RESOURCE: Fathers on the Canon of Divine Scripture

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by Toma, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Dearly beloved,​
    I think it would do well to establish solid Christian history resources, starting with the Canon of Scripture. Full quotes of relevant passages included.​
    My aim is not controversy within the ranks of the brethren gathered here, but dissemination of knowledge. Any canonical lists of the first 1000 years which count Apocrypha as Scripture are welcome.​
    Arranged chronologically by date of death.​
    PART ONE: BEFORE THE COUNCILS OF CARTHAGE (393-397)
    MELITO, bishop of Sardis (A.D. 180) Extracts from a letter to his brother Onesimus: Preface
    (Quoted by EUSEBIUS of Caesarea (A.D. 339) Ecclesiastical History: Book 4, chapter 26)
    “When I went East and came to the place where these things were preached and done, I learned accurately the books of the Old Testament, and send them to thee as written below. Their names are as follows: Of Moses, five books: Genesis (1), Exodus (2), Numbers (3), Leviticus (4), Deuteronomy (5); Jesus Nave (6), Judges (7), Ruth (8); of Kings, four books (9/10); of Chronicles, two (11); the Psalms of David (12), the Proverbs of Solomon also called Wisdom (13), Ecclesiastes (14), Song of Songs (15), Job (16); of Prophets, Isaiah (17), Jeremiah (18); of the twelve prophets, one book (19); Daniel (20), Ezekiel (21), Esdras (22).”​
    ORIGEN of Alexandria (A.D. 254) Commentary on Psalm 1
    (Quoted by EUSEBIUS: Ecclesiastical History: Book 6, chapter 25)
    “It should be stated that the canonical books, as the Hebrews have handed them down, are twenty-two; corresponding with the number of their letters.​
    The twenty-two books of the Hebrews are the following: That which is called by us Genesis, but by the Hebrews, from the beginning of the book, Bresith (1), which means, 'In the beginning'; Exodus, Welesmoth (2), that is, 'These are the names'; Leviticus, Wikra (3), 'And he called'; Numbers, Ammesphekodeim (4); Deuteronomy, Eleaddebareim (5), 'These are the words'; Jesus, the son of Nave, Josoue ben Noun (6); Judges and Ruth, among them in one book, Saphateim (7); the First and Second of Kings, among them one, Samouel (8), that is, 'The called of God'; the Third and Fourth of Kings in one, Wammelch David (9), that is, 'The kingdom of David'; of the Chronicles, the First and Second in one, Dabreïamein (10), that is, 'Records of days'; Esdras, First and Second in one, Ezra (11), that is, 'An assistant'; the book of Psalms, Spharthelleim (12); the Proverbs of Solomon, Meloth (13); Ecclesiastes, Koelth (14); the Song of Songs (not, as some suppose, Songs of Songs), Sir Hassirim (15); Isaiah, Jessia (16); Jeremiah, with Lamentations and the epistle in one, Jeremia (17); Daniel, Daniel (18); Ezekiel, Jezekiel (19); Job, Job (20); Esther, Esther (21). And besides these there are the Maccabees, which are entitled Sarbeth Sabanaiel."​
    [Interestingly, Origen does not mention the twelve minor prophets, by either intent or copyist error.]​
    HILARY, bishop of Poitiers (A.D. 368) Prologue to the Tractates on the Psalms
    "The Law of the Old Testament is considered as divided into twenty-two books, so as to correspond to the number of letters."​
    ATHANASIUS, bishop of Alexandria (A.D. 373) Festal Letter 39: Section 4
    "There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews; their respective order and names being as follows. The first is Genesis (1), then Exodus (2), next Leviticus (3), after that Numbers (4), and then Deuteronomy (5). Following these there is Joshua, the son of Nun (6), then Judges (7), then Ruth (8). And again, after these four books of Kings, the first and second being reckoned as one book (9), and so likewise the third and fourth as one book (10). And again, the first and second of the Chronicles are reckoned as one book (11). Again Ezra, the first and second are similarly one book (12). After these there is the book of Psalms (13), then the Proverbs (14), next Ecclesiastes (15), and the Song of Songs (16). Job follows (17), then the Prophets, the twelve being reckoned as one book (18). Then Isaiah, one book (19), then Jeremiah with Baruch, Lamentations, and the epistle, one book (20); afterwards, Ezekiel (21) and Daniel (22), each one book. Thus far constitutes the Old Testament."​
    CYRIL, bishop of Jerusalem (A.D. 387) Catechetical Lecture 4: Paragraph 33
    "Learn diligently, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testament, and what those of the New. And, pray, read none of the apocryphal writings : for why do you, who know not those which are acknowledged among all, trouble yourself in vain about those which are disputed? Read the Divine Scriptures, the twenty-two books of the Old Testament, these that have been translated by the Seventy-two Interpreters."​
    [Cyril admonishes us to read the 22-book (Protestant) canon, using the Septuagint translation]​
    GREGORY, bishop of Nazianzen (A.D. 391) Carmina dogmatica: Book 1, section 1, song 12:
    "Let not your mind be deceived about extraneous books (for many false ascriptions are making the rounds), but you should hold to this legitimate number from me, dear reader. Receive the number and names of the holy books. First the twelve historical books in order: first is Genesis (1), then Exodus (2), Leviticus (3), Numbers (4) and the testament of the law repeated again [Deuteronomy (5)]; Joshua (6), Judges (7) and Ruth the Moabitess (8) follow these; after this the famous deeds of Kings holds the ninth and tenth place; the Chronicles comes in the eleventh place, and Ezra is last (12). There are also five poetic books, first of which is Job (13), the one next to it is King David’s [Psalms (14)], and three of Solomon, namely Ecclesiastes (15), Proverbs (16), and his Song (17). After these come five books of the holy prophets, of which twelve are contained in one volume: Hosea, Amos, and Micah the third, then Joel, next Jonah, Obadiah, Nahum also, Habakkuk also, and Zephaniah, Haggai, next Zechariah, Malachai, these are in the first book (18); the second contains Isaiah (19). After these is Jeremiah, called from his mother’s womb (20), then Ezekiel, strength of the Lord (21), and Daniel last (22). These twenty-two books of the Old Testament are counted according to the twenty-two letters of the Jews."​
     
  2. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    PART TWO: AFTER THE COUNCILS OF CARTHAGE

    EPIPHANIUS, bishop of Salamis (A.D. 403) Weights and Measures: Paragraph 4

    "The names of the letters are twenty-two. But there are five of them that have a double form, for k has a double form, and m and n and p and s. Therefore in this manner the books also are counted as twenty-two; but there are twenty-seven, because five of them are double. For Ruth is joined to Judges, and they are counted among the Hebrews one book. The first of Kingdoms is joined to the second and called one book; the third is joined to the fourth and becomes one book. First Paraleipomena is joined to Second and called one book. The first book of Ezra is joined to the second and becomes one book. So in this way the books are grouped into four "pentateuchs," and there are two others left over, so that the books of the Testament are as follows: the five of the Law---- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy----this is the Pentateuch, otherwise the code of law; and five in verse----the book of Job, then of the Psalms, the Proverbs of Solomon, Koheleth, the Song of Songs. Then another "pentateuch" (of books) which are called the Writings, and by some the Hagiographa, which are as follows: Joshua the (son) of Nun, the book of Judges with Ruth, First and Second Paraleipomena, First and Second Kingdoms, Third and Fourth Kingdoms; and this is a third "pentateuch." Another "pentateuch" is the books of the prophets----the Twelve Prophets (forming) one book, Isaiah one, Jeremiah one, Ezekiel one, Daniel one ----and again the prophetic "pentateuch" is filled up. But there remain two other books, which are the two of Ezra that are counted as one, and the other the book of Esther. So twenty-two books are completed according to the number of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrews. For there are two (other) poetical books, that by Solomon called "Most Excellent," and that by Jesus the son of Sirach and grandson of Jesus---- for his grandfather was named Jesus (and was) he who composed Wisdom in Hebrew, which his grandson, translating, wrote in Greek----which also are helpful and useful, but are not included in the number of the recognized; and therefore they were not kept in the chest, that is, in the ark of the covenant."

    Anonymous - attributed to AMPHILOCHIUS, bishop of Iconium (A.D. ~403?): Prose Poem to Seleucis:

    "It is most important that you know this: not everything is to be considered certain which offers itself as venerable Scripture. For there are those written by false men—as is sometimes done. As regards books, there are several which are intermediate and near to the doctrine of truth, so to speak but there are others, however, which are spurious and extremely dangerous, like false seals and spurious coins, which do indeed have the inscription of the king, but which are counterfeit, and made out of base material. On account of this, then, I shall enumerate for you the individual books inspired by the Holy Spirit, and in order that you may know the thing clearly, I will begin with the books of the Old Testament. The Pentateuch contains Genesis, then Exodus, Leviticus, which is the middle book, after that Numbers and finally Deuteronomy. To these add Joshua and Judges; after these Ruth and the four books of Kings, Paralipomenon equal to one book; following these first and second Esdras. Next I will recall to you five books: the book of Job, crowned by the struggles of various calamities; also the book of Psalms, the musical remedy of the soul; the three books of the Wisdom of Solomon, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, and the Canticle of Canticles. I add to these the twelve prophets, first Hosea, then Amos, and after that Michah, Joel, Abdiah, and Jonah, the type of the three days of the Passion, after these Nahum, Habacuc, then the ninth Sophonias, Haggai and Zachariah and the angel with two names, Malachi. After these, know the other prophets thus far to be four: the great and undaunted Isaiah, Jeremiah, inclined to mercy, and the mystic Ezechiel, and Daniel, most wise in the happenings of the Last Things, and some add Esther to these."

    RUFINUS of Aquileia (A.D. 410) Commentary on the Apostles’ Creed: Sections 37-38

    "In the Old Testament, then, first of all five books by Moses have been handed down― Genesis (1), Exodus (2), Leviticus (3), Numbers (4), and Deuteronomy (5); then Josue, the son of Nun (6), and Judges, together with Ruth (7); then four books of Kings, reckoned by the Jews as two (8/9), Paralipomenon [Chronicles], otherwise called the Book of Days (10); two books of Esdras, which the Jews count as one (11); and Esther (12). Of prophets we have Isaias (13), Jeremias (14), Ezechiel (15), Daniel (16), and, in addition, a single book of the Twelve Prophets (17). Job (18), also, and the Psalms of David (19) are each of them one book. There are three which Solomon bequeathed to the churches, namely, Proverbs (20), Ecclesiastes (21), and the Canticle of Canticles (22). With these they completed the list of books belonging to the Old Testament. In the New there are four Gospels, those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles, composed by Luke; fourteen Epistles by the Apostle Paul; two by the Apostle Peter; one by James, brother of the Lord and Apostle; one by Jude; three by John; and the Apocalypse of John.

    These are the writings which the Fathers included in the canon, and on which they desired the affirmations of our faith to be based. At the same time we should appreciate that there are certain other books which our predecessors designated ‘ecclesiastical’ rather than ‘canonical.’ Thus, there is the Wisdom of Solomon, as we call it; and another Wisdom, ascribed to the son of Sirach. This latter is known by the general title Ecclesiasticus among Latin-speaking people, the description pointing, not to the author of the book, but to the character of the writing. The Book of Tobias belongs to the same class, as do Judith and the books of the Maccabees."

    JEROME (A.D. 420): Prologue to the Epistle to the Galatians

    "The Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees, but does not admit them among the canonical Scriptures."

    GREGORY "THE GREAT", bishop of Rome (A.D. 604) Morals on Job: Book 19, paragraph 34

    "We are not acting irregularly, if from the books, though not Canonical, yet brought out for the edifying of the Church, we bring forward testimony. Thus Eleazar in the battle smote and brought down an elephant, but fell under the very beast that he killed. (1 Macc. 6:46)"

    JOHN of Damascus (A.D. 749) An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith: Book 4, chapter 17

    "Observe that there are two and twenty books of the Old Testament, one for each letter of the Hebrew tongue. For there are twenty-two letters of which five are double, and so they come to be twenty-seven. For the letters Caph, Mem, Nun, Pe , Sade are double. And thus the number of the books in this way is twenty-two, but is found to be twenty-seven because of the double character of five. For Ruth is joined on to Judges, and the Hebrews count them one book: the first and second books of Kings are counted one: and so are the third and fourth books of Kings: and also the first and second of Paraleipomena: and the first and second of Esdra. In this way, then, the books are collected together in four Pentateuchs and two others remain over, to form thus the canonical books. Five of them are of the Law, viz. Genesis (1), Exodus (2), Leviticus (3), Numbers (4), Deuteronomy (5). This which is the code of the Law, constitutes the first Pentateuch. Then comes another Pentateuch, the so-called Grapheia, or as they are called by some, the Hagiographa, which are the following: Jesus the Son of Nave (6) , Judges along with Ruth (7), first and second Kings, which are one book (8), third and fourth Kings, which are one book (9), and the two books of the Paraleipomena [Chronicles] which are one book (10). This is the second Pentateuch. The third Pentateuch is the books in verse, viz. Job (11), Psalms (12), Proverbs of Solomon (13), Ecclesiastes of Solomon (14) and the Song of Songs of Solomon (15). The fourth Pentateuch is the Prophetical books, viz the twelve prophets constituting one book (16), Isaiah (17), Jeremiah (18), Ezekiel (19), Daniel (20). Then come the two books of Esdra made into one (21), and Esther (22).

    There are also the Panaretus, that is the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Jesus [Ecclesiasticus], which was published in Hebrew by the father of Sirach, and afterwards translated into Greek by his grandson, Jesus, the Son of Sirach. These are virtuous and noble, but are not counted nor were they placed in the ark."