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 third Synod of Carthage (397 CE)

The first council that accepted the present New Testament canon was the Synod of Hippo Regius in North Africa (393 CE); however, the acts of the council are lost. A brief summary of the acts was read at and accepted by the third Synod of Carthage.

Canon 24. Besides the canonical Scriptures, nothing shall be read in church under the name of divine Scriptures. Moreover, the canonical Scriptures are these: [then follows a list of Old Testament books]. The [books of the] New Testament: the Gospels, four books; the Acts of the Apostles, one book; the Epistles of Paul, thirteen; of the same to the Hebrews; one Epistle; of Peter, two; of John, apostle, three; of James, one; of Jude, one; the Revelation of John. Concerning the confirmation of this canon, the transmarine Church shall be consulted. On the anniversaries of martyrs, their acts shall also be read.
Note that Hebrews is listed separately from the other 13 epistles.

According to Zahn, in 419 another Synod held at Carthage gave the concluding words in the following form:

... Fourteen Epistles of Paul ..... the Revelation of John, one book. Let this be sent to our brother and fellow-bishop, Boniface [of Rome], and to the other bishops of those parts, that they may confirm this canon, for these are the things that we have received from our fathers to be read in church.

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