the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
Canon of Scripture
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
as the phrase is usually employed, may be defined as "the Authoritative Standard of Religion and Morals, composed of those writings which have been given for this purpose by God to men." A definition frequently given of the Canon is, that it is "the Catalogue of the Sacred Books;" while Semler (Von Freier U nersu(hungen des Canons), Doederlein (Institutio Theol. Christ. 1:83), and others, define it as "the List of the Books publicly read in the meetings of the early Christians;" both these, however, are defective, and the latter is not only historically incorrect, but omits the essential idea of the divine authority of these Scriptures. We here give a copious account of the subject in general, referring our readers to special articles for more details on the several books of the Bible.
I. Origin and uses of the term "Canon." —
1. In classical Greek, the word (Κανών, akin to קָנֶה, a "reed," [comp. Gesen. Thes. s.v.] κάνη, κάννα, canna [canals, channel], CANE, cannon) signifies,
(1) Properly, a straight rod, as the rod of a shield, or that used in weaving (l'ciatorium), or a carpenter's rule.
(2) Metaphorically, a testing rule in ethics (comp. Aristot. Eth. Nic.3:4, 5), or in art (the Canon of Polycletus; Luc. ds Salt. p. 946 B), or in language (the Canons of Grammar). The gift of tongues (Acts 2:7) was regarded as the "canon" or test which determined the direction of the labors of the several apostles (Severian. ap. Cram. Cat. in Acts 2:7). Chronological tables were called "canons of time" (Plut. Sol. 27); and the summary of a book was called κανών, as giving the "rule," as it were, of its composition. The Alexandrine grammarians applied the word in this sense to the great "classical" writers, who were styled"‘ the rule" (ὁ Κανών ), or the perfect model of style and language.
(3) But, in addition to these active meanings, the word was also used passively for a measured space (at Olympia), and, in later times, for a fixed tax (Du Cange, s.v.).
2. In ecclesiastical usage, the word occurs in the Sept. in its literal sense (Judges 13:6), and again in Aquila (Job 38:5). In the N.T. it is found in two places in Paul's epistles (Galatians 6:16; 2 Corinthians 10:13-16), and in the second place the transition from an active to a passive sense is worthy of notice. In patristic writings the word is commonly used bothas a rule in the widest sense, and especially in the phrases "the rule of the Church," "the rule of faith," "the rule of truth." In the fourth century, when the practice of the Church was farther systematized, the decisions ofsynods were styled "Canons," and the discipline by which ministers were bound was technically "the Rule," and those who were thus bound were styled Canonici (" Canons"). In the phrase "the canon (i.e. fixed part) of the mass," from which the popular sense of "canonize" is derived, the passive sense again prevailed. (See below.)
3. As applied to Scripture, the derivatives of κανών are used long before the simple word. The Latin translation of Origen speaks of Scripture, Canonicce (de Princ. 4:33), libri regulares (Comm. in Matt. § 117), and libri canonizati (id. § 28). In another place the phrase habei'i in Canone (Prol. in Song of Solomon s. f.) occurs, but probably only as a translation of κανονίζεσθαι, which is used in this and cognate senses in Athanasius (Ep. Fest.), the Laodicene Canons (ἀκανόνιστα, Can. lix), and later writers (Isid. Pelus. Ep. cxiv; comp. Aug. de doctr. Chr. 4:9 ; and as a contrast, Anon. ap. Euseb. H. E. v. 28).
The first direct application of the term κανών to the Scriptures seems to be by Amphilochius (cir. 380), in his Catalogue of the Scriptures, where the word indicates the rule by which the contents of the Bible must bedetermined, and thus secondarily an index of the constituent books. Among Latin writers the word is commonly found from the time of Jerome (Prol. Gal.) and Augustine (De Civ. 17:24; 18:38), and their usage of the word, which is wider than that of Greek writers, is the source of its modern acceptation.
The uncanonical books were described simply as "those without," or "those uncanonized" (ἀκανόνιστα, Conc. Laod. lix). The apocryphal books, which were supposed to occupy an intermediate position, were called "books read" (ἀναγιγνωσκόμενα, Athan. Ep. Fest.), or "ecclesiastical" (ecclesiastici, Rufin. in Symb. Apost. § 38), though the latter title was also applied to the canonical Scriptures, which (Leont. de Sect. ii) were also called "books of the Testament" (ἐνδιάθηκα βιβγία ), and Jerome styled the whole collection by the striking name of "the holy library" (Bibliotheca sancta), which happily expresses the unity and variety of the Bible (Credner, Zur Gesch. d. Kan. § 1; Westcott, Hist. of Canon of N.T. App. D).
II. The Jewish Canons. —
1. According to the command of Moses, the "book of the law" was "put in the side of the ark" (Deuteronomy 31:25 seq.), but not in it (1 Kings 8:9; comp. Joseph. Ant. 3:1, 7; 5:1, 17); and thus, in the reign of Josiah, Hilkiah is said to have "found the book of the law in the house of the Lord" (2 Kings 22:8; comp. 2 Chronicles 34:14). This "book of the law," which, in addition to the direct precepts (Exodus 24:7), contained general exhortations (Deuteronomy 28:61) and historical narratives (Exodus 17:14), was farther increased by the records of Joshua (Joshua 24:26), and other writings (1 Samuel 10:25). From these sacredly guarded autographs copies were taken and circulated among the people (2 Chronicles 17:9). At a subsequent time collections ofproverbs were made (Proverbs 25:1), and the later prophets (especially Jeremiah; comp. Kueper, Jerem. Libror. ss. interp. et vindex, Berol. 1837) were familiar with the writings of their predecessors, a circumstance which may naturally be connected with the training of "the prophetic schools." It perhaps marks a farther step in the formation of the Canon when "the book of the Lord" is mentioned by Isaiah as a general collection of sacred teaching (Isaiah 34:16 [where it is implied that his own writings were to be added to those previously regarded as sacred; see Gesenius, Comment. in loc.]; comp. Isaiah 29:18) at once familiar and authoritative; but it is unlikely that any definite collection either of "the Psalms" or of "the Prophets" existed before the Captivity. At that time Zechariah speaks of "the law" and "the former prophets" as in some measure coordinate (Zechariah 7:12); and Daniel refers to "the books" (Daniel 9:2) in a manner which seems to mark the prophetic writings as already collected into a whole. Shortly after the return from Babylon, the Levites read and expounded the word of the Lord to the people (Nehemiah 8:1-8; Nehemiah 9:13).
2. Popular belief assigned to Ezra and "the great synagogue" the task of collecting and Ipromulgating the Scriptures as part of their work in organizing the Jewish Church. Doubts have been thrown upon this belief (Ran, De Synag. magnas, 1726; comp. Ewald, Gesch. d. V. Isr. 4:191 [see below] ); but the statement is in every way consistent with the history of Judaism, and with the internal evidence of the books themselves. The later embellishments of the tradition, which represent Ezra as the second author of all the books (2 Esdras), or define more exactly the nature of his work, can only be accepted as signs of the universal belief in his labors, and ought not to cast discredit upon the simple fact that the foundation of the present Canon is due to lim. Nor can it be supposed that the work was completed at once; so that the account (2 Maccabees 2:13) which assigns a collection of books to Nehemiah is in itself a confirmation of the general truth of the gradual formation of the Canon during the Persian period. The work of Nehemiah is not described as initiatory or final. The tradition omits all mention of the law, which may be supposed to have assumed its final shape under Ezra, but says that Nehemiah "gathered together the [writings] concerning the kings and prophets, and the [writings] of David, and letters of kings concerning offerings," while ‘ founding a library" (2 Macc. l. c.). The various classes of books were thus completed in succession; and this view harmonizes with what must have been the natural development of the Jewish faith after the Return. The constitution of the Church and the formation of the Canon were both, from their nature, gradual and mutually dependent. The construction of an ecclesiastical polity involved thepractical determination of the divine rule of truth, though, as in the parallel case of the Christian Scriptures, open persecution first gave a clear and distinct expression to the implicit faith.
The foregoing tradition occurs in one of the oldest books of the Talmud, the Pirke Aboth; and it is repeated, with greater minuteness, in the Babylonian Gemara (Baba Bathra, fol. 13, 2. See the passages in Buxtorf's Tiberias. lib. 1, 100:10; comp. Wachner, Antiq. Hebrews 1:13). The substance of it is that, after Moses and the elders, the sacred books were watched over by the prophets, and that the Canon was completed by Ezra, Nehemiah, and the men of the Great Synagogue. The earliest form in which this appears is in the fourth book of Esdras, a work dating from the end of the first or beginning of the second century after Christ. Here it is asserted that Ezra, by divine command and by divine aid, caused to be composed 94 books by three men (Vulg. 204 books by five men) in forty days, 70 of which, wherein "is a vein of understanding, a fountain of wisdom, and a stream of knowledge," were to be given to the wise of the people, while the rest were to be made public, that "both the worthy and the unworthy might read them" (14:42-47). These twenty-four thus made public are doubtless the canonical books. The statement is very vague; but that this is its reference is rendered probable by the appearance in the writings of some of the Christian fathers of a tradition that the sacred writings, which had been lost during the exile, were restored by Ezra in the time of Artaxerxes by inspiration (Clemens Alex., Strom. I, 22, p. 410; Potter; Tertullian, De cultu foim. 1:3; Irenaens, adv. Hoer. in, 21 , etc.). Against thistradition it has been objected that it proves too much, for it says that the men of the Great Synagogue wrote the later books, such as the twelve minor prophets, etc. But that by writing is here meant, not the original composing of these books, but the ascription (the to-writing) of them to the sacred Canon, may be inferred, partly from the circumstance that, in the same tradition, the men of Hezekiah are said to have written the Proverbs, which can only mean that they copied them (see Proverbs 25:1) for the purpose of inserting them in the Canon, and partly from the fact that the word here used (כתבן ) is used by the Targumist on Proverbs 25:1 as equivalent to the Hebrews עָתִק , to transcribe. An attempt has also been made to discredit this tradition by adducing the circumstance that Simon the Just, who lived long after Ezra, is said, in the Pirke Aboth, to have been one of the members of the Great Synagogue; but to this much weight cannot be allowed, partly because Simon is, in the passage referred to, said to have been one of the remnants of the Great Synagogue, which indicates his having outlived it, and principally because the same body of tradition which states this opinion makes him the successor of Ezra; so that either the whole is a mistake, or the Simon referred to must have been a different person from the Simon who is commonly known by the title of "Just" (comp. Othonis Lex. Rabbin. Philol. p. 604, Genesis 1675; Haivernick's Einletung in das A. T. Th. 1:Abt. I, 1:43). Or we may adopt the opinion of Hartmann (Diz enge Verbindung des Alt. Test. mit d. Neuen, p. 127) that the college of men learned in the law which gathered round Ezra and Nehemiah, and which properly was the Synagogue, continued to receiveaccessions for many years after their death, by means of which it existed till the time of the Maccabees, without our being required to suppose thatwhat is affirmed concerning its doings in the time of Ezra is meant to refer to it during the entire period of its existence. Suspicions have also beencast upon this tradition from the multitude of extravagant wonders narrated by the Jews respecting the Great Synagogue. But such are found in almost every traditionary record attaching to persons or bodies which possess a nationally heroic character; and it is surely unreasonable because a chronicler tells one or two things which are incredible, that we should disbelieve all besides that he records, however possible or even probable it may be. To this it may be added that there are some things, such as the order of daily prayer, the settling of the text of the Old Testament, the establishment of the traditional interpretation of Scripture, etc., which must be assigned to the period immediately after the Captivity, and which presuppose the existence of some institute such as the Great Synagogue, whether this be regarded as formally constituted by Ezra or as a voluntary association of priests and scribes (Zunz, Die Gottesdienstlichen Vortr. d. Juden, p. 33). Moreover there are some passages of Scripture (e.g. 1Chronicles in, 23, 24) which belong to a period somewhat later than any of the canonical writers. (See EZRA). This tradition, again, is confirmed by the following circumstances:
(a.) The time in question was the latest at which this could be done. As the duty to be performed was not merely that of determining the genuineness of certain books, but of pointing out those which had been divinely ordained as a rule of faith and morals to the Church, it was one which none but a prophet could discharge. Now in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra there were several prophets living, among whomwe know the names of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi; but with that age expired the line of prophets which God had appointed "to comfort Jacob, and deliver them by assured hope" (Sirach 49:10). On this point the evidence of Josephus, the apocryphal books, and Jewishtradition, is harmonious (comp. Joseph. cont. Apion. 1:8; 1 Maccabees 4:46; 1 Maccabees 9:27; 1 Maccabees 14:41; Jerome, ad Jes. 49:21; Vitringa, Obs. Sac. lib. 6, cap. 6, 7; Havernick, Einleit. 1:1, 27; Hengstenberg, Beitrdge zur Einleit. ins A. T. 1:245). As the men of the Great Synagogue were thus the last of the prophets, if the Canon was not fixed by them, the time was passedwhen it could be fixed at all.
(b.) That it was fixed at that time appears from the fact that all subsequent references to the sacred writings presuppose the existence of the complete Canon, as well as from the fact that of no one among the apocryphal books is it so much as hinted, either by the author or by any other Jewish writer, that it was worthy of a place among the sacred books, though of some of them the pretensions are in other respects sufficiently high (e.g. Sirach 33:16-18; Sirach 1, 28). Josephus, indeed, distinctly affirms (cont. Revelation 1. c.) that, during the long period that had elapsed between the time of the close of the Canon and his day, no one had dared either to add to, or to take from, or to alter any thing in the sacred books. This plainly shows that about the time of Artaxerxes, to which Josephus refers, and which was the age of Ezra and Nehemiah,the collection of the sacred books was completed by an authority which thenceforward ceased to exist. (See SYNAGOGUE, GREAT).
3. The persecution of Antiochus (B.C. 168) was for the Old Testament what the persecution of Diocletian was for the New, the final crisis which stamped the sacred writings with their peculiar character. The king sought out "the books of the law" (τὰ βιβλία τοῦ νόμου , 1 Maccabees 1:56) and burnt them; and the possession of a "book of the covenant" (βιβλίον διαθήκης ) was a capital crime (Joseph. Ant. 12:5, 4). But this proscription of "the law" naturally served only to direct the attention of the people more closely to these sacred books themselves. After theMaccabean persecution the history of the formation of the Canon ismerged in the history of its contents. The Bible appears from that time as a whole, though it was natural that the several parts were not vet placed on an equal footing, nor regarded universally and in every respect with equal reverence (comp. Zunz, D. Gottesd. Vortr. d. Jud. p. 14, 25, etc.).
But while the combined evidence of tradition and of the general course of Jewish history leads to the conclusion that the Canon in its present shape was formed gradually during a lengthened interval, beginning with Ezra and extending through a part or even the whole (Nehemiah 12:11; Nehemiah 12:22) of the Persian period (B.C. 458-332), when the cessation of the prophetic gift pointed out the necessity and defined the limits of the collection, it is of the utmost importance to notice that the collection was peculiar incharacter and circumscribed in contents. All the evidence which can be obtained tends to show that it is false, both in theory and fact, to describe the O. T. as "all the relics of the Hebrmeo-Chaldaic literature up to a certain epoch" (De Wette, Einl. § 8), if the phrase is intended to refer to the time when the Canon was completed.
The epilogue of Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 12:11 sq.) speaks of an extensive literature, with which the teaching of Wisdom is contrasted, and "weariness of the flesh" is described as the result of the study bestowed upon it. It is impossible that these "many writings" can have perished in the interval between the composition of Ecclesiastes and the Greek invasion, and the Apocrypha includes several fragments which must be referred tothe Persian period (Buxtorf, Tiberias, 10:10 sq.; Hottinger, Thes. Phil.; Hengstenberg, Beitrdge, i; Havernick, Einl. i; Oehler, art. Kanon d. A. T. in Herzog's Encyklop.).
4. The division of the O.T. Canon into three parts, "the Law," "the Prophets," and "the Writings" (תּוֹרָה נְבַיַּאום וּכְתוּבַים ), is very ancient; it appears in the prologue to Ecclesiasticus, in the New Testament, in Philo, in Josephus, and in the Talmud (Surenhusii Βιβ . Καταλλ p. 49). Respecting the principle on which the division has been made, there is considerable difference of opinion. All are agreed that the first part, the Law, which embraces the Pentateuch, was so named from its containing the national laws and regulations. The second embraces the rest of the historical books, with the exception of Ruth, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Chronicles; and the writings of the prophets, except Daniel and Lamentations. It is probable that it received its name aparte potiori, the majority of the books it contains being the production of men who were professionally prophets. That this criterion, however, determined the omission or insertion of a book in this second division, as asserted by Hengstenberg (Authent. des Daniel, p. 27), and by Havernick (Eal. I, sec. 11), cannot be admitted; for, on the one hand, we find inserted in this division the book of Amos, who was "neither a prophet nor a prophet's son;" and on the other, there is omitted from it the Book of Lamentations, which was unquestionably the production of a prophet.
The insertion of this book in the last rather than in the second division has its source probably in some liturgical reason, in order that it might stand beside the Psalms and other lyric poetry of the sacred books. It is more ‘ difficult to account for the insertion of the book of Daniel in the third rather than in the second division; and much stress has been laid on this circumstance, as affording evidence unfavorable to the canonical claims of this book. But it is not certain that this book always occupied its present position. Is it notpossible that for some reason of a mystical or controversial kind, to both of which sources of influence the Jews during the early ages of Christianity were much exposed, they may have altered the position of Daniel from the second to the third division? What renders this probable is, that the Talmudists stand alone in this arrangement.
Josephus, Siracides, Philo, the New Testament, all refer to the Hagiographa in such a way as to induce the belief that it comprised only the poetical portions of the Old Testament — the psalms, hymns, and songs; while in all the catalogues of the Old- Testament writers given by the early fathers, up to the time of Jerome, Daniel is ranked among the prophets, generally in the position he occupies in our common version. In the version of the Sept., also, he is ranked with the prophets next to Ezekiel. Nor does Jerome agree with the Talmud in all respects, nor does one class of Jewish rabbis agree with another in the arrangement of the sacred books. All this shows that no such fixed and unalterable arrangement of the sacred books, as that which is commonly assumed, existed anterior to the fifth century of the Christian aera, and proves very distinctly that the place then assigned to Daniel by the Talmudists was not the place he had during the preceding period, or originally occupied. (See DANIEL, BOOK OF). As respects the name given to the third division, the most probable account of it is, that at first it was fullerviz., ‘ the other writings," as distinguished froip the Law and the Prophets (comp. the expression τὰ ἄλλα βιβλία, used by the Son of Sirach, Ecclus. Prol.); and that in process of time it. was abbreviated into "the writings." This part is commonly cited under the title Hagiographa (q.v.)
5. The O.T. Canon, as established in the time of Ezra, has remained unaltered to the present day. Some, indeed, have supposed that, because the Sept. version contains some books not in the Hebrew, there must have been a double Canon, a Palestinian and an Egyptian (Semler, Apparat. ad liberaliorem V. T. interpret. § 9, 10; Corrodi, Beleuchtung der Gesch. des Jidisch. u. Christlich. Kanons, p.155-184; Augusti, Einleit. ins. A. T. p.79); but this notion has been completely disproved by Eichhorn (Einlit.1:23), Havernick (Einl. 1, § 16), and others. All extant evidence is against it. The Son of Sirach, and Philo, both Alexandrian Jews, make no allusion to it; and Josephus, who evidently used the Greek version, expressly declares against it in the passage above referred to (Revelation 1:8). The earlier notices of the Canon simply designate it by the threefold division already considered. The Son of Sirach, mentions "the Law, the Prophets, and the other books of the fathers;" and again, "the Law, the Prophecies, and the rest of the books;." expressions which clearly indicate that in his day the Canon was fixed. In the New Test. our Lord frequently refers to the Old Test. under the title of "The Scriptures," or of "The Law" (Matthew 21:42; Matthew 22:29; John 10:30, etc.); and in one place he speaks of "the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms" (Luke 24:44); by the third of these titles intending, doubtless, to designate the Hagiographa, either after the Jewish custom of denoting a collection of books by the title of that with which it comnmenced, or, as Hä vernick suggests, using the term ψαλμοί as a general designation of these books, because of the larger comparativeamount of lyric poetry contained in them. (Einl. § 14). Paul applies to the Old Test. the appellations "the Holy Writings" (γραφαὶ ἁγίαι,Romans 1:2); "the Sacred Letters" (ἱερὰ γράμματα, 2 Timothy 3:15), and "the Old Covenant" (ἡ παλαιὰ διαθήκη, 2 Corinthians 3:14). ‘ Both our Lord and his apostles ascribe divine authority to the ancient Canon (Matthew 15:3; John 10:34-36; 2 Timothy 3:16;2 Peter 1:19-21, etc.); and in the course of the New Test. quotations are;nade from all the books of the Old except Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Canticles, Lamentations, and Ezekiel, the omission of such may be accounted for on the simple principle that the writers had no occasion to quote from them. Coincidences of language show that the apostles were familiar with several of the apocryphal books (Bleek, Ueber d. Stellung d.Apokr. in the Stud. u. Krit. 1853, p. 267 sq.), but they do not contain one authoritative or direct quotation from them, while, with the exception of Judges, Eccles., Song of Solomon, Esther, Ezra, and Nehemiah, every other book in the Hebrew Canon is used either for illustration or proof.
Philo attests the existence in his time of the ἱερὰ γράμματα , describes them as comprising laws, oracles uttered by the prophets, hymns, and the other books by which knowledge and godliness may be increased and perfected (De Vita Contemplat. in Opp. 2:275, ed Mangey); and quotations from or references to the most of the books are scattered through his writings. The evidence of Josephus is very important; for, besides general references to the sacred books, he gives a formal account of the Canon as it was acknowledged in his day, ascribing five books, containing laws and an account of the origin of man, to Moses, thirteen to the Prophets, and four, containing songs of praise to God and ethical precepts for men, to different writers, and affirming that the faith of theJews in these books is such that for them they would suffer all tortures and death itself (cont. Apien. 1:7, 8; Eichhorn, Einleit. 1, § 50; Jahn, Intrcduction p. 50). The popular belief that the Sadducees received onlythe books of Moses (Tertull. De prcescr. heret. 45; Jerome, in Matthew 22:31, p. 181; Origen, c. Cels. 1:49), rests on no sufficient authority; and if they had done so, Josephus could not have failed to notice the fact in his account of the different sects. (See SADDUCEES). In the traditions of the Talmud, on the other hand, Gamaliel is represented as using passages from the Prophets and the Hagiographa in his controversies with ‘ them, and they reply with quotations from the same sources without scruple or objection. (See Eichhorn, Einl. § 35; Lightfoot, Horce Hebr. et Talm. 2:616; Schmid, Enarr, Sent. Fl. Josephi de Libris V. T. 1777; Guildenapfel. Dissert. Josephi de Sadd. Can. Sent. exhibens, 1804.) In the Talmudic Tractentitled Baba Bathra, a catalogue of the books of the sacred Canon is given, which exactly corresponds with that now found in the Hebrew Bible (Buxtorf, Tiberias, 100:11).
III. The Christian Canon of the Old Testament. — Melito, bishop of Sardis in the second century of the Christian mera, gives, as the result of careful inquiry, the same books in the Old-Testament Canon as we have now, with the exception of Nehemiah, Esther, and Lamentations; the first two of which, however, he probably included in Ezra, and the last in Jeremiah (Euseb. Hist. Ecclesiastes 4:26; Eichhorn, Einl. 1, § 52). The catalogues of Origen (Euseb. Hist. Ecclesiastes 6:2; Ecclesiastes 6:5), of Jerome (Prol. Galeat. in Opp. in), and of others of the fathers, give substantially the same list (Eichhorn, 1. c.; Augusti, Einl. § 54; Cosins, Scholastical Hist. of the Canon, ch. in, vi; Henderson, On Inspiration, p. 449).
The general use of the Septuagint (enlarged by apocryphal additions) produced effects which are plainly visible in the history of the O.T. Canon among the early Christian writers. In proportion as the fathers were more or less absolutely dependent on that version for their knowledge of the Old-Testament Scriptures, they gradually, lost in common practice the sense of the difference between the books of the Hebrew Canon and theApocrypha. The custom of individuals grew into the custom of the Church;and the public use of the apocryphal books obliterated in popular regard the characteristic marks of their origin and value, which could only be discovered by the scholar. But the custom of the Church was not fixed in an absolute judgment. The same remark applies to the details of patristic evidence on the contents of the Canon. Their habit must be distinguished from their judgment.
1. From what has been said, it is evident that the history of the Christian Canon is to be sought, in the first instance, from definite catalogues rather than from isolated quotations. But even this evidence is incomplete and unsatisfactory. (See the Tables 1. and 2.) During the first four centuries this Hebrew Canon is the only one which is distinctly recognized, and it is supported by the combined authority of those fathers whose critical judgment is entitled to the greatest weight. The real divergence as to the contents of the Old-Testament Canon is to be traced to Augustine, who enumerates the books contained in "the whole Canon of Scripture,"including the Apocrypha, without any special mark of distinction, although it may be reasonably doubted whether he differed intentionally fromJerome except in language (De Doctr. Christ. 2:8 ; comp. De Civ.18:36; Gaud. 1:38).
The enlarged Canon of Augustine, though wholly unsupported by any Greek authority, was adopted at the Council of Carthage (A.D. 397?), though with a reservation (Song of Solomon 47, "de conJirmando isto Canone transmarina ecclesi: consulatur"), and afterward published in the decretals which bear the name of Innocent, Damasus, and Gelasius (comp. Credner, Zur Gesch. d. Kan. p. 151 sq.); and it recurs in many later writers. But, nevertheless, a continuous succession of the more learned fathers in the West maintained the distinctive authority of the Hebrew Canon up to the period of the Reformation. In the 6th century Primasius(Comm. in Revelation 4, Cosin, § 92?), in the 7th Gregory the Great (Moral.19:21, p. 622), in the 8th Bede (In Apoc. iv ?), in the 9th Alcuin (ap. Hody, p. 654; yet see Carm. 6, 7), in the 10th Radulphus Flav. (In Leviticus 14, Hody, p. 655), in the 12th Peter of Clugni (Ep. c. Petr. Hody, 1. c.), Hugo de S.Victore (de Script. 6), and John of Salisbury (Hody, p. 656; Cosin, §130), in the 13th Hugo Cardinalis (Hody, p. 656), in the 14th Nicholas Liranus (Hody, p. 657; Cosin, § 146), Wiclif (? comp. Hody, p. 658), and Occam (Hody, p. 657; Cosin, § 147), in the 15th Thomas Anglicus (Cosin,§ 150), and Thomas de Walden (Id. § 151), in the 16th Card. Ximenes (Ed. Compl. Prcef.), Sixtus Senensis (Biblioth. 1:1), and Card. Cajetan (Hody,p. 662; Cosin, § 173), repeat with approval the decision of Jerome, and draw a clear line between the canonical and apocryphal books (Cosin, Scholastical History of the Canon; Reuss, Die Gesch. d. heiligen Schrifiten d. N.T. ed. 2, § 328).
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