Biblical Canon

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A Biblical canon is an officially recognized list of books which are considered to be divinely inspired and authoritative by a religious group, or sect, or denomination as part of the Bible.

Contents

Historical development

The Samaritans, centered at Mount Gerizim in Israel to this day, hold as inspired and authoritative only the Five Books of Moses as represented in the Samaritan Pentateuch,[1] and exclude all other writings in the Old Testament as the works of men which have been falsely added to the sacred scriptures in direct violation of Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 12:32.

The first Christians used the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint which was written and read by Jews as the Greek language generally replaced Hebrew as the language of the people. In response to the rise of the Christian sect and the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70, Jewish rabbis at the Council of Jamnia in A.D. 90 discussed rejecting the Septuagint in favor of selected Hebrew language scriptural texts, omitting certain books such as Baruch, Judith, Maccabees, Sirach, and Tobit (some of these originally written in Hebrew and/or Aramaic [2] which were relatively recent Jewish contributions of the 3rd through the 1st centuries before Christ) which had become part of Jewish culture; and they simultaneously excluded as condemned and false the writings of the "heretics" (the minim, including Christians, called nozrim, no§rim, "Nazarenes"), and cursed Christians in a synagogue service "benediction" against them and others. Palestinian texts of the Eighteen Benedictions from the Cairo Genizah [3] present a text of the benediction which identifies the minim:
"For the apostates may there be no hope unless they return to Your Torah. As for the no§rim and the minim, may they perish immediately. Speedily may they be erased from the Book of Life, and may they not be registered among the righteous. Blessed are You, O Lord, Who subdues the wicked."
While other specimens of the Palestinian liturgy show slight variation, the no§rim, (usually translated “Christians”) and minim are included in the best texts of this benediction. The fact remains that the no§rim were included with apostates and heretics and the wicked in the Genizah documents.[4] Martin Luther and the leaders of the Reformation cite as authoritative and determinative the canon of the Hebrew Bible as defined by rabbinical authorities who excluded and condemned as false the entire New Testament scriptures and Jesus as the Messiah [5] because "unto them were committed the oracles of God." (see Romans 3:2). This is an historical fact. But if the Jews have been so entrusted with the word of God that they had therefore been given the divine authority to determine the canon of sacred scripture, as Luther and the Reformation Protestants maintain, then the whole New Testament is excluded from the canon of the holy Bible because it does not meet established rabbinical criteria for what is sacred inspired scripture.

The Eastern Christian churches continued to use the Greek Septuagint from the 1st century to this day. The Western Church of Catholicism commissioned a Latin translation from Saint Jerome in the early 5th century which came to be known as the Vulgate. It remains the official Roman Catholic (Latin Rite) Bible, and as a translation of the Hebrew is an important witness to earlier readings of the pre-Masoretic Hebrew text.[6]

The Biblical New Testament was taking shape by the end of the first century when the Gospels and the letters of Paul were already being circulated. The heretic Marcion attempted to remove some books around 140 A.D., showing that there was already a grouping of books that were accepted as authentic.[7] Twenty of the 27 books of the New Testament were accepted early in the history of Christianity, while the other seven that make up the Scriptures were subjects of dispute by a minority of biblical scholars. Other writings of the late A.D. 1st century and of the 2nd century, by disciples of the apostles and others who were shepherds of the early church, such as Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, were highly esteemed, and many were regarded as scripture. They represent the ancient orthodox church as opposed to other elements of ancient Christianity such as Gnosticism. The most important of these are:

To the Ephesians
To the Magnesians
To the Trallians
To the Romans
To the Philadelphians
To the Smyrnaeans
To Polycarp
  • Epistle of Polycarp to the Philadelphians (c. 130)
  • Epistle of Barnabas (c. 130)
  • Didache (The Teaching of the Twelve) (c. 100–150)
  • Fragments of Papias (c. 110-140) [8]
  • Epistle to Diognetus (c. 130-200) [9]
  • 2 Clement (c. 150)
  • The Martyrdom of Polycarp (c. 150)
  • The Shepherd of Hermas: Visions, Similitudes and Mandates (150)

When Constantine first made Christianity a legal religion in the Roman Empire in the early 300s, he called together leading Christians from the East and West parts of the empire to iron out the principles of Christianity, including cementing the canon. The entire canonical text was identified by Pope Damasus and the Synod of Rome (382). The entire canonical text was identified by Pope Damasus I and the Synod of Rome (382).[10] Subsequent councils such as the Council of Hippo (393) and the Third Council of Carthage (397), dealt with minor questions of authenticity, affirming the canon of Damasus and the Synod of Rome, and set forth the first-ever listing of all 27 books of the New Testament together, with 46 books of the Old Testament, a canon of 73 books of the Bible, which quickly gained acceptance and remained unchanged for 1200 years. Still, 7 books of the Old Testament (and parts of 2 other books) and 7 books of the New Testament, 14 total, while accepted by the majority of Christian scholars and church leaders as part of the Biblical canon, continued to be debated by a minority of independent scholars, from the 4th through the 16th centuries, many of them quoting from the disputed books as if they were authoritative scripture.[11] Jerome (Prologus Galeatus c. 420) listed the books rejected by the Jews as "apocryphal" but himself quoted them as if they were scripture.[12] Since the 16th century these 14 books have been designated deuterocanonical, as distinct from the protocanonical books, those books of scripture which were universally accepted without debate from the 1st century of the church. The deuterocanonical Old Testament scriptural texts are:

The term deuterocanonical is sometimes used to describe the canonical antilegomena, those books of the New Testament which, like the deuterocanonicals of the Old Testament, while accepted by the majority of Christian believers, were not universally accepted by the early Church, but which are now included in the 27 books of the New Testament recognized by almost all Christians since the time of the Third Council of Carthage (397). The deuterocanonicals of the New Testament are as follows:

The meaning of the term "deuterocanonical" is therefore not identical with "apocryphal".

The canon of Damasus, and the Synods of Rome, Hippo and Carthage, was reaffirmed at the Council of Florence of the (briefly reunited) Church of the east and west in 1442.[13] For the Catholic Church, a formal dogmatic proclamation was made at the Council of Trent, that the Bible the Church had been using and the books it contained "with all their parts" was correct, in reaction to the Protestant Reformation's rejection of 7 of the deuterocanonical works as apocrypha, together with those parts of 2 other canonical books which had been long debated (parts of Esther and Daniel). However, 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras and Prayer of Manasseh were not included in the canon of the Catholic Bible defined by the Council of Trent, although they were part of the Vulgate, but they were subsequently placed in an appendix to the definitive Clementine Vulgate, "lest they be lost altogether". This definitively closed 1400 years of intermittant debate over the traditional canon of the Bible in the Catholic Church, and declared henceforth anathema (cursed) any one who persisted in holding any dissenting opinion in the matter [14] (see 1 Corinthians 16:22; Galatians 1:6-9; Romans 13:1-2; Hebrews 13:17; 2 Peter 1:20 and 3:16-17; Jude 8, 16-19; Revelation 22:19). Martin Luther had initially placed 4 of the New Testament deuterocanonical books in an appendix after the New Testament of his German Bible, judging them to be unscriptural and hostile to the gospel of Christ: Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation.[15][5] When Protestant leaders approached the leaders of the separated Orthodox Church with their revised canon of 66 books, they were rebuffed. Orthodoxy in the east was never confronted with a need to officially define the canon of the Bible and has continued to use the Septuagint as passed down from the time of the apostles of the ancient Church in the 1st century to the present day. The 1611 King James Bible, put together after the Church of England had broken away from the Catholic Church under Henry VIII (Act of Supremacy 1534), included the 7 Old Testament deuterocanonical books and the deuterocanonical parts of the 2 other canonical books, but removed them from the Old Testament and placed them in a separate section, and the Church of England continued to use the deuterocanonicals in the liturgy until forbidden by the Long Parliament in 1644.[16] By the 1800s Protestant Bibles began to omit some of the deuterocanonical books altogether as The Apocrypha, while retaining the other deuterocanonicals, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude and Revelation. In 1885 the Oxford University Press, pressured by Protestant groups, officially removed the Apocrypha, excluding it from all subsequent Oxford printed editions of the King James Version of the Bible, but still making it available as a separate collection in a separate volume.[17] However, more recently (1973) Oxford began publishing some editions of the Oxford Annotated Bible which also include the apocryphal and deuterocanonical books used by the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek and Slavonic Orthodox Churches, as well as churches of the Anglican Communion (including The Episcopal Church); these editions are titled "[New] Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha"; also available are English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha and The New English Bible: With the Apocrypha (Oxford Study Edition).[18] A common Protestant teaching is that the Apocrypha were never part of the Bible, but were added to the Bible by the Antichrist Catholic Popes at the Council of Trent, and that they contain doctrines of the Devil.[19]
"Yes, Catholicism is straight out of the pits of hell, but so is Lutheranism!" (The Truth About Martin Luther, Dr. Max D. Younce, Th.D.[20])

Biblical canons

Samaritan canon (2nd century B.C.)

The Samaritan Pentateuch, also known as the Samaritan Torah (Hebrew: תורה שומרונית torah shomroniyt), is a manuscript of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, dating back to the 2nd century B.C., written in the Samaritan alphabet and used as a scripture by the Samaritans. It constitutes their entire biblical canon.[21]

  • 1 Genesis
  • 2 Exodus
  • 3 Leviticus
  • 4 Numbers
  • 5 Deuteronomy

Greek Old Testament canon (A.D. 1st century)

Orthodox Christians do not usually speak of "the canon of Scripture" but do think of the writings as "canonical", the difference being that the canonical writings are judged as being faithful to the dogma of the Church. The Orthodox Church has never defined the Old Testament canon, but they have been using the same one since the early times of the Church. The Orthodox Old Testament canonical books are these:

  • 1 GENESIS
  • 2 EXODUS
  • 3 LEVITICUS
  • 4 NUMBERS
  • 5 DEUTERONOMY
  • 6 JOSHUA OF NAVI
  • 7 JUDGES
  • 8 RUTH
  • 9 KINGS I (1 Samuel)
  • 10 KINGS II (2 Samuel)
  • 11 KINGS III (1 Kings)
  • 12 KINGS IV (2 Kings)
  • 13 CHRONICLES I
  • 14 CHRONICLES II
  • 15 ESDRAS I (1 Esdras)
  • 16 ESDRAS II (Ezra)
  • 17 NEHEMIAH
  • 18 TOBIT
  • 19 JUDITH
  • 20 ESTHER
  • 21 MACCABEES I
  • 22 MACCABEES II
  • 23 MACCABEES III
  • 24 PSALMS (Psalm 150 with appended Psalm 151)
  • 25 JOB
  • 26 PROVERBS OF SOLOMON
  • 27 ECCLESIASTES
  • 28 SONG OF SONGS
  • 29 WISDOM OF SOLOMON
  • 30 WISDOM OF SIRACH
  • 31 OSEE (Hosea)
  • 32 AMOS
  • 33 MICHAEAS (Micah)
  • 34 JOEL
  • 35 OBDIAS (Obadiah)
  • 36 JONAS
  • 37 NAUM (Nahum)
  • 38 AMBACUM (Habakkuk)
  • 39 SOPHONIAS (Zephaniah)
  • 40 AGGAEUS (Haggai)
  • 41 ZACHARIAS
  • 42 MALACHIAS
  • 43 ESAIAS (Isaiah)
  • 44 JEREMIAS
  • 45 BARUCH
  • 46 LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAS
  • 47 EPISTLE OF JEREMIAS
  • 48 JEZEKIEL (Ezekiel)
  • 49 SUSANNA
  • 50 DANIEL
  • MACCABEES IV - APPENDIX

4 Esdras (2 Esdras), a Jewish apocalypse written in Latin around the end of A.D. 1st century or beginning of the 2nd century, was never part of the Greek Old Testament, and was included in the Old Latin Bible in the west and placed into an appedix to the Vulgate.[22]

Canon of Marcion (Heretic) c. 140

Marcion rejected the entire Old Testament.[7] After pruning and editorial adjustment, he accepted the following Christian writings in this order:

  • Gospel according to Luke
  • Galatians
  • I Corinthians
  • II Corinthians
  • Romans
  • I Thessalonians
  • II Thessalonians
  • Ephesians (which Marcion called Laodiceans)
  • Colossians
  • Philemon
  • Philippians

Ethiopic Orthodox canon (A.D. c. 4th century)

The canon of the Ethiopic Bible of the Orthodox Ethiopian Church as a whole differs both in the Old and New Testament from that of any other churches. The canonical books, written in the Geez language and on parchment, are numerous. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has 46 books of the Old Testament and 35 books of the New Testament, bringing the total of canonized books of the Bible to 81. The canon of the Ethiopic Bible appears to date back to the 5th century.[23]

These 81 books are the following:
A. The Holy Books of the Old Testament
1. Genesis
2. Exodus
3. Leviticus
4. Numbers
5. Deuteronomy
6. Joshua
7. Judges
8. Ruth
9. I and II Samuel
10. I and II Kings
11. I Chronicles
12. II Chronicles
13. Jublee
14. Enoch
15. Ezra and Nehemia
16. Ezra (2nd) and Ezra Sutuel
17. Tobit
18. Judith
19. Esther
20. I Maccabees
21. II and III Maccabees
22. Job
23. Psalms
24. Proverbs
25. Tegsats (Reproof)
26. Metsihafe Tibeb (the books of wisdom)
27. Ecclesiastes
28. The Song of Songs
29. Isaiah
30. Jeremiah
31. Ezekiel
32. Daniel
33. Hosea
34. Amos
35. Micah
36. Joel
37. Obadiah
38. Jonah
39. Nahum
40. Habakkuk
41. Zephaniah
42. Haggai
43. Zechariah
44. Malachi
45. Book of Joshua the son of Sirac
46. The Book of Josephas the Son of Bengorion

B. The holy books of the New Testament
1. Matthew
2. Mark
3. Luke
4. John
5. The Acts
6. Romans
7. I Corinthians
8. II Corinthians
9. Galatians
10. Ephesians
11. Philippians
12. Colossians
13. I Thessalonians
14. II Thessalonians
15. I Timothy
16. II Timothy
17. Titus
18. Philemon
19. Hebrews
20. I Peter
21. II Peter
22. I John
23. II John
24. III John
25. James
26. Jude
27. Revelation
28. Sirate Tsion (the book of order)
29. Tizaz (the book of Herald)
30. Gitsew
31. Abtilis
32. The I book of Dominos
33. The II book of Dominos
34. The book of Clement
35. Didascalia

Palestinian canon (A.D. 4th century)

The Biblical canon of the Jews lists 24 books in the Masoretic Text of the Tanakh. Presented here is a very short overview of each of the books of Tanach, divided into three main categories: the Chumash, the Prophets and the Writings.

The Five Books of Moses (Chumash)

  • 1 Genesis
  • 2 Exodus
  • 3 Leviticus
  • 4 Numbers
  • 5 Deuteronomy

The Eight Books of the Prophets (Neviim)

  • 6 Joshua
  • 7 Judges
  • 8 Samuel
  • 9 Kings
  • 10 Isaiah
  • 11 Jeremiah
  • 12 Ezekial
  • 13 The Twelve (minor prophets) Trei-Assar (Hosea through Malachi)

The Eleven Books of the Writings (Kesuvim)

  • 14 Psalms - Tehilim
  • 15 Proverbs - Mishlei
  • 16 Job - Iyov
  • 17 Song of Songs - Shir HaShirim
  • 18 Ruth - Rus
  • 19 Lamentations - Eicha
  • 20 Ecclesiastes - Koheles
  • 21 Esther
  • 22 Daniel - Doniel
  • 23 Ezra/Nehemia
  • 24 Chronicles - Divrei Hayamim

Christian New Testament canon proposed by Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397)

This was the first Biblical canon of Christianity which listed the 27 books of the New Testament which are accepted by all Christian believers to this day.

  • 1 The Gospel According to Matthew
  • 2 The Gospel According to John
  • 3 The Gospel According to Mark
  • 4 The Gospel According to Luke
  • 5 The Acts of the Apostles
  • 6 Epistle of Paul to the Romans
  • 7 First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians
  • 8 Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians
  • 9 Epistle of Paul to the Galatians
  • 10 Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians
  • 11 Epistle of Paul to the Philippians
  • 12 Epistle of Paul to the Colossians
  • 13 First Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians
  • 14 Second Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians
  • 15 First Epistle of Paul to Timothy
  • 16 Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy
  • 17 Epistle of Paul to Titus
  • 18 Epistle of Paul to Philemon
  • 19 Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews (disputed, and authorship by Paul has been disputed to this day)
  • 20 Epistle General of James
  • 21 First Epistle of Peter
  • 22 Second Epistle of Peter (disputed)
  • 23 First Epistle of John
  • 24 Second Epistle of John (disputed)
  • 25 Third Epistle of John (disputed)
  • 26 Epistle of Jude (disputed)
  • 27 The Apocalypse of John, or The Revelation to John (disputed)

These scriptures, written in Greek, translated into Latin, were included with the canon of 46 books of the Septuagint Old Testament, translated into Latin, as one canon of scripture, 73 books of the Christian Bible.

Psalm 151 (a supernumerary psalm of David), 3 Esdras (1 Esdras), 4 Esdras (2 Esdras), the Prayer of Manasseh, and 3 Maccabees and 4 Maccabees were not listed in the canon. Psalm 151, and 3 Maccabees, with 4 Maccabees appended, included in the Greek Bible, were not part of the text of the Old Latin Bible and the Vulgate, and were not listed in the canon. 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras (which had not been part of the Greek Bible), and Prayer of Manasseh, while they were part of the Old Latin Bible and the Vulgate, also were not listed in the canon.

Protestant Old Testament canon (16th century)

The Biblical canon of the 39 books of the Protestant Old Testament does not follow the grouping and ordering of the Hebrew Tanach/Tanakh but follows the order of the Septuagint.

  • 1 Genesis
  • 2 Exodus
  • 3 Leviticus
  • 4 Numbers
  • 5 Deuteronomy
  • 6 Joshua
  • 7 Judges
  • 8 Ruth
  • 9 1 Samuel
  • 10 2 Samuel
  • 11 1 Kings
  • 12 2 Kings
  • 13 1 Chronicles
  • 14 2 Chronicles
  • 15 Ezra
  • 16 Nehemiah
  • 17 Esther
  • 18 Job
  • 19 Psalm
  • 20 Proverbs
  • 21 Ecclesiastes
  • 22 Song of Solomon
  • 23 Isaiah
  • 24 Jeremiah
  • 25 Lamentations
  • 26 Ezekiel
  • 27 Daniel
  • 28 Hosea
  • 29 Joel
  • 30 Amos
  • 31 Obadiah
  • 32 Jonah
  • 33 Micah
  • 34 Nahum
  • 35 Habakkuk
  • 36 Zephaniah
  • 37 Haggai
  • 38 Zechariah
  • 39 Malachi

Catholic canon of the Council of Trent (16th century)

The Catholic Biblical canon lists 46 books of the Old Testament as inspired and canonical. The names of the books are here given as they appear in the Douay-Rheims Bible (their equivalent names in the King James Version and Apocrypha are in parentheses).

  • 1 Genesis
  • 2 Exodus
  • 3 Leviticus
  • 4 Numbers
  • 5 Deuteronomy
  • 6 Josue (Joshua)
  • 7 Judges
  • 8 Ruth
  • 9 1 Kings (1 Samuel)
  • 10 2 Kings (2 Samuel)
  • 11 3 Kings (1 Kings)
  • 12 4 Kings (2 Kings)
  • 13 1 Paralipomenon (1 Chronicles)
  • 14 2 Paralipomenon (2 Chronicles)
  • 15 1 Esdras (Ezra)
  • 16 2 Esdras, alias Nehemias (Nehemiah)
  • 17 Tobias (Tobit)
  • 18 Judith
  • 19 Esther
  • 20 Job
  • 21 Psalms
  • 22 Proverbs
  • 23 Ecclesiastes
  • 24 Canticle of Canticles (Song of Songs, The Song of Solomon)
  • 25 Wisdom
  • 26 Ecclesiasticus (The Wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach)
  • 27 Isaias (Isaiah)
  • 28 Jeremias (Jeremiah)
  • 29 Lamentations
  • 30 Baruch
  • 31 Ezechiel (Ezekiel)
  • 32 Daniel
  • 33 Osee (Hosea)
  • 34 Joel
  • 35 Amos
  • 36 Abdias (Obadiah)
  • 37 Jonas (Jonah)
  • 38 Micheas (Micah)
  • 39 Nahum
  • 40 Habacuc (Habakkuk)
  • 41 Sophonias (Zephaniah)
  • 42 Aggeus (Haggai)
  • 43 Zacharias (Zechariah)
  • 44 Malachias
  • 45 1 Machabees (1 Maccabees)
  • 46 2 Machabees (2 Maccabees)

More recent editions of the Catholic Bible present the more familiar King James Version spelling of most of the Old Testament books, with the exception that Canticle of Canticles is Song of Songs, and Ecclesiasticus is Sirach, and the books of 1 and 2 Maccabees are placed after Esther, and before Job.

The Bible of the majority of Christians

The books of the Bible accepted as divinely inspired and canonical by the majority of Christian believers in the United States and throughout the world [24] are the traditional 73 books "with all their parts" anciently contained in the Biblical canon of the Catholic Bible containing the entire canonical text identified by Pope Damasus and the Synod of Rome (382) and the local Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397), contained in St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate translation (420), and dogmatically ("infallibly") accepted as inspired by the Catholic Church since the Council of Trent (1570). The deuterocanonical scriptures removed from the Bible by Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformers in the 16th century are regarded as "apocryphal" by less than a third of Christian believers in the United States and throughout the world.[25]

Authority to determine the Biblical Canon

No version of the Bible contains in any of its books or texts of scripture an explicit listing of an authoritative Biblical canon as revealed by the Word of God. The religious tradition of each particular sect or denomination, Samaritan, Orthodox, Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, has determined for their members the particular Biblical canon they have accepted as authoritative and definitive, the particular Bible they normally use. Some denominations have additionally specified the particular translation or version of the Bible which they have defined as authentic, as against other versions and translations which they deem to be defective, or false, or even demonically corrupt.[26] The King James Only movement is an example. Traditionalist Catholics who use only the Douay-Rheims Bible translation of the Clementine Vulgate as the only truly accurate and reliable translation of the Bible are another. The number of Christian denominations alone, worldwide, varies in estimate from 20,000 to 43,000, but not all of them differ in doctrine.[27]

The particular Biblical canon which any individual person accepts as finally and definitively authoritative, is directly determined by the specific claim of authority presented by that particular canon-defining person or group or organization or religious body which the individual person perceives as authentic (see Logical fallacy). The average believer normally accepts the Bible tradition of his or her own family and worship community as being authentically true. Some alter their perception of which version and which canon of the Bible is true after investigating the historical development of the Biblical canon, and some after investigating are more fully confirmed in their original belief of which Biblical canon represents the Bible of the original Christian Church. A thorough knowledge of history together with prayer to God for discernment can be of substantial material aid in the quest for "how to choose a Bible".

The Friends (Quakers) do not define any writing as canonical but what each person, "led by the spirit and light of Christ", has determined to be scripture or recognizes as inspired.[28]
"Now the Lord's power was so mighty upon me, and so strong in me, that I could not hold, but was made to cry out and say, "Oh! no; it is not the scriptures;" and told them it was the Holy Spirit, by which the holy men of God gave forth the scriptures, whereby opinions, religions, and judgments were to be tried; for it led into all Truth, and so gave the knowledge of all Truth." —from the Journal of George Fox.[29]

See Apostolic succession

References

  1. Stefan Schorch, A Critical editio maior of the Samaritan Pentateuch:State of Research, Principles, and Problems
  2. "some of these originally written in Hebrew and/or Aramaic". Discoveries of Hebrew and Aramaic manucripts of Tobit, ben Sira (Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus), Epistle of Jeremiah in the caves at Qumran near the Dead Sea, the "Dead Sea Scrolls", demonstrate that a Hebrew or Aramaic origin of a text included in the Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures in the Septuagint accepted by Christians was not the sole criterion for inclusion or exclusion in the Hebrew canon, but included consideration of evidence of content which supported Christian doctrine. Linguistic evidence shows that other Septuagint books which were excluded by rabbinical authority after A.D. 90 certainly had an original Hebrew or Aramaic text. See
  3. The New Yorker: Page-Turner. March 1, 2013 Treasures in the Wall, by Emily Greenhouse (newyorker.com)
    Jewish Virtual Library: Modern Jewish History: The Cairo Genizah, by Alden Oreck
  4. Professor Lawrence H. Schiffman: The Benediction Against the Minim (lawrenceschiffman.com)
    DEFENDING THE BRIDE. THE CURSE AGAINST CHRISTIANS AT JAMNIA ABOUT 90 AD (defendingthebride.com)
    The Jewish “Council” of Jamnia and Its Impact on the Old Testament Canon and New Testament Studies, Tim Gordon October 20, 2007 (academia.edu/6811953)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Luther rejected the seven books of the Old Testament, citing the Palestinian Canon as his authority. Clearly his reasons were doctrinal. However, his decision poses serious difficulties. What authority from God would Jews have in the Christian era to determine which books of the Old Testament were or were not divinely inspired? In 1529, Luther proposed adoption of the 39-book canon of rabbinic Judaism as the Old Testament canon of the Christian Bible. He justified his decision to exclude seven books from the Old Testament canon of 46 books by an appeal to precedent, citing Jerome who, around A.D. 400 had expressed concerns also voiced by his rabbinical sources that these books in Greek had no Hebrew counterparts. Research into the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran has discovered Hebrew copies of some of the disputed books, which makes their rejection on this ground unsupportable. Luther's principal reason for opposing these Old Testament books seems to be that they contain textual support for doctrines he had rejected, such as praying for the dead (2 Maccabees 12:42-45).
    See Luther and the Canon of the Bible, by Jim Seghers
    The Canon of the Bible
    Wednesday, July 20, 2011. Can Protestants Rely Upon the "Council of Jamnia" for Their Bible?
  6. Exploring the Origins of the Bible (Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology): Canon Formation in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective Craig A. Evans, Emanuel Tov, Baker Academic, Oct 1, 2008. 272 pages (Google eBook)
    Gideon Kotzé (University of Stellenbosch) SHORT NOTES ON THE VALUE OF THE SEPTUAGINT AND VULGATE FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF LAMENTATIONS 1:1 Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages 36/1 (2010), pp.77-93 75.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Marcion: Development of the New Testament Canon
  8. ICLnet Internet Christian Library. Guide to Early Church Documents (iclnet.org)
    Early Christian Writings. Church Fathers (earlychristianwritings.com)
    A Handbook of Patrology by J. Tizeront (earlychristianwritings.com/tixeront)
    Catholic Encyclopedia: Apostolic Fathers (newadvent.org)
  9. Early Christian Writings. Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus. Estimated Range of Dating: 130-200 A.D. (earlychristianwritings.com)
  10. Major Church Pronouncements on the Bible
    Decree of Council of Rome (AD 382) on the Biblical Canon, by Dr Taylor Marshall
    BlogSpot. Beggars All: Reformation & Apologetics. Pope Damasus and the Canon of Scripture (Part One) (beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com) See also (Part Two) Both offer clear explanations and clarifications by one Protestant apologist of the rationale for the firm Protestant position that the decision by Pope Damasus and the Synod of Rome in 382 on the canon of the books of the Bible is invalid (includes discussions).
  11. The Old Testament Canon and the Apocrypha. Part 3: From Jerome to the Reformation, William Webster. This article provides extensive translations of the writings of many of the major Western theologians from the fifth to the sixteenth centuries on their view of the Canon for the first time in English.
    See also Jerome on the Canon (bible-researcher.com)
  12. Edmon Gallagher on Jerome's Prologus and the Council of Hippo regarding the Canon (2013)
  13. Saturday, October 26, 2013. The Council of Florence on the Pope, the Church and the Bible
    Catholic Encyclopedia (1915) Canon of the Old Testament "During the deliberations of the Council [of Trent] there never was any real question as to the reception of all the traditional Scripture. Neither--and this is remarkable--in the proceedings is there manifest any serious doubt of the canonicity of the disputed writings. In the mind of the Tridentine Fathers they had been virtually canonized, by the same decree of Florence, and the same Fathers felt especially bound by the action of the preceding ecumenical synod" [of Florence]."
    Christian Classics Ethereal Library. History of the Church, Vol. 6: § 18. The Council of Ferrara-Florence. 1438–1445.
    Canons of the ECUMENICAL COUNCIL OF FLORENCE (1438-1445) (Basel/Ferrara/Florence/Rome)
  14. "But if any one receive not, as sacred and canonical, the said books entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition; and knowingly and deliberately contemn the traditions aforesaid; let him be anathema."The Council of Trent. The Fourth Session. The canons and decrees of the sacred and oecumenical Council of Trent, Trans. J. Waterworth (London: Dolman, 1848), 17-21. [Page 17] SESSION THE FOURTH Celebrated on the eighth day of the month of April, in the year MDXLVI. DECREE CONCERNING THE CANONICAL SCRIPTURES
  15. Luther's Treatment of the 'Disputed Books' of the New Testament (bible-researcher.com/antilegomena)
    See Martin Luther's Table Talk, by Martin Luther, translated by William Hazlitt, Alexander Chalmers. Bell & Daldy, 1872. pages 11-13 (books.google.com)
  16. Oxford Parliament 1644-45 (bcw-project.org),
    The Puritan Ban on Christmas, by Martha Doe (timetravel-britain.com),
    Canon of Scripture (sonlightclass.com/Notes/CanonOfScripture/2012-12-02)
  17. The "Inconvenient Tale" of the Original King James Bible, By Gary Michuta (handsonapologetics.com)
  18. See also Tyndale Archive: Index to English Translations of the Bible (more than 100 versions). This source lists the following Bibles with Apocrypha (listed here in chronological order):
    c. 200 BC, Septuagint - LXX - the earliest version of the Old Testament scriptures, includes the Apocrypha
    1540, Coverdale Bible - TCB - includes the Apocrypha
    1560, Geneva Bible - TGB - the popular version just prior to the translation of the King James Version, includes the Apocrypha
    1611, King James Version - KJV - a.k.a. Authorized Version, originally included the Apocrypha
    1923, Modern Reader's Bible - MRB - stresses literary qualities, includes the Apocrypha
    1930, Bible Designed to Be Read as Literature - BDRL - stresses literary qualities of the Bible, includes the Apocrypha
    1953, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Translation - CCDT - includes the Apocrypha
    1956, Knox Translation - KTC - includes the Apocrypha
    1957, Jewish Bible for Family Reading - JBFR - includes the Apocrypha
    1961, Dartmouth Bible - TDB - an abridgment of the King James Version, includes the Apocrypha
    1966, Jerusalem Bible (Catholic) - TJB - includes the Apocrypha
    1969, Bible Reader - TBR - an interfaith version, includes the Apocrypha
    1970, New English Bible - NEB - includes the Apocrypha
    1971, Abbreviated Bible - TAB - eliminates duplications, includes the Apocrypha
    1987, New American Bible - NAB - includes the Apocrypha
    1997, Dead Sea Scrolls Bible - DSSB - translated from Dead Sea Scrolls documents, includes the Apocrypha
    For database resource, see—
    BibleWorks Software for Biblical Exegesis & Research, What Bible Versions in BibleWorks Contain the Apocrypha? (kb.bibleworksllc.com)
  19. Refuting an Attack on the Deuterocanonicals. A Response to 11 ‘reasons’ that the Deuterocanonicals Should be Thrown Out of the Bible, By Matt1618. Introduction (matt1618.freeyellow.com)
    The Books of the Old and New Testaments Canonical and Inspired; with remarks on the Apocrypha, by Robert Haldane, Esq. of Scotland. Boston: published by the American Doctinal Tract Society, Perkins and Marvin, agents. 1840
    The Antichrist and the Protestant Reformation, by Steve Wohlberg (AntichristAndReformation.pdf)
    Why the Apocrypha Isn't in the Bible. (jesus-is-lord.com)
    Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: Errors in the Apocrypha, by Matt Slick (carm.org)
    False Religions: Roman Catholicism. The Apocrypha Exposed! (jesus-is-savior.com)
  20. The truth about Martin Luther. Dr. Max D. Younce, Th.D.) (jesus-is-savior.com)
  21. Questions from the Samaritan Pentateuch (historycart.com)
    University of Cambridge. Cambridge Digital Library. Samaritan Pentateuch. Part of the Hebrew Manuscripts Collection.
    [http://tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/132004/the-other-torah Tablet: A New Read on Jewish Life. The Other Torah A new English translation of the Samaritan Torah offers scholars a different version of the sacred text, By Chavie Lieber|May 14, 2013 12:00 AM|
  22. Early Jewish Writings. Second Esdras
  23. Sources:
  24. The Catholic Church is the world's largest Christian body comprised of several distinct "Rites". The Catholic Church (Latin Rite) is the largest religious body in the United States, with over 60 million adherents (4 times as large as the second largest church, the Orthodox).
    “The Global Catholic Population,” © 2011, Pew Research Center.
    The Largest Catholic Communities
    The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church, and also referred to as the Orthodox Church and Orthodoxy, is the second largest Christian church in the world, with an estimated 225–300 million adherents, most of whom live in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Russia.
    The Greek (Eastern) Orthodox Church. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Of America (1983). Retrieved on 7 May 2014.
    Christianity:Basics:Eastern Orthodox Church Denomination. about.com. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
    Christianity. Major Branches of Religions Ranked by Number of Adherents. adherents.com. Retrieved on 22 May 2014.
  25. See Percentage of Christians in Protestant Denominations (29.5%).
  26. Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church, by The Right Rev. Henry G. Graham (catholicapologetics.info). Published TAN Books; Revised edition (March 1, 1992) ISBN-10: 0895557967, ISBN-13: 978-0895557964. 172 pages. Bishop Dr. Graham presents a detailed historical analysis, with documentation, of the various attempts to falsify the Bible, even to eliminate it, from the 1st century to the present day.
    Beware of these new False Bibles since 1881 - Bible Probe (bibleprobe.com)
    King James Bible Believers. Seven Easy Ways to tell the true Bible from the false ones, by Will Kinney (kjv1611.org.uk)
    New Age Bible Versions — by Dr. Gail Riplinger (jesus-is-savior.com)
    The New International Version (NIV) and English Standard Version (ESV) - Full of False Doctrine
  27. Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population
    How Many Protestant Denominations Are There? The 20,000 30,000 numbers and David Barrett's statistics
    Hartford Institute for Religion Research. Fast Facts about American Religion
    Question: "Which of the 30,000 Protestant denominations is the true church of God?"
    THE WAY? HOW MANY CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS WORLDWIDE? 23 NOVEMBER, 2012 | UNKLEE
  28. See the essay Private Judgment [British Critic, July 1841] (newmanreader.org)
  29. GEORGE FOX'S TEACHING ON THE PLACE OF SCRIPTURE (qis.net)

See also

Third Council of Carthage (397)

Books of the Bible

Pseudepigrapha

External links

Theopedia: Marcionism

Codex Vaticanus (orthodoxwiki.org)

THE CODEX SINAITICUS, T. S. PATTIE. 1977 pdf (bl.uk/eblj)

THE CODEX ALEXANDRINUS AND THE ALEXANDRIAN GREEK TYPES, J. H. BOWMAN. 1998 pdf (bl.uk/eblj)

Holy Scripture In The Orthodox Church. "The Bible" Compiled by Father Demetrios Serfes. Boise, Idaho, USA. August 20 2000

Third Council of Carthage (397) (bible-researcher.com)

Catholic Encyclopedia: African Synods

Canon of the Old Testament

Essay: The New Testament Canon (tektonics.org)

The Biblical Canon Of The Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Inspiration: The Infallible Truth and Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures, by James Bannerman, Professor of Theology, New College, Edinburgh. 1865 page 522.

See the following seven sources:

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