Biblical canon

Biblical canon

A biblical canon, or canon of scripture,[1] is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians,[2] but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example the Masoretic Text is the canonical text for Judaism. The word "canon" comes from the Greek "κανών", meaning "rule".

The canons listed below are usually considered "closed" (i.e., books cannot be added or removed),[3] reflecting a belief that public revelation has ended and thus the inspired texts may be gathered into a complete and authoritative canon.[4] By contrast, an "open canon" permits the addition of books through the process of continuous revelation.

These canonical books have been developed through debate and agreement by the religious authorities of their respective faiths. Believers consider these canonical books to be inspired by God or to express the authoritative history of the relationship between God and His people. Books, such as the Jewish-Christian Gospels, excluded from the canon are considered non-canonical, but many disputed books considered non-canonical or even apocryphal by some are considered Biblical apocrypha or Deuterocanonical or fully canonical by others. There are differences between the Jewish and Christian Biblical canons, and between the canons of different Christian denominations. The differing criteria and processes of canonization dictate what the communities regard as the inspired books.


Canonical texts

The word "canon" is derived from the Greek noun κανών "kanon" meaning "reed" or "cane," or also "rule" or "measure". Thus, a "canonical text" is a single authoritative edition for a given work. The establishing of a canonical text may involve an editorial selection from biblical manuscript traditions with varying interdependence. Early manuscript versions of the Hebrew Bible are represented in different languages such as the Greek Septuagint, the Aramaic Targums and Syriac Peshitta, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Hebrew Masoretic Text.

New Testament Greek and Latin are sometimes found in the same manuscript called a diglot text, with Greek and Latin on facing pages. New Testament manuscript traditions include the Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Bezae, Codex Alexandrinus, Textus Receptus, Vetus Latina, Vulgate and others.

Jewish canon

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Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the twenty-four books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or "Hebrew Bible". Evidence suggests that the process of canonization occurred between 200 BC and AD 200, indeed a popular position is that the Torah was canonized c. 400 BC, the Prophets c. 200 BC, and the Writings c. AD 100[5] perhaps at a hypothetical Council of Jamnia—however this position is increasingly criticised by modern scholars. 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.[6] The book of 2 Maccabees, itself not a part of the Jewish canon, describes Nehemiah (around 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 (around 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.[7] 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 Men of 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 CE.[1]

Among the developments in Judaism that are attributed to them are the fixing of the Jewish Biblical canon, including the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Esther, and the Twelve Minor Prophets; the introduction of the triple classification of the oral law, dividing the study of the Mishnah (in the larger sense) 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.

Samaritan canon

The Samaritan Torah, another version of the Torah in the Samaritan alphabet, also exists. This text is associated with the Samaritans, a people of whom the Jewish Encyclopedia[8] states: "Their history as a distinct community begins with the taking of Samaria by the Assyrians in 722 B.C."

Its relationship to the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint is still disputed. Scrolls among the Dead Sea scrolls have been identified as proto-Samaritan Pentateuch text-type.[9]

The Samaritans accept the Torah but do not accept any other parts of the Bible, probably a position also held by the Sadducees.[10] 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 scripture.

Both texts from the Church Fathers and old Samaritan texts provide us with reasons for the limited extent of the Samaritan Canon. According to some of the information the Samaritans parted with the Jews (Judeans) at such an early date that only the books of Moses were considered holy; according to other sources the group intentionally rejected the Prophets and (possibly) the other Scriptures and entrenched themselves in the Law of Moses.

The small community of the remnants of the Samaritans in Palestine includes their version of the Torah in their canon.[11] The Samaritan community possesses a copy of the Torah that they believe to have been penned by Abisha, a grandson of Aaron.[12]

Christian canons

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The Biblical canon is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and thus constituting the Christian Bible.

Marcion's Canon

Marcion of Sinope was the first Christian leader in recorded history (though later considered heretical), to propose and delineate a uniquely Christian canon[13] (about 140 AD) which 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. In so doing, he established a particular way of looking at religious texts that persists in Christian thought today. After Marcion, Christians began to divide texts into those that aligned well with the "measuring stick" ("canon" is the Greek translation of this phrase) of accepted theological thought and those that promoted heresy.[citation needed] 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 canonization of Marcion.

Earliest Christian communities

Though the Early Church used the Old Testament according to the canon of the Septuagint (LXX),[14] 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.

A folio from P46, an early 3rd century collection of Pauline epistles.

The writings attributed to the apostles circulated amongst 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 called "gospels" and which were regarded as on par with the Old Testament.[15]

An early figure in the codification of the Biblical canon was Origen of Alexandria. He was a scholar well educated in the realm of both theology and pagan philosophy but was posthumously condemned at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553. Origen decided to make his canon include all of the books in the current Catholic canon except for four books: James, 2nd Peter, and 2nd and 3rd epistles of John.[16] 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.”[17] 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.

Needless to say there were various theologians of the 2nd and 3rd centuries that wrote a great deal of works and used the letters of the apostles as foundation and justification for their own personal beliefs. However, there was still the problem of the Roman Empire, and while the persecutions of the Roman Empire were many and extreme, the persecution still occurred and influenced the initial canonization of the New Testament. This period in church history writings is known as the "Edificatory Period" and was followed by the "Apologetic", "Polemical" and "Scientific" Periods. Some of the Christian writers of this edificatory Period are: Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Polycarp, Tertullian, Cyprian, Justin Martyr, Clement of Rome, Clement of Alexandria.[citation needed] This stagnation of official writings led to a sudden explosion of discussions after Constantine I legalized Christianity in the early 4th century[citation needed], perhaps associated with the Fifty Bibles of Constantine.

Apostolic Fathers

A four gospel canon (the Tetramorph) was asserted by Irenaeus, "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'" [18] By the early 200s, Origen of Alexandria may have been using the same 27 books found in modern New Testament editions, though there were still disputes over the canonicity of Hebrews, James, II Peter, II and III John, and Revelation (see also Antilegomena).[19] 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.[20] 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.[21]

Alexandrian Fathers

In his Easter letter of 367, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, gave a list of exactly the same books that would become the New Testament canon,[22] and he used the phrase "being canonized" (kanonizomena) in regards to them.[23] Athanasius also included the Book of Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah in the canon. He also omitted the book of Esther from the canon.

Latin Fathers

The first council that accepted the present Catholic canon (the Canon of Trent) may have been the Synod of Hippo Regius in North Africa (AD 393); the acts of this council, however, are lost. A brief summary of the acts was read at and accepted by the Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419.[24] These councils were under the authority of St. Augustine, who regarded the canon as already closed.[25] 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,[22] or if not the list is at least a 6th century compilation.[26] Likewise, Damasus' commissioning of the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible, c. 383, was instrumental in the fixation of the canon in the West.[27] In 405, Pope Innocent I sent a list of the sacred books to a Gallic bishop, Exsuperius of Toulouse. When these bishops and councils spoke on the matter, however, they were not defining something new, but instead "were ratifying what had already become the mind of the Church."[28] Thus, from the 4th century, there existed unanimity in the West concerning the New Testament canon (as it is today),[29] and by the 5th century the East, with a few exceptions, had come to accept the Book of Revelation and thus had come into harmony on the matter of the New Testament canon.[30]

Ethiopian and Syriac Churches

Some Christian groups do not accept the theory that the Christian Bible was not known until various local and Ecumenical Councils, which they deem to be "Roman-dominated",[citation needed] made their official declarations. For example, the Ethiopian and Syriac Christian churches which did not participate in these councils developed their own Biblical traditions. These groups believe that,[citation needed] in spite of the disagreements about certain books in early Christianity and, indeed, still today, the New Testament supports the view that Paul (2 Timothy 4:11–13), Peter (2 Peter 3:15–16, although it seems that not all the Syriac Church Fathers accepted this book itself as canonical,[31] and indeed it appears the Syriac Bible initially lacked all of the Catholic epistles as well as John's Revelation), and ultimately John (Revelation 22:18–19, but see the previous note) finalized the canon of the New Testament.

Luther's canon

Martin Luther made an attempt to remove the books of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from the canon (echoing the consensus of several Catholics, also labeled Christian Humanists — such as Cardinal Ximenez, Cardinal Cajetan, and Erasmus — and partially because they were perceived to go against certain Protestant doctrines such as sola scriptura and sola fide), but this was not generally accepted among his followers. However, these books are ordered last in the German-language Luther Bible to this day.[32] In addition, Luther moved the books that later became the Deuterocanonicals into a section he called the Apocrypha.

Evangelical Protestant view

Evangelicals accept the original texts in Hebrew and Aramaic as the inspired Hebrew Bible, rather than the Septuagint translation into Greek, though many recognize the latter's wide use by Greek-speaking Jews in the 1st century. They note that early Christians evidenced a knowledge of a canon of Scripture, based upon internal evidence, as well as by the existence of a list of Old Testament books by Melito of Sardis, compiled around 170 AD (see Melito's canon).

Many modern Protestants point to the following four "Criteria for Canonicity" to justify the selection of the books that have been included in the New Testament:

  1. Apostolic Origin — attributed to and based upon the preaching/teaching of the first-generation apostles (or their close companions).
  2. Universal Acceptance — acknowledged by all major Christian communities in the ancient world (by the end of the 4th century) as well as accepted canon by Jewish authorities (for the Old Testament).
  3. Liturgical Use — read publicly when early Christian communities gathered for the Lord's Supper (their weekly worship services).
  4. Consistent Message — containing a theological outlook similar to or complementary to other accepted Christian writings.

The basic factor for recognizing a book's canonicity for the New Testament was divine inspiration, and the chief test for this was apostolicity. The term "apostolic" as used for the test of canonicity does not necessarily mean apostolic authorship or derivation, but rather "apostolic authority". According to these Protestants, "apostolic authority" is never detached from the authority of the Lord.[citation needed] See Apostolic succession.

Canons of various Christian traditions

Old Testament

Western Tradition Eastern Orthodox Tradition Oriental Orthodox Tradition Assyrian Eastern Tradition
Books Protestant Catholic Greek Orthodox Slavonic Orthodox Georgian Orthodox Armenian Apostolic[33] Syriac Orthodox Coptic Orthodox[34] Ethiopian Orthodox[35] Assyrian Church of the East[36]
Genesis Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Exodus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Leviticus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Numbers Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Deuteronomy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Joshua Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Judges Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ruth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Samuel Yes
As 1 and 2 Samuel
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kings Yes
As 1 and 2 Kings
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Chronicles Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Prayer of Manasseh No
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
part of 2 Chronicles
Ezra Yes Yes
(1 Esdras)
(Esdras B)
(1 Esdras)
(1 Ezra)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nehemiah Yes Yes
(2 Esdras)
(Esdras B)
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
1 Esdras (Greek Ezra) No
(3 Esdras)
(Esdras A)
(2 Esdras)
(2 Ezra)
Yes Yes No Yes
(2nd Ezra)
2 Esdras (Latin Ezra) No
(4 Esdras)
No No
3 Esdras
3 Esdras
4 Ezra
No Yes
Ezra Sutuel
Esther Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Additions to Esther/ Esther Greek No
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Yes Yes
Tobit No
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Yes Yes
Judith No
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Yes Yes
Job Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Psalms 1–150 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Psalm 151 No No
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Yes Yes
Psalm 152–5 No No No No No No No – inc. in some mss. No No No – inc. in some mss.
Lamentations Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Proverbs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
in 2 books
Ecclesiastes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Book of Wisdom No
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Yes Yes
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) No
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Yes Yes
Isaiah Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jeremiah Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Baruch No
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Yes Yes
Letter of Jeremiah No
Chapter 6 of Baruch
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Rest of Jeremiah
2 Baruch No No No No No No No – inc. in some mss. No No No – inc. in some mss.
Letter of Baruch No No No No No No No – inc. in some mss. No No No – inc. in some mss.
4 Baruch No No No No No No No No Yes
Rest of Baruch
Ezekiel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Daniel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Additions to Daniel No
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Yes Yes
Twelve Prophets Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
1 Maccabees No
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
No Yes
2 Maccabees No
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
No Yes
3 Maccabees No No
Yes Yes Yes Yes No – inc. in some mss. No No No – inc. in some mss.
4 Maccabees No No
No (appendix) Yes No No – inc. in some mss. No No No – inc. in some mss.
Enoch No No No No No No No No Yes No
Jubilees No No No No No No No No Yes No
1-3 Meqabyan No No No No No No No No Yes No

In Protestant Bibles, especially the English King James Bible and the Lutheran Bible, many books are part of the tradition in a section called "the Apocrypha". The Egyptian Coptic Church historically had a larger canon but now only holds to the 66 books of the proto-canon. The Syriac Orthodox and Assyrian Church of the East both hold to the Peshitta tradition. Note that in some Bibles (Armenian, Syriac and Ethiopian) the Apocalypse of Ezra is not the same as the longer Latin Esdras (2 Esdras in KJV, or 4 Esdras in the Vulgate), which includes a Latin prologue (5 Ezra) and a Latin epilogue (6 Ezra).

New Testament

Books Protestant Tradition Roman Catholic Tradition Eastern Orthodox Tradition Oriental Orthodox Tradition Syriac and Assyrian Church of the East Tradition Original Language (Koine Greek)
Canonical Gospels
Matthew Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek (?)[37]
Mark Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
Luke Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
John Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
Apostolic History
Acts Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
Pauline Epistles
Romans Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
1 Corinthians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
2 Corinthians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
Galatians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
Ephesians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
Philippians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
Colossians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
1 Thessalonians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
2 Thessalonians Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
1 Timothy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
2 Timothy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
Titus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
Philemon Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
General Epistles
Hebrews Yes[L 1] Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek (?)[38]
James Yes[L 1] Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
1 Peter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
2 Peter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[S 1] Greek
1 John Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Greek
2 John Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[S 1] Greek
3 John Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[S 1] Greek
Jude Yes[L 1] Yes Yes Yes Yes[S 1] Greek
Book of Revelation/ Apocalypse Yes[L 1] Yes Yes Yes Yes[S 1] Greek

In general, among Christian denominations, the New Testament Canon is an agreed-upon list of 27 books, although book order can vary. The New Testament has different orders in the Lutheran, Slavonic, Ethiopian, Syriac and Armenian traditions. Protestant Bibles in Russia and Ethiopia usually follow the local Orthodox order for the New Testament.

The Didache, Shepherd of Hermas as well as other letters allegedly written by the Apostolic Fathers were once considered scriptural by some of the early Church fathers. They are still being honored in the Catholic tradition, as is the Proto-Evangelion, although these books are not considered canonical in any tradition.

The Third Epistle to the Corinthians and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs were once considered part of the Armenian Orthodox Bible, but are no longer printed with modern editions. The Epistle to the Laodiceans was once part of the Latin Vulgate and was included in John Wycliffe's English translation.

Full dogmatic articulations of the canons were not made until the Council of Trent of 1546 for Roman Catholicism,[39] the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563 for the Church of England and the Synod of Jerusalem of 1672 for the Greek Orthodox.

Chart notes
  1. ^ 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.
  1. ^ a b c d e The Peshitta excludes 2–3 John, 2 Peter, Jude, and Revelation, but Bibles of the modern Syriac Orthodox Church include later translations of those books. Still today the official lectionary followed by the Syrian Orthodox Church and the 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.

Open canons

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 manuscripts of the unfinished Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (JST) state that "the Song of Solomon is not inspired scripture,"[41] and therefore it is not included in LDS canon and rarely studied by members of the LDS church. 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.

See also


  1. ^ McDonald & Sanders, editors of The Canon Debate, 2002, The Notion and Definition of Canon by Eugene Ulrich, page 29 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 serious deliberation."; page 34 defines canon of scripture as follows: "...the definitive, closed list of the books that constitute the authentic contents of scripture."
  2. ^ McDonald & Sanders, editors of The Canon Debate, 2002, The Notion and Definition of Canon by Eugene Ulrich, page 28; also from the Introduction on page 13: "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".
  3. ^ Athanasius Letter 39.6.3: "Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these."
  4. ^ McDonald & Sanders, page 32–33: Closed list; page 30: "But it is necessary to keep in mind Bruce Metzger's distinction between "a collection of authoritative books" and "an authoritative collection of books."
  5. ^ McDonald & Sanders, page 4
  6. ^ McDonald & Sanders, ed., The Canon Debate, page 60, chapter 4: The Formation of the Hebrew Canon: Isaiah as a Test Case by Joseph Blenkinsopp.
  7. ^ Philip R. Davies in The Canon Debate, page 50: "With many other scholars, I conclude that the fixing of a canonical list was almost certainly the achievement of the Hasmonean dynasty."
  8. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Samaritans
  9. ^ The Canon Debate, McDonald & Sanders editors, 2002, chapter 6: Questions of Canon through the Dead Sea Scrolls by James C. VanderKam, page 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%.
  10. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Sadducees: "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. 128–129), and by the Karaites (see Maimonides, commentary on Ab. i. 3; Geiger, "Gesammelte Schriften," iii. 283–321; also Anan ben David; Karaites)."
  11. ^ – SAMARITANS
  12. ^ "The Abisha Scroll - 3,000 Years Old?" Bible Review, October 1991
  13. ^ Bruce Metzger's The canon of the New Testament, 1997, Oxford University Press, page 98: "The question whether the Church's canon preceded or followed Marcion's canon continues to be debated. ...Harnack...John Knox..."
  14. ^ McDonald & Sanders's 2002 The Canon Debate, page 259: "the so-called Septuagint was not in itself formally closed." — attributed to Albert Sundberg's 1964 Harvard dissertation.
  15. ^ Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon," in The Canon Debate. eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) pp. 302–303; cf. Justin Martyr, First Apology 67.3.
  16. ^ Prat, Ferdinand. "Origen and Origenism." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 31 July 2008.<>. According to Eusebius' Church History 6.25: a 22 book OT [though Eusebius doesn't name Minor Prophets, presumably just an oversight?] + 1 DeuteroCanon ["And outside these are the Maccabees, which are entitled S<ph?>ar beth sabanai el."] + 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."
  17. ^ Bruce Manning Metzger, "The canon of the New Testament: its origin, development, and significance", p. 141
  18. ^ (Adv. Haer., iii. x. 8 & 9) Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon," in The Canon Debate. eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) pp. 301; cf. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 3.11.8
  19. ^ Both points taken from Mark A. Noll's Turning Points, (Baker Academic, 1997) pp 36–37
  20. ^ H. J. De Jonge, "The New Testament Canon," in The Biblical Canons. eds. de Jonge & J. M. Auwers (Leuven University Press, 2003) p. 315
  21. ^ The Cambridge History of the Bible (volume 1) eds. P. R. Ackroyd and C. F. Evans (Cambridge University Press, 1970) p. 308
  22. ^ a b Lindberg, Carter (2006). A Brief History of Christianity. Blackwell Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 1-4051-1078-3. 
  23. ^ David Brakke, "Canon Formation and Social Conflict in Fourth Century Egypt: Athanasius of Alexandria's Thirty Ninth Festal Letter," in Harvard Theological Review 87 (1994) pp. 395–419
  24. ^ McDonald & Sanders' The Canon Debate, Appendix D-2, note 19: "Revelation was added later in 419 at the subsequent synod of Carthage."
  25. ^ Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon," in The Canon Debate. eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) p. 320; F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 230; cf. Augustine, De Civitate Dei 22.8
  26. ^ F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 234
  27. ^ F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 225
  28. ^ Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon," in The Canon Debate. eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) p. 320; Bruce Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origins, Development, and Significance (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987) pp. 237–238; F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 97
  29. ^ F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 215
  30. ^ The Cambridge History of the Bible (volume 1) eds. P. R. Ackroyd and C. F. Evans (Cambridge University Press, 1970) p. 305; cf. the Catholic Encyclopedia, Canon of the New Testament
  31. ^ Thomas Nicol,, retrieved 16 December 2009
  32. ^ note order: ... Hebr�er, Jakobus, Judas, Offenbarung; see also
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ See Aramaic or Hebrew. Most scholars consider the Gospel of Matthew to have been written in Koine Greek, though some experts maintain the view that it was originally composed in Aramaic or Hebrew. See Wikipedia's Gospel of Matthew and New Testament articles.
  38. ^ Contemporary scholars believe the Hebrews to have been written in Greek, though a minority believe it was originally written in Hebrew, then translated into Greek by Luke. See Wikipedia's New Testament article.
  39. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia, Canon of the New Testament
  40. ^ The LDS Church uses the King James Version (KJV) in English-speaking countries; other versions are used in non-English speaking countries.
  41. ^ LDS Church, Bible Dictionary p.776, Song of Solomon


Further reading

  • Barnstone, Willis (ed.) The Other Bible: Ancient Alternative Scriptures. HarperCollins, 1984, ISBN 978-0-7394-8434-0.
  • Childs, Brevard S., The New Testament as canon: an introduction ISBN 0-334-02212-6
  • Gamble, Harry Y., The New Testament canon: its making and meaning ISBN 0-8006-0470-9
  • McDonald, Lee Martin, Forgotten Scriptures. the Selection and Rejection of Early Religious Writings, 2009, ISBN 978-0-664-23357-0
  • McDonald, Lee Martin, The formation of the Christian biblical canon ISBN 0-687-13293-2
  • McDonald, Lee Martin, Early Christianity and its sacred literature ISBN 1-56563-266-4
  • McDonald, Lee Martin, The Biblical canon: its origin, transmission, and authority ISBN 978-1-56563-925-6
  • McDonald, Lee Martin, and James A. Sanders (eds.) The canon debate ISBN 1-56563-517-5
  • Metzger, Bruce Manning, The Canon of the New Testament: its origin, development, and significance ISBN 0-19-826180-2
  • Souter, Alexander, The text and canon of the New Testament, 2nd. ed., Studies in theology; no. 25. London: Duckworth (1954)
  • Ned Bernhard Stonehouse, The Apocalypse in the Ancient Church: A Study in the History of the New Testament Canon, 1929
  • Wall, Robert W., The New Testament as canon: a reader in canonical criticism ISBN 1-85075-374-1
  • Westcott, Brooke Foss, A general survey of the history of the canon of the New Testament, 4th. ed, London: Macmillan (1875)

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