Epistle to the Laodiceans is present in some western non-Roman Catholic translations and traditions. Especially of note is John Wycliffe's inclusion of the epistle in his English translation, and the Quakers' use of it to the point where they produced a translation and made pleas for its canonicity (Poole's Annotations, on Col. 4:16). The epistle is nonetheless widely rejected by the vast majority of Protestants.
  9. ^ a b c d These four works were questioned or "spoken against" by Martin Luther, and he changed the order of his New Testament to reflect this, but he did not leave them out, nor has any Lutheran body since. Traditional German Luther Bibles are still printed with the New Testament in this changed "Lutheran" order. The vast majority of Protestants embrace these four works as fully canonical.
  10. ^ a b c d e The Peshitta excludes 2 John, 3 John, 2 Peter, Jude, and Revelation, but certain Bibles of the modern Syriac traditions include later translations of those books. Still today, the official lectionary followed by the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, present lessons from only the twenty-two books of Peshitta, the version to which appeal is made for the settlement of doctrinal questions.
  11. ^ The Apocalypse of Peter, though not listed in this table, is mentioned in the Muratorian fragment and is part of a stichometric catalogue of New Testament canon found in the Codex Claromontanus. It was also held in high regard by Clement of Alexandria.
  12. ^ Other known writings of the Apostolic Fathers not listed in this table are as follows: the seven Epistles of Ignatius, the Epistle of Polycarp, the Martyrdom of Polycarp, the Epistle to Diognetus, the fragment of Quadratus of Athens, the fragments of Papias of Hierapolis, the Reliques of the Elders Preserved in Irenaeus, and the Apostles' Creed.
  13. ^ Though they are not listed in this table, the Apostolic Constitutions were considered canonical by some including Alexius Aristenus, John of Salisbury, and to a lesser extent, Grigor Tat'evatsi. They are even classified as part of the New Testament canon within the body of the Constitutions itself. Moreover, they are the source for a great deal of the content in the Orthodox Tewahedo broader canon.
  14. ^ a b c d e These five writings attributed to the Apostolic Fathers are not currently considered canonical in any Biblical tradition, though they are more highly regarded by some more than others. Nonetheless, their early authorship and inclusion in ancient Biblical codices, as well as their acceptance to varying degrees by various early authorities, requires them to be treated as foundational literature for Christianity as a whole.
  15. ^ a b Ethiopic Clement and the Ethiopic Didascalia are distinct from and should not be confused with other ecclesiastical documents known in the west by similar names.

Latter Day Saint canons[edit]

A 21st century artistic representation of the Golden Plates, Breastplate, and Urim and Thummim
A 21st-century artistic representation of the Golden Plates with Urim and Thummim.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[edit]

The standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) consists of several books that constitute its open scriptural canon, and include the following:

The Pearl of Great Price contains five sections: "Selections from the Book of Moses", "The Book of Abraham", "Joseph Smith–Matthew", "Joseph Smith–History" and "The Articles of Faith". The Book of Moses and Joseph Smith–Matthew are portions of the Book of Genesis and the Gospel of Matthew (respectively) from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. (The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is also known as the Inspired Version of the Bible.)

The manuscripts of the unfinished Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (JST) state that "the Song of Solomon is not inspired scripture."[105] However, it is still printed in every version of the King James Bible published by the church.

The Standard Works are printed and distributed by the LDS church in a single binding called a "Quadruple Combination" or a set of two books, with the Bible in one binding, and the other three books in a second binding called a "Triple Combination". Current editions of the Standard Works include a bible dictionary, photographs, maps and gazetteer, topical guide, index, footnotes, cross references, excerpts from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible and other study aids.

Other Latter Day Saint sects[edit]

Canons of various Latter Day Saint denominations diverge from the LDS Standard Works. Some accept only portions of the Standard Works. For instance, the Bickertonite sect does not consider the Pearl of Great Price or Doctrines and Covenants to be scriptural. Rather, they believe that the New Testament scriptures contain a true description of the church as established by Jesus Christ, and that both the King James Bible and Book of Mormon are the inspired word of God.[106] Some denominations accept earlier versions of the Standard Works or work to develop corrected translations. Others have purportedly received additional revelation.

The Community of Christ points to Jesus Christ as the living Word of God,[107] and it affirms the Bible, along with the Book of Mormon, as well as its own regularly appended version of Doctrines and Covenants as scripture for the church. While it publishes a version of the Joseph Smith Translation—which includes material from the Book of Moses—the Community of Christ also accepts the use of other translations of the Bible, such as the standard King James Version and the New Revised Standard Version.

Like the aforementioned Bickertonites, the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) rejects the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, as well as the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, preferring to use only the King James Bible and the Book of Mormon as doctrinal standards. The Book of Commandments is accepted as being superior to the Doctrine and Covenants as a compendium of Joseph Smith's early revelations, but is not accorded the same status as the Bible or Book of Mormon.

The Word of the Lord and The Word of the Lord Brought to Mankind by an Angel are two related books considered to be scriptural by certain (Fettingite) factions that separated from the Temple Lot church. Both books contain revelations allegedly given to former Church of Christ (Temple Lot) Apostle Otto Fetting by an angelic being who claimed to be John the Baptist. The latter title (120 messages) contains the entirety of the former's material (30 msgs.) with additional revelations (90 msgs.) purportedly given to William A. Draves by this same being, after Fetting's death. Neither are accepted by the larger Temple Lot body of believers.[108]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) considers the Bible (when correctly translated), the Book of Mormon, and editions of the Doctrine and Covenants published prior to Joseph Smith's death (which contained the Lectures on Faith) to be inspired scripture. They also hold the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible to be inspired, but do not believe modern publications of the text are accurate. Other portions of The Pearl of Great Price, however, are not considered to be scriptural—though are not necessarily fully rejected either. The Book of Jasher was consistently used by both Joseph Smith and James Strang, but as with other Latter Day Saint denominations and sects, there is no official stance on its authenticity, and it is not considered canonical.[109]

An additional work called The Book of the Law of the Lord is also accepted as inspired scripture by the Strangites. They likewise hold as scriptural several prophecies, visions, revelations, and translations printed by James Strang, and published in the Revelations of James J. Strang. Among other things, this text contains his purported "Letter of Appointment" from Joseph Smith and his translation of the Voree plates.

The Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerite) accepts the following as scripture: the Inspired Version of the Bible (including the Book of Moses and Joseph Smith–Matthew), the Book of Mormon, and the 1844 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (including the Lectures on Faith). However, the revelation on tithing (section 107 in the 1844 edition; 119 in modern LDS editions) is emphatically rejected by members of this church, as it is not believed to be given by Joseph Smith. The Book of Abraham is rejected as scripture, as are the other portions of the Pearl of Great Price that do not appear in the Inspired Version of the Bible.

Many Latter Day Saint denominations have also either adopted the Articles of Faith or at least view them as a statement of basic theology. (They are considered scriptural by the larger LDS church and are included in The Pearl of Great Price.) At times, the Articles have been adapted to fit the respective belief systems of various faith communities.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ For a fuller discussion of issues regarding the canonicity of Enoch, see the Reception of Enoch in antiquity.
  2. ^ Because of the lack of solid information on this subject, the exclusion of Lamentations from the Ethiopian Jewish canon is not a certainty. Furthermore, some uncertainty remains concerning the exclusion of various smaller deuterocanonical writings from this canon including the Prayer of Manasseh, the traditional additions to Esther, the traditional additions to Daniel, Psalm 151, and portions of Säqoqawä Eremyas.
  3. ^ Josephus's The Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews are highly regarded by Christians because they provide valuable insight into 1st century Judaism and early Christianity. Moreover, in Antiquities, Josephus made two extra-Biblical references to Jesus, which have played a crucial role in establishing him as a historical figure.
  4. ^ The Orthodox Tewahedo broader canon in its fullest form—which includes the narrower canon in its entirety, as well as nine additional books—is not known to exist at this time as one published compilation. Some books, though considered canonical, are nonetheless difficult to locate and are not even widely available in Ethiopia. While the narrower canon has indeed been published as one compilation, there may be no real emic distinction between the broader canon and the narrower canon, especially in so far as divine inspiration and scriptural authority are concerned. The idea of two such classifications may be nothing more than etic taxonomic conjecture.
  5. ^ A translation of the Epistle to the Laodiceans can be accessed online at the Internet Sacred Texts Archive.
  6. ^ The Third Epistle to the Corinthians can be found as a section within the Acts of Paul, which has survived only in fragments. A translation of the entire remaining Acts of Paul can be accessed online at Early Christian Writings.
  7. ^ Various translations of the Didache can be accessed online at Early Christian Writings.
  8. ^ A translation of the Shepherd of Hermas can be accessed online at the Internet Sacred Texts Archive.
  9. ^ The LDS Church uses the King James Version (KJV) in English-speaking countries; other versions are used in non-English speaking countries.

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Ulrich, Eugene (2002). "The Notion and Definition of Canon". In McDonald, L. M.; Sanders, J. A. (eds.). The Canon Debate. Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 29, 34.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Ulrich's article defines "canon" as follows: "...the definitive list of inspired, authoritative books which constitute the recognized and accepted body of sacred scripture of a major religious group, that definitive list being the result of inclusive and exclusive decisions after a serious deliberation". It is further defined as follows: "...the definitive, closed list of the books that constitute the authentic contents of scripture."
  2. ^ Ulrich (2002), p. 28. "The term is late and Christian ... though the idea is Jewish".
  3. ^ McDonald, L. M.; Sanders, J. A. (2002). "Introduction". The Canon Debate. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 13.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) "We should be clear, however, that the current use of the term "canon" to refer to a collection of scripture books was introduced by David Ruhnken in 1768 in his Historia critica oratorum graecorum for lists of sacred scriptures. While it is tempting to think that such usage has its origins in antiquity in reference to a closed collection of scriptures, such is not the case." The technical discussion includes Athanasius's use of "kanonizomenon=canonized" and Eusebius's use of kanon and "endiathekous biblous=encovenanted books" and the Mishnaic term Sefarim Hizonim (external books).
  4. ^ Athanasius. Letter 39.6.3. "Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these."
  5. ^ Ulrich (2002), pp. 30, 32–33. "But it is necessary to keep in mind Bruce Metzger's distinction between "a collection of authoritative books" and "an authoritative collection of books."
  6. ^ a b Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (7 May 2001). "Liturgiam Authenticam" (in Latin and English). Vatican City. Retrieved 18 January 2012. Canon 24. 'Furthermore, it is not permissible that the translations be produced from other translations already made into other languages; rather, the new translations must be made directly from the original texts, namely ... the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, as the case may be, as regards the texts of Sacred Scripture.'
  7. ^ For the number of books of the Hebrew Bible see: Darshan, G. (2012). "The Twenty-Four Books of the Hebrew Bible and Alexandrian Scribal Methods". In Niehoff, M. R. (ed.). Homer and the Bible in the Eyes of Ancient Interpreters: Between Literary and Religious Concerns. Leiden: Brill. pp. 221–44.
  8. ^ McDonald & Sanders (2002), p. 4.
  9. ^ W. M., Christie (1925). "The Jamnia Period in Jewish History" (PDF). Journal of Theological Studies. os-XXVI (104): 347–64. doi:10.1093/jts/os-XXVI.104.347.
  10. ^ Lewis, Jack P. (April 1964). "What Do We Mean by Jabneh?". Journal of Bible and Religion. Oxford University Press. 32 (2): 125–32. JSTOR 1460205.
  11. ^ Freedman, David Noel, ed. (1992). Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. III. New York: Doubleday. pp. 634–37.
  12. ^ Lewis, Jack P. (2002). "Jamnia Revisited". In McDonald, L. M.; Sanders, J. A. (eds.). The Canon Debate. Hendrickson Publishers.
  13. ^ McDonald & Sanders (2002), p. 5.
  14. ^ Cited are Neusner's Judaism and Christianity in the Age of Constantine, pp. 128–45, and Midrash in Context: Exegesis in Formative Judaism, pp. 1–22.
  15. ^ Brettler, Marc Zvi (2005). How To Read The Bible. Jewish Publication Society. pp. 274–75. ISBN 978-0-8276-1001-9.
  16. ^ Blenkinsopp, Joseph (2002). "The Formation of the Hebrew Canon: Isaiah as a Test Case". In McDonald, L. M.; Sanders, J. A. (eds.). The Canon Debate. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 60.
  17. ^ Davies, Philip R. (2002). "The Jewish Scriptural Canon in Cultural Perspective". In McDonald, L. M.; Sanders, J. A. (eds.). The Canon Debate. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 50. With many other scholars, I conclude that the fixing of a canonical list was almost certainly the achievement of the Hasmonean dynasty.
  18. ^ a b "Samaritans". Jewish Encyclopedia. JewishEncyclopedia.com. 1906.
  19. ^ VanderKam, James C. (2002). "Questions of Canon through the Dead Sea Scrolls". In McDonald, L. M.; Sanders, J. A. (eds.). The Canon Debate. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 94. Citing private communication with Emanuel Tov on biblical manuscripts: Qumran scribe type c.25%, proto-Masoretic Text c. 40%, pre-Samaritan texts c. 5%, texts close to the Hebrew model for the Septuagint c. 5% and nonaligned c. 25%.
  20. ^ "Sadducees". Jewish Encyclopedia. JewishEncyclopedia.com. 1906. With the destruction of the Temple and the state the Sadducees as a party no longer had an object for which to live. They disappear from history, though their views are partly maintained and echoed by the Samaritans, with whom they are frequently identified (see Hippolytus, "Refutatio Hæresium", ix. 29; Epiphanius, l.c. xiv.; and other Church Fathers, who ascribe to the Sadducees the rejection of the Prophets and the Hagiographa; comp. also Sanh. 90b, where "Ẓadduḳim" stands for "Kutim" [Samaritans]; Sifre, Num. 112; Geiger, l.c. pp. 128–29), and by the Karaites (see Maimonides, commentary on Ab. i. 3; Geiger, "Gesammelte Schriften", iii. 283–321; also Anan ben David; Karaites).
  21. ^ Bowman, John, ed. (1977). Samaritan Documents, Relating To Their History, Religion and Life. Pittsburgh Original Texts & Translations Series No. 2. Translated by Bowman.
  22. ^ Crown, Alan D. (October 1991). "The Abisha Scroll – 3,000 Years Old?". Bible Review.
  23. ^ "Canon", George J. Reid. In The Catholic Encyclopedia, ed. Charles George Herbermann (Robert Appleton Company, 1908) pp. 272, 273.
  24. ^ "Decree of Council of Rome (AD 382) on the Biblical Canon". Taylor Marshall. 19 August 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  25. ^ Sanders, J. A. (2002). "The Issue of Closure in the Canonical Process". In McDonald, L. M.; Sanders, J. A. (eds.). The Canon Debate. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 259. ... the so-called Septuagint was not in itself formally closed. Attributed to Albert Sundberg's 1964 Harvard dissertation.
  26. ^ Ferguson, Everett (2002). "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon". In McDonald, L. M.; Sanders, J. A. (eds.). The Canon Debate. Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 302–303CS1 maint: ref=harv (link); cf. Justin Martyr. First Apology. 67.3.
  27. ^ Metzger, Bruce (1997). The Canon of the New Testament. Oxford University Press. p. 98. The question whether the Church's canon preceded or followed Marcion's canon continues to be debated.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  28. ^ a b von Harnack, Adolf (1914). "Appendix VI". Origin of the New Testament.
  29. ^ Ferguson (2002), p. 301; cf. Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses. 3.11.8.
  30. ^ Both points taken from Noll, Mark A. (1997). Turning Points. Baker Academic. pp. 36–37.
  31. ^ de Jonge, H. J. (2003). "The New Testament Canon". In de Jonge, H. J.; Auwers, J. M. (eds.). The Biblical Canons. Leuven University Press. p. 315.
  32. ^ Ackroyd, P. R.; Evans, C. F., eds. (1970). The Cambridge History of the Bible, Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press. p. 308.
  33. ^ Prat, Ferdinand (1911). "Origen and Origenism". The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company. According to Eusebius' Church History 6.25: a 22 book OT [though Eusebius does not name Minor Prophets, presumably just an oversight?] plus 1 deuterocanon ["And outside these are the Maccabees, which are entitled S<ph?>ar beth sabanai el."] and 4 Gospels but on the Apostle "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."
  34. ^ Metzger (1997), p. 141
  35. ^ a b c Lindberg, Carter (2006). A Brief History of Christianity. Blackwell Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 1-4051-1078-3.
  36. ^ Brakke, David (1994). "Canon Formation and Social Conflict in Fourth Century Egypt: Athanasius of Alexandria's Thirty Ninth Festal Letter". Harvard Theological Review. 87 (4): 395–419. doi:10.1017/s0017816000030200.
  37. ^ Apol. Const. 4
  38. ^ Martin Hengel (2004), Septuagint As Christian Scripture, A&C Black, p. 57, ISBN 9780567082879
  39. ^ The Canon Debate, pages 414-415, for the entire paragraph
  40. ^ Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Book of Judith" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.: Canonicity: "..."the Synod of Nicaea is said to have accounted it as Sacred Scripture" (Praef. in Lib.). It is true that no such declaration is to be found in the Canons of Nicaea, and it is uncertain whether St. Jerome is referring to the use made of the book in the discussions of the council, or whether he was misled by some spurious canons attributed to that council"
  41. ^ Ekonomou, Andrew J. (2007). Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes. Lexington Books. p. 222. ISBN 978-0-73911977-8.
  42. ^ Schaff, Philip; Wace, Henry (eds.). "Council in Trullo". Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 14.
  43. ^ Metzger (1997)
  44. ^ Syriac Versions of the Bible by Thomas Nicol
  45. ^ Geoffrey W. Bromiley The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Q-Z 1995– Page 976 "Printed editions of the Peshitta frequently contain these books in order to fill the gaps. D. Harklean Version. The Harklean version is connected with the labors of Thomas of Harqel. When thousands were fleeing Khosrou's invading armies, ..."
  46. ^ Corpus scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium: Subsidia Catholic University of America, 1987 "37 ff. The project was founded by Philip E. Pusey who started the collation work in 1872. However, he could not see it to completion since he died in 1880. Gwilliam,
  47. ^ McDonald, L. M.; Sanders, J. A. (2002). "Appendix D-2". The Canon Debate. Hendrickson Publishers. Note 19. Revelation was added later in 419 at the subsequent synod of Carthage.
  48. ^ Ferguson (2002), p. 320; Bruce, F. F. (1988). The Canon of Scripture. Intervarsity Press. p. 230.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link); cf. Augustine. De Civitate Dei. 22.8.
  49. ^ Corey Keating, The Criteria Used for Developing the New Testament Canon.
  50. ^ a b Philip Schaff, "Chapter IX. Theological Controversies, and Development of the Ecumenical Orthodoxy", History of the Christian Church, CCEL
  51. ^ McDonald & Sanders' The Canon Debate, Appendix D-2, note 19: "Revelation was added later in 419 at the subsequent synod of Carthage."
  52. ^ Ferguson, Everett. "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
  53. ^ F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 230
  54. ^ cf. Augustine, De Civitate Dei 22.8.
  55. ^ Bruce (1988), p. 234.
  56. ^ Bruce (1988), p. 225.
  57. ^ "Innocent I". Bible Research. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  58. ^ Ferguson (2002), p. 320
  59. ^ Metzger (1997), pp. 237–38
  60. ^ Bruce (1988), p. 97
  61. ^ Bruce (1988), p. 215.
  62. ^ Ackroyd & Evans (1970), p. 305; compare: Reid, George (1908). "Canon of the New Testament". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  63. ^ Rohmann, Dirk (2016). Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity: Studies in Text Transmission. Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte. 135. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. ISBN 9783110485554. Retrieved 11 April 2018. Prudentius [348-c. 410] ... intends to demonstrate the superiority of Christianity and was likely aware that at this time the Bible has not replaced other books as much as he wants to think. This passage also presents a possible hint that old Latin translations were replaced with a new canonical version, perhaps alluding to the Vulgate, written by Jerome at the end of the fourth century. By implication, this suggests that uncanonical texts were unlikely to be transcribed – an ideologically and authoritatively endorsed selection process that comes close to modern understandings of censorship.
  64. ^ Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Canon of the Old Testament" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. section titled "The Council of Florence 1442"
  65. ^ Fallows, Samuel; et al., eds. (1910) [1901]. The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopædia and Scriptural Dictionary, Fully Defining and Explaining All Religious Terms, Including Biographical, Geographical, Historical, Archæological and Doctrinal Themes. The Howard-Severance co. p. 521.
  66. ^ "German Bible Versions". Bible Research.
  67. ^ Swan, James. "Why Luther Removed 2 Maccabees from the Bible". Beggars All. Archived from the original on 3 August 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  68. ^ Swan, James. "Why Luther Removed 2 Maccabees from the Bible". Beggars All. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  69. ^ Ewert, David (11 May 2010). A General Introduction to the Bible: From Ancient Tablets to Modern Translations. Zondervan. p. 104. ISBN 9780310872436.
  70. ^ Thomas, Owen C.; Wondra, Ellen K. (1 July 2002). Introduction to Theology, 3rd Edition. Church Publishing, Inc. p. 56. ISBN 9780819218971.
  71. ^ Henze, Matthias; Boccaccini, Gabriele (20 November 2013). Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction after the Fall. Brill. p. 383. ISBN 9789004258815.
  72. ^ Metzger, Bruce M. (13 March 1997). The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance. Oxford University Press. p. 246. ISBN 0-19-826954-4. Finally on 8 April 1546, by a vote of 24 to 15, with 16 abstensions, the Council issued a decree (De Canonicis Scripturis) in which, for the first time in the history of the Church, the question of the contents of the Bible was made an absolute article of faith and confirmed by an anathema.
  73. ^ "Council of Basel 1431-45 A". Papalencyclicals.net. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  74. ^ F.L. Cross, E.A. Livingstone, ed. (1983), The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 232
  75. ^ Praefatio, Biblia Sacra Vulgata, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart 1983, p. XX. ISBN 3-438-05303-9
  76. ^ Schaff, Philip. Creeds of the Evangelical Protestant Churches, French Confession of Faith, p. 361
  77. ^ The Second Helvetic Confession, Chapter 1, Of The Holy Scripture Being The True Word of God
  78. ^ Belgic Confession 4. Canonical Books of the Holy Scripture
  79. ^ The Westminster Confession rejected the canonicity of the Apocrypha stating that "The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings." Westminster Confession of Faith, 1646
  80. ^ http://bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php
  81. ^ Brecht, Martin. Martin Luther. Volume 3, p. 98 James L. Schaaf, trans. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985–1993. ISBN 0-8006-2813-6
  82. ^ Van Liere, Frans (2014). An Introduction to the Medieval Bible. Cambridge University Press. pp. 68–69. ISBN 9780521865784.
  83. ^ a b Ehrman, Bart D. (2003). Lost Christianities: Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. Oxford University Press. pp. 230–231. ISBN 9780199756681.
  84. ^ Reid (1908).
  85. ^ The foundational Thirty-Nine Articles of Anglicanism, in Article VI, asserts that these disputed books are not (to be) used "to establish any doctrine," but "read for example of life." Although the Biblical apocrypha are still used in Anglican Liturgy, ("Two of the hymns used in the American Prayer Book office of Morning Prayer, the Benedictus es and Benedicite, are taken from the Apocrypha. One of the offertory sentences in Holy Communion comes from an apocryphal book (Tob. 4: 8-9). Lessons from the Apocrypha are regularly appointed to read in the daily, Sunday, and special services of Morning and Evening Prayer. There are altogether 111 such lessons in the latest revised American Prayer Book Lectionary [The books used are: II Esdras, Tobit, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Three Holy Children, and I Maccabees.]" —The Apocrypha, Bridge of the Testaments Archived February 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine), the modern trend has been to not even print the Old Testament Apocrypha in editions of Anglican-used Bibles.
  86. ^ Samuel Fallows; et al., eds. (1910) [1901]. The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopædia and Scriptural Dictionary, Fully Defining and Explaining All Religious Terms, Including Biographical, Geographical, Historical, Archæological and Doctrinal Themes. The Howard-Severance company. p. 521.
  87. ^ "The Bible". Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. 2003. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  88. ^ According to some enumerations, including Ecclesiasticus, Judith, Tobit, 1 Esdras, 4 Ezra (not including chs. 1-2 or 15-16), Wisdom, the rest of Daniel, Baruch, and 1-2 Maccabees
  89. ^ These books are accounted pseudepigrapha by all other Christian groups, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox (Charlesworth's Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Introduction)
  90. ^ "The Biblical Canon Of The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Today". Islamic-awareness.org. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  91. ^ Ware, Timothy (1993). The Orthodox Church: New Edition. Penguin Books. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-14-014656-1.
  92. ^ "Introduction". Orthodox Study Bible (Annotated ed.). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson. 2008. p. 1824. ISBN 978-0-7180-0359-3.
  93. ^ McLay, R. Timothy (2004). The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research. Wm. B. Eerdman's. p. 222. ISBN 978-0-8028-6091-0.
  94. ^ "Books of the Bible". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  95. ^ "The Bible". Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  96. ^ read at Easter Saturday vigil
  97. ^ part of 2 Chronicles
  98. ^ "Are 1 and 2 Esdras non-canonical books?". Catholic Answers. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  99. ^ Generally due to derivation from transliterations of names used in the Latin Vulgate in the case of Catholicism, and from transliterations of the Greek Septuagint in the case of the Orthodox (as opposed to derivation of translations, instead of transliterations, of Hebrew titles) such Ecclesiasticus (DRC) instead of Sirach (LXX) or Ben Sira (Hebrew), Paralipomenon (Greek, meaning "things omitted") instead of Chronicles, Sophonias instead of Zephaniah, Noe instead of Noah, Henoch instead of Enoch, Messias instead of Messiah, Sion instead of Zion, etc.
  100. ^ Saifullah, M. S. M. "Canons & Recensions of the Armenian Bible". Islamic Awareness. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  101. ^ Metzger (1997), pp. 219, 223; cf. 7, 176, 182. Cited in Epp, Eldon Jay (2002). "Issues in the Interrelation of New Testament Textual Criticism and Canon". In McDonald, L. M.; Sanders, J. A. (eds.). The Canon Debate. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 492.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  102. ^ Cowley, R. W. (1974). "The Biblical Canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Today". Ostkirchliche Studien. 23: 318–323.
  103. ^ Burris, Catherine; van Rompay, Lucas (2002). "Thecla in Syriac Christianity: Preliminary Observations". Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies. 5 (2): 225–236. doi:10.31826/9781463214104-012. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  104. ^ Carter, Nancy A. (2000), The Acts of Thecla: A Pauline Tradition Linked to Women, Conflict and Community in the Christian Church, archived from the original on 13 February 2012
  105. ^ "Song of Solomon". Bible Dictionary. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. p. 776.
  106. ^ Lovalvo, V. James (1986). Dissertation on the Faith and Doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ. Bridgewater, Michigan: The Church of Jesus Christ. pp. 115–16.
  107. ^ "Scripture in the Community of Christ". Community of Christ Theology Task Force. Saints Herald. August 2006. p. 15.
  108. ^ Sheldon, William. "A Synopsis of the Church of Christ Beliefs and Practices as Compared to Other Latter Day Saint Churches". The Interactive Bible. Refers to the Bible and Book of Mormon as "the only safe standards".
  109. ^ "Strangite Scriptures" Archived 21 October 2013 at Archive-It. Strangite.org. Retrieved 3 March 2012.

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Armstrong, Karen (2007) The Bible: A Biography. Books that Changed the World Series. Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 0-87113-969-3
  • Barnstone, Willis (ed.) (1984). The Other Bible: Ancient Alternative Scriptures. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-7394-8434-0.
  • Childs, Brevard S.. (1984). The New Testament as Canon: An Introduction. SCM Press. ISBN 0-334-02212-6.
  • McDonald, Lee Martin (2009). Forgotten Scriptures. The Selection and Rejection of Early Religious Writings. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-23357-0.
  • McDonald, Lee Martin (1988). The Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon. Abingdon Press. ISBN 0-687-13293-2.
  • McDonald, Lee Martin (2000). Early Christianity and Its Sacred Literature. Hendrickson Publishers. ISBN 1-56563-266-4.
  • McDonald, Lee Martin (2007). 'The Biblical Canon: Its Origin, Transmission, and Authority. Hendrickson Publishers. ISBN 978-1-56563-925-6.
  • Souter, Alexander (1954). The Text and Canon of the New Testament. 2nd ed. Studies in Theology, No. 25. London: Duckworth.
  • Stonehouse, Ned Bernhard (1929). The Apocalypse in the Ancient Church: A Study in the History of the New Testament Canon. Oosterbaan & Le Cointre.
  • Taussig, Hal (2013). A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Wall, Robert W.; Lemcio, Eugene E. (1992). The New Testament as Canon: A Reader in Canonical Criticism. JSOT Press. ISBN 1-85075-374-1.
  • Westcott, Brooke Foss. (1875). A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament. 4th ed. London: Macmillan.

External links[edit]

Media related to Development of the Christian biblical canon at Wikimedia Commons