HomePage | RecentChanges | Preferences

The Canon of Scripture

Early Christians and Jews were not interested in laying down a Canon, or set list of inspired books. While all Jews accepted the Torah, there was division about what other books might or might not be inspired by God.

The Septuagint (LXX) translation of the OldTestament into Greek provided a standard text for the non-Hebrew speaking world. However, even here, there was discussion about what books were inspired. Some editions of the LXX include, for instance I-IV Maccabees or the 151st psalm, while others do not include them.

After the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, the Jewish community set down their Canon of Scripture, including only those books written in Hebrew and written up to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. (Later scholarship indicates that this division was not perfectly done, that is, some of the books accepted by the Jews were actually written after the deadline.)

The Christians, on the other hand, tended to use the Greek Bible, and had more books in circulation, though no formal statement was made by the universal Church on the subject. In the OldTestament, the "doubtful" books that were eventually included are Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Baruch, I-II Maccabees, and Sirach, as well as parts of Esther and Daniel written originally in Greek. The doubtful books in the NewTestament were Hebrews, James, 2-3 John, 1-2 Peter, and Revelation, mostly because of the unsure authorship of these books.

When St. Jerome translated the Bible into Latin, producing the VulgateBible?, he argued for the "Veritas Hebraica", or the acceptance of the Jewish canon of the Old Testament. At the insistence of the Pope, however, he added translations for the doubtful books.

Over the years, the feeling in favor of this group of "doubtful" books grew, until at the Council of Florence (1451), this list was defined as canonical. The Council of Florence, however, was not binding on the whole Church.

At the time of the Reformation, MartinLuther? eliminated the "doubtful" books from his OldTestament, terming them "Apocrypha". He also argued for the elimiation of certain NewTestament books, notably the Letter of James.

The CatholicChurch? finally settled the question of the Canon in the Council of Trent, which reaffirmed the Canon of the Council of Florence. The OldTestament books that had been in doubt were termed "deuterocanonical", not indicating a lesser degree of inspiration, but a later time of final approval.

With all due respect, what about the parts of the Bible that were destroyed because they were written by WOMEN? The Bible everyone is reading is broken, even as a history...

Out of curiosity, do we know there were any? Culture in the ancient world didn't normally encourage such exploits, but there are notably exceptions, like Hypatia and Sappho. Have we found any woman-written apocrypha?

HomePage | RecentChanges | Preferences
This page is read-only | View other revisions
Last edited January 28, 2001 10:27 pm by JoshuaGrosse (diff)