The Development of the Canon of the New Testament

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Early Lists of the Books of the New Testament

Catalogue inserted in codex Claromontanus
The Canon of Cyril of Jerusalem
The Cheltenham Canon
The Canon approved by the Synod of Laodicea
The Canon approved by the 'Apostolic Canons'
The Canon of Gregory of Nazianus
The Canon of Amphilochius of Iconium
The Canon approved by the third Synod of Carthage
The Decretum Gelasianum
Catalogue of the Sixty Canonical Books
The Stichometery of Nicephorus

The Canon approved by the 'Apostolic Canons' (~380 CE)

A series of 85 Canons (decrees) attributed to the apostles was compiled in the late 4th century by the redactor of the Apostolic Constitutions. This is the concluding Canon of the Latin version:

Canon 85. Let the following books be esteemed venerable and holy by all of you, both clergy and laity. [A list of books of the Old Testament ...] And our sacred books, that is, of the New Testament, are the four Gospels, of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John; the fourteen Epistles of Paul; two Epistles of Peter; three of John; one of James; one of Jude; two Epistles of Clement; and the Constitutions dedicated to you, the bishops, by me, Clement, in eight books, which is not appropriate to make public before all, because of the mysteries contained in them; and the Acts of us, the Apostles.

Note the omission of the Revelation of John and the addition of the two epistles of Clement.

In the Coptic translation, the Revelation of John follows Jude, and the word 'Clement' is followed by the clause etetneoshou hi bol, the significance of which has puzzled scholars. Tatam translated it as 'which you shall read out of', and Lightfoot translates it 'which ye shall read aloud'. Perhaps best is the translation of Guidi -- 'from which you are to read, outside' -- and to understand that the two Epistles of Clement, though outside the canon, may nevertheless be read.

Manuscripts of the Arabic version (probably made in Egypt) also have differences. Three manuscripts, dating from the 13th and 14th centuries, make no mention of the Epistles of Clement (omitting the puzzling clause too). In other manuscripts, following the mention of 'the Apocalypse, vision of John', the list concludes with 'the two Epistles of Clement in one book'.

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