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The Many Canons of Holy Scriptures #365753
06/20/11 02:09 PM
06/20/11 02:09 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
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LibCath2000 Offline OP
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As most of us know, there are a wide variety of books considered to be canonical by the various churches of Apostolic origin (and to say noting of those churches not considered to be Apostolic)

Throughout the centuries the churches have held to multiple canons, often at the same time, and have through that time reworked their lists to their present forms.

I am aware that for the most part, almost all Christians, Catholic, Orthodox or otherwise would accept 27 books of the New Testament.

However, when it comes to the Old Testament the differences in canon become vast.

My question is; is there a sort of 'master list' of canonical texts (books) held by Roman Catholic/Eastern Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches today?

For among these churches, in their past, there may have been books once considered canonical but are by no authority considered to be canonical today.

I have found, in particular, the current canon of the Oriental Orthodox Old Testament to be difficult to ascertain. With the Armenians and Syriacs seeming to have their particular versions with distinct books, and not to mention the Ethiopians with their 'broad' and 'narrow' canons.

So again, I wonder if their is a list of all books currently considered to be canonical by these 'Apostolic' churches.

I would like to know if anyone could correct the list below, if there are any books listed that are not today considered canonical or if there are books missing- I would appreciate the info.


OLD TESTAMENT BOOKS

1. Genesis
2. Exodus
3. Leviticus
4. Numbers
5. Deuteronomy
6. Joshua
7. Judges
8. Ruth
9. 1 Samuel (1 Kingdoms)
10. 2 Samuel (2 Kingdoms)
11. 1 Kings (3 Kingdoms)
12. 2 Kings (4 Kingdoms)
13. 1 Chronicles
14. 2 Chronicles
15. Manasseh
16. Ezra
17. 1 Esdras
18. 2 Esdras
19. Nehemiah
20. Tobit
21. Judith
22. Esther
23. Esther (Greek)
24. I Maccabees
25. II Maccabees
26. III Maccabees
27. IV Maccabees
28. Job
29. Psalms
30. Psalm 151, 151.1 [Canonical?]
31. Proverbs
32. Ecclesiastes
33. Song of Songs
34. Wisdom
35. Sirach
36. Isaiah
37. Jeremiah
38. Lamentations
39. Baruch
40. Ezekiel
41. Azariah
42. Daniel
43. Susanna
44. Bel (and the Dragon)
45. Hosea
46. Joel
47. Amos
48. Obadiah
49. Jonah
50. Micah
51. Nahum
52. Habakkuk
53. Zephaniah
54. Haggai
55. Zechariah
56. Malachi
57. Letter (Epistle) of Jeremiah [Canonical?]
58. Enoch
59. Jubilees
60. 1 Clement [Canonical?]
61. Ascension of Isaiah [Canonical?]
62. Shepherd of Hermas
63. The Didache
64. Apocalypse of Baruch [Canonical?]
65. Josephus Ben Gorion (Jewish War VI)
66. 4 Baruch [Canonical?]
67. Odes of Solomon


New Testament
1. Matthew
2. Mark
3. Luke
4. John
5. Acts
6. Acts (Chapter 29) [Canonical?]
7. Acts of Paul & Thecla [Canonical?]
8. Romans
9. I Corinthians
10. II Corinthians
11. III Corinthians [Canonical?]
12. Galatians
13. Ephesians
14. Philippians
15. Colossians
16. Laodiceans [Canonical?]
17. I Thessalonians
18. II Thessalonians
19. I Timothy
20. II Timothy
21. Titus
22. Philemon
23. Hebrews
24. James
25. I Peter
26. II Peter
27. I John
28. II John
29. III John
30. Jude
31. Revelation

Last edited by LibCath2000; 06/20/11 02:13 PM. Reason: Update
Re: The Many Canons of Holy Scriptures [Re: LibCath2000] #365771
06/20/11 10:53 PM
06/20/11 10:53 PM
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A good starting point is the Council of Florence, Session 11, 4 February 1442:

Five books of Moses, namely Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two of Paralipomenon, Esdras, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Job, Psalms of David, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel; the twelve minor prophets, namely Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; two books of the Maccabees; the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; fourteen letters of Paul, to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, two to the Thessalonians, to the Colossians, two to Timothy, to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews; two letters of Peter, three of John, one of James, one of Jude; Acts of the Apostles; Apocalypse of John.

This list was quite a compromise: the Latins excluded 4Esdra (used till such moment), and the Orthodox excluded 3Macc

PS

57. Letter (Epistle) of Jeremiah / 60. 1 Clement / 61. Ascension of Isaiah / 62. Shepherd of Hermas / 63. The Didache / 64. Apocalypse of Baruch / 65. Josephus Ben Gorion (Jewish War VI) / 66. 4 Baruch / 67. Odes of Solomon / Acts (Chapter 29) / 7. Acts of Paul & Thecla / III Corinthians / Laodiceans are never considered canonical

58. Enoch / 59. Jubilees are considered canonical only by the Ethiopean Orthodox Church

Last edited by antv; 06/20/11 10:55 PM.
Re: The Many Canons of Holy Scriptures [Re: antv] #365787
06/21/11 02:29 AM
06/21/11 02:29 AM
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 44
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LibCath2000 Offline OP
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Thanks for that info.

From my understanding, the decision at Florence pretty much solidified the Catholic canon for centuries to come (all the way up to Trent).

Of the contested books, I have assumed the following, either rightly or wrongly, below.

And if there are any other Eastern Orthodox faithful (of either the Greek or Slavonic recension) or Oriental Orthodox members on this Forum who could confirm if indeed there are no extant bibles containing these books below I'd appreciate the clarification.

For, at one point, at least one of the 'Apostolic' churches had included at least one of the books below in their respective canonical list.

It's the situation today that I'd like to know about.


1. I Esdras [canonical for some Eastern Orthodox (Greek?) & some Oriental Orthodox (Ethiopian)]

2. II Esdras [canonical for some Eastern Orthodox (Slavonic?) & some Oriental Orthodox (Ethiopian)]

3. III Maccabees [canonical for some Eastern Orthodox (Greek?) & some Oriental Orthodox (Syriac)]

4. IV Maccabees [canonical for some Oriental Orthodox (Syriac)]

5. Odes [canonicity uncertain but included in some Eastern Orthodox bibles]

6. Manasseh [canonicity uncertain but canon for some Eastern Orthodox (Greek [in Odes]) and for some Oriental Orthodox (Ethiopian)]

7. Psalms of Solomon [canonicity uncertain but included in some Eastern and Oriental Orthodox bibles]

8. Epistle of Jeremiah [canonical for all Apostolic traditions; though in different locations within their respective bibles]

9. I Clement [canonicity uncertain but included in some Oriental Orthodox bibles]

10. Ascension of Isaiah [canonicity uncertain but included in some Oriental Orthodox bibles (Ethiopian)]

11. Shepherd of Hermas [canonicity uncertain but included in some Oriental Orthodox bibles (Ethiopian)]

12. The Didache [canonicity uncertain but included in some Oriental Orthodox bibles]

13. Apocalypse of Baruch [canonicity uncertain but included in some Oriental Orthodox bibles (Syriac)]

14. Josephus (Jewish War IV) [canonicity uncertain but included in some Oriental Orthodox bibles (Syriac)]

15. IV Baruch [canonical for some Oriental Orthodox (Ethiopian)]

16. Acts (Ch. 29) [canonicity uncertain but included in some Oriental Orthodox bibles]

17. Paul & Thecla [canonicity uncertain but included in some Oriental Orthodox bibles (Syriac)]

18. III Corinthians [once canonical for Armenians and Syriacs but no longer today]

19. Laodiceans [canonicity uncertain but included in some Catholic bibles]

20 & 21. Enoch and Jubilees [canonical for Ethiopian Orthodox Church]

Re: The Many Canons of Holy Scriptures [Re: LibCath2000] #365794
06/21/11 08:26 AM
06/21/11 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by LibCath2000

1. I Esdras [canonical for some Eastern Orthodox (Greek?)


It is canonical for both the Greeks and the Slavs. Numbered II Esdras among the Slavs.


Originally Posted by LibCath2000
2. II Esdras [canonical for some Eastern Orthodox (Slavonic?)]


It is numbered III Esdras in the Slavonic Bible, not found in the Greek Bibles. Once it was included in the Vulgate as IV Esdras.


Originally Posted by LibCath2000
3. III Maccabees [canonical for some Eastern Orthodox (Greek?)]


It is canonical (or at least is included) for both the Greeks and the Slavs.


Originally Posted by LibCath2000
4. IV Maccabees [canonical for some Oriental Orthodox (Syriac)]


It is (sometimes) in the Greek Bibles, but not found in the Slavonic Bibles.



Originally Posted by LibCath2000
8. Epistle of Jeremiah [canonical for all Apostolic traditions; though in different locations within their respective bibles]


Among the Eastern Orthodox it is a separate book, while among the Roman Catholics it is the 6th chapter of Baruch.

Re: The Many Canons of Holy Scriptures [Re: LibCath2000] #365804
06/21/11 01:01 PM
06/21/11 01:01 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
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LibCath2000 Offline OP
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ag_vn,

Thanks again for the input.

For me, these questions always lead to probably the most important question of all regarding the canon of the Bible; why is there such an apparent lack of consistency among the various Apostolic churches in terms of canon?

After all, one would expect churches that are "in communion" or whats more, claimants to be the "one true Church," to have one true bible? Or at least that would be my thinking.

Of course there are the historical antecedents which brought about these different books which eventually made their way into different versions of the Bible, but in 2011, one would have thought that some sort of concerted effort might have been put into the creation of one standard canon list (or at the very least, one standard canon for all of the Eastern Orthodox communion of churches and one for all of the Oriental Orthodox, etc)

It seems to me that for the Orthodox (Eastern/Oriental) in theory the canon is set but in practice it is far more fluid.

Re: The Many Canons of Holy Scriptures [Re: LibCath2000] #365805
06/21/11 01:27 PM
06/21/11 01:27 PM
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Because maybe uniformity isn't quite as important as you think it is?

Re: The Many Canons of Holy Scriptures [Re: StuartK] #365811
06/21/11 02:54 PM
06/21/11 02:54 PM
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LibCath2000 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by StuartK
Because maybe uniformity isn't quite as important as you think it is?


Or maybe it is? That's why I wonder wink

Re: The Many Canons of Holy Scriptures [Re: LibCath2000] #365817
06/21/11 04:44 PM
06/21/11 04:44 PM
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For two thousand years, different Churches have used different canons of the Old Testament--and even the New Testament (e.g., Tatian Diatessaron, the Syrian Peshitta), and it had absolutely no effect on their faith or the status of their communion with other Churches. Divisions within the Christian Church have always revolved around doctrinal differences, never over the Canon of Scripture.

Re: The Many Canons of Holy Scriptures [Re: LibCath2000] #365818
06/21/11 04:47 PM
06/21/11 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by LibCath2000
ag_vn,

Thanks again for the input.

For me, these questions always lead to probably the most important question of all regarding the canon of the Bible; why is there such an apparent lack of consistency among the various Apostolic churches in terms of canon?

After all, one would expect churches that are "in communion" or whats more, claimants to be the "one true Church," to have one true bible? Or at least that would be my thinking.

Of course there are the historical antecedents which brought about these different books which eventually made their way into different versions of the Bible, but in 2011, one would have thought that some sort of concerted effort might have been put into the creation of one standard canon list (or at the very least, one standard canon for all of the Eastern Orthodox communion of churches and one for all of the Oriental Orthodox, etc)

It seems to me that for the Orthodox (Eastern/Oriental) in theory the canon is set but in practice it is far more fluid.


You should not approach the issue of the "canon" with a Protestant understanding. After Luther the "sola scriptura" has forced the Western Christians to look for a clear and precise definition of the "canon" of a on/off type. But in the first 1500 years the Church never felt the need to define a precise "canon" !!!

Forget the "sola scriptura" approach when you investigate the East: the more East you go, the more far you are from the need of a clear definition of a canon.

In place of the "sola scriptura" what is important is the role of the Church. When for example in a liturgy is read a text from "2 Baruch" (a book you did not even quoted but was actually uses in Syriac lectionaries), such reading becomes important not because from a book with the "yes-canonical" stamp, but because chosen by the Church, which is ultimately the responsible of the pastoral

An other important consideration is that the Eastern Churches (as well as the Catholic Church) give a different importance to different books. So first are the Gospels, then the NT, with the OT to be read at the light of the NT, and so on...
Whether inspired of not, surely 4 Macc is considered less important than Isaiah... We are very far from the usual Protestant understanding that all Scripture is equal in consideration...

So you can see that the "canon" is not an issue for the Eastern Churches

Last edited by antv; 06/21/11 04:49 PM.

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