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Canon of Scripture


I. The Canon of the Old Testament.

1. History Among the Jews.

Traditional Account of the Rise of the Collection (§ 1).

The Theory of the Synagogue (§ 2).

Criticism of the Two Theories (§ 3).

Positive Exposition. a. The Pentateuch—the So-called "First Canon"; b. The Historico-prophetic and Distinctively Prophetic Books—the "Second Canon"; c. The Hagiographa—the "Third Canon" (§ 4).

2. Witnesses for the Second and Third Parts of the Canon.

3. Supposed Jewish Dissent from the Canon.

4. History of the Old Testament Canon Among the Jews.

The Triple Division (§ 1).

Order (§ 2).

Number of the Canonical Books (§ 3).

5. The Old Testament Canon in the Christian Church.

Patristic and Medieval Writers (§ 1).

The Ancient Oriental Versions (§ 2).

The Roman Catholic Church (§ 3).

The Greek Church (§ 4).

The Protestant Church (§ 5).

6. The Names of the Old Testament and of Its Chief Divisions.

II. The Canon of the New Testament.

1. The Terms Used.

2. The New Testament, 170–220.

The Four Gospels (§ 1).

The Pauline Letters (§ 2).

The Acts of the Apostles (§ 3).

The Apocalypse (§ 4).

The Catholic Epistles (§ 5).

Writings Temporarily Regarded as Canonical (§ 6).

Summary (§ 7).

3. The New Testament, 140–170.

Marcion's Bible (§ 1).

The Bible of the Valentinians (§ 2).

The Apostolic Writings in Justin Martyr (§ 3).

4. The Oldest Traces and the Origin of Collections of Apostolic Writings.

The Collection of Pauline Letters (§ 1).

The "Gospel" (§ 2).

Other Writings (§ 3).

5. Origen and his School.

6. The Original New Testament of the Syrians.

7. Lucian and Eusebius.

8. Athanasius.

9. The Development in the Orient till the Time of Justinian.

10. The Assimilation of the West.

Canon of Scripture is a term that designates the books of the Bible accepted as authoritative. The word "canon" (Gk. kanōn) means primarily a straight staff, then a measuring-rod, hence, figuratively, that which is artistically, scientifically, or ethically a guide or a model; so in the earliest Christian use (Gal. vi. 16; Phil. iii. 16; Clement of Rome, i. 7, 41) the canon was a leading thought, a normal principle. The next change of meaning (indicated by Clement of Alexandria, Strom., VII. xvi. 94) was to a type of Christian doctrine, the orthodox as opposed to the heretical. Since 300 the plural form "canons" has been used of ecclesiastical regulations (see Canon). Now, since the Christian doctrines were professedly based upon the Scriptures, the writings themselves were naturally known as the canon; and the test of the canonicity of any particular writing was its reception by the Church. The earliest use of the word in this sense is in the fifty-ninth canon of the Council of Laodicea (363), "No psalms of private authorship can be read in the Church, nor uncanonical books, but only the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments," and contemporaneously in Athanasius (Epistola festalis, i. 961, Paris, 1698). A few years later the use was general.

I. The Canon of the Old Testament.

1. History Among the Jews.

1. Traditional Account of the Rise of the Collection.

The theory, which was almost universally received for fifteen hundred years, that Ezra was the author of the Old Testament canon, dates from the first Christian century; for it is found in IV (II) Ezra xiv. 44 that Ezra was inspired to dictate during forty days to five men ninety-four books, of which twenty-four were to be published. These twenty-four quite evidently are the twenty-four books of the Hebrew canon, according to the counting given below; and the seventy are the Jewish Apocrypha alluded to in the Gospel of Nicodemus xxviii. (ANF, viii. 453). What the 389Fathers have to say upon this matter is derived in part from IV Ezra, and is equally fabulous.

2. The Theory of the Synagogue.

The theory above mentioned has been supposed to be the one prevalent among the Jews themselves. But this has no other support than that the eminent rabbis David Kimchi (d. 1240) and Elias Levita (1472–1549) remarked on the work of Ezra and the men of the Great Synagogue, in bringing together the twenty-four books in their divisions. The only Talmudic passage which can be quoted directly in its behalf is in Baba Bathra; for the other quotations commonly made prove merely the care of Ezra and the men of the Great Synagogue for the law, not for the canon; indeed, mostly for the oral law, and some also for alterations in the text. The passage is in these words: "The order of the prophets is Joshua and Judges, Samuel and Kings, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Isaiah and the Twelve. Hosea is the first, because it is written, ' The beginning of the word of Jehovah by Hosea' (i. 2). Did God, then, speak to Hosea first? and have there not been many prophets between him and Moses? R. Johanan explained this as meaning that Hosea was the first of the four prophets who prophesied at that time,—Hosea, Isaiah, Amos, and Micah. Why, then, was he not put first? Because his prophesy stands next to that of the latest prophets, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi: he is therefore counted with them. So this prophet should have been kept by himself, and inserted before Jeremiah? No: he was so small that he might then easily have been lost. Since Isaiah lived before Jeremiah and Ezekiel, ought he not to have been put before them? [No.] because Kings closes with destruction, Jeremiah is entirely occupied with it, Ezekiel begins with it but ends with consolation, while Isaiah is all consolation; hence we can not connect destruction with destruction, and consolation with consolation. But Job lived in the time of Moses; why should he not come in the first part? No; for it would never do to begin with misfortune. Yet Ruth contains misfortune? True; but it issues in joy. And who wrote them? Moses wrote his book and the Balaam section and Job. Joshua wrote his book and eight verses in the Law (Deut. xxxiv. 5–12). Samuel wrote his book, Judges and Ruth. David wrote Psalms for ten Elders. Jeremiah wrote his book, Kings, and Lamentations. Hezekiah and his company wrote Isaiah, Proverbs, the Song, and Ecclesiastes. The men of the Great Synagogue wrote Ezekiel, The Twelve, Daniel, and Esther. Ezra wrote his book and the genealogies in Chronicles up to his time. That is a support for the saying of Rab; for Rab Jehuda says, in the name of Rab, 'Ezra did not leave Babylon until he had written his own family register.' Who ended it? Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah." The understanding of this passage depends upon observing that the word "wrote" is used in different senses, of actual authorship, of editorship, and of merely collecting and placing together books which had not before been brought into connection. It will be perceived that the passage says nothing about the closing of the canon, but also that it would readily furnish ground for the idea that the canon was closed in the time of Ezra and the Great Synagogue.

3. Criticism of the Two Theories.

Both theories agree in assigning the collection of the Old Testament to Ezra and his companions and successors, and also asserting that the division into the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa (see below) was primitive. But against this, two objections may be urged: (1) Critical investigation assigns the first part of the Book of Daniel, on account of its Greek words, to a time when Greek was understood, and the second part to the Maccabean age (see Daniel, Book of); (2) The position of some of the historical books, e.g., Ezra and Daniel, among the Hagiographa, is inexplicable if the canon was made at one time. Moses Maimonides, David Kimchi, and Abarbanel explained the fact by a difference in inspiration. But Christ calls Daniel a prophet (Matt. xxiv. 15; Mark xiii. 14).

4. Positive Exposition.

a. The Pentateuch—the So-called "First Canon."

The Hebrews, like other ancient peoples, preserved their sacred writings in sacred places. So the law was put by the side of the ark of the covenant (Deut. xxxi. 26), with its additions by Joshua (Josh. xxiv. 26); Samuel laid the law of the kingdom "before the Lord" (I Sam. x. 25); Hilkiah, the high priest under Josiah, found the book of the law "in the house of the Lord" (II Kings xxii. 8). We are, therefore, safe in believing that since the time of Moses documents and intelligence concerning the Mosaic giving of the law, besides the tables of the covenant, and also whatever of law and history Moses had written, were carefully preserved in the sanctuary (Ex. xxiv. 4, 7, xxxiv. 27; Num. xxxiii. 2). The priests also would retain partly oral and partly written information (subsequently combined in the Priest-code) in regard to many similar matters. The existence of an authoritative code is proved (a) by the use of the "Book of the Covenant" in Deut., and (b) in the Priest-code; (c) by Hos. viii. 12; (d) by II Kings xxii. The Books of Kings, finished during the exile, mention by name the "Book of the Law of Moses," by which only Deuteronomy is meant (cf. II Kings xiv. 6; Deut. xxiv. 16; I Kings ii. 3; II Kings xxiii. 25). The mention of the Book of the Law of Moses (Josh. i. 7–8; viii. 31, 34, xxiii. 6) can not be taken without limitation, since it proceeds from the Deuteronomic editor of Joshua. Hag. ii. 11–13 shows the existence of the Priest-code, dealing, as the passage does, with two statutes of that code. The Wellhausen hypothesis, that the Priest-code was the private possession of Ezra till 445 B.C., and that Neh. viii.–x. tells of the introduction of the law, is in incompatible contradiction with that passage. The lowest date for the separation of Joshua [from the Pentateuch] is the time of Nehemiah and the Samaritan schism.

b. The Historico-prophetic and Distinctively prophetic Books—the "Second Canon."

The prophets were the spiritual exhorters and guides of the people, and therefore held in high esteem by the faithful, whose natural desire to have a collection of their writings there is every reason to believe was early gratified. At all 390 events, it is quite evident from the prophetic parallels that the prophets were acquainted with one another's writings. The loss of so much sacred literature in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans made the collection of the remaining historic as well as prophetic books the more imperative. The success of a collection of historical books was furthered by the fact that Joshua continued the narrative of the Pentateuch. Since Kings continues the history in I and II Sam., and may be placed in the latter half of the exilic period, the close connection with the earlier prophets gave the name to them of "the Former Prophets" and secured a high estimate for their on the return from Babylon.

c. The Hagiographa the "Third Canon."

David and Solomon began the arrangement of the temple praise-service and a collection of Psalms, and later collections and individual Psalms were added. The time of Nehemiah was very productive. The division into five books is older than the Chronicler. The first collection of the Proverbs of Solomon (cf. Prov. x. 1–xxii. 16) was so highly valued that Hezekiah ordered a second to be prepared (Prov. xxv. 1). The name of the wise man sufficed to recommend Canticles; its age and contents, the Book of Job. Lamentations appealed directly to every patriotic Jew during the exile, and was accepted as sacred, although Jeremiah was not its author. Ruth, by age, and especially by its genealogy of David, was put in the third canon, and formed an introduction to the Psalter. These early writings were followed gradually by the others, Ezra-Neh., I and II Chron., Eccles., Esther (an explanation of Purim, the festival the Persian Jews brought back with them), and finally Daniel, in the time of the Maccabees. After this time, and down to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, 70 A.D., the nation was so affected by Greek customs, and divided by the growing rival parties, the Pharisees and Sadducees, that its religious development was too much hindered for any work to receive universal recognition, and hence canonicity. The reception of Dan. into the canon appears explicable under the circumstances only if a Daniel narrative, the basis of Dan. ii.–vi., already existed (cf. Ezek. xiv. 14, 20; xxviii. 3). Not long after the Maccabees, the second collection or canon received its name, the Prophets, descriptive not only of a portion of its contents, but of their authorship; and thus the three divisions of the Old Testament canon—the Law, Prophets, and Hagiographa—dated from the second century B.C. (cf. the Prologue to Ecclesiasticus). Valentin Loescher (De causis linguæ Hebrææ, p. 71, Leipsic, 1706) said rightly: "The canon came not, as they say, by one act of man, but gradually from God."

2. Witnesses for the Second and Third Parts of the Canon.

Jesus Sirach (Ecclus. xlvi.–xlix., especially xlix. 10) shows acquaintance only with the Prophets in the wider sense the "second canon." His grandson testifies to the third division also. The Second Book of Maccabees, dated by Niece (Kritik der beiden Makkabäerbücher, Berlin, 1900) 125–124 B.C., in the section i. 10–ii. 18 contains an account of the recovery of the sacred fire, a quotation from the "records" of Jeremiah (a lost apocryphal writing); and then follows ii. 13: "And the same things also were reported in the records, namely, the memoirs of Nehemiah [another apocryphal writing], and how he, founding a library, gathered together the books concerning the kings and prophets, and those of David, and epistles of kings concerning holy gifts." This reference to the "epistles of kings concerning holy gifts" can not denote the Book of Ezra, but only a collection of documents regarding international matters, such as would be of value to a statesman like Nehemiah, and which had connection with the temple and its offerings. It, therefore, bears witness to Nehemiah's collection of the second canon substantially as we have it to-day, in addition to the Psalms and the documents so weighty for the rebuilt city. The next verse, "And in like manner also Judas gathered together all those books that had been scattered by reason of the war we had and they are with us," applies only to the third canon. Therefore, the last enlargement of the Hebrew canon took place under Judas Maccabæus; although probably most of the books of the third canon had previously been preserved in the temple archives.

Philo had the same canon as ours (cf. C. Siegfried, Philo, p. 161, Jena, 1875), and quotes from almost all the books; while from the Apocrypha he makes no excerpts or citation, not giving it the honor he accords to Plato, Hippocrates, and several other Greek writers.1010P. C. Lucius, Die Therapeuten und ihre Stellung in der Askese, Strasburg, 1880, has proved that the De vita contemplativa was not written by Philo and consequently the classic passage—"In every house there is a sacred shrine, which is called the holy place, and the monastery in which they [the Therapeutics] retire by themselves, and perform all the mysteries of a holy life . . . studying in that place the laws and the inspired words through the prophets and hymns and the other [writings), by which knowledge and piety are increased and perfected" (De vita contempl., iii.), which is the only direct reference to the threefold division of the canon found in Philo's works (genuine and pretended)—must be given up. [The passage is translated by C. D. Yonge, Philo, in Bohn's Library, iv. 6. F. C. Conybeare, in his edition of Philo About the Contemplative Life (Oxford, 1895) defends the Philonian authorship.] The New Testament contains quotations principally from the Pentateuch, Prophets, and Psalms, as might be conjectured from its scope, but recognizes the threefold division of the canon (Luke xxiv. 44). In this verse "The Psalms" does not stand for the entire Hagiographa; for our Lord meant to emphasize the fact that the Psalms spoke of him. The use of the phrase "the Law and the Prophets " (Matt. v. 17; Acts xxviii. 23) does not imply a division into two parts. The Syrians used the same expression for the whole Old Testament. The absence of quotation in the New Testament of any Old Testament book argues nothing against its canonicity. The use by the New Testament of Apocrypha or Pseudepigrapha has no bearing on the canonical status of the books used of cited. Josephus (Apion, i. 8) 391bears the strongest testimony for the canon,1111This passage in condensed form is as follows: "We have twenty-two books containing the records of all the past times, and justly believed to be inspired. Five of them are Moses'. These contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. From Moses to Artaxerxes the prophets made the record in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life. The history written since that day, though accurate, is not so much esteemed, because there has not been an exact succession of prophets. No one dares add to, take from, or alter them; but all Jews esteem these books to contain divine doctrines, and are willing to die for them." and, as is evident, expresses the national and not his private opinion. And, further, the books mentioned are not mere literature, but a sacred, divine collection. He enumerates twenty-two books; thus, 1. The five books of the Law; 2. The thirteen Prophets, counting the twelve minor Prophets as one book, and Lamentations with Jeremiah; 3. The four Hagiographa—Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles. But this arrangement is not to be looked upon as either old or correct.

3. Supposed Jewish Dissent from the Canon.

This dissent is not real, only apparent; but appeal has been made (a) to the Talmudical controversies about certain books, e.g., Esther; on further examination these "controversies" are perceived to be mere intellectual displays; there is no intention of rejecting any book. (b) The Book of Sirach, it is said, is quoted as Scripture; but there is no proof that it was regarded as Scripture, and the two or three quotations are memoriter, and probably made under a misapprehension of their source. (c) A high regard for the Book of Baruch is asserted, but all Jewish literature furnishes no proof. On the other hand, the late origin of the book is against the assumption; it is dependent upon Dan. ix., and was not composed till after the capture of Jerusalem by Titus. (d) The Septuagint is supposed by some to show that the Alexandrian Jews had a different canon from the Palestinian, because books are added to the canonical twenty-four and additions are made to some of the canonical books; but this does not follow. For the Palestinian idea of a canon (namely, the compositions of inspired prophets, a class of men not then existent) was not known in Alexandria, where, on the contrary, the statement of Wisdom (vii. 27), "[Wisdom] from generation to generation entering into holy souls prepares them friends of God, and prophets," was fully believed, as by Philo (cf. De cherubim, ix.) and Josephus (War, I. iii. 5, II. viii. 12, III. viii. 3, 9), who even declared that they themselves had been at times really inspired, and freely accorded the fact unto others. Therefore, to an Alexandrian Jew, there was no impropriety in enlarging the Greek translation of the Old Testament, not only by additions of sections to the canonical books, but of entirely new books. The great respect entertained for the Septuagint was extended to these additions, but without giving the latter any canonical authority. There was no Alexandrian canon; for neither the number nor the order of the books added was fixed.

4. History of the Old Testament Canon Among the Jews:

1. The Triple Division.

The Triple Division of the Hebrew canon is testified to by the prologue to Sirach and the New Testament (Luke xxiv. 44). The Septuagint gave up this division in favor of a different one—the present Christian arrangement of the books in the order, history, poetry, prophecy—and inserted the apocryphal books and sections in appropriate places.

2. Order.

The order of the books in the Hebrew canon is as follows: 1. The Torah or "Law"—the five books of Moses; 2. The Nebhiim or "Prophets"—(a) the " Former Prophets," Joshua, Judges, I and II Samuel, I and II Kings; (b) the "Latter Prophets," Isaiah, Jeremiah. Ezekiel, the twelve minor Prophets; 3. The Kethubhim ("Writings") or Hagiographa—Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, I and II Chronicles, in all, twenty-four books. The view once entertained that Ruth and Lam. once were in the second canon and were transferred to the third when it was formed has no basis in fact. The principle of arrangement of the historico-prophetical books is chronological. The Mishnah arranges the prophetical books proper in order of length: Jer., Ezek., Isa., the Twelve. But with this went probably the recollection that as a whole Isa. was later than Jer. and Ezek. The Masorites put Isa. first. In some MSS. of the third canon the most important book, Ps., introduced by Ruth, is at the head, then Job and the three books connected with Solomon's name, and the four latest books at the close. The Masorites arrange: Chron., Ps., Job, Prov., Ruth, Song of Sol., Eccles., Lam., Esther, Dan., Ezra. Manuscripts differ greatly in the order of these books.

3. Number of the Canonical Books.

Jewish tradition, except when influenced by Alexandria, unanimously gives the number as twenty-four. Nevertheless, it is usual to say that the original reckoning was twenty-two. If, how ever, the witnesses for the latter number be not counted, but weighed, it is plain that the authority they rest upon is Alexandrian; and this is worthless for getting at the primitive reckoning, because the Alexandrian Jews not only altered the order and division of the books, but added to them others not in the canon. Further more, the Alexandrians arrived at the number twenty-two by joining Ruth to Judges, and Lamentations to Jeremiah. Having thus made twenty-two, they were impressed with its numerical agreement with the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. This idea was thought significant, part of the divine intention indeed; and so it became fixed in the Jewish mind. The Church Fathers took it up in their uncritical fashion; and so it has come down to our day. Josephus first gives twenty-two; but he makes greater use of the Septuagint than of the Hebrew original. It is note-worthy that Epiphanius and Jerome, who reckon the books twenty-two, mention also twenty-seven; i.e., the Hebrew twenty-two letters, with the five final letters (the letters which have a special form 392when at the end of a word); made by separating the double books, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Ezra. But this double counting was only possible for Jews using the Septuagint, since the original does not divide these books. Further, neither in the Talmud nor in the Midrash is there the least trace of any acquaintance with the number twenty-two; but, on the contrary, twenty-four is always given, not because it corresponds with the twenty-four Greek letters, but simply as the natural result of the gradual rise of the canon. In the present printed Hebrew Bible the number is thirty-nine, similarly counted, though not arranged, with those of Protestant Bibles.

5. The Old Testament Canon in the Christian Church:

1. Patristic and Medieval Writers.

The Fathers did not impugn the authority of the Old Testament; but, because of the universal use of the Septuagint, they recognized as Scripture what we regard as Apocrypha. Origen, who counts only the books of the Hebrew canon, yet speaks of Jeremiah, Lamentations, and the Epistle as in one [book]. Justin Martyr used the additions to Daniel; Irenæus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian, and others used the Apocrypha with the same formula of citation as when they used the Old Testament. From the fourth century the Greek Fathers make less and less use of the Apocrypha; while in the Latin Church conciliar action justified and emphasized their use. Jerome alone speaks out decidedly for the Hebrew canon. During the Middle Ages the Apocrypha were not recognized by the majority of the Greeks; while just the opposite was true of the Latins, although not a few followed Jerome.

The Book of Esther, because of its contents, was sometimes excluded from the Christian Old Testament canon. Melito of Sardis (170 A.D.) omits it from his list (see Eusebius, Hist. eccl., IV. xxvi.), although perhaps it has rather dropped out after Esdras (Ezra), inasmuch as in other lists it comes next to this name. It is also omitted by Athanasius (Epistola Festalis, i. 961, ed. Bened.), Gregory Nazianzen (Carm., xxxiii.), and in the sixth century by Junilius (De partibus legis divinæ, i. 3–7). On the other hand, it is included in the canon by Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Epiphanius.

2. The Ancient Oriental Versions.

The old Syrian Church did not receive the Apocrypha. They are not in the Peshito, although found in a later Syriac translation. Ephraem Syrus (d. 373) does not give them canonical authority. Aphraates (fourth century) cites from every canonical book, but uses the Apocrypha sparingly and not in such a way that they must be regarded as canonical. A great difference is perceptible in the Peshito translation between Chronicles and the other books. This has started the query whether Chronicles was accepted as canonical by the Syrian Church. The Nestorians certainly rejected it and Esther. The Ethiopic translation follows the Septuagint throughout, and contains not only the canonical but also the apocryphal books, except that for I and II Maccabees it substitutes two books of its own under the same name, and some pseudographs of which the Greek texts do not now exist; for the Ethiopic Church makes even less difference than the Alexandrian between canonical and uncanonical books. (See Pseudepigrapha, Old Testament.)

3. The Roman Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic Church is committed to the use of the Apocrypha as Scripture by the decision of the Council of Trent at the fourth session. In order to get a normal text for purposes of quotation, a Bible was published in Rome in 1592 under the order and care of the pope. In it is given Jerome's remark, that the additions to Esther and Daniel which are printed are not in the Hebrew text; and in smaller type the candid announcement is prefaced to the Prayer of Manasees and the Third and Fourth Books of Ezra, that, while it is true they are not in the Scripture canon of the Council of Trent, they are still included because they are quoted occasionally by certain of the Fathers, and are found both in printed and manuscript copies of the Latin Bible. The decree of the council was not passed without opposition; and later Roman Catholics, such as Du Pin, Dissertation préliminaire ou prolégomènes sur la Bible, Paris, 1699; and B. Lamy, Apparatus biblicus, II. v. 333, Lyons, 1723, have endeavored to establish two classes of canonical books—the protocanonical and the deuterocanonical—attributing to the first a dogmatic, and to the second only an ethical authority; but this distinction contravenes the decision of Trent, and has found little support.

4. The Greek Church.

In early times and in the Middle Ages many distinguished three kinds of writings, the canonical, recognized, and apocryphal. So the "Easter Epistle" of Athanasius. The synods of Constantinople (1638), Jassy (1642), and Jerusalem (1672) expressly reject the view of Cyril Lucar, patriarch of Constantinople, and others, which distinguishes the canonical form from the apocryphal. And the last, which is the most important in the history of the Eastern Church, defined its position in regard to the Apocrypha in the answer to the third question appended to the Confession of Dositheus, in which it expressly mentions Wisdom, Judith, Tobit, History of Bel and the Dragon, History of Susannah, the Maccabees (four books), and Ecclesiasticus as canonical. Reuss (Geschichte der heiligen Schriften, § 338, Brunswick, 1878) says that the official Moscow edition of the Bible of 1831 has all the Apocrypha, Ezra, in both recensions, with Neh. and I–IV Macc. at the end of the historical books, the Prophets before the seven Poetical or Wisdom books. But the "Longer Catechism" of Philaret (Moscow, 1839), the most authoritative doctrinal standard of the orthodox Greco-Russian Church, expressly leaves out the apocryphal books from its list on the ground that "they do not exist in the Hebrew" (cf. Schaff, Creeds, ii. 451). See Eastern Church, III., § 9.

5. The Protestant Church.

The Lutheran symbols do not give any express declaration against the Apocrypha. Nevertheless, they are denied dogmatic value. Luther translated them, not, however, III and IV Ezra, and recommended them for private reading, excepting 393Baruch and II Macc. In the first complete edition of the Bible (Zurich, 1530) the Apocrypha stood at the end. With this agree the decisions of the other Reformed churches: the "Gallican Confession," 1559, §§ 3, 4; "Belgic Confession," 1561, §§ 4–6; "Thirty-nine Articles," 1562, § 6 (cf. Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, iii.). The Book of Common Prayer contains readings from the Apocrypha and especial recommendation of portions of Wisdom and Sirach. At the Synod of Dort (1618), Gomarus and others raised an animated discussion by demanding the exclusion of the apocryphal Ezra, Tobit, Judith, and Bel and the Dragon from the Bible. This the synod refused to do, although speaking strongly against the Apocrypha. Similarly opposed to them was the Westminster Assembly of Divines, 1647, Confession of Faith, i. 3; the Arminians, Confessio . . . pastorum, qui . . . remonstrantes vocantur, i. 3, 6; the Socinians (Ostorodt, Unterrichtung von den vornehmsten Hauptpunckten der christlichen Religion, Rakau, 1604) and the Mennonites (Johann Ris, Præcipuorum Christianæ fidei articulorum brevis confessio, xxix.) agree with the other Protestants. For history of the relation of the Bible societies to the Apocrypha, see Bible Societies. For the Apocrypha in general, see Apocrypha.

6. The Names of the Old Testament and of Its Chief Divisions:

(a) Hebrew. Neh. viii. 8 has the expression Mikra, "Reading," which here must signify the Law. Dan. ix. 2 has Sepherim, "the Books"; Kitebe hakkodesh, "the Holy Writings," is Talmudic. The division into three parts is common in the Talmud, with the names Torah, Nebhiim, and Kethubhim, "Law, Prophets, and Writings," with the abbreviation TNK. Often the whole is embraced in the term Torah. The first part is named also "The Five Fifths of the Law." The first part of the prophetical canon is called " the Former Prophets "; the second part "the Latter Prophets." The third part of the canon is known as "the Writings" and "the Sacred Writings." The Song of Sol., Ruth, Lam., Eccles., and Esther are classed together as Megillot, "Rolls." The second and third parts are often named together as the kabbalah. (b) Greek. It may be concluded that by the time of the translator of Ecclus. the words "the Books" were in use, since he speaks of "the other [books]," "the rest [of the books]." In the New Testament they are called "the Scripture," "Holy" or "Sacred Writings"; the Pentateuch is called "the Old Covenant" in II Cor. iii. 14. Among the Greek Fathers the following names are used: "The Books of the Old Covenant," "The Sacred (Holy) Writings of the Old Covenant," the "Old Covenant," "the Twenty-two Books of the Old Covenant," "the Covenant Books," and "Law and Prophets." (c) Latin. Vetus testamentum translates Hebr. berith, "covenant"; instrumentum, totum instrumentum utriusque testamenti, vetus scriptura, vetus lex, and veteris legis libri are used.

(H. L. Strack.)

II. The Canon of the New Testament

1. The Terms Used.

Alongside the word canon, expressing the idea of the collection of scriptures, were used the terms "covenant" (derived from the Old Testament, Ex. xxiv. 27), "Scripture" or "Scriptures" with the qualifying words "holy," "sacred," "divine," or "of the Lord," also " Law and Gospel," "Prophets and Apostles." The word endiathekos, "contained in the covenant," was opposed to apokryphos, "apocryphal," the former word often containing the meaning "used in public service."

2. The New Testament, 170–220:

Since there are at command no specific reports concerning the origin of the New Testament, an examination of the facts which may throw light upon the problem must be made in order to discover that origin. A starting-point is found in the period of the contest between the Gnostic sects, particularly the Marcionites and the Valentinians, and the orthodox. The Montanistic movement was under way during this period, though it was concerned not so much with the New Testament as with its own objects. The Church had a New Testament already commonly so called, over against the Montanistic contention of a new period of prophecy already opened which was to lead the way to a wider development: The Church regarded the age of revelation as closed with the death of the last surviving apostle and the canon of the New Testament as completed, though discussion still went on as to the inclusion of some books therein. In opposition to Marcion and Montanus the. Church had the feeling that it had an inviolable possession in the two Testaments, and the Montanist himself distinguished them from the body of "new prophecy."

1. The Four Gospels.

Opposed to the gospel which Marcion prepared for his communities, to the Evangelium veritatis used by the Valentinians alongside the four Gospels of the Church, to the discarding of the Johannean Gospel by the Alogi, and to the exclusive use of Matthew or Mark by other parties of the Church; is the statement of Irenæus that the spirit which created the world had given to the Church its gospel in fourfold form (Hær., III. xi. 8), to violate which was a sin against God's revelation and spirit. The unity of these is asserted in the designation bf them as "the Gospel" (in the singular), and in the titles "the Gospel according to Matthew," etc. Clement of Alexandria in his discussion of the origin of the Gospels dealt only with the four. Recollection was soon lost of the fact that a gospel not among the four had striven to be retained in use in public service, and that one of the four had had to win its place among them. But even the Alegi did not deny that the Fourth Gospel belonged to the age of John and had ever since been in the Church. Tatian's preparation for the Syrians of the "Diatessaron" witnesses by its very title to the fact that for an ecclesiastical book of the Gospels no other sources than the four were conceivable. The very permission given by Serapion of Antioch (c. 200) to certain of his parishioners to read a gospel called that of Peter, which he gave without reading the book and through confidence in them, really speaks for the same set of facts, as does the subsequent annulment of the permission. Origen sums up the practise of that period in the saying: 394"The Church values only the four Gospels (1 Hom. in Lucam).

2.The Pauline Letters.

Generally thirteen epistles of Paul were received. If in the Muratorian Canon the reception of four private letters is justified, it appears to have been caused less by a recollection of a late introduction of them into public service than through a thought-process of the author, equating the seven letters of Paul to the communities in symbolical fashion with the letters to the seven churches of the Apocalypse. No statement can be made regarding any favorable feeling for the letters to the Laodiceans and the Alexandrians there rejected. Great difference of opinion existed as to Hebrews. The Alexandrians regarded it as Pauline, and Origen supposed it substantially Pauline through one of Paul's disciples, a position which was widely adopted in the eastern Church. But the western Church disputed its Paulinity, while holding it in high esteem. This was the case in Lyons, Rome, and Carthage. In the Montanistic and Novatian Churches there was a decided tendency to ascribe it to Barnabas.

3. The Acts of the Apostles.

Of the Book of Acts all that need be said is that its name, its general recognition as of Lucan authorship, its position between the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles in the Muratorian Canon, its abundant use by Irenæus, Tertullian, and others, and the condemnation by Tertullian of Marcion for rejecting it speak abundantly for its canonicity.

4. The Apocalypse.

The strongest proofs are found of the reception of the Apocalypse by all parts of the Church. It was cited by Theophilus of Antioch about 180, and by the church of Lyons in 177, as "Holy Scripture." Neither Irenæus nor the Muratorian Canon regard any defense of it as necessary. As against the high value attached to it by the Montanists, the Alogi scornfully criticized it as the work of Cerinthus. Caius of Rome assumed this attitude also, and Hippolytus defended it against him. But the general feeling of the catholic Church was that the book was inspired, written about 95 A.D., and properly closed the New Testament.

5. The Catholic Epistles.

The Position of the Catholic Epistles about 200 was a very varied one, though about 300 they were known as one division of the New Testament. II and III John must have been attached to I John, if their history in the Church and their preservation are understood. Testimony to II John comes from Irenæus and Clement of Alexandria; that III John was not treated by Clement does not really damage the case. The doubt which stood in the way of the unconditional recognition of II and III John was soon banished. It is almost certain that the Muratorian Canon designated the two lesser epistles as recognized. Where it was not known that the Apostle John was by his disciples called "the Elder," there was likelihood of the authorship of those two being questioned on the matter of genuineness. Their brevity was against both frequent citation and frequent use in public and equally against serious question, Jude, as one of the Catholic Epistles, was the subject of comment by Clement of Alexandria. The Muratorian Canon quoted it as received. Tertullian cited it as the convincing writing of an apostle, though Origen remarked that it was not generally received. In the fourth century it was among the antilegomena (Eusebius, Hist. eccl., III. xxv. 3). The canonicity which it had in the earlier times was later lost for it in a wide circle of the Church. James, though read in the West in early times and known probably both to Irenæus and to Hippolytus, was until the middle of the fourth century not in the New Testament of the western Church. The Canon Muratori is silent; among the Greeks of the East it was among the generally recognized scriptures. Though Origen placed it among the antilegomena, in Codex Claromontanus it stands before I John. A noteworthy fact is that Methodius mistakenly ascribed it to Paul. In 325 it was by many considered not genuine and Eusebius put it among the antilegomena (Hist. eccl., III. xxv. 3). The general recognition of I Peter about the year 200 is vouched for by Irenæus, the Epistle of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Hippolytus. The silence of the Muratorian Canon would have been inexplicable, and to it must refer the remark that a letter of Peter is received as is the Apocalypse. Against II Peter there were many protests. At Rome it was not unknown, but was not on the same footing as I Peter. It is doubtful whether Irenæus knew it. Origen's personal opinion was favorable, but he recorded a divided opinion in the Church concerning the letter. In the East its position was different from that of I Peter in that there it was rot a New Testament book (Eusebius, Hist. eccl., IV. xxv. 8). As late as 380 Didymus pronounced it uncanonical and the Syrians determinedly rejected it. Of the Epistle of Barnabas it may be said that Clement of Alexandria seems to have included it among the Catholic Epistles, and the same is true of Origen. Codex Claromontanus puts it after the seven Catholic Epistles and before Revelation. It is pertinent here to remark that the first and second Epistles of Clement are by the Canones Apostolorum, lxxxv., put between the Epistle of Barnabas and the Didache. I Clement is elsewhere given as a Catholic Epistle; at Corinth it was used occasionally in public service, a usage which spread to Alexandria and to Syria. It was cited by Clement of Alexandria and by Origen. But its connection with the New Testament was less firm even than that of Barnabas; in the West it was not considered as of the canon, and Irenæus seems to have employed it as belonging to the subapostolic age.

6. Writings Temporarily Regarded as Canonical.

The Shepherd of Hermas was used as scripture by Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, and in Antioch. At the beginning of the third century there was in Catholic and Montanistic circles a loosening of the connection between this book and the canon. Tertullian, contrary to his earlier practise, owing to the laxity of discipline attributed to this book, declared that it should be regarded as apocryphal 395and even as false. The Muratorian Canon excluded it from the regular and public reading of the Scriptures, though its perusal was permitted and even enjoined. This was the first attempt to form a secondary canon. There are two Latin translations of the book, and an unknown Roman bishop cited it as scripture, while Novatian and Commodian indorsed it, and the Latin liturgies show its influence. Yet by an ecclesiastical decision about 200–210 the Shepherd was set outside the canon. While Clement of Alexandria did not include the Shepherd in his brief commentary, he did treat the Apocalypse of Peter, a little book of about 300 lines. This book closed the canon of Codex Claromontanus; but the Armenian List put it among the Apocrypha, and Eusebius (Hist. eccl., III. xxv. 4, cf. iii. 2) declared against its genuineness. Sozomen says that it was used as late as 430 in Palestine at Easter. The Didache was cited and used as scripture by Clement and Origen, and during the next century this was its status in Egypt. Eusebius (Hist. eccl., III, xxv. 4) put it among the antilegomena of the second grade. It was known in the neighborhood of Antioch and in the West. The apocryphal Acts of the Apostles were often read in the early Church without question. The Acts of Paul came the nearest to winning canonical authority, and received favorable notice from Clement and Tertullian.

7. Summary.

The New Testament of the Greek and Latin Church of 170–220 included as in quite definite authority the four Gospels, thirteen letters of Paul, Revelation, I Peter, I John (to which were attached II and III John), probably also Jude. Up to 210 the Shepherd was also included. On the other hand, there were questionings about James, Hebrews, II Peter, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Didache, Barnabas, I and II Clement, Acts of Paul, and the Shepherd. The polemic against Marcion, the Gnostics, and the Alogi brought the discussion of the New Testament canon to a focus about the time of Irenæus and Clement of Alexandria. There was yet lacking that definiteness of organization of all the churches which alone could secure uniformity. The New Testament of about 200 was not the result of a revolution occurring 150–170, but of a broad development which was many-sided. The sharply bounded canon of Marcion had pointed the way to a definiteness in canonicity which the Church was soon to follow.

3. The New Testament, 140–170:

Valentinus had founded his school which had divided into many sections and spread from the Rhone to the Tigris with a rich literary activity and yet a general consensus of action. Marcion founded his church at Rome after he had separated from the catholic Church probably about 147. Alongside the polemic against these movements, Christian writers were engaged in the apologetic of the Church which was to go before the pagan rulers and populations. The apologetic, however, found far less occasion to deal with the Christian Scriptures than did the writings against the heretics.

1. Marcion's Bible.

Knowledge of Marcion's Bible is due chiefly to Tertullian, who claimed to use as a weapon against the heretic his own New Testament, and so came to traverse the latter from beginning to end. After Tertullian as a source of knowledge comes Epiphanius (Hær., xlii.), and a number of citations from Greeks and Syrians up to the fifth century which enable one to reconstruct quite securely Marcion's canon. Marcion issued not only his New Testament but also his Antithesis as a defense of his dogmatic position and of his critical edition of the New Testament, and this became the doctrinal basis of his Church, which was studied by Tertullian, Ephraem Syrus, and others. His Bible consisted of a "Gospel" and an "Apostle," both anonymous. Since Paul seemed to him the one preacher of an unadulterated gospel, his "Apostle" embraced ten epistles of Paul and in the following order: Gal., I and II Cor., Rom., I and II Thess., Laodioeans (i.e., Eph.), Col., Phil., Philem. It is of course evident that this collection must have been received by him from the Church. He sought to show that the letter to the Ephesians was the letter to the Laodiceans mentioned in Col. iv. 16. Galatians he especially prized because of the anti-Judaic polemic it contains. I and II Tim. and Titus he discarded as private letters, Philemon was admitted on the ground that it is a letter to a church in a household, and this alone was left intact and unedited. For the criticism of the writings he received he depended neither upon historic tradition nor on testimonies to historicity; his basis was his own subjective conception of what true Christianity was and what the Pauline Gospel was; from this standpoint proceeded all his text-criticism. That he recognized the Gospel of Luke, the basis of his own, as the work of one of the Pauline school is shown by his elimination of the words "the beloved physician" in Col. iv. 14. His gospel, so far as its text can be made out, proves that he had before him the third Gospel, and this, in consequence of its long association with the first and second Gospels, had received amplifications of its text from them. But no trace of influence due to extracanonical Gospels upon Marcion has ever been shown. It follows from this that the canon of the Gospels of the Church at Rome from about 140 on was our four Gospels. Marcion's canon of the epistles coincides with that of the Muratorian Canon. It is natural that he should place no value upon the letters of Peter, John, or James, the last named especially in view of Gal. ii. 9, 12. Acts and Rev. he appears to have expressly rejected. In comparison with the ecclesiastical New Testament not only of his times but of the next two centuries with its varying boundaries and its variant text, the Marcion canon is a sharply drawn work of art in miniature, though it was the work of an arbitrary lawgiver.

2. The Bible of the Valentinians.

What Marcion accomplished with knife and eraser the Valentinians sought to do by means of exposition. Since they had not voluntarily separated from the Church, but merely distinguished themselves from the communes ecclesiastici, they had no objection to raise to the common edition of the "Prophets and Apostles." They needed no special Bible. They used the Gospels 396freely, particularly the Fourth. Apart from the prologue to this last, the structure of the series of eons of Valentinus are unintelligible. Heraclion commented on all four of the Gospels. In the different branches of this sect Eph., Col., and I Cor. were especially valued, but Rom., II Con, Phil., and Gal. were also used. In their criticism of the Gospels they laid stress upon a secret tradition. They used also an Evangelium veritatis, a fifth Gospel, which probably contained the sum of apocryphal tradition, derived, according to Serapion, not from the Docetes but from their precursors. The Gospel of Peter may have arisen about 150 from the eastern branch at Antioch as did the Evangelium veritatis among the western school of Valentinians. To a branch of the Valentinian school of Asia Minor belonged Leucius, the author of the Acts of Peter and John. They probably used also the Gospel of the Infancy. Leucius wrote also a "Journeyings of John," suggested by the "Letters to the Seven Churches" of Revelation. In short, the foundation of the canon of the most important schools of Gnostics, 140–170, is that of the Church of 200, only that these "men of the spirit" used alongside of the canonical writings a mass of other traditions and poetical and subjective creations which were not employed among the orthodox.

3. The Apostolic Writings in Justin Martyr.

In his short description of the Sunday service as observed by Christians in city and country, Justin names as taking the first place the reading of the "Memorabilia of the Apostles," "which are called Gospels" (I Apology, lxvi.-lxvii., ANF, i. 185–186), and the "collection of the Prophets." "Gospel" in the singular is also used by the Jew Trypho and by Justin as a collective. Out of deference for his readers who were not acquainted with the term "gospel," Justin commonly used the term Apomnemoneumata, "Memorabilia." While generally such memorabilia took their name from the author, Justin named these from the subject, "The Memorabilia of our Savior." As under the term "prophets" the whole Old Testament is included, the term memorabilia in Justin may include the New Testament writings. The answer to the question what gospels are meant has long been, those commonly used about 150 in the places Justin visited or lived in, in Ephesus and Rome, in the public service and known as the product of the Apostles or their disciples. Trypho (Dialogue, x.) speaks of the "so-called gospel" as a totality, a unit. They can be no other than what Marcion criticized and Valentinians so fully employed. In one place Justin expressly discriminated between the Apostles and their disciples in a passage which goes back to Luke xxii. 44 (Dialogue, ciii.). He named the second Gospel "The Recollections of Peter," a designation which implies the old tradition of the connection of this Gospel with that apostle. What has partly or entirely produced the idea that Justin's "memorabilia" are not the Gospels of the Church is first the looseness and inexactness of quotation, and second the material additions of facts or reports grounds for which are not found in the Gospels. But in Justin's citations exactness is no more to be expected than in Clement's; and much that appears apocryphal to us may have been read in the Gospels of his time. Justin regarded Revelation as the work of the apostle John and as a true testimony of Christian prophecy. Investigation of his writings shows contact of Justin with Rom., I Cor, Gal., Eph., Col., II Thess., Heb., I Pet., Acts and the Didache: more questionably with Phil., Titus, I Tim., and James.

4. The Oldest Traces and the Origin of Collections of Apostolic Writings.

From the preceding array of facts it appears that by 140 in the entire circle of the catholic Church the collection comprising the four Gospels and thirteen Epistles of Paul were read alongside of the Old Testament writings, and that in one part or another of the Church other writings such as Acts, Rev., Heb., I Pet., James, and the Epistles of John were held in like honor.

1. The Collection of Pauline Letters.

The collection of Pauline letters seems to go back to the first century, judging from I Clement, the Ignatian Epistles, and Polycarp. The bishops of Smyrna and Antioch had a knowledge of Paul which involved acquaintance with his letters, and the way in which they employ them shows that the letters were before them. Polycarp advised the Philippians to read Paul's letters for edification; Ignatius knew Eph. under the title used later by Marcion as part of an ecclesiastical collection. Polycarp included Phil. and Thess. in a group directed to the Macedonians just as Tertullian knew them a century later. Clement seems to make the collection begin with I Cor, an order which the Muratorian Canon supports, closing with. Rom. This aggregation, which contained also the order Phil.-Thess, and the title "to the Ephesians," has every claim to originality and to have circulated before 97. That there was an interchange of letters among the churches before this collection was made is clear from Col. iv. 16, but the circulation and use implied in II Pet. iii. 15 involve a collection in one manuscript, perhaps not official but private. The passage last cited implies a Pauline letter to Jewish Christians, and I Cor. v. 9 and Phil. iii. 1 imply other letters of Paul which have not survived. These facts suggest a deliberate selection from the available letters of Paul, made probably in some important center of Christianity, which came into general use and was seen to be available for public service. But the settlement of the order of arrangement implies that the collection was made very early, soon after the death of Paul. Where this was done can not be stated, though the placing of I and II Cor. at the head suggests Corinth. Rome is also to be thought of as explaining the closing of this collection with the Epistle to the Romans.

2. The "Gospel."

The word euaggelion, which, 150–200, designated the collection of four Gospels, is frequently found in the earlier literature so used that by it must be meant a written exposition of the words and deeds of Jesus in possession of the churches and generally known to the communities (Didache, viii. 2; 397 11 Clem., viii. 5; Ignatius, Smyrna, v. 1; Philadelphia, viii. 2). That "Gospel" was the authoritative document. The general knowledge of its contents involves its regular use in public service. It was cited with the formula "the Lord says," with or without the addition "in the Gospel," and with the formula (used with Old Testament citations) "it is written." But what was this "Gospel "? A clear understanding of what it was existed between the writers of the period 90–140 and their readers. Papias declared that during the lifetime of John in the vicinity of Ephesus a Gospel of Mark was used, and Cerinthus, a contemporary of John, preferred it to the others (Irenæus, Hær., III. xi. 7, cf. I. xxvi. 1). Papias asserted that the Hebrew Matthew was long used in the province of Asia with the aid of oral interpretation until a Greek version superseded it. Even the Fourth Gospel recalls the very words of Mark and Luke (T. Zahn, Einleitung, Leipsic, 1900, pp. 505–506, 520). The spurious passage Mark xvi. 9–20 is derived from Luke, John, and Papias. The earliest Gospels of the Infancy and the Gospels of Peter and Marcion go back to the canonical Gospels. In the literature of 95–140 among a mass of ordinances for ecclesiastical direction only four gospel citations are not traceable to the four Gospels (11 Clem., v. 2, 4, viii. 5, xii. 2–6; Ignatius, Smyrna, iii. 2). Such uncanonical sayings as these four were circulated orally as well as in writing; Papias about 125 collected many of them. Of the origin of the making of the Gospel canon there is no trustworthy report, nor can it be said where it took form.

3. Other Writings.

Other writings which are found afterward assigned to the New Testament were not unified in any one collection as were the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles. They appeared first either as indisputable or as debated parts of the New Testament in the stage it then had reached. A very wide use in extended circles of the Church during public service is provable for I Pet., I John, Rev., and the Shepherd, none of which was originally addressed to a single community.

5. Origen and His School.

During the third century the New Testament underwent no essential change. The achievement of Origen was the comparison of the content of the traditional possession of various communities. His varied life and travels gave him the opportunity to learn through observation existing variations; his philological training and his decided vocation for learned work in the service of the Church qualified him to pronounce a discreet judgment. Before 217 he was welcomed at Rome as one of the rising stars of the Church; his travels took him to Athens, Antioch, and Cæsarea in Cappadocia, while his later years were spent in Palestine. Students flocked to him both in Alexandria and in Palestine. But Bible student though he was, he was no thoroughgoing critic. He quoted Prov. xxii. 28 in reference to discussion of the canon; tradition spoke for him the last word, though indeed that tradition was to be investigated. Hence he voiced the distinction between the homologoumena, the writings universally recognized as scripture, and the antilegomena, or those more or less opposed. To the former, according to Origen, belonged the four Gospels, thirteen Pauline Epistles, I Pet., I John, Acts, and Rev., the last the closing book of the New Testament. To the latter belonged Heb., II Pet., II and III John, Jas., Jude, Barnabas, the Shepherd, the Didache, and the Gospel of the Hebrews. Hebrews was frequently cited by him as though Pauline and canonical, especially in his earlier writings; and he defended its Paulinity rather as coming through a member of Paul's school than from Paul himself. II Pet. was also frequently cited by him as scripture, in which his scholar Firmilian followed him. Jas. was also frequently cited both as scripture and as "the apostle James." Jude appears to have been valued by him, though not often appearing in his writings. Barnabas is called a Catholic Epistle and in the Onomasticon is put with the other Catholic Epistles. He regarded the Shepherd as an inspired work and useful. He appears also to have cited the Didache as scripture. The Gospel of the Hebrews is not mentioned in his list of the apocryphal gospels; on the other hand, it is often cited with the formula he used when citing from such writings. He sharply discriminated the Jewish-Christian communities, whose one gospel this was, from the heretical Ebionites on the ground that the former held fast the ecclesiastical rule of faith.

The allegorical interpretation by means of which Origen undertook to reconcile the moat divergent materials and the most varied writings and to unite them thus in one Bible found opposition. The composition of Nepos, bishop of Arsinoe, "Against the Allegorists" advanced and spread a chiliasm which to Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria about 260 appeared unendurable. To Origen it appeared that Rev. was written by an inspired man of the apostolic age named John, but the difference in style and conception from the Fourth Gospel did not allow its ascription to the apostle. It was especially a book for the application of the allegorical method.

6. The Original New Testament of the Syrians.

On the beginnings of the church in Edessa there is a legendary report in Syriac, The Doctrine of Addai, ed. Phillips, London, 1876, which contains some significant words about the books introduced there for use in the service. Addai, the founder of the church of Edessa, is made to say expressly that beside the Old Testament no other scriptures shall be read than the Gospel, the Epistles of Paul, and the Acts. And by the Gospel is doubtless meant the Diatessaron of Tatian. On the other hand, Ephraem knew well the four Gospels, and a Syrian canon contained not the Diatessaron but the four Gospels in our order. The Syrian collection of the Pauline letters embraced, about 330–370, according to the commentaries of Aphraates and Ephraem, Heb. and the apocryphal III Cor., but not Philem. The last-named book failed to appear in the otherwise complete commentary of Ephraem. A summary from Sinai gives Philem. at the end and does not contain III Cor.; on the other hand, it has a II Phil, which may be another name for 398III Cor. It is now known that this apocryphal writing is but a section out of the Acts of Paul which belongs to the period about 170 at the earliest. It could, therefore, not have belonged to the original Syrian Canon. Tatian became a Christian at Rome, and, according to the legend, the canon of the Epistles was received from Rome. Eusebius (Hist. eccl., IV. xxix. 6) heard an obscure report that there was a recension of the Pauline Epistles by Tatian. The oldest Syrian text both of Epistles and of Gospels has a relationship to the Western text. The Sinai summary throws new light on the subject. The order of the Epistles there is Gal., I and II Cor., Rom., Heb., and so on, and just this is the order in which Ephraem commented upon them and it is the order of Marcion, and no one was more likely to follow in the footsteps of Marcion than Tatian. It is very remarkable too that in the Syriac summary II Tim. is mentioned, but I Tim. is omitted. The Syrian Church could not maintain its original individuality. While before the time of Aphraates and in the third century it received Heb. and I Tim., it could not exclude all the Catholic Epistles. The Syriac translation of Eusebius's Church History, which Ephraem had diligently read, acquainted the Syrians with the older history of the New Testament. Intercourse sprang up in the fourth century between Greek and Syrian Christians, and Greeks and Greek Bibles appeared in Edessa; it is, therefore, no wonder that Ephraem was familiar with all the Catholic Epistles. In the Peshito a selection was made of Jas., I Pet., I John, while II Pet., II and III John, Jude, and Rev. were excluded.

7. Lucian and Eusebius.

While the New Testament of the early Church in Antioch had its individuality, the canon of Chrysostom was exactly that of the Peshito and carried the exclusion of II and III John back to the decision of the Fathers. This can not be due to the efforts of Eusebius, since he would set aside the Apocalypse, but would recognize the seven Catholic Epistles; to reach the roots of the matter, one must go back to the beginning of the exegetical school, to Lucian. Report says that Lucian was born in Samosata and that he labored in Edessa before he became a priest and the founder of the school in Antioch. It is doubtless true that he extended his text-critical work to the New Testament, and that his recension of that as well as of the Septuagint was diffused as far as Constantinople. So that the Antiochean school's text of about 380–450 probably goes back to Lucian and was a compromise between the Edessan and the Antiochean traditions. Rev. was excluded while Jas., I Pet., and I John of the Catholic Epistles were taken in. This doubtless influenced the Peshito.

In Palestine the Bible-studies of Origen were continued by Pamphilus and Eusebius. But Eusebius was affected both by the Origenistic tradition and by the Antiochean school, with representatives of which he was connected in the debate over the Trinity. In his Church History according to his promise he has diligently given the pronouncements of earlier writers about the antilegomena of the New Testament, and also interesting information about both acknowledged and doubtful writings. With Origen, he found two classes, homologoumena and antilegomena; but the second he divided into two subclasses, the one containing the books he would have acknowledged and the other the notha or "spurious." His table then is: (1) Homologoumena, the Gospels, Acts, fourteen Pauline Epistles, I Pet., I John, and Rev.; (2) Antilegomena, (a) the better sort, Jas., Jude, II and III John, and (b) the notha, Acts of Paul, Shepherd, Apocalypse of Peter, Barnabas, and the Didache. But Eusebius's treatment is not always either clear or consistent. He uses a term endiathekos, "within-the-New-Testament," as a synonym of homologoumenos and appears thereby to exclude from the New Testament the first class of the antilegomena. On the other hand, in naming the second subdivision of the antilegomena "spurious" he seems to argue the genuineness of the first subdivision. But for him the seven Catholic Epistles are a closed collection. It was about Rev. that Eusebius found it hard to come to a decision. Many times he cites it and adduces the strongest testimony for its ecclesiastical importance (Hist. eccl., IV. xviii. 8, xxiv. 1, xxvi. 2, V. viii. 5, xviii. 14, VI. xxv. 9). But when in III. xxiv. 18 he reports the vacillation of opinion about the book, he calls attention to the influence of the Lucian school. He cites it as "the so-called Apocalypse of John" (III. xviii. 2, cf. xxxix. 6), briefly refers to the vituperation of Caius (III. xxviii.), and notes the more cautious criticism of Dionysius (VII. xxiv. 5). His conjecture that another John wrote it he follows out with diligence, and in the interest of this hypothesis seeks to prove the existence of a presbyter John as distinct from the apostle. He would disrobe the book of its apostolic dress and remove it from the New Testament, though he never expressly utters this decision. On account of its quite universal recognition in the Church he leaves open the choice between placing it among the homologoumena or among the notha. Apart from this book, however, his New Testament is the same as ours. The malting of fifty copies of the New Testament on parchment for Constantine gave him an opportunity to diffuse his opinions, and the result showed that he inclined to the Lucian form of text rather than to the Origenistic, though including therein the lesser Catholic Epistles.

8. Athanasius.

According to the Easter Letter of 367, recently recovered through a Coptic translation, in which is given a view of the continuous undiscriminating usage of all kinds of Apocrypha as scripture is the ecclesiastical province where Athanasius was, there was afforded him the opportunity of setting forth a definitely limited canon arranged in order of books and in groups. He was the first to name the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as exclusively canonical. He ignored the opposition to which several of them had so long been subjected, notably II Pet., which Didymus continued to oppose. But not to break completely with the Alexandrian tradition, he placed in sharp distinction from the "canonized" books and equally from the apocryphal ones a class of anagignoskomena. The Fathers had designated these 399as to be placed before the catechumens for their instruction. They included Wisd. of Sol., Ecclus., Esther, Judith, Tobit, the Didache, and the Shepherd. The Didache had great influence upon the liturgy in Egypt, and to the Shepherd Athanasius himself attached high value. The surprising element, however, is the complete silence concerning other writings which at least in Alexandria had equally with the Didache and the Shepherd been reckoned with New Testament writings. Serapion, the friend of Athanasius, had cited Barnabas as "the most honored apostle Barnabas" along with the Romans of Paul, and in Codex Sinaiticus it stood between Rev. and the Shepherd. The New Testament of twenty-seven books seemed to be as firmly settled as that of Eusebius's twenty-six had been. And this view came to have the victory in the Church, ruling out finally the shorter canon of Eusebius and the use of a class of books merely for the instruction of catechumens.

9. The Development in the Orient till the Time of Justinian.

The peculiar criticism of Theodore of Mopsuestia did not essentially change the situation established by Lucian and Eusebius. The concordant testimony of Theodore's opponent Leontius and of his admirer Jesudad is that Theodore rejected the seven Catholic Epistles. And since as an Antiochean he rejected the Apocalypse, his New Testament was the Syrian one of about 340. In the arrangement of the Pauline Epistles (Rom., I and II Cor., Heb., Eph.) he followed the Syrian usage in respect to Heb., and the Greek in respect to Rom. and Gal. He defended the canonicity of Philemon, but rejected III Cor. It is no wonder that, admired as he was by the Syrian Nestorians, these latter adopted his canon. And the Nestorian Jesudad (ninth century) still regarded the three greater Catholic Epistles as a sort of antilegomena. How tenacious the opposition to the Apocalypse was, as also that to the four lesser Catholic Epistles, has been shown above. Nevertheless, by the sixth century the Apocalypse had won all along the line from Jerusalem to Constantinople. If Philoxenus of Mabug, c. 508, had Rev. and the lesser Catholic Epistles translated for the first time into Syriac, this implies that in the contiguous Greek ecclesiastical province, in the patriarchate of Antioch, the Apocalypse was no more ignored as it was c. 400, that on the contrary it was again received. About the year 500 Andrew wrote in Cæsarea his great commentary on the Apocalypse, in which with a certain assiduity by appeal to the older teachers from Papias to Cyril he defended the inspiration of the book, and in a note on Rev. xxii. 18–19 assailed the critics. About 530 Leontius designated, in lectures delivered in the monastery at Jerusalem, the "Apocalypse of the Holy John" as the latest canonical book of the Church.

10. The Assimilation of the West.

By the vacillation and the attempts at fixation which the canon underwent in the East the Latin Church was not immediately affected. Until the fourth century the New Testament there excluded Heb., had an incomplete canon of the Catholic Epistles, but included the Apocalypse, which was seriously assailed only by Caius. The events of the fourth century made isolation impossible. The settlement of Pierios, "the new Origen," in Rome was a significant preparation. There followed the councils, the exile of Athanasius in Trier (336–337), in Rome (340–343), and in other parts of the West (till 340); of Hilary of Poitiers in Asia Minor (356–360), of Lucifer of Cagliari, Eusebius of Vercelli, and others; the long sojourn of Jerome and Rufinus in Palestine, Egypt, and Syria, and during this whole period the close connection of Latin Church literature, especially of exegesis, with Greek models. The ecumenical consciousness of the Church overleaped all barriers and affected even the canon. The influence of Athanasius in this respect is not to be underestimated, especially in connection with the production of a recension of the Bible at Rome 340–343.

Hebrews, prized by the Novatians as a production of Barnabas, began after the time of Hilary and Lucifer to be quoted more and more in the West as Pauline and, therefore, canonical. The growth of sentiment in favor of James took place unnoted, as did that of the lesser Catholic Epistles. The African Canon (350–365), published by Mommsen, has a more or less official air; it makes no mention of Heb., Jas., or Jude, but includes I and II Pet., I, II, and III John; but it was corrected by a reviser so as to omit II Pet. and II and III John. In a synod of c. 382 the controlling spirit was Jerome; so that II and III John were received as the presbyter's while the rest of the Catholic Epistles were ascribed to Apostles. Hebrews was reckoned as a fourteenth Pauline letter. The influence of Augustine was dominant in the synods of Hippo (383) and Carthage (397), the pronouncement of which was for thirteen Pauline Epistles, to which Hebrews was added as a sort of stranger.

The history of the canon was closed in the West by the beginning of the fifth century, a hundred years earlier than in the East.

(T. Zahn.)

Bibliography: On the general topic of the canon for the reader of English possibly the best survey of the results of modern scholarship is W. Sanday, Inspiration . . . Early History and Origin of the Doctrine of Biblical Inspiration, London 1896 (fairly advanced on the O. T., conservative on the N. T.); L. Gaussen, Le Canon des saintes écritures au double point de vue de la science et de la foi, 2 vols., Geneva, 1860, Eng. transl., London, 1863; E. Reuss, Histoire du canon des saintes écritures dans l’église chrétienne, Strasburg, 1864. Eng, transl., Edinburgh, 1891; T. H. Horne, Introduction to the Critical Study . . . of the Holy Scriptures, 3 vols., London, 1872 (though written a century ago, it contains much that is still valuable); S. Davidson, The Canon of the Bible, ib. 1880 (radical, but the work of a scholar); F. Overbeck, Zur Geschichte des Kanons, Chemnitz, 1880 (contains an essay on the origin of the canon); J. J. Given, The Truth of Scripture in Connection with . . . the Canon, Edinburgh, 1881; G. T. Ladd, The Doctrine of Sacred Scripture, 2 vols., New York, 1883 (abstract and wordy, but scholarly); C. A. Briggs, Study of Holy Scripture, chaps. v.–vi., ib. 1899; W. H. Bennett and W. F. Adeney, Biblical lntroduction London, 1899 (brief, but accurate); F. E. C. Gigot, General Introduction to the Study of the Holy Scriptures, vol. i., New York, 1901 (an example of the newer Roman Catholic scholarship).

On the canon of the O. T. there are four works of first rank, viz.. H. E. Ryle, Canon of the O. T., London, 1892; F. Buhl, Kanon und Text des A. T., Leipsic, 1891, Eng. transl., Edinburgh, 1892 (a short treatise, but lucid and uncumbered with technicalities); G. Wildeboer, Hetonstaan 400van den Kanon des Ouden Verbonds, Groningen, 1891, Eng. transl., Origin of the Canon of the O. T., London, 1895 (much like Buhl); E. Kautzsch, Abriss der Geschichte des alttestamentlichen Schrifttums, Freiburg, 1897, Eng. transl., London, 1898 (lucid, altogether a model brief discussion). Other works which may be consulted are: J. Furst, Der Kanon des A. T., Leipsic, 1868; A. Loisy, Histoire du Canon de l’A. T., Paris, 1890 (Roman Catholic and scientific); G. H. Dalman, Traditio Rabbinorum vetterrima de librorum V. T. ordine et origine, Leipsic, 1891; Smith, OTJC; X. Koenig, Essai sur la formation du Canon de l’A. T., Paris, 1894; W. J. Beecher, The Alleged Triple Canon of the O. T. in JBL, xv. (1896) 118–128; W. H. Green, General Introduction to the O. T., 2 vols., New York, 1898–99 (states the extreme conservative position); Magnier, Étude sur la canonicité de l’A. T., Paris, 1899 F. E. C. Gigot, General Introduction to the Study of the Holy Scriptures, Vol. i. New York 1900; J. P. Peters, The Old Testament and the New Scholarship, New York, 1901.

On the N. T. canon the best work is by B. F. Westcott, A General Survey of the Hist. of the Canon of the N. T., London 1889; K. A. Credner, Geschichte des neutestamentlichen Kanons, Berlin 1860 (though an old work, much of the material is still usable); R. F. Grau, Entwicklungsgeschichte des neutestamentlichen Schriftthums, 2 vols., Gütersloh 1871 A. H. Charteris, Canonicity: a Collection of early Testimonies to the Canonical Books of the N. T., London, 1880; idem, The N. T. Scriptures, their Claims, Hist., and Authority, ib. 1882 (a popular form of the preceding); T. Zahn, Forschungen zur Geschichte des neutestamentlichen Kanons, 5 parts, Erlangen, 1881–93; idem, Geschichte des neuttestamentlichen Kanons, Erlangen and Leipsic, 1888–92; A. Loisy, Histoire du Canon du N. T., Paris, 1891; H. J. Holtzmann, Historisch-kritische Einleitung in das N. T., Freiburg, 1892; G. Salmon Historical Introduction to the Study of the Books of the N. T., London, 1894; A. Harnack, Das N. T. um das Jahr 200, Freiburg, 1889; idem, Altchristliche Litteratur, 2 vols., Leipsic 1897–1904 (exhaustive); B. W. Bacon, Introduction to N. T., New York, 1900 (condensed); D. S. Muzzey, Rise of the N. T., ib, 1900; A. Jülicher, Einleitung in das N. T., Tübingen, 1901, Eng. transl., London, 1904; C. R. Gregory, Canon and Text of the N. T., Edinburgh, 1907; J. Leipoldt, Geschichte des neutestamentlichen Kanons, Vol. i., Die Entstehung, Leipsic, 1907.

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