Biblical canon

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A biblical canon is a set of texts (also called "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as part of the Bible.


The English word canon comes from the Greek κανώνkanōn, meaning "rule" or "measuring stick". The use of the word "canon" to refer to a set of religious scriptures was first used by David Ruhnken, in the 18th century. [1]

Various biblical canons have developed through debate and agreement on the part of the religious authorities of their respective faiths and denominations. Some books, such as the Jewish–Christian gospels, have been excluded from various canons altogether, but many disputed books are considered to be biblical apocrypha or deuterocanonical by many, while some denominations may consider them fully canonical. Differences exist between the Hebrew Bible and Christian biblical canons, although the majority of manuscripts are shared in common.

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. The Septuagint (in Koine Greek), which closely resembles the Hebrew Bible but includes additional texts, is used as the Christian Greek Old Testament, at least in some liturgical contexts. The first part of Christian Bibles is the Old Testament, which contains, at minimum, the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible but divided into 39 (Protestant) or 46 (Catholic) books and ordered differently. The second part is the 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 differences in their lists of accepted books.

Some Christian groups have additional or alternate canonical books which are considered holy scripture but not part of the Bible.

Jewish canons

Rabbinic Judaism

Rabbinic Judaism (Hebrew: יהדות רבנית) recognizes the twenty-four books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh (Hebrew: תַּנַ"ךְ) or Hebrew Bible. [2] 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 [3] perhaps at a hypothetical Council of Jamnia—however, this position is increasingly criticised by modern scholars. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] According to Marc Zvi Brettler, the Jewish scriptures outside the Torah and the Prophets were fluid, with different groups seeing authority in different books. [10]

A scroll of the Book of Esther; one of the five megillot of the Tanakh. Scroll.jpg
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 Mount Sinai. [11] 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 Hasmonean dynasty fixed the Jewish canon. [12] 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, 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.

Samaritan canon

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." [13]

The Abisha Scroll, the oldest scroll among the Samaritans in Nablus. Samaritan Pentateuch (detail).jpg
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 appears only 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 Mount 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. [14]

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. [15] 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. [16]

The people of the remnants of the Samaritans in modern-day Israel/Palestine retain their version of the Torah as fully and authoritatively canonical. [13] 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. [17]

Christian canons

With the potential exception of the Septuagint, 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, [18] 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). [19]

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 Eastern 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 traditions.

Early Church

Earliest Christian communities

The Early Church used the Old Testament, namely the Septuagint (LXX) [20] 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. [21]

Marcion's list

Marcion of Sinope was the first Christian leader in recorded history (though later considered heretical) to propose and delineate a uniquely Christian canon [22] (c. AD 140). This included 10 epistles from Paul, as well as an edited 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. [23]

After Marcion, Christians began to divide texts into those that aligned well with the "canon" (meaning a measuring line, rule, or principle) 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. [23]

Apostolic Fathers

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." [24]

A manuscript page from P46, an early 3rd-century collection of Pauline epistles. P46.jpg
A manuscript page 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). [25] 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. [26] 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. [27]

Eastern Church

Alexandrian Fathers

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. [28]

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." [29]

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, [30] and used the phrase "being canonized" (kanonizomena) in regard to them. [31]

Fifty Bibles of Constantine

In 331, Constantine I commissioned Eusebius to deliver fifty Bibles for the Church of Constantinople. Athanasius [32] 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 lacks only 1–3 Maccabees and Sinaiticus lacks 2–3 Maccabees, 1 Esdras, Baruch and Letter of Jeremiah. [33] Together with the Peshitta and Codex Alexandrinus, these are the earliest extant Christian Bibles. [34]

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". [35]

Eastern canons

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 [36] (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). [37] And yet, these lists do not agree. Similarly, the New Testament canons of the Syriac, Armenian, 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. [38]


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. [39] 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. [40]

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. [41] All twenty seven books of the common western New Testament are included in this British & Foreign Bible Society's 1905 Peshitta edition.

Western Church

Latin Fathers

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). [42] These Councils took place under the authority of Augustine of Hippo (354–430), who regarded the canon as already closed. [43] 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. [44]

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." [45] According to Lee Martin McDonald, the Revelation was added to the list in 419. [42] These councils were convened under the influence of Augustine of Hippo, who regarded the canon as already closed. [46] [47] [48]

Pope Damasus I's Council of Rome in 382 (if the Decretum is correctly associated with it) issued a biblical canon identical to that mentioned above. [30] Likewise, Damasus' commissioning of the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible, c. 383, proved instrumental in the fixation of the canon in the West. [49]

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. [50] When bishops and Councils spoke on the matter of the Biblican canon, however, they were not defining something new, but instead "were ratifying what had already become the mind of the Church". [51] Thus from the 4th century there existed unanimity in the West concerning the New Testament canon as it is today, [52] 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. [53]

As the canon crystallised, non-canonical texts fell into relative disfavour and neglect. [54]

Council of Florence

The contents page in a complete 80 book King James Bible, listing "The Books of the Old Testament", "The Books called Apocrypha", and "The Books of the New Testament". KJV 1769 Oxford Edition, vol. 1.djvu
The contents page in a complete 80 book King James Bible, listing "The Books of the Old Testament", "The Books called Apocrypha", and "The Books of the New Testament".

Before the Protestant Reformation, the Council of Florence (1439–1443) took place. With the approval of this ecumenical council, Pope Eugenius IV (in office 1431–1447) issued several papal bulls (decrees) with a view to restoring the Eastern churches, which the Catholic Church considered as schismatic bodies, into communion with Rome. Catholic theologians regard these documents as infallible statements of Catholic doctrine. The Decretum pro Jacobitis contains a complete list of the books received by the Catholic Church as inspired, but omits the terms "canon" and "canonical". The Council of Florence therefore taught the inspiration of all the Scriptures, but did not formally pronounce itself on canonicity. [55] [56]

Luther's canon and apocrypha

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". [57]

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

As with the Lutheran Churches, [58] the Anglican Communion accepts "the Apocrypha for instruction in life and manners, but not for the establishment of doctrine", [59] 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". [60] 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. [61]

Anabaptists use the Luther Bible, which contains the intertestamental books; Amish wedding ceremonies include "the retelling of the marriage of Tobias and Sarah in the Apocrypha". [62] The fathers of Anabaptism, such as Menno Simons, quoted "them [the Apocrypha] with the same authority and nearly the same frequency as books of the Hebrew Bible" and the texts regarding the martyrdoms under Antiochus IV in 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees are held in high esteem by the Anabaptists, who historically faced persecution. [63]

Lutheran and Anglican lectionaries continue to include readings from the Apocrypha. [64]

Council of Trent

In response to 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). [65] The council confirmed the same list as produced at the Council of Florence in 1442, [66] Augustine's 397-419 Councils of Carthage, [45] and probably Damasus' 382 Council of Rome. [30] [67] Sixtus of Siena coined the term deuterocanonical to describe certain books of the Catholic Old Testament that had not been accepted as canonical by Jews and Protestants but which appeared in the Septuagint. [68] 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. The Sixto-Clementine Vulgate contained in the Appendix several books considered as apocryphal by the council: Prayer of Manasseh, 3 Esdras, and 4 Esdras. [69]

Protestant confessions

Several Protestant confessions of faith identify the 27 books of the New Testament canon by name, including the French Confession of Faith (1559), [70] 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. [71] 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 [72] and the 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. [73]

The Lutheran Epitome of the Formula of Concord of 1577 declared that the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures comprised the Old and New Testaments alone. [74] 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". [75] Lutheran and Anglican lectionaries continue to include readings from the Apocrypha. [64]

Other apocrypha

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. [76] [77] Thus Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches generally do not view these New Testament apocrypha as part of the Bible. [77]

Canons of various Christian traditions

Final dogmatic articulations of the canons were made at the Council of Trent of 1546 for Roman Catholicism, [78] 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 Church. 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

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 deuterocanon ("second canon") by Catholics, the deuterocanon or anagignoskomena ("worthy of reading") by Eastern Orthodox Churches, and the biblical apocrypha ("hidden things") by Protestants. 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. 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." [79] Luther made a parallel statement in calling them: "not considered equal to the Holy Scriptures, but...useful and good to read." [80]

In the Oriental Orthodox Tewahedo biblical 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).[ citation needed ]

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 1] The Ethiopic version (Zëna Ayhud) has eight parts and is included in the Orthodox Tewahedo broader canon. [note 2] [81]

Some ancient copies of the Peshitta used in the Syriac tradition include 2 Baruch (divided into the Apocalypse of Baruch and the Letter of Baruch; some copies only include the Letter) and the non-canonical Psalms 152–155.

The Ethiopian Tewahedo church accepts all of the deuterocanonical books of Catholicism and anagignoskomena of Eastern Orthodoxy except for the four Books of Maccabees. [82] It accepts the 39 protocanonical books along with the following books, called the "narrow canon". [83] The enumeration of books in the Ethiopic Bible varies greatly between different authorities and printings. [84]

Protestants and Catholics [85] 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.

Eastern Orthodoxy uses 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. [86] [87] 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. [88]

Marcionism rejects the Old Testament entirely; Marcion considered the Old Testament and New Testament gods to be different entities.

Diagram of the development of the Old Testament

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. Development of the Old Testament.svg
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.


The order of some books varies among canons.

Judaism Western tradition Eastern Orthodox tradition Oriental Orthodox tradition Church of the East tradition
Booksthe Hebrew Bible Protestant
[O 1]
Lutheran Anglican Roman Catholic [89]
[O 2]
Greek Orthodox Slavonic Orthodox Georgian Orthodox Armenian Apostolic [O 3] Syriac Orthodox Coptic Orthodox Orthodox Tewahedo [90] [O 4] Assyrian Church of the East Ancient Church of the East
Torah Pentateuch
Genesis Yes
Exodus Yes
Leviticus Yes
Numbers Yes
Deuteronomy Yes
Nevi'im Historical books
Joshua Yes
Judges Yes
Ruth Yes
Rut (part of Ketuvim)
1 and 2 Samuel Yes
1 and 2 Kings
1 and 2 Kingdoms
1 and 2 Kingdoms
1 and 2 Kingdoms
1 and 2 Kings Yes
3 and 4 Kings
3 and 4 Kingdoms
3 and 4 Kingdoms
3 and 4 Kingdoms
1 and 2 Chronicles Yes
Divrei Hayamim (part of Ketuvim)
1 and 2 Paralipomenon
1 and 2 Paralipomenon
1 and 2 Paralipomenon
1 and 2 Paralipomenon
Prayer of Manasseh NoNo − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)No
(Apocrypha) [O 5]
(Apocrypha) [O 5]
No – (inc. in Appendix in Clementine Vulgate)Yes (?)
(part of Odes) [O 6]
Yes (?)
(part of Odes) [O 6]
Yes (?)
(part of Odes) [O 6]
Yes (?)Yes (?)Yes [91] Yes
(part of 2 Chronicles)
Yes (?)Yes
(1 Ezra)
Ezra–Nehemiah (part of Ketuvim)
1 Esdras
Esdras B'
1 Esdras
1 Ezra
1 Ezra
(2 Ezra)
2 Esdras
Esdras Γ' or Neemias
1 Esdras
(3 Ezra)
NoNo − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)NoNo
1 Esdras
No – (inc. in Appendix in Clementine Vulgate as 3 Esdras.) [92] Yes
Esdras A'
2 Esdras
2 Ezra
2 Ezra [O 7]
No (?) – inc. in some mss.No – inc. in some mss.Yes
Ezra Kali
No (?) – inc. in some mss.No (?) – inc. in some mss.
2 Esdras 3–14
(4 Ezra or Apocalypsis of Esdras) [O 8]
NoNo − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)NoNo
2 Esdras
No - (inc in Appendix in Clementine Vulgate as 4 Esdras.)No
(Greek ms. lost) [O 9]
3 Esdras
3 Ezra
– inc. as noncanonical [O 10]
3 Ezra [O 7]
No (?) – inc. in some mss.No – inc. in some mss.Yes
Ezra Sutu'el
No (?) – inc. in some mss.No (?) – inc. in some mss.
2 Esdras 1–2; 15–16
(5 and 6 Ezra or Apocalypsis of Esdras) [O 8]
NoNo − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)NoNo
(part of 2 Esdras apocryphon)
No - (inc. in Appendix in Clementine Vulgate as 4 Esdras.)No
(Greek ms.) [O 11]
Esther [O 12] Yes
Ester (part of Ketuvim)
Additions to Esther NoNo − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)No
Yes (Deuterocanonical)YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Tobit NoNo − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)No
Tobias (Deuterocanonical)
Judith NoNo − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)No
Yes (Deuterocanonical)YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
1 Maccabees [O 13] NoNo − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)No
1 Machabees (Deuterocanonical)
2 Maccabees [O 13] NoNo − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)No
2 Machabees (Deuterocanonical)
3 Maccabees NoNo − inc. in RSV and NRSV (Apocrypha)No − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)No − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)NoYesYesYesYes [O 7] YesNoNoYesYes
4 Maccabees NoNo − inc. RSV and NRSV (Apocrypha)NoNoNoNo
No – inc. as noncanonical [O 10] No
(early tradition)
No (?) – inc. in some mss.No
(Coptic ms,)
NoNo (?) – inc. in some mss.No (?) – inc. in some mss.
Jubilees NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNo
1 Enoch NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNo
2 Enoch NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYes (?)NoNo
3 Enoch NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYes (?)NoNo
1 Ethiopic Maccabees
(1 Meqabyan)
2 and 3 Ethiopic Maccabees [O 14]
(2 and 3 Meqabyan)
Ethiopic Pseudo-Josephus (Zëna Ayhud)NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYes
(broader canon) [O 15]
Josephus' Jewish War VI NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo – inc. in some mss. [O 16] NoNoNo – inc. in some mss. [O 16] No – inc. in some mss. [O 16]
Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs NoNoNoNoNoNo
(Greek ms.)
NoNoNo – inc. in some mss.NoNoNoNoNo
Joseph and Asenath NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo – inc. in some mss.NoNoNo
(early tradition?) [O 17]
Ketuvim Wisdom literature
Book of Job Yes
Psalms 1–150 [O 18] Yes
Psalm 151 NoNo − inc. in RSV and NRSV (Apocrypha)NoNoNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Psalms 152–155 NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo (?) – inc. in some mss.NoNoNo (?) – inc. in some mss.No (?) – inc. in some mss.
Psalms of Solomon [O 19] NoNoNoNoNoNo – inc. in some mss.NoNoNoNo – inc. in some mss.NoNoNo – inc. in some mss.No – inc. in some mss.
Proverbs Yes
(in 2 books)
Ecclesiastes Yes
Song of Songs Yes
Shir Hashirim
Canticle of Canticles
Aisma Aismaton
Aisma Aismaton
Aisma Aismaton
Book of Wisdom or Wisdom of SolomonNoNo − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)No
Yes (Deuterocanonical)YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Wisdom of Sirach or Sirach (1–51) [O 20] NoNo − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)No
Yes [O 21]
Ecclesiasticus (Deuterocanonical)
Prayer of Solomon
(Sirach 52) [O 22]
Nevi'im Major prophets
Isaiah Yes
Ascension of Isaiah NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo –
liturgical (?) [O 23]
NoNoNo –
Ethiopic mss.
(early tradition?) [O 24]
Jeremiah Yes
Lamentations (1–5) Yes
Eikhah (part of Ketuvim)
YesYesYesYes [O 25] YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
(part of Säqoqawä Eremyas) [O 26]
Ethiopic Lamentations (6; 7:1–11:63) NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYes
(part of Säqoqawä Eremyas) [O 26]
Baruch NoNo − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)No
Yes (Deuterocanonical)YesYesYesYesYesYesYes [O 27] [O 28] YesYes
Letter of Jeremiah NoNo − inc. in some mss as Baruch Chapter 6. (Apocrypha)No
(chapter 6 of Baruch) (Deuterocanonical)
(part of Säqoqawä Eremyas) [O 29] [O 26] [O 28]
Syriac Apocalypse
of Baruch
(2 Baruch 1–77) [O 30]
NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo (?) – inc. in some mss.NoNoNo (?) – inc. in some mss.No (?) – inc. in some mss.
Letter of Baruch
(2 Baruch 78–87) [O 30]
NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo (?) – inc. in some mss. [93] NoNoNo (?) – inc. in some mss. [93] No (?) – inc. in some mss.
Greek Apocalypse
of Baruch
(3 Baruch) [O 31]
(Greek ms.)
(Slavonic ms.)
4 Baruch NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYes
(part of Säqoqawä Eremyas)
Ezekiel Yes
Daniel Yes
Daniyyel (part of Ketuvim)
Additions to Daniel [O 32] NoNo − inc. in some mss. (Apocrypha)No
Yes (Deuterocanonical)YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Trei Asar Twelve Minor Prophets
Hosea YesYesYesYesYes
Joel YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Amos YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Obadiah YesYesYesYesYes
Jonah YesYesYesYesYes
Micah YesYesYesYesYes
Nahum YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Habakkuk YesYesYesYesYes
Zephaniah YesYesYesYesYes
Haggai YesYesYesYesYes
Zechariah YesYesYesYesYes
Malachi YesYesYesYesYes

Table notes

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. [94]

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, with the exception of Lutherans and Anglicans, 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. 1 2 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. 1 2 3 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. It may also be found at the end of 2 Chronicles (2 Paralipomenon)
  7. 1 2 3 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. 1 2 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. 1 2 In Eastern Orthodox Churches, including the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ecumenical Councils are the highest written determining church authority on the lists of Biblical books. Canon 2 of the Quintsext Council, held in Trullo and affirmed by the Eastern Orthodox Churches, listed and affirmed Biblical Canon lists, such as the list in Canon 85 of the Canons of the Apostles. Trullo's Biblical Canon lists affirmed documents such as 1-3 Maccabees, but neither Slavonic 3 Esdra/Ezra (AKA Vulgate "4 Ezra/Esdras"), nor 4 Maccabees. Source: Canon 2, Council of Trullo, Georgian Orthodox Bibles apparently tend to include Slavonic 3 Esdra/Ezra and 4 Maccabees (both apocryphal). Contemporary Georgian Orthodox Bibles may mark them and the Deuterocanonical Books (eg. 1-3 Maccabees) as "noncanonical." See eg. "The Old Testament in Modern Georgian Language" on the following Georgian Orthodox website:
  11. An early fragment of 6 Ezra is known to exist in the Greek language, implying a possible Hebrew origin for 2 Esdras 15–16.
  12. Esther's placement within the canon was questioned by Luther. Others, like Melito, omitted it from the canon altogether.
  13. 1 2 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.
  14. 2 and 3 Meqabyan, though relatively unrelated in content, are often counted as a single book.
  15. Some sources place Zëna Ayhud within the "narrower canon".
  16. 1 2 3 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.
  17. 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 Library manuscript (Add MS 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.
  18. Some traditions use an alternative set of liturgical or metrical Psalms.
  19. In many ancient manuscripts, a distinct collection known as the Odes of Solomon is found together with the similar Psalms of Solomon.
  20. The book of Sirach is usually preceded by a non-canonical prologue written by the author's grandson.
  21. In the Latin Vulgate and Douay-Rheims, chapter 51 of Ecclesiasticus appears separately as the "Prayer of Joshua, son of Sirach".
  22. 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: Sirach 52 / 1 Kings 8:22–52; Vulgate
  23. The "Martyrdom of Isaiah" is prescribed reading to honor the prophet Isaiah within the Armenian Apostolic liturgy. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. In some Latin versions, chapter 5 of Lamentations appears separately as the "Prayer of Jeremiah".
  26. 1 2 3 Ethiopic Lamentations consists of eleven chapters, parts of which are considered to be non-canonical.
  27. The canonical Ethiopic version of Baruch has five chapters, but is shorter than the LXX text.
  28. 1 2 Some Ethiopic translations of Baruch may include the traditional Letter of Jeremiah as the sixth chapter.
  29. 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.
  30. 1 2 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.
  31. 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.
  32. Bel and the Dragon, Susanna, and The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children.

New Testament

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 3] 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 4] was once considered to be part of the Armenian Orthodox Bible, [95] 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. [96] However, it was left-out of the Peshitta and ultimately excluded from the canon altogether.

The Didache, [note 5] The Shepherd of Hermas, [note 6] 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. [97]


Western tradition Eastern Orthodox tradition Oriental Orthodox tradition Early Christianity
Books Protestant
[O 1]
Roman Catholic Greek Orthodox Armenian Apostolic [N 1] Coptic Orthodox Orthodox Tewahedo Syriac Orthodox Marcionism
Canonical gospels [N 2]
Matthew YesYesYesYesYesYesYes [N 3] No
Mark [N 4] YesYesYesYesYesYesYes [N 3] No
Luke YesYesYesYesYesYesYes [N 3] Gospel of Marcion
John [N 4] [N 5] YesYesYesYesYesYesYes [N 3] No
Acts of apostles
Acts [N 4] YesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Acts of Paul and Thecla [N 6] [98] [99] NoNoNoNo
(early tradition)
(early tradition)
Pauline epistles
Romans YesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
1 Corinthians YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
2 Corinthians YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
3 Corinthians [N 6] [N 7] NoNoNoNo − inc. in some mss.NoNoNo
(early tradition)
Galatians YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Ephesians YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Philippians YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Colossians YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Laodiceans No − inc. in Wycliffe and early Quaker Bibles. [N 8] NoNoNoNoNoNoYes (contents unknown)
1 Thessalonians YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
2 Thessalonians YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
1 Timothy YesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
2 Timothy YesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Titus YesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Philemon YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Catholic epistles (General epistles)
Hebrews Yes [N 9] YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
James Yes [N 9] YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
1 Peter YesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
2 Peter YesYesYesYesYesYesYes [N 10] No
1 John [N 4] YesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
2 John YesYesYesYesYesYesYes [N 10] No
3 John YesYesYesYesYesYesYes [N 10] No
Jude Yes [N 9] YesYesYesYesYesYes [N 10] No
Apocalypse [N 11]
Revelation Yes [N 9] YesYesYesYesYesYes [N 10] No
Apostolic Fathers [N 12] and Church Orders [N 13]
1 Clement [N 14] [100] No
(Codices Alexandrinus and Hierosolymitanus)
2 Clement [N 14] [100] 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
(broader canon)
(broader canon)
(broader canon)
(broader canon)
Book of the
Covenant 1

(Mäshafä Kidan)
(broader canon)
Book of the
Covenant 2

(Mäshafä Kidan)
(broader canon)
Ethiopic Clement
(Qälëmentos) [N 15]
(broader canon)
Ethiopic Didescalia
(Didesqelya) [N 15]
(broader canon)

Table notes

  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. 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. 1 2 3 4 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. 1 2 3 4 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. 1 2 The Acts of Paul and Thecla and the Third Epistle to the Corinthians are 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 always appears as a correspondence; it also includes a short letter from 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. 1 2 3 4 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. 1 2 3 4 5 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. 1 2 3 4 5 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. 1 2 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.

See also


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. A translation of the Epistle to the Laodiceans can be accessed online at the Internet Sacred Texts Archive.
  4. 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.
  5. Various translations of the Didache can be accessed online at Early Christian Writings.
  6. A translation of the Shepherd of Hermas can be accessed online at the Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Apocrypha</span> Works of unknown authorship or of doubtful origin

Apocrypha are written works, often of unknown authorship or doubtful origin. In Christianity, the word apocryphal (ἀπόκρυφος) was first applied to writings which were to be read privately rather than in the public context of church services -- edifying Christian works which were not considered canonical Scripture. In the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the word apocrypha came to mean "false, spurious, bad, or heretical".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bible</span> Collection of religious texts

The Bible is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthology – a compilation of texts of a variety of forms – originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek. These texts include instructions, stories, poetry, and prophecies, among other genres. The collection of materials that are accepted as part of the Bible by a particular religious tradition or community is called a biblical canon. Believers in the Bible generally consider it to be a product of divine inspiration, but the way they understand what that means and interpret the text can vary.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Deuterocanonical books</span> Books of the Bible which are considered non-canonical by Protestant denominations

The deuterocanonical books are books and passages considered by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, and the Assyrian Church of the East to be canonical books of the Old Testament, but which Protestant denominations regard as apocrypha. They date from 300 BC to 100 AD, mostly from 200 BC to 70 AD, before the definite separation of the Christian church from Judaism. While the New Testament never directly quotes from or names these books, the apostles most frequently used and quoted the Septuagint, which includes them. Some say there is a correspondence of thought, and others see texts from these books being paraphrased, referred, or alluded to many times in the New Testament, depending in large measure on what is counted as a reference.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Old Testament</span> First division of Christian Bibles

The Old Testament is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, a collection of ancient religious Hebrew and occasionally Aramaic writings by the Israelites. The second division of Christian Bibles is the New Testament, written in the Koine Greek language.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Septuagint</span> Greek translation of Hebrew scriptures

The Septuagint, sometimes referred to as the Greek Old Testament or The Translation of the Seventy, and often abbreviated as LXX, is the earliest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible from the original Hebrew. The full Greek title derives from the story recorded in the Letter of Aristeas to Philocrates that "the laws of the Jews" were translated into the Greek language at the request of Ptolemy II Philadelphus by seventy-two Jewish translators—six from each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pseudepigrapha</span> Falsely attributed works

Pseudepigrapha are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed author is not the true author, or a work whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past, called generically a pseudo-author and specifically Pseudo-Name, prefixing the author's name with the particle "pseudo-".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Book of Baruch</span> Deuterocanonical book of the Bible in some Christian traditions

The Book of Baruch is a deuterocanonical book of the Bible, used in most Christian traditions, such as Catholic and Orthodox churches. In Judaism and Protestant Christianity, it is considered not to be part of the canon, with the Protestant Bibles categorizing it as part of the Biblical apocrypha. The book is named after Baruch ben Neriah, Jeremiah's well-known scribe, who is mentioned at Baruch 1:1, and has been presumed to be the author of the whole work. The book is a reflection of a late Jewish writer on the circumstances of Jewish exiles from Babylon, with meditations on the theology and history of Israel, discussions of wisdom, and a direct address to residents of Jerusalem and the Diaspora. Some scholars propose that it was written during or shortly after the period of the Maccabees.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Testament apocrypha</span> Writings by early Christians, not included in the Biblical Canon

The New Testament apocrypha are a number of writings by early Christians that give accounts of Jesus and his teachings, the nature of God, or the teachings of his apostles and of their lives. Some of these writings were 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. Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant churches generally do not view the New Testament apocrypha as part of the Bible.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Biblical apocrypha</span> Collection of ancient books found in some editions of Christian Bibles

The biblical apocrypha denotes the collection of apocryphal ancient books thought to have been written some time between 200 BC and AD 400. The Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches include some or all of the same texts within the body of their version of the Old Testament, terming them deuterocanonical books. Traditional 80-book Protestant Bibles include fourteen books in an intertestamental section between the Old Testament and New Testament called the Apocrypha, deeming these useful for instruction, but non-canonical. To this date, the Apocrypha are "included in the lectionaries of Anglican and Lutheran Churches". Anabaptists use the Luther Bible, which contains the Apocrypha as intertestamental books; Amish wedding ceremonies include "the retelling of the marriage of Tobias and Sarah in the Apocrypha". Moreover, the Revised Common Lectionary, in use by most mainline Protestants including Methodists and Moravians, lists readings from the Apocrypha in the liturgical calendar, although alternate Old Testament scripture lessons are provided.

The Synod of Hippo refers to the synod of 393 which was hosted in Hippo Regius in northern Africa during the early Christian Church. Additional synods were held in 394, 397, 401 and 426. Some were attended by Augustine of Hippo.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Development of the Old Testament canon</span> Development of the Old Testament canon

The Old Testament is the first section of the two-part Christian biblical canon; the second section is the New Testament. The Old Testament includes the books of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) or protocanon, and in various Christian denominations also includes deuterocanonical books. Orthodox Christians, Catholics and Protestants use different canons, which differ with respect to the texts that are included in the Old Testament.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Biblical languages</span> Languages used in the original writings of the Bible

Biblical languages are any of the languages employed in the original writings of the Bible. Partially owing to the significance of the Bible in society, Biblical languages are studied more widely than many other dead languages. Furthermore, some debates exist as to which language is the original language of a particular passage, and about whether a term has been properly translated from an ancient language into modern editions of the Bible. Scholars generally recognize three languages as original biblical languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Catholic Bible</span> Catholic Church canon of Bible books

The term Catholic Bible can be understood in two ways. More generally, it can refer to a Christian Bible that includes the whole 73-book canon recognized by the Catholic Church, including some of the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament which are in the Greek Septuagint collection, but which are not present in the Hebrew Masoretic Text collection. More specifically, the term can refer to a version or translation of the Bible which is published with the Catholic Church's approval, in accordance with Catholic canon law.

The Canon of Trent is the list of books officially considered canonical at the Roman Catholic Council of Trent. A decree, the De Canonicis Scripturis, from the Council's fourth session, issued an anathema on dissenters of the books affirmed in Trent. The Council confirmed an identical list already locally approved in 1442 by the Council of Florence, which had existed in the earliest canonical lists from the synods of Carthage and Rome in the fourth century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Development of the New Testament canon</span> Set of books regarded by Christians as divinely inspired

The canon of the New Testament is the set of books many modern Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the New Testament of the Christian Bible. For historical Christians, canonization was based on whether the material was from authors socially approximate to the apostles and not based solely on divine inspiration – however, many modern scholars recognize that the New Testament texts were not written by apostles. For most, it is an agreed-upon list of 27 books that includes the canonical Gospels, Acts, letters attributed to various apostles, and Revelation, though there are many textual variations. The books of the canon of the New Testament were written before 120 AD. Although the list of what books constituted the canon differed among the hundreds of churches in antiquity, according to ancient church historian Eusebius there was a consensus that the same 27 books constituting the canon today were the same 27 books generally recognized in the first century. For the Orthodox, the recognition of these writings as authoritative was formalized in the Second Council of Trullan of 692. The Catholic Church provided a conciliar definition of its biblical canon in 382 at the (local) Council of Rome as well as at the Council of Trent of 1545, reaffirming the Canons of Florence of 1442 and North African Councils of 393–419. For the Church of England, it was made dogmatic on the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563; for Calvinism, on the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Protestant Bible</span> Christian Bible whose translation or revision was produced by Protestants

A Protestant Bible is a Christian Bible whose translation or revision was produced by Protestant Christians. Such Bibles comprise 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament, for a total of 66 books. Some Protestants use Bibles which also include 14 additional books in a section known as the Apocrypha bringing the total to 80 books. This is often contrasted with the 73 books of the Catholic Bible, which includes seven deuterocanonical books as a part of the Old Testament. The division between protocanonical and deuterocanonical books is not accepted by all Protestants who simply view books as being canonical or not and therefore classify books found in the Deuterocanon, along with other books, as part of the Apocrypha. Sometimes the term "Protestant Bible" is simply used as a shorthand for a bible which contains only the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Orthodox Tewahedo biblical canon</span> Biblical canon used by Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Churches

The Orthodox Tewahedo biblical canon is a version of the Christian Bible used in the two Oriental Orthodox churches of the Ethiopian and Eritrean traditions: the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church. At 81 books, it is the largest and most diverse biblical canon in traditional Christendom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Outline of Bible-related topics</span> Overview of and topical guide to Bible-related topics

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Bible:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Historical books</span> Division of the Christian Old Testament

The historical books are a division of Christian Bibles, grouping 12 books of the Old Testament. It includes the Former Prophets from the Nevi'im and two of the ungrouped books of Ketuvim of the Hebrew Bible together with the Book of Ruth and the Book of Esther which in the Hebrew are both found in the Five Megillot. These 12 books make up the historical books in the Protestant Bible, but several other books not found in the Hebrew Bible are also included in Catholic and Orthodox Bibles.



  1. McDonald & Sanders (2002), p. 11-3, Introduction—"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."
  2. 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.
  3. McDonald & Sanders (2002), p. 4.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Freedman, David Noel, ed. (1992). Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. III. New York: Doubleday. pp. 634–37.
  7. Lewis, Jack P. (2002). "Jamnia Revisited". In McDonald, L. M.; Sanders, J. A. (eds.). The Canon Debate. Hendrickson Publishers.
  8. McDonald & Sanders (2002), p. 5.
  9. 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.
  10. Brettler, Marc Zvi (2005). How To Read The Bible. Jewish Publication Society. pp. 274–75. ISBN   978-0-8276-1001-9.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 1 2 "Samaritans". Jewish Encyclopedia. 1906.
  14. 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%.
  15. "Sadducees". Jewish Encyclopedia. 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).
  16. Bowman, John, ed. (1977). Samaritan Documents, Relating To Their History, Religion and Life. Pittsburgh Original Texts & Translations Series No. 2. Translated by Bowman, John.
  17. Crown, Alan D. (October 1991). "The Abisha Scroll – 3,000 Years Old?". Bible Review.
  18. "Canon", George J. Reid. In The Catholic Encyclopedia, ed. Charles George Herbermann (Robert Appleton Company, 1908) pp. 272, 273.
  19. "Decree of Council of Rome (AD 382) on the Biblical Canon". Taylor Marshall. 19 August 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  20. 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.
  21. 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. 302–303; cf. Justin Martyr. First Apology . 67.3.
  22. Metzger (1997), p. 98. "The question whether the Church's canon preceded or followed Marcion's canon continues to be debated."
  23. 1 2 von Harnack, Adolf (1914). "Appendix VI". Origin of the New Testament.
  24. Ferguson (2002) , p. 301; cf. Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses . 3.11.8.
  25. Both points taken from Noll, Mark A. (1997). Turning Points. Baker Academic. pp. 36–37.
  26. 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.
  27. Ackroyd, P. R.; Evans, C. F., eds. (1970). The Cambridge History of the Bible, Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press. p. 308.
  28. 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."
  29. Metzger (1997), p. 141.
  30. 1 2 3 Lindberg, Carter (2006). A Brief History of Christianity . Blackwell Publishing. p.  15. ISBN   1-4051-1078-3.
  31. 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. S2CID   161779697.
  32. Apol. Const. 4
  33. Hengel, Martin (2004), Septuagint As Christian Scripture, A&C Black, p. 57, ISBN   9780567082879
  34. The Canon Debate, pages 414-415, for the entire paragraph
  35. 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"
  36. Ekonomou, Andrew J. (2007). Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes. Lexington Books. p. 222. ISBN   978-0-73911977-8.
  37. Schaff, Philip; Wace, Henry (eds.). "Council in Trullo". Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 14.
  38. Metzger (1997).
  39. Syriac Versions of the Bible by Thomas Nicol
  40. 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, ..."
  41. 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,
  42. 1 2 McDonald & Sanders (2002), Appendix D-2, Note 19. "Revelation was added later in 419 at the subsequent synod of Carthage."
  43. Ferguson (2002) , p. 320; Bruce, F. F. (1988). The Canon of Scripture. Intervarsity Press. p. 230.; cf. Augustine. De Civitate Dei. 22.8.
  44. "Corey Keating, The Criteria Used for Developing the New Testament Canon" (PDF).
  45. 1 2 Schaff, Philip, "Chapter IX. Theological Controversies, and Development of the Ecumenical Orthodoxy", History of the Christian Church, CCEL
  46. 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
  47. F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 230
  48. cf. Augustine, De Civitate Dei 22.8.
  49. Bruce (1988), p. 225.
  50. "Innocent I". Bible Research. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  51. Ferguson (2002), p. 319-320.
  52. Bruce (1988), p. 215.
  53. Ackroyd & Evans (1970) , p. 305; cf. Reid, George (1908). "Canon of the New Testament". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
  54. Rohmann, Dirk (2016). Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity: Studies in Text Transmission. Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte. Vol. 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.
  55. Gigot, Francis Ernest Charles (1900). "The Canon of the Old Testament in the Christian Church: Section II. From the Middle of th Fifth Century to our Day". General Introduction to the Study of the Holy Scriptures. Vol. 1 of Introduction to the study of the Holy Scriptures (3 ed.). New York: Benziger. p. 71. Retrieved 1 February 2021. [...] the bull of Eugenius IV did not deal with the canonicity of the books which were not found in the Hebrew Text, but simply proclaimed their inspiration [...].
  56. Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Canon of the Old Testament"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company. section titled "The Council of Florence 1442"
  57. 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.
  58. Geisler, Norman L.; MacKenzie, Ralph E. (1995). Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences. Baker Publishing Group. p. 171. ISBN   978-0-8010-3875-4. Lutherans and Anglicans used it only for ethical / devotional matters but did not consider it authoritative in matters of faith.
  59. Ewert, David (11 May 2010). A General Introduction to the Bible: From Ancient Tablets to Modern Translations. Zondervan. p. 104. ISBN   9780310872436.
  60. Thomas, Owen C.; Wondra, Ellen K. (1 July 2002). Introduction to Theology, 3rd Edition. Church Publishing, Inc. p. 56. ISBN   9780819218971.
  61. Henze, Matthias; Boccaccini, Gabriele (20 November 2013). Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch: Reconstruction after the Fall. Brill Publishing. p. 383. ISBN   9789004258815.
  62. Wesner, Erik J. "The Bible". Amish America. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  63. deSilva, David A. (20 February 2018). Introducing the Apocrypha: Message, Context, and Significance. Baker Books. ISBN   978-1-4934-1307-2.
  64. 1 2 Readings from the Apocrypha. Forward Movement Publications. 1981. p. 5.
  65. Metzger (1997), p. 246. "Finally on 8 April 1546, by a vote of 24 to 15, with 16 abstentions, 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."
  66. "Council of Basel 1431-45 A". 14 December 1431. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  67. Cross, F.L.; Livingstone, E.A., eds. (1983), The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 232
  68. Bibliotheca sancta, Lyon, Pesnot 1575, reprint Leiden, IDC 1988, vol. 1, pp. 13-14
  69. Praefatio, Biblia Sacra Vulgata, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart 1983, p. XX. ISBN   3-438-05303-9
  70. Schaff, Philip. Creeds of the Evangelical Protestant Churches, French Confession of Faith, p. 361
  71. The Second Helvetic Confession, Chapter 1, Of The Holy Scripture Being The True Word of God
  72. Belgic Confession 4. Canonical Books of the Holy Scripture
  73. 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
  74. "The Epitome of the Formula of Concord - Book of Concord". Archived from the original on 31 October 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  75. Brecht, Martin. Martin Luther. Volume 3, p. 98 James L. Schaaf, trans. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985–1993. ISBN   0-8006-2813-6
  76. Van Liere, Frans (2014). An Introduction to the Medieval Bible. Cambridge University Press. pp. 68–69. ISBN   9780521865784.
  77. 1 2 Ehrman, Bart D. (2003). Lost Christianities: Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. Oxford University Press. pp. 230–231. ISBN   9780199756681.
  78. Reid (1908).
  79. 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 5 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine ), the modern trend has been to not even print the Old Testament Apocrypha in editions of Anglican-used Bibles.
  80. 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.
  81. "The Bible". Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. 2003. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  82. 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
  83. These books are accounted pseudepigrapha by all other Christian groups, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox (Charlesworth's Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Introduction)
  84. "The Biblical Canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Today". Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  85. 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.'
  86. Ware, Timothy (1993). The Orthodox Church: New Edition. Penguin Books. p. 368. ISBN   978-0-14-014656-1.
  87. "Introduction". Orthodox Study Bible (Annotated ed.). Nashville, TN, USA: Thomas Nelson. 2008. p. 1824. ISBN   978-0-7180-0359-3.
  88. 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.
  89. "Books of the Bible". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops . Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  90. "The Bible". Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  91. read at Easter Saturday vigil
  92. "Are 1 and 2 Esdras non-canonical books?". Catholic Answers . Retrieved 29 August 2020.
  93. 1 2 The Apocrypha in Ecumenical Perspective : The Place of the Late Writings of the Old Testament Among the Biblical Writings and their Significance in the Eastern and Western Church Traditions, p. 160
  94. 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.
  95. Saifullah, M. S. M. "Canons & Recensions of the Armenian Bible". Islamic Awareness. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  96. 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.
  97. Cowley, R. W. (1974). "The Biblical Canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Today". Ostkirchliche Studien. 23: 318–323.
  98. 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.
  99. 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
  100. 1 2 "The Canonization of Scripture | Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles" . Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  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, with the exception of Lutherans and Anglicans, 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.


Further reading