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Different religious groups include different books in their biblical canons, in varying orders, and sometimes divide or combine books. The Jewish Tanakh (sometimes called the Hebrew Bible) contains 24 books divided into three parts: the five books of the Torah ("teaching"); the eight books of the Nevi'im ("prophets"); and the eleven books of Ketuvim ("writings"). It is composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, and its Septuagint is the main textual source for the Christian Greek Old Testament.
A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts which a particular religious community regards as authoritative scripture. The English word "canon" comes from the Greek κανών, meaning "rule" or "measuring stick". Christians became the first to use the term in reference to scripture, but Eugene Ulrich regards the idea as Jewish.
The Hebrew Bible, which is also called the Tanakh or sometimes the Mikra, is the canonical collection of Hebrew scriptures. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, except for some Biblical Aramaic passages in the books of Daniel and Ezra. The Hebrew Bible is also the textual source for the Christian Old Testament. The form of this text that is authoritative for Rabbinic Judaism is known as the Masoretic Text (MT) and it consists of 24 books, while the translations divide essentially the same material into 39 books for the Protestant Bible.
Torah has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books of the 24 books of the Tanakh. It can also mean the continued narrative from all the 24 books, from the Book of Genesis to the end of the Tanakh (Chronicles), and it can even mean the totality of Jewish teaching, culture and practice, whether derived from biblical texts or later rabbinic writings. Common to all these meanings, Torah consists of the origin of Jewish peoplehood: their call into being by God, their trials and tribulations, and their covenant with their God, which involves following a way of life embodied in a set of moral and religious obligations and civil laws.
Christian Bibles range from the 73 books of the Catholic Church canon, the 66 books of the canon of some denominations or the 80 books of the canon of other denominations of the Protestant Church, to the 81 books of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church canon. The first part of Christian Bibles is the Greek Old Testament, which contains, at minimum, the above 24 books of the Tanakh but divided into 39 books and ordered differently. The second part is the Greek New Testament, containing 27 books; the four Canonical gospels, Acts of the Apostles, 21 Epistles or letters and the Book of Revelation.
Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than also by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the largest of the Oriental Orthodox Christian churches. One of the few pre-colonial Christian churches in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has a membership of between 45 and 50 million people, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia. It is a founding member of the World Council of Churches. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is in communion with the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, having gained autocephaly in 1959.
The Greek New Testament is the original form of the books that make up the New Testament as they appeared in Koine Greek, the common dialect from 300 BC to 300 AD. There are several Greek-language versions of the New Testament that approximate the original form of the New Testament books in Greek. The first published edition of the Greek New Testament was produced by Erasmus in 1516, Novum Instrumentum omne. There are multiple Greek copies of the New Testament Byzantine text-types, used by the Greek Orthodox Church. There exist multiple copies of the New Testament Textus Receptus, the basis of the King James Bible of the New Testament.
The Catholic Church and Eastern Christian churches hold that certain deuterocanonical books and passages are part of the Old Testament canon. The Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Christian churches may have minor differences in their lists of accepted books. The list given here for these churches is the most inclusive: if at least one Eastern church accepts the book it is included here. The King James Bible—which has been called "the most influential version of the most influential book in the world, in what is now its most influential language" and which in the United States is the most used translation, being still considered a standard among Protestant churches and being used liturgically in the Orthodox Church in America—contains 80 books: 39 in its Old Testament, 14 in its Apocrypha, and 27 in its New Testament.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.
Eastern Christianity comprises church families that developed outside the Occident, with major bodies including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Eastern Catholic Churches, and the denominations descended from the Church of the East. It also includes Reformed Eastern churches such as the Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church which follows a reformed West Syriac Rite and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church that uses the Byzantine Rite. Historically called the Eastern Church in contrast with the (Latin) Western Church, since the Protestant Reformation Eastern Christianity is used in contrast with Western Christianity, comprising both the said Latin Church as well as Protestantism and Independent Catholicism. Eastern Christianity consists of the Christian traditions and churches that developed distinctively over several centuries in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Malabar coast of South India, and parts of the Far East. The term does not describe a single communion or religious denomination. Some Eastern churches have more in common historically and theologically with Western Christianity than with one another. The various Eastern churches do not normally refer to themselves as "Eastern", with the exception of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East.
The deuterocanonical books are books and passages considered by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Assyrian Church of the East to be canonical books of the Old Testament but which are considered non-canonical by Protestant denominations. They are books from the Septuagint, the standard translation of the Hebrew Bible in the Hellenistic period, written during the reign of Ptolemy II and referenced extensively in the New Testament, particularly in the Pauline Epistles. With the rise of Rabbinic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple Period, the Hebrew Canon was in flux, until the Masoretic Text, compiled between the 7th and 10th centuries, became the authoritative text of the mainstream Rabbinic Judaism. The Masoretic Text excluded the seven deuterocanonical books and formed the basis for their exclusion in the Protestant Old Testament. The term distinguished these texts both from those that were termed protocanonical books, which were the books of the Hebrew canon; and from the apocryphal books, which were those books of Jewish origin that were known sometimes to have been read in church as scripture but which were considered not to be canonical.
Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the 24 books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, as authoritative.There is no scholarly consensus as to when the Hebrew Bible canon was fixed: some scholars argue that it was fixed by the Hasmonean dynasty (140-40 BCE), while others argue it was not fixed until the second century CE or even later. Most conservative scholars believe that the Torah was canonized c. 400 BCE, the Prophets c. 200 BCE, and the Writings c. 100 CE, perhaps at a Council of Jamnia as concluded by Heinrich Graetz in 1871. The Council of Jamnia theory is increasingly rejected by most scholars.
Rabbinic Judaism, also called Rabbinism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Babylonian Talmud. Growing out of Pharisaic Judaism, Rabbinic Judaism is based on the belief that at Mount Sinai, Moses received from God the Written Torah (Pentateuch) in addition to an oral explanation, known as the "Oral Torah," that Moses transmitted to the people.
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew and Aramaic text of the 24 books of Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism.
Ketuvim is the third and final section of the Tanakh, after Torah (instruction) and Nevi'im (prophets). In English translations of the Hebrew Bible, this section is usually titled "Writings". Another name used for this section is Hagiographa.
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Protestants and Catholicsuse the Masoretic Text of the Jewish Tanakh as the textual basis for their translations of the protocanonical books (those accepted as canonical by both Jews and all Christians), with various changes derived from a multiplicity of other ancient sources (such as the Septuagint, the Vulgate, the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc.), while generally using the Septuagint and Vulgate, now supplemented by the ancient Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts, as the textual basis for the deuterocanonical books.
The protocanonical books are those books of the Old Testament that are also included in the Hebrew Bible and that came to be considered canonical during the formational period of Christianity. The term protocanonical is often used to contrast these books to the deuterocanonical books or apocrypha, which "were sometimes doubted" by some in the early church, and are considered non-canonical by most Protestants.
The Septuagint is the earliest extant Koine Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. It is estimated that the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, known as the Torah or Pentateuch, were translated in the mid-3rd century BCE and the remaining texts were translated in the 2nd century BCE. The Septuagint was the Koine Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament and was in wide use by the time of Jesus and Paul of Tarsus because most Jews could no longer read Hebrew. For this reason it is quoted more often than the Hebrew Old Testament in the New Testament, particularly in the Pauline epistles, by the Apostolic Fathers, and later by the Greek Church Fathers.
The Vulgate is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible that was to become the Catholic Church's officially promulgated Latin version of the Bible during the 16th century, and is still used fundamentally in the Latin Church to this day. The translation was largely the work of Jerome, who in 382 had been commissioned by Pope Damasus I to revise the Vetus Latina Gospels then in use by the Roman Church. Jerome, on his own initiative, extended this work of revision and translation to include most of the books of the Bible; and once published, the new version became widely adopted; and over succeeding centuries eventually eclipsed the Vetus Latina, so that by the 13th century it had taken over from the former version the appellation of versio vulgata or vulgata for short.
The Eastern Orthodox use the Septuagint (translated in the 3rd century BCE) as the textual basis for the entire Old Testament in both protocanonical and deuteroncanonical books—to use both in the Greek for liturgical purposes, and as the basis for translations into the vernacular.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.
A vernacular, or vernacular language, is the speech variety used in everyday life by the general population in a geographical or social territory. The vernacular is contrasted with higher-prestige forms of language, such as national, literary, liturgical or scientific idiom, or a lingua franca, used to facilitate communication across a large area. The vernacular is usually native, normally spoken informally rather than written, and seen as of lower status than more codified forms. It may vary from more prestigious speech varieties in different ways, in that the vernacular can be a distinct stylistic register, a regional dialect, a sociolect, or an independent language.
These books, which were largely written during the intertestamental period, are called the biblical apocrypha ("hidden things") by Protestants, the deuterocanon ("second canon") by Catholics, and the deuterocanon or anagignoskomena ("worthy of reading") by Orthodox. These are works recognized by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches as being part of scripture (and thus deuterocanonical rather than apocryphal), but Protestants do not recognize them as divinely inspired. Orthodox differentiate scriptural books by omitting these (and others) from corporate worship and from use as a sole basis for doctrine.[ citation needed ]
Many recognize them 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."Luther made a parallel statement in calling them: "not considered equal to the Holy Scriptures, but...useful and good to read."
The difference in canons derives from the difference in the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint. Books found in both the Hebrew and the Greek are accepted by all denominations, and by Jews, these are the protocanonical books. Catholics and Orthodox also accept those books present in manuscripts of the Septuagint, an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament with great currency among the Jews of the ancient world, with the coda that Catholics consider 3 Esdras and 3 Maccabees apocryphal.
Most quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament, differing by varying degrees from the Masoretic Text, are taken from the Septuagint. Daniel was written several hundred years after the time of Ezra, and since that time several books of the Septuagint have been found in the original Hebrew, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Cairo Geniza, and at Masada, including a Hebrew text of Sirach (Qumran, Masada) and an Aramaic text of Tobit (Qumran); the additions to Esther and Daniel are also in their respective Semitic languages.
The unanimous consensus of modern (and ancient) scholars consider several other books, including 1 Maccabees and Judith, to have been composed in Hebrew or Aramaic.[ citation needed ] Opinion is divided on the book of Baruch, while it is acknowledged that the Letter of Jeremiah, the Wisdom of Solomon, and 2 Maccabees are originally Greek compositions.
Additional books accepted by the Roman Catholic Church:
Additional books accepted by the Eastern Orthodox Church:
Additional books accepted by the Syriac Orthodox Church (due to inclusion in the Peshitta):
The Ethiopian Tewahedo church accepts all of the deuterocanonical books of Catholicism and anagignoskomena of Eastern Orthodoxy except for the four Books of Maccabees.It accepts the 39 protocanonical books along with the following books, called the "narrow canon". The enumeration of books in the Ethiopic Bible varies greatly between different authorities and printings.
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.
For the Orthodox canon, Septuagint titles are provided in parentheses when these differ from those editions. For the Catholic canon, the Douaic titles are provided in parentheses when these differ from those editions. Likewise, 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 those books universally considered canonical—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.
The disputed books, included in one canon but not in others, are often called the Biblical apocrypha, a term that is sometimes used specifically to describe the books in the Catholic and Orthodox canons that are absent from the Jewish Masoretic Text and most modern Protestant Bibles. Catholics, following the Canon of Trent (1546), describe these books as deuterocanonical, while Greek Orthodox Christians, following the Synod of Jerusalem (1672), use the traditional name of anagignoskomena , meaning "that which is to be read." They are present in a few historic Protestant versions; the German Luther Bible included such books, as did the English 1611 King James Version.
Empty table cells indicate that a book is absent from that canon.
| Tanakh |
Books in bold are part of the Ketuvim
| Protestant |
| Catholic |
| Eastern Orthodox |
Pentateuch or The Five Books of Moses
|Yehoshua||Joshua||Joshua (Josue)||Joshua (Iesous)||Hebrew|
|Shemuel||1 Samuel||1 Samuel (1 Kings)||1 Samuel (1 Kingdoms)||Hebrew|
|2 Samuel||2 Samuel (2 Kings)||2 Samuel (2 Kingdoms)||Hebrew|
|Melakhim||1 Kings||1 Kings (3 Kings)||1 Kings (3 Kingdoms)||Hebrew|
|2 Kings||2 Kings (4 Kings)||2 Kings (4 Kingdoms)||Hebrew|
|Divrei Hayamim (Chronicles)||1 Chronicles||1 Chronicles (1 Paralipomenon)||1 Chronicles (1 Paralipomenon)||Hebrew|
|2 Chronicles||2 Chronicles (2 Paralipomenon)||2 Chronicles (2 Paralipomenon)||Hebrew|
|Ezra–Nehemiah||Ezra||Ezra (1 Esdras)||Ezra (2 Esdras)||Hebrew and Aramaic|
|Nehemiah||Nehemiah (2 Esdras)||Nehemiah (Neemias)||Hebrew|
|Tobit (Tobias)||Tobit (Tobias)||Aramaic (and Hebrew?)|
|1 Maccabees (1 Machabees)||1 Maccabees||Hebrew|
|2 Maccabees (2 Machabees)||2 Maccabees||Greek|
|Ketuvim (Writings)||Wisdom Books|
|Shir Hashirim (Song of Songs)||Song of Solomon||Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles)||Song of Songs (Aisma Aismaton)||Hebrew|
|Wisdom||Wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon)||Greek|
|Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)||Sirach (Wisdom of Sirach)||Hebrew|
|Nevi'im (Latter Prophets)||Major Prophets|
|Yirmeyahu||Jeremiah||Jeremiah (Jeremias)||Jeremiah||Hebrew and Aramaic|
|Baruch with Letter of Jeremiah as the 6th Chapter||Baruch||Hebrew|
|Letter of Jeremiah as standalone book||Greek (majority view)|
|Daniel||Daniel||Daniel||Daniel||Hebrew and Aramaic|
| The Twelve |
Several of the books in the Eastern Orthodox canon are also found in the appendix to the Latin Vulgate, formerly the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church.
Books in the Appendix to the Vulgate Bible
|Name in Vulgate||Name in Eastern Orthodox use|
|3 Esdras||1 Esdras|
|4 Esdras||Apocalypsis of Esdras|
|Prayer of Manasseh||Prayer of Manasseh|
|Psalm of David when he slew Goliath (Psalm 151)||Psalm 151|
In general, among Christian denominations, the New Testament canon is an agreed-upon list of 27 books, although book order can vary. The book order is the same in the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant traditions.The Slavonic, Armenian and Ethiopian traditions have different New Testament book orders.
| Catholic , Orthodox , Protestant ,|
and most Oriental Orthodox
|Matthew||Greek (majority view: see note)|
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.'
Apocrypha are works, usually written, of unknown authorship or of doubtful origin. Biblical apocrypha are a set of texts included in the Latin Vulgate and Septuagint but not in the Hebrew Bible. While Catholic tradition considers some of these texts to be deuterocanonical, Protestants consider them apocryphal. Thus, Protestant bibles do not include the books within the Old Testament but have sometimes included them in a separate section, usually called the Apocrypha. Other non-canonical apocryphal texts are generally called pseudepigrapha, a term that means "false attribution".
The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Rastafarians.
The Old Testament is the first part of Christian Bibles, based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible, a collection of ancient religious writings by the Israelites believed by most Christians and religious Jews to be the sacred Word of God. The second part of the Christian Bible is the New Testament.
2 Maccabees is a deuterocanonical book which focuses on the Maccabean Revolt against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and concludes with the defeat of the Seleucid empire general Nicanor in 161 BC by Judas Maccabeus, the hero of the hard work.
The Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition is an English translation of the Bible first published in 1966. In 1965, the Catholic Biblical Association adapted, under the editorship of Bernard Orchard OSB and Reginald C. Fuller, the Revised Standard Version (RSV) for Catholic use. It contains the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament placed in the traditional order of the Vulgate. The editors' stated aim for the RSV Catholic Edition was "to make the minimum number of alterations, and to change only what seemed absolutely necessary in the light of Catholic tradition."
The New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition (NRSV-CE) is a translation of the Bible closely based on the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) but including the deuterocanonical books and adapted for the use of Catholics with the approval of the Catholic Church.
1 Esdras, also First Esdras, Greek Esdras, Greek Ezra, or 3 Esdras, is an ancient Greek version of the biblical Book of Ezra in use among the early church, and many modern Christians with varying degrees of canonicity. First Esdras is substantially derived from Masoretic Ezra–Nehemiah, with the passages specific to the career of Nehemiah removed or re-attributed to Ezra, and some additional material.
Esdras is a Greco-Latin variation of the name of Hebrew Ezra the Scribe. The name is found in the titles of several books attributed to or associated with the scribe that are in or related to the Hebrew and Christian Bibles.
These are the books of the Latin Vulgate along with the names and numbers given them in the Douay–Rheims Bible and King James Bible. There are 76 books in the Clementine edition of the Latin Vulgate, 46 in the Old Testament, 27 in the New Testament, and 3 in the Apocrypha.
The biblical apocrypha denotes the collection of apocryphal ancient books found in some editions of Christian Bibles in a separate section between the Old and New Testaments or as an appendix after the New Testament. Some Christian Churches include some or all of the same texts within the body of their version of the Old Testament.
The Christian biblical canons are the books Christians regard as divinely inspired and which constitute a Christian Bible. 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, for the ancient undivided Church.
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.
A Catholic Bible includes the whole 73-book canon recognized by the Catholic Church, including the deuterocanonical books.
A Christian biblical canon is the set of books that a particular Christian denomination or denominational family regards as being divinely inspired and thus constituting an authorised Christian Bible. Such bibles are always divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Early Church primarily used the Greek Septuagint as its source for the Old Testament. Among Aramaic speakers, the Targum was also widely used. 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.
Melito's canon isattributed to Melito of Sardis, one of the early Church Fathers of the 2nd century.
A Protestant Bible is a Christian Bible whose translation or revision was produced by Protestants. 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 the seven Catholic deuterocanonical books as part of the Apocrypha. Sometimes the term "Protestant Bible" is used as a shorthand for a bible which only contains the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.