Canon of Scripture
Canon Of Scripture, 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 (Ac 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 Act. 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 (Jg 13:6), and again in Aquila (Job 38:5). In the N.T. it is found in two places in Paul's epistles (Ga 6:16; 2Co 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 both as 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 of synods 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 be determined, 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" (De 31:25 seq.), but not in it (1Ki 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" (2Ki 22:8; comp. 2Ch 34:14). This "book of the law," which, in addition to the direct precepts (Ex 24:7), contained general exhortations (De 28:61) and historical narratives (Ex 17:14), was farther increased by the records of Joshua (Jos 24:26), and other writings (1Sa 10:25). From these sacredly guarded autographs copies were taken and circulated among the people (2Ch 17:9). At a subsequent time collections of proverbs were made (Pr 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 (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. 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 (Zec 7:12); and Daniel refers to "the books" (Da 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 (Ne 8:1-8; Ne 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 Macc. 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 the practical 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. Heb. 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 this tradition 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 Pr 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 Pr 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 receive accessions for many years after their death, by means of which it existed till the time of the Maccabees, without our being required to suppose that what 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 been cast 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. 1 Chronicles 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 whom we 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" (Ecclus. 49:10). On this point the evidence of Josephus, the apocryphal books, and Jewish tradition, is harmonious (comp. Joseph. cont. Apion. 1:8; 1 Macc. 4:46; 9:27; 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 passed when 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. Ecclus. 33:16-18; 1, 28). Josephus, indeed, distinctly affirms (cont. Ap. 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 Macc, 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 the Maccabean persecution the history of the formation of the Canon is merged 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 (Ne 12:11,22) 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 in character 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 0. 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 (Ec 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 to the 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 נבַיַּאום וּכתוּבַים), 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 not possible 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 (Ap. 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" (Mt 21:42; Mt 22:29; Joh 10:30, etc.); and in one place he speaks of "the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms" (Lu 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 Hävernick suggests, using the term ψαλμοί as a general designation of these books, because of the larger comparative amount of lyric poetry contained in them. (Einl. § 14). Paul applies to the Old Test. the appellations "the Holy Writings" (γραφαὶ ἁγίαι, Ro 1:2); "the Sacred Letters" (ἱερὰ γράμματα, 2Ti 3:15), and "the Old Covenant" (ἡ παλαιὰ διαθήκη, 2Co 3:14). 'Both our Lord and his apostles ascribe divine authority to the ancient Canon (Mt 15:3; Joh 10:34-36; 2Ti 3:16; 2Pe 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 the Jews 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 only the books of Moses (Tertull. De prcescr. heret. 45; Jerome, in Matth. 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 Tract entitled 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, 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 the Apocrypha. 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 from Jerome 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 Apoc. 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).
2. Up to the date of the Council of Trent (q.v.), the Romanists allow that the question of the Canon was open, but one of the first labors of that assembly was. to circumscribe a freedom which the growth of literature seemed to render perilous. The decree of the Council "on the Canonical Scriptures," which was made at the 4th session (April 8th, 1546), at which about 53 representatives were present, pronounced the enlarged Canon, including the apocryphal books, to be deserving in all its parts of "equal veneration" (pari pietatis affectu), and added a list of books "to prevent the possibility of doubt" (ne cui dubitatio suboriri possit). This hasty and peremptory decree, unlike in its form to any catalogue before published, was closed by a solemn anathema against all who should "not receive the entire books, with all their parts, as sacred and canonical" (Si quis autem libros ipsos integros cum omnibus suis partibus, prout in ecclesia catholica legi consueverunt et in veteri vulgata Latina editione habentur, pro sacris et canonicis non susceperit ... anathema esto, Conc. Trid. Sess. 4). This decree was not, however, passed without opposition (Sarpi, p. 159 sq. ed. 1655, though Pallavacino denies this); and, in spite of the absolute terms in which it is expressed, later Romanists have sought to find a method of escaping from the definite equalization of the two classes of sacred writings by a forced interpretation of the subsidiary clauses Du Pin (Dissert
prelimn. 1:1), Lamy (App. Bibl. 2:5), and Jahn (Einlin d. A. T. 1:141 sq. ap. Reuss, § 337) endeavored to establish two classes of proto-canonical and deutero-canonical books, attributing to the first a dogmatic, and to the second only an ethical authority. But such a classification, however true it may be, is obviously at variance with the terms of the Tridentine decision, and has found comparatively little favor among Romish writers (comp. [Herbst] Welte, Einl. 2:1 sq.). SEE DEUTEROCANONICAL.
3. The reformed churches unanimously agreed in confirming the Hebrew Canon of Jerome, and refused to allow any dogmatic authority to the apocryphal books, but the form in which this judgment was expressed varied considerably in the different confessions. The Lutheran formularies contain no definite article on the subject, but the note which Luther placed in the front of his German translation of the Apocrypha (ed. 1534) is an adequate declaration of the later judgment of the Communion: "Apocrypha, that is, books which are not placed on an equal footing (nicht gleich gehalten) with Holy Scripture, and yet are profitable and good for reading." This general view was further expanded in the special prefaces to the separate books, in which Luther freely criticized their individual worth, and wholly rejected 3 and 4 Esdras as unworthy of translation. At an earlier period Carlstadt (1520) published a critical essay, De canonicis scripturis libellus (reprinted in Credner, Zur Gesch. D Kan. p. 291 sq.), in which he followed the Hebrew division of the canonical books into three ranks, and added Wisd., Ecclus., Judith, Tobit, 1 and 2 Macc., as Hagiographa, though not included in the Hebrew collection, while he rejected the remainder of the Apocrypha, with considerable parts of Daniel, as "utterly apocryphal" (plane apocryphi; Credn. p. 389, 410 sq.).
4. The Calvinistic churches generally treated the question with more precision, and introduced into their symbolic documents a distinction between the "canonical" and "apocryphal," or "ecclesiastical" books. The Gallican Confession (1561), after an enumeration of the Hieronymian Canon (Art. 3), adds (Art. 4) '"that the other ecclesiastical books are useful, yet not such that any article of faith could be established out of them" (quo [sc. Spiritu Sancto] suggerente docemur, illos [sc. libros Canonicos] ab aliis libris ecclesiasticis discernere, qui, ut sint utiles, non sunt tamen ejusmodi, ut ex iis constitui possit aliquis fidei articulus). The Belgic Confession (1561?) contains a similar enumeration of the canonical books (Art. 4), and allows their public use by the Church, but denies to them all independent authority in matters of faith (Art. 6). The later Helvetic Confession (1562, Bullinger) notices the distinction between the canonical and apocryphal books, without pronouncing any judgment on the question (Niemeyer, Libr. Symb. Ecclesiastes Ref. p. 468). The Westminster Confession (Art. 3) places the apocryphal books on a level with other human writings, and concedes to them no other authority in the Church.
5. The English Church (Art. 6) appeals directly to the opinion of St. Jerome, and concedes to the apocryphal books (including  4 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasses) a use "for example of life and instruction of manners," but not for the establishment of doctrine; and a similar decision is given in the Irish Articles of 1615 (Hardwick, ut sup. p. 341 sq.). The original English Articles of 1552 contained no catalogue (Art. 5) of the contents of "Holy Scripture," and no mention of the Apocrypha, although the Tridentine decree (1546) might seem to have rendered this necessary. The example of foreign churches may have led to the addition upon the later revision. The Methodist Episcopal Church has adopted the same Canon of Scripture, but entirely omits the Apocrypha (Discipline, pt. i, ch. 1, § 2, Art. 5); and those books, as they stand in the Hebrew Canon and Greek Testament, are alone received by the evangelical churches of America.
6. The expressed opinion of the later Greek Church on the Canon of'Scripture has been modified in some cases by the circumstances under which the declaration was made. The "Confession" of Cyril Lucar, who was most favorably disposed toward the Protestant churches, confirms the Laodicene Catalogue, and marks the apocryphal books as not possessing the same divine authority as those whose canonicity is unquestioned (Kimmel, Mon. Fid. Ecclesiastes Or. 1:42). In this judgment Cyril Lucar was followed by his friend Metrophanes Critopulus, in whose confession a complete list of the books of the Hebrew Canon is given (Kimmel, 2:105 sq.), while some value is assigned to the apocryphal books in consideration of their ethical value; and the detailed decision of Metrophanes is quoted with approval in the "Orthodox Teaching" of Platon, Metropolitan of Moscow (ed. Athens, 1836, p. 59). The "Orthodox Confession" simply refers the subject of Scripture to the Church (Kimmel, p. 159; comp. p. 123). O:n the other hand, the Synod at Jerusalem, held in 1672, "against the ,Calvinists," which is commonly said to have been led by Romish influence (yet comp. Kimmel, p. 88), pronounced that the books which Cyril Lucar "ignorantly or maliciously called apocryphal" are "canonical and Holy Scripture," on the authority of the testimony of the ancient Church ([Kimmel,] Weissenborn, Dosith. Confess. p. 467 sq.). The Constantinopolitan Synod, which was held in the same year, notices the difference existing between the Apostolic, Laodicene, and Carthaginian Catalogues, and appears to distinguish the apocryphal books as not wholly to be rejected. The authorized Russian Catechism (The Doctrine of the Russian Church, etc., by Rev. W. Blackmore, Aberd. 1845, p. 37 sq.) distinctly quotes and defends the Hebrew Canon on the authority of the Greek fathers, and repeats the judgment of Athanasius on the usefulness of the apocryphal books as a preparatory study in the Bible; and there can be no doubt that the current of Greek opinion, in accordance with the unanimous agreement of the ancient Greek Catalogues, coincides with this judgment.
7. The history of the Syrian Canon of the O.T. is involved in great obscurity from the scantiness of the evidence which can be brought to bear upon it. The Peshito was made, in the first instance, directly from the Hebrew, and consequently adhered to the Hebrew Canon; but as the Sept. was used afterward in revising the version, many of the apocryphal books were translated from the Greek at an early period, and added to the original collection (Assemani, Bibl. Or. 1:71). Yet this change was only made gradually. In the time of Ephrem (cir. A.D. 370) the apocryphal additions to Daniel were yet wanting, and his commentaries were confined to the books of the Hebrew Canon, though he was acquainted with the Apocrypha (Lardner, Credibility, 4:427 sq.; see Lengerke, Daniel, p. cxii). The later Syrian writers do not throw much light upon the question. Gregory Bar Hebrieus, in his short commentary on Scripture, treats of the books in the following order (Assemani, Bibl. Orient. 2:282): the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, Psalm, 1 and 2 Kings, Proverbs, Ecclus., Ecclesiastes., Song of Solomon, Wrisd., Ruth, Hist. Sus., Job, Isaiah, 12 Proph., Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Bel, 4 Gosp., Acts... 14 Epist. of Paul; omitting 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Tobit, 1 and 2 Macc., Judith, (Baruch ?), Apocalypse, Epist. James, 1 Peter; 1 John.
In the Scriptural Vocabulary of Jacob of Edessa (Assemani, 2:499), the order and number of the books commented upon is somewhat different: Pent., Joshua, Judges, Job, 1 and 2 Samuel, David (i.e. Psalm), 1 and 2 Kings, Isaiah, 12 Proph., Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, Proverbs, Wisd., Song of Solomon, Ruth, Esther, Judith, Ecclus., Acts, Epist. James, 1 Peter, 1 John, 14 Epist. of Paul, 4 Gosp.; omitting 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Ecclesiastes, Tobit, 1 and 2 Macc., Apoc. (comp. Assemani, Bibl. Orient. 3:4, note).
The Catalogue of Ebed-Jesu (Assemani, Bibl. Orient. 3:5 sq.) is rather a general survey of all the Hebrew and Christian literature with which he was acquainted (Catalogus librorum omnium Ecclesiasticorum) than a Canon of Scripture. After enumerating the books of the Hebrew Canon, together with Ecclus., Wisd., Judith, add. to Dan., and Baruch, he adds, without any break, "the traditions of the Elders" (Mishna), the works of Josephus, including the Fables of Esop which were popularly ascribed to him, and at the end rsentions the "book of Tobias and Tobit."' In like manner, after enumerating the 4 Gosp., Acts, 3 Catho Epist. and 14 Epist. of Paul, he passes at once to the Diatessaron of Tatian, and the writings of "the disciples of the apostles." Little dependence, however, can be placed on these lists, as they rest on no critical foundation, and it is known from other sources that varieties of opinion on the subject of the Canon existed in the Syrian Church (Assemani, Bibl. Orient. 3:6, note).
One testimony, however, which derives its origin from the Syrian Church, is specially worthy of notice. Junilius, an African bishop of the 6th century, has preserved a full and interesting account of the teachings of Paulus, a Persian, on Holy Scripture, who was educated at Nisibis, where "the Divine Law was regularly explained by public masters" as a branch of common education (Junil. De part; leg. Prcef.). He divides the books of the Bible into two classes, those of '" perfect" and those of "mean" authority. The first class includes all the books of the Hebrew Canon with the exception of 1 and 2 Chron., Job, Canticles, and Esther, and with the addition of Ecclesiasticus. The second class consists of Chronicles (2), Job, Esdras (2), ,Judith, Esther, and Maccabees (2), which are added by "very many" (plurimi) to the canonical books. The remaining books are pronounced to be of no authority, and of these Canticles and Wisdom are said to be added by "some" (quidam) to the Canon. The classification as it stands is not without difficulties, but it deserves more attention than it has received (comp. Hody, p. 653; Gallandi Biblioth. 12:79 sq. The reprint in Wordsworth, On the Canon, App. A, p. 42 sq., is very imperfect).
8. The Armenian Canon, as far as it can be ascertained from editions, follows that of the Sept., but it is of no critical authority; and a similar remark applies to the Ethiopic Canon, though it is more easy in this case to trace the changes through which it has passed (Dillmann, Ueber d. Aeth. Kan., in Ewald's Jahrbuch, 1853, p. 144 sq.).
See, on this branch of the subject, in addition to the works above, Schmid, Hist. ant. et vindic. Can. S. Vet. et Nov. Test. (Lips. 1775); [H. Corrodi], Versuch einer Beleuchtung . . . d. Bibl. Kanons (Halle, 1792); Movers, 'Loci quidam Hist. Can. V. T. illustrati (Breslau, 1842). The great work of Hody (De biblior. text. Oxon. 1705) contains a rich store of materials, though even this is not free from minor errors. Stuart's Critical History - and Defence; of the Old-Test. Canon is rather an apology than a history. SEE APOCRYPHA.
IV. The Canon of the New Testament. — The history of the N.-T. Canon presents a remarkable analogy to that of the Canon of the O.T. The beginnings of both Canons are obscure from the circumstances under which they arose; both grew silently under the guidance of an inward instinct rather than by the force of external authority; both were connected with other religious literature by a series of books which claimed a partial and questionable authority; both gained definiteness in times of persecution. The chief difference lies in the general consent — with which all the churches ῥof the West have joined in ratifying one Canon of the N.T., while they are divided as to the position of the O.T. Apocrypha.
1. An ecclesiastical tradition (Photius, Bibl. Cod. p. 254) ascribes to the apostle John the work of collecting and sanctioning the writings which were worthy of a place in the Canon; but this tradition is too late, too unsupported by collateral evidence, and too much opposed by certain facts, such as the existence of doubt in some of the early churches as to the canonicity of certain books, the different arrangement of the books apparent in catalogues of the Canon still extant, etc., for any weight to be allowed to it. A much more probable opinion, and one in which nearly all the modern writers who are favorable to the claims of the Canon are agreed, is, that each of the original churches, especially those of larger size and greater ability, collected for itself a complete set. of those writings which could be proved, by competent testimony, to be the production of inspired men, and to have been communicated by them to any of the churches as: part of the written word of God; so that in this way a great many complete collections of the N.T. Scriptures came to be extant, the accordance of which with each other, as to the books admitted, furnishes irrefragable evidence of the correctness of the Canon as we now have it.
This opinion, which in itself is highly probable, is rendered still more so when we consider the scrupulous care which the early churches took to discriminate spurious compositions from such as were authentic — the existence, among some, of doubt regarding certain of the N.T. books, indicating, that each Church claimed the right of satisfying itself in this matter — their high veneration for the genuine apostolic writings — their anxious regard for each other's prosperity leading to the free communication from one to another of whatever could promote this, and, of course, among other things, of those writings which had been intrusted to any one of them, and by which, more than by any other means, the spiritual welfare of the whole would be promoted — the practice of the fathers of arguing the canonicity of any book, from its reception by the churches, as a sufficient proof of this-and the reason assigned by Eusebius (Hist. Ecclesiastes 3:25) for dividing the books of the N.T. into ὁμολογούμενοι and ἀντιλεγόμενοι, viz. that the former class was composed of those which the universal tradition of the churches authenticated, while the latter contained such as had been received by the majority, but not by all (Storch, Comment. Hist. Crit. de Libb. N. Testamenti Canone, etc. p. 112 sq.; Olshausen's Echtheit der IV. Evang. p. 439). In this way we may readily believe that, without the intervention of any authoritative decision, either from an individual or a council, but by the natural process of each body, of Christians seeking to procure for themselves and to convey to their brethren authentic copies of writings in which all were deeply interested, the Canon of the New Testament was formed.
2. The first certain notice which we have of the existence of any of the New-Testament writings in a collected form occurs in 2Pe 3:16, where the writer speaks of the epistles of Paul in such a way as to lead us to infer that at that time the whole or the greater part of these were collected together, were known among the churches generally (for Peter is not addressing any particular church), and were regarded as on a par with "the other Scriptures," by which latter expression Peter plainly means the sacred writings both of the Old and the New Testament, as far as then extant. That John must have had before him copies of the other evangelists is probable from the supplementary character of his own gospel. In the anonymous Epistle to Diognetus, which is, on good grounds, supposed to be one of the earliest of the uninspired Christian writings, the writer speaks of the Law, the Prophets, the Gospels, and the Apostles (§ xi, ed. Hefele).
Ignatius speaks of "betaking himself to the Gospel as the flesh of Jesus, and to the apostles as the presbytery of the Church," and adds, "the prophets also we love," thus showing that it was to the Scriptures he was referring (Ep. ad Philadelphenos, § v, ed. Iefele). Theophilus of Antioch speaks frequently of the New-Testament writings under the appellation of αἱ ἃγιαι γραφαί, or ὁ θεῖος λόγος, and in one place mentions the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospels as alike divinely inspired (ad. Autol. 3:11). Clement of Alexandria frequently refers to the books of the New Testament, and distinguishes them into "the Gospels and Apostolic Discourses" (Quis Dives 'ahl us? prope fin.; Stromat. saepissime). — Tertullian distinctly intimates the existence of the New-Testament Canon in a complete form in his day by calling it "Evangelicum Instrumentum" (adv. Marc. 4:2), by describing the whole Bible as "totum instrumentum utriusque Testamenti" (adv. Prax. 100:20), and by distinguishing between the "Scriptura Vetus" and the "Novum Testamentumn" (Ibid: 100:13). — Irenseus repeatedly calls the writings of the New Testament "the Holy Scriptures," "the Oracles of God" (adv. Haer. 2:27; 1:8, etc.), and in one place he puts the evangelical and apostolical writings on a par with the Law and the Prophets (Ibid. 1:3, § 6). From these allusions we may justly infer that before the middle of the third century the New-Testament Scriptures were generally known by the Christians in a collected form, and reverenced as the word of God. That the books they received were the same as those now possessed by us is evident from the quotations from them furnished by the early fathers, and which have been so carefully collected by the learned and laborious Lardner in his Credibility of the Gospel History. The same thing appears from the researches of Origen and Eusebius, both of whom carefully inquired, and have accurately recorded what books were received as canonical by the tradition of the churches or the church writers (ἐκκλησιαστικὴ παράδοσις), and both of whom enumerate the same books as are in our present Canon, though some of them, such as the Epistles of James and Jude, the 2d Ep. of Peter, the 2d and 3d of John, and the Apocalypse, they mention that though received by the majority, they were doubted by some (Euseb, H. E. 3:25; 6:24). Besides these sources of information, we have no fewer than ten ancient catalogues of the New-Testament books still extant. Of these, six accord exactly with our present Canon, while of the rest three omit only the Apocalypse, and one omits, with this, the Epistle to the Hebrews (Lardner's Works, vol. 4 and 5. 8vo; Horne's Introduction, 1, 70, 8th edition).
3. The history of the N.T. Canon may be conveniently divided into three periods. The first extends to the time of Hegesippus (c. A.D. 170), and includes the aera of the separate circulation and gradual collection of the apostolic writings. The second is closed by the persecution of Diocletian (A.D. 303), and marks the separation of the sacred writings from the remaining ecclesiastical literature. The third may be defined by the third Council of Carthage (a.D. 397), in which a catalogue of the books of Scripture was formally ratified by conciliar authority. The first is characteristically a period of tradition, the second of speculation, the third of authority; and it would not be difficult to trace the features of the successive ages in the course of the history of the Canon. For this, however, we have not room in detail, but must refer to the foregoing statements in support of this remark, the truth of which is farther sustained by the history of the times.
The persecution of Diocletian was directed in a great measure against the Christian writing (Lact. Instit. 5:2; de mort. persec. 16). The influence of the Scriptures was already so great and so notorious that the surest method of destroying the faith seemed to be the destruction of the records on which it was supported. The plan of the emperor was in which it was supported. The plan of the emperor was in part successful. Some were found who obtained protection by the surrender of the sacred books, and at a later time the question of the readmission of these "traitors" (traditores), as they were emphatically called, created a schism in the Church. The Donatists, who maintained the sterner judgment on their crime, may be regarded as maintaining in its strictest integrity the popular judgment in Africa on the contents of the Canon of Scripture which was the occasion of the dissension; and Augustine allows that they held, in commom with the Catholics, the same "canonical Scriptures," and were alike "bound by the authority of both Testaments" (August. C. Cresc. 1:31, 57; Ep. 129, 3.) The only doubt which can be raised as to the integrity of the Donatist Canon arises from the uncertain language that Augustine himself uses as to the Epistle to the Hebrews, which the Donatists may also have countenanced. But, however, this may have been, the commplete Canon arises from the uncertain language that Augustine himself uses as to the Epistle to the Hebews, which the Donatists may also have countenanced. But, however this may have been, the complete Canon of the N.T., as commonly received at present, was ratified at the third Council of Carthage (A.D. 397), and from that time was accepted throughout the Latin Church (Jerome, Innocent, Rufinus, Philastrius), though occasional doubts as to the Epistle to the Hebrews still remained (Isid. Hisp. Proem. § 85-109). It will be perceived that there was no dispute as to the authentic and inspired character of most of the books, and as to the remainder thre exist very respectable testimonies even in this early age (see Table IV). SEE ANTILEGOMENA.
4. At the era of the Reformation the question of the N.T. Canon again assumed great importance. The hasty decree of the Council of Trent, which affirmed the authority of all the books commonly received, called out the opposition of controversialists, who quoted and enforced the early doubts. Erasmus, with characteristic moderation, denied the apostolic origin of the Epistle to the Hebrews, 2 Peter, and the Apocalypse, but left their canoncial authoriday unquestioned (Praef. Ad Antilegom.). Luther, on the other hand, with bold self-reliance, created a purely subjective standard for the canonicity of the Scriptures in the character of their "teaching of Christ," and while he placed the Gospel and first Epistle of John, the Epistles of Paul o the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and the first Epistle of Peter, in the first rank as containing the "kernel of Christianity," he set aside the Epistle to the Hebrews, Jude, James, and the Apocalypse at the end of his version, and spoke of them and the remaining Antilegomena with varying degrees of disrespect, though he did not separate 2 Peter and 2, 3 John from the other Epistles (comp. Landerer, art. Kanon in Herzog's Encyklop. p. 295 sq.). The doubts which Luther rested mainly on internal evidence were variously extended by some of his followers (Melancthon, Centur. Magdeb., Flacius, Gerhard; comp. Reuss, § 334); and especially with a polemical aim against the Romish Church by Chemnitz (Exam. Cone. Trid. 1:73). But while the tendency of the Lutheran writers was to place the Antilegomena on a lower stage or authority, their views received no direct sanction in any of the Lutheran symbolic books which admit the "prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments" as a whole, without further classification or detail. The doubts as to the Antilegomo ena of the N.T. were not confined to the Lutherans. Carlstadt, who was originally a friend of Luther and afterward professor at Zurich, endeavored to bring back the question to a critical discussion of evidence, and placed the Antilegomena in a third class "on account of the controversy as to the books, or rather (ut certius loquar) as to their authors" (De Can. Scrpt. p. 410-12, ed Credn.). Calvin, while he denied the Pauline authorship of the Epistle t) the Hebrews, and at least questioned the authenticity of 2 Peter, did not set aside their canonicity (PrePf. ad Hebr.; ad 2 Petr.); and he notices the doubts as to James and Jude only to dismiss them.
5. The language of the Articles of the Church of England with regard to the N.T. is remarkable. In the Articles of 1552 no list of the books of Scripture is given; but in the Elizabethan Articles (1562, 1571) a definition of Holy Scripture is given as "the canonical books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church" (Art. 6). This definition is followed by an enumeration of the books of the O.T. and of the Apocrypha; and then it is said summarily, without a detailed catalogue, "all the books of the N.T., as they are commonly received, we do receive and account them for canonical" (pro canonicis habemus). A distinction thus remains between the "canonical books" and such "canonical books as have never been doubted in the Chilrch;" and it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion that the framers of the Articles intended to leave a freedom of judgment on a point on which the greatest of the Continental reformers, and even of Romish scholars (Sixtus Sen. Biblio!h. S. 1:1; Cajetan, Preef. ad Epp. ad Hebr., ac., 2, 3 John, Jud.) were divided. The omission cannot have arisen solely from the fact that the Article in question was framed with reference to the Church of Rome, with which the Church of England was agreed on the N.-T. Canon, for all the other Protestant confessions which contain any list of books give a list of the books of the New as well as of the Old Testament (Conf. Belg. 4; Conf. Gall. 3; Conf. Fid. 1). But, if this license is rightly conceded by the Anglican Articles, the great writers of the Church of England have not availed themselves of it. The early commentators on the Articles take little (Burnet) or no notice (Beveridge) of the doubts as to the Antilegomena; and the chief controversialists of the Reformation accepted the full Canon with emphatic avowal (Whitaker, Disp. on Scripture, cxiv, p. 105; Fulke's Defence of Esg. Trans. p. 8; Jewel, Defence of Apol. 2:9, 1).
6. The judgment of the Greek Church in the case of the O.T. was seen to be little more than a reflection of the opinions of the West. The difference between the Roman and Reformed churches on the N.T. were less marked; and the two conflicting Greek confessions confirm, in general terms, without any distinct enumeration of books, the popular Canon of the N.T.
(Cyr. Luc. Conf. 1, p. 42; Dosith. Confess. 1, p. 467). The Confession of Metrophanes gives a complete list of the books, and compares their number-thirty-three with the years of the Savior's life, that "not even the number of the sacred books might be devoid of a divine mystery" (Metroph. Critop. Conf. 2:105, ed. Kimm. et Weissenb.). At present, as was already the case at the close of the 17th century (Leo Allatius, ap. Fabric. Bibl. Groec. v, App. p. 38), the Antilegomena are reckoned by the Greek Church as equal in canonical authority in all respects with the remaining books (Catechism, ut sup.).
V. Authority of the present Canon of Scripture. —
1. The assaults which have been made, especially during the present century, upon the authenticity of the separate books of the O.T. and N. Test., are noticed under the special articles. The general course which they have taken is simple and natural. Semler (Untersuch. d. Kan. 1771-5) first led the way toward the later subjective criticism, though he rightly connected the formation of the Canon with the formation of the Catholic Church, but without any clear recognition of the providential power which wrought in both. Next followed a series of special essays, in which the several books were discussed individually, with little regard to the place which they occupy in the whole collection (Schleier-macher, Bretschneider, De Wette, etc.). At last an; ideal view of the early history of Christianity was used as the standard by which the books were to be tried, and the books were regarded as results of typical forms of doctrine, and not the sources of them (F. C. Baur, Schwegler, Zeller). All true sense of historic evidence was thus lost. The growth of the Church was left without explanation, and the original relations and organic unity of the N.T. were disregarded.
2. In order to establish the Canon of Scripture, it is necessary to show that all the books of which it is composed are of divine authority; that they are entire and incorrupt; that, having them, it is complete without any addition from any other source; and that it comprises the whole of those books for which divine authority can be proved. It is obvious that, if any of these four particulars be not true, Scripture cannot be the sole and supreme standard of religious truth and duty. If any of the books of which it is composed be not of divine authority, then part of it we are not bound to submit to, and consequently, as a whole, it is not the standard of truth and morals. If its separate parts be not in the state in which they left the hands of their authors, but have been mutilated, interpolated, or altered; then it can form no safe standard; for, in appealing to it, one cannot be sure that the appeal is not made to what is spurious, and what, consequently, may be erroneous. If it require or admit of supplementary revelations from God, whether preserved by tradition or communicated from time to time to the Church, it obviously would be a mere contradiction in terms to call it complete, as a standard of the divine will. And if any other books were extant, having an equal claim, with the books of which it is composed, to be regarded as of divine authority, it would be absurd to call it the sole standard of truth, for in this case the one class of books would be quite as deserving of our reverence as the other.
3. Respecting the evidence by which the Canon is thus to be established, there exists considerable difference of opinion among Christians. Some contend, with the Romanists, that the authoritative decision of the Church is alone competent to determine the Canon; others appeal to the concurrent testimony of the Jewish and early Christian writers; and others rest their strongest reliance on the internal evidence furnished by the books of Scripture themselves. We cannot say that we are satisfied with any of these sources of evidence exclusively. As Michaelis remarks, the first is one to which no consistent Protestant can appeal, for the matter to be determined is of such a kind that, unless we grant the Church to be infallible, it is quite possible that she may, at any given period of her existence, determine erroneously; and one sees not why the question may not be as successfully investigated by a private individual as by a Church. The concurrent testimony of the ancient witnesses is invaluable as far as it goes; but it may be doubted if it be sufficient of itself to settle this question, for the question is not entirely one of facts, and testimony is good proof only for facts. As for the internal evidence, one needs only to look at the havoc which Semler and his school have made of the Canon, to be satisfied that where dogmatical considerations are allowed to determine exclusively such questions, each man will extend or curtail the Canon so as to adjust it to his own preconceived notions. As the question is one partly of fact and partly of opinion, the appropriate grounds of decision will be best secured by a combination of authentic testimony with the evidence supplied by the books themselves. We want to know that these books were really written by the persons whose names they bear; we want to be satisfied that these persons were commonly reputed and held by their contemporaries to be assisted by the Divine Spirit in what they wrote; and we want to be sure that care was taken by those to whom their writings were first addressed, that these should be preserved entire and uncorrupt. For all this we must appeal to the testimony of competent witnesses as the only suitable evidence for such matters. But, after we have ascertained these points affirmatively, we still require to be satisfied that the books themselves contain nothing obviously incompatible with the ascription to their authors of the divine assistance, but, on the contrary, are in all respects favorable to this supposition. We want to see that they are in harmony with each other; that the statements they contain are credible; that the doctrines they teach are not foolish, immoral, or self-contradictory; that their authors really assumed to be under the divine direction in what they wrote, and afforded competent proofs of this to those around them; and that all the circumstances of the case; such as the style of the writers, the allusions made by them to places and events, etc., are in keeping with the conclusion to which the external evidence has already led. In this way we advance to a complete moral proof of the divine authority and canonical claims of the sacred writings. SEE EVIDENCES.
(1.) The external evidence of the several books, in turn, relates to three principal points:
(a.) Their genuineness; in other words, the fact that we have the actual works which have heretofore been known by these names, without essential defect, corruption, or interpolation. This is the province of criticism (q.v.) to show, as has been done by an irrefragable chain of documentary testimony.
(b.) Their authenticity (q.v.), or that they are the productions of the respective authors asserted or believed, which is a question wholly of historical investigation, aided by grammatical comparison; and this has been shown respecting the most of them in as positive a manner as in the case of any other equally ancient writings.
(c.) Their inspiration (q.v.); the most essential point of the three is this relation, an element which, although confessedly obscure and difficult to adjust in every respect with their human features, especially in the absence of any similar experience in modern times, is yet capable of twofold proof: 1st, from statements and implication of revelation contained in the books themselves, showing that they are a divine communication; and, 2dly, from the concurrent voice of the ancient as well as modern body of believers. This last argument is undoubtedly the chief one, of an external character, that must be relied upon in defense of the authority, of the Holy Scriptures, and it may well be claimed as a sufficient satisfaction to all rightly constituted minds,
 that these books, both singly and as a whole, were so generally and early recognized as of divine authority by those who had the best opportunity to judge of their claims, by reason of proximity in time and place to their origin and intimacy with their authors, while, at the same time, they exhibited their caution and freedom from prejudice by rejecting many other more pretentious ones as unworthy their acceptance; and
 that the universal Church, with few and unimportant exceptions, has ever since not only cordially acquiesced, but firmly retained, in the face of almost every conceivable effort that the ingenuity or force of those of an opposite opinion could bring to bear upon the question, the same traditionary persuasion; nor
 has any really unanswerable difficulty yet been alleged in the way of such a belief.
(2.) With the external evidence furnished above in favor of the sacred Canon, the internal fully accords. In the Old Testament all is in keeping with the assumption that its books were written by Jews, sustaining the character, surrounded by the circumstances, and living at the time ascribed to their authors; or, if any apparent discrepancies have been found in any of them, they are of such a kind as farther inquiry has served to explain and reconcile. The literary peculiarities of the New Testament, its language, its idioms, its style, its allusions, all are accordant with the hypothesis that its authors were exactly what they profess to have been — Jews converted to Christianity, and living at the commencement of the Christian era. Of both Testaments the theological and ethical systems are in harmony, while all that they contain tends to one grand result-the manifestation of the power and perfection of Deity, and the restoration of man to the image, service, and love of his Creator. The conclusion from the whole facts of the case can be. none other than that the Bible is entitled to that implicit and undivided reverence which it demands as the only divinely appointed Canon of religious truth and duty.
VI. Literature. — For the later period of the history of the N.T. Canon, from the close of the second century, the great work of Lardner (Credibility of the Gospel History, in his Works, 1-6, ed. Kippis, 1788; also 1838, 10 vols. 8vo) furnishes copious materials. For the earlier period his criticism is necessarily imperfect, and requires to be combined with the results of later inquiries. Kirchhofer's collection of the original passages which bear on the history of the Canon (Quellensammlung, etc., Ziirich, 1844) is useful and fairly complete, but frequently inaccurate. The writings of F. C. Baur and his followers often contain very valuable hints as to the characteristics of the several books in relation to later teaching, however perverse their conclusions may be. In opposition to them Thiersch has vindicated, perhaps with an excess of zeal, but yet,, in the main, rightly, the position of the apostolic writings in relation to the first age(Versuch zur Herstellung, etc., Erlangen, 1845; and Erwiederung, etc., Erlang. 1846). The section of Reuss on the subject (Die Gesch. d. hell. Schriften d. N.T., 2d ed. Braunschw. 1853; also in French, Histoire du Canrn, Strasbourg, 1863, 8vo), and the article of Landerer (Herzog's Ency-, klop. s.v.), contain valuable summaries of the evidence.; Other references and a fuller discussion of the chief points are given by Westcott in The History of the Canon of the N.T. (Cambr. 1855). In addition to the works named throughout this article, the following may also be consulted: Cosin, Scholastical History of the Canon (4to, London, 1657, 1672, 1683; also. Works, in; 4:410); Du Pin, History of the Canon and Writers of the Books of the Old and New Test. (2 vols. folio, London, 1699, 1700); Ens, Bibliotheca Sacra, sive Diatribe de Librorum Nov. Test. Canone (12mo, Amstel., 1710); Storch, Comment. Hist. Crit. de Libb. Nov. Test., Canone (8vo, Fr. ad 6. 1755); Schmid, Hist. Antiq. et Vindicatio Canonis V. et N. Test. (8vo, Lips. 1775); Jones, New and full Method of settling the Canonical Authority of the New Test. (3 vols. Oxf. 1827); Alexander, Canon of the Old and New Test. ascertained (12mo, Princeton, 1826; Lond. 1828, 1831); Stuart, Old-Test. Canon (12mo, Andover, 1845; Edinb. and Lond. 1849); Wordsworth, Hulsean Lectures (8vo, London, 1848); Gaussen, Le Canon des Saintes ecritures au double points le vue de la science et de lafoi (Lausanne, 1860, 2 vols.; Engl. translation, The Canon of Scripture, etc. [London, 1862, 8vo]); Bibliotheca Sacra, 11:278; Credner, Gesch. d. neutest. Kanon (edit. Volkmar, Berlin, 1860) ; Hilgenfeld, Kan. des N.T. (Halle, 1863); Hofmann, Die hei'igen. Schrift. d. N.T., etc. (Nordlingen, 1862, pt. 1). .