Development of the Christian Biblical canon


Development of the Christian Biblical canon

The Biblical canon is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and thus constituting the Christian Bible. The Christian Biblical Canon consists of the canons of the Old and New Testaments.

Development of the Old Testament canon

The Old Testament (sometimes abbreviated OT) is the first section of the two-part Christian Biblical canon, which includes the books of the Hebrew Bible as well as several Deuterocanonical books. Its exact contents differ in the various Christian denominations.

The Protestant Old Testament is, for the most part, identical with the Hebrew Bible. The differences between the Hebrew Bible and the Protestant Old Testament are minor, dealing only with the arrangement and number of the books. For example, while the Hebrew Bible considers Kings to be a unified text, the Protestant Old Testament divides it into two books. Similarly, Ezra and Nehemiah are considered to be one book in the Hebrew Bible.

The differences between the Hebrew Bible and other versions of the Old Testament such as the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac, Latin, Greek and other canons, are greater. Many of these canons include books and even sections of books that the others do not. For a full discussion of these differences, see Books of the Bible.

Following Jerome's "Veritas Hebraica", the Protestant Old Testament consists of the same books as the Hebrew Bible, but the order and numbering of the books are different. Protestants number the Old Testament books at 39, while the Jews number the same books as 24. This is because the Jews consider Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles to form one book each, group the 12 minor prophets into one book, and also consider Ezra and Nehemiah a single book.

The traditional explanation of the development of the Old Testament canon describes two sets of Old Testament books, the protocanonical and the deuterocanonical books. According to this theory, certain Church fathers accepted the inclusion of the apocryphal books based on their inclusion in the Septuagint, while others disputed their status and did not accept them as divinely inspired scripture. Michael Barber argues that this reconstruction is grossly inaccurate. [cite web |first= Michael |last=Barber |url=http://singinginthereign.blogspot.com/2006/03/loose-canons-development-of-old.html |title=Loose Canons: The Development of the Old Testament (Part 1) |date=2006-03-04 |accessdate=2007-08-01]

Development of the New Testament canon

Although the Early Church used the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint (LXX), the apostles did not otherwise leave a defined set of new scriptures; instead the New Testament developed over time. The development of the New Testament canon was, like that of the Old Testament, a gradual process.

The writings attributed to the apostles circulated amongst the earliest Christian communities. The Pauline epistles were circulating in collected form by the end of the first century AD. Justin Martyr, in the early second century, mentions the "memoirs of the apostles," which Christians called "gospels" and which were regarded as on par with the Old Testament. [ Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon," in "The Canon Debate". eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) pp. 302–303; cf. Justin Martyr, "First Apology" 67.3] A four gospel canon (the "Tetramorph") was in place by the time of Irenaeus, "c". 160, who refers to it directly. [Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon," in "The Canon Debate". eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) pp. 301; cf. Irenaeus, "Adversus Haereses" 3.11.8] He also quotes and cites 21 books that would end up as part of the New Testament, the excluded ones being Philemon, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 3 John and Jude.Fact|date=March 2008 By the early 200's, Origen of Alexandria may have been using the same 27 books as in the modern New Testament, though there were still disputes over the canonicity of Hebrews, James, II Peter, II and III John, and Revelation [Both points taken from Mark A. Noll's "Turning Points", (Baker Academic, 1997) pp 36–37] , see also Antilegomena. Likewise by 200 the Muratorian fragment shows that there existed a set of Christian writings somewhat similar to what is now the New Testament, which included four gospels and argued against objections to them. [H. J. De Jonge, "The New Testament Canon," in "The Biblical Canons". eds. de Jonge & J. M. Auwers (Leuven University Press, 2003) p. 315] 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 second century. ["The Cambridge History of the Bible" (volume 1) eds. P. R. Ackroyd and C. F. Evans (Cambridge University Press, 1970) p. 308]

In his Easter letter of 367, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, gave a list of exactly the same books as what would become the New Testament canon, [cite book|title=A Brief History of Christianity|first=Carter|last=Lindberg|pages=15|year=2006|publisher=Blackwell Publishing|id=ISBN 1405110783] and he used the word "canonized" ("kanonizomena") in regards to them. [David Brakke, "Canon Formation and Social Conflict in Fourth Century Egypt: Athanasius of Alexandria's Thirty Ninth Festal Letter," in "Harvard Theological Review" 87 (1994) pp. 395–419] The African Synod of Hippo, in 393, approved the New Testament, as it stands today, together with the Septuagint books, a decision that was confirmed by Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419. These councils were under the authority of St. Augustine, who regarded the canon as already closed. [ Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon," in "The Canon Debate". eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) p. 320; F. F. Bruce, "The Canon of Scripture" (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 230; cf. Augustine, "De Civitate Dei" 22.8] Pope Damasus I's Council of Rome in 382, if the "Decretum Gelasianum" is correctly associated with it, issued a biblical canon identical to that mentioned above, [cite book|title=A Brief History of Christianity|first=Carter|last=Lindberg|pages=15|year=2006|publisher=Blackwell Publishing|id=ISBN 1405110783] or if not the list is at least a sixth century compilation. [ F. F. Bruce, "The Canon of Scripture" (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 234] Likewise, Damasus's commissioning of the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible, circa 383, was instrumental in the fixation of the canon in the West. [ F. F. Bruce, "The Canon of Scripture" (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 225] In 405, Pope Innocent I sent a list of the sacred books to a Gallic bishop, Exsuperius of Toulouse. When these bishops and councils spoke on the matter, however, they were not defining something new, but instead "were ratifying what had already become the mind of the Church." [ Everett Ferguson, "Factors leading to the Selection and Closure of the New Testament Canon," in "The Canon Debate". eds. L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002) p. 320; Bruce Metzger, "The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origins, Development, and Significance" (Oxford: Clarendon, 1987) pp. 237–238; F. F. Bruce, "The Canon of Scripture" (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 97]

Thus, from the fourth century, there existed unanimity in the West concerning the New Testament canon (as it is today), [F. F. Bruce, "The Canon of Scripture" (Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 215] and by the fifth century the Eastern Church, with a few exceptions, had come to accept the Book of Revelation and thus had come into harmony on the matter of the canon. ["The Cambridge History of the Bible" (volume 1) eds. P. R. Ackroyd and C. F. Evans (Cambridge University Press, 1970) p. 305; cf. the Catholic Encyclopedia, " [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03274a.htm Canon of the New Testament] "] However, the official finalization of the canon was not made until the Council of Trent of 1546 for Roman Catholicism, [Catholic Encyclopedia, " [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03274a.htm Canon of the New Testament] "] the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563 for the Church of England, the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647 for Calvinism, and the Synod of Jerusalem of 1672 for the Greek Orthodox.

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Canon - получить на Академике рабочий купон на скидку Ашан или выгодно canon купить с бесплатной доставкой на распродаже в Ашан

  • Development of the Christian biblical canon — Bible portal The Christian Biblical canon is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the Christian Bible. Books included in the Christian Biblical canons of both the Old and New Testament were decided at the… …   Wikipedia

  • Development of the Jewish Bible canon — This article is about the selection of the books which make up the Tanakh. For the fixing of the text itself, see Masoretic Text. Part of a series on …   Wikipedia

  • Development of the New Testament canon — For the Jewish canon, see Development of the Jewish Bible canon. For the Old Testament canon, see Development of the Old Testament canon. Part of a series on …   Wikipedia

  • Development of the Old Testament canon — For the Jewish canon, see Development of the Jewish Bible canon. For the New Testament canon, see Development of the New Testament canon. Part of a series on …   Wikipedia

  • Biblical canon — Part of a series on The Bible …   Wikipedia

  • Christian biblical canons — For the Jewish canon, see Development of the Jewish Bible canon. For the Old Testament canon, see Development of the Old Testament canon. For the New Testament canon, see Development of the New Testament canon. Part of a series on …   Wikipedia

  • Origin and development of the Qur'an — The study of the origins and development of the Qur’an can be said to fall into two major schools of thought, the first being a traditionalist Muslim view and the later being a non traditionalist view.According to the traditionalist view, the Qur …   Wikipedia

  • Christian theology — The Prophetess Anna, Rembrandt, 1631 See also: History of Christian theology and Outline of Christian theology Christian doctrine redirects here. For the United States Court case known by that name, see G.L. Christian and associates v. US.… …   Wikipedia

  • Biblical apocrypha — This article is about a class of books included in some Bibles. For other books generally excluded from Bibles, see Apocrypha. Part of a series on The Bible …   Wikipedia

  • canon law — canon lawyer. the body of codified ecclesiastical law, esp. of the Roman Catholic Church as promulgated in ecclesiastical councils and by the pope. [1300 50; ME] * * * Body of laws established within Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy,… …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.