The Canon of Sacred Scripture




 Monsignor G. Van Noort. S.T.D.


I. Brief Definitions of “Sacred Scripture,” “Inspiration,”





Sacred Scripture (the Holy Bible) can be defined in the words of the Vatican Council as the collection of books which, “written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, have God as their Author and, as such, have been handed down to the Church itself’ (DB 1787).

If a book is to be considered part of Sacred Scripture, it must fulfill two simultaneous conditions, inspiration and canOnicity. First it must have been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it must be inspired; and it must have been handed down to the Church precisely as an inspired writing. Since the testimony of the Church regarding the books which she receives as inspired rests chiefly on the fact that she has acknowledged such books and has listed them in her official catalogue or canon, the second requisite condition is, quite briefly, that a book be canonical, i.e., listed in the Church’s official canon.

It goes without saying that the Church’s acceptance of a book does not affect the nature of that book. It contributes nothing to its intrinsic worth and dignity.’ One might wonder, for instance, whether an inspired book which has not been entrusted to the Church—should any such book exist—would be considered Sacred Scripture. To answer this, a distinction must be made. If “Sacred Scripture” be understood simply as a book of divine origin and so in itself of divine authority, and nothing else, such a book would of course be Sacred Scripture. But if the term be taken to indicate a book of divine origin which is in addition a source of Christian revelation, on which are based the Church’s preaching and the Catholic faith, then one would have to give a negative answer. As it is, the Church and Catholic theology use the term “Sacred Scripture” exclusively in this latter sense. And this is only right, for they treat Sacred Scripture and use it precisely as a source of

revelation. Obviously the Church could not base its preaching on a book as inspired unless it had learned of its inspiration from Christ or the apostles.

Since factually there exists no inspired book which is not at the same time canonical, the terms “inspired” and “canonical” are often used interchangeably. Still, the ideas behind the two terms are really distinct, though there is a certain overlapping, for canonicity supposes and includes inspiration.


II.    Why Canonicity Is Discussed Prior to Inspiration

Since inspiration ontologically comes before canonicity, many theologians take up first the question of inspiration, and then that of canonicity. The opposite order is preferable. The term “can­onicity” primarily and expressly tells us that such and such a book is accepted by the Church as sacred, as an authentic source of revelation, but does not state distinctly the basic reason for this acceptance, i.e., inspiration. Inasmuch as acceptance by the Church is an external and public act, it is more easily discernible and demonstrable than inspiration. Moreover, once one has established the fact of the Church’s acceptance, he has a very valid, even if indirect, proof for inspiration.


Ill.   Division of this Chapter

We shall consequently proceed in the following fashion. In Article i we shall speak of the canon of Sacred Scripture and seek to determine whether the Church has always accepted the books which it now puts forth as Scripture. If she has, then it is quite credible that Christ and the apostles took the same view of them. In Article II we shall see whether these books are rightly called inspired. In Article III we shall take up the nature of inspiration and its effects; finally, in Article IV, we shall summarize the factors involved in the use of Sacred Scripture.







I.  Meaning of Canon and Canonical


Canon, from the Greek, kanon (kane, kanna: reed), was for the Creeks an instrument used by artisans to bring stones or planks into alignment, either to cut them or to put them together. The Latin equivalent is mensura, measure, norm. It was used meta­phorically to indicate anything which served as a norm of belief or of action: ho kanòn tês aletheías tês písteõs (the canon of truth, of belief; the Creed); ecclesiastical canons or rules. We speak today of the canons of good taste, of literary criticism, etc. It is in this sense that the fathers, especially the Latins, quite frequently referred to the books of Sacred Scripture as canonical, because they serve as a rule or norm of faith and morality. And in this sense, too, they sometimes called the actual collection of sacred books the Canon.

The Creeks used the word kanón also with the meaning of list or catalogue, and it is especially in this sense that the word was applied, from about the fourth century on, to the matter under present consideration. The canon of Scripture, then, was the list of those books which the Church received as divine and read publicly as such in its assemblies. Canonical books were books which had been put on the Church’s official list. This meaning continued to predominate as time went on, but not to the exclusion of the other one mentioned above, for by the very fact that certain books appeared in the Church’s list, they were acknowledged as the rule of faith.

The opposite of the canonical books were the apocrypha (apókruphos: hidden), i.e., those books which could not be read in the Church’s public assemblies because the Church excluded them from its list of sacred books. This is without doubt the orig­inal and universal meaning of the term, for in many cases it is used practically as a synonym for pseudepigraphical, and even for heretical.2


II.    Distinction Between Proto-and Deuterocanonical Books


The canonical books are usually divided into protocanonical and deuterocanonical. Protocanonical books are those about whose divine origin the Church of God never entertained the slightest doubt, about whose inspiration all were always in agreement:

homologoúmenoi: agreed upon. Deuterocanonical is the term ap­plied to those books about whose inspiration some individual fathers or churches sometimes felt some hesitation, books whose authority was sometimes denied: antilegómenoi: spoken against, opposed; amphiball6menoi, tossed around.

A word of caution is in order here. The terms proto- and deutero­canonical,3 invented by Sixtus of Sienna, must not be taken to mean that the Church at one time drew up a definitive list of all the sacred books (proto canonical) to the positive exclusion of any and all others, and then later did an about-face and took others (deuterocanonical) into an expanded and revised canon. It was never the Church as such that had doubts about these latter books, but only some individuals or groups at different times and in different places.

The deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament are: Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees; to these must be added the following parts of protocanonical books:

Esther 10:4—16:24; Daniel 3:24—90; 13 and 14.

The deuterocanonical books of the New Testament are: He­brews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude, Apocalypse; to these must be added the following parts of protocanonical books: Mark 16:9-20; Luke 22:43—44; John 7:53—8:11.


Ill.   The Alexandrian, Palestinian, and Tridentine Canons


There are three canons of Sacred Scripture deserving of special mention: the Alexandrian, the Palestinian, and the Tridentine.

a. The Alexandrian Canon indicates that collection of all the books of the Old Testament contained in the Greek translation called the Septuagint, which appeared in Alexandria during the III century B.C. This collection was completed in the first cen­tury before Christ, and included all the deuterocanonical books and passages, and not as an appendix at the end of the volume, but intermingled with the protocanonical books. We may conclude from this that the Jews of that era, at least those in the Diaspora—

and Alexandria was perhaps their chief center—acknowledged as divine not only the proto- but the deuterocanonical books as well. There is, however, no way of knowing what criteria they used to determine the inspiration of these books.

b. The Palestinian Canon. This term indicates a collection of the protocanonical books of the Old Testament, divided into the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, a division retained in modern Hebrew Bibles. There is one thing certain about this collection, and that is that the Palestinian rabbis, towards the end of the first or the beginning of the second century, looked upon it as contain­ing completely all the divine Scriptures. However, we are altogether in the dark as to who made the collection, when it was made, and the criteria which governed its compilation. There is, above all, room for doubt that the Palestinian Jews, even at the time of Christ and before, rejected the deuterocanonical books. Quite a few scholars, among them van Kasteren,4 positively deny that they did, and think it more probable that even the Palestinians at one time considered as sacred at least several of the deuterocanonical books. In their view, the so-called Palestinian canon is later than that of Alexandria and is the spawn of Pharisaic particularism.

In the light of all the facts bearing on this matter, it cannot be maintained that there was a time when there were two rival canons in Judaism, i.e., two different canons clearly settled by authority or tradition, and that later the narrower Palestinian canon pre­vailed and crowded out the broader Alexandrian canon. Frbm this it follows also that the expression “Alexandrian canon,” although employed quite widely, is not correct. There can be no question here of a canon in the proper sense, i.e., of a collection with definite contents clearly settled by a recognized authority or tradition. What we have is the fact of more or less definite differences between the contents of the Hebrew Bible and those of the Sep­tuagint. For convenience sake we may use the expression to call attention to the fact of these differences, but not to imply the existence of a real canon different from the Palestinian.


But what may we infer from that difference? Or rather, how can we account for that difference without supposing two rival, different canons of Scripture in Judaism? We may legitimately take as our starting point that the precise limits of the “Writings” had not as yet been definitely fixed before the Christian era. That being so, the Palestinian Jews will not have had any firm conviction

on the point. If the limits of the canon are to be conceived as fluid, it should occasion no surprise if some books would be more or less tentatively received by some and not received by others. It appears that in Egypt several books (varying in number) may have been taken more or less definitely into the Bible without arousing the opposition of Palestinian Judaism. Palestinian Jews, narrower and more conservative in the matter of Scripture as in other matters than were the Alexandrian Jews, had their faces to the past and saw in the closed past the norm and rule of their religious life. They gradually came to hold that prophecy and, with it, the writing of Sacred Books had ceased some time after the exile. The Greek-speaking Jews, on the other hand, were more willing to admit the possibility of new manifestations of the Divine Spirit. Hence for them the canon of Scripture would not be something settled and closed once for all, and they could admit the possibility of some additional books being given a place in the canon. They could even receive some such books more or less definitely, but without any final, formal judgment which would close the question of the canon irrevocably. Then, later on, when Palestinian Judaism, which served as the norm for the Diaspora in essential matters, fixed the Jewish canon, this Palestinian canon could be accepted without any feeling that it meant a reversal of judgment with regard to the deuterocanonical books on the part of the Jews who had enter­tained more liberal views on the subject.

The Jews of succeeding ages, including those of our own day, follow the Palestinian canon, which they usually attribute to Esdras. This attribution, historically untenable, is behind the term, “Canon of Esdras.”

The Reformers were by no means unanimous on the question of what sacred books were to be accepted. All modern Protestants (Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans) agree at least in considering the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament as “apocryphal.” Lutherans usually append them to their bibles as “useful,” but not so the others, at least not as a general practice.

As for the deuterocanonical books of the New Testament, Cal­vinists and Anglicans accept all of them. Lutherans relegate Hebrews, James, Jude, and the Apocalypse to an appendix in their New Testaments, accepting the rest as canonical.5


c.    The Tridentine Canon is that published by the Council of Trent and confirmed by the Vatican Council. It contains all the

books of both Testaments. We must therefore show that the Coun­cil of Trent was justified in drawing up its canon, i.e., that it accepted only those books which the Church had revered as Scrip­ture from earliest times. However, this matter is rather the province of Biblical Introduction, and we shall accordingly give just a broad outline of the proof, leaving a full treatment to the science to which it belongs.6


IV.  PROPOSITION: The Canon of Trent Is a Faithful Expression of the Mind of the Early Church

After having listed the individual books of both Testaments, the Council of Trent continues:


If anyone, however, should not accept the said books, entire with all their parts, as they were wont to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate edition . . . let him be anathema.—DB 784.


It was the Council’s intention to safeguard the authority of Scripture in the Church, i.e., in the form in which it had cus­tomarily been read for so long a time in the universal Church and especially in the Latin Church, The meaning of the phrase “with all its parts” will be discussed later together with the question of the authority of the Vulgate.



1.  For the books of the Old Testament.


a. It can be definitely established from the writings of the fathers—and Protestants themselves admit this—that the universal Church in the first three centuries used as Sacred Scripture, both in public and in private, all the books of the Old Testament listed by Trent,7 and without making any distinction between the books now called proto- and deuterocanonical.

If one looks in the writings of the fathers themselves for the reason behind their accepting these books indiscriminately as sacred and divine, he will find one constant answer. It is the fact that they are “in every day use, public, common, received” in the Church, that this is the public tradition of the Church, that “the churches of God in each succeeding age have so handed them down to us.”8 It was, then, their firm conviction that the Church

had received all those books from its founders, Christ and the apostles.9

Even though we cannot demonstrate that our Lord or the apostles canonized all the books of the Old Testament by a solemn and specific pronouncement, the conviction of the primitive Church is proved by its very universality and finds strong support in the books of the New Testament. For the New Testament authors quote the Old Testament most frequently according to the Sep­tuagint, and they cite deuterocanonical books in the same fashion as protocanonical.

b. We must admit that around the middle of the fourth century a certain hesitancy about the deuterocanonical books began to appear in the writings of some of the fathers. This was true at first of some Eastern fathers and later of some Western fathers who had contact with the East. St. Athanasius,10 St. Cyril of Jeru­salem,” and a few others take a more or less unfavorable view of them and assign them a position somewhere between canonical and apocryphal, In the West, SS. Hilary and Rufinus adopt this same attitude. St. Jerome goes even further. He sometimes calls them simply “apocryphal” and seems at times to deny them any authority at all.’2

But all this wavering was unable to shake the age-old convic­tion or to weaken its force. For (1) the churches went right on almost universally using the deuterocanonical books just as they had always done. (2) Many lists of sacred books were drawn up which contained deuterocanonical books along with the others: the Roman Canon of 382 during the pontificate of Damasus; that of St. Augustine;13 those of the Councils of Hippo in 393, of Carthage in 397 and 416; that of Innocent I in 405, and that of St. Gelasius in 495. (3) The very fathers named above—and not even Jerome can be completely excluded—quite frequently use the deutero­canonical books as Scripture, or as sacred. By so doing they show that the distinction between “second place” (anagignöskómenoi, ecclesiastical) and “canonical” books did not have in their minds that absolute sense which at first blush it seems to have. Or it shows at least that for all practical purposes they subordinated their own private hesitations to the public practice of the Church.14

It is hardly necessary to remark that the hesitancy or disagree­ment of the aforementioned fathers influenced the opinions of many later writers. However, all doubt vanished in the East in the twelfth

century. And if in the West some few medieval scholars embraced the view of Jerome in somewhat mitigated form, the far more com­mon doctrine, corroborated by the universal practice of the Church, always stood firm for the ancient tradition. This latter the Council of Florence openly espoused in the Decree for the Jacobites, and finally the Council of Trent made it official by solemn definition.


2. For the books of the New Testament.


a. The beginnings of the New Testament are fairly obscure, but this is not surprising in the light of the following considerations. When the first churches were founded by the apostles and their aides, no New Testament book was yet in existence, and the religion of Christ had already spread far and wide throughout the various districts of the world when the books came out one by one during the years 50 to 100. They were written in different places and as occasion demanded. They were not addressed by their authors directly to the universal Church, but rather to a particular church or, at most to just a few; often enough, in fact, to some one person. In this way the several books came to individual churches together with a guarantee of their authenticity, without the other churches being immediately aware of what had happened. And there is no need to suppose that the receipt of the missive was reported to all the churches; at least there is no need to suppose that this was done in any hurry. For although the churches, as circumstances permitted, had contact with each other, it is not hard to understand how, in those early days when the voices of the apostles were still ringing in everyone’s ears, not too much attention would be paid to writings. This would be true especially of those writings which in scope and content were of relatively minor im­portance, or were concerned primarily with strictly local affairs.

On the supposition, then, that none of the apostles gave explicit approval to all the books of the New Testament in globo—some­thing not at all necessary, and not in fact demonstrable—the situa­tion could have shaped up somewhat as follows. After the apostles had died, authentic guarantee of individual sacred books would be available here and there in the Church before those books had as yet been gathered into one corpus, in fact, before any particular church was aware of the complete list of all the books. It is historically certain that a complete l5 collection did not yet exist at that time, and it may be assumed as a probable hypothesis that no complete list was anywhere to be found. If this really is the true

picture, then we can easily understand (1) that in the ensuing years the canon of the New Testament could be determined only by carefully collecting and studying the traditions of individual churches. History witnesses to the fact that the fathers actually did employ this method. (2) That this research was not always easy, especially in view of conditions obtaining at that time, and so could have given rise to legitimate doubts and even to erroneous notions regarding at least some of the writings. (3) Finally, that a sound and definitive judgment about all the books together came to rather slow maturity and took deep root in all the churches still more slowly.

b.   Testimony of the earliest documents.16

(1) Towards the end of the first century (80—100) there were in existence two collections, one of the Four Gospels, the other of thirteen Pauline Epistles (i.e., all except Hebrews). These were read publicly in almost all the churches together with the writings of the Old Testament. To these were added everywhere certain other books, now more, now less, about which the churches were not in such general accord.

(2) From various documents dealing especially with the history of the Gnostics we gather that about 140 and thereafter all the Greek and Latin churches17 agreed on accepting on an equal foot­ing all the books later listed by Trent, except for Hebrews, James, and 2 Peter. Opinion was divided on the latter just as it was on some other books (Didachë, Epistle of Barnabas, etc.).

Towards the end of the second century (170—220) the same agreement shows up more clearly, At the same time it can be shown from the controversy with the Montanists, who through their prophets were spouting a new revelation, that the Church was fully convinced that the age of (public) revelation and of prophecy did not extend beyond the Apostolic Era, and that consequently no book could be admitted as an authoritative source of revelation which the Apostolic Age had not bequeathed for public reading.

The Epistle to the Hebrews was accepted from earliest times by the church at Alexandria as one of the Pauline epistles. Then after it was defended by Origen—who attributed its actual com­position to one of Paul’s disciples—it spread throughout the whole East. In the West it was not used in public reading before the fourth century. However, SS. Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, and Hippolytus were acquainted with it and thought highly of it.

The Epistle of James was always accepted in the East by the Greeks. The Latins soon got to know it, but it is missing from the Muratorian Fragment’8 and does not seem to have been used in the churches of Gaul and Africa.

2 Peter was known to SS. Justin Martyr and Hippolytus and perhaps also to St. Irenaeus; Clement of Alexandria wrote a com­mentary on it, and Origen accepted it as Sacred Scripture.

(3) In the first half of the third century, Origen, having studied the traditions of the churches, called the Gospels, Acts, 13 epistles of Paul, 1 Peter, 1 John, and Apocalypse homologoúmena. He personally accepted as Sacred Scripture the rest of the books which appear now in the canon of Trent (and a few others also), but at the same time he acknowledged that they were not received by all.’9

During the same century the Apocalypse came under attack. The reasons for the opposition were varied and usually tendentious. It began at Rome with Cajus, a priest, who met with little success. Later the controversy flared up at Alexandria (St. Dionysius, d. 265) and at Antioch (St. Lucian, d. 312), and spread like wildfire throughout the East. In addition, Christians at Antioch, influenced by contact with the Syrians, began to omit some of the Catholic epistles.

(4) In the fourth century (around 325), Eusebius of Caesarea distinguished three classes of books: homologoúmena (agreed upon, accepted) —Gospels, 14 Pauline epistles, Acts, 1 Peter, 1 John; antilegómena (disputed), which seemed to him acceptable

—James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John; nótha (spurious), which should be excluded from the list of the Scriptures.20 As for the Apocalypse, he is not sure whether it should be put in the first or third class. Weighty testimonies of antiquity urged the former classification, but he personally leaned rather to the latter.

In 367 St. Athanasius called all and only the books of the later canon of Trent kanonizómenoi (canonized, canonical), and distin­guished them from the apókruphoi (apocryphal) and even from the anagignöskómenoi.21

From this time on the doubts and disagreements still remaining in the Eastern churches gradually faded until in the sixth century they had practically vanished.

In the Latin Church, disagreement about Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, James, and Jude continued to the middle of the fourth

century. However, the Roman Synod of 382, under Pope Damasus, in its “List of Scriptures of the New and Eternal Testament, which the Holy and Catholic Church receives,” enumerated all and only those books later listed by Trent. At this synod were present not only SS. Jerome and Ambrose, but also quite a few Eastern bishops. The canon of Damasus was adopted by St. Augustine, the Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397 and 416), St. Innocent I (405), St. Gelasius (495), etc. We may say, then, that the question of the canon of the New Testament had been definitively settled, though not defined, in the West by the beginning of the fifth century.


V.   Church’s Authority the Only Absolute Proof for a Complete List of Sacred Books


It is not hard to conclude from the foregoing data that the presence of by far the majority of the books in the Tridentine canon can be justified with certitude by merely historical arguments. But it would be going too far to make the same claim for all the books, especially those of the New Testament. Let us grant, then, that it is only the authority of the infallible Church which fully guarantees the complete catalogue of sacred books. It should occasion no surprise, in view of the fact that our knowledge of early history is relatively incomplete, if we cannot fully appreciate the reasons which led the fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries to give a definitive place in the canon to books about which there had formerly been some dispute. The subsequent universal and con­stant agreement of the whole Church, viewed in the light of theological principles, fully convinces the theologian that those fathers did not stray from the truth when they formed their judgment. The situation of Protestants is far worse, for since they refuse to admit that Christ established an infallible teaching au­thority, they have to rely on historical arguments alone to justify their complete canon. No wonder Gore admitted that it was be­coming daily more difficult to maintain faith in the Scriptures without faith in the Church.22





1.   See J. Balestri, op. cit., pp. 281—82; CCHS, llb—c. A comparison may help to make this matter clearer. When the Church canonizes someone, it does not thereby make him a saint. It merely gives official recognition to the already

existing fact of his saintliness. Similarly, when the Church canonizes a book, it does not thereby make the book inspired. Rather, it recognizes officially the inspired character of the book. In other words, inspiration is intrinsic to the book while canonicity is extrinsic.

2.   See Vacant-Mangenot, DTC s.v. Apocryphes; Robert-Tricot, Guide to the Bible, I, 61 if.; CCHS, 92a ff.

3.   It is well to keep in mind the difference in terminology used by Catholic and non-Catholic authors in this matter:

                    Catholic                                                     Non-Catholic
Protocanonical                                           Canonical
                    Deuterocanonical                                       Apocryphal
                    Apocryphal                                               Pseudepigraphic


4.   See Die Studien, 45, 414; 49, 379; RBibl, (1896), 408 and 575; DTC, II, 1569; J. Balestri, op. cit., p. 286; Höpfl-Gut, op. cit., I, 153.

5.   The credal books of the Lutherans contain no list of the sacred books. A list adopted by modem Protestants appears in the Belgian Confession, articles 4—6. The Greek schismatics accept just as we do all the deutero­canonical books; but the Russians for the past two centuries have considered apocryphal the deuterocanonical books and passages of the Old Testament. See RBibl (1901), 267; EO (1907), 129ff.

6.    See Comely, Introductio generalis in sacram Scripturam and Com­pendium introductionis (5th ed., 1905); Chauvin, Leçons d’introduction générale (1897); Gigot, General Introduction to the Holy Scriptures (New York, 1906); Belser, Einleitung in das neue Testament (2nd ed., Freiburg, 1906); W. Barry, The Tradition of Scripture (1906); T. Zahn, Geschichte des neutestamentlichen Kanons and Grundriss der Geschichte des neutestament­lichen Kanons (1904); DBV and DTC s.v. Canon des saintes Rcritures; Batif­fol, RBibl (1903), 10 and 226; Guide to the Bible, op. cit., p. 28 if.; A. Wikenhauser, Einleitung in das neue Testament (Freiburg i. Br., 1953), p. 14 if.; CCHS, 11a if.; M. J. Lagrange, Histoire ancienne du Canon du Nouveau Testament (Paris, 1933); Höpfl-Gut, op. cit., p. 128 if.; E. Jacquier, Le Nouveau Testament dans l’église chrétienne, I (Paris, 1911); M. Nicolau, Sacrae Theologiae Summa, I (Madrid, 1952), 983 if.; Robert-Feulliet, Intro­duction à la Bible, I (Toumai, 1959), 31—54.

7.   Some, however, are of the opinion that the words of St. Cyril of Jeru­salem (Catecheses 4. 33 if.) show conclusively that the Church of Jerusalem did not make public use of the deuterocanonical books.

8.    Origen, Commentarium in Matthaeum, Sermo 46.

9.   It is true that some writers of this period accepted also some of the Old Testament apocrypha (Henoch, Assumption of Moses, Assumption of Isaias), but actually very few shared this error. It was much more common for the churches to reject such books, knowing as they did that they were not “handed down.”

10.  Festal letters 39

11.  Catecheses 4. 33—36.

12.  For instance, in his Prologus galeatus and Praefatio in Danielem.

13.  De doctrina christiana ii. 8. 13.

14. All agree that St. Jerome, captivated by a love for what he called “Hebraic truth,” to which he owed a great deal in his emendation of the text, accorded an exaggerated authority to rabbinic tradition on the question of the canon. And it is worth remembering that this same Jerome, in his search among the earlier fathers for authorities to back up his rejection of the deuterocanonical books, appealed neither to St. Athanasius nor to St. Cyril. See Studien, 60, 239—52.

15. Note the qualification, complete. 2 Pet. 3:16, for example, hints at a collection of some of the Pauline epistles.

16. See especially Zahn, Grundriss, p. 15 if.; A. Wikenhauser, op. cit., p. 16 if.; CCHS, 16—17.

17. This agreement existed if, as seems likely, 2 and 8 John were cus­tomarily added to and included with his first epistle, which was universally accepted. Note: “all the Greek and Latin churches”; the Syrian church of Edessa in the second century seems to have recognized only the four Gospels, Acts, 12 Pauline epistles (omitting Hebrews and Philemon), and nothing else. The Peschitto (the Syriac Vulgate) still left out 2 Peter, Jude, 2 and 3 John, and Apocalypse. However, it has been established that St. Ephraem (d. 373) knew and acknowledged at least some of these books.

18. The earliest list that has come down to us, though it need be by no means the earliest written, is the Muratorian Fragment (c. 200) discovered by Muratori in the Ambrosian Library, Milan, in 1740. It contains a catalogue of books which were recognized as authoritative at Rome at the end of the 2nd cent., viz. the four Gospels, the Epistles of St. Paul (except Heb), two Epistles of Jn, Jude, Apoc.—CCHS, 17g.

19. He gives a list of all the books of the New Testament in his Homilla VII in Josue 2.

20. See HE 3. 25.

21.  Festal letters 39.

22. Lux mundi (London, 1891), p. 283.



Special Bibliography

BALESTRI, J. Biblicae introductionis generalis elementa. Rome, 1932. p. 283 ff.

Höpfl-Gut. Introductionis in sacros utriusque testamenti libros compendium. I (Rome, 1940), 128 ff.

Lusseau-Collo;m. Manuel d’études bibliques. I (Paris, 1936), 266 ff.

NICOLAU, M. Sacrae theologiae summa. I (Madrid, 1952), 983 ff.

ROBERT-FEUILLET. Introduction la Bible. I (Tournai, 1959), 31—54.

ROBERT-TRICOT (ed.). Guide to the Bible. Translated under the direction of E. P. Arbez and M. R. P. McGuire. I (Tournai, 1951), 28 ff.

Initiation biblique (3rd ed.). Paris, 1954.

RUWET, J. Institutiones biblicae. I (Rome, 1937), 97 ff.

SIMON-PRADO. Praelectiones bib licae. I (Torino-Madrid, 1938), 57ff.

WIENHAUSER, A. Einleitung in das neue Testament. Freiburg i. Br., 1953. p. 14 ff.

Zarb, S. M. De historia canonis utriusque testamenti. Rome, 1934.