A NEW
CATHOLIC COMMENTARY
ON
HOLY SCRIPTURE

Rev. Reginald C. Fuller D.D., Ph.D., L.S.S. General Editor

Rev. Leonard Johnston S.T.L., L.S.S.
Old Testament Editor

Very Rev. Conleth Kearns O.P., D.S.S.
New Testament Editor

With a foreword by
the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

Nihil obstat: Nicholas Tranter, S.T.L.
Lionel Swain, S.T.L., L.S.S.
Censors

Imprimatur: + John Cardinal Heenan

 

THE FORMATION AND HISTORY
OF THE CANON

OLD TESTAMENT CANON
BY R. C. FULLER

NEW TESTAMENT CANON
BY R. J. FOSTER

 

Bibliography-General: J. Hiilscher, Kanonisch und Apokryph, 1905; H. Hdpfl, 'Canonicite', DBS 1(1928), 1022--45 with ample bibliography; S. Zarb, Historia Canonis Utriusque Testamenti, 1934; F. Kenyon, Our Bible and the Ancient Monuscripts, 1958; Barucq-Cazelles, 'Le Canon des livres inspires', in RF 1957; J. H. Crehan, 'Canon' in Diet. of Catholic Theology, I (1962), 321ff.

OT Canon: H. E. Ryle, The Canon of the OT, 1899; B. J. Roberts, The OT Text and Versions, 1951; H. H. Rowley, The Growth of the OT, 1950; H. B. Swete, Introd. to the OT in Greek, 1914; A. Jeffery,' The Canon of the OT' in IB 1, 32ff; R. H. Pfeiffer, 'The Canon of the OT' in IDB, 498--530; H. F. Hahn, The OT in Modern Research, 1954; E. G. Kraeling, The OT since the Reformation, 1955; A. C. Sundberg, The OT of the Early Church, 1964; B. J. Roberts, The OT Canon; a suggestion, 1963; F. V. Filson, Which Books belong to the Bible, 1957.

NT Canon: B. F. Westcott, A General Survey of the Canon of the NT; K. Aland, The Problem of the NT Canon, 1962; F. W. Beare, 'The Canon of the NT' in IDB, 520-32; H. F. D. Sparks, The Formation of the NT, 1952; M-J. Lagrange, Histoire ancienne du Canon du NT, 1933.

Articles: R. E. Murphy, A. C. Sundberg and S. Sandmel, 'A Symposium on the Canon of Scripture', CBB, 28 (1966), 189--207; D. Barthelemy, 'L’Ancien Testament a muri a Alexandrie', TZ 21 (1965), 358-70; P. W. Skehan, 'The Biblical Scrolls from Qumran and the Text of the OT', BA, 28 (1965), 87-100; A. Jepsen, 'Kanon und Text des AT' TLZ 74 (1949), 65--74; F. Hesse, 'Das AT als Kanon?', Neue Zeitschrift fiir Systematische Theologie, 3 ~1961), 315-27; E. Flesserman van Leer, ZTHK (1964), 404--20; P. W. Skehan, 'The Biblical Scrolls from Qumran and the Text of the OT' in BA 28 (1965), 87-100.

Meaning of 'Canon'--The Creek word which we translate as 'Canon' originally signified a rod or bar and so it came to mean a measuring rod. Then it was used metaphorically for any rule or standard of excellence in art or literature,--thus the ancient Creek authors were called canons (kanones)--or for a rule of conduct as by St Paul, Gal. 6:16. Similarly, the rules, decisions and decrees enacted by the Church to be the standard of doctrine, discipline and worship were called canons, and for a like reason men talked of the canon of Scripture or the canonical Scriptures because they contained the rule or standard of faith and morals. But this is not the sense in which the phrase 'Canon of the Scripture' is commonly used. It is usually taken to mean the collection or list of books acknowledged and accepted by the Church as inspired, i.e. Canon is taken in the passive sense of the books conforming to the rule for their acceptance as inspired works. Hence, the list would serve to distinguish sacred from profane writings. Similarly, books are said to be canonical or canonized when they form part of the canon. The earliest certain evidence of this usage is from the works of Athanasius (c. 350) although there are some who believe (from indications in Latin versions of his works) that it was used much earlier by Origen (d. 254). This Scriptural Canon comprises the OT and NT.

Note. The inclusion of books in the Canon of Scripture, whether Jewish or Christian, was a long, and often unconscious, historical process. For the first Christians, "The Scriptures" were the OT, and that included the books current in both Palestinian and Alexandrian Jewish communities. But for a long time no attempt was made to determine precisely the limits of the collection, see 15 bc; 21ab. Regarding the NT Canon, Aland has pointed out that it should not be treated in isolation from the OT. The Christian Canon of Scripture is an indivisible unity and should be treated as such (Problem of NT Canon, p. 2).

 

 

 

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