Biblical canon

Biblical canon

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A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example the Masoretic Text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

 is the canonical text for Judaism. The word "canon" comes from the Greek "κανών", meaning "rule".

The canons listed below are usually considered "closed" (i.e., books cannot be added or removed), reflecting a belief that public revelation
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

 has ended and thus the inspired texts may be gathered into a complete and authoritative canon. By contrast, an "open canon" permits the addition of books through the process of continuous revelation
Continuous revelation
Continuous revelation or continuing revelation is a theological belief or position that God continues to reveal divine principles or commandments to humanity...

.

These canonical
Canonical
Canonical is an adjective derived from canon. Canon comes from the greek word κανών kanon, "rule" or "measuring stick" , and is used in various meanings....

 books have been developed through debate and agreement by the religious authorities of their respective faiths. Believers consider these canonical books to be inspired by God
Biblical inspiration
Biblical inspiration is the doctrine in Christian theology that the authors and editors of the Bible were led or influenced by God with the result that their writings many be designated in some sense the word of God.- Etymology :...

 or to express the authoritative history of the relationship between God and His people
People of God
"People of God" is a description that the Tanakh or Old Testament applies to the Jewish people and that the New Testament applies to Christians. Within the Catholic Church, it has been given greater prominence because of its employment in documents of the Second Vatican Council .-Usage in the...

. Books, such as the Jewish-Christian Gospels
Jewish-Christian Gospels
Jewish-Christian Gospels are non-canonical Gospels used by various Jewish Christian groups that were declared heretical by other members of the Early Church. They are mentioned by Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius, Epiphanius and Jerome...

, excluded from the canon are considered non-canonical, but many disputed books
Antilegomena
Antilegomena, a direct transliteration from the Greek , refers to written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed.Eusebius in his Church History written c. 325 used the term for those Christian scriptures that were "disputed" or literally those works which were "spoken against" in Early...

 considered non-canonical or even apocryphal by some are considered Biblical apocrypha
Biblical apocrypha
The word "apocrypha" is today often used to refer to the collection of ancient books printed in some editions of the Bible in a separate section between the Old and New Testaments...

 or Deuterocanonical
Deuterocanonical books
Deuterocanonical books is a term used since the sixteenth century in the Catholic Church and Eastern Christianity to describe certain books and passages of the Christian Old Testament that are not part of the Hebrew Bible. The term is used in contrast to the protocanonical books, which are...

 or fully canonical by others. There are differences between the Jewish and Christian Biblical canons
Christian biblical canons
A Christian biblical canon is the set of books that a Christian denomination regards as divinely inspired and thus constituting the Christian Bible...

, and between the canons of different Christian denominations. The differing criteria and processes of canonization dictate what the communities regard as the inspired books.

Canonical texts



The word "canon" is derived from the Greek noun κανών "kanon" meaning "reed" or "cane," or also "rule" or "measure". Thus, a "canonical text" is a single authoritative edition for a given work. The establishing of a canonical text may involve an editorial selection from biblical manuscript
Biblical manuscript
A biblical manuscript is any handwritten copy of a portion of the text of the Bible. The word Bible comes from the Greek biblia ; manuscript comes from Latin manu and scriptum...

 traditions with varying interdependence. Early manuscript versions of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 are represented in different languages such as the Greek Septuagint, the Aramaic Targums and Syriac Peshitta
Peshitta
The Peshitta is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition.The Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from the Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD...

, the Samaritan Pentateuch
Samaritan Pentateuch
The Samaritan Pentateuch, sometimes called Samaritan Torah, , is a version of the Hebrew language Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, used by the Samaritans....

, and the Hebrew Masoretic Text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

.

New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 Greek and Latin are sometimes found in the same manuscript called a diglot text, with Greek and Latin on facing pages. New Testament manuscript traditions include the Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus
Codex Sinaiticus
Codex Sinaiticus is one of the four great uncial codices, an ancient, handwritten copy of the Greek Bible. It is an Alexandrian text-type manuscript written in the 4th century in uncial letters on parchment. Current scholarship considers the Codex Sinaiticus to be one of the best Greek texts of...

, Codex Bezae
Codex Bezae
The Codex Bezae Cantabrigensis, designated by siglum Dea or 05 , δ 5 , is a codex of the New Testament dating from the 5th century written in an uncial hand on vellum. It contains, in both Greek and Latin, most of the four Gospels and Acts, with a small fragment of the 3 John...

, Codex Alexandrinus
Codex Alexandrinus
The Codex Alexandrinus is a 5th century manuscript of the Greek Bible,The Greek Bible in this context refers to the Bible used by Greek-speaking Christians who lived in Egypt and elsewhere during the early history of Christianity...

, Textus Receptus
Textus Receptus
Textus Receptus is the name subsequently given to the succession of printed Greek texts of the New Testament which constituted the translation base for the original German Luther Bible, the translation of the New Testament into English by William Tyndale, the King James Version, and for most other...

, Vetus Latina
Vetus Latina
Vetus Latina is a collective name given to the Biblical texts in Latin that were translated before St Jerome's Vulgate Bible became the standard Bible for Latin-speaking Western Christians. The phrase Vetus Latina is Latin for Old Latin, and the Vetus Latina is sometimes known as the Old Latin Bible...

, Vulgate
Vulgate
The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

 and others.

Jewish canon


Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism or Rabbinism has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Talmud...

 recognizes the twenty-four books of the Masoretic Text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

, commonly called the Tanakh or "Hebrew Bible". Evidence suggests that the process of canonization occurred between 200 BC and AD 200, indeed a popular position is that the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 was canonized c. 400 BC, the Prophets c. 200 BC, and the Writings
Ketuvim
Ketuvim or Kəṯûḇîm in actual Biblical Hebrew is the third and final section of the Tanak , after Torah and Nevi'im . In English translations of the Hebrew Bible, this section is usually entitled "Writings" or "Hagiographa"...

 c. AD 100 perhaps at a hypothetical Council of Jamnia
Council of Jamnia
The Council of Jamnia or Council of Yavne is a hypothetical late 1st-century council at which it is postulated the canon of the Hebrew Bible was finalized....

—however this position is increasingly criticised by modern scholars. The book of Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

 includes a prohibition against adding or subtracting which might apply to the book itself (i.e. a "closed book", a prohibition against future scribal
Scribe
A scribe is a person who writes books or documents by hand as a profession and helps the city keep track of its records. The profession, previously found in all literate cultures in some form, lost most of its importance and status with the advent of printing...

 editing) or to the instruction received by Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 on Mt. Sinai
Biblical Mount Sinai
The Biblical Mount Sinai is the mountain at which the Book of Exodus states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God...

. The book of 2 Maccabees
2 Maccabees
2 Maccabees is a deuterocanonical book of the Bible, which focuses on the Jews' revolt against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and concludes with the defeat of the Syrian general Nicanor in 161 BC by Judas Maccabeus, the hero of the work....

, itself not a part of the Jewish canon, describes Nehemiah
Nehemiah
Nehemiah ]]," Standard Hebrew Nəḥemya, Tiberian Hebrew Nəḥemyāh) is the central figure of the Book of Nehemiah, which describes his work rebuilding Jerusalem and purifying the Jewish community. He was the son of Hachaliah, Nehemiah ]]," Standard Hebrew Nəḥemya, Tiberian Hebrew Nəḥemyāh) is the...

 (around 400 BC) as having "founded a library and collected books about the kings and prophets, and the writings of David, and letters of kings about votive offerings" . The Book of Nehemiah
Book of Nehemiah
The Book of Nehemiah is a book of the Hebrew Bible. Told largely in the form of a first-person memoir, it concerns the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, a Jew who is a high official at the Persian court, and the dedication of the city and its people to God's laws...

 suggests that the priest-scribe Ezra
Ezra
Ezra , also called Ezra the Scribe and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra. According to the Hebrew Bible he returned from the Babylonian exile and reintroduced the Torah in Jerusalem...

 brought the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 back from Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 to Jerusalem and the Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

  around the same time period. Both I and II Maccabees suggest that Judas Maccabeus
Judas Maccabeus
Judah Maccabee was a Kohen and a son of the Jewish priest Mattathias...

 (around 167 BC) likewise collected sacred books , indeed some scholars argue that the Jewish canon was fixed by the Hasmonean
Hasmonean
The Hasmonean dynasty , was the ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity. Between c. 140 and c. 116 BCE, the dynasty ruled semi-autonomously from the Seleucids in the region of Judea...

 dynasty. However, these primary sources do not suggest that the canon was at that time closed; moreover, it is not clear that these sacred books were identical to those that later became part of the canon. "The Men of the Great Assembly", also known as the Great Synagogue, was, according to Jewish tradition, an assembly of 120 scribes, sages, and prophets, in the period from the end of the Biblical prophets to the time of the development of Rabbinic Judaism, marking a transition from an era of prophets to an era of Rabbis. They lived in a period of about two centuries ending c. 70 CE.[1]

Among the developments in Judaism that are attributed to them are the fixing of the Jewish Biblical canon, including the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Esther, and the Twelve Minor Prophets; the introduction of the triple classification of the oral law, dividing the study of the Mishnah (in the larger sense) into the three branches of midrash, halakot, and aggadot; the introduction of the Feast of Purim; and the institution of the prayer known as the Shemoneh 'Esreh as well as the synagogal prayers, rituals, and benedictions.

Samaritan canon



The Samaritan Torah, another version of the Torah in the Samaritan alphabet
Samaritan alphabet
The Samaritan alphabet is used by the Samaritans for religious writings, including the Samaritan Pentateuch, writings in Samaritan Hebrew, and for commentaries and translations in Samaritan Aramaic and occasionally Arabic....

, also exists. This text is associated with the Samaritans, a people of whom the Jewish Encyclopedia
Jewish Encyclopedia
The Jewish Encyclopedia is an encyclopedia originally published in New York between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls. It contained over 15,000 articles in 12 volumes on the history and then-current state of Judaism and the Jews as of 1901...

 states: "Their history as a distinct community begins with the taking of Samaria by the Assyrians in 722 B.C."

Its relationship to the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint is still disputed. Scrolls among the Dead Sea scrolls
Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

 have been identified as proto-Samaritan Pentateuch text-type.

The Samaritans accept the Torah but do not accept any other parts of the Bible, probably a position also held by the Sadducees
Sadducees
The Sadducees were a sect or group of Jews that were active in Ancient Israel during the Second Temple period, starting from the second century BC through the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. The sect was identified by Josephus with the upper social and economic echelon of Judean society...

. They did not expand their canon by adding any Samaritan compositions. There is a Samaritan Book of Joshua
Book of Joshua (Samaritan)
The Samaritan Book of Joshua is a Samaritan chronicle, written in Arabic. It is so called because the greater part of it is devoted to the history of Joshua. It was published from an Arabic manuscript written in the Samaritan alphabet, with a Latin translation and a long preface by T. W. Juynboll...

, however this is a popular chronicle written in Arabic and is not considered scripture.

Both texts from the Church Fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

 and old Samaritan texts provide us with reasons for the limited extent of the Samaritan Canon. According to some of the information the Samaritans parted with the Jews (Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

ns) at such an early date that only the books of Moses were considered holy; according to other sources the group intentionally rejected the Prophets and (possibly) the other Scriptures and entrenched themselves in the Law of Moses.

The small community of the remnants of the Samaritans in Palestine includes their version of the Torah in their canon. The Samaritan community possesses a copy of the Torah that they believe to have been penned by Abisha, a grandson of Aaron
Aaron
In the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, Aaron : Ααρών ), who is often called "'Aaron the Priest"' and once Aaron the Levite , was the older brother of Moses, and a prophet of God. He represented the priestly functions of his tribe, becoming the first High Priest of the Israelites...

.

Christian canons


The Biblical canon is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and thus constituting the Christian Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

.

Marcion's Canon



Marcion of Sinope
Marcion of Sinope
Marcion of Sinope was a bishop in early Christianity. His theology, which rejected the deity described in the Jewish Scriptures as inferior or subjugated to the God proclaimed in the Christian gospel, was denounced by the Church Fathers and he was excommunicated...

 was the first Christian leader in recorded history (though later considered heretical
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

), to propose and delineate a uniquely Christian canon (about 140 AD) which included 10 epistles from St. Paul as well as a version of the Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 which today is known as the Gospel of Marcion
Gospel of Marcion
The Gospel of Marcion, called by its adherents the Gospel of the Lord, was a text used by the mid-2nd century Christian teacher Marcion to the exclusion of the other gospels...

. In so doing, he established a particular way of looking at religious texts that persists in Christian thought today. After Marcion, Christians began to divide texts into those that aligned well with the "measuring stick" ("canon" is the Greek translation of this phrase) of accepted theological thought and those that promoted heresy. 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
Proto-orthodox Christianity
Proto-orthodox Christianity is a term, coined by New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman, used to describe the Early Christian movement which was the precursor of Christian orthodoxy...

 project of canonization flowed from opposition to the canonization of Marcion.

Earliest Christian communities


Though the Early Church used the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 according to the canon of the Septuagint (LXX), perhaps as found in the Bryennios List or Melito's canon
Melito's canon
Melito's canon is the name of the biblical canon attributed to Melito of Sardis, one of the early Church Fathers of the 2nd century.-Earliest Christian canon of the Old Testament:...

, the apostles
Apostle (Christian)
The term apostle is derived from Classical Greek ἀπόστολος , meaning one who is sent away, from στέλλω + από . The literal meaning in English is therefore an "emissary", from the Latin mitto + ex...

 did not otherwise leave a defined set of new scriptures; instead the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 developed over time.


The writings attributed to the apostles circulated amongst the earliest Christian communities. The Pauline epistles
Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

 were circulating in collected forms by the end of the 1st century AD. Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr, also known as just Saint Justin , was an early Christian apologist. Most of his works are lost, but two apologies and a dialogue survive. He is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church....

, in the early 2nd century, mentions the "memoirs of the apostles," which Christians called "gospels" and which were regarded as on par with the Old Testament.

An early figure in the codification of the Biblical canon was Origen
Origen
Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

 of Alexandria. He was a scholar well educated in the realm of both theology and pagan philosophy but was posthumously condemned at the Second Council of Constantinople
Second Council of Constantinople
The Second Council of Constantinople is recognized as the Fifth Ecumenical Council by the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, and a number of other Western Christian groups. It was held from May 5 to June 2, 553, having been called by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian...

 in 553. Origen decided to make his canon include all of the books in the current Catholic canon except for four books: James
Epistle of James
The Epistle of James, usually referred to simply as James, is a book in the New Testament. The author identifies himself as "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ", with "the earliest extant manuscripts of James usually dated to mid-to-late third century."There are four views...

, 2nd Peter
Second Epistle of Peter
The Second Epistle of Peter, often referred to as Second Peter and written 2 Peter or in Roman numerals II Peter , is a book of the New Testament of the Bible, traditionally ascribed to Saint Peter, but in modern times NT scholars regard it as pseudepigraphical.It is the first New Testament book...

, and 2nd
Second Epistle of John
The Second Epistle of John, often referred to as Second John and often written 2 John, is a book of the New Testament attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two epistles of John.- Composition :The language of this epistle is...

 and 3rd epistles of John
Third Epistle of John
The Third Epistle of John, often referred to as Third John and written 3 John, is a book of the New Testament attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two epistles of John...

. He also included the Shepherd of Hermas which was later rejected. The religious scholar Bruce Metzger
Bruce Metzger
Bruce Manning Metzger was a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and Bible editor who served on the board of the American Bible Society. He was a scholar of Greek, New Testament and Old Testament, and wrote prolifically on these subjects.- Biography :Metzger was born in Middletown,...

 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.” This was one of the first major attempts at the compilation of certain books and letters as authoritative and inspired teaching for the Early Church at the time although it is unclear whether Origen intended for his list to be authoritative itself.

Needless to say there were various theologians of the 2nd and 3rd centuries that wrote a great deal of works and used the letters of the apostles as foundation and justification for their own personal beliefs. However, there was still the problem of the Roman Empire, and while the persecutions of the Roman Empire were many and extreme, the persecution still occurred and influenced the initial canonization of the New Testament. This period in church history writings is known as the "Edificatory Period" and was followed by the "Apologetic", "Polemical" and "Scientific" Periods. Some of the Christian writers of this edificatory Period are: Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Polycarp, Tertullian, Cyprian, Justin Martyr, Clement of Rome, Clement of Alexandria. This stagnation of official writings led to a sudden explosion of discussions after Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

 legalized Christianity in the early 4th century, perhaps associated with the Fifty Bibles of Constantine
Fifty Bibles of Constantine
The Fifty Bibles of Constantine were fifty Bibles commissioned in 331 by Constantine I and prepared by Eusebius of Caesarea. They were made for the use of the Bishop of Constantinople in the growing number of orthodox churches. It was described by Eusebius in his Life of Constantine and his account...

.

Apostolic Fathers


A four gospel canon (the Tetramorph) was asserted by Irenaeus
Irenaeus
Saint Irenaeus , was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire . He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology...

, "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'" By the early 200s, Origen of Alexandria may have been using the same 27 books found in modern New Testament editions, though there were still disputes over the canonicity of Hebrews, James, II Peter, II and III John, and Revelation (see also Antilegomena
Antilegomena
Antilegomena, a direct transliteration from the Greek , refers to written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed.Eusebius in his Church History written c. 325 used the term for those Christian scriptures that were "disputed" or literally those works which were "spoken against" in Early...

). Likewise by 200 the Muratorian fragment
Muratorian fragment
The Muratorian fragment is a copy of perhaps the oldest known list of the books of the New Testament. The fragment, consisting of 85 lines, is a 7th-century Latin manuscript bound in an eighth or 7th century codex that came from the library of Columban's monastery at Bobbio; it contains internal...

 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. 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.

Alexandrian Fathers


In his Easter letter of 367, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, gave a list of exactly the same books that would become the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 canon, and he used the phrase "being canonized" (kanonizomena) in regards to them.
Athanasius also included the Book of Baruch
Book of Baruch
The Book of Baruch, occasionally referred to as 1 Baruch, is called a deuterocanonical book of the Bible. Although not in the Hebrew Bible, it is found in the Septuagint and in the Vulgate Bible, and also in Theodotion's version. It is grouped with the prophetical books which also include Isaiah,...

 and the Letter of Jeremiah in the canon. He also omitted the book of Esther
Esther
Esther , born Hadassah, is the eponymous heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther.According to the Bible, she was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus...

 from the canon.

Latin Fathers


The first council that accepted the present Catholic canon (the Canon of Trent
Canon of Trent
Though many canons or canon laws were formulated as a result of the 16th century Ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church known as the Council of Trent, the phrase Canon of Trent usually refers to the list of biblical books that were from then on to be considered canonical...

) may have been the Synod of Hippo Regius
Synod of Hippo
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....

 in North Africa (AD 393); the acts of this council, however, are lost. A brief summary of the acts was read at and accepted by the Councils of Carthage
Councils of Carthage
Councils of Carthage, also referred to as Synods of Carthage were church synods held during the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries in the town of Carthage in Africa...

 in 397 and 419. These councils were under the authority of St. Augustine
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

, who regarded the canon as already closed. Pope Damasus I
Pope Damasus I
Pope Saint Damasus I was the bishop of Rome from 366 to 384.He was born around 305, probably near the city of Idanha-a-Velha , in what is present-day Portugal, then part of the Western Roman Empire...

's Council of Rome
Council of Rome
The Council of Rome was a meeting of Christian Church officials and theologians which took place in 382 under the authority of the bishop of Rome, Damasus I. The previous year, the Emperor Theodosius I had appointed the "dark horse" candidate Nectarius Archbishop of Constantinople...

 in 382, if the Decretum Gelasianum
Decretum Gelasianum
The so-called Decretum Gelasianum or Gelasian Decree was traditionally attributed to the prolific Pope Gelasius I, bishop of Rome 492–496. In surviving manuscripts the Decretal exists on its own and also appended to a list of books of Scripture titled as attested as canonical by a Council of...

is correctly associated with it, issued a biblical canon identical to that mentioned above, or if not the list is at least a 6th century compilation. Likewise, Damasus' commissioning of the Latin Vulgate
Vulgate
The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

 edition of the Bible, c. 383, was instrumental in the fixation of the canon in the West. In 405, Pope Innocent I
Pope Innocent I
-Biography:He was, according to his biographer in the Liber Pontificalis, the son of a man called Innocens of Albano; but according to his contemporary Jerome, his father was Pope Anastasius I , whom he was called by the unanimous voice of the clergy and laity to succeed -Biography:He was,...

 sent a list of the sacred books to a Gallic bishop, Exsuperius of Toulouse
Exuperius
Saint Exuperius was Bishop of Toulouse at the beginning of the 5th century.His place and date of birth are unknown. Upon succeeding Saint Sylvius as bishop of Toulouse, he completed the Basilica of St. Sernin, begun by his predecessor...

. When these bishops and councils spoke on the matter, however, they were not defining something new, but instead "were ratifying what had already become the mind of the Church." Thus, from the 4th century, there existed unanimity in the West
Western Christianity
Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

 concerning the New Testament canon (as it is today), and by the 5th century the East
Eastern Christianity
Eastern Christianity comprises the Christian traditions and churches that developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa, India and parts of the Far East over several centuries of religious antiquity. The term is generally used in Western Christianity to...

, with a few exceptions, had come to accept the Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

 and thus had come into harmony on the matter of the New Testament canon.

Ethiopian and Syriac Churches



Some Christian groups do not accept the theory that the Christian Bible was not known until various local and Ecumenical Councils, which they deem to be "Roman-dominated", made their official declarations. For example, the Ethiopian and Syriac Christian churches which did not participate in these councils developed their own Biblical traditions. These groups believe that, in spite of the disagreements about certain books in early Christianity and, indeed, still today, the New Testament supports the view that Paul (2 Timothy 4:11–13), Peter (2 Peter 3:15–16, although it seems that not all the Syriac Church Fathers accepted this book itself as canonical, and indeed it appears the Syriac Bible
Peshitta
The Peshitta is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition.The Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from the Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD...

 initially lacked all of the Catholic epistles as well as John's Revelation), and ultimately John (Revelation 22:18–19, but see the previous note) finalized the canon of the New Testament.

Luther's canon



Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 made an attempt to remove the books of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from the canon (echoing the consensus of several Catholics, also labeled Christian Humanists
Christian humanism
Christian humanism is the position that universal human dignity and individual freedom are essential and principal components of, or are at least compatible with, Christian doctrine and practice. It is a philosophical union of Christian and humanist principles.- Origins :Christian humanism may have...

 — such as Cardinal Ximenez, Cardinal Cajetan, and Erasmus — and partially because they were perceived to go against certain Protestant doctrines such as sola scriptura
Sola scriptura
Sola scriptura is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, sola scriptura demands that only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within or indirectly by using valid logical deduction or valid...

 and sola fide
Sola fide
Sola fide , also historically known as the doctrine of justification by faith alone, is a Christian theological doctrine that distinguishes most Protestant denominations from Catholicism, Eastern Christianity, and some in the Restoration Movement.The doctrine of sola fide or "by faith alone"...

), but this was not generally accepted among his followers. However, these books are ordered last in the German-language
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 Luther Bible
Luther Bible
The Luther Bible is a German Bible translation by Martin Luther, first printed with both testaments in 1534. This translation became a force in shaping the Modern High German language. The project absorbed Luther's later years. The new translation was very widely disseminated thanks to the printing...

 to this day. In addition, Luther moved the books that later became the Deuterocanonicals into a section he called the Apocrypha.

Evangelical Protestant view



Evangelicals accept the original texts in Hebrew and Aramaic as the inspired Hebrew Bible, rather than the Septuagint translation into Greek, though many recognize the latter's wide use by Greek-speaking Jews
Hellenistic Judaism
Hellenistic Judaism was a movement which existed in the Jewish diaspora that sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism...

 in the 1st century. They note that early Christians evidenced a knowledge of a canon of Scripture, based upon internal evidence, as well as by the existence of a list of Old Testament books by Melito of Sardis
Melito of Sardis
Melito of Sardis was the bishop of Sardis near Smyrna in western Anatolia, and a great authority in Early Christianity: Jerome, speaking of the Old Testament canon established by Melito, quotes Tertullian to the effect that he was esteemed a prophet by many of the faithful...

, compiled around 170
170s
-Significant people:* Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor* Caerellius Priscus, governor of Roman Britain...

 AD (see Melito's canon
Melito's canon
Melito's canon is the name of the biblical canon attributed to Melito of Sardis, one of the early Church Fathers of the 2nd century.-Earliest Christian canon of the Old Testament:...

).

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


The basic factor for recognizing a book's canonicity for the New Testament was divine inspiration, and the chief test for this was apostolicity. The term "apostolic" as used for the test of canonicity does not necessarily mean apostolic authorship or derivation, but rather "apostolic authority". According to these Protestants, "apostolic authority" is never detached from the authority of the Lord. See Apostolic succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

.

Old Testament

Western Tradition Eastern Orthodox Tradition Oriental Orthodox Tradition Assyrian Eastern Tradition
Books Protestant Catholic Greek Orthodox Slavonic Orthodox Georgian Orthodox Armenian Apostolic Syriac Orthodox Coptic Orthodox Ethiopian Orthodox Assyrian Church of the East
Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

Joshua
Book of Joshua
The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. Its 24 chapters tell of the entry of the Israelites into Canaan, their conquest and division of the land under the leadership of Joshua, and of serving God in the land....

Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

Ruth
Book of Ruth
The Book of Ruth is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh, or Old Testament. In the Jewish canon the Book of Ruth is included in the third division, or the Writings . In the Christian canon the Book of Ruth is placed between Judges and 1 Samuel...

Samuel
Books of Samuel
The Books of Samuel in the Jewish bible are part of the Former Prophets, , a theological history of the Israelites affirming and explaining the Torah under the guidance of the prophets.Samuel begins by telling how the prophet Samuel is chosen by...


As 1 and 2 Samuel
Kings
Books of Kings
The Book of Kings presents a narrative history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years...


As 1 and 2 Kings
Chronicles
Books of Chronicles
The Books of Chronicles are part of the Hebrew Bible. In the Masoretic Text, it appears as the first or last book of the Ketuvim . Chronicles largely parallels the Davidic narratives in the Books of Samuel and the Books of Kings...

Prayer of Manasseh
Prayer of Manasseh
The Prayer of Manasseh is a short work of 15 verses of the penitential prayer of king Manasseh of Judah. Manasseh is recorded in the Bible as one of the most idolatrous kings of Judah . Chronicles, but not Kings, records that Manasseh was taken captive by the Assyrians...


(Apocrypha)
No
(appendix)

historic

part of 2 Chronicles
Ezra
Book of Ezra
The Book of Ezra is a book of the Hebrew Bible. Originally combined with the Book of Nehemiah in a single book of Ezra-Nehemiah, the two became separated in the early centuries of the Christian era...


(1 Esdras)

(Esdras B)

(1 Esdras)

(1 Ezra)
Nehemiah
Book of Nehemiah
The Book of Nehemiah is a book of the Hebrew Bible. Told largely in the form of a first-person memoir, it concerns the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, a Jew who is a high official at the Persian court, and the dedication of the city and its people to God's laws...


(2 Esdras)

(Esdras B)
1 Esdras (Greek Ezra)
(Apocrypha)
No
(3 Esdras)

(Esdras A)

(2 Esdras)

(2 Ezra)

(2nd Ezra)
2 Esdras (Latin Ezra)
(Apocrypha)

(4 Esdras)

3 Esdras
(Appendix)

3 Esdras

3Ezra

4 Ezra

Ezra Sutuel
Esther
Book of Esther
The Book of Esther is a book in the Ketuvim , the third section of the Jewish Tanakh and is part of the Christian Old Testament. The Book of Esther or the Megillah is the basis for the Jewish celebration of Purim...

Additions to Esther/ Esther Greek
(Apocrypha)

historic
Tobit
Book of Tobit
The Book of Tobit is a book of scripture that is part of the Catholic and Orthodox biblical canon, pronounced canonical by the Council of Carthage of 397 and confirmed for Roman Catholics by the Council of Trent...


(Apocrypha)

historic
Judith
(Apocrypha)

historic
Job
Job (Biblical figure)
Job is the central character of the Book of Job in the Hebrew Bible. Job is listed as a prophet of God in the Qur'an.- Book of Job :The Book of Job begins with an introduction to Job's character — he is described as a blessed man who lives righteously...

Psalms 1–150
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

Psalm 151
Psalm 151
Psalm 151 is the name given to a short psalm that is found in most copies of the Septuagint but not in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible. The title given to this psalm in the Septuagint indicates that it is supernumerary, and no number is affixed to it: "This Psalm is ascribed to David and...

No
(appendix)

historic
Psalm 152–5 No – inc. in some mss. No – inc. in some mss.
Lamentations
Book of Lamentations
The Book of Lamentations ) is a poetic book of the Hebrew Bible composed by the Jewish prophet Jeremiah. It mourns the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple in the 6th Century BCE....

Proverbs
Book of Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs , commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is a book of the Hebrew Bible.The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is "Míshlê Shlomoh" . When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint the title became "paroimai paroimiae"...


in 2 books
Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes
The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...

Song of Songs (Song of Solomon)
Song of Solomon
The Song of Songs of Solomon, commonly referred to as Song of Songs or Song of Solomon, is a book of the Hebrew Bible—one of the megillot —found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim...

Book of Wisdom
Book of Wisdom
The Book of Wisdom, often referred to simply as Wisdom or the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, is one of the deuterocanonical books of the Bible. It is one of the seven Sapiential or wisdom books of the Septuagint Old Testament, which includes Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon ,...


(Apocrypha)

historic
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)
(Apocrypha)

historic
Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

Jeremiah
Jeremiah
Jeremiah Hebrew:יִרְמְיָה , Modern Hebrew:Yirməyāhū, IPA: jirməˈjaːhu, Tiberian:Yirmĭyahu, Greek:Ἰερεμίας), meaning "Yahweh exalts", or called the "Weeping prophet" was one of the main prophets of the Hebrew Bible...

Baruch
Book of Baruch
The Book of Baruch, occasionally referred to as 1 Baruch, is called a deuterocanonical book of the Bible. Although not in the Hebrew Bible, it is found in the Septuagint and in the Vulgate Bible, and also in Theodotion's version. It is grouped with the prophetical books which also include Isaiah,...


(Apocrypha)

historic
Letter of Jeremiah
(Apocrypha)

Chapter 6 of Baruch

historic

Rest of Jeremiah
2 Baruch
2 Baruch
2 Baruch is a Jewish pseudepigraphical text thought to have been written in the late 1st century CE or early 2nd century CE, after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. It is attributed to the Biblical Baruch and so is associated with the Old Testament, but not regarded as scripture by Jews or by...

No – inc. in some mss. No – inc. in some mss.
Letter of Baruch No – inc. in some mss. No – inc. in some mss.
4 Baruch
4 Baruch
The Rest of the Words of Baruch or Paralipomena of Baruch is the pseudepigraphical text that appears in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Old Testament Biblical canon...


Rest of Baruch
Ezekiel
Ezekiel
Ezekiel , "God will strengthen" , is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Ezekiel is acknowledged as a Hebrew prophet...

Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

Additions to Daniel
Additions to Daniel
The Additions to Daniel comprise three chapters not found in the Hebrew/Aramaic text of Daniel. The text of these chapters is found in the Greek Septuagint and in the earlier Old Greek translation. They are accepted as canonical and translated as such in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and...


(Apocrypha)

historic
Twelve Prophets
Minor prophet
Minor prophets is a book of the Hebrew Bible, so named because it contains twelve shorter prophetic works. In Christian Bibles the twelve are presented as individual books...

1 Maccabees
1 Maccabees
The First book of Maccabees is a book written in Hebrew by a Jewish author after the restoration of an independent Jewish kingdom, about the latter part of the 2nd century BC. The original Hebrew is lost and the most important surviving version is the Greek translation contained in the Septuagint...


(Apocrypha)

(historic)
2 Maccabees
2 Maccabees
2 Maccabees is a deuterocanonical book of the Bible, which focuses on the Jews' revolt against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and concludes with the defeat of the Syrian general Nicanor in 161 BC by Judas Maccabeus, the hero of the work....


(Apocrypha)

historic
3 Maccabees
3 Maccabees
The book of the 3 Maccabees is found in most Orthodox Bibles as a part of the Anagignoskomena, while Protestants and Catholics consider it non-canonical, except the Moravian Brethren who included it in the Apocrypha of the Czech Kralicka Bible...

No
(appendix)
No – inc. in some mss. No – inc. in some mss.
4 Maccabees
4 Maccabees
The book of 4 Maccabees is a homily or philosophic discourse praising the supremacy of pious reason over passion. It is not in the Bible for most churches, but is an appendix to the Greek Bible, and in the canon of the Georgian Bible...

No
(appendix)
No
(appendix)
No (appendix) No – inc. in some mss. No – inc. in some mss.
Enoch
Book of Enoch
The Book of Enoch is an ancient Jewish religious work, traditionally ascribed to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. It is not part of the biblical canon as used by Jews, apart from Beta Israel...

Jubilees
Jubilees
The Book of Jubilees , sometimes called Lesser Genesis , is an ancient Jewish religious work, considered one of the pseudepigrapha by Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Churches...

1-3 Meqabyan
Meqabyan
I, II, and III Meqabyan are three books in the Ethiopian Orthodox Old Testament Biblical canon....



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

New Testament

Books Protestant Tradition Roman Catholic Tradition Eastern Orthodox Tradition Oriental Orthodox
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

 Tradition
Syriac and Assyrian Church of the East Tradition Original Language (Koine Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

)
Canonical Gospels
Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

Greek (?)
Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

Greek
Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

Greek
John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

Greek
Apostolic History
Apostolic Age
The Apostolic Age of the history of Christianity is traditionally the period of the Twelve Apostles, dating from the Crucifixion of Jesus and the Great Commission in Jerusalem until the death of John the Apostle in Anatolia...

Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

Greek
Pauline Epistles
Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

Romans
Epistle to the Romans
The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by the Apostle Paul to explain that Salvation is offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ...

Greek
1 Corinthians
First Epistle to the Corinthians
The first epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians , is the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible...

Greek
2 Corinthians
Second Epistle to the Corinthians
The second epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as Second Corinthians , is the eighth book of the New Testament of the Bible...

Greek
Galatians
Epistle to the Galatians
The Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, often shortened to Galatians, is the ninth book of the New Testament. It is a letter from Paul of Tarsus to a number of Early Christian communities in the Roman province of Galatia in central Anatolia...

Greek
Ephesians
Epistle to the Ephesians
The Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, often shortened to Ephesians, is the tenth book of the New Testament. Its authorship has traditionally been credited to Paul, but it is considered by some scholars to be "deutero-Pauline," that is, written in Paul's name by a later author strongly influenced by...

Greek
Philippians
Epistle to the Philippians
The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, usually referred to simply as Philippians, is the eleventh book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was written by St. Paul to the church of Philippi, an early center of Christianity in Greece around 62 A.D. Other scholars argue for an...

Greek
Colossians
Epistle to the Colossians
The Epistle of Paul to the Colossians, usually referred to simply as Colossians, is the 12th book of the New Testament. It was written, according to the text, by Paul the Apostle to the Church in Colossae, a small Phrygian city near Laodicea and approximately 100 miles from Ephesus in Asia...

Greek
1 Thessalonians
First Epistle to the Thessalonians
The First Epistle to the Thessalonians, usually referred to simply as First Thessalonians and often written 1 Thessalonians, is a book from the New Testament of the Christian Bible....

Greek
2 Thessalonians
Second Epistle to the Thessalonians
The Second Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians, often referred to as Second Thessalonians and written 2 Thessalonians, is a book from the New Testament of the Christian Bible...

Greek
1 Timothy
First Epistle to Timothy
The First Epistle of Paul to Timothy, usually referred to simply as First Timothy and often written 1 Timothy, is one of three letters in the New Testament of the Bible often grouped together as the Pastoral Epistles, the others being Second Timothy and Titus...

Greek
2 Timothy
Second Epistle to Timothy
The Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy, usually referred to simply as Second Timothy and often written 2 Timothy, is one of the three Pastoral Epistles traditionally attributed to Saint Paul, and is part of the New Testament...

Greek
Titus
Epistle to Titus
The Epistle of Paul to Titus, usually referred to simply as Titus, is one of the three Pastoral Epistles , traditionally attributed to Saint Paul, and is part of the New Testament...

Greek
Philemon
Epistle to Philemon
Paul's Epistle to Philemon, usually referred to simply as Philemon, is a prison letter to Philemon from Paul of Tarsus. Philemon was a leader in the Colossian church. This letter, which is one of the books of the New Testament, deals with forgiveness.Philemon was a wealthy Christian of the house...

Greek
General Epistles
General epistles
General epistles are books in the New Testament in the form of letters. They are termed "general" because for the most part their intended audience seems to be Christians in general rather than individual persons or congregations as is the case with the Pauline epistles...

Hebrews
Epistle to the Hebrews
The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the books in the New Testament. Its author is not known.The primary purpose of the Letter to the Hebrews is to exhort Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and his...

These four works were questioned or "spoken against
Antilegomena
Antilegomena, a direct transliteration from the Greek , refers to written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed.Eusebius in his Church History written c. 325 used the term for those Christian scriptures that were "disputed" or literally those works which were "spoken against" in Early...

" by Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, and he changed the order of his New Testament
Luther Bible
The Luther Bible is a German Bible translation by Martin Luther, first printed with both testaments in 1534. This translation became a force in shaping the Modern High German language. The project absorbed Luther's later years. The new translation was very widely disseminated thanks to the printing...

 to reflect this, but he did not leave them out, nor has any Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 body since. Traditional German Luther Bibles are still printed with the New Testament in this changed "Lutheran" order.
Greek (?)
James
Epistle of James
The Epistle of James, usually referred to simply as James, is a book in the New Testament. The author identifies himself as "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ", with "the earliest extant manuscripts of James usually dated to mid-to-late third century."There are four views...

Greek
1 Peter
First Epistle of Peter
The First Epistle of Peter, usually referred to simply as First Peter and often written 1 Peter, is a book of the New Testament. The author claims to be Saint Peter the apostle, and the epistle was traditionally held to have been written during his time as bishop of Rome or Bishop of Antioch,...

Greek
2 Peter
Second Epistle of Peter
The Second Epistle of Peter, often referred to as Second Peter and written 2 Peter or in Roman numerals II Peter , is a book of the New Testament of the Bible, traditionally ascribed to Saint Peter, but in modern times NT scholars regard it as pseudepigraphical.It is the first New Testament book...

The Peshitta
Peshitta
The Peshitta is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition.The Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from the Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD...

 excludes 2–3 John, 2 Peter, Jude, and Revelation, but Bibles of the modern Syriac Orthodox Church
Syriac Orthodox Church
The Syriac Orthodox Church; is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church based in the Eastern Mediterranean, with members spread throughout the world. The Syriac Orthodox Church claims to derive its origin from one of the first Christian communities, established in Antioch by the Apostle St....

 include later translations of those books. Still today the official lectionary
Lectionary
A Lectionary is a book or listing that contains a collection of scripture readings appointed for Christian or Judaic worship on a given day or occasion.-History:...

 followed by the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Church of the East, present lessons from only the twenty-two books of Peshitta, the version to which appeal is made for the settlement of doctrinal questions.
Greek
1 John
First Epistle of John
The First Epistle of John, often referred to as First John and written 1 John, is a book of the New Testament. This fourth catholic or "general" epistle is attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two Epistles of John. This...

Greek
2 John
Second Epistle of John
The Second Epistle of John, often referred to as Second John and often written 2 John, is a book of the New Testament attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two epistles of John.- Composition :The language of this epistle is...

Greek
3 John
Third Epistle of John
The Third Epistle of John, often referred to as Third John and written 3 John, is a book of the New Testament attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two epistles of John...

Greek
Jude
Epistle of Jude
The Epistle of Jude, often shortened to Jude, is the penultimate book of the New Testament and is attributed to Jude, the brother of James the Just. - Composition :...

Greek
Apocalypse
Apocalypse
An Apocalypse is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament...

Book of Revelation/ Apocalypse
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

Greek



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

The Didache
Didache
The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles is a brief early Christian treatise, dated by most scholars to the late first or early 2nd century...

, Shepherd of Hermas as well as other letters allegedly written by the Apostolic Fathers
Apostolic Fathers
The Apostolic Fathers are a small number of Early Christian authors who lived and wrote in the second half of the first century and the first half of the second century. They are acknowledged as leaders in the early church, although their writings were not included in the New Testament...

 were once considered scriptural by some of the early Church fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

. They are still being honored in the Catholic tradition, as is the Proto-Evangelion, although these books are not considered canonical in any tradition.

The Third Epistle to the Corinthians
Third Epistle to the Corinthians
The Third Epistle to the Corinthians is believed to be a pseudepigraphical text under the name of Paul of Tarsus. It is also found in the Acts of Paul, and was framed as Paul's response to the Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul. The earliest extant copy is Bodmer Papyrus X.In the West it was not...

 and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs is a constituent of the apocryphal scriptures connected with the Bible. It is a pseudepigraphical work comprising the dying commands of the twelve sons of Jacob. It is part of the Oscan Armenian Orthodox Bible of 1666. Fragments of similar writings were...

 were once considered part of the Armenian Orthodox Bible, but are no longer printed with modern editions. The Epistle to the Laodiceans
Epistle to the Laodiceans
An Epistle to the Laodiceans, purportedly written by Paul of Tarsus to the Laodicean Church, is mentioned in the canonical Epistle to the Colossians...

 was once part of the Latin Vulgate and was included in John Wycliffe's English translation.

Full dogmatic articulations of the canons were not made until the Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 of 1546 for Roman Catholicism, the Thirty-Nine Articles
Thirty-Nine Articles
The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are the historically defining statements of doctrines of the Anglican church with respect to the controversies of the English Reformation. First established in 1563, the articles served to define the doctrine of the nascent Church of England as it related to...

 of 1563 for the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 and the Synod of Jerusalem
Synod of Jerusalem
The Synod of Jerusalem was convened by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Dositheos Notaras in March, 1672. Because the occasion was the consecration of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, it is also called the Synod of Bethlehem....

 of 1672 for the Greek Orthodox.

Open canons



The Standard Works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) consists of several books that constitute its open
Continuous revelation
Continuous revelation or continuing revelation is a theological belief or position that God continues to reveal divine principles or commandments to humanity...

 scriptural canon, and include the following:
  • The King James Version of the Bible
    King James Version of the Bible
    The Authorized Version, commonly known as the King James Version, King James Bible or KJV, is an English translation of the Christian Bible by the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611...

  • The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ
    Book of Mormon
    The Book of Mormon is a sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement that adherents believe contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from approximately 2600 BC to AD 421. It was first published in March 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr...

  • The Doctrine and Covenants
    Doctrine and Covenants
    The Doctrine and Covenants is a part of the open scriptural canon of several denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement...

     of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • The Pearl of Great Price
    Pearl of Great Price (Mormonism)
    The Pearl of Great Price is part of the standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and some other Latter Day Saint denominations....



The manuscripts of the unfinished Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible
Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible
The Joseph Smith Translation , also called the Inspired Version , was a revision of the Bible by Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. Smith considered this work to be "a branch of his calling" as a prophet. Smith was murdered before he ever deemed it complete, though most of...

 (JST) state that "the Song of Solomon is not inspired scripture," and therefore it is not included in LDS canon and rarely studied by members of the LDS church. However, it is still printed in every version of the King James Bible published by the church.

The Standard Works are printed and distributed by the LDS church in a single binding called a "Quadruple Combination" or a set of two books, with the Bible in one binding
LDS edition of the Bible
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints publishes editions of the Bible in English and Spanish that it encourages its members to use. The text of the LDS Church's English-language Bible is the Authorized King James Version and the church's Spanish-language Bible is a revised Reina-Valera...

, and the other three books in a second binding called a "Triple Combination". Current editions of the Standard Works include a bible dictionary
Bible Dictionary (LDS Church)
Bible Dictionary is an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . Since 1979, Bible Dictionary has been published as an appendix to most copies of the King James Version of the Bible printed by the LDS Church. The dictionary contains 1285 entries on 196 pages...

, photographs, maps and gazetteer
Gazetteer
A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary or directory, an important reference for information about places and place names , used in conjunction with a map or a full atlas. It typically contains information concerning the geographical makeup of a country, region, or continent as well as the social...

, topical guide, index, footnotes, cross references, excerpts from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible
Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible
The Joseph Smith Translation , also called the Inspired Version , was a revision of the Bible by Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. Smith considered this work to be "a branch of his calling" as a prophet. Smith was murdered before he ever deemed it complete, though most of...

 and other study aids.

See also


  • Books of the Bible
    Books of the Bible
    The Books of the Bible are listed differently in the canons of Judaism and the Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Slavonic Orthodox, Georgian, Armenian Apostolic, Syriac and Ethiopian churches, although there is substantial overlap. A table comparing the canons of some of these traditions...

     for a side-by-side comparison of Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant canons.
  • Canon (fiction)
    Canon (fiction)
    In the context of a work of fiction, the term canon denotes the material accepted as "official" in a fictional universe's fan base. It is often contrasted with, or used as the basis for, works of fan fiction, which are not considered canonical...

     – a concept inspired by Biblical canon
  • Chinese Buddhist canon
    Chinese Buddhist canon
    The Chinese Buddhist Canon refers to the total body of Buddhist literature deemed canonical in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese Buddhism...

  • Daozang
    Daozang
    Daozang , meaning "Treasury of Dao" or "Daoist Canon", consists of around 1400 texts that were collected circa C.E. 400...

     (Taoist canon)
  • Quran
  • New Testament apocrypha
    New Testament apocrypha
    The New Testament apocrypha are a number of writings by early Christians that claim to be accounts of Jesus and his teachings, the nature of God, or the teachings of his apostles and of their lives. These writings often have links with books regarded as "canonical"...

  • Non-canonical books referenced in the Bible
    Non-canonical books referenced in the Bible
    The non-canonical books in this article include Biblical apocrypha and Deuterocanonical books , Pseudepigrapha, writings from Hellenistic and other non-Biblical cultures, and lost works of known or unknown status...

  • Pāli Canon
    Pāli Canon
    The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, as preserved in the Pāli language. It is the only completely surviving early Buddhist canon, and one of the first to be written down...

  • Tanakh
    Tanakh
    The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

     - the canon of the Hebrew Bible
  • Tibetan Buddhist canon
    Tibetan Buddhist canon
    The Tibetan Buddhist canon is a loosely defined list of sacred texts recognized by various sects of Tibetan Buddhism. In addition to sutrayana texts from Early Buddhist and Mahayana sources, the Tibetan canon includes tantric texts...

  • Tripiṭaka
    Tripiṭaka
    ' is a traditional term used by various Buddhist sects to describe their various canons of scriptures. As the name suggests, a traditionally contains three "baskets" of teachings: a , a and an .-The three categories:Tripitaka is the three main categories of texts that make up the...


Further reading

  • Barnstone, Willis (ed.) The Other Bible: Ancient Alternative Scriptures. HarperCollins, 1984, ISBN 978-0-7394-8434-0.
  • Childs, Brevard S.
    Brevard Childs
    Brevard Springs Childs was Professor of Old Testament at Yale University from 1958 until 1999 , and one of the most influential biblical scholars of the 20th century....

    , The New Testament as canon: an introduction ISBN 0-334-02212-6
  • Gamble, Harry Y., The New Testament canon: its making and meaning ISBN 0-8006-0470-9
  • McDonald, Lee Martin, Forgotten Scriptures. the Selection and Rejection of Early Religious Writings, 2009, ISBN 978-0-664-23357-0
  • McDonald, Lee Martin, The formation of the Christian biblical canon ISBN 0-687-13293-2
  • McDonald, Lee Martin, Early Christianity and its sacred literature ISBN 1-56563-266-4
  • McDonald, Lee Martin, The Biblical canon: its origin, transmission, and authority ISBN 978-1-56563-925-6
  • McDonald, Lee Martin, and James A. Sanders (eds.) The canon debate ISBN 1-56563-517-5
  • Metzger, Bruce Manning
    Bruce Metzger
    Bruce Manning Metzger was a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and Bible editor who served on the board of the American Bible Society. He was a scholar of Greek, New Testament and Old Testament, and wrote prolifically on these subjects.- Biography :Metzger was born in Middletown,...

    , The Canon of the New Testament: its origin, development, and significance ISBN 0-19-826180-2
  • Souter, Alexander
    Alexander Souter
    Alexander Souter was a Scottish biblical scholar.-Biography:Souter was born in Perth, and studied at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Cambridge. He subsequently became a Latin assistant at Aberdeen. While at Cambridge he studied under J. E. B...

    , The text and canon of the New Testament, 2nd. ed., Studies in theology; no. 25. London: Duckworth (1954)
  • Ned Bernhard Stonehouse, The Apocalypse in the Ancient Church: A Study in the History of the New Testament Canon, 1929
  • Wall, Robert W., The New Testament as canon: a reader in canonical criticism ISBN 1-85075-374-1
  • Westcott, Brooke Foss, A general survey of the history of the canon of the New Testament, 4th. ed, London: Macmillan (1875)

External links