The Development of the Canon of the New Testament

Home | Authorities | Writings | Table | Lists | Places | Heresies | Miscellaneous | for more Information

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 of Gregory of Nazianus (329-389 CE)

The distinguished theologian and contemporary of Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianus, toward the end of his life drew up in verse (perhaps as an aid to the memory of his readers) a catalogue of the Biblical books. It is in iambic verse, the lineation of which (but not the rhythm) is preserved.

[List of books of the Old Testament ...]
But now count also [the books] of the New Mystery;
Matthew indeed wrote for the Hebrews the wonderful works of Christ,
And mark for Italy, Luke for Greece,
John, the great preacher, for all, walking in heaven.
Then the Acts of the wise apostles,
And fourteen Epistles of Paul,
And seven Catholic [Epistles], of which James is one,
Two of Peter, three of John again.
And Jude's is the seventh, You have all.
If there is any besides these, it is not among the genuine [books].

Concerning the Old Testament, he agrees with Athanasius, but concerning the New Testament he differs by placing the Catholic Epistles after the Pauline Epistles and, more significantly, in omitting the Revelation of John. However, Gregory knows of existence of the Revelation of John, and on rare occasions in his other works he quotes from it.

The list was ratified by the Trullan Synod in 692 CE.

Pages created by Glenn Davis, 1997-2010.
For additions, corrections, and comments send e-mail to