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Title: The Canon of the Bible
Author: Davidson, Samuel, 1806-1898
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                         The Canon of the Bible:

                 Its Formation, History, And Fluctuations

                                    By

                          Samuel Davidson, D.D.

                           Of Halle, And LL.D.

               From the Third Revised and Enlarged Edition.

                                 New York

                       Peter Eckler Publishing Co.

                                   1877



CONTENTS


Preface.
Chapter I. Introductory.
Chapter II. The Old Testament Canon From Its Beginning To Its Close.
Chapter III. The Samaritan And Alexandrian Canons.
Chapter IV. Number And Order Of The Separate Books.
Chapter V. Use Of The Old Testament By The First Christian Writers, And By
The Fathers Till The Time Of Origen.
Chapter VI. The New Testament Canon In The First Three Centuries.
Chapter VII. The Bible Canon From The Fourth Century To The Reformation.
Chapter VIII. Order Of The New Testament Books.
Chapter IX. Summary Of The Subject.
Chapter X. The Canon In The Confession Of Different Churches.
Chapter XI. The Canon From Semler To The Present Time, With Reflections On
Its Readjustment.
Footnotes



PREFACE.


The substance of the present work was written toward the close of the year
1875 for the new edition of the _Encyclopaedia Britannica_. Having been
abridged and mutilated, contrary to the author’s wishes, before its
publication there, he resolved to print it entire. With that view it has
undergone repeated revision with enlargement in different parts, and been
made as complete as the limits of an essay appeared to allow. As nothing
of importance has been knowingly omitted, the writer hopes it will be
found a comprehensive summary of all that concerns the formation and
history of the Bible canon. The place occupied by it was vacant. No
English book reflecting the processes of results of recent criticism,
gives an account of the canon in both Testaments. Articles and essays upon
the subject there are; but their standpoint is usually apologetic not
scientific, traditional rather than impartial, unreasonably conservative
without being critical. The topic is weighty, involving the consideration
of great questions, such as the inspiration, authenticity, authority, and
age of the Scriptures. The author has tried to handle it fairly, founding
his statements on such evidence as seemed convincing, and condensing them
into a moderate compass. If the reader wishes to know the evidence, he may
find it in the writer’s _Introductions to the Old and New Testaments_,
where the separate books of Scripture are discussed; and in the late
treatises of other critics. While his expositions are capable of
expansion, it is believed that they will not be easily shaken. He commends
the work to the attention of all who have an interest in the progress of
theology, and are seeking a foundation for their faith less precarious
than books however venerable.

It has not been the writer’s purpose to chronicle phases of opinion, or to
refute what he believes to be error in the newest hypotheses about the
age, authority, and composition of the books. His aim has been rather to
set forth the most correct view of the questions involved in a history of
the canon, whether it be more or less recent. Some may think that the
latest or most current account of such questions is the best; but that is
not his opinion. Hence, the fashionable belief that much of the
Pentateuch, the Book of Leviticus wholly, with large parts of Exodus and
Numbers, in a word, that all the laws relating to divine worship, with
most of the chronological tables or statistics, belong to Ezra, who is
metamorphosed in fact into the first Elohist, is unnoticed. Hence, also,
the earliest gospel is not declared to be Mark’s. Neither has the author
ventured to place the fourth gospel at the end of the first century, as
Ewald and Weitzsäcker do, after the manner of the old critics; or with
Keim so early as 110-115 A.D.

Many evince a restless anxiety to find something novel; and to depart from
well-established conclusions for the sake of originality. This shows a
morbid state of mind. Amid the feverish outlook for discoveries and the
slight regard for what is safe, conservatism is a commendable thing. Some
again desire to return, as far as they can, to orthodoxy, finding between
that extreme and rationalism a middle way which offers a resting-place to
faith. The numerous changes which criticism presents are not a symptom of
soundness. The writer is far indeed from thinking that every question
connected with the books of Scripture is finally settled; but the majority
undoubtedly are, though several already fixed by great scholars continue
to be opened up afresh. He does not profess to adopt the phase of
criticism which is fashionable at the moment; it is enough to state what
approves itself to his judgment, and to hold it fast amid the
contrarieties of conjecture or the cravings of curiosity. Present
excrescences or aberrations of belief will have their day and disappear.
Large portions of the Pentateuch will cease to be consigned to a
post-exile time, and the gospels of Matthew and Luke will again be counted
the chief sources of Mark’s. It will also be acknowledged that the first
as it now exists, is of much later origin than the fall of Jerusalem. Nor
will there be so great anxiety to show that Justin Martyr was acquainted
with the fourth gospel, and owed his Logos-doctrine chiefly to it. The
difference of ten or twenty years in the date of a gospel will not be
considered of essential importance in estimating its character.

The present edition has been revised throughout and several parts
re-written. The author hopes that it will be found still more worthy of
the favor with which the first was received.



CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY.


As introductory to the following dissertation, I shall explain and define
certain terms that frequently occur in it, especially _canon_,
_apocryphal_, _ecclesiastical_, and the like. A right apprehension of
these will make the observations advanced respecting the canon and its
formation plainer. The words have not been taken in the same sense by all,
a fact that obscures their sense. They have been employed more or less
vaguely by different writers. Varying ideas have been attached to them.

The Greek original of _canon_(1) means primarily a straight rod or pole;
and metaphorically, what serves to keep a thing upright or straight, a
_rule_. In the New Testament it occurs in Gal. vi. 16 and 2 Cor. x. 13,
15, 16, signifying in the former, a measure; in the latter, what is
measured, a _district_. But we have now to do with its ecclesiastical use.
There are three opinions as to the origin of its application to the
writings used by the church. According to Toland, Whiston, Semler, Baur,
and others, the word had originally the sense of _list_ or _catalogue_ of
books publicly read in Christian assemblies. Others, as Steiner, suppose
that since the Alexandrian grammarians applied it to collections of Old
Greek authors as _models_ of excellence or _classics_, it meant
_classical_ (canonical) _writings_. According to a third opinion, the term
included from the first the idea of a regulating principle. This is the
more probable, because the same idea lies in the New Testament use of the
noun, and pervades its applications in the language of the early Fathers
down to the time of Constantine, as Credner has shown.(2) The “canon of
the church” in the Clementine homilies;(3) the “ecclesiastical canon,”(4)
and “the canon of the truth,” in Clement and Irenæus;(5) the “canon” of
the faith in Polycrates,(6) the _regula fidei_ of Tertullian,(7) and the
_libri regulares_ of Origen,(8) imply a _normative principle_. But we
cannot assent to Credner’s view of the Greek word for _canon_ being an
abbreviation of “Scriptures of canon,”(9) equivalent to _Scripturæ legis_
in Diocletian’s Act(10)—a view too artificial, and unsanctioned by usage.

It is true that the word _canon_ was employed by Greek writers in the
sense of a mere _list_; but when it was transferred to the Scripture
books, it included the idea of a regulative and normal power—a list of
books forming a rule or law, because the newly-formed Catholic Church
required a standard of appeal in opposition to the Gnostics with their
arbitrary use of sacred writings. There is a lack of evidence on behalf of
its use before the books of the New Testament had been paralleled with
those of the Old in authority and inspiration.

The earliest example of its application to a catalogue of the Old or New
Testament books occurs in the Latin translation of Origen’s homily on
Joshua, where the original seems to have been “canon.”(11) The word itself
is certainly in Amphilochius,(12) as well as in Jerome,(13) and
Rufinus.(14) As the Latin translation of Origen has _canonicus_ and
_canonizatus_, we infer that he used “canonical,”(15) opposed as it is to
_apocryphus_ or _secretus_. The first occurrence of “canonical” is in the
fifty-ninth canon of the Council of Laodicea, where it is contrasted with
two other Greek words.(16) “_Canonized_ books,”(17) is first used in
Athanasius’s 39th festal epistle. The kind of rule which the earliest
fathers attributed to the Scriptures can only be conjectured; it is
certain that they believed the Old Testament books to be a _divine_ and
_infallible guide_. But the New Testament was not so considered till
towards the close of the second century when the conception of a Catholic
Church was realized. The latter collection was not called _Scripture_, or
put on a par with the Old Testament as _sacred_ and _inspired_, till the
time of Theophilus of Antioch (about 180 A.D.) Hence, Irenæus applies the
epithets _divine_ and _perfect_ to the Scriptures; and Clement of
Alexandria calls them _inspired_.

When distinctions were made among the Biblical writings other words(18)
were employed, synonymous with “canonized.”(19) The canon was thus a
catalogue of writings forming a rule of truth, sacred, divine, revealed by
God for the instruction of men. The rule was perfect for its purpose.

The word apocryphal(20) is used in various senses, which it is difficult
to trace chronologically. Apocryphal books are,—

1st, Such as contain _secret_ or _mysterious_ things, books of the higher
wisdom. It is thus applied to the Apocalypse by Gregory of Nyssa.(21) Akin
to this is the second meaning.

2nd, Such as were _kept secret_ or withdrawn from public use. In this
sense the word corresponds to the Hebrew _ganuz_.(22) So Origen speaking
of the story of Susanna. The opposite of this is _read in public_,(23) a
word employed by Eusebius.(24)

3rd, It was used of the secret books of the heretics by Clement(25) and
Origen,(26) with the accessory idea of _spurious_,
_pseudepigraphical_,(27) in opposition to the canonical writings of the
Catholic Church. The book of Enoch and similar productions were so
characterized.(28)

4th, Jerome applied it to the books in the Septuagint which are absent
from the Hebrew canon, _i.e._, to the books which were _read_ in the
church, the _ecclesiastical_ ones(29) occupying a rank next to the
canonical. In doing so he had respect to the corresponding Hebrew epithet.
This was a misuse of the word _apocryphal_, which had a prejudicial effect
on the character of the books in after-times.(30) The word, which he did
not employ in an injurious sense, was adopted from him by Protestants
after the Reformation, who gave it perhaps a sharper distinction than he
intended, so as to imply a contrast somewhat disparaging to writings which
were publicly read in many churches and put beside the canonical ones by
distinguished fathers. The Lutherans have adhered to Jerome’s meaning
longer than the Reformed; but the decree of the Council of Trent had some
effect on both. The contrast between the canonical and apocryphal writings
was carried to its utmost length by the Westminster divines, who asserted
that the former are inspired, the latter not.



CHAPTER II. THE OLD TESTAMENT CANON FROM ITS BEGINNING TO ITS CLOSE.


The first important part of the Old Testament put together as a whole was
the Pentateuch, or rather, the five books of Moses and Joshua. This was
preceded by smaller documents, which one or more redactors embodied in it.
The earliest things committed to writing were probably _the ten words_
proceeding from Moses himself, afterwards enlarged into the ten
commandments which exist at present in two recensions (Exod. xx., Deut.
v.) It is true that we have the oldest form of the decalogue from the
Jehovist not the Elohist; but that is no valid objection against the
antiquity of the nucleus, out of which it arose. It is also probable that
several legal and ceremonial enactments belong, if not to Moses himself,
at least to his time; as also the Elohistic list of stations in Numbers
xxxiii. To the same time belongs the song of Miriam in Exodus xv.,
probably consisting of a few lines at first, and subsequently enlarged;
with a triumphal ode over the fall of Heshbon (Numbers xxi. 27-30). The
little poetical piece in Numbers xxi. 17, 18, afterwards misunderstood and
so taken literally, is post-Mosaic.

During the unsettled times of Joshua and the Judges there could have been
comparatively little writing. The song of Deborah appeared, full of poetic
force and fire. The period of the early kings was characterized not only
by a remarkable development of the Hebrew people and their consolidation
into a national state, but by fresh literary activity. Laws were written
out for the guidance of priests and people; and the political organization
of the rapidly growing nation was promoted by poetical productions in
which spiritual life expressed its aspirations. Schools of prophets were
instituted by Samuel, whose literary efforts tended to purify the worship.
David was an accomplished poet, whose psalms are composed in lofty
strains; and Solomon may have written a few odes. The building of the
temple, and the arrangements connected with its worship, contributed
materially to a written legislation.

During this early and flourishing period appeared the book of the Wars of
Jehovah,(31) a heroic anthology, celebrating warlike deeds; and the book
of Jashar,(32) also poetical. Jehoshaphat is mentioned as court-annalist
to David and Solomon.(33) Above all, the Elohists now appeared, the first
of whom, in the reign of Saul, was author of annals, beginning at the
earliest time which were distinguished by genealogical and chronological
details as well as systematic minuteness, by archaic simplicity, and by
legal prescriptions more theoretical than practical. The long genealogical
registers with an artificial chronology and a statement of the years of
men’s lives, the dry narratives, the precise accounts of the gradual
enlargement of divine laws, the copious description of the tabernacle and
the institution of divine worship, are wearisome, though pervaded by a
theoretic interest which looks at everything from a legal point of view. A
second or junior Elohist was less methodical and more fragmentary,
supplying additional information, furnishing new theocratic details, and
setting forth the relation of Israel to heathen nations and to God. In
contrast with his predecessor, he has great beauty of description, which
is exemplified in the account of Isaac’s sacrifice and the history of
Joseph; in picturesque and graphic narratives interspersed with few
reflections. His parallels to the later writer commonly called the
Jehovist, are numerous. The third author, who lived in the time of Uzziah,
though more mythological than the Elohists, was less formal. His
stand-point is prophetic. The third document incorporated with the
Elohistic ones formed an important part of the whole, exhibiting a
vividness which the first lacked; with descriptions of persons and things
from another stand-point. The Jehovist belonged to the northern kingdom;
the Elohists were of Judah.

The state of the nation after Rehoboam was unfavorable to literature. When
the people were threatened and attacked by other nations, divided among
themselves in worship and all higher interests, rent by conflicting
parties, the theocratic principle which was the true bond of union could
not assert itself with effect. The people were corrupt; their religious
life debased. The example of the kings was usually prejudicial to
political healthiness. Contact with foreigners as well as with the older
inhabitants of the land, hindered progress. In these circumstances the
prophets were the true reformers, the advocates of political liberty,
expositors of the principles that give life and stability to a nation. In
Judah, Joel wrote prophetic discourses; in Israel, Amos and Hosea. Now,
too, a redactor put together the Elohistic and Jehovistic documents,
making various changes in them, adding throughout sentences or words that
seemed desirable, and suppressing what was unsuited to his taste. Several
psalm-writers enriched the national literature after David. Learned men at
the court of Hezekiah recast and enlarged (Proverbs xxv.-xxix.) the
national proverbs, which bore Solomon’s name because the nucleus of an
older collection belonged to that monarch. These literary courtiers were
not prophets, but rather scribes. The book of Job was written, with the
exception of Elihu’s later discourses, which were not inserted in it till
after the return from Babylon; and Deuteronomy, with Joshua, was added to
the preceding collection in the reign of Manasseh. The gifted author of
Deuteronomy, who was evidently imbued with the prophetic spirit, completed
the Pentateuch, _i.e._, the five books of Moses and Joshua, revising the
Elohist-Jehovistic work, and making various additions and alterations. He
did the same thing to the historical books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings;
which received from him their present form. Immediately before and during
the exile there were numerous authors and compilers. New psalms appeared,
more or less national in spirit. Ezekiel, Jeremiah and others prophesied;
especially an unknown seer who described the present condition of the
people, predicting their coming glories and renovated worship in strains
of far-reaching import.(34) This great prophet expected the regeneration
of the nation from the pious portion of it, the prophets in particular,
not from a kingly Messiah as Isaiah did; for the hopes resting on rulers
out of David’s house had been disappointed. His aspirations turned to
spiritual means. He was not merely an enthusiastic seer with comprehensive
glance, but also a practical philosopher who set forth the doctrine of the
innocent suffering for the guilty; differing therein from Ezekiel’s theory
of individual reward and punishment in the present world—a theory out of
harmony with the circumstances of actual life. The very misfortunes of the
nation, and the signs of their return, excited within the nobler spirits
hopes of a brighter future, in which the flourishing reign of David should
be surpassed by the universal worship of Jehovah. In consequence of their
outward condition, the prophets of the exile were usually writers, like
Ezekiel, not public speakers; and their announcement of glad tidings could
only be transmitted privately from person to person. This explains in part
the oblivion into which their names fell; so that the author or redactor
of Jeremiah l., li.; the author of chapters xiii.-xiv. 23, xxi. 1-10,
xxiv.-xxvii., xxxiv., xxxv., inserted in Isaiah; and, above all, the
Babylonian Isaiah, whom Hitzig improbably identifies with the high-priest
Joshua, are unknown. After the return from Babylon the literary spirit
manifested itself in the prophets of the restoration—Haggai, Zechariah,
and Malachi—who wrote to recall their countrymen to a sense of religious
duties; though their ideas were borrowed in part from older prophets of
more original genius. The book of Esther appeared, to make the observance
of the purim feast, which was of Persian origin, more general in
Palestine. The large historical work comprising the books of Ezra,
Nehemiah, and Chronicles, was compiled partly out of materials written by
Ezra and Nehemiah, partly out of older historical records which formed a
portion of the national literature. Several temple-psalms were also
composed; a part of the present book of Proverbs; Ecclesiastes, whose tone
and language betray its late origin; and Jonah, whose diction puts its
date after the Babylonian captivity. The Maccabean age called forth the
book of Daniel and various psalms. In addition to new productions there
was an inclination to collect former documents. To Zechariah’s authentic
prophecies were added the earlier ones contained in chapters ix.-xiv.; and
the Psalms were gradually brought together, being made up into divisions
at different times; the first and second divisions proceeding from one
redactor, the third from another, the fourth and fifth from a still later.
Various writings besides their own were grouped around the names of
earlier prophets, as was the case with Isaiah and Jeremiah.

The literature is more indebted for its best constituents to the prophetic
than to the priestly order, because the prophets were preachers of
repentance and righteousness whose great aim was to make Israel a
Jehovah-worshipping nation to the exclusion of other gods. Their
utterances were essentially ethical and religious; their pictures of the
future subjective and ideal. There was silently elaborated in their
schools a spiritual monotheism, over against the crude polytheism of the
people generally—a theocratic ideal inadequately apprehended by gross and
sensuous Israel—Jehovism simple and sublime amid a sacerdotal worship
which left the heart impure while cleansing the hands. Instead of taking
their stand upon the law, with its rules of worship, its ceremonial
precepts and penalties against transgressors, the prophets set themselves
above it, speaking slightingly of the forms and customs which the people
took for the whole of religion. To the view of such as were prepared to
receive a faith that looked for its realization to the future, they helped
to create a millennium, in which the worship of Jehovah alone should
become the basis of a universal religion for humanity. In addition to the
prophetic literature proper, they wrote historical works also. How
superior this literature is to the priestly, appears from a comparison of
the Kings and Chronicles. The subjective underlies the one; the objective
distinguishes the other. Faith in Jehovah, clothed, it may be in sensible
or historical forms, characterizes the one; reference of an outward order
to a divine source, the other. The sanctity of a people under the
government of a righteous God, is the object of the one; the sanctity of
institutions, that of the other. Even when the prophets wrote history,
_the facts_ are subordinate to _the belief_. Subjective purposes colored
their representation of real events.

To them we are indebted for the Messianic idea, the hope of a better time
in which their high ideal of the theocracy should be realized. With such
belief in the future, with pious aspirations enlivening their patriotism,
did they comfort and encourage their countrymen. The hope, general or
indefinite at first, was afterwards attached to the house of David, out of
which a restorer of the theocracy was expected, a king pre-eminent in
righteousness, and marvelously gifted. It was not merely a political but a
religious hope, implying the thorough purification of the nation, the
extinction of idolatry, the general spread and triumph of true religion.
The pious wishes of the prophets, often repeated, became a sort of
doctrine, and contributed to sustain the failing spirit of the people. The
indefinite idea of a golden age was commoner than that of a personal
prince who should reign in equity and peace. Neither was part of the
national faith, like the law, or the doctrine of sacrifice; and but a few
of the prophets portrayed a king, in their description of the period of
ideal prosperity.

The man who first gave public sanction to a portion of the national
literature was Ezra, who laid the foundation of a canon. He was the leader
in restoring the theocracy after the exile, “a ready scribe in the law of
Moses, who had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to teach
in Israel statutes and judgments.” As we are told that he brought the book
of the law of Moses before the congregation and read it publicly, the idea
naturally arises that he was the final redactor of the Pentateuch,
separating it from the historical work consisting of Joshua and the
subsequent writings, of which it formed the commencement. Such was the
first canon given to the Jewish Church after its reconstruction—ready for
temple service as well as synagogue use. Henceforward the Mosaic book
became an authoritative guide in spiritual, ecclesiastical, and civil
matters, as we infer from various passages in Ezra and Nehemiah and from
the chronicler’s own statements in the book bearing his name. The doings
of Ezra with regard to the Scriptures are deduced not only from what we
read of him in the Biblical book that bears his name, but also from the
legend in the fourth book of Ezdras,(35) where it is related that he
dictated by inspiration to five ready writers ninety-four books; the first
twenty-four of which he was ordered to publish openly that the worthy and
unworthy might read, but reserved the last seventy for the wise. Though
the twenty-four books of the Old Testament cannot be attributed to him,
the fact that he copied and wrote portions need not be questioned. He
edited _the law_, making the first canon or collection of books, and
giving it an authority which it had not before. Talmudic accounts
associate with him the men of the great synagogue. It is true that they
are legendary, but there is a foundation of fact beneath the fanciful
superstructure. As to Ezra’s treatment of the Pentateuch, or his specific
mode of redaction, we are left for the most part to conjecture. Yet it is
safe to affirm that he added;—making new precepts and practices either in
place of or beside older ones. Some things he removed as unsuited to the
altered circumstances of the people; others he modified. He threw back
later enactments into earlier times. It is difficult to discover all the
parts that betray his hand. Some elaborate priestly details show his
authorship most clearly. If his hand be not visible in Leviticus, chap.
xvii.-xxvi.; a writer not far removed from his time is observable; Ezekiel
or some other. It is clear that some of the portion (xxv. 19-22; xxvi.
3-45) is much later than the Elohists, and belongs to the exile or
post-exile period. But great difficulty attaches to the separation of the
sources here used; even after Kayser’s acute handling of them. It is also
perceptible from Ezekiel xx. 25, 26, that the clause in Exodus xiii. 15,
“but all the first-born of my children I redeem,” was added after the
exile, since the prophet shows his unacquaintance with it. The statute
that all which openeth the womb should be burnt in sacrifice to Jehovah,
appeared inhuman not only to Ezekiel, but to Ezra or his associates in
re-editing the law; and therefore the clause about the redemption of every
first-born male was subjoined. Ezra, a second Moses in the eyes of the
later Jews, did not scruple to refer to Moses what was of recent origin,
and to deal freely with the national literature. Such was the first
canon—that of Ezra the priest and scribe.

The origin of the great synagogue is noticed in Ezra x. 16, and described
more particularly in Nehemiah viii.-x., the members being apparently
enumerated in x. 1-27; at least the Megila Jer. (i. 5) and Midrash Ruth (§
3) speak of an assembly of eighty-five elders, who are probably found in
the last passage. One name, however, is wanting, for only eighty-four are
given; and as Ezra is not mentioned among them, the conjecture of Krochmal
that it has dropped out of x. 9, may be allowed. Another tradition gives
the number as one hundred and twenty, which may be got by adding the
“chief of the fathers” enumerated in Ezra viii. 1-14 to the hundred and
two heads of families in Ezra ii. 2-58. Whether the number was the same at
the commencement as afterwards is uncertain. Late Jewish writers, however,
such as Abarbanel, Abraham ben David, Ben Maimun, &c., speak as if it
consisted of the larger number at the beginning; and have no scruple in
pronouncing Ezra president, rather than Nehemiah.(36)

The oldest extra-biblical mention of the synagogue, is in the Mishnic
treatise _Pirke Aboth_, where it is said, “Moses received the laws from
Mount Sinai, and delivered it to Joshua, Joshua to the elders, the elders
to the prophets, and the prophets delivered it to the men of the great
synagogue. These last spake these words: ‘Be slow in judgment; appoint
many disciples; make a hedge for the law.’ ”(37) In the Talmudic _Baba
Bathra_, their biblical doings are described: “Moses wrote his book, the
section about Balaam and job. Joshua wrote his book and eight verses of
the law. Samuel wrote his book and judges and Ruth. David wrote the book
of Psalms _by_ (?)(38) ten elders, by Adam the first man, by Melchizedek,
by Abraham, by Moses, by Heman, by Jeduthun, by Asaph, and the three sons
of Korah. Jeremiah wrote his book, the books of Kings and Lamentations.
Hezekiah and his friends wrote Isaiah, Proverbs, Canticles, and Coheleth;
the men of the great synagogue, Ezekiel, the twelve prophets, Daniel and
Esther. Ezra wrote his own book and the genealogies of Chronicles down to
himself.”(39) This passage has its obscurities. What is meant by the verb
_write_!(40) Does it mean _composition_ and then something else; the
former in the first part of the passage, and _editing_ in the second?
Rashi explains it of _composition_ throughout, which introduces absurdity.
The most obvious interpretation is that which understands the verb of
_writing_ in one place, and _editing_ in the second. But it is improbable
that the author should have used the same word in different senses, in one
and the same passage. Bloch(41) understands it of _copying_ or _writing
out_, a sense that suits the procedure of the men of the great synagogue
in regard to Ezekiel, the twelve prophets, &c., but is inapplicable to
Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Jeremiah, &c. It is probable enough that the
synagogue scribes put into their present form and made the first
authorized copies of the works specified. The Boraitha, however, is not
clear, and may only express the opinion of a private individual in a
confused way. Simon the Just is said to have belonged to the remnants of
the synagogue. As Ezra is called “a ready scribe,” and his labors in
connection with the law were important, he may have organized a body of
literary men who should work in harmony, attending, among other things, to
the collection and preservation of the national literature; or they may
have been an association of patriotic men who voluntarily rallied round
the heads of the new state, to support them in their fundamental reforms.
The company of scribes mentioned in 1 Maccabees does not probably relate
to it.(42) A succession of priests and scribes, excited at first by the
reforming zeal of one whom later Jews looked upon as a second Moses,
labored in one department of literary work till the corporation ceased to
exist soon after, if not in the time of Simon, _i.e._, from about 445 B.C.
till about 200; for we identify the Simon celebrated in Sirach l. 1-26
with Simon II., son of the high-priest Onias II., B.C. 221-202; not with
Simon I., son and successor of the high-priest Onias I., B.C. 310-291.
Josephus’s opinion, indeed, is contrary; but leading Jewish scholars, such
as Zunz, Herzfeld, Krochmal, Derenbourg, Jost, and Bloch differ from him.

To the great synagogue must be referred the compilation of the second
canon, containing Joshua, Judges with Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah,
Jeremiah with Lamentations, Ezekiel and the twelve minor prophets. It was
not completed prior to 300 B.C., because the book of Jonah was not written
before. This work may be called a historical parable composed for a
didactic purpose, giving a milder, larger view of Jehovah’s favor than the
orthodox one, that excluded the Gentiles. Ruth, containing an idyllic
story with an unfinished genealogy attached, meant to glorify the house of
David, and presenting a kindred spirit towards a people uniformly hated,
was appended to Judges; but was subsequently transferred to the third
canon. It was written immediately after the return from the Babylonian
captivity; for the Chaldaising language points to this date,
notwithstanding the supposed archaisms discovered in it by some. In like
manner, the Lamentations, originally added to Jeremiah, were afterwards
put into the later or third canon. Joshua, which had been separated from
the five books of Moses with which it was closely joined at first, formed,
with the other historical portion (Judges, Samuel, Kings), the proper
continuation of Ezra’s canon. The prophets included the three greater and
twelve minor. With Isaiah’s authentic oracles were incorporated the last
twenty-seven chapters, belonging for the most part to an anonymous prophet
of the exile, besides several late pieces inserted in the first
thirty-nine chapters. Men of prophetic gifts wrote in the name of
distinguished prophets, and put their productions with those of the
latter, or adapted and wrote them over after their own fashion. The
fiftieth and fifty-first chapters of Jeremiah show such over-writing. To
Zechariah’s authentic oracles were attached chapters ix.-xiv., themselves
made up of two parts (ix.-xi., xii.-xiv.) belonging to different times and
authors prior to the destruction of the Jewish state by the Babylonians.

The character of the synagogue’s proceedings in regard to the books of
Scripture can only be deduced from the conduct of Ezra himself, as well as
the prevailing views and wants of the times. The scribes who began with
Ezra, seeing how he acted, would naturally follow his example, not
hesitating to revise the text _in substance_ as well as form.(43) They did
not refrain from changing what had been written, or from inserting fresh
matter. Some of their novelties can be discerned even in the Pentateuch.
Their chief work, however, related to the _form_ of the text. They put
into a proper form and state the text of the writings they studied,
perceiving less need for revising the _matter_. What they did was in good
faith, with honest intention.

The prophetic canon ended with Malachi’s oracles. And it was made sometime
after he prophesied, because the general consciousness that the function
ceased with him required a considerable period for its growth. The fact
that it included Jonah and Ruth brings the completion after 300 B.C., as
already stated. There are no definite allusions to it till the second
century B.C. Daniel speaks of a passage in Jeremiah being in “the books”
or “writings;”(44) and the prologue of Jesus Sirach presupposes its
formation. Such was the second canon, which had been made up gradually
(444-290 B.C.)

Another view of the collection in question has been taken by various
scholars. According to a passage in the second book of Maccabees, the
second canon originated with Nehemiah, who “gathered together the acts of
the kings and the prophets and (psalms) of David, and the epistles of the
kings concerning the holy gifts.”(45) These words are obscure. They occur
in a letter purporting to be sent by the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem to the
Jews in Egypt, which contains apocryphal things; a letter which assigns to
Nehemiah the merit of various arrangements rather belonging to Ezra. It is
difficult to understand the meaning of “the epistles of the kings
concerning the offerings.” If they were the documents of heathen or
Persian kings favorable to the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its temple,
would they not have been rejected from a collection of sacred books
belonging to the chosen people? They might perhaps have been adopted had
they been interwoven with the holy books themselves, like portions of Ezra
and Nehemiah; but they could not have formed a distinct part of the
national literature, because they were foreign and heathen. Again, “the
psalms of David” cannot have existed in the time of Nehemiah, if the
phrase includes the whole collection. It may perhaps refer to the first
three divisions of the book, as Herzfeld thinks; but these contain many
odes which are not David’s; while earlier ones belong to the last two
divisions of the Psalm-book. In like manner, “the prophets” could not all
have belonged to this canon; neither Malachi, who was later, nor Jonah.
The account will not bear strict examination, and must be pronounced
apocryphal. Nehemiah was a statesman, not a priest or scribe; a
politician, not a literary man. It is true that he may have had
assistants, or committed the work to competent hands; but this is
conjectural. The account of his supposed canon hardly commends itself by
inherent truthfulness or probability, though it is accepted by Ewald and
Bleek.

When the great synagogue ceased, there was an interval during which it is
not clear whether the sacred books were neglected, except by private
individuals; or whether they were studied, copied, and collected by a body
of scribes. Perhaps the scribes and elders of the Hasmonæan time were
active at intervals in this department. The institution of a senate by
Judas Maccabaeus is supposed to be favored by 2 Maccabees (chapter i.
10-ii. 18); but the passage furnishes poor evidence of the thing. Judas is
there made to write to Egypt in the year of the Seleucidae 188, though he
died thirty-six years before, _i.e._, 152. Other places have been added as
corroborative, viz., 2 Maccab. iv. 44, xi. 27; 1 Maccab. vii. 33. Some go
so far as to state that Jose ben Joeser was appointed its first president
at that time. The Midrash in Bereshith Rabba (§ 65) makes him one of the
sixty Hassidim who were treacherously murdered by Alcimus; but this is
neither in the first book of the Maccabees (chapter vii.) nor in
Josephus,(46) and must be pronounced conjectural. It is impossible to fix
the exact date of Jose ben Joeser in the Hasmonean period. Pirke Aboth
leaves it indefinite. Jonathan, Judas Maccabaeus’s successor, when writing
to the Lacedaemonians, speaks of the _gerusia_ or senate as well as _the
people_ of the Jews; whence we learn that the body existed as early as the
time of Judas.(47) Again, Demetrius writes to Simon, as also to _the
elders_ and _nation_ of the Jews.(48) After Jonathan and Simon, it may
have been suspended for a while, in consequence of the persecution and
anarchy prevailing in Judea; till the great Sanhedrim at Jerusalem
succeeded it, under Hyrcanus I. Though the traces of a senate in the
Maccabaean epoch are slight, the Talmud countenances its existence.(49) We
believe that it was earlier than Judas Maccabaeus. Of its constitution
nothing is known; but it was probably aristocratic. The Hasmonean prince
would naturally exert a commanding influence over it. The great synagogue
had been a kind of democratic council, consisting of scribes, doctors or
teachers, and priests.(50) Like their predecessors of the great synagogue,
the Hasmonæan elders revised the text freely, putting into it explanatory
or corrective additions, which were not always improvements. The way in
which they used the book of Esther, employing it as a medium of Halachite
prescription, shows a treatment involving little idea of sacredness
attaching to the Hagiographa.

We are aware that the existence of this body is liable to doubt, and that
the expressions belonging to it in Jewish books, whether elders or
_gerusia_, have been applied to the great synagogue or to the Sanhedrim at
Jerusalem, or even to the elders of any little town or hamlet; but it is
difficult to explain all on that hypothesis, without attributing confusion
to the places where they occur. If the body in question be not allowed, an
interval of about sixty years elapsed between the great synagogue and the
Sanhedrim, during which the hagiographical writings were comparatively
neglected, though literary activity did not cease. No authoritative
association, at least, dealt with them. This is improbable. It is true
that we read of no distinguished teachers in the interval, except
Antigonus of Socho, disciple of Simon the Just; but the silence can hardly
weigh against a reasonable presumption. One thing is clear, viz., that
Antigonus did not reach down to the time of the first pair that presided
over the Sanhedrim.

The contents of the third canon, _i.e._, Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Canticles,
Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles, the formation of
which we assign to the Hasmonæan gerusia, were multifarious, differing
widely from one another in age, character, and value—poetical, prophetic,
didactic, historical. Such as seemed worthy of preservation, though they
had not been included in the second canon, were gathered together during
the space of an hundred and fifty years. The oldest part consisted of
psalms supposed to belong to David. The first psalm, which contains within
itself traces of late authorship, was prefixed as an introduction to the
whole collection now put into the third canon. Next to the Psalms were
Proverbs, Job, Canticles, which, though non-prophetic and probably
excluded on that account from the second canon, must have existed before
the exile. Enriched with the latest additions, they survived the national
disasters, and claimed a place next to the Psalms. They were but a portion
of the literature current in and after the 5th century B.C., as may be
inferred from the epilogue to Ecclesiastes, and the Wisdom of Sirach. The
historical work compiled by the chronicle-writer was separated, Ezra being
put first as the most important part, and referring also to the church of
the 6th and 5th centuries whose history had not been written. The
Chronicles themselves were placed last, being considered of less value
than the first part, as they contained the summary of a period already
described, though with numerous adaptations to post-exile times. The
youngest portion consisted of the book of Daniel, not written till the
Maccabean period (between 170 and 160 B.C.);(51) and probably of several
Psalms (44, 60, 74, 75, 76, 79, 80, 83, 89, 110, 118) which were inserted
in different places of the collection to make the whole number 150. These
late odes savor of the Maccabean time; and are fitly illustrated by the
history given in the first book of Maccabees. The list continued open;
dominated by no stringent principle of selection, and with a character
somewhat indefinite. It was called _c’tubim_, _i.e._, writings(52) a
general epithet suited to the contents.

Several books put into the third canon,—as Job, Proverbs, the greater
number of the Psalms, &c.,—existed when the second was made. But the
latter collection was pre-eminently _prophetic_; and it was that idea of
the origin and contents of the books in it which regulated its extent.
Bloch’s supposition that the parts of the third collection then existing
were not looked upon as holy, but merely as productions embodying human
wisdom, and were therefore excluded, is improbable. We do not think that
an alteration of opinion about them in the course of a century or more, by
which they became divine and holy instead of human, is a satisfactory
explanation. The Psalms of David and the book of Job must have been as
highly esteemed in the period of the great synagogue’s existence as they
were at a later time. Other considerations besides the divinity and
holiness of books contributed to their introduction into a canon.
Ecclesiastes was taken into the third collection because it was attributed
to Solomon. The Song of Songs was understood allegorically,—a fact which,
in addition to its supposed Solomonic authorship, determined its adoption.
And even after their canonical reception, whether by the great synagogue
or another body, the character of books was canvassed. It was so with
Ecclesiastes, in spite of the _supposed_ sanction it got from the great
synagogue contained in the epilogue, added, as some think, by that body to
attest the sacredness of the book.(53)

While the third canon was being made, the soferim, as the successors of
the prophets, were active as before; and though interpretation was their
chief duty, they must have revised and corrected the sacred books to some
extent. We need not hesitate to allow that they sometimes arranged parts,
and even added matter of their own. In the time of the canon’s entire
preparation, they and the priests, with writers and scholars generally,
redacted the national literature, excluding or sanctioning such portions
of it as they thought fit.

At this time appeared the present five-fold partition of the Psalms,
preceded as it had been by other divisions, the last of which was very
similar to the one that became final. Several inscriptions and historical
notices were prefixed. The inscriptions, however, belong to very different
times, their historical parts being usually older than the musical; and
date from the first collection to the period of the Hasmonean college,
when the final redaction of the entire Psalter took place. Those in the
first three books existed at the time when the latter were made up; those
in the last two were prefixed partly at the time when the collections
themselves were made, and partly in the Maccabean age. How often they are
out of harmony with the poems themselves, needs no remark. They are both
traditional and conjectural.

The earliest attestation of the third canon is that of the prologue to
Jesus Sirach (130 B.C.), where not only _the law and the prophets_ are
specified, but “the other books of the fathers,” or “the rest of the
books.”(54) No information is given as to its extent, or the particular
books included. They may have been for the most part the same as the
present ones. The passage does not show that the third list was closed.
The better writings of the fathers, such as tended to learning and wisdom,
are not excluded by the definite article. In like manner, neither Philo
nor the New Testament gives exact information as to the contents of the
division in question. Indeed, several books, Canticles, Esther,
Ecclesiastes, are unnoticed in the latter. The argument drawn from Matthew
xxiii. 35, that the Chronicles were then the last book of the canon, is
inconclusive; as the Zechariah there named was probably different from the
Zechariah in 2 Chronicles xxiv. None of these witnesses proves that the
third canon was finally closed.

A more definite testimony respecting the canon is given by Josephus
towards the end of the first century A.D. “For we have not an innumerable
multitude of books among us, ... but only twenty-two books, which contain
the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine.
And of them five belong to Moses.... But as to the time from the death of
Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, the prophets who were
after Moses wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The
remaining four books contain hymns to God and precepts for the conduct of
human life. It is true our history has been written since Artaxerxes very
particularly, but has not been esteemed of the like authority with the
former by our forefathers, because there has not been an exact succession
of prophets since that time: and how firmly we have given credit to these
books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages
as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add anything
to them, to take anything from them, or to make any change in them; but it
has become natural to all Jews immediately and from their very birth, to
esteem these books to contain divine doctrines, and to persist in them,
and if occasion be, willingly to die for them.”(55) This list agrees with
our present canon, showing that the Palestinian Jews were tolerably
unanimous as to the extent of the collection. The thirteen prophets
include Job; the four lyric and moral books are Psalms, Proverbs,
Ecclesiastes and Canticles.

It is not likely that the Hasmonæan senate had a long existence. It was
replaced by the Sanhedrim, a more definite and state institution, intended
as a counter-balance to the influence of the Hasmonæan princes. The
notices of the latter reach no further back than Hyrcanus I., _i.e._,
about 135 B.C.(56) Josephus speaks of it under Hyrcanus II.(57) It cannot
be referred to an earlier period than Hyrcanus I. Frankel(58) indeed,
finds a notice of it in 2 Chronicles xix. 8, 11; but the account there is
indistinct, and refers to the great synagogue. The compiler having no
certain information about what was long past, transfers the origin of the
court he speaks of to Jehoshaphat, in order to glorify the house of David.
It is impossible to date the Sanhedrim, with Frankel, in the Grecian era,
in which case it must have been dissolved during the Maccabean
insurrection, and afterwards reconstructed; it was not constituted till
about 130 B.C. Whether it was modeled after the great synagogue or the
Hasmonæan senate, is uncertain. The idea of it may have been suggested by
the latter rather than the former, for its basis was aristocratic. The
Hasmonæan _gerusia_ must have been less formal and definite than the
Sanhedrim; though the latter arose before the family ceased to be in
power, and differed materially from its predecessor. It continued from 130
B.C. till A.D. 180, surviving the terrible disasters of the nation.(59)

The closing of the third canon cannot be assigned, with Bloch, to the
great synagogue. If the college ceased with or before Simon, _i.e._, about
200-192, and the work of Daniel did not appear till about 170 B.C., twenty
years at least intervened between the extinction of the great synagogue
and Daniel’s book. This holds good, whether we assume, with Krochmal, the
synagogue’s _redaction_ of the work,—more correctly the putting together
of the independent parts of which _it is said_ to be composed; or equally
so, if the taking of it into the canon as a book already completed, be
attributed to the same body. But we are unable to see that Krochmal’s
reasoning about the synagogue putting Daniel’s work together and one of
the members writing the book of Esther is probable.

In like manner, Maccabean psalms are adverse to the hypothesis that the
great synagogue completed the third canon. In consequence of these late
productions, it is impossible to assert that the men of the synagogue were
the redactors of the Psalter as it is. It is true that the collection was
made before the Chronicles and many other books of the hagiographical
canon; but the _complete_ Psalter did not appear till the Maccabean
period. The canon, however, was not considered to be finally closed in the
first century before and the next after Christ. There were doubts about
some portions. The book of Ezekiel gave offence, because some of its
statements seemed to contradict the law. Doubts about others were of a
more serious nature; about Ecclesiastes, the Canticles, Esther, and the
Proverbs. The first was impugned because it had contradictory passages and
a heretical tendency; the second, because of its worldly and sensual tone;
Esther for its want of religiousness; and Proverbs on account of
inconsistencies. This scepticism went far to procure the exclusion of the
suspected works from the canon, and their relegation to the class of the
_genuzim_.(60) But it did not prevail. Hananiah, son of Hezekiah, son of
Garon, about 32 B.C., is said to have reconciled the contradictions and
quieted the doubts.(61) But these traces of resistance to the fixity of
the canon were not the last. They reappeared about A.D. 65, as we learn
from the Talmud,(62) when the controversy turned mainly upon the
canonicity of Ecclesiastes, which the school of Shammai, who had the
majority, opposed; so that the book was probably excluded.(63) The
question emerged again at a later synod at Jabneh or Jamnia, when R.
Eleasar ben Asaria was chosen patriarch, and Gamaliel the second, deposed.
Here it was decided, not unanimously however, but by a majority of
Hillelites, that Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs “pollute the hands,”
_i.e._, belong properly to the Hagiographa.(64) This was about 90 A.D.(65)
Thus the question of the canonicity of certain books was discussed at two
synods.

Passages in the Talmud have been adduced to show that the Shammaite
objections to the canonicity of Ecclesiastes “were overruled by the
positive declaration from the 72 elders, _being a testimony anterior to
the Christian era_ that Coheleth is canonical; but they do not support the
opinion.”(66)

“The sages” referred to in the treatise Sabbat and elsewhere is a vague
expression, resting apparently on no historic tradition—a mere opinion of
comparatively late date. If it refer to the Jerusalem synod A.D. 65, the
Hillelites were simply outnumbered there by the Shammaites. The matter was
debated hastily, and determined for the time by a majority. But the synod
at Jamnia consisted of 72 persons; and a passage in the treatise Yadayim
refers to it.(67) The testimony of the 72 elders to whom R. Simeon ben
Asai here alludes, so far from belonging to an anti-christian era, belongs
to a date about 90 A.D. And the fact that the synod at Jamnia took up
again a question already debated at Jerusalem A.D. 65, proves that no
final settlement of the canon had taken place before. The canon was
virtually settled at Jamnia, where was confirmed what R. Akiba said of the
Canticles in his usual extravagant way: “No day in the whole history of
the world is of so much worth as the one in which the Song of Songs was
given to Israel; for all the Scriptures are holy; but the Song of Songs is
most holy.”(68) As the Hagiographa were not read in public, with the
exception of Esther, opinions of the Jewish rabbins might still differ
about Canticles and Ecclesiastes, even after the synod of Jamnia.

In opposition to these remarks, it is strenuously argued by Bloch that
neither the passage in the Mishnic treatise Yadayim, nor any other, refers
to the _canonical character_ of the books to which Jewish elders raised
several objections. But his arguments are more vehement than valid.
Anxious to assign the final settlement of the entire canon to an
authoritative body like the great synagogue, he affirms that all parties
were united in opinion about the time of Christ,—Assiim, Perushim, and
Zeddukim; Shammaites and Hillelites. But it requires more than his
ingenuity to explain away the meaning of Yadayim 3, 5, Adoyot v. 3, Sabbat
1. To what did such diversity of opinion relate, if not to the canonical
character of the books? A specific answer to the question is not given by
the learned writer,(69) who is too eager in his endeavor to attribute the
settlement of the third canon to the great synagogue, and to smooth away
all diversities of opinion about several books, after that time, as if
none could afterwards question the authoritative settlement by that body.
He will not even allow a wider canon to the Alexandrian Jews than that of
their Palestinian brethren, though he cannot but admit that the former
read and highly esteemed various apocryphal books because of their
_theocratic_ character. Surely the practical use of writings is an
evidence of their canonicity as strong as theoretical opinions.

The doubts about several books to which we have alluded, some of which
Hananiah is said to have resolved in his old age, imply a diligent study
of the national literature, if not a revision of the text; and the
Tannaite college at Jabneh must have cared for the same things, as it had
to deal with similar objections. After the last canon was made more than a
century anterior to the Christian era, the text was not considered
inviolate by the learned Jews; it received subsequent modifications and
interpolations. The process of redaction had not ceased before the time of
Christ. This was owing, among other causes, to the state of parties among
the Jews, as well as the intrusion of Greek literature and culture, whose
influence the Palestinian Jews themselves were not able altogether to
withstand. When Jeremiah accused the Scribes of falsifying the law by
their lying pen (viii. 8), it may be inferred that the same process took
place afterwards; that offensive things were removed, and alterations made
continuously down to the close of the canon, and even after. The
corrections consisted of additions and changes of letters, being indicated
in part by the most ancient versions and the traditions of the Jews
themselves who often knew what stood in the text at first, and why it was
altered. They are also indicated by the nature of the passage itself
viewed in the light of the state of religion at the time. Here, sober
judgment must guard against unnecessary conjectures. Some changes are
apparent, as the plural _oaks_ in Genesis xiii. 18, xiv. 13, xviii. 1,
Deuteronomy xi. 30, for the singular _oak_; and the plural _gods_ in
Exodus xxxii. 4, for the singular _god_. So 2 Sam. Vii. 23, (comp. 1
Chron. xvii. 21, and LXX);(70) and Deuteronomy xxxii. 8,(71) have been
altered. Popper and Geiger have probably assumed too much correction on
the part of the Scribes and others; though they have drawn attention to
the subject in the spirit of original criticism.

Jewish literature began to degenerate after the captivity, and it
continued to do so. It leaned upon the past more and more, having an
external and formal character with little of the living soul. The
independence of their religious literature disappeared with the national
independence of the Jews; and the genius of the people was too exclusive
to receive much expansion from the spirit of nations with whom they came
in contact. In such circumstances, amid the general consciousness of
present misfortune which the hope of a brighter future could not dispel,
and regretful retrospects of the past tinged with ideal splendor, the
exact time of drawing a line between books that might be included in the
third division of the canon must have been arbitrary. In the absence of a
normal principle to determine selection, the productions were arbitrarily
separated. Not that they were badly adjusted. On the contrary, the canon
as a whole was settled wisely. Yet the critical spirit of learned Jews in
the future could not be extinguished by anticipation. The canon was not
really settled for all time by a synodical gathering at Jamnia; for Sirach
was added to the Hagiographa by some rabbins about the beginning of the
4th century;(72) while Baruch circulated long in Hebrew, and was publicly
read on the day of atonement in the third century, according to the
Apostolic constitutions.(73) These two books were in high repute for a
considerable time, possessing a kind of canonical credit even among the
learned Jews of Palestine. Rab, Jochanan, Elasar, Rabba bar Mare,
occasionally refer to Sirach in the way in which the _c’tubim_ were
quoted: the writer of Daniel used Baruch; and the translator of Jeremiah
put it into Greek.

If it be asked on what principle books were admitted into the canon, a
single answer does not suffice. One and the same criterion did not
determine the process at all times. The leading principle with which the
first canon-makers set out was to collect all the documents of Hebrew
antiquity. This seems to have guided Ezra, if not the great synagogue
after him. The nation, early imbued with the theocratic spirit and
believing itself the chosen of God, was favorably inclined towards
documents in which that standpoint was assumed. The legal and ethical were
specially valued. The prophetic claimed a divine origin; the lyric or
poetic touched and elevated the ideal faculty on which religion acts. But
the leading principle which actuated Ezra and the great synagogue was
gradually modified, amid the growing compass of the national literature
and the consciousness that prophecy ceased with Malachi. When the latest
part of the canon had to be selected from a literature almost
contemporaneous, regard was had to such productions as resembled the old
in spirit. Orthodoxy of contents was the dominant criterion. But this was
a difficult thing, for various works really anonymous, though wearing the
garb of old names and histories, were in existence, so that the boundary
of the third part became uncertain and fluctuating.

The principle that actuated Ezra in making the first canon was a religious
and patriotic one. From his treatment of the oldest law books we infer
that he did not look upon them as inviolable. Venerable they were, and so
far sacred; but neither perfect nor complete for all time. In his view
they were not unconditionally authoritative. Doubtless they had a high
value as the productions of inspired lawgivers and men of a prophetic
spirit; but the redaction to which he submitted them shows no
superstitious reverence. With him _canonical_ and _holy_ were not
identical. Nor does the idea of an _immediate, divine_ authority appear to
have dominated the mind of the great synagogue in the selection of books.
Like Ezra, these scholars reverenced the productions of the prophets,
poets, and historians to whom their countrymen were indebted in the past
for religious or political progress; but they did not look upon them as
the offspring of unerring wisdom. How could they, while witnessing
repetitions and minor contradictions in the books collected?

The same remarks apply to the third canon. _Direct divinity_ of origin was
not the criterion which determined the reception of a book into it; but
the character and authorship of the book. Did it breathe the old spirit,
or proceed from one venerated for his wisdom? Was it like the old orthodox
productions; or did it bear the name of one renowned for his piety and
knowledge of divine things? The stamp of antiquity was necessary in a
certain sense; but the theocratic spirit was the leading consideration.
Ecclesiastes was admitted because it bore the name of Solomon; and
Daniel’s apocalyptic writings, because veiled under the name of an old
prophet. New psalms were taken in because of their association with much
older ones in the temple service. Yet the first book of Maccabees was
excluded, though written in Hebrew. It is still more remarkable that
Sirach was put among the external productions; but this was owing not so
much to its recent origin, for it is older than the book of Daniel, as to
its being an apparent echo of the Proverbs, and therefore unnecessary. Yet
it was long after assigned to the Hagiographa, and quoted as such by
several rabbis. Baruch was also left out, though it is as old as Daniel,
if not older; and professes to have been written by Jeremiah’s friend, in
Babylon.

That redactors dealt freely with the text of the second and third canons
especially, without a superstitious belief in its sacredness, is apparent
from the double recension which existed when the Egyptian Jews translated
the books into Greek. If the one that formed the basis of the Alexandrian
version be less correct than the Palestinian in the majority of instances,
it is still superior in many. The differences between them, often
remarkable, prove that those who had most to do with the books did not
guard them as they would have done had they thought them infallibly
inspired. Palestinians and Alexandrians subjected the text to redaction;
or had suffered it to fall into a state inconsistent with the assumption
of its supernatural origin. At a much later period, the Masoretes reduced
to one type all existing copies of their Scriptures, introducing an
uniformity imperatively demanded in their opinion by multiplied
discrepancies.

Whatever divine character the reflecting attributed to the canonical
books, it must have amounted to the same thing as that assigned to human
attributes and physical phenomena—a divinity resulting from the
over-leaping of second causes, in the absence of inductive philosophy.
Here the imperfection conditioned by the nature of the created cannot be
hid. Yet the books may be truly said to have contained the word of God.

Of the three divisions, _the Law_ or Pentateuch was most highly venerated
by the Jews. It was the first translated into Greek; and in Philo’s view
was inspired in a way peculiar to itself. _The Prophets_, or second
division, occupied a somewhat lower place in their estimation, but were
read in the public services as the law had been before. The _c’tubim_, or
third division, was not looked upon as equal to the Prophets in
importance: only the five Megiloth were publicly read. The three parts of
the collection present the three gradations of sanctity which the books
assumed successively in Israelite estimation. A certain reverence was
attached to all as soon as they were made canonical; but the reverence was
not of equal height, and the supposed authority was proportionally
varied.(74) The consciousness of prophetism being extinct soon after the
return from Babylon, was a genuine instinct. With the extinction of the
Jewish state the religious spirit almost evaporated. The idealism which
the old prophets proclaimed in contrast with the symbolic religion of the
state gave place to the forms and an attachment to the _written_ law.
Religion came to be a thing of the understanding, the subject of learned
treatment; and its essence was reduced to dogmas or precepts. Thus it
ceased to be a spiritual element in which the heart had free scope for its
highest aspirations. In addition to all, a foreign metaphysical theology,
the Persian doctrine of spirits, was introduced, which seemed to enlarge
the sphere of speculation, but really retarded the free exercise of the
mind. As the external side of religion had been previously directed to the
performance of good works, this externality was now determined by a
written law. Even the prophetism that appeared after the restoration was
little more than an echo of the past, falling in with an outward and
written legalism. The literature of the people deteriorated in quality,
and prophecy became _apocalypse_. In such circumstances the advent of a
new man was needed to restore the free life of religion in higher power.
Christ appeared in the fullness of time to do this effectually by
proclaiming the divine Fatherhood, and founding a worship _in spirit and
in truth_. Rising above the symbolic wrappings of the Mosaic religion, and
relying upon the native power of the spirit itself, he showed how man may
mount up to the throne of God, adoring the Supreme without the
intervention of temple, sacrifice, or ceremony.

When the three divisions were united, the ecclesiastical respect which had
gathered round the law and the prophets from ancient times began to be
transferred to the _c’tubim_. A belief in their sanctity increased apace
in the 1st century before the Christian era, so that _sacredness_ and
_canonicity_ were almost identical. The doubts of individuals, it is true,
were still expressed respecting certain books of the _c’tubim_, but they
had no perceptible effect upon the current opinion. The sanctity attaching
to the last division as well as the others did not permit the total
displacement of any part.

The passage in Josephus already quoted shows the state of the canon about
A.D. 100. According to it, he considered it to have been closed at the
time of Artaxerxes Longimanus, whom he identifies with the Ahasuerus of
Esther, 464-424 B.C. The books were divine, so that none dared to add to,
subtract from, or alter them. To him the canon was something belonging to
the venerable past, and inviolable. In other words, all the books were
peculiarly sacred. Although we call scarcely think this to be his private
opinion merely, it is probably expressed in exaggerated terms, and hardly
tallies with his use of the third Esdras in preference to the canonical
texts.(75) His authority, however, is small. Bloch’s estimate of it is too
high. It is utterly improbable that Josephus’s opinion was universally
held by the Jews in his day. His division of the books is peculiar: five
Mosaic, thirteen historical, four containing religious songs and rules of
life. It appears, indeed, that as he had the same twenty-two books we now
have, Ruth was still attached to Judges, and Lamentations to Jeremiah; but
his credit is not on a par with that of a Jew who adhered to his
countrymen in the time of their calamity. He wrote for the Romans. One who
believed that Esther was the youngest book in the canon, who looked upon
Ecclesiastes as Solomon’s, and Daniel as an exile production, cannot be a
competent judge. In his time the historical sense of the book of Daniel
was misapprehended; for after the Grecian dynasty had fallen without the
fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy connected with it, the Roman empire
was put into its place. Hence various allusions in _The History of the
Jewish Wars_.(76) The passage in the _Antiquities_,(77) about Alexander
the Great and the priests in the Temple at Jerusalem is apocryphal. In any
case, Josephus does not furnish a genuine list of the canonical books any
more than Philo. The Pharisaic view of his time is undoubtedly given, that
the canon was then complete and sacred. The decision proceeded from that
part of the nation who ruled both over school and people, and regained
supremacy after the destruction of the temple; _i.e._, from the
Pharisee-sect to which Josephus belonged. It was a conclusion of orthodox
Judaism. With true critical instinct, Spinoza says that the canon was the
work of the Pharisees. The third collection was undoubtedly made under
their influence.

The origin of the _threefold_ division of the canon is not, as Oehler
supposes,(78) a reflection of the different stages of religious
development through which the nation passed, as if the foundation were the
Law, the ulterior tendency in its objective aspect the Prophets, and its
subjective aspect the Hagiographa. The books of Chronicles and others
refute this arbitrary conception. The triplicity lies in the manner in
which the books were collected. Men who belonged to different periods and
possessed different degrees of culture, worked successively in the
formation of the canon; which arose out of the circumstances of the times,
and the subjective ideas of those who made it.

The places of the separate books within the first division or _Torah_,
were determined by the succession of the historical events narrated. The
second division naturally begins with Moses’s successor, Joshua. Judges,
Samuel, and Kings follow according to the regular chronology. To the
former prophets, as Joshua—Kings were called, the latter were attached,
Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel; succeeded by the twelve minor prophets,
arranged for the most part according to their times, though the length of
individual prophecies and similarity of contents also influenced their
position.

The arrangement of books in the third division depended on their age,
character, and authors. The Psalms were put first, because David was
supposed to be the author of many, and on account of their intrinsic value
in promoting the religious life of the people. After the Psalms came the
three poetical works attributed to Solomon, with the book of Job among
them,—Proverbs, Job, Canticles, Ecclesiastes.

The book of Esther followed, since it was intended to further the
observance of the Purim feast; with the late book of Daniel. The position
of Daniel among the _c’tubim_ arises solely from the fact of its posterior
origin to the prophetic writings, not excepting the book of Jonah itself;
and the attempt to account for its place in the third division on the
ground of its predominant subjectivity is based on the unfounded
assumption that the objective state of religion is represented in the
second division and the subjective in the third. Had the book existed
before 400 B.C., it would doubtless have stood in the second division. But
the contents themselves demonstrate its date; contemporary history being
wrapped in a prophetic form. Having some affinity to Esther as regards
heathenism and Greek life, the book was put next to the latter. To Ezra
and Nehemiah, which were adopted before the other part of the Chronicle
book and separated from it, were added the so-called Chronicles. Such was
the original succession of the third division or _c’tubim_; but it did not
remain unaltered. For the use of the synagogue, the five Megiloth were put
together; so that Ruth, which was originally appended to Judges, and the
Lamentations affixed at first to Jeremiah’s prophecies, were taken out of
the second and put into the third canon. This caused a separation of
Canticles and Ecclesiastes. The new arrangement was made for liturgical
purposes.



CHAPTER III. THE SAMARITAN AND ALEXANDRIAN CANONS.


The Samaritan canon consists of the Pentateuch alone. This restricted
collection is owing to the fact, that when the Samaritans separated from
the Jews and began their worship on Gerizim, no more than the Mosaic
writings had been invested by Ezra with canonical dignity. The hostile
feeling between the rivals hindered the reception of books subsequently
canonized. The idea of their having the oldest and most sacred part in its
entirety satisfied their spiritual wants. Some have thought that the
Sadducees, who already existed as a party before the Maccabean period,
agreed with the Samaritans in rejecting all but the Pentateuch; yet this
is doubtful. It is true that the Samaritans themselves say so;(79) and
that some of the church fathers, Origen, Jerome, and others agree; but
little reliance can be put on the statement. The latter, perhaps,
confounded the Samaritans and Sadducces. It is also noteworthy that Christ
in refuting the Sadducees appeals to the Pentateuch alone; yet the
conclusion, that he did so because of their admitting no more than that
portion does not follow.

The Alexandrian canon differed from the Palestinian. The Greek translation
commonly called the Septuagint contains some later productions which the
Palestinian Jews did not adopt, not only from their aversion to Greek
literature generally, but also from the recent origin of the books,
perhaps also their want of prophetic sanction. The closing line of the
third part in the Alexandrian canon was more or less fluctuating—capable
of admitting recent writings appearing under the garb of old names and
histories, of embracing religious subjects; while the Palestinian
collection was pretty well determined, and all but finally settled. The
judgment of the Alexandrians was freer than that of their brethren in the
mother country. They had even separated in a measure from the latter, by
erecting a temple at Leontopolis; and their enlargement of the canon was
another step of divergence. Nor had they the criterion of language for the
separation of canonical and uncanonical; both classes were before them in
the same tongue. The enlarged canon was not formally sanctioned; it had
not the approval of the Sanhedrim; yet it was to the Alexandrians what the
Palestinian one was to the Palestinians. If Jews who were not well
acquainted with Hebrew, used the apocryphal and canonical books alike, it
was a matter of feeling and custom; and if those who knew the old language
better, adhered to the canonical more closely, it was a matter of
tradition and language. The former set little value on the prevalent
consciousness of the race that the spirit of prophecy was extinct; their
view of the Spirit’s operation was larger. The latter clung to the past
with all the more tenacity that the old life of the nation had
degenerated.

The Alexandrian Jews opened their minds to Greek culture and philosophy,
appropriating new ideas, and explaining their Scriptures in accordance
with wider conceptions of the divine presence; though such adaptation
turned aside the original sense. Consciously or unconsciously they were
preparing Judaism in some degree to be the religion of humanity. But the
Rabbins shut out those enlarging influences, confining their religion
within the narrow traditions of one people. The process by which they
conserved the old belief helped to quench its spirit, so that it became an
antique skeleton, powerless beside the new civilization which had followed
the wake of Alexander’s conquests. Rabbinical Judaism proved its
incapacity for regenerating the world; having no affinity for the
philosophy of second causes, or for the exercise of reason beneath the
love of a Father who sees with equal eye as God of all. Its isolation
nourished a sectarian tendency. Tradition, having no creative power like
revelation, had taken the place of it; and it could not ward off the
senility of Judaism; for its creations are but feeble echoes of prophetic
utterances, weak imitations of poetic inspiration or of fresh wisdom. They
are of the understanding rather than the reason. The tradition which
Geiger describes as the life-giving soul of Judaism—the daughter of
revelation, enjoying the same rights with her mother—a spiritual power
that continues ever to work—an emanation from the divine Spirit—is not,
indeed, the thing which has stiffened Judaism into Rabbinism; but neither
is it tradition proper; it is reason working upon revelation, and moulding
it into a new system. _Such tradition_ serves but to show the inability of
genuine Judaism to assimilate philosophic thought. _Rationalizing_ should
not be styled the operation of tradition.

The truth of these remarks is evident from a comparison of two books,
exemplifying Alexandrian and Palestinian Judaism respectively. The Wisdom
of Solomon shows the enlarging effect of Greek philosophy. Overpassing
Jewish particularism, it often approaches Christianity in doctrine and
spirit, so that some(80) have even assumed a Christian origin for it. The
Wisdom of Jesus, son of Sirach has not the doctrine of immortality. Death
is there an eternal sleep, and retribution takes place in this life. The
Jewish theocracy is the centre of history; Israel the elect people; and
all wisdom is embodied in the law. The writer is shut up within the old
national ideas, and leans upon the writings in which they are expressed.
Thus the Hagiographical canon of Judea, conservative as it is, and purer
in a sense, presents a narrower type than the best specimens of the
Alexandrian one. The genial breath of Aryan culture had not expanded its
Semitism.

The identity of the Palestinian and Alexandrian canons must be abandoned,
notwithstanding the contrary arguments of Eichhorn and Movers. It is said,
indeed, that Philo neither mentions nor quotes the Greek additions; but
neither does he quote several canonical books. According to Eichhorn, no
fewer than eight of the latter are unnoticed by him.(81) Besides, he had
peculiar views of inspiration, and quoted loosely from memory. Believing
as he did in the inspiration of the Greek version as a whole, it is
difficult to think that he made a distinction between the different parts
of it. In one passage he refers to the sacred books of the Therapeutae, a
fanatical sect of Jews in Egypt, as “_laws_, oracles _of prophets, hymns_
and _other books_ by which knowledge and piety are increased and
perfected,”(82) but this presents little information as to the canon of
the Egyptian Jews generally; for it is precarious argumentation to say
with Herbst that they prove a twofold canon. Even if the Alexandrian and
Palestinian canons be identical, we cannot be sure that _the other books_
which the Therapeutae read as holy besides the law, _the prophets and
hymns_, differed from the hagiographa, and so constituted another canon
than the general Egyptian one. It is quite possible that the _hymns_ mean
the Psalms; and _the other books_, the rest of the hagiographa. The
argument for the identity of the two canons deduced from 4 Esdras xiv. 44,
&c., as if the twenty-four open books were distinguished from the other
writings dictated to Ezra, is of no force, because verisimilitude required
that an Egyptian Jew himself must make Ezra conform to the old Palestinian
canon. It is also alleged that the grandson of Jesus Sirach, who
translated his grandfather’s work during his abode in Egypt, knew no
difference between the Hebrew and Greek canon, though he speaks of the
Greek version; but he speaks as a Palestinian, without having occasion to
allude to the difference between the canonical books of the Palestinian
and Egyptian Jews. The latter may have reckoned the apocryphal writings in
the third division; and therefore the translator of Jesus Sirach could
recognize them in the ordinary classification. The mention of _three_
classes is not opposed to their presence in the third. The general use of
an enlarged canon in Egypt cannot be denied, though it was somewhat loose,
not regarded as a completed collection, and without express rabbinical
sanction. If they did not _formally_ recognize a canon of their own, as De
Wette says of them, they had and used one larger than the Palestinian,
without troubling themselves about a _formal_ sanction for it by a body of
Rabbis at Jerusalem or elsewhere. Their canon was not identical with that
of the Palestinians, and all the argumentation founded upon Philo’s
non-quotation of the apocryphal books, fails to prove the contrary. The
very way in which apocryphal are inserted among canonical books in the
Alexandrian canon, shows the equal rank assigned to both. Esdras first and
second succeed the Chronicles; Tobit and Judith are between Nehemiah and
Esther; the Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach follow Canticles; Baruch succeeds
Jeremiah; Daniel is followed by Susanna and other productions of the same
class; and the whole closes with the three books of Maccabees. Such is the
order in the Vatican MS.

The threefold division of the canon, indicating three stages in its
formation, has continued. Josephus, indeed, gives another, based on the
nature of the separate books, not on MSS. We learn nothing from him of its
history, which is somewhat remarkable, considering that he did not live
two centuries after the last work had been added. The account of the
canon’s final arrangement was evidently unknown to him.



CHAPTER IV. NUMBER AND ORDER OF THE SEPARATE BOOKS.


The number of the books was variously estimated. Josephus gives
twenty-two, which was the usual number among Christian writers in the
second, third, and fourth centuries, having been derived perhaps from the
letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Origen, Jerome, and others have it. It
continued longest among the teachers of the Greek Church, and is even in
Nicephorus’s stichometry.(83) The enumeration in question has Ruth with
Judges, and Lamentations with Jeremiah. In Epiphanius(84) the number
twenty-seven is found, made by taking the alphabet enlarged with the five
final letters, and dividing Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles into two books
each. This is probably an ingenious combination belonging to the father
himself. The Talmud has twenty-four,(85) a number which did not originate
in the Greek alphabet, else the Palestinian Jews would not have adopted
it. The synagogue did not fix it officially. After the Pentateuch and the
former prophets, which are in the usual order, it gives Jeremiah as the
first of the later, succeeded by Ezekiel and Isaiah with the twelve minor
prophets. The Talmud knows no other reason for such an order than that it
was made according to the contents of the prophetic books, not according
to the times of the writers. This solution is unsatisfactory. It is more
probable that chronology had to do with the arrangement.(86) After the
anonymous collection or second part of Isaiah had been joined to the first
or authentic prophecies, the lateness of these oracles brought Isaiah into
the third place among the greater prophets. The Talmudic order of the
Hagiographa is Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles,
Lamentations, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, Chronicles. Here Ruth precedes the
Psalter, coming as near the former prophets as possible; for it properly
belongs to them, the contents associating it with the Judges’ time. The
Talmudic order is that usually adopted in German MSS. What is the true
estimate of it? Is it a proper Talmudic regulation? Perhaps not, else the
Hebrew MSS. of the French and Spanish Jews would not so readily have
departed from it. Bloch supposes that Baba Bathra, which gives the
arrangement of the books, is one of the apocryphal Boraithas that
proceeded from an individual teacher and had no binding authority.(87)

The Masoretic arrangement differs from the Talmudic in putting Isaiah
before Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The Hagiographa are, Psalms, Proverbs, Job,
Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra (with
Nehemiah), Chronicles.(88) This is usually adopted in Spanish MSS. But
MSS. often differ arbitrarily, because transcribers did not consider
themselves bound to any one arrangement.(89) According to some, a very old
testimony to the commencing and concluding books of the third division is
given by the New Testament (Luke xxiv. 44; Matthew xxiii. 35), agreeably
to which the Psalms were first and the Chronicles last; but this is
inconclusive.

The Alexandrian translators, as we have seen already, placed the books
differently from the Palestinian Jews. In their version Daniel comes after
Ezekiel, so that it is put beside the greater prophets. Was this done by
Jews or Christians? Perhaps by the latter, who put it between the greater
and lesser prophets, or in other words, out of the third into the second
division, because of dogmatic grounds, and so effaced a trace of the
correct chronology. Little importance, however, can be attached to the
order of the books in the Septuagint; because the work was done at
different times by different persons. But whatever may have been the
arrangement of the parts when the whole was complete, we know that it was
disturbed by Protestants separating the apocryphal writings and putting
them all together.



CHAPTER V. USE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT BY THE FIRST CHRISTIAN WRITERS, AND BY
THE FATHERS TILL THE TIME OF ORIGEN.


The writings of the New Testament show the authors’ acquaintance with the
apocryphal books. They have expressions and ideas derived from them. Stier
collected one hundred and two passages which bear some resemblance to
others in the Apocrypha;(90) but they needed sifting, and were cut down to
a much smaller number by Bleek. They are James i. 19, from Sirach v. 11
and iv. 29; 1 Peter i. 6, 7, from Wisdom iii. 3-7; Hebrews xi. 34, 35,
from 2 Maccabees vi. 18-vii. 42; Hebrews i. 3, from Wisdom vii. 26, &c.;
Romans i. 20-32, from Wisdom xiii.-xv.; Romans ix. 21, from Wisdom xv. 7;
Eph. vi. 13-17, from Wisdom v. 18-20; 1 Cor. ii. 10, &c., from Judith
viii. 14. Others are less probable.(91) When Bishop Cosin says, that “in
all the New Testament we find not any one passage of the apocryphal books
to have been alleged either by Christ or His apostles for the confirmation
of their doctrine,”(92) the argument, though based on fact, is scarcely
conclusive; else Esther, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, and other works might be
equally discredited. Yet it is probable that the New Testament writers,
though quoting the Septuagint much more than the original, were
disinclined to the additional parts of the Alexandrian canon. They were
Palestinian themselves, or had in view Judaisers of a narrow creed.
Prudential motives, no less than a predisposition in favor of the old
national canon, may have hindered them from expressly citing any
apocryphal production. The apostle Paul and probably the other writers of
the New Testament, believed in the literal inspiration of the Biblical
books, for he uses an argument in the Galatian epistle which turns upon
the singular or plural of a noun.(93) And as the inspiration of the
Septuagint translation was commonly held by the Christians of the early
centuries, it may be that the apostles and evangelists made no distinction
between its parts. Jude quotes Enoch, an apocryphal work not in the
Alexandrian canon; so that he at least had no rigid notions about the
difference of canonical and uncanonical writings. Still we know that the
compass of the Old Testament canon was somewhat unsettled to the
Christians of the first century, as it was to the Hellenist Jews
themselves. It is true that the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms were
universally recognized as authoritative; but the extent of the third
division was indefinite, so that the non-citation of the three books
respecting which there was a difference of opinion among the Jews may not
have been accidental. Inasmuch, however, as the Greek-speaking Jews
received more books than their Palestinian brethren, the apostles and
their immediate successors were not wholly disinclined to the use of the
apocryphal productions. The undefined boundary of the canon facilitated
also the recognition of all primitive records of the new Revelation.

The early fathers, who wrote in Greek, used the Greek Bible, as almost all
of them were ignorant of Hebrew. Thus restricted; they naturally
considered its parts alike, citing apocryphal and canonical in the same
way. Accordingly, Irenæus(94) quotes Baruch under the name of “Jeremiah
the prophet;”(95) and the additions to Daniel as “Daniel the prophet.”(96)
Clement of Alexandria(97) uses the apocryphal books like the canonical
ones, for explanation and proof indiscriminately. He is fond of referring
to Baruch, which he cites upwards of twenty-four times in the second book
of his _Pædagogus_, and in a manner to show that he esteemed it as highly
as many other parts of the Old Testament. A passage from Baruch is
introduced by the phrase,(98) “the divine Scripture says;” and another
from Tobit by(99) “Scripture has briefly signified this, saying.” Assuming
that Wisdom was written by Solomon, he uses it as canonical and inspired,
designating it _divine_.(100) Judith he cites with other books of the Old
Testament(101); and the Song of the three children in the furnace is used
as Scripture.(102) Ecclesiasticus also is so treated.(103) Dionysius of
Alexandria(104) cites Ecclesiasticus (xvi. 26), introducing the passage
with “hear divine oracles.”(105) The same book is elsewhere cited,
chapters xliii. 29, 30(106) and i. 8. 9.(107) So is Wisdom, vii. 15(108)
and 25.(109) Baruch (iii. 12-15) is also quoted.(110) The fathers who
wrote in Latin used some of the old Latin versions of which Augustine
speaks; one of them, and that the oldest probably dating soon after the
middle of the second century, being known to us as the _Itala_. As this
was made from the Septuagint, it had the usual apocryphal books. Jerome’s
critical revision or new version did not supplant the old Latin till some
time after his death. Tertullian(111) quotes the Wisdom of Solomon
expressly as Solomon’s;(112) and introduces Sirach by “as it is
written.”(113) He cites Baruch as Jeremiah.(114) He also believes in the
authenticity of the book of Enoch, and defends it as _Scripture_ at some
length.(115) Cyprian often cites the Greek additions to the Palestinian
canon. He introduces Tobit with the words “as it is written,”(116) or
“divine Scripture teaches, saying;”(117) and Wisdom with, “the Holy Spirit
shows by Solomon.”(118) Ecclesiasticus is introduced with, “it is
written;”(119) and Baruch with, “the Holy Spirit teaches by
Jeremiah.”(120) 1 and 2 Maccabees are used as Scripture;(121) as are the
additions to Daniel.(122) The African fathers follow the Alexandrian canon
without scruple. Hippolytus of Rome (about A.D. 220), who wrote in Greek,
quotes Baruch as Scripture;(123) and interprets the additions to Daniel,
such as Susanna, as Scripture likewise.(124)

Melito of Sardis(125) made it his special business to inquire among the
Palestinian Jews about the number and names of their canonical books; and
the result was the following list:—the five books of Moses, Joshua,
Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two of Chronicles, the Psalms of David,
the Proverbs of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Job, Isaiah,
Jeremiah, the twelve in one book, Daniel, Ezekiel, Ezra.(126) Here Ezra
includes Nehemiah; and Esther is absent, because the Jews whom he
consulted did not consider it canonical.

Origen’s(127) list does not differ much from the Palestinian one. After
the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Kings first and second, Samuel,
Chronicles, come Ezra first and second, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes,
Canticles, Isaiah, Jeremiah with Lamentations and the epistle, Daniel,
Ezekiel, Job, Esther. Besides these there are the Maccabees, which are
inscribed _Sarbeth Sarbane el_.(128) The twelve prophets are omitted in
the Greek; but the mistake is rectified in Rufinus’s Latin version, where
they follow Canticles, as in Hilary and Cyril of Jerusalem. It is
remarkable that Baruch is given, and why? Because Origen took it from the
MSS. of the Septuagint he had before him, in which the epistle is
attributed to Jeremiah. But the catalogue had no influence upon his
practice. He followed the prevailing view of the extended canon. Sirach is
introduced by “for this also _is written_”;(129) the book of Wisdom is
cited as a _divine word_;(130) the writer is called a _prophet_;(131)
_Christ_ is represented as speaking in it _through Solomon_;(132) and
Wisdom vii. 17 is adduced as _the word of Christ himself_.(133) Tobit is
cited as _Scripture_.(134) His view of the additions to the books of
Daniel and Esther, as well as his opinion about Tobit, are sufficiently
expressed in the epistle to Africanus, so that scattered quotations from
these parts of Scripture can be properly estimated. Of the history of
Susanna he ventures to say that the Jews withdrew it on purpose from the
people.(135) He seems to argue in favor of books used and read in the
churches, though they may be put out of the canon by the Jews. As divine
Providence had preserved the sacred Scriptures, no alteration should be
made in the ecclesiastical tradition respecting books sanctioned by the
churches though they be external to the Hebrew canon.

Most of the writings of Methodius, Bishop of Tyre(136) are lost, so that
we know little of his opinions respecting the books of Scripture. But it
is certain that he employed the Apocrypha like the other writings of the
Old Testament. Thus Sirach (xviii. 30 and xix. 2) is quoted in the same
way as the Proverbs.(137) Wisdom (iv. 1-3) is cited,(138) and Baruch (iii.
14).(139)



CHAPTER VI. THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON IN THE FIRST THREE CENTURIES.


The first Christians relied on the Old Testament as their chief religious
book. To them it was of divine origin and authority. The New Testament
writings came into gradual use, by the side of the older Jewish documents,
according to the times in which they appeared and the names of their
reputed authors. The Epistles of Paul were the earliest written; after
which came the Apocalypse, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and other
documents, all in the first century. After the first gospel had undergone
a process of translation, re-writing, and interpolation, from the Aramaic
basis, _the discourses_,(140) of which Papias of Hierapolis speaks, until
the traces of another original than the Greek were all but effaced; it
appeared in its present form early in the second century. Soon after, that
of Luke was composed, whose prevailing Pauline tendency was not allowed to
suppress various features of a Jewish Essene type. The second gospel,
which bears evidences of its derivation from the other synoptists, was
followed by the fourth. The last document was the so-called second Epistle
of Peter. It is manifest that tradition assumed various forms after the
death of Jesus; that legend and myth speedily surrounded His sacred
person; that the unknown writers were influenced by the peculiar
circumstances in which they stood with respect to Jewish and Gentile
Christianity; and that their uncritical age dealt considerably in the
marvelous. That the life of the great Founder should be overlaid with
extraneous materials, is special matter for regret. However conscientious
and truth-loving they may have been, the reporters were unequal to their
work. It is also remarkable that so many of them should be unknown;
productions being attached to names of repute to give them greater
currency.

When Marcion came from Pontus to Rome (144 A.D.,) he brought with him a
Scripture-collection consisting of ten Pauline epistles. With true
critical instinct he did not include those addressed to Timothy and Titus,
as also the epistle to the Hebrews. The gospel of Marcion was Luke’s in an
altered state. From this and other facts we conclude that external parties
were the first who carried out the idea of collecting Christian writings,
and of putting them either beside or over against the sacred books of the
Old Testament, in support of their systems. As to Basilides (125 A.D.),
his supposed quotations from the New Testament in Hippolytus are too
precarious to be trusted.(141) Testimonies to the “acknowledged” books of
the New Testament as Scripture have been transferred from his followers to
himself; so that his early witness to the canon breaks down. It is
inferred from statements in Origen and Jerome that he had a gospel of his
own somewhat like St. Luke’s, but extra-canonical. His son Isidore and
succeeding disciples used Matthew’s gospel. Jerome says that Marcion and
Basilides denied the Pauline authorship of the epistle to the Hebrews and
the pastoral ones.(142) It is also doubtful whether Valentinus’s (140-166
A.D.) alleged citations from the New Testament can be relied upon. The
passages of this kind ascribed to him by the fathers belong in a great
measure to his disciples. The fragment of a letter preserved by Clement of
Alexandria in the second book of the Stromata, has been thought to contain
references to the gospels of Matthew and Luke; but the fact is doubtful.
Nor has Henrici proved that Valentinus used John’s gospel.(143) But his
followers, including Ptolemy (180 A.D.) and Heracleon (185-200 A.D.),
quote the Gospels and other portions of the New Testament.(144) From
Hippolytus’s account of the Ophites, Peratæ, and Sethians, we infer that
the Christian writings were much employed by them. They rarely cite an
apocryphal work. More than one hundred and sixty citations from the New
Testament have been gathered out of their writings.(145) We may admit that
these Ophites and Peratæ were of early origin, the former being the oldest
known of the Gnostic parties; but there is no proof that the acquaintance
with the New Testament which Hippolytus attributes to them belongs to the
first rather than the second half of the second century. The early
existence of the sect does not show an early citation of the Christian
books by it, especially of John’s gospel; unless its primary were its last
stage. Later and earlier Ophites are not distinguished in the
_Philosophumena_. Hence there is a presumption that the author had the
former in view, which is favored by no mention of them occurring in the
“Adversus omnes Hæreses” usually appended to Tertullian’s _Præscriptiones
Hæreticorum_, and by Irenæus’s derivation of their heresy from that of
Valentinus. The latter father does not even speak of the Peratæ. Clement
of Alexandria is the first who alludes to them. The early heretics were
desirous of confirming their peculiar opinions by the writings current
among Catholic Christians, so that the formation of a canon by them began
soon after the commencement of the second century, and continued till the
end of it; contemporaneously with the development of a Catholic Church and
its necessary adjunct a Catholic canon.

No New Testament canon, except a partial and unauthoritative one, existed
till the latter half of the second century, that is, till the idea of a
Catholic church began to be entertained. The living power of Christianity
in its early stages had no need of books for its nurture. But in the
development of a church organization the internal rule of consciousness
was changed into an external one of faith. The Ebionites or Jewish
Christians had their favorite Gospels and Acts. The gospel of Matthew was
highly prized by them, existing as it did in various recensions, of which
the gospel according to the Hebrews was one. Other documents, such as the
Revelation of John; and the preaching of Peter, a Jewish-Christian history
subsequently re-written and employed in the Clementine Recognitions and
Homilies, were also in esteem. Even so late as 175-180 A.D., Hegesippus, a
Jewish Christian, does not seem to have had a canon consisting of the four
gospels and Paul’s Epistles, but appeals to “the law and the prophets and
_the Lord_,” so that his leading principle was, the identity of Jesus’s
words with the Old Testament; agreeably to the tenets of the party he
belonged to. The source whence he drew the words of Jesus was probably the
Gospel according to the Hebrews, a document which we know he used, on the
authority of Eusebius. He does not refer to Paul except by implication in
a passage given in Photius from Stephen Gobar,(146) where he says that
such as used the words “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,” &c., falsified
the Divine Scriptures and the Lord’s words, “Blessed are your eyes for
they see,” &c. As Paul quoted the condemned language, he is blamed.(147)
Though he knew Paul’s epistles, he does not look upon them as
_authoritative_. He betrays no acquaintance with the fourth gospel; for
the question, “What is the door to Jesus?” does not presuppose the
knowledge of John x. 2, 7, 9. Nösgen has failed to prove Hegesippus’s
Jewish descent; and Holtzmann’s mediating view of him is incorrect.(148)

The Clementine Homilies (161-180 A.D.) used the four canonical gospels
even the fourth (which is somewhat singular in a writer who denies the
deity of Christ), and assigned it to the apostle John. The gospel
according to the Egyptians was also employed. Paul’s epistles were
rejected of course, as well as the Acts; since the apostle of the Gentiles
was pointed at in Simon Magus, whom Peter refutes. It is, therefore,
obvious that a collection of the New Testament writings could make little
progress among the Ebionites of the second century. Their reverence for
the law and the prophets hindered another canon. Among the Gentile
Christians the formation of a canon took place more rapidly, though Judaic
influences retarded it even there. After Paul’s epistles were interchanged
between churches, a few of them would soon be put together. A collection
of this kind is implied in 2 Peter iii. 16. The pastoral epistles, which
show their dependence on the authentic Pauline ones, with those of Peter,
presuppose a similar collection; which along with the Synoptists, existed
before the fourth gospel. The Apocalypse and the epistle to the Hebrews
were obnoxious to the Pauline churches, as Paul’s letters were to the
Jewish-Christian ones. Hence the former were outside the Pauline
collections.

The apostolic fathers quote from the Old Testament, which was sacred and
inspired to them. They have scarcely any express citations from the New
Testament. _Allusions_ occur, especially to the epistles.

The first Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (about 120 A.D.), implies
acquaintance with several of the epistles, with those to the Corinthians,
Romans, Hebrews, and perhaps others. Two passages have also been adduced
as derived from the gospels of Matthew and Luke, viz., in chapters xiii. 2
and xlvi. 8; but probably some other source supplied them, such as oral
tradition. It has also been argued that the quotation in the fifteenth
chapter, “The Scripture says somewhere, This people honoreth me with their
lips, but their heart is far from me,” comes from Mark vii. 6 in which it
varies from the Hebrew of Isaiah xxix. 13, as well as the Septuagint
version. Clement therefore, so it is said, quotes the Old Testament
through the medium of the gospels (Matthew xv. 8, Mark vii. 6). But the
argument is inconclusive because the words agree closely enough with the
Septuagint to render the supposition very probable that they are a
memorized citation from it. As they stand, they coincide exactly neither
with Mark nor the Septuagint.(149) Thus we dissent from the opinion of
Gebhardt and Harnack. Wherever “Scripture” is cited, or the expression “it
is written” occurs, the Old Testament is meant.

Hermas (about 140 A.D.) seems to have used the epistle to the Ephesians
and perhaps that to the Hebrews, as well as the epistle of James; but
there is great uncertainty about the matter, for there is no _express_ or
certain quotation from any part of the New Testament. The writer often
alludes to words of Jesus, found in Matthew’s gospel, so that he may have
been acquainted with it. Keim(150) and others have discovered references
to the fourth gospel; but they are invalid. There is no allusion to the
Acts in vis. iv. 2, 4. The only _Scripture_ cited is the apocryphal book
_Eldat and Modat_, now lost.(151) The writer seems to have known several
Jewish Apocalypses.(152)

Barnabas (about 119 A.D.) has but one quotation from the New Testament,
if, indeed, it be such. Apparently, Matthew xx. 16 or xxii. 14 is
introduced by “as it is written,” showing that the gospel was considered
_Scripture_.(153) This is the earliest trace of canonical authority being
transferred from the Old Testament to Christian writings. But the citation
is not certain. The original may be 4 Esdras, viii. 3; and even if the
writer took the words from Matthew’s gospel, it is possible that he used
“it is written” with reference to their prototype in the Old Testament. Of
such interchanges, examples occur in writers of the second century; and it
is the more probable that this is one, from the fact that 4 Esdras is
elsewhere considered a prophet and referred to in the same way as
Ezekiel.(154) Barnabas’s citation of a gospel as canonical is wholly
improbable, since even Justin, thirty years after, never quotes the New
Testament writings as _Scripture_. The thing would be anomalous and
opposed to the history of the first half of the second century. When these
post-apostolic productions appeared, the New Testament writings did not
stand on the same level with the Old, and were not yet esteemed _sacred_
and _inspired_ like the Jewish Scriptures. The Holy Spirit was thought to
dwell in all Christians, without being confined to a few writers; and his
influence was the common heritage of believers. There are evidences of
Barnabas’s acquaintance with the Epistles to the Romans and Corinthians;
nor is it improbable that he knew the canonical gospel of Matthew, though
one passage _appears_ to contradict Matthew xxviii. 10, &c., without
necessarily implying ignorance of what lies in it, viz., that the
ascension of Jesus took place on the day of his resurrection.(155)
Strangely enough, Keim thinks that the writer had John’s gospel before
him; but this opinion is refuted by the end of Barnabas’s fifth
chapter.(156) Holtzmann has ably disposed of the considerations adduced by
Keim.(157) Barnabas quotes the book of Enoch as _Scripture_;(158) and an
apocryphal prophecy is introduced with, “another prophet says.”(159)

As far as we can judge from Eusebius’s account of Papias(160) (about 150
A.D.), that writer knew nothing of a New Testament canon. He speaks of
Matthew and Mark; but it is most probable that he had documents which
either formed the basis of our present Matthew and Mark, or were taken
into them and written over.(161) According to Andreas of Cæsarea he was
acquainted with the Apocalypse of John; while Eusebius testifies to his
knowledge of 1 Peter and 1 John. But he had no conception of canonical
authority attaching to any part of the New Testament. His language implies
the opposite, in that he prefers unwritten tradition to the gospel he
speaks of. He neither felt the want nor knew the existence of _inspired_
gospels.

We need not notice the three short Syriac epistles attributed to Ignatius,
as we do not believe them to be his, but of later origin. Traces of later
ideas about the canonicity of the New Testament appear in the shorter
Greek recension of the Ignatian epistles (about 175 A.D.) There _the
Gospel_ and _the Apostles_ are recognized as the constituents of the
book.(162) The writer also used the Gospel according to the Hebrews, for
there is a quotation from it in the epistle to the Smyrnians.(163) The
second part of the collection seems to have wanted the epistle to the
Ephesians.(164) The two leading parties, long antagonistic, had now become
united; the apostles Peter and Paul being mentioned together.(165) In the
Testaments of the twelve patriarchs (about 170 A.D.), Paul’s life is said
to be described in “holy books,” _i.e._, his own epistles and the
Acts.(166)

Justin Martyr (150 A.D.) knew the first and third of the synoptic gospels.
His use of Mark’s does not appear. His knowledge of the fourth is denied
by many, and zealously defended by others. Thoma finds proofs that Justin
knew it well, and used it freely as a text-book of gnosis, without
recognizing it as the historical work of an apostle; an hypothesis
encumbered with difficulties.(167) Whatever be said about Justin’s
acquaintance with this gospel; its existence before 140 A.D. is incapable
either of decisive or probable proof; and this father’s Logos-doctrine is
less developed than the Johannine, because it is encumbered with the
notion of miraculous birth by a virgin. The Johannine authorship has
receded before the tide of modern criticism; and though this tide is
arbitrary at times, it is here irresistible. Apologists should abstain
from strong assertions on a point so difficult, as that each “gospel is
distinctly recognized by him;” for the noted passage in the dialogue with
Trypho does not support them.(168) It is pretty certain that he employed
an extra-canonical gospel, the so-called gospel of the Hebrews. This
Petrine document may be referred to in a passage which is unfortunately
capable of a double interpretation.(169) He had also the older Acts of
Pilate. Paul’s epistles are never mentioned, though he doubtless knew
them. Having little sympathy with Paulinism he attached his belief much
more to the primitive apostles. The Apocalypse, 1 Peter, and 1 John he
esteemed highly; the epistle to the Hebrews and the Acts he treated in the
same way as the Pauline writings. Justin’s canon, as far as divine
authority and inspiration are concerned, was the Old Testament. He was
merely on the threshold of a divine canon made up of primitive Christian
writings, and attributed no exclusive sanctity to those he used because
they were not to him the only source of doctrine. Even of the Apocalypse
he says, “A man among us named John, &c., wrote it.”(170) In his time none
of the gospels had been canonized, not even the synoptists, if, indeed, he
knew them all. Oral tradition was the chief fountain of Christian
knowledge, as it had been for a century. In his opinion this tradition was
embodied in writing; but the documents in which he looked for all that
related to Christ were not the gospels alone. He used others freely, not
looking upon any as _inspired_, for that idea could arise only when a
selection was made among the current documents. He regarded them all as
having been written down from memory, and judged them by criteria of
evidence conformable to the Old Testament Scriptures. Though lessons out
of Gospels (some of our present ones and others), as also out of the
prophets, were read in assemblies on the first day of the week,(171) the
act of converting the Christian writings into _Scripture_ was posterior;
for the mere reading of a gospel in churches on Sunday does not prove that
it was considered divinely authoritative; and the use of the epistles,
which formed the second and less valued part of the collection, must still
have been limited.

Justin’s disciple, Tatian (160-180 A.D.), wrote a _Diatessaron_ or harmony
of the gospels, which began, according to Ephrem Syrus, with John i. 1;
but our knowledge of it is uncertain. The author omitted the genealogies
of Jesus and everything belonging to His Davidic descent. He seems also to
have put into it particulars derived from extra-canonical sources such as
the Gospel according to the Hebrews. Doubtless he was acquainted with
Paul’s writings, as statements made in them are quoted; but he dealt
freely with them according to Eusebius, and even rejected several
epistles, probably first and second Timothy.(172)

In Polycarp’s epistle (about 160 A.D.), which is liable to strong
suspicions of having been written after the death of the bishop,(173)
there are reminiscences of the synoptic gospels; and most of Paul’s
epistles as well as I Peter were used by the writer. But the idea of
canonical authority, or a peculiar inspiration belonging to these
writings, is absent.

The author of the second Clementine epistle (about 150-160) had not a New
Testament canon made up of the four gospels and epistles. His _Scripture_
was the Old Testament, to which is applied the epithet “the Books” or “the
Bible;” and the words of Christ. “The Apostles” immediately subjoined to
“the Books,” does not mean the New Testament, or a special collection of
the apostolic epistles, as has been supposed.(174) The preacher employed a
gospel or gospels as _Scripture_; perhaps those of Matthew and Luke, not
the whole documents, but the parts containing the words of Christ.(175) He
also used the Gospel of the Egyptians as an authoritative document, and
quoted his sources freely. With the Johannine writings he seems to have
been unacquainted.(176)

Athenagoras of Athens wrote an apology addressed to Marcus Aurelius (176
A.D.). In it he uses written and unwritten tradition, testing all by the
Old Testament which was his only authoritative canon. He makes no
reference to the Christian documents, but adduces words of Jesus with the
verb “he says.” It is not clear whether he quoted from the Synoptics;
perhaps the passages which are parallel to Matthew v. 44, 45, 46,(177) and
Mark x. 6,(178) were taken from these; but the matter is somewhat
uncertain. His treatise on the resurrection appeals to a passage in one of
Paul’s epistles.(179)

Dionysius of Corinth ( 170 A.D.) complains of the falsification of his
writings, but consoles himself with the fact that the same is done to the
“Scriptures of the Lord,” _i.e._, the gospels containing the Lord’s words;
or rather the two parts of the early collection, “the gospel” and “the
apostle” together; which agrees best with the age and tenor of his
letters.(180) If such be the meaning, the collection is put on a par with
the Old Testament, and regarded as inspired.

In the second epistle of Peter (about A.D. 170) Paul’s epistles are
regarded as Scripture (iii. 16.) This seems to be the earliest example of
the canonizing of any New Testament portion. Here a brotherly recognition
of the Gentile apostle and his productions takes the place of former
opposition. A false interpretation of his epistles is even supposed to
have induced a departure from primitive apostolic Christianity.

The letter of the churches at Vienne and Lyons (177 A.D.) has quotations
from the epistles to the Romans, Philippians, 1 Timothy, 1 Peter, Acts,
the gospels of Luke and John, the Apocalypse. The last is expressly called
_Scripture_.(181) This shows a fusion of the two original tendencies, the
Petrine and Pauline; and the formation of a Catholic church with a common
canon of authority. Accordingly, the two apostles, Peter and Paul, are
mentioned together.

Theophilus of Antioch (180 A.D.) was familiar with the gospels and most of
Paul’s epistles, as also the Apocalypse. Passages are cited from Paul as
“the divine word.”(182) He ascribes the fourth gospel to John, calling him
an inspired man, like the Old Testament prophets.(183) We also learn from
Jerome that he commented on the gospels put together by way of
harmony.(184)

The author of the epistle to Diognetus (about 200 A.D.) shows his
acquaintance with the gospels and Paul’s epistles; but he never cites the
New Testament by way of proof. Words are introduced into his discourse, in
passing and from memory.(185)

The conception of a Catholic _canon_ was realized about the same time as
that of a Catholic _church_. One hundred and seventy years from the coming
of Christ elapsed before the collection assumed a form that carried with
it the idea of _holy_ and _inspired_.(186) The way in which it was done
was by raising the apostolic writings higher and higher till they were of
equal authority with the Old Testament, so that the church might have a
rule of appeal. But by lifting the Christian productions up to the level
of the old Jewish ones, injury was done to that living consciousness which
feels the opposition between spirit and letter; the latter writings
tacitly assuming or keeping the character of a perfect rule even as to
form. The Old Testament was not brought down to the New; the New was
raised to the Old. It is clear that the earliest church fathers did not
use the books of the New Testament as sacred documents clothed with divine
authority, but followed for the most part, at least till the middle of the
second century, apostolic tradition orally transmitted. They were not
solicitous about a canon circumscribed within certain limits.

In the second half, then, of the second century there was a canon of the
New Testament consisting of two parts called _the gospel_(187) and _the
apostle_.(188) The first was complete, containing the four gospels alone;
the second, which was incomplete, contained the Acts of the Apostles and
epistles, _i.e._, thirteen letters of Paul, one of Peter, one of John, and
the Revelation. How and where this canon originated is uncertain. Its
birthplace may have been Asia Minor, like Marcion’s; but it may have grown
about the same time in Asia Minor, Alexandria, and Western Africa. At all
events, Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian agree in
recognizing its existence.

Irenæus had a canon which he adopted as apostolic. In his view it was of
binding force and authoritative. This contained the four gospels, the
Acts, thirteen epistles of Paul, the first epistle of John, and the
Revelation. He had also a sort of appendix or deutero-canon, which he
highly esteemed without putting it on a par with the received collection,
consisting of John’s second epistle, the first of Peter, and the Shepherd
of Hermas. The last he calls _Scripture_.(189) The epistle to the Hebrews,
that of Jude, James’s, second Peter, and third John he ignored.

Clement’s collection was more extended than Irenæus’. His appendix or
deutero-canon included the epistle to the Hebrews, 2 John, Jude, the
Apocalypse of Peter, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistles of Clement and
Barnabas. He recognized no obligatory canon, distinct and of paramount
authority. But he separated the New Testament writings by their
traditionally apostolic character and the degree of importance attached to
them. He did not attach the modern idea of _canonical_ in opposition to
_non-canonical_, either to the four gospels or any other part of the New
Testament. Barnabas is cited as an apostle.(190) So is the Roman
Clement.(191) The Shepherd of Hermas is spoken of as _divine_.(192) Thus
the line of the Homologoumena is not marked off even to the same extent as
in Irenæus.

Tertullian’s canon consisted of the gospels, Acts, thirteen epistles of
Paul, the Apocalypse, and 1 John. As an appendix he had the epistle to the
Hebrews, that of Jude, the Shepherd of Hermas, 2 John probably, and 1
Peter. This deutero-canon was not regarded as authoritative. No trace
occurs in his works of James’ epistle, 2 Peter, and 3 John. He used the
Shepherd, calling it _Scripture_,(193) without implying, however, that he
put it on a par with the usually acknowledged canonical writings; but
after he became a Montanist, he repudiated it as the apocryphal Shepherd
of adulterers, “put among the apocryphal and false, by every council of
the churches.”(194) It was _not_, however, reckoned among the spurious and
false writings, either at Rome or Carthage, in the time of Tertullian. It
was merely placed outside the universally received works by the western
churches of that day.

These three fathers did not fix the canon absolutely. Its limits were
still unsettled. But they sanctioned most of the books now accepted as
divine, putting some extra-canonical productions almost on the same level
with the rest, if not in theory, at least in practice.

The canon of Muratori is a fragmentary list which was made towards the end
of the second century (170 A.D.). Its birthplace is uncertain, though
there are traces of Roman origin. Its translation from the Greek is
assumed, but that is uncertain. It begins with the four gospels in the
usual order, and proceeds to the Acts, thirteen epistles of Paul, the
epistles of John, that of Jude, and the Apocalypse. The epistle to the
Hebrews, 1 and 2 Peter, 1 John and James are not named. The Apocalypse of
Peter is also mentioned, but as not universally received. Of the Shepherd
of Hermas, it is stated that it may be read in the Church. The epistle “to
the Laodiceans” may either be that to the Ephesians, which had such
superscription in Marcion’s canon, or less probably the supposititious
epistle mentioned in the codex Boernerianus,(195) after that to Philemon,
and often referred to in the middle ages.(196) That “to the Alexandrians”
is probably the epistle to the Hebrews; though this has been denied
without sufficient reason. According to the usual punctuation, both are
said to have been forged in Paul’s name, an opinion which may have been
entertained among Roman Christians about 170 A.D. The Epistle to the
Hebrews was rejected in the west, and may have been thought a
supposititious work in the interests of Paulinism, with some reason
because of its internal character,(197) which is at least semi-Pauline,
though its Judaistic basis is apparent. The story about the origin of the
fourth gospel with its apostolic and episcopal attestation, evinces a
desire to establish the authenticity of a work which had not obtained
universal acceptance at the time.(198) It is difficult to make out the
meaning in various places; and there is considerable diversity of opinion
among expositors of the document.(199) In accord with these facts we find
Serapion bishop of the church at Rhossus, in Cilicia,(200) allowing the
public use of the gospel of Peter;(201) which shows that there was no
exclusive gospel-canon at the end of the second century, at least in
Syria. The present canon had not then pervaded the churches in general.

What is the result of an examination of the Christian literature belonging
to the second century? Is it that a canon was then fixed, separating some
books from others by a line so clear, that those on one side of it were
alone reckoned inspired, authoritative, of apostolic origin or sanction;
while those on the other were considered uninspired, unauthoritative,
without claim to apostolicity, unauthentic? Was the separation between
them made on any clear principle or demarcation? It cannot be said so. The
century witnessed no such fact, but merely the incipient efforts to bring
it about. The discriminating process was begun, not completed. It was
partly forced upon the prominent advocates of a policy which sought to
consolidate the Jewish and Gentile-Christian parties, after the decline of
their mutual antagonism, into a united church. They were glad to transfer
the current belief in the infallible inspiration of the Old Testament, to
selected Christian writings, as an effective means of defence against
those whom they considered outside a new organization—the Catholic Church.

The stichometrical list of the Old and New Testament Scriptures in the
Latin of the Clermont MS. (D), was that _read_ in the African Church in
the third century. It is peculiar. After the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges,
Ruth, and the historical books, follow Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes,
Canticles, Wisdom, Sirach, the twelve minor prophets, the four greater;
three books of the Maccabees, Judith, Esdras, Esther, Job, and Tobit. In
the New Testament, the four gospels, Matthew, John, Mark, Luke, are
succeeded by ten epistles of Paul, two of Peter, the epistle of James,
three of John, and that of Jude. The epistle to the Hebrews (characterized
as that of Barnabas), the Revelation of John, Acts of the Apostles, the
Shepherd of Hermas, the Acts of Paul, the Revelation of Peter, follow. The
last three constitute a sort of appendix; and the number of their verses
is given. It is possible that the carelessness of a transcriber may have
caused some of the singularities observable in this list; such as the
omission of the epistles to the Philippians and Thessalonians; but the end
shows a freer idea of books fit for reading than what was usual even at
that early time in the African Church.(202)

In Syria a version of the New Testament for the use of the church was made
early in the third century. This work, commonly called the Peshito, wants
2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude, and the Apocalypse. It has, however, all the
other books, including the epistle of James and that to the Hebrews. The
last two were received as apostolic.

Towards the middle of the third century, Origen’s(203) testimony
respecting the Canon is of great value. He seems to have distinguished
three classes of books—authentic ones, whose apostolic origin was
generally admitted, those not authentic, and a middle-class not generally
recognized or in regard to which his own opinion wavered. The first
contained those already adopted at the beginning of the century both in
the East and West, with the Apocalypse, and the epistle to the Hebrews _so
far as it contains Pauline ideas_;(204) to the second belongs the Shepherd
of Hermas, though he sometimes hesitated a little about it,(205) the
epistle of Barnabas, the Acts of Paul, the gospel according to the
Hebrews, the gospel of the Egyptians, and the preaching of Peter;(206) to
the third, the epistle of James, that of Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John.(207)
The separation of the various writings is not formally made, nor does
Origen give a list of them. His classification is gathered from his works;
and though its application admitted of considerable latitude, he is
cautious enough, appealing to the tradition of the church, and throwing in
qualifying expressions.(208)

The Canon of Eusebius(209) is given at length in his _Ecclesiastical
History_.(210) He divides the books into three classes, containing those
writings _generally received_,(211) those _controverted_,(212) and the
_heretical_.(213) The first has the four gospels, the Acts, thirteen
epistles of Paul, 1 John, 1 Peter, the Apocalypse.(214) The second class
is subdivided into two, the first corresponding to Origen’s _mixed_(215)
or _intermediate_ writings, the second to his _spurious_(216) ones. The
former subdivision contains the epistle of James, 2 Peter, Jude, 2 and 3
John; the latter, the Acts of Paul, the Shepherd, the Revelation of Peter,
the epistle of Barnabas, the Doctrines of the Apostles, the Apocalypse of
John, the gospel according to the Hebrews. The third class has the gospels
of Peter, of Thomas, the traditions of Matthias, the Acts of Peter,
Andrew, and John. The subdivisions of the second class are indefinite. The
only distinction which Eusebius puts between them is that of
ecclesiastical use. Though he classes as _spurious_ the Acts of Paul, the
Shepherd, the Revelation of Peter, the epistle of Barnabas, the doctrines
of the Apostles, the Apocalypse of John, the gospel according to the
Hebrews, and does not apply the epithet to the epistle of James, the 2 of
Peter, 2 and 3 John; he uses of James’s in one place the verb _to be
counted spurious_.(217) In like manner he speaks of the Apocalypse of
Peter and the epistle of Barnabas as _controverted_.(218) The _mixed_ or
_spurious_ of Origen are vaguely separated by Eusebius; both come under
the general head of the _controverted_; for after specifying them
separately he sums up, “all these will belong to the class of the
_controverted_,” the very class already described as containing “books
well known and recognized by most,” implying also that they were read in
the churches.(219)

It is somewhat remarkable that Eusebius does not mention the Epistle of
Clement to the Corinthians in this list. But he speaks of it in another
place as a production whose authenticity was generally acknowledged,(220)
and of its public use in most churches both formerly and in his own time.
This wide-spread reading of it did not _necessarily_ imply canonicity; but
the mode in which Eusebius characterizes it, and its extensive use in
public, favor the idea that in many churches it was almost put on equality
with the productions commonly regarded as authoritative. The canonical
list was not fixed immovably in the time of Eusebius. Opinions about books
varied, as they had done before.

The testimony of Eusebius regarding the canon, important as it is, has
less weight because of the historian’s credulity. One who believed in the
authenticity of Abgar’s letters to Christ, and in the canon of the four
gospels at the time of Trajan, cannot take rank as a judicious collector
or sifter of facts.

About 332 A.D. the Emperor Constantine entrusted Eusebius with the
commission to make out a complete collection of the sacred Christian
writings for the use of the Catholic Church. How this order was executed
we are not told. But Credner is probably correct in saying that the code
consisted of all that is now in the New Testament except the Revelation.
The fifty copies which were made must have supplied Constantinople and the
Greek Church for a considerable time with an authoritative canon.

Eusebius’s catalogue agrees in substance with that of Origen’s. The
historian followed ecclesiastical tradition. He inquired diligently into
the prevailing opinions of the Christian churches and writers, with the
views held by others before and contemporaneously with himself, but could
not attain to a decided result. His hesitation stood in the way of a
clear, firm, view of the question. The tradition respecting certain books
was still wavering, and he was unable to fix it. Authority fettered his
independent judgment. That he was inconsistent and confused does not need
to be shown.

The exact principles that guided the formation of a canon in the earliest
centuries cannot be discovered. Strictly speaking there were none.
Definite grounds for the reception or rejection of books were not
apprehended. The choice was determined by various circumstances, of which
apostolic origin was the chief, though this itself was insufficiently
attested; for if it be asked whether all the New Testament writings
proceeded from the authors whose names they bear, criticism cannot reply
in the affirmative. The example and influence of churches to which the
writings had been first addressed must have acted upon the reception of
books. Above all, individual teachers here and there saw the necessity of
meeting heretics with their own weapons, in their own way, with _apostolic
records_ instead of oral tradition. The circumstances in which the
orthodox were placed led to this step, effecting a bond of union whose
need must have been felt while each church was isolated under its own
bishop and the collective body could not take measures in common. Writings
of more recent origin would be received with greater facility than such as
had been in circulation for many years, especially if they professed to
come from a prominent apostle. A code of apostolic writings, divine and
perfect like the Old Testament, had to be presented as soon as possible
against Gnostic and Manichæan heretics whose doctrines were injurious to
objective Christianity; while the multiplication of apocryphal works
threatened to overwhelm genuine tradition with a heap of superstition. The
Petrine and Pauline Christians, now amalgamated to a great extent, agreed
in hastening the canon-process.

The infancy of the canon was cradled in an uncritical age, and rocked with
traditional ease. Conscientious care was not directed from the first to
the well-authenticated testimony of eye-witnesses. Of the three fathers
who contributed most to its early growth, Irenæus was credulous and
blundering; Tertullian passionate and one-sided; and Clement of
Alexandria, imbued with the treasures of Greek wisdom, was mainly occupied
with ecclesiastical ethics. Irenæus argues that the gospels should be four
in number, neither more nor less, because there are four universal winds
and four quarters of the world. The Word or Architect of all things gave
the gospel in a fourfold shape. According to this father, the apostles
were fully informed concerning all things, and had a perfect knowledge,
after their Lord’s ascension. Matthew wrote his gospel while Peter and
Paul were preaching in Rome and founding the church.(221) Such assertions
show both ignorance and exaggeration.

Tertullian affirms that the _tradition of the apostolic churches_
guarantees the four gospels,(222) and refers his readers to the churches
of Corinth, Philippi, Ephesus, &c., for the _authentic epistles_ of
Paul.(223) What is this but the rhetoric of an enthusiast? In like manner
he states that bishops were appointed by the apostles, and that they
existed from that time downward, the succession originating so early.(224)

Clement contradicts himself in making Peter authorize Mark’s gospel to be
read in the churches; while in another place he says that the apostle
neither “forbad nor encouraged it.”(225)

The three fathers of whom we are speaking, had neither the ability nor the
inclination to examine the genesis of documents surrounded with an
apostolic halo. No analysis of their authenticity and genuineness was
seriously attempted either by them or by the men of their time. In its
absence, custom, accident, taste, practical needs directed the tendency of
tradition. All the rhetoric employed to throw the value of their testimony
as far back as possible, even up to or at least very near the apostle John
is of the vaguest sort. Appeals to the continuity of tradition and of
church doctrine, to the exceptional veneration of these fathers for the
gospels, to their opinions being formed earlier than the composition of
the works in which they are expressed, possess no force. The ends which
the fathers in question had in view, their polemic motives, their
uncritical, inconsistent assertions, their want of sure data, detract from
their testimony. Their decisions were much more the result of pious
feeling biased by the theological speculations of the times, than the
conclusions of a sound judgment. The very arguments they use to establish
certain conclusions show weakness of perception. What are the
manifestations of spiritual feeling, compared with the results of logical
reasoning? Are they more trustworthy than the latter? Certainly not, at
least in relation to questions of evidence. It is true that their
testimony has a value; but it is one proportionate to the degree of
credibility attaching to witnesses circumstanced as they were, whose
separation of canonical from uncanonical gospels, or rather their
canonizing of certain writings apart from others, and their claiming of
inspiration for the authors of the former, must be judged by the
reasonableness of the thing itself, in connection with men of their type.
The second century abounded in pseudonymous literature; and the early
fathers, as well as the churches, were occupied with other things than the
sifting of evidence connected with writings considerably prior to their
own time. The increase of such apocryphal productions, gospels, acts, and
apocalypses among the heretical parties stimulated the orthodox bishops
and churches to make an authentic collection; but it increased the
difficulties of the task.

Textual criticism has been employed to discredit the true dates of the
present gospels; and the most exaggerated descriptions have been given of
the frequent transcription of the text and its great corruption in the
second century. The process of corruption in the course of frequent
transcription has been transferred even to the first century. It is true
that the gospels at the end of that century exhibited a text which bears
marks of transcription, interpolation, and addition; but they were not the
complete works as we have them now, being then but in progress, except the
fourth. The assumption that “advanced corruption” existed in the present
text of the synoptists as early as the first century is gratuitous; unless
the process by which they were gradually built up is so called. No attempt
to get a long history behind the canonical gospels at the close of the
first century out of “advanced corruption” can be successful. It is
attested by no Christian writer of the century; and those in the first
half of the second, both heretical and orthodox, did themselves treat the
text in a manner far short of its implied infallibility. The various
readings with which they had to do, do not carry up _the canonical
gospels_ far into the first century. The transcription, enlargement, and
interpolation of the materials which make up the body of them, must not be
identified with the corruption of their _completed texts_, in order that
the latter may be relegated to an early period; for the synoptists did not
come forth full-blown, each from the hand of a single person. The old
Latin version or versions used by Tertullian and the interpreter of
Irenæus, have been pressed into the same service, but in vain.

In like manner the Curetonian Syriac version of the gospels has been put
as early as possible into the second century, though it can hardly have
been prior to the very close of it, or rather to the beginning of the
third. Here the strong assertions of apologetic writers have been freely
scattered abroad. But the evidence in favor of the authors traditionally
assigned to the gospels and some of the epistles, is still uncertain. A
wide gap intervenes between eye-witnesses of the apostles or apostolic men
that wrote the sacred books, and the earliest fathers who assert such
authorship. The traditional bridge between them is a precarious one. As
the chasm cannot be filled by adequate external evidence, we are thrown
back on the internal character of the works themselves. One thing appears
from the early corruption of the sacred records spoken of by Irenæus,
Origen, and others, that they were not regarded with the veneration
necessarily attaching to infallible documents. Their being freely handled
excludes the idea of rigid canonization. The men who first canonized them
had no certain knowledge of their authors. To them, that knowledge had
been obscured or lost; though a sagacious criticism might have arrived at
the true state of the question even in their day.

In the sub-apostolic age Ebionitism passed into Catholicism, Jewish into
Pauline Christianity, the mythical and marvelous into the dogmatic, the
traditional into the historic, the legendary into the literary. The
conflict of parties within the sphere of Christianity gave rise to
productions of various tendencies which reflected the circumstances out of
which they arose. These were accepted or rejected by the churches
according to the prevailing opinions of the persons composing the
churches. Common usage led to the authorization of some; others were
neglected. The state of the second century in its beliefs, credulity,
idiosyncracies of prominent teachers, antagonistic opinions and mystic
speculations, throws a light upon the New Testament writings and
especially on the formation of the canon, which explains their genesis.
Two things stand out most clearly, the comparatively late idea of a
_canonical_ New Testament literature; and the absence of critical
principles in determining it. The former was not entertained till the
latter part of the second century. The conception of canonicity and
inspiration attaching to New Testament books did not exist till the time
of Irenæus.

When it is asked, to whom do we owe the canon? the usual answer is, to the
Church. This is true only in a sense. The unity attributed to Christians
before Irenæus and Tertullian, consisted in their religious consciousness.
It was subjective. The idea of _the church_ was that of inward
fellowship—the fellowship of the spirit rather than an outward organism.
The preservation of the early Christian writings was owing, in the first
instance, to the congregations to whom they were sent, and the neighboring
ones with whom such congregations had friendly connection. The care of
them devolved on the most influential teachers,—on those who occupied
leading positions in the chief cities, or were most interested in
apostolic writings as a source of instruction. The Christian books were
mostly in the hands of the bishops. In process of time the canon was the
care of assemblies or councils. But it had been made before the first
general council by a few leading fathers towards the end of the second
century in different countries. The formation of a Catholic Church and of
a canon was simultaneous. The circumstances in which the collection
originated were unfavorable to the authenticity of its materials, for
tradition had been busy over them and their authors. Instead of
attributing the formation of the canon to the Church, it would be more
correct to say that the important stage in it was due to three teachers,
each working separately and in his own way, who were intent upon the
creation of a Christian society which did not appear in the apostolic
age,—a visible organization united in faith,—where the discordant opinions
of apostolic and sub-apostolic times should be finally merged. The canon
was not the work of the Christian Church so much as of the men who were
striving to form that Church, and could not get beyond the mould received
by primitive Christian literature. The first mention of a _Catholic
Church_ occurs in _The Martyrdom of Polycarp_, an epistle that cannot be
dated earlier than 160 A.D., and may perhaps be ten years later. But
though the idea is there, its established use is due to Irenæus,
Tertullian, and Cyprian. The expression has a different and narrow sense
in the seven Ignatian epistles which we believe to be supposititious and
later than Justin. Neither the three epistles published in Syriac by
Cureton, nor the seven Greek ones enumerated by Eusebius are authentic;
though Zahn has tried to prove the latter such, dating them A.D. 144. His
arguments, however, are far from convincing; and the whole story of(226)
Ignatius’s martyrdom at Rome rather than Antioch is still doubtful; for
the circumstances under which he is said to have been dragged to Rome, and
his writing letters to the churches by the way, are highly improbable. The
testimony of Malalas that Ignatius suffered at Antioch in December, 115,
in the presence of Trajan, may be quite as good as that of Chrysostom and
the Syriac monthly calendar on which Zahn relies so confidently. The fact
of the priority of the last two to Malalas is of little weight as
evidence. The main point is _the locality_ in which Ignatius suffered;
which Malalas, himself a native of Antioch and a historian, ought to have
known better than Chrysostom, because he copied preceding historians.

It is necessary to be precise on this subject because some speak of _the
church_ as though it were contemporary with the apostles themselves, or at
least with their immediate disciples; and proceed to argue that
dissensions arose soon after “within the church” rendering an appeal to
the written word necessary. When the authority of _traditional teaching_
gave way to that of _a written rule_, a change came over the condition of
_the church_. Such a view tends to mislead. There were dissensions among
the earliest Christians. The apostles themselves were by no means
unanimous. Important differences of belief divided the Jewish and Gentile
Christians from the beginning. The types of Christian truth existing from
the first gradually coalesced about the middle of the second century; when
heretics, especially the Gnostics, appeared so formidable that a catholic
church was developed. Along with this process, and as an important element
in it, the writings of apostles and apostolic men were uncritically taken
from tradition and elevated to the rank of divine documents. It was not
the rise of new dissensions “within the church” which led to the first
formation of a Christian canon; rather did the new idea of “a catholic
church” require a standard of appeal in apostolic writings, which were now
invested with an authority that did not belong to them from the beginning.

Origen was the first who took a somewhat scientific view of the relative
value belonging to the different parts of the biblical collection. His
examination of the canon was critical. Before him the leading books had
been regarded as divine and sacred, the source of doctrinal and historic
truth. From this stand-point he did not depart. With him ecclesiastical
tradition was a prevailing principle in the recognition of books belonging
of right to the New Testament collection. He was also guided by the
inspiration of the authors; a criterion arbitrary in its application, as
his own statements show. In his time, however, the collection was being
gradually enlarged; his third class. _i.e._, _the mixed_, approaching
reception into the first. But amid all the fluctuations of opinion to
which certain portions of the New Testament were subject, and the
unscientific procedure both of fathers and churches in the matter, though
councils had not met to discuss it, and vague tradition had strengthened
with time, a certain spiritual consciousness manifested itself throughout
the East and West in the matter of the canon. Tolerable unanimity ensued.
The result was a remarkable one, and calls for our gratitude,
notwithstanding its defects. Though the development was pervaded by no
critical or definite principle, it ended in a canon which has maintained
its validity for centuries.

It is sometimes said that the history of the canon should be sought from
definite catalogues, not from isolated quotations. The latter are supposed
to be of slight value, the former to be the result of deliberate judgment.
This remark is more specious than solid. In relation to the Old Testament,
the catalogues given by the fathers, as by Melito and Origen, rest solely
on the tradition of the Jews; apart from which they have no independent
authority. As none except Jerome and Origen knew Hebrew, their lists of
the Old Testament books are simply a reflection of what they learned from
others. If they deviate in practice from their masters by quoting as
Scripture other than the canonical books, they show their judgment
over-riding an external theory. The very men who give a list of the Jewish
books evince an inclination to the Christian and enlarged canon. So Origen
says, in his _Epistle to Africanus_, that “the churches use Tobit.” In
explaining the prophet Isaiah, Jerome employs Sirach vi. 6, in proof of
his view, remarking that the apocryphal work is in the Christian
catalogue.

In like manner Epiphanius, in a passage against Aetius, after referring to
the books of Scripture, adds, “as well as the books of Wisdom, _i.e._, the
Wisdom of Solomon and of Jesus, son of Sirach; finally, all the other
books of Scripture.” In another place he gives the canon of the Jews
historically, and excludes the apocryphal Greek books; here he includes
some of the latter. We also learn from Jerome that Judith was in the
number of the books reckoned up by the Nicene Council. Thus the fathers
who give catalogues of the Old Testament show the existence of a Jewish
and a Christian canon in relation to the Old Testament; the latter wider
than the former; their private opinion being more favorable to the one,
though the other was historically transmitted. In relation to the New
Testament, the synods which drew up lists of the sacred books show the
view of some leading father like Augustine, along with what custom had
sanctioned. In this department no member of the synod exercised his
critical faculty; a number together would decide such questions summarily.
Bishops proceed in the track of tradition or authority.



CHAPTER VII. THE BIBLE CANON FROM THE FOURTH CENTURY TO THE REFORMATION.


It will now be convenient to treat of the two Testaments together, _i.e._,
_the canon of the Bible_. The canons of both have been considered
separately to the end of the third century; they may be henceforward
discussed together. We proceed, therefore, to the Bible-canon of the
fourth century, first in the Greek Church and then in the Latin. The
Council of Laodicea (A.D. 363), at which there was a predominant semiarian
influence, forbad the reading of all _non-canonical_ books. The 59th canon
enacts, that “private psalms must not be read in the Church, nor
uncanonized books; but only the canonical ones of the New and Old
Testament.” The 60th canon proceeds to give a list of such. All the books
of the Old Testament are enumerated, but in a peculiar order, somewhat
like the Septuagint one. With Jeremiah is specified _Baruch_, then the
Lamentations and _Epistle_. The prophets are last; first the minor, next
the major and Daniel. In the New Testament list are the usual seven
Catholic epistles, and fourteen of Paul, including that to the Hebrews.
The Apocalypse alone is wanting. Credner has proved that this 60th canon
is not original, and of much later date.(227)

The Apostolic Constitutions give a kind of canon like that in the 59th of
Laodicea. After speaking of the books of Moses, Joshua, Judges, Kings,
Chronicles, those belonging to the return from the captivity, those of
Job, Solomon, the sixteen prophets, and the Psalms of David; our Acts, the
epistles of Paul, and the four gospels are mentioned. It is remarkable
that the Catholic epistles are not given. That they are indicated under
Acts is altogether improbable. The Antiochian Church of that time doubted
or denied the apostolicity of these letters, as is seen from Theodore,
Cosmas, and others. Hence, their absence from these Constitutions, which
are a collection belonging to different times; the oldest portion not
earlier perhaps than the third century.(228)

Cyril of Jerusalem, who took part in the Council of Laodicea,(229) gives a
list “of the divine Scriptures.” The books of the Old Testament are
twenty-two, and the arrangement is nearly that which is in the English
Bible. With Jeremiah is associated “Baruch and the Epistle.” All the New
Testament books are given except the Apocalypse. The list agrees very
nearly with that of Eusebius, by taking the latter’s “controverted”
writings into the class of the “generally received.”(230) The writer
insists on the necessity of unity in the Church upon the subject, and
forbids the reading of writings not _generally received_. None but these
are allowed. Yet he refers to Baruch (iii. 36-38) as _the prophet;_(231)
and in adducing the testimonies of the prophets for the existence of the
Holy Spirit, the last he gives is Daniel xiii. 41, 45. Sirach iii. 21, 22
is cited;(232) Wisdom is quoted as Solomon’s (xiii. 5);(233) the song of
the three children is used (verse 55)(234) with verses 27, 29;(235) and
Daniel (xiii. 22, 45) is quoted.(236)

In Athanasius’s festal epistle (365 A.D.) the archbishop undertakes “to
set forth in order, the books that are canonical and handed down and
believed to be divine.” His list of the Old Testament nearly agrees with
Cyril’s, except that Esther is omitted and Ruth counted separately, to
make out the twenty-two books. He adds, “there are other books not
canonical, designed by the fathers to be read by those just joining us and
wishing to be instructed in the doctrine of piety;” _i.e._, the Wisdom of
Solomon and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther and Judith and Tobit, and the
Doctrine of the Apostles so called, and the Shepherd; “those being
_canonical_, and these being _read_, let there be no mention of apocryphal
writings,” &c. The New Testament list is the same as Cyril’s, with the
addition of the Apocalypse.(237) He quotes several of the apocryphal books
in the same way as he does the canonical. Thus he introduces Judith (viii.
16) with “the Scripture said;”(238) and Baruch (iii. 12) is cited as if it
were Scripture.(239) Wisdom (vi. 26) has the epithet Scripture applied to
it.(240) Sirach (xv. 9) is introduced with “what is said by the Holy
Spirit.”(241) Baruch (iv. 20, 22) and Daniel (xiii. 42) are referred to in
the same way as Isaiah.(242) Tobit (ii. 7) has “it is written” prefixed to
it.(243) Canonical and apocryphal are mentioned together; and similar
language applied to them.

Eusebius of Caesarea cites Wisdom as a _divine oracle_;(244) and after
adducing several passages from Proverbs, subjoining to them others from
the same book with the introductory formula “these are also said to be the
same writers,” he concludes with “such is the scripture.”(245) Sirach is
cited as Solomon’s along with various passages from Proverbs.(246) After
quoting Baruch, he says, “there is no need to appeal to the divine voices,
which clearly confirm our proposition.”(247) The additions to Daniel are
also treated as Scripture.(248)

Basil of Caesarea(249) had a canon agreeing with that of Athanasius. Along
with the usual books reckoned as belonging to the canon, he used the
apocryphal productions of the Old Testament. Thus the book of Wisdom (i.
4)(250) is quoted by him. So are Sirach (xx. 2);(251) Baruch, (iii.
36)(252) called Jeremiah’s; Judith (ix. 4);(253) and Daniel (xiii.
50).(254)

Gregory of Nazianzus(255) puts his list into a poetical form. In the Old
Testament it agrees with Athanasius’s exactly, except that he mentions
none but the canonical books. Like Athanasius, he omits Esther. In the New
Testament he deviates from Athanasius, by leaving out the Apocalypse,
which he puts among the spurious.(256) He does not ignore the apocryphal
books of the Old Testament, but quotes Daniel xiii. 5.(257)

Amphilochius of Iconium(258) gives a metrical catalogue of the Biblical
books. The canon of the Old Testament is the usual one, except that he
says of Esther at the end, “some judge that Esther should be added to the
foregoing.” He notices none of the apocryphal books. His New Testament
canon agrees with the present, only he excludes the Apocalypse as
_spurious_; which is given as the judgment of the majority. He alludes to
the doubts that existed as to the epistle to the Hebrews, but regards it
as Pauline; and to the number of the catholic epistles (seven or
three).(259) The concluding words show that no list was universally
received at that time.

Epiphanius(260) follows Athanasius in his canon. As to the number of the
Old Testament books, he hesitates between twenty-two and twenty-seven; but
the contents are the same. At the end of the twenty-seven books of the New
Testament, Wisdom and Sirach are mentioned as “divine writings;” elsewhere
they are characterized as “doubtful.”(261) His practice shows his
sentiments clearly enough, when Sirach (vii. 1) is introduced with “the
Scripture” testifies(262); vii. 9 is elsewhere quoted(263); Wisdom (i. 4)
is cited as Solomon’s;(264) Baruch (iii. 36) is introduced with, “as the
Scripture says,”(265) and Daniel (xiii. 42) is quoted with, “as it is
written.”(266) He mentions the fact that the epistles of Clement of Rome
were read in the churches.(267)

Didymus of Alexandria(268) speaks against 2 Peter that it is not in the
canons.(269)

Chrysostom(270) does not speak of the canon; but in the New Testament he
never quotes the last four catholic epistles or the Apocalypse. All the
other parts he uses throughout his numerous works,(271) including the
Apocrypha. Thus he introduces Wisdom (xvi. 28) with “Scripture says.”(272)
He quotes Baruch (iii. 36, 38);(273) and Sirach (iv. 1.).(274)

Didymus of Alexandria(275) cites Baruch (iii. 35) as Jeremiah,(276) and
treats it like the Psalms.(277) Daniel (xiii. 45) is also quoted.(278) He
says of Peter’s Second Epistle that it is not in the canon.

Theodore of Mopsuestia(279) was much freer than his contemporaries in
dealing with the books of Scripture. It seems that he rejected Job,
Canticles, Chronicles, and the Psalm-inscriptions; in the New Testament
the epistle of James, and others of the catholic ones. But Leontius’s
account of his opinions cannot be adopted without suspicion.(280)

The canon of Cyril of Alexandria(281) does not differ from Athanasius’s.
Like other writers of the Greek Church in his day he uses along with the
canonical the apocryphal books of the Old Testament. He quotes 1 (iii.)
Esdras (iv. 36) with “inspired Scripture says.”(282) Wisdom (vii. 6) is
introduced with, “according to that which is written.”(283) In another
place it has the prefix “for it is written” (i. 7);(284) and is treated as
Scripture (ii. 12).(285) Sirach (i. 1) is cited.(286) Baruch also (iii.
35-37) is introduced with, “another of the holy prophets said.”(287)

The catalogues of the Old Testament contained in the manuscripts B, C, and
א need not be given, as they are merely codices of the Septuagint, and
have or had the books canonical and apocryphal belonging to that version.
The list of the New Testament books in B is like that of Athanasius.
Imperfect at the end, the MS. must have had at first the Epistles to
Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and the Apocalypse. C (cod. Ephraemi rescriptus)
has fragments of the New Testaments, which show that it had originally all
the present books in the same order as Athanasius’s. א or the Sinaitic
manuscript has the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas, in
addition to the New Testament.

The progress made by the Greek Church of the fourth and former part of the
fifth century, in its conception of the canon seems to be, that the idea
of ecclesiastical settlement, or public, legal, definitive establishment
was attached to the original one. A writing was considered canonical when
a well-attested tradition put it among those composed by inspired men,
apostles or others; and it had on that account a determining authority in
matters of faith. Books which served as a rule of faith and were
definitively set forth by the Church as divinely authoritative, were now
termed _canonical_. The canon consisted of writings settled or determined
by ecclesiastical law.(288) Such was the idea added to the original
acceptation of canon. To canonical were opposed apocryphal writings,
_i.e._, _heretical_ and _fabricated_ ones; while an intermediate class
consisted of those read in the churches, which were useful, but not
decisive in matters of belief. Another advance in the matter of the canon
at this period was the general adoption of the Hebrew canon, with a
relegation of the Greek additions in the Septuagint to the class _publicly
read_.(289) Yet doubts about the reception of Esther into the number of
the canonical books were still entertained, though it was one of the
Jewish canon; doubtless on account of its want of harmony with Christian
consciousness. And the catholic epistles which had been doubted before,
Jude, James, Second Peter, were now generally received. But there was a
division of opinion about the Apocalypse.

We come to the period of the Latin, corresponding to that of the Greek
Church which has just been noticed. Augustine(290) gave great attention to
the subject, laboring to establish a complete canon, the necessity of
which was generally felt. According to him the Scriptures which were
received and acknowledged by all the churches of the day should be
canonical. Of those not universally adopted, such as are received by the
majority and the weightier of the churches should be preferred to those
received by the fewer and less important churches. In his enumeration of
the forty-four books of the Old Testament, he gives, after Chronicles,
other histories “which are neither connected with the order” specified in
the preceding context, “nor with one another,” _i.e._, Job, Tobit, Esther,
Judith, the two books of the Maccabees, and Esdras. Wisdom and
Ecclesiasticus, he thinks, should be numbered among the prophets, as
deserving of authority and having a certain likeness to Solomon’s
writings.(291) He says of the Maccabees that this “Scripture has been
received by the Church not uselessly, if it be read or heard
soberly.”(292) The famous passage in the treatise on Christian doctrine,
where he enumerates the whole canon, is qualified by no other; for though
he knew the distinction between the canonical books of the Palestinian
Jews and the so-called apocryphal ones, as well as the fact of some New
Testament writings not being received universally, he thought
_church-reception_ a sufficient warrant for canonical authority. Hence, he
considered the books of the Maccabees canonical, because so received by
the Church; while he says of Wisdom and Sirach that they merited
_authoritative_ reception and numbering among the _prophetic_
Scriptures.(293) Of the former in particular he speaks strongly in one
place, asserting that it is worthy to be venerated by all Christians as of
divine authority.(294) But he afterwards retracted his opinion of the
canonical authority of Sirach.(295) He raises, not lowers, the authority
of the so-called apocryphal books which he mentions. He enumerates all the
New Testament books, specifying the Pauline epistles as fourteen, and so
reckoning that to the Hebrews as the apostle’s; but he speaks of it
elsewhere as an epistle about which some were uncertain, professing that
he was influenced to admit it as canonical by the authority of the
Oriental churches.(296) In various places he speaks hesitatingly about its
Pauline authorship.

In 393, the African bishops held a council at Hippo where the canon was
discussed. The list of the canonical Scripture given includes, besides the
Palestinian one, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, Judith, and the two books
of Maccabees. The New Testament canon seems to have agreed exactly with
our present one.(297) The Council of Carthage (397) repeated the statute
of its predecessor, enumerating the same books of the Bible as
canonical.(298) Augustine was the animating spirit of both councils, so
that they may be taken as expressing his views on the subject.

Jerome(299) gives a list of the twenty-two canonical books of the Old
Testament, the same as that of the Palestinian Jews, remarking that some
put Ruth and Lamentations among the Hagiographa, so making twenty-four
books. All besides should be put among the Apocrypha. Wisdom, Sirach,
Judith, Tobit, the Shepherd are not in the canon. The two books of
Maccabees he regarded in the same light.(300) But though Jerome’s words
imply the apocryphal position of these extra-canonical books, he allows of
their being read in public for the edification of the people, not to
confirm the authority of doctrines; _i.e._, they belong to “the
ecclesiastical books” of Athanasius. His idea of “apocryphal” is wider and
milder than that of some others in the Latin Church. It has been
conjectured by Welte,(301) that the conclusions of the African councils in
393 and 397 influenced Jerome’s views of the canon, so that his later
writings allude to the apocryphal works in a more favorable manner than
that of the _Prologus galeatus_ or the preface to Solomon’s books. One
thing is clear, that he quotes different passages from the Apocrypha along
with others from the Hebrew canon. In his letter to Eustochius, Sirach
iii. 33 (Latin) comes between citations from Matthew and Luke; and is
introduced by _which is written_, in a letter to Pammachius; and xxii. 6
has _divine Scripture_ applied to it.(302) Ruth, Esther, and Judith are
spoken of as _holy volumes_. The practice of Jerome differed from his
theory; or rather he became less positive, and altered his views somewhat
with the progress of time and knowledge. As to the New Testament, he gives
a catalogue of all that now belongs to it, remarking of the epistle to the
Hebrews and of the Apocalypse that he adopts both on the authority of
ancient writers, not of present custom. His opinion about them was not
decided.(303) In another work he gives the Epistle of Barnabas at the end
of the canonical list. He also states the doubts of many respecting the
Epistle to Philemon, and about 2 Peter, Jude, 2 and 3 John. According to
him the first Epistle of Clement of Rome was publicly read in some
churches.(304)

Hilary of Poitiers(305) seems to have followed Origen’s catalogue. He
gives twenty-two books, specifying “the epistle” of Jeremiah; and remarks
that some added Tobit and Judith, making twenty-four, after the letters of
the Greek alphabet. He cites Wisdom and Sirach as “prophets.”(306) In the
New Testament he never quotes James, Jude, 2 and 3 John, nor 2 Peter. 2
Maccabees (vii. 28) is introduced with “according to the prophet;”(307)
Sirach (xxxi. 1) is introduced with “nor do they hear the Lord
saying;”(308) Wisdom is cited as Solomon’s (viii. 2);(309) Judith (xvi. 3)
is cited;(310) so is Baruch (iii. 36);(311) and Daniel xiii. 42.(312)

Optatus of Mela(313) has the usual canonical books, but omits the epistle
to the Hebrews. He uses the apocrypha without scruple, introducing Sirach
(iii. 30) with “it is written;”(314) and Wisdom (i. 13) with “it is
written in Solomon.”(315)

Lucifer of Cagliari(316) uses the apocrypha equally with the canonical
books. Thus 1 Maccabees (i. 43) is quoted as “holy Scripture.”(317) So is
2 Maccab. (vi. 1).(318) Judith (ix. 2) is cited,(319) as are also Wisdom
(xvii. 1, 2);(320) Tobit (iv. 6);(321) and Daniel (xiii. 20).(322)

Ambrose of Milan(323) had the same canon as most of the Westerns in his
time. With some others, he considered the Epistle to the Hebrews to have
been written by St. Paul. In the Old Testament he used the apocryphal
books pretty freely. Wisdom (vii. 22) is cited as authoritative
Scripture.(324) Sirach (xi. 30) is also cited as Scripture.(325) Baruch
(iv. 19) is quoted;(326) Daniel (xiii. 44, 45) is treated as Scripture and
prophetic;(327) and Tobit is expounded like any other book of
Scripture.(328)

Rufinus(329) enumerates the books of the Old and New Testaments which “are
believed to be inspired by the Holy Spirit itself, according to the
tradition of our ancestors, and have been handed down by the Churches of
Christ.” All the books of the Hebrew canon and of the New Testament are
specified. After the list he says, “these are they which the fathers
included in the canon, by which they wished to establish the assertion of
our faith.” He adds that there are other books not _canonical_, but
_ecclesiastical_—the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Tobit, Judith, and the
books of the Maccabees. Besides the usual New Testament works, he speaks
of the Shepherd of Hermas, and the “Judgment of Peter” as read in the
churches, but not as authoritative in matters of faith.(330)

Philastrius(331) of Brescia gives some account of the Scriptures and their
contents in his time. The canonical Scriptures, which alone should be read
in the Catholic Church, are said to be the law and the prophets, the
gospels, Acts, thirteen epistles of Paul, and seven others, _i.e._, two of
Peter, three of John, one of Jude, and one of James. Of the Old Testament
apocrypha he asserts that they ought to be read for the sake of morals by
the perfect, but not by all. He speaks of _heretics_ who reject John’s
gospel and the Apocalypse. Respecting the Epistle to the Hebrews which is
omitted in his canon, he speaks at large, but not very decidedly,
affirming that some attributed its authorship to Barnabas, or Clement of
Rome, or Luke. “They wish to read the writings of the blessed apostle, and
not rightly perceiving some things in the epistle, it is not therefore
read by them in the church. Though read by some, it is not read to the
people in the church; nothing but Paul’s thirteen epistles, and that to
the Hebrews sometimes.”(332) The influence of the East upon the West
appears in the statements of this father upon the subject. He had several
canonical lists before him; one at least from an Oriental-Arian source,
which explains some assertions, particularly his omission of the
Apocalypse.

Innocent I. of Rome wrote to Exsuperius (405 A.D.), bishop of Toulouse,
giving a list of the canonical books. Besides the Hebrew canon, he has
Wisdom and Sirach; Tobit, Judith, the two Maccabees. The New Testament
list is identical with the present. He also refers to pseudepigraphical
writings which ought not only to be rejected but condemned.(333)

A canonical list appears in three different forms bearing the names of
Damasus (366-384), Gelasius I. (492-496), and Hormisdas (514-523).
According to the first, the books of the Old Testament are arranged in
three orders. In the first are the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four
Kings, two Chronicles, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Wisdom,
and Ecclesiasticus; in the second, all the prophets, including Baruch; in
the third, Job, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Esdras, two Maccabees. The New
Testament books are the four gospels, fourteen epistles of Paul, the
Apocalypse, and Acts, with seven Catholic epistles.

That which is called the Decree of Gelasius is almost identical with the
preceding. It wants Baruch and Lamentations. It has also two Esdrases
instead of one. In the New Testament the epistle to the Hebrews is absent.

The Hormisdas-form has the Lamentations of Jeremiah: and in the New
Testament the Epistle to the Hebrews.

The MSS. of these lists present some diversity; and Credner supposes the
Damasus-list a fiction. But Thiel has vindicated its authenticity. It is
possible that some interpolations may exist in the last two; the first,
which is the shortest, may well belong to the time of Damasus.(334)

In 419 A.D. another council at Carthage, at which Augustine was present,
repeated the former list of books with a single alteration, viz., fourteen
epistles of Paul (instead of thirteen).(335)

The preceding notices and catalogues show a general desire in the Western
Church to settle the canon. The two most influential men of the period
were Augustine and Jerome, who did not entirely agree. Both were unfitted
for a critical examination of the topic. The former was a gifted spiritual
man, lacking learning and independence. Tradition dominated all his ideas
about the difficult or disputed books. He did not enter upon the question
scientifically, on the basis of certain principles; but was content to
take refuge in authority—the prevailing authority of leading churches. His
judgment was weak, his sagacity moderate, and his want of many-sidedness
hindered a critical result. Jerome, again, was learned but timid, lacking
the courage to face the question fairly or fundamentally; and the
independence necessary to its right investigation. Belonging as he did to
both churches, he recommended the practice of the one to the other. He,
too, was chiefly influenced by tradition; by Jewish teachers in respect to
the Old Testament, and by general custom as to the New. The question was
not susceptible of advancement under such manipulation; nor could it be
settled on a legitimate basis. Compared with the eastern Church, the
western accepted a wider canon of the Old Testament, taking some books
into the class of the _canonical_ which the former put among those _to be
read_. In regard to the New Testament, _all_ the Catholic epistles and
even the Apocalypse were received. The African churches and councils
generally adopted this larger canon, because the old Latin version or
versions of the Bible current in Africa were daughters of the Septuagint.
If the Latins apparently looked upon the Greek as the original itself, the
apocryphal books would soon get rank with the canonical. Yet the more
learned fathers, Jerome, Rufinus and others, favored the Hebrew canon in
distinguishing between _canonical_ and _ecclesiastical_ books. The
influence of the Eastern upon the Western Church is still visible, though
it could not extinguish the prevailing desire to include the disputed
books. The Greek view was to receive nothing which had not apparently a
good attestation of divine origin and apostolic authority; the Latin was
to exclude nothing hallowed by descent and proved by custom. The former
Church looked more to the sources of doctrine; the latter to those of
edification. The one desired to contract those sources, so as not to be
too rich; the other to enlarge the springs of edification, not to be too
poor. Neither had the proper resources for the work, nor a right
perception of the way in which it should be set about; and therefore they
were not fortunate in their conclusions, differing as they did in regard
to points which affect the foundation of a satisfactory solution.

Notwithstanding the numerous endeavors both in the East and West to settle
the canon during the 4th and 5th centuries, it was not finally closed. The
doubts of individuals were still expressed; and succeeding ages testified
to the want of universal agreement respecting several books. The question,
however, was _practically_ determined. No material change occurred again
in the absolute rejection or admission of books. With some fluctuations,
the canon remained very much as it was in the 4th and 5th centuries.
Tradition shaped and established its character. General usage gave it a
permanency which it was not easy to disturb. No definite principles guided
the course of its formation, or fixed its present state. It was dominated
first and last by circumstances and ideas which philosophy did not
actuate. Its history is mainly objective. Uncritical at its commencement,
it was equally so in the two centuries which have just been considered.

The history of the canon in the Syrian church cannot be traced with much
exactness. The Peshito version had only the Hebrew canonical books at
first; most of the apocryphal were rendered from the Greek and added in
the Nestorian recension. In the New Testament it wanted four of the
catholic epistles and the Apocalypse. Ephrem (A.D. 378) uses all the books
in our canon, the apocryphal as well as the canonical. The former are
cited by him in the same way as the latter. Sirach ii. 1 is quoted with
_as the Scripture says_;(336) and Wisdom iv. 7 with _it is written_.(337)
Daniel xiii. 9, belonging to the Greek additions, is also cited with _as
it is written_.(338) It should be observed that the quotations given are
all from Ephrem’s Greek, not Syriac, works; and that suspicions have been
raised about the former being tampered with. The Syrian version of the New
Testament made by Polycarp at the request of Philoxenus of Mabug, had the
four catholic epistles wanting in the Peshito. It had also the two
epistles of Clement to the Corinthians, if we may judge by the Harclean
recension, A.D. 616; for a MS. in the Cambridge University Library
contains those epistles immediately after the Catholic ones, and before
those of St. Paul; so that they are put on an equality with the canonical
writings. The Apocalypse is wanting. Junilius, (though an African bishop
about 550 A.D.), says that he got his knowledge from a Persian of the name
of Paulus who received his education in the school of Nisibis. He may,
therefore, be considered a witness of the opinions of the Syrian church at
the beginning of the 6th century. Dividing the biblical books into those
of _perfect_, those of _intermediate_, and those of _no authority_, he
makes the first the canonical; the second, those added to them by many
(plures); the third, all the rest. In the first list he puts
Ecclesiasticus. Among the second he puts 1 and 2 Chronicles, Job, Ezra and
Nehemiah, Judith, Esther, 1 and 2 Maccabees; and in the New Testament,
James, 2 Peter, Jude, 2 and 3 John. He also says that the Apocalypse of
John is much doubted by the Orientals. In the third list _i.e._, books of
no authority added by some (quidam) to the canonical, are put Wisdom and
Canticles.(339) The catalogue is confused, and erroneous at least in one
respect, that Jerome is referred to, as sanctioning the division given of
the Old Testament books; for neither he nor the Jews agree with it.

The canon of the Abyssinian church seems to have had at first all the
books in the Septuagint, canonical and apocryphal together, little
distinction being made between them. Along with the contents of the Greek
Bible there were Enoch, 4 Esdras, the Ascension of Isaiah, the Jubilees,
Asseneth, &c. That of the New Testament agrees with the present Greek one.
At a later period in the Arabic age a list was made and constituted the
legal one for the use of the church, having been derived from the Jacobite
canons of the apostles. This gives, in the Old Testament, the Pentateuch,
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Judith, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah,
Esther, Tobit, two books of Maccabees, Job, Psalms, five books of Solomon,
minor and greater prophets. The Wisdom of Sirach (for teaching children)
and the book of Joseph ben Gorion, _i.e._, that of the Maccabees, are
external. The New Testament has four gospels, Acts, seven apostolic
epistles, fourteen of Paul, and the Revelation of John. Later catalogues
vary much, and are often enlarged with the book of Enoch, 4 Esdras, the
Apocalypse of Isaiah, &c. The canon of the Ethiopic church was
fluctuating.(340)

The canon of the Armenians had at first the Palestinian books of the Old
Testament, twenty-two in number, and the usual New Testament ones, except
the Apocalypse. It was made from the Syriac in the fifth century by Sahak
and Mesrob. The deutero-canonical books and additions were appended, after
the disciples of those two men who had been sent by them into different
places, brought back authentic copies of the Greek Bible from the
patriarch Maximian, by which the version already made was interpolated and
corrected; as it was subsequently corrected by others despatched to
Alexandria and Athens, who, however, did not return till their teachers
were dead. The MSS. of this version were afterwards interpolated from the
Vulgate; Oskan himself translating for his edition (which was the first
printed one, A.D. 1666), Sirach, 4 Esdras and the Epistle of Jeremiah from
the Latin. The book of Revelation does not seem to have been translated
till the eighth century. Zohrab’s critical edition (1805) has Judith,
Tobit, the three books of Maccabees, Wisdom, and the Epistle of Baruch
among the canonical books; and in an appendix, the fourth book of Esdras,
the prayer of Manasseh, the Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul and his
answer, the Rest (end) of the apostle and evangelist John, the prayer of
Euthalius. Like the edition of Oskan, this has all the deutero-canonical
books, which were derived from the Septuagint, and incorporated by the
first translators with their original version. Another edition published
at St. Petersburgh (1817), for the use of the Jacobite Church, has the
prayer of Manasses and 4 Esdras after the Apocalypse.

The Georgian version consisted of the books and additions in the Greek
translation from which it was made. The New Testament has the canonical
books in the usual order. Jesus Sirach and two books of the Maccabees (2d
and 3d) were not in the Georgian MS. used by Prince Arcil for the edition
of 1743, but were rendered out of the Russian. The Moscow Bible printed
under the direction and at the cost of Arcil, Bacchar and Wakuset, is the
authorized edition of the Georgian Christians.

The Bible canon of the Eastern church in the middle ages shows no real
advance. Endeavors were made to remove the uncertainty arising from the
existence of numerous lists; but former decisions and decrees of councils
were repeated instead of a new, independent canon. Here belongs the
catalogue in the Alexandrian MS., of the fifth century, which is peculiar.
After the prophets come Esther, Tobit, Judith, Ezra and Nehemiah, 4
Maccabees, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, the
all-virtuous Wisdom, the Wisdom of Jesus of Sirach. In the New Testament,
the Apocalypse is followed by two epistles of Clement. The list was
probably made in Egypt. That of Anastasius Sinaita,(341) patriarch of
Antioch, is similar to Nicephorus’s Stichometry, which we shall mention
afterwards. Baruch is among the canonical books; Esther among the
antilegomena. The Apocalypse is unnoticed. The 85th of the Apostolic
canons gives a list of the Old and New Testament books, in which the usual
canonical ones of the former are supplemented by Judith and 3 Maccabees;
those of the latter by the two epistles of Clement, with the Apostolic
constitutions. This catalogue cannot be put earlier than the fifth or
sixth century, and is subject to the suspicion of having been
interpolated. We have also Nicephorus’s _Stichometry_ (806-815;)(342) of
which we may remark that Baruch is among the canonical books of the Old
Testament; while the Revelation is put with the Apocalypse of Peter, the
epistle of Barnabas and the Gospel according to the Hebrews, among the
antilegomena of the New Testament. It is also surprising that the
Apocalypse of Peter and the Gospel according to the Hebrews are not among
the Apocrypha, where Clement’s epistles with the productions of Ignatius,
Polycarp, and Hermas appear. The list is probably older than that of the
Antioch patriarch Anastasius Sinaita. Cosmas Indicopleustes (535) never
mentions the seven Catholic epistles of the New Testament or the
Apocalypse. The Trullan council (A.D. 692) adopts the eighty-five
Apostolic canons, rejecting, however, the Apostolic Constitutions.
Photius, patriarch of Constantinople,(343) follows the eighty-fifth
Apostolical canon of the Trullan Council.(344) But in his Bibliotheca(345)
he speaks differently regarding the epistles of Clement, and does not
treat them as canonical. Though the first was thought worthy to be read in
public, the second was rejected as spurious; and his own opinion was not
altogether favorable to them. John of Damascus;(346) the second Nicene
council (787); the Synopsis divinæ Scripturæ Vet. et Novi Test. (about
1000); Zonaras (about 1120); Alexius Aristenus (about 1160); and
Nicephorus Callistus (1330), call for no remark.

In the Western church of the Middle Ages, diversity of opinion respecting
certain books continued. Though the views of Augustine were generally
followed, the stricter ones of Jerome found many adherents. The canon was
fluctuating, and the practice of the churches in regard to it somewhat
lax. Here belong Cassiodorus (about 550); the list in the Codex Amiatinus
(about 550); Isidore of Seville(347) who, after enumerating three classes
of Old Testament books gives a fourth not in the Hebrew canon. Here he
specifies Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, saying
that the church of Christ puts them among the divine books, honors and
highly esteems them.(348) There are also the fourth council of Toledo
(632); Gregory the Great(349) Notker Labeo;(350) Ivo (about 1092);
Bede;(351) Alcuin;(352) Rabanus Maurus;(353) Hugo de St Victor;(354) Peter
of Clugny;(355) John of Salisbury;(356) Thomas Aquinas;(357) Hugo de St
Cher;(358) Wycliffe;(359) Nicolaus of Lyra,(360) &c., &c. Several of
these, as Hugo de St Victor, John of Salisbury, Hugo de St Cher, and
Nicolaus of Lyra, followed Jerome in separating the canonical and
apocryphal books of the Old Testament.(361)

The Reformers generally returned to the Hebrew canon, dividing off the
additional books of the Septuagint or those attached to the Vulgate. These
they called _apocryphal_, after Jerome’s example. Though considered of no
authority in matters of doctrine, they were pronounced useful and
edifying. The principal reason that weighed with the Reformers was, that
Christ and the apostles testified to none of the Septuagint additions.

Besides the canonical books of the Old Testament, Luther translated
Judith, Wisdom, Tobit, Sirach, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees, the Greek
additions to Esther and Daniel, with the Prayer of Manasseh. His judgment
respecting several of these is expressed in the prefaces to them. With
regard to 1 Maccabees, he thinks it almost equal to the other books of
Holy Scripture, and not unworthy to be reckoned among them. Of Wisdom, he
says, he was long in doubt whether it should be numbered among the
canonical books; and of Sirach that it is a right good book proceeding
from a wise man. But he speaks unfavorably of several other apocryphal
productions, as of Baruch and 2 Maccabees. It is evident, however, that he
considered all he translated of _some_ use to the Christian Church. He
thought that the book of Esther should not belong to the canon.

Luther’s judgment respecting some of the New Testament books was freer
than most Protestants now are disposed to approve. He thought the epistle
to the Hebrews was neither Paul’s nor an apostle’s, but proceeded from an
excellent and learned man who may have been the disciple of apostles. He
did not put it on an equality with the epistles written by apostles
themselves. The Apocalypse he considered neither apostolic nor prophetic,
but put it almost on the same level with the 4th book of Esdras, which he
spoke elsewhere of tossing into the Elbe. This judgment was afterwards
modified, not retracted. James’s epistle he pronounced unapostolic, “a
right strawy epistle.” In like manner, he did not believe that Jude’s
epistle proceeded from an apostle. Considering it to have been taken from
2 Peter, and not well extracted either, he put it lower than the supposed
original. The Reformer, as also his successors, made a distinction between
the books of the New Testament similar to that of the Old; the _generally
received_ (homologoumena) and _controverted_ books (antilegomena); but the
Calvinists afterwards obliterated it, as the Roman Catholics at the
Council of Trent did with the old Testament.(362) The epistle to the
Hebrews, those of Jude and James, with the Apocalypse, belong to the
latter class. The distinction in question proceeded from genuine critical
tact on the part of the early Lutheran Church which had canonical and
deutero-canonical writings even in the New Testament collection. Nor did
the Reformers consider it a dangerous thing to bring the fact before the
people. To make it palpable, Luther attached continuous numbers to the
first twenty-three books of his version, bringing the four antilegomena
after these, without numbers; and this mode of marking the difference
continued till the middle of the 17th century.(363) Luther was right in
assigning a greater or less value to the separate writings of the New
Testament, and in leaving every one to do the same. He relied on their
internal value more than tradition; taking the _word of God_ in a deeper
and wider sense than its coincidence with the Bible.

Bodenstein of Carlstad examined the question of canonicity more thoroughly
than any of his contemporaries, and followed out the principle of private
judgment in regard to it. He divides the biblical books into three
classes—1. Books of the highest dignity, viz., the Pentateuch and the
Gospels; 2. Books of the second dignity, _i.e._, the works termed
prophetic by the Jews, and the fifteen epistles universally received; 3.
Books of the third and lowest authority, _i.e._, the Jewish Hagiographa
and the seven Antilegomena epistles of the New Testament. Among the
Apocrypha he makes two classes—such as are out of the canon to the Hebrews
yet hagiographical (Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Judith, Tobit, the two
Maccabees), and those that are clearly apocryphal and to be rejected
(third and fourth Esdras, Baruch, Prayer of Manasseh, a good part of the
third chapter of Daniel, and the last two chapters of Daniel.)(364)

Zwingli asserts that the Apocalypse is not a biblical book.(365)

Oecolampadius says—“We do not despise Judith, Tobit, Ecclesiasticus,
Baruch, the last two Esdras, the three Maccabees, the last two chapters of
Daniel, but we do not attribute to them divine authority with those
others.”(366) As to the books of the New Testament he would not compare
the Apocalypse, James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John with the rest.(367)

Calvin did not think that Paul was the author of the epistle to the
Hebrews, or that 2 Peter was written by the apostle himself; but both in
his opinion are canonical.



CHAPTER VIII. ORDER OF THE NEW TESTAMENT BOOKS.


I. The arrangement of the various parts comprising the New Testament was
fluctuating in the second century; less so in the third. In the fourth
century the order which the books had commonly assumed in Greek MSS. and
writers was; the Gospels, the Acts, the Catholic Epistles, the Pauline,
and the Apocalypse. This sequence appears in the Vatican, Sinaitic,
Alexandrian and Ephrem (C) MSS.; Cyril of Jerusalem, in the 60th Canon of
the Laodicean Council, Athanasius, Leontius of Byzantium, &c.

II. Another order prevailed in the Latin Church, viz., the Gospels, the
Acts, the Epistles of Paul, the Catholic Epistles, and the Apocalypse.
This appears in Melito, Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Augustine,
Jerome, the Vulgate, the Councils of Carthage, held in A.D. 397 and 419;
and is now the usual arrangement.

Within the limits of the two general arrangements just mentioned, there
were many variations. Thus we find in relation to _the gospels_.

III. (_a_) Matthew, John, Luke, Mark; in the MSS. of the old Italic marked
_a_, _b_, _d_, _e_, _ff_, and in the cod. argenteus of Ulfila’s Gothic
version.

(_b_) Matthew, John, Mark, Luke; in the council of Ephesus A.D. 431, Cyril
of Alexandria, Theodoret, the stichometry of the Clermont MS. Such was the
usual order in the Greek Church of the fifth century.

(_c_) Mark is put first, followed by Matthew; in the fragment of a Bobbian
MS. of the Itala at Turin marked _k_.

(_d_) Matthew, Mark, John, Luke; in the Curetonian Syriac gospels. They
are mentioned in the same order in Origen’s I. Homily on Luke.

The reason of the order in, (_a_) and (_b_) lies in apostleship. The works
of apostles precede those of evangelists. The established sequence, which
is already sanctioned by Irenæus and Origen, has respect to the supposed
dates of the gospels. Clement of Alexandria says that ancient tradition
supposed those gospels having the genealogies to have been written before
the others.

IV. As to the _Acts of the Apostles_, not only is this work put
immediately after the gospels, which is the order in the Muratorian canon,
but we find it in other positions.

(_a_) Gospels, Pauline Epistles, Acts; in the Sinaitic MS., the
Peshito,(368) Jerome,(369) and Epiphanius.

(_b_) Gospels, Pauline Epistles, Catholic Epistles, Acts; in Augustine,
the third council of Toledo, Isidore, Innocent I., Eugenius IV., and the
Spanish Church generally.

(_c_) Gospels, Pauline, Catholic Epistles, Apocalypse, Acts; in the
stichometry of the Clermont MS.

V. As to _the Epistles of Paul_, besides the place they now occupy in our
Bibles, they sometimes follow the gospels immediately.

(_a_) Gospels, Pauline Epistles; the Sinaitic MS., Jerome, Epiphanius,
Augustine, the third council of Toledo, Isidore, Innocent I., Eugenius
IV., the stichometry of the Clermont MS.

(_b_) The usual order of the Greek Church is, Gospels, Acts, Catholic
Epistles, Pauline, &c., as in Cyril of Jerusalem, the Laodicean Council
(60), Athanasius, Leontius of Byzantium, the MSS. A. B., but not א. The
critical Greek Testaments of Lachmann and Tischendorf adopt this order.

(_c_) They are placed last of all in a homily attributed to Origen, but
this does not necessarily show that father’s opinion.(370)

(_d_) They stand first of all in a Gallican _Sacramentarium_ cited by
Hody.(371)

VI. With respect to the order of the individual epistles, the current one
has been thought as old as Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria. But the
proof of this is precarious. It appears in the fourth century, and may
have been prior to that. It is in Epiphanius, who supposes that the
arrangement was the apostle’s own. Not only was it the prevalent one in
the Greek Church, but also in the Latin as we see from the codex
Amiatinus, and the Vulgate MSS. generally. It rests upon the extent of the
epistles and the relative importance of the localities in which the
believers addressed resided.

(_a_) Marcion had but ten Pauline epistles in the following order:
Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Romans, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, the
Laodiceans, (Ephesians), Colossians, Philemon, Philippians.

(_b_) 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Galatians,
1 and 2 Thessalonians, Romans, Philemon, Titus, 1 and 2 Timothy, to the
Laodiceans, the Alexandrians (the Epistle to the Hebrews); in the
Muratorian canon.

(_c_) Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians,
Thessalonians, Colossians, Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews; in
Augustine, and several MSS. of the Vulgate in England.(372)

(_d_) Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Thessalonians, Ephesians,
Philippians, Colossians, Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews; in the
so-called decree of Gelasius in the name of Hormisdas, in Labbe’s text.
But here different MSS. vary in regard to the position of the Thessalonian
epistles.

VII. The Laodicean letter was inserted either before the pastoral
epistles, as in several MSS. of the Vulgate in England; or before the
Thessalonian epistles preceding them; or at the end of the Epistle to the
Hebrews, as in a MS. of the Latin Bible at Lembeth. Its insertion in
copies of the Vulgate was owing to the authority of Gregory the Great, who
looked upon it as authentic.

VIII. The position of the Epistle to the Hebrews usually was either before
the pastoral epistles, _i.e._, immediately after those to the
Thessalonians; or after the pastoral ones and Philemon. The former method
was generally adopted in the Greek Church from the fourth century. The
latter prevailed in the Latin Church from Augustine onward.

(_a_) Pauline epistles to churches (the last being the second to the
Thessalonians), Hebrews, Timothy, Titus, Philemon; in the MSS. א, A. B. C.
H., Athanasius, Epiphanius; Euthalius,(373) Theodoret. Jerome mentions it
after the epistles of Paul to the seven churches as an eighth excluded by
the majority, and proceeds to specify the pastoral ones. But Amphilochius
and Ebedjesu the Syrian have the western order, viz., the following—

(_b_) Pauline Epistles, Hebrews (following immediately that to Philemon);
in Augustine and the Vulgate version generally. It is so in the canons of
the councils at Hippo and Carthage (A.D. 393 and 397), and in the MSS. D.
and G., in Isidore of Spain, and the council of Trent.

IX. With respect to the order of the _Catholic Epistles_, which were not
_all_ adopted into the canon till the end of the fourth century; Eusebius
putting all except 1 John and 1 Peter among the _antilegomena_; while
Jerome, and the council of Carthage (A.D. 397) admit them unreservedly;
the usual order, viz., James, 1 and 2 Peter, John, Jude, prevailed in the
Eastern Church. It is in the Peshito or old Syriac version, Eusebius,
Cyril of Jerusalem, Epiphanius, the 60th of the Laodicean canons,
Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus, Amphilochius, the stichometry of
Nicephorus, the MSS. א. A. B. C., and most Greek MS. But the 76th of the
Apostolic canons has Peter, John, James and Jude. The canon, however, is
comparatively late.

(_a_) Peter, John, Jude, James; in Philastrius of Brescia. If we may rely
on Cassiodorus’s account of Augustine, the African father followed the
same arrangement.

(_b_) Peter, James, Jude, John; in Rufinus.

(_c_) Peter, John, James, Jude; in the councils of Carthage, A.D. 397,
419, Cassiodorus, and a Gallican Sacramentarium. The Vulgate and council
of Trent follow this arrangement.

(_d_) John, Peter, Jude, James; in the list given by Innocent I., and the
third council of Toledo.

The Eastern church naturally set the Epistle of James, who was Bishop of
Jerusalem, at the head of the others; while the Western put Peter, the
Bishop of Rome, in the same place.

X. The Revelation varied little in position.

(_a_) In the decree of Galasius, according to its three recensions, the
Revelation follows Paul’s epistles, preceding those of John and the other
Catholic ones.

(_b_) In D or the Clermont MS. it follows the _Catholic_ epistles, and
precedes the Acts; which last is thrown to the end of all the books, as if
it were an appendix to the writings of the apostles.(374)



CHAPTER IX. SUMMARY OF THE SUBJECT.


(_a_) In relation to the Old Testament, the prevailing tendency in the
Greek Church was to follow the Palestinian canon. Different lists appeared
from time to time in which the endeavor there to exclude apocryphal,
_i.e._, spurious works, was apparent. In addition to the _canonical_, a
class of _ecclesiastical_ books was judged fit for reading in the
Church,—a class intermediate between the canonical and apocryphal. The
distinction between the canonical and ecclesiastical writings appears in
Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, Epiphanius, &c. The Latin Church showed a
disposition to elevate the ecclesiastical books of the Greek Church to the
rank of the canonical, making the line between the two indistinct; as we
see from the acts of the councils at Hippo and Carthage, in the end of the
fourth and beginning of the fifth century, where Augustine’s, influence
was predominant. But notwithstanding this deviation from the stricter
method of the Greeks, learned men like Jerome adhered to the Palestinian
canon, and even styled the ecclesiastical books _apocryphal_, transferring
the epithet from one class to another. Hilary and Rufinus also followed
the Greek usage.

During the sixth and following centuries, it cannot be said that the canon
of the Greek Church was definitely closed, notwithstanding the decrees of
councils and references to older authorities. Opinions still varied about
certain books, such as Esther; though the Palestinian list was commonly
followed. During the same period, the enlarged canon of the Alexandrian
Jews, which went far to abolish the distinction between the canonical and
deutero-canonical books, prevailed in the West, at least in practice;
though some followed the shorter one, sanctioned as it had been by Jerome.
As both lists existed, no complete or final settlement of the question was
reached in the Latin Church. Neither in the East nor in the West was the
canon of the Old Testament really closed; for though the stricter
principle of separation prevailed in theory, it was not carried out in
practice consistently or universally. The two men most influential about
the canon were Jerome and Augustine; the one representing its Palestinian,
the other its Alexandrian type. After them no legal or commanding voice
fixed either, to the absolute exclusion of its rival.

(_b_) The charge of Constantine to Eusebius to make out a list of writings
for the use of the Church and its performance may be considered as that
which first put the subject on a broad and permanent basis. Its
consequences were important. If it cannot be called the completion or
close of the New Testament canon, it determined it largely. Eusebius made
a Greek Bible containing the usual books, except the Revelation. Though
the historian of the church was not well fitted for the task, being
deficient in critical ability and trammeled by tradition, he doubtless
used his best judgment. Hence, about the year 337, the Constantinian
Church received a Bible which had an influential origin. No binding
authority indeed attached to the list of the Christian books it presented;
but it had weight in the Greek Church. It did not prevent different
opinions, nor deter individuals from dissent. Thus Athanasius, who
disliked Eusebius and his party, issued a list of the sacred writings
which included the Revelation. The canon of the Laodicean Council (A.D.
363) agreed with the Constantine one.

That variations still existed in the Eastern Church is shown by the lists
which vied with one another in precedence. The apostolic canons adopted
the seven general epistles, while the apostolic constitutions excluded
them. The Alexandrian MS. added to the ordinary books of the New
Testament, Clement’s two epistles; and Cosmas Indicopleustes omitted the
general epistles as well as the Apocalypse. At length the Council of
Constantinople, usually called the _Trullan_ (A.D. 692), laid down
positions that fixed the canon for the Greek Church. The endeavor in it
was to attain to a conclusion which should unite East and West. This
council did not enumerate the separate books, but referred to older
authorities, to the eighty-five canons of the apostles, the decrees of the
synods of Laodicea, Ephesus, Carthage, and others; to Athanasius, Gregory
of Nazianzus, Amphliochius of Iconium, Cyril of Alexandria, Gennadius, &c.
After the fourth century there was a general desire to fall back on
apostolic times, to appeal to the Church, to ascertain the opinion of
synods or assemblies; in a word, to rely on authority.

Less discrepancy and activity were manifested about the canon in the
Western Church. Here the chief doubts were directed to the epistle to the
Hebrews and the seven general ones. The former was early excluded, and
continued to be so even in the time of Jerome. The latter were adopted
much sooner. The impulse given by Constantine to determine the books of
Scripture re-acted on the West, where the Church considered it its own
privilege. Augustine’s influence contributed much to the settlement of the
question. The synods of Hippo (A.D. 393) and of Carthage (A.D. 397)
received the epistle to the Hebrews and the seven general ones, thus
fixing the New Testament canon as it now is. In 419 the African bishops,
in the presence of a Papal delegate, repeated their former decision. After
the West Goths joined the Catholic Church in the sixth century, the Romish
and Spanish Churches gave prominence to the fact of accepting both the
Apocalypse and the epistle to the Hebrews. The canon of the West was now
virtually closed; the fourth Council of Toledo (A.D. 632) at which Isidore
was present, agreeing with the Augustinian list, ratified as that list had
been by Innocent the First. The reception of the epistle to the Hebrews
was facilitated by the objections of the Arians and Semiarians; while
opposition to the Priscillianists in Spain strengthened adherence to the
traditional canon. Augustine and the Trullan Council fixed the number of
the New Testament books as they are now.

With regard to the Bible canon in general, we see that councils had weight
when they enumerated the sacred books; that prominent teachers delivered
their opinion on the subject with effect, and that tradition contributed
to one result; but no general council closed the canon once for all, till
that of Trent promulgated its decrees. This body, however, could only
settle the subject for Romanists, since, while the right of private
judgment is exercised, no corporation can declare some books inspired and
others not, some authoritative in matters of faith, others not, without
presumption. Though the present Bible canon rests upon the judgment of
good and learned men of different times, it can never be finally or
infallibly settled, because the critical powers of readers differ, and all
do not accept church authority with unhesitating assent.

It is the way of men to defer unduly to the opinions expressed by synods
and councils, especially if they be propounded dogmatically; to acquiesce
in their decisions with facility rather than institute independent
inquiry. This is exemplified in the history of the canon, where the
fallibility of such bodies in determining canonicity is conspicuous. It is
so in the general reception of the book of Esther, while the old poem, the
Song of Songs, was called in question at the synod of Jamnia; in the
omission of the Revelation from the canonical list by many belonging to
the Greek Church, while the epistles to Timothy and Titus were received as
St. Paul’s from the beginning almost universally.



CHAPTER X. THE CANON IN THE CONFESSION OF DIFFERENT CHURCHES.


The second Helvetic Confession (A.D. 1566) speaks of the apocryphal books
of the Old Testament as those which the ancients wished to be read in the
churches, but not as authoritative in matters of faith.(375)

The Gallic Confession (A.D. 1559) makes a distinction between canonical
and other books, the former being the rule and norm of faith, not only by
the consent of the Church, but much more by the testimony and intrinsic
persuasion of the Spirit, by whose suggestions we are taught to
distinguish them from other ecclesiastical books, which, though useful,
are not of the kind that any article of faith can be constituted by
them.(376)

The Belgic Confession (A.D. 1561) makes a distinction between the sacred
and apocryphal books. The latter may be read by the Church, but no
doctrine can be derived from them. In the list of New Testament books
given there are _fourteen_ epistles of Paul.(377)

The canon of the Waldenses must have coincided at first with that of the
Roman Church; for the Dublin MS. containing the New Testament has attached
to it the Book of Wisdom and the first twenty-three chapters of Sirach;
while the Zurich codex of the New Testament has marginal references to the
Apocrypha; to Judith, Tobit, 4 Esdras, Wisdom, Sirach, and Susanna. The
_Nobla Leyczon_ containing a brief narration of the contents of the Old
and New Testaments confirms this opinion. It opposes, however, the old law
to the new, making them antagonistic. The historical document containing
the articles of “The Union of the Valleys,” A.D. 1571, separates indeed
the canonical and apocryphal books, purporting to be founded on a
Confession of Faith as old as A.D. 1120; but the latter is mythical, as
appears from a comparison of it with the epistle which the legates of the
Waldensians gave to Œcolampadius. The articles of that “Union” are copied
from Morel’s account of his transactions with Œcolampadius and Bucer in
1530. The literature of this people was altered by Hussite influences and
the Reformation; so that though differing little from the Romanists at
first except in ecclesiastical discipline, they diverged widely afterwards
by adopting the Protestant canon and doctrines.(378) Hence, the Confession
issued in 1655 enumerates as Holy Scripture nothing but the Jewish
Palestinian canon, and the usual books of the New Testament.(379)

The canon of the Anglican Church (1562), given in the sixth article of
religion, defines holy Scripture to be “those canonical books of the Old
and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.”
After giving the names and number of the canonical books, the article
prefaces the apocryphal ones with, “And the other books (as Hierome saith)
the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but
yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine? Such are these
following,” &c., &c. At the end it is stated that “all the books of the
New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive and account
them canonical.” The article is ambiguous. If the canonical books
enumerated are those meant in the phrase “of whose authority was never any
doubt in the Church,” the statement is incorrect. If a distinction is
implied between the canonical books and such canonical ones as have never
been doubted in the Church, the meaning is obscure. In either case the
language is not explicit.

The Scottish or Westminster Confession of Faith gives a list of all the
books of the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God written; adding
that those called the apocrypha are not of divine inspiration, and no part
of the canon,—of no authority in the Church, nor to be approved or made
use of otherwise than human writings.

The Roman Catholic canon was finally determined at the Council of Trent
(1546), which adopted all the books in the Vulgate as sacred and
canonical, without distinction. Third and fourth Esdras, third Maccabees,
and the prayer of Manasseh were not included; though the first and last
appeared in the original Clementine edition of 1592, but apart from the
canonical books. They are not in the Sixtine edition of 1590.(380) A
council at Florence in 1441 had set the example which was followed at
Trent. But this stringent decree did not prevent individual Catholics from
making a distinction between the books, in assuming a first and second
canon or proto-canonical and deutero-canonical books; as did Sixtis
Senensis, B. Lamy, Anton a matre Dei, Jahn, and others; though it is
hardly consistent with orthodox Catholicism or the view of those who
passed the decree. When the writings are said to be of different
authority—some more, others less—the intent of the council is violated.
The Vatican council (1870) confirmed the Tridentine decree respecting the
canon.

The Greek Church, after several ineffectual attempts to uphold the old
distinction between the canonical and ecclesiastical books by Metrophanes
Critopulus patriarch of Alexandria in 1625, and Cyril Lucaris patriarch of
Constantinople (1638 A.D.),(381) came to the same decision with the
Romish, and canonized all the apocrypha. This was done at a Jerusalem
synod under Dositheus in 1672.



CHAPTER XI. THE CANON FROM SEMLER TO THE PRESENT TIME, WITH REFLECTIONS ON
ITS READJUSTMENT.


Semler(382) was the most conspicuous scholar after the Reformation who
undertook to correct the prevailing ideas respecting the canon. Acquainted
with the works of Toland and Morgan, he adopted some of their views, and
prosecuted his inquiries on their lines chiefly in relation to the New
Testament. He had no definite principles to guide him, but judged books
chiefly by their christian value and use to the Church. Though his views
are sometimes one-sided and his essays ill-digested, he placed the subject
in new lights, and rendered a service to truth which bore abundant fruit
in after years.(383) He dealt tradition severe blows, and freed theology
from the yoke of the letter. He was followed by his disciple Corrodi, by
G. L. Oeder, J. D. Michaelis, Herder, Lessing, and Eichhorn,—most of whom
recommended their views by a freshness of style which Semler did not
command. The more recent works of Gesenius, De Wette, Zunz, Ewald, Hitzig,
Geiger and Herzfeld have contributed to form a juster opinion of the true
position which the books of the Bible occupy.

In the New Testament, the writings of F. C. Baur have opened up a new
method of investigating the canon, which promises important and lasting
results. Proceeding in the track of Semler, he prosecuted his researches
into primitive Christianity with great acuteness and singular power of
combination. Though his separation of Petrine and Pauline christianity is
not new, he has applied it in ways which neither Toland nor Morgan was
competent to manage. These writers perceived the difference between the
leading principle of the twelve and that of Paul, they had some far-seeing
glimpses of the origin and differences of the New Testament writings,(384)
but they propounded them in an unsystematic way along with untenable
conjectures. It was reserved for the Tübingen professor to elaborate the
hypothesis of an Ebionite or primitive christianity in contra-distinction
from a Pauline, applying it to the origin and constitution of christian
literature; in a word, to use a _tendenz-kritik_ for opening up the genius
of the sacred writings as well as the stages of early christianity out of
which they arose. The head of the Tübingen school, it is true, has carried
out the antagonism between the Petrine and Pauline christians too
rigorously, and invaded the authenticity of the sacred writings to excess;
for it is hazardous to make a theory extremely stringent to the
comparative neglect of modifying circumstances, which, though increasing
the difficulty of criticism, contribute to the security of its processes.
Yet he has properly emphasized internal evidence; and many of his
conclusions about the books will stand. He has thrown much light on the
original relations of parties immediately after the origin of
Christianity, and disturbed an organic unity of the New Testament which
had been merely _assumed_ by traditionalists. The best Introductions to
the New Testament must accept them to some extent. The chief
characteristic of the school is the application of historic criticism to
the genesis of the New Testament writings, irrespective of tradition—a
striving to discover the circumstances or tendencies out of which the
books originated. Baur’s _tendenz_-principle judiciously applied cannot
but produce good results.

We have seen that sound critical considerations did not regulate the
formation of the three collections which made up the entire canon of the
Old Testament. Had it been so, the Pentateuch would not have been
attributed to Moses. Neither would a number of latter prophecies have been
accepted as Isaiah’s and incorporated with the prophet’s authentic
productions. All the Proverbs, the book of Ecclesiastes, and the Song of
Songs would not have been assigned to Solomon; Jonah would have been
separated from the prophets, and Daniel must have had a later position in
the Hagiographa. We cannot, therefore, credit the collectors or editors of
the books with great critical sagacity. But they did their best in the
circumstances, preserving invaluable records of the Hebrew people. In like
manner, it has appeared, that the ecclesiastics to whom we owe the New
Testament collection were not sharp-sighted in the literature with which
they had to do. It is true that well-founded doubts were entertained by
the early Christians about several portions, such as the second Epistle of
Peter, the Epistle to the Hebrews, &c., but the Revelation was needlessly
discredited. They accepted without hesitation the pastoral epistles as
Pauline, but doubted some of the Catholic Epistles, which bear the impress
of authenticity more strongly, such as James. It is therefore incorrect to
say that 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, James, Jude, Epistle to the Hebrews, and
the Apocalypse “have been received into the canon on evidence less
complete” than that belonging to the others. The very general admission of
the fourth gospel as the apostle John’s, is a curious example of facile
traditionalism. Biblical criticism, however, scarcely existed in the first
three centuries. It is for us to set the subject in another light, because
our means of judging are superior. If the resources of the early fathers
were inadequate to the proper sifting of a copious literature, they should
be mildly judged.

The question of the canon is not settled. It is probably the work of
successive inquirers to set it on a right basis, and adjust the various
parts in a manner consistent with historic criticism, sound reason, and
religion. The absolute and relative worth of books; the degrees in which
they regulate ethics and conduct; their varying values at the times of
their first appearance and our own; their places in the general history of
human progress—all these must be determined before the documents of
Judaism and Christianity be classified aright. Their present arrangement
is external. Based on no interior principle, it furnishes little help
toward a thorough investigation of the whole. Those who look upon the
question as historical and literary take a one-sided view. It has a
theological character also. It needs the application, not only of historic
criticism, but the immediate consciousness belonging to every Christian.
The two Testaments should be separated, and their respective positions
assigned to each—the Old having been preparatory to the New. Should it be
said bluntly, as it is in the 7th Article of the Anglican Church, that the
Old is not contrary to the New Testament? Luther at least expressed his
opinion of the difference between them pretty clearly;(385) though the
theologians of Germany after him evinced a desire to minimise the
difference.(386) Should the general opinion of the Protestant Church that
the authority of the Old Testament is not subordinate to that of the New,
be rigidly upheld? According to one aspect of the former it may be so,
viz., its prophetic and theological aspect, that in which it is brought
into close union with the latter; the essence of the one being
foreshadowed or implied in the other, as Justin Martyr supposed. And this
view has never lost supporters, who by the help of double senses, types,
and symbols, with assumed prediction of the definite and distant future,
transform the old dispensation into an outline picture of the new; taking
into it a body of divinity which is alien from its nature. According to
another aspect, viz., the moral and historical, the equality can scarcely
be allowed. Schleiermacher is right in saying that the Old Testament seems
to be nothing but a superfluous authority for doctrine; an opinion
coinciding with that of the early Socinians, who held that it has a
historical, not a dogmatic, value. Only such of our pious emotions as are
of a general nature are accurately reflected in the Old Testament; and all
that is most decidedly Jewish is of least value to christians. The alleged
coincidence of the Old Testament with the New must be modified by the
doctrine of development. It has been fostered by types and prophecies
supposed to refer to christian times; by the assumed _dictation_ of all
Scripture by the Holy Spirit; by fancied references of the one
dispensation to the other; by the confounding of a Jewish Messiah sketched
in various prophets, with Jesus Christ, as if the latter had not changed,
exalted and purified the Messianic idea to suit his sublime purposes of
human regeneration. The times and circumstances in which the Old Testament
Scriptures appeared, the manners, usages, civilization, intellectual and
moral stage of the Semitic race combine to give them a lower position than
that of the New Testament books which arose out of a more developed
perception of the relations between God and men. Spiritual apprehension
had got beyond Jewish particularism, especially in the case of the apostle
Paul, who gave the new religion a distinct vitality by severing it from
its Jewish predecessor.

The agreement of the New Testament books with themselves must be modified
by the same doctrine of development. Jewish and Pauline christianity
appear in different works, necessarily imparting a difference of views and
expression; or they are blended in various degrees, as in the epistles to
the Hebrews and the first of Peter. Hence, absolute harmony cannot be
looked for. If the standpoints of the writers were so diverse, how can
their productions coincide? The alleged coincidence can only be
intersected with varieties proportioned to the measures in which the
authors possessed the Spirit of God. These varieties affect the matter as
well as the manner of the writings. It is therefore unphilosophical to
treat the Bible as a whole which was dictated by the Spirit and directed
to one end. Its uniformity is chequered with variety; its harmony with
disagreement. It is a bundle of books; a selection from a wider
literature, reflecting many diversities of religious apprehension. After
the two Testaments have been rightly estimated according to their
respective merits, the contents of each should be duly
apportioned—internal evidence being the test of their relative importance,
irrespective of _a priori_ assumptions. Their traditional origin and
authority must be subordinated to the inherent value they bear, or the
conformity of the ideas to the will of God. The gradual formation of both
canons suggests an analysis of the classes into which they came to be put;
for the same canonical dignity was not attributed by the Jews to the books
contained in the three divisions; and the controverted writings of the New
Testament found gradual recognition very slowly. Luther made important
distinctions between the canonical books;(387) and Carlstadt put the
Antilegomena of the New Testament on a par with the Hagiographa of the
Old.

In the Old Testament the three classes or canons have been generally
estimated by the Jews according to their respective antiquity; though the
sacrificial worship enjoined in the Pentateuch never formed an essential
part of the Jewish religion; the best prophets having set small value upon
it. The pure monotheistic doctrine of these last writers, chiefly
contained in the second canon, lifts that class up to the highest rank;
yet the Decalogue in the Pentateuch is sufficient to stamp the first canon
with great worth. It must be confessed, however, that the Mosaic law was
meagre, in the domain of pure ethics; and that it promoted among the
people a slavish spirit of positivism by laying more stress on acts than
dispositions, and insisting on small regulations. For this reason, the
prophets combated its narrow externality. The three canons were regarded
with a degree of veneration corresponding to the order in which they
stand. To apportion their respective values to the individual parts of
them is a difficult task.

As to the New Testament writings, we think that some of them might
conveniently occupy the position of _deutero-canonical_, equivalent to
those of the Old Testament having that title. We allude to 2 and 3 John,
Jude, James, 2 Peter, the Revelation. It is true that a few of these were
prior in time to some of the universally-received gospels or epistles; but
time is not an important factor in a good classification. Among the
Pauline epistles themselves, classification might be adopted; for the
pastoral letters are undoubtedly post-Pauline, and inferior to the
authentic ones. In classifying the New Testament writings, three things
might be considered—the reception they met with from the first, their
authenticity, above all, their internal excellence. The subject is not
easy, because critics are not universally agreed about the proper rank and
authenticity of a few documents. The Epistle to the Colossians, for
example, creates perplexity; that to the Ephesians is less embarrassing,
its post-Pauline origin being tolerably clear.

What is wanted is a rational historic criticism to moderate the
theological hypothesis with which the older Protestants set out, the
supernatural inspiration of the books, their internal inseparability, and
their direct reference to the work of salvation. It must be allowed that
many points are independent of dogmatics; and that the right decision in
things historical may be reached apart from any ecclesiastical standpoint.

Again, should the distinction between the apocryphal and canonical books
of the Old Testament be emphasized as it is by many? Should a sharp line
be put between the two, as though the one class, with the period it
belonged to, were characterized by the errors and anachronisms of its
history; the other by simplicity and accuracy; the one, by books written
under fictitious names; the other, by the power to distinguish truth from
falsehood or by honesty of purpose? Should the one be a sign of the want
of truthfulness and discernment; the other, of religious simplicity? Can
this aggregation of the Apocrypha over against the Hagiographa, serve the
purpose of a just estimate? Hardly so; for some of the latter, such as
Esther and Ecclesiastes, cannot be put above Wisdom, 1st Maccabees,
Judith, Baruch, or Ecclesiasticus. The doctrine of immortality, clearly
expressed in the Book of Wisdom, is not in Ecclesiastes; neither is God
once named in the Book of Esther as author of the marvelous deliverances
which the chosen people are said to have experienced. The history narrated
in 1st Maccabees is more credible than that in Esther. It is therefore
misleading to mark off all the apocryphal works as _human_ and all the
canonical ones as _divine_. The divine and the human elements in man are
too intimately blended to admit of such separation. The best which he
produces partakes of both. The human element still permeates them as long
as God speaks through man; and He neither dictates nor speaks otherwise.
In the attributes claimed for the canonical books no rigid line can be
drawn. It may be that the inspiration of their authors differed in degree;
that the writer of Ecclesiastes, for example, was more philosophical than
Jesus, son of Sirach; but different degrees of inspiration belong to the
canonical writers themselves. Undue exaltation of the Hebrew canon does
injustice to the wider Alexandrian one. Yet some still speak of “the pure
Hebrew canon,” identifying it with that of the Church of England. We admit
that history had become legendary, that it was written in an oratorical
style by the Alexandrian Jews, and was used for didactic purposes as in
Tobit and Judith. Gnomic poetry had survived in the book of Sirach;
prophecy, in Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah, though here the language
is already prosaic. Imitation is too observable in the matter and manner
of the Apocrypha. They have parallels, however, among the Hagiographa,
which originated in an age when the genuine breath of prophetic
inspiration had ceased; when history and prophecy had degenerated; so that
the transition from Esther and Malachi to Judith and Baruch, as also from
Proverbs to Wisdom, is not great.

The _Talmudic_ canon is generally adopted at the present day. It was not,
however, universally received even by the Jews; for Esther was omitted out
of it by those from whom Melito got his catalogue in Palestine; while
Sirach was annexed to it as late as the beginning of the 4th century.
Baruch was also added in several Jewish circles, doubtless on account of
its supposed authorship. Thus “the pure Hebrew canon” was not one and the
same among all Jews; and therefore the phrase is misleading. Neither is it
correct to say that it is the only canon distinctly recognized during the
first four centuries, unless the usage of the early fathers be set over
against their _assumed_ contrary judgment; nor can all who followed the
Alexandrian canon be pronounced uncritical, including Origen himself. A
stereotyped canon of the Old Testament, either among Jews or Christians of
the first four centuries, which excluded all the apocryphal books and
included all the canonical ones, cannot be shown. And in regard to “the
critical judgment” of Jews and Christians in that period it is arbitrary
to suppose that such as adopted the present canonical books alone were
more discerning than others. They were more traditional and conservative;
their discriminating faculty not corresponding to the degree of their
reliance on the past.

The aim of the inquirer should be to find from competent witnesses—from
contemporaneous or succeeding writers of trustworthy character—the authors
and ages of the biblical books. When evidence of this kind is not
available as often happens, the only resource is the internal. The
external evidence in favor of the canon is all but exhausted, and nothing
of importance can be added to it now. Its strength has been brought out;
its weakness has not been equally exhibited. The problem resolves itself
into an examination of internal characteristics, which may be strong
enough to modify or counterbalance the external. The latter have had an
artificial preponderance in the past; henceforward they must be regulated
by the internal. The main conclusion should be drawn from the contents of
the books themselves. And the example of Jews and Christians, to whom we
owe the Bible canon, shows that _classification_ is necessary. This is
admitted both by Roman Catholic writers and orthodox Protestants. A
gloss-writer on what is usually called the “decree of Gratian,” _i.e._,
the Bolognese canonist of the 12th century, remarks about the canonical
books, “all may be received but may not be held in the same estimation.”
John Gerhard speaks of a _second order_, containing the books of the New
Testament, about whose authors there were some doubts in the Church;(388)
and Quenstedt similarly specifies _proto-canonical_ and
_deutero-canonical_ New Testament books, or those of the first and second
order.(389) What are degrees or kinds of inspiration assumed by many, but
a tacit acknowledgment of the fact that books vary in intrinsic value as
they are more or less impregnated with divine truth or differ in the
proportion of the eternal and temporal elements which commingle in every
revealed religion? Doubtless the authors from whom the separate books
proceeded, if discoverable, should be regarded; the inspiration of an
Isaiah is higher than that of a Malachi, and an apostle is more
authoritative than an evangelist; but the authors are often unknown.
Besides, the process of redaction through which many of the writings
passed, hinders an exact knowledge of authorship. In these circumstances
the books themselves must determine the position they should occupy in the
estimation of those who are looking at records of the past to help their
spiritual life. And if it be asked, What principle should lie at the basis
of a thorough classification? the answer is, the _normative element_
contained in the sacred books. This is the characteristic which should
regulate classification. The time when a book appeared, its author, the
surrounding circumstances that influenced him, are of less consequence
than its bearing upon the spiritual education of mankind. The extent of
its adequacy to promote this end determines the rank. Such books as embody
the indestructible essence of religion with the fewest accidents of time,
place and nature—which present conditions not easily disengaged from the
imperishable life of the soul, deserve the first rank. Whatever Scriptures
express ideas consonant with the nature of God as a holy, loving, just and
good Being—as a benevolent Father not willing the destruction of any of
his children; the Scriptures presenting ideas of Him consistent with pure
reason and man’s highest instincts, besides such as set forth our sense of
dependence on the infinite; the books, in short, that contain a revelation
from God with least admixture of the human conditions under which it is
transmitted—these belong to the highest class. If they lead the reader
away from opinion to practice, from dogma to life, from non-doing to
obedience to the law of moral duty, from the notion that everything in
salvation has been done for him to the keeping of the commandments, from
particularist conceptions about the divine mercy to the widest belief of
its overshadowing presence—such books of Scripture are in that same
proportion to be ranked among the best. In regard to the Old Testament,
conformity to Christ’s teaching will determine rank; or, which is
tantamount, conformity to that pure reason which is God’s natural
revelation in man; a criterion which assigns various ranks to such
Scriptures as appeared among a Semite race at a certain stage of its
development. In the New Testament, the words and precepts of Jesus have a
character of their own, though it is very difficult to select them from
the gospels. The supposition that the apostles’ productions possess a
higher authority than those of their disciples, is natural. But the
immediate followers of Christ did not all stand on one platform. Differing
from one another even in important principles, it is possible, if not
certain, that some of their disciples’ composition may be of higher value.
The spirit of God may have wrought within the apostles generally with
greater power and clearness than in other teachers; but its operation is
conditioned not merely by outward factors but by individual idiosyncrasy;
so that one who had not seen the Lord and was therefore not an apostle
proper, may have apprehended his mind better than an immediate disciple.
Paul stood above the primitive apostles in the extent to which he fathomed
the pregnant sayings of Jesus and developed their latent germs. Thus the
normative element—that which determines the varying degrees of authority
belonging to the New Testament—does not lie in apostolic authorship but
internal worth; in the clearness and power with which the divine Spirit
enabled men to grasp the truth. By distinguishing the _temporal_ and the
_eternal_ in christianity, the writings necessarily rise or sink in
proportion to these elements. The _eternal_ is the essence and gem of
revealed truth. Perfectibility belongs only to the _temporal_; it cannot
be predicated of the _eternal_.

The multitudinous collection of books contained in the Bible is not
pervaded by unity of purpose or plan, so as to make a good classification
easy. Least of all is it dominated by such substantial unity as has been
connected with one man; for the conception of a Messiah was never the
national belief of Judaism, but a notion projected by prophets into the
future to comfort the people in times of disaster; the forecasting of
aspirations doomed to disappointment. From the collection presenting
various degrees of intellectual and moral development, it is difficult to
see a sufficient reason for some being canonized to the exclusion of
better works which were relegated to the class of the _apocryphal_.

Mr. Jones’s(390) statement that the primitive Christians are proper judges
to determine what book is canonical, requires great modification, being
too vague to be serviceable; for “primitive Christians” is a phrase that
needs to be defined. How far do they extend? How much of the first and
second centuries do they cover? Were not the primitive Christians divided
in their beliefs? Did the Jewish and the Pauline ones unite in accepting
the same writings? Not for a considerable time, until the means of
ascertaining the real authors of the books and the ability to do so were
lacking.

As to the Old Testament, the Palestinian Jews determined the canonical
books by gradually contracting the list and stopping it at a time when
their calamities throwing them back on the past for springs of hope, had
stiffened them within a narrow traditionalism; but their brethren in
Egypt, touched by Alexandrian culture and Greek philosophy, received later
productions into their canon, some of which at least are of equal value
with Palestinian ones. In any case, the degree of authority attaching to
the Biblical books grew from less to greater, till it culminated in a
divine character, a sacredness rising even to infallibility. Doubtless the
Jews of Palestine distinguished the canonical from the apocryphal or
deutero-canonical books on grounds satisfactory to themselves; but their
judgment was not infallible. A senate of Rabbis under the old dispensation
might err, as easily as a synod of priests under the new. Though they may
have been _generally_ correct, it must not be assumed that they were
_always_ so. Their discernment may be commended without being magnified.
The general feeling of leaning upon the past was a sound one, for the best
times of Judaism had departed, and with them the most original effusions;
yet the wave of Platonism that passed over Alexandria could not but
quicken even the conservative mind of the Jew. Greek thought blended with
echoes of the past, though in dulled form. Still a line had to be drawn in
the national literature; and it was well drawn on the whole. The feeling
existed that the collection must be closed with works of a certain period
and a certain character; and it was closed accordingly, without preventing
individuals from putting their private opinions over against authority,
and dissenting.

At the present day a new arrangement is necessary; but where is the
ecclesiastical body bold enough to undertake it? And if it were attempted
or carried out by non-ecclesiastical parties, would the churches approve
or adopt the proceeding? We venture to say, that if some books be
separated from the collection and others put in their place—if the
classification of some be altered, and their authority raised or
lowered—good will be done; the Bible will have a fairer degree of normal
power in doctrine and morals, and continue to promote spiritual life.
Faith in Christ precedes faith in books. Unless criticism be needlessly
negative it cannot remove this time-honored legacy from the position it is
entitled to, else the spiritual consciousness of humanity will rebel.
While the subject is treated reverently, and the love of truth overrides
dogmatic prejudices, the canon will come forth in a different form from
that which it has had for centuries—a form on which faith may rest without
misgiving.

The canon was a work of divine providence, because history, in a religious
view, necessarily implies the fact. It was a work of inspiration, because
the agency of the Holy Spirit has always been with the people of God as a
principle influencing their life. It was not, however, the result of a
_special_ or _peculiar_ act of divine inspiration at any one time, but of
a gradual illuminating process, shaped by influences more or less active
in the divine economy.

The canonical authority of Scripture does not depend on any church or
council. The early church may be cited as a _witness_ for it; that is all.
Canonical authority lies in Scripture itself, and is inherent in the books
so far as they contain a declaration of the divine will. Hence, there is
truth in the statement of old theologians that the authority of Scripture
is from God alone. It was the early church indeed that made the canon,
selecting the books which appeared to have been written by apostles or
apostolic men, and carrying over to them authority from alleged
authenticity more than internal value. But the latter is the real index of
authority; and God is the fountain from whom spiritual endowments
proceed.(391) The _canonicity_ of the books is a distinct question from
that of their _authenticity_. The latter is a thing of historic criticism;
the former of doctrinal belief. Their ecclesiastical authority rests on
outward attestation; their normal, on faith and feeling.



FOOTNOTES


    1 κανών.

_    2 Zur Geschichte des Kanons_, pp 3-68.

    3 Clement. Hom. _ap. Coteler_, vol. i. p. 608.

_    4 Stromata_, vi. 15, p. 803, ed. Potter.

_    5 Adv. Hæres._, i. 95.

_    6 Ap._ Euseb. H. E., v. 24.

_    7 De præscript. Hæreticorum_, chs. 12, 13.

_    8 Comment._ in _Mat._ iii. p. 916; ed. Delarue.

    9 γραφαὶ κανόνος.

_   10 Monumenta vetera ad Donatistarum historiam petinentia_, ed. Dupin,
      p. 168.

   11 κανών.

   12 At the end of the _Iambi ad Seleucum_, on the books of the New
      Testament, he adds, οὐτος ἀψευδέστατος κανὼν ἄν εἴη τῶν θεοπνεύστων
      γραφῶν.

_   13 Prologus galeatus_ in ii. Reg.

_   14 Expos. in Symb. Apost._, 37, p. 374, ed. Migne.

   15 κανονικός.

   16 ἰδιωτικός and ἀκανόνιστος.

   17 Κανονιζόμενα.

   18 Such as ἐνδιάθηκα, ὡρισμένα.

   19 κανονιζόμενα or κεκανονισμένα.

   20 ἀπόκρυφος.

_   21 Orat. de Ordin._, vol. ii. p. 44.

   22 גנז. The Jews applied the word _genuzim_ to books withdrawn from
      public use, whose contents were thought to be out of harmony with
      the doctrinal or moral views of Judaism when the canon was closed.
      See Fürst’s _Der Kanon des alten Testaments_, p. 127, note; and
      Geiger’s _Urschrift_, p. 201.

   23 δεδημοσιευμένα.

   24 H. E. Il. 23, III. 3-16.

_   25 Stromata_, lib. iii. p. 1134, ed. Migne.

_   26 Prolog. ad Cant., opp._, vol. iii. p. 36.

   27 νόθος, ψευδεπίγραφος.

   28 See Suicer’s _Thesaurus_, _s.v._

   29 Βιβλία ἀναγινωσκόμενα, libri ecclesiastici.

   30 In his epistle to Laeta he uses the epithet in its customary sense,
      of books unauthentic, not proceeding from the authors whose names
      they bear. _Opp._ vol. i. p. 877, ed. Migne.

   31 Num. xxi. 14.

   32 Joshua x. 12, 13; 2 Sam. i. 18.

   33 2 Sam. viii. 16; 1 Kings iv. 3.

   34 Isaiah, xl.-lxvi.

   35 Chap. xiv. 23-50, &c. See Hilgenfeld’s _Messias Judærorum_, p. 107.

   36 See Buxtorf’s _Tiberias_, chap. x., p. 88, &c.; and Herzfeld’s
      _Geschichte des Volkes Israel_, vol. i. p. 380, &c. Zwölfter
      Excursus.

   37 Chapter i.

   38 על ידי. Does this mean _for, instead of_, as Bloch understands it?
      Waehner inserts, to fill up the sense, “some of which, however, were
      composed by;” but this is far-fetched. See _Antiquitates Ebræorum_,
      p. 13.

   39 Fol. 15, 1.

   40 פחכ.

_   41 Studien zur Geschichte der Sammlung der althebräischen Literatur_,
      p. 127, &c.

   42 vii. 12, συναγωγὴ γραμματέων, not ἡ συναγωγή.

   43 That the Scribes always adhered to the prohibition to write no
      religious laws and ordinances cannot be held, even in the face of
      the Talmudic saying, כוחכ הילכוה כשורף חורה (writers of Halacoth are
      like a burner of the law). This may apply to the late scribes or
      bookmen, not to the earlier. The greater part of Geiger’s
      _Urschrift_ is based on the opposite idea. As the reverence for
      former scholars increased, the Talmudic saying might be accepted.
      See _Temura_, 14 b.

   44 Chapter ix. 2.

   45 Chapter ii. 13.

   46 Antiq. xii. 10, 1.

   47 Josephus’s Antiq., xiii. 5, 8; 1 Maccab., xii. 35.

   48 1 Maccab., xiii. 36.

   49 Sota, 24 a.

   50 מבינים, Nehemiah viii. 3.

   51 Talmudic tradition, which attributes the redaction of the book to
      the men of the great synagogue who are said to have acted under the
      influence of the divine spirit, separates the three apocryphal
      pieces from the rest; but this arose from the desire of
      discountenancing the idea that the work consists of romance and
      legend. Such later tradition took curious ways of justifying the
      canonicity of Daniel and the redaction of it by the great synagogue,
      _ex gr._, the assumption that the second part arose out of a series
      of unconnected _Megiloth_ which were not reduced to chronological
      order. Still the Midrash maintains that Daniel, or the person
      writing in his name, was no prophet, like Haggai, Zechariah, and
      Malachi, but a man of visions, an _apocalyptist_. It was a general
      belief, that _visions_ had come into the place of _prophecy_ when
      the book appeared. The Greek translation could not have been long
      after the original, because it is used in the First Book of
      Maccabees. The interval between the Hebrew and the Greek was
      inconsiderable. The translator not only departed from, but added to,
      the original, inserting such important pieces as the Prayer of
      Azarias, the Song of the Three Children, the history of Susanna, and
      that of Bel and the Dragon. Whether any of these had been written
      before is uncertain. Most of the traditions they embody were
      probably reduced to writing by the translator, and presented in his
      peculiar style. The assertion, that Josephus was unacquainted with
      these additions is hazardous, since the way in which he speaks of
      Daniel’s fame (Antiq. x. 11, 7), and especially of _the books_ he
      wrote (τὰ βιβλία), supposes some relation to them. Elsewhere he
      speaks of _one book_ (x. 10, 4; xi. 8, 5), where he may have thought
      of the canonical part.

   52 פתוביס, translated by the Greek ἁγιόγραφα, hagiographa.

   53 It has been thought that the phrase פעלי אמפות in the ninth verse
      alludes to the great council or synagogue. This conjecture is
      plausible on various grounds. The reasons for attributing the
      epilogue to a later time than the writer of the book appear to be
      stronger than those assigning it to the original author. The 13th
      and 14th verses in particular, are unlike Coheleth.

   54 τὰ ἀλλα πάτρια βιβλία; τὰ λοιπὰ τῶν βιβλίων. The younger Sirach does
      not use γραφαὶ, which would have been a proper translation of
      _c’tubim_. Does not this ἀλλα imply the non-application of the
      specific title _c’tubim_ to the hagiographa at that time, and
      therefore the idea that the third canon was still open?

_   55 Contra Apion_, i. 8.

   56 In Maaser Sheni, Sota 24. 1, the duumvirate or suggoth, consisting
      of the president, Nasi, and vice-president, Ab-beth-din, are
      referred to Hyrcanus’s creation. Zunz affirms that it originated in
      the time of Simon, son of Mattathias, 142 B.C.

   57 Antiq., xiv., 9.

_   58 Der gerichtliche Beweis_, p. 68.

   59 The Sanhedrim _properly so called_ ceased under R. Judah I.,
      Ha-Nasi, when the council of seventy members which sat at Sepphoris
      before his patriarchate, transferred its privileges to him, on his
      removal to that place. The court was then merged in the patriarch.

   60 ננוזים literally concealed, withdrawn from public use.

   61 See Fürst’s _Der Kanon des alten Testaments, u.s.w._ pp. 147, 148.

_   62 Tract. Sabbat._ ch. i.

   63 Because of its profane spirit and Epicurean ideas; see Adoyot v. 3.

   64 Yadayim v. 3.

   65 See Graetz’s _Kohelet_, pp. 162, 163.

   66 The sages wished to pronounce Coheleth apocryphal, because its
      statements are contradictory. And why have they not declared it
      apocryphal? Because it begins with words of the law, and ends with
      words of the law, for it opens with the words “What advantage has
      man in all his labor wherewith he labors under the sun?” &c.,
      &c.—Sabbat. 30 b.

      So also in the Midrash: “The sages wished to pronounce Coheleth
      apocryphal,” &c., &c.—Vayyikra rabba 161 b.

   67 R. Simeon ben Asai said, “I have received it from the mouth of the
      72 elders in the day that R. Eleasar ben Asaria was appointed elder,
      that the Song of Songs and Coheleth pollute the hands.”—Yadayim v.
      3.

   68 This language was based on a figurative interpretation of the Song.
      One who said, “Whoever reads such writings as Sirach and the later
      books loses all part in everlasting life,” can have no weight. He
      outheroded the Palestinian tradition respecting the Jewish
      productions of later origin, which merely affirms that they “do not
      pollute the hands.”—(_Toss. Yadayim_, c. 2)

_   69 Studien zur Geschichte, u. s. w._, p. 150, &c.

   70 Geiger’s _Urschrift_, p. 288.

   71 See De Goeje in the _Theologisch Tijdschriff Jaargang II._ (1868) p.
      179, &c.

   72 Zunz’s _Die gottesdienstlichen Vorträge_, pp. 101, 102.

   73 V. 20, p. 124, ed. Ueltzen.

   74 Dillmann, in the _Jahrbücher für deutsche Theologie, dritter Band_,
      p. 422.

   75 In his _Antiq._, x. 4, 5, and xi. 1-5.

   76 iv. 6, sec. 3, and vi. 2, sec. 1.

   77 xi. 8, sec. 5.

   78 Article “Kanon” in Herzog’s _Encyklopædie_, vol. vii., p. 253; and
      the same author’s _Prolegomena zur Theologie des alt. Test._, pp.
      91, 92.

   79 See Abulfatach’s _Annal. Samar._, p. 102, 9, &c.

   80 Kirschbaum, Weisse, and Noack.

_   81 Einleitung in das alte Testament_, vol. i. p. 133.

_   82 De vita contemplativa_, Opp. Tom. ii., P. 475, ed. Mangey.

   83 See Credner’s _Zur Geschichte des Kanons_, p. 124.

_   84 De mens. et pond._, chapters 22, 23, vol. ii. p. 180, ed. Petav.

_   85 Baba Bathra_, fol. 14, 2.

   86 See _Fürst, Der Kanon u. s. w. p._ 14, &c.

_   87 Studien zur Geschichte der alttestamentliche Literatur, u. s. w._,
      p. 18, etc.

   88 Hody _De Bibliorum textibus originalibus_, p. 644.

   89 Hody gives lists of the order in which the books stand in some early
      printed editions and in a few MSS., p. 645.

_   90 Die Apokryphen, u. s. w._, p. 14, &c.

_   91 Studien und Kritiken_ for 1853, p. 267, &c.

_   92 A Scholastical History of the Canon_, p. 22.

   93 See Rothe, _Zur Dogmatik, Studien u. Kritiken_ for 1860, p. 67, &c.
      The apostle’s argument rests on the occurrence of the singular
      (_seed_, σπέρμα) in Genesis xvii. 8 (LXX.), not the plural (_seeds_,
      σπέρματα); though the plural of the corresponding Hebrew word could
      not have been used, because it has a different signification.
      Grammatical inaccuracy is made the basis of a certain theological
      interpretation. Those who wish to see a specimen of labored
      ingenuity unsuccessfully applied to the justification of St. Paul’s
      argument in this passage, may consult Tholuck’s _Das alte Testament
      in neuem Testament_, p. 63, etc. Vierte Auflage. (Epist. to the
      Galatians iii. 16.)

   94 Died 202 A.D.

_   95 Advers. Hares._, v. 35, referring to Baruch iv. 36, and v. p. 335,
      ed. Massuet.

_   96 Ibid._, iv., 26, referring to Daniel xiii. 20 in the Septuagint.

   97 Died 220A.D.

_   98 Pædagog._ vi. 3.

_   99 Stromata_, ii. 23.

_  100 Stromata_, iv. 16.

_  101 Ibid._, ii. 7.

_  102 Ex Script. prophet. eclogae_, c. 1.

_  103 Stromateis_, ii. 15.

  104 Died 264 A.D.

_  105 De Natura; Routh’s Reliquiae Sacrae_, vol. iv. p. 356.

_  106 Fragment. Nicet._, in _Reliq. Sacrae_, vol. ii. p. 404.

_  107 Ibid._, p. 407.

_  108 Ibid._, p. 406.

_  109 Epistola ad. Dionys. Roman_, in _Reliq. Sacr._, vol. iii. p. 195.

_  110 Reliq. Sacr._, vol. ii. p. 408.

  111 Died 220 A.D.

_  112 Advers. Valentinianos._ ch. 2.

_  113 De Exhortatione Castitatis_, ch. 2.

_  114 Contra Gnosticos_, ch. 8.

_  115 De Habitu Muliebri_, ch. 3.

_  116 Epist._ 55, p. 110, ed. Fell.

_  117 De Orat. Domin._ p. 153.

_  118 De Exhortat. Martyrii_, ch. 12, p. 182.

_  119 De Mortal_, p. 161.

_  120 De Orat. Domin._, p. 141.

_  121 Testim._ iii. 4, p. 62.

_  122 De Lapsis_, p. 133, &c.

_  123 Adv. Noel._ v.

  124 See Migne’s edition, p. 689, &c.

  125 Died after 171.

_  126 Ap._ Euseb. H. E., lib. iv. ch. 26.

  127 Died 254, A.D.

_  128 Ap._ Euseb. H. E., lib. iv. ch. 25.

_  129 Comment. in Joann._ tom. xxxii. ch. 14, ed. Huet. p, 409.

_  130 Contra Cels._ iii. 72; vol. i. p. 494, ed. Delarue.

_  131 In Exodus_, Hom. vi. i; Levit. Hom. v. 2.

_  132 In Levit._, Hom. xii. 4.

_  133 In Lukam_, Hom. 21.

_  134 De Oratione_, ii. p. 215.

_  135 Opp. ed_ Delarue, vol. i. p. 12.

  136 Died 311.

_  137 Convivium decem virginum_, in Combefis’s Auctarium bibliothecae
      Graecorum patrum, p. 69.

_  138 Ibid._, p. 69.

_  139 Ibid._, p. 109.

  140 τὰ λόγια. _Ap._ Euseb. H. E. iii. 39.

  141 Davidson’s _Introduction to the Study of the N. Testam._ vol. x. p.
      388.

_  142 Explanatio in Epist. ad Titum_, vol. iv. p. 407, ed. Benedict.

_  143 Die Valentinianische Gnosis und die heilige Schrift_, p. 75.

  144 A good deal of manipulation has been needlessly employed for the
      purpose of placing these heretics as early as possible; but nothing
      definite can be extracted from Irenæus’s notices of them.
      Hippolytus’s use of the present tense, in speaking of them, renders
      it probable that they were nearly his contemporaries.

  145 See the Indexes to Duncker and Schneidewin’s edition.

_  146 Bibliotheca_, cod. 232.

  147 It is an unfounded assumption that Paul cited the passage by “mere
      accident;” on the contrary, he gives it as canonical, with “as it is
      written” (1 Corinth. ii. 9). It may be that the Gnostics are
      referred to as using the objectionable passage; but it is special
      pleading _to limit_ it to them, when Paul has expressly used the
      same, deriving it either from Isaiah lxiv. 4, or some unknown
      document; just as it is special pleading to identify ὁ κύριος
      standing beside νόμος καὶ προφῆται, with _the New Testament_. The
      word excludes Paul’s Epistles from the canon; nor is there any
      evidence to the contrary, as has been alleged, in the two Syriac
      epistles attributed to Clement, which Wetstein published. Comp.
      _Eusebius’s H. E._ iv. 22, _Photius’s Bibliotheca_, 232. Apologists
      have labored to prove Hegesippus an orthodox Catholic Christian,
      like Irenæus; but in vain. He was a Jewish Christian of moderate
      type, holding intercourse with Pauline Christians at the time when
      the Catholic Church was being formed.

  148 See _Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschrift_ for 1875-1878.

  149 There is ἄπεστιν instead of the Septuagint’s and Mark’s (Tischend.)
      ἀπέχει.

_  150 Geschichte Jesu von Nazara_, vol. 1, p. 144.

  151 See Vision ii, 3, 4, with the prolegomena of De Gebhardt: and
      Harnack, p. lxxiii.

  152 See Holtzmann in Hilgenfeld’s _Zeitschrift_ for 1875, p. 40, &c.

  153 Epist. ch. iv.

  154 Chapter xii. pp. 30, 31, ed. 2, Hilgenfeld.

  155 See Chapter xv. end, with Hilgenfeld’s note, _Barnabae epistula ed._
      _altera_, pp. 118, 119.

_  156 Epis._ p. 13 ed. Hilgenfeld.

_  157 Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie_, 1871, P. 336, etc.

  158 Chapters xvi. and iv. In the former the reference is to Enoch
      lxxxix. 56, 66, 67, but the latter is not in the present book of
      Enoch, though Hilgenfeld thinks he has discovered it in lxxxix.
      61-64 and xc. 17. (_Dillmann’s Das Buch Henoch_, pp. 61, 63). Was
      another apocryphal Jewish book current in the time of Barnabas,
      under the name of Enoch; or did he confound one document with
      another, misled by the Greek translation of an apocalyptic work
      which had fallen into discredit? See Hilgenfeld’s _Barnabae
      Epistula_, ed. 2 pp. 77, 78.

  159 Chapter xi.

_  160 Hist. Eccles._ iii. 39.

  161 A small body of literature originating in the fragment of Papias
      preserved by Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. iii, 39, 1-4) has appeared;
      though it is difficult to obtain satisfactory conclusions. Not only
      have Weiffenbach and Leimbach written treatises on the subject, but
      other scholars have entered into it more or less fully,—Zahn,
      Steitz, Riggenbach, Hilgenfeld, Lipsius, Keim, Martens, Loman,
      Holtzmann, Hausrath, Tietz, and Lightfoot. The fragment is not of
      great weight in settling the authenticity of the four gospels.
      Indirectly indeed it throws some light on the connection of two
      evangelists with written memoirs of the life of Jesus; but it rather
      suggests than solves various matters of importance. It is tolerably
      clear that the gospels, if such they may be called, of which he
      speaks as written by Matthew and Mark, were not identical with the
      works now existing under the names of these evangelists; and that no
      safe conclusion can be drawn from Papias’s silence about John’s and
      Luke’s as not then in existence. Neither the present gospels nor any
      other had been converted into _Scripture_; since he regarded oral
      traditions as more credible than written memoirs. Those who hold
      that the presbyter John was none other than the apostle, Eusebius
      having misunderstood the fragment and made a different John from the
      apostle, as well as the critics who deduce from the fragment the
      fact that John suffered martyrdom in Palestine, have not established
      these conclusions. Papias refers to the material he got for
      explaining the λογία, rather than the source whence they were drawn.
      But whether he learnt directly from the elders, or indirectly as the
      preposition (παρὰ) would seem to indicate, and whether the sentence
      beginning with “What Andrew,” &c., (τί Ἀνδρέας κ. τ. λ.) stands in
      apposition to the “words of the elders,” (τούς τῶν πρεσβυτέρων
      λόγους) or not, are things uncertain.

_  162 Epist. ad Philadelph._, ch. 5 See Hefele’s note on the passage. The
      other well-known passage in chapter viii. is too uncertain in
      reading and meaning to be adduced here.

  163 Chapter iii.

  164 To the Ephesians, chapter xii.

_  165 Epist. ad Romanos_, iv.

_  166 Testam. Benj._ 11, p. 201, ed. Sinker.

_  167 Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie_, 1875, p. 490, _et
      seq._

  168 Ἐν τόις ἀπομνημονέυμασαι, ἄ φημι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀποστόλων αὐτοῦ καὶ τῶν
      ἐκείνοις παρακολουθησάντων συντετάχθαι. Sec. 103. Here “the
      apostles” are not necessarily Matthew and John. Apocryphal gospels
      then current bore the name of apostles or their attendants,—of
      Peter, James, Nicodemus, Matthias, &c.

  169 Καὶ τὸ εἰπεῖν μετωνομακέναι αὐτὸν Πέτρον καὶ γεγράφθαι ἐν τοῖς
      ἀπομνημονεύμασαι αὐτοῦ γεγενημένον καὶ τοῦτο, μετὰ τοῦ καὶ, κ. τ. λ.
      Dial. cum Tryph., 106. Here the pronoun αὐτοῦ probably refers to
      Peter. And the expression “his memoirs” can hardly mean Mark’s
      gospel, since Jerome is the first that calls it such.

_  170 Dialogus_, part ii., p. 315, ed. Thirlby. Comp. on Justin,
      Tjeenk-Willink’s _Justinus Martyr in zijne Verhouding tot Paulus_.

_  171 Apolog._ i. 97, ed. Thirlby.

_  172 Hieronymi Prooem._ in _Epist. ad Titum._

  173 Comp. chap. xii., where γραφαί is applied to the apostolic epistles;
      a title they did not receive so early as the age of Polycarp. Zahn
      himself admits this.

  174 Chapter xiv. 2.

  175 Chapter ii. 4.

  176 See _Clementis Romani ad Corinthios quae discuntur epistulae, ed. de
      Gebhardt et Harnack_, 2., sec. 10, Prolegomena.

_  177 Legat. pro Christ._ II, 12.

_  178 Ibid._ 33.

  179 Chapter xviii.

_  180 Ap._ Euseb. H. E., iv. 23.

_  181 Ap_. Euseb. H. E., v. 1, p. 144, ed. Bright.

  182 θεῖος λόγος. _Ad Autolycum_, iii. 14, p. 1141, ed Migne.

_  183 Ibid._, ii. 22.

  184 Epist. 151, ad Algasiam.

  185 See Overbeck’s _Studien zur Geschichte der alten Kirche, Abhandlung_
      I., in which the date of the letter is brought down till after
      Constantine. Surely this is too late.

  186 Davidson’s _Introduction to the Study of the New Testament_, vol.
      ii. p. 508, &c.

  187 τὸ εὐαγγέλιον.

  188 ὁ ἀπόστολος.

_  189 Adves. Hæres._, iv. 20, 2.

_  190 Stromateis_, ii. 6, p. 965, ed. Migne.

_  191 Ibid._, iv. 17, p. 1312.

_  192 Ibid._, i. 29, p. 928.

_  193 De Oratione_, cap. 12.

_  194 De Pudicitia_, cap. 10-20.

  195 G. of St. Paul’s epistles, a MS. of the ninth century according to
      Tischendorf.

  196 See Anger’s _Ueber den Laodicener Brief_, 1843.

_  197 Fertur etiam ad Laudecences alia ad Alexandrinos Pauli nomine
      fincte ad hesem Marcionis el alia plura quæ in Catholicam ecclesiam
      recepi non potest._ Perhaps a comma should be put after _nomine_,
      and _fincte_ joined to what follows, to the _alia plura_ said to be
      forged in the interest of Marcion.

_  198 Quarti evangeliorum Johannis ex discipulis cohortantibus
      condiscipulis et episcopis suis dixit conjejunate mihi odie triduo
      el quid cuique fuerit revelatum alterutrum nobis ennarremus eadem
      nocte revelatum Andreæ ex apostolis ut recogniscentibus cunctis
      Johannis suo nomine cuncta discriberet._

  199 It is printed and largely commented on by Credner in his _Geschichte
      des neutestamentlichen Kanon_ edited by Volkmar, p. 141, &c., and by
      Westcott _On the Canon_, Appendix C, p. 466, 2d edition. Many others
      have explained it; especially Hilgenfeld.

  200 About A.D. 190.

_  201 Euseb._ H. E. vi. 12.

  202 Tischendorf edited the Pauline epistles from this MS. Lipsiæ, 1852.

  203 Died 254 A.D.

  204 τὰ ἐν τῇ διαθήκη βιβλία, ἐνδιάθηκα, ὁμολογούμενα.

  205 In one place, however, he calls it _very useful and divinely
      inspired_. _Comment. in ep. ad Roman._, xvi. 14.

  206 νόθα.

  207 Ap. Euseb, _Hist. Eccles._, vi. 25; iii. 25, ἀντιλεγόμενα.

  208 See Euseb. _H. E._ vi. 25. _Comment. in Malth._, iii. p. 463;
      _Ibid._, p. 814; _Comment. in ep. ad Roman._, iv. p. 683; _in
      Matth._, iii. p. 644; _Homil._ viii. _in Numb._, ii. p. 294; _Contra
      Cels._, i. 63, p. 378; _De Principiis præf._, i. p. 49. _Opp._, ed.
      Delarue.

  209 Died 340 A.D.

_  210 Hist. Eccles._, iii. 25; also 31, 39; vi. 13, 14.

  211 ὁμολογούμενα, ἐνδιάθηκα, ἀναμφίλεκτα, ἀναντίρρητα.

  212 ἀντιλεγόμενα, γνώριμα δὲ τοῖς πολλοῖς, ἐν πλείσταις ἐκκλησίαις
      δεδημοσιευμένα, νόθα.

  213 ἄτοπα πάντη καὶ δυσσεβῆ; παντελῶς νόθα (iii. 31).

  214 This last with the qualification εἴγε φανείη. In another place he
      states that it was rejected by some, and therefore it is also along
      with the ἀντιλεγόμενα or νόθα.

  215 μικτά.

  216 νόθα.

  217 νοθεύομαι. _Hist. Eccles._, ii. 23. Christophorson, Schmid, and Hug
      think that Eusebius gave the opinion of others in this word: but it
      is more likely that he gave his own, as Valesius thinks. See the
      note in Schmid’s _Historia antiqua et vindicatio Canonis, &c._, p.
      358.

_  218 Ibid._, vi. 14.

  219 See Weber’s _Beiträge zur Geschichte des neutestamentlichen Kanons_,
      p. 142, &c.

  220 ὁμολογουμένη. _Hist. Eccles._, iii. 16.

_  221 Adversus Hæres_, iii., II, 8.

_  222 Adv. Marc._ iv. 5.

_  223 De præscript. hæret._ c. 36.

_  224 De præscript. hæret._ c. 32.

_  225 Ap. Euseb. Hist. Eccles._ ii. 15 and vi. 14.

_  226 Ignatius von Antiochien_, 1873; and Prolegomena to the _Patrum
      Apostolicorum opera_, by de Gebhardt, Harnack, and Zahn, Fasciculus,
      ii.

_  227 Geschichte des neutest. Kanon_, p. 217, &c.

  228 See _Constit. Apostol._, p. 67, ed Ueltzen.

  229 Died 386 A.D.

_  230 Catech._, iv. 22, pp. 66, 67, ed. Milles.

_  231 Ibid._, xi. p. 142.

_  232 Ibid._, vi. p. 80.

_  233 Ibid._, ix. pp. 115, 122.

_  234 Ibid._, ix. p. 115.

_  235 Ibid._, ii. p. 31.

_  236 Ibid._, xvi. p. 239.

  237 Athanasii _Opp._ ed. Benedict. i. 2, pp. 962, 963.

_  238 Orat. contra Arianos_, ii. 35, vol. i. 503, ed. Benedict.

_  239 Ibid._, ii. 42, i. p. 510.

_  240 Ibid._, ii. 79, i. p. 546.

_  241 Epist. ad episcop. Ægypt._, &c., i. 1, p. 272.

_  242 Contra Arian._, i. 12, i. p. 416.

_  243 Apolog. contra Arianos_, ii. vol. i. p. 133.

_  244 Praepar Evan._, i. 9.

_  245 Ibid._, xi. 14.

_  246 Ibid._, xii. 18.

_  247 Ibid._, vi. 11.

_  248 Demon. Evang._, vi. 19.

  249 Died 379 A.D.

_  250 Homil. in princip. proverb. Opp._ ed. Garnier altera, vol. ii. p.
      140.

_  251 Constitutiones Monast._, c. iii. 2. _Ibid._, p. 779.

_  252 Adv. Eunom_, vol. i. p. 417.

_  253 De Spiritu Sancto_, c. viii. vol. iii. p. 23.

_  254 In Princip. Proverb_, vol. ii. p. 152.

  255 Died 389 A.D.

_  256 Opp._ ed. Migne, vol. iii. pp. 473, 474.

  257 Gregorii Nazianzeni, _Opp._ ed. Migne, vol. iii. pp. 473, 474.

  258 Died 395 A.D.

  259 Iambi ad Seleucum; in Greg. Naz. _Opp._ ii. p. 194.

  260 Died 403 A.D.

  261 ἀμφιλέκτα. _Adv. Hæres_, i. p. 19. See _Hæres_, iii. tom. i. p. 941.
      De ponder. et mensur. 23.

_  262 Advers. Hæres_, lib. i., tom. 2 ed. Petav. Paris, 1662, p. 72.

_  263 Ibid._, lib. ii. tom. ii. p. 781.

_  264 Ibid._, lib. ii. tom. i. p. 580.

_  265 Ibid._, lib, ii. tom. i. p. 481.

_  266 Ibid._, lib. i. tom. ii. p. 157.

_  267 Hæres_, xxx. 15.

  268 Died 392 A.D.

  269 Enarrat. in ep. S. Petri secundam, p. 1774 ed Migne.

  270 Died  407 A.D.

  271 See Montfaucon in his edition of Chrysostom’s Works, vol. vi. pp.
      364, 365, ed. Paris, 1835.

  272 Expos. in Psalm cix. 7. See also xi. 1 in Genes, where Wisdom xiv. 3
      is cited.

  273 Expos. in Psalm xlix. 3.

  274 De Lazaro, ii. 4.

  275 Died 392 A.D.

_  276 De Trinitate_, iii. 2. p. 792 ed. Migne.

  277 Fragmenta in Epist. 2 ad Corinthios, when Baruch, iii. 3, is quoted
      like Psalm 101, p. 1697.

  278 De Spirit. sanct. i. p. 1033.

  279 Died 428 A.D.

  280 See Leontius Byzantinus contra Nestorianos et Eutychianos, lib. iii.
      in _Gallandi Bibliotheca_, xii. p. 690. Comp. Fritzsche _De Theodori
      Mopsuesteni vita et scriptis_, Halæ, 1836.

  281 Died 444 A.D.

  282 Contra Julian, i. p. 541, ed. Migne.

_  283 Ibid._, p. 815.

_  284 Ibid._, p. 921.

  285 In Isaim, ed. Migne, p. 93.

  286 P. 859, vol. i.

  287 P. 910, vol. i., ed. Migne.

  288 βιβλία κανονιζόμενα, κανονικά, κεκανονισμένα, ὡρισμένα.

  289 βιβλία ἀναγινωσκόμενα.

  290 Died 430 A.D.

  291 The forty-four books are, 5 of Moses, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 4 Kings,
      2 Chronicles, Job, Tobit, Esther, Judith, 2 Maccabees, Ezra,
      Nehemiah, Psalms, 3 of Solomon, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, 12 Prophets,
      4 greater do. _De Doctrina Christiana_ ii. 8.

_  292 Contra Gaudent._ i. 38. _Opp._ Paris, 1837, vol. ix. p. 1006.

_  293 De Doctr. Christ._ ii. 8. _Civitat. Dei._ xviii. 20, 1.

_  294 De Praesdest. Sanct._ i. 11.

_  295 Retractt._ i. 10.

_  296 De Peccat. merit._ i. 50; _Opp._ vol. x. p. 137, ed. Migne.

_  297 Mansi_, tom. iii. p. 924.

_  298 Ibid._, p. 891.

  299 Died 420 A.D.

_  300 Prologus galeatus in Libros Regum. Epist. ad Paulinum._

  301 In Herbst’s _Einleit._, _erster Theil_, p. 37.

_  302 Opp._ ed. Benedict., Vol. IV., pp. 679, 684, 750.

  303 Ep. ad Dardan. _Opp._ vol. i. P. 1103, ed. Migne.

  304 See _Onomastica Sacra_; Comment. in Ep. ad Philem; De Viris illustr.

  305 Died 368 A.D.

  306 Prolog. in Psalm., _Opp._ ed. Migne, vol. i. p. 241.

_  307 De Trinitate_ iv. 16.

_  308 Ex. Op. Hist. Fragmentum_, iii. vol. ii. p. 672 ed. Migne.

  309 In cxxvii. Psalm.

  310 In Psalm cxxvi. 6.

  311 In Psalm lxviii. 19, and _De Trinitate_, iv. 42.

_  312 Ibid._, iv. 8.

  313 Died about 370 A.D.

_  314 De Schismate Donatist_, iii. 3.

_  315 Ibid._, ii. 25.

  316 Died about 370 A.D.

_  317 De non parcendo_, &c., ed. Coleti, p. 190.

_  318 Ibid._, p. 236.

_  319 Ibid._, p. 187.

_  320 Pro Athanasio_, lib. i. p. 98.

_  321 Ibid._, p. 105.

_  322 Ibid._, lib. ii. pp. 127, 128.

  323 Died 397 A.D.

_  324 De Spiritu Sancto_ iii. 18.

_  325 De bono mortis_ viii.

  326 In Psalm cxviii., Sermo. 118, 2.

_  327 De Spirit. Sancto._ iii., vi. 39.

_  328 Liber de Tobia_.

  329 Died 410 A.D.

_  330 Expos. in Symbol. Apostol._, pp. 373, 374, ed. Migne.

  331 Died about 387 A.D.

  332 De Hæres. chs. 60 and 61, in Galland, vii. pp. 424, 425.

  333 Apud Mansi, iii. pp. 1040, 1041.

  334 Credner’s _Zur Geschichte des Kanons_, p. 151, &c., and Thiel’s
      _Epistolæ Romanorum Pontificum genuinae_, tom. i.

  335 Mansi iv. p. 430.

_  336 Opp. Græc._, tom. ii. P. 327, ed. Rom. 1746.

_  337 Ibid._, tom. i. p. 101.

  338 Tom. iii. p. 60.

  339 Galland, xii. p. 79, &c.

  340 See Dillmann in Ewald’s _Jahrbücher_, v. p. 144, &c.

  341 Died 599 A.D.

  342 See Credner’s _Zur Gesch. des Kanons_, p. 97, &c.

  343 Died 891 A.D.

_  344 Nomocanon, Titulus III._, cap. 2, vol. iv. pp. 1050, 1051 ed.
      Migne.

  345 See Codd. 113, 126.

  346 Died 754 A.D.

  347 Died 636 A.D.

_  348 Etymolog._ vi. 1.

  349 Died  604 A.D.

  350 Died 912 A.D.

  351 Died 735 A.D.

  352 Died 804 A.D.

  353 Died 856 A.D.

  354 Died 1141 A.D.

  355 Died 1156 A.D.

  356 Died 1182 A.D.

  357 1270 A.D.

  358 Died 1263 A.D.

  359 Died 1384 A.D.

  360 Died 1340 A.D.

  361 See Hody, p. 648, &c.

  362 Chemnitz calls seven books of the New Testament _apocryphos_,
      because of their uncertain authorship (see _Examen Concilii
      Tridentini_, p. 45, &c.)

  363 See Tholuck’s _Kommentar zum Briefe an die Hebräer, zweite Auflage_,
      pp. 55, 86.

  364 Carlstadt’s treatise is reprinted in Credner’s _Zur Geschichte des
      Kanons_.

  365 Werke, edited by Schuler and Schulthess, vol. ii. p. 169.

_  366 Ep. ad. Valdenses_, 1530, _apud. Sculteti annal. evang. renovat
      decas secunda_, pp. 313, 314.

_  367 Ibid._

  368 Hug says that his copy of Widmanstad’s edition had the Acts
      immediately following the Gospels.

  369 Epist. ad Paulinum.

  370 Hom. vii. in Josua.

  371 De Bibliorum textibus originalibus, &c., p. 654.

_  372 Ibid._, p. 664.

  373 See Zacagni’s _Collectanea monumentorum veterum Praefat_, p. lxxi.,
      &c.

  374 See Volkmar’s _Anhang_ to _Crednet’s Geschichte des N. T. Kanon_, p.
      341, &c.; and Hody _De Bibliorum textibus originalibus_, p. 644, &c.

_  375 Niemeyer’s Collectio Confessionum_, p. 468.

_  376 Ibid._, p. 330.

_  377 Ibid._, pp. 361, 362.

  378 See Herzog’s _Die Romanischen Waldenser_, p. 55, &c.; and his
      programm _De origine et pristino statu Waldensium_, &c., pp. 17, 40,
      41.

  379 Leger’s _Histoire des Eglises Vaudoises_, vol. i., p. 112, &c.

  380 The reason given for their being added as a separate appendix is
      that they are cited by some fathers and found in some Latin Bibles.

  381 Kimmel’s _Monumenta fidei eccles. orient_, part i. p. 467.

  382 Died 791 A.D.

_  383 Abhandlung von freier Untersuchung des Canons_, 4 parts, Halle,
      1771-1775.

  384 See Toland’s _Nazarenus_, p. 25, &c., second edition; and Morgan’s
      _Moral Philosopher_, vol. i. p. 56, &c.

  385 For example, “Moses is dead; his rule went out when Christ came—he
      is of no further service here.... We are willing to regard him as a
      teacher, but we will not regard him as our lawgiver, _unless he
      agree with the New Testament and the law of nature_.” _Sämmtliche
      Schriften_, ed. Walch. dritter Theil., pp. 7, 8.

  386 Such as Calovius, Chemnitz, John Gerhard, W. Lyser, Quenstedt,
      Brochmand, Hollaz, &c. Melancthon also makes no important
      distinction between the two Testaments in his _Loci theologici_.
      Calvin’s theology was derived from the Old Testament more than the
      New.

  387 His full sayings are collected in Bretschneider’s _Luther an unsere
      Zeit_, pp. 186-224; and in Krause’s _Opuscula theologica_, pp.
      205-241.

_  388 Loci Theologici_ Tom. i. pp. 186, 187, ed. Cotta, 1762.

_  389 Theologia Didactico-polemica_, p. 340.

  390 See Jones’s new and full method of settling the canonical authority
      of the New Testament, Vol. I., Part i., chap. 5. page 52, ed. 1726.

  391 Ecclesia sua autoritate nullum librum facit canonicum, quippe
      canonica scripturae autoritas est a solo Deo, &c. Gerhard’s _Loci
      Theologici_, tom. i. p. 4, ed. Cotta. Autoritas scripturæ quoad nos
      nihil allud est, quam manifestatio et cognitio unicæ illius divinæ
      et summæ autoritatis, quæ scriptum est interna et insita. Ecclesia
      igitur non confert scripturæ novam aliquam autoritatem quoad nos,
      sed testificatione sua ad agnitionem illius; veritatis nos deducit.
      Concedimus, ecclesiam esse scripturæ sacræ _testem, custodem,
      vindicem, praeconem, et interpretem_; sed negarnus, ex eo effici,
      quod autoritas scripturæ sive simpliciter sive quoad nos ab ecclesia
      pendeat et quidem unice, pendeat.—_Ibid._, tomus secundus, p. 39,
      ed. Cotta.





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