“Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples…. To the law and to the testimony! If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city… to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy…”
“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David… for sin and for uncleanness… and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord… But he shall say, I am no prophet…”
Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha & Dead Sea Scrolls
Order of Contents
. Articles 14
. Books 12+
. Latin 2
. Articles 3
. Books 3
. Latin 1
. Articles 6+
. Books 1
. Latin 5+
The Biblical Canon
Institutes of the Christian Religion, bk. 1
ch. 7, ‘The Testimony of the Spirit Necessary to Give Full Authority to Scripture. The Impiety of Pretending that the Credibility of Scripture depends on the Judgment of the Church’
ch. 8, ‘The Credibility of Scripture Sufficiently Proved, insofar as Natural Reason Admits’
Ball, John – pp. 5-51 in A Short Treatise containing all the Principal Grounds of Christian Religion, by way of Questions & Answers… (1631)
Lyford, William – Ch. 1, sections 1 & 2 in The Instructed Christian, or the Plain Man’s Senses Exercised to Discern Both Good and Evil, being a discovery of the Errors, Heresies, & Blasphemies of these Times, & the Toleration of them… (†1653)
Leigh, Edward – pp. 28-29 of Bk. 1, ch. 3, ‘The Books of Scripture’ in A System or Body of Divinity (London, 1654)
Dickson, David – ch. 1, Question 7 in Truth’s Victory Over Error: or the True Principles of the Christian Religion Buy (1662)
Owen, John – Objection 3, pp. 635-38 of ‘The Testimony of the Church is not the Only, nor the Chief Reason of our Believing the Scripture to be the Word of God’ in Puritan Sermons, 5.606-48 & in Works, 8.495-543 See also the whole sermon in general.
In this section Owen answers well how it is conceptually possible that some of the early Church had not initially received some of the canonical books as canonical, such as Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John & Revelation, and how it sometimes received some of the books of the apocrypha as canonical.
Turretin, Francis – 2nd Topic, ‘The Holy Scriptures’, Questions 3-9 in Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 3 vols. Buy trans. James Dennison Jr. (1679–1685)
Hodge, Charles – ‘Ground of Faith in the Scriptures’ 28 paragraphs in Princeton Review (1845) & subsequently in Essays & Reviews (1857), pp. 185-200 being a review of an essay by James H. Thornwell entitled, “Review of the Arguments of Romanists from the Infallibility of the Church & Testimony of the Fathers in behalf of the Apocrypha, Discussed & Refuted.”
ch. 6, ‘The Canon of Scripture’ in Outlines of Theology (New York: Robert Carter, 1860), pp. 90-100
Lecture 4, ‘The Holy Scriptures–The Canon & Inspiration’ in Popular Lectures (Philadelphia: 1887), pp. 68-93
A.A. Hodge was the son of Charles Hodge and followed his father as a professor of systematic theology at Princeton.
Shedd, William, G.T. – Bibliology, ch. 4, ‘Canonicity of the Scriptures’ in Dogmatic Theology, vol. 1 Buy (1888), pp. 141-147
Briggs, Charles A. – General Introduction to the Study of Holy Scripture (New York: Scribner’s, 1899)
ch. 4, ‘History of the Canon of Holy Scripture’ (Bible to Reformation)
ch. 5, ‘Criticism of the Canon’ (Reformation to 1800’s)
Briggs (1841-1913) was an important liberal and scholar of his day. His work is included here for the useful information it contains; these sections are more conservative than might be expected from him. His survey of the OT is based on a form of the erroneous, liberal J.E.P.D. hypothesis.
Bahnsen, Greg – ‘The Concept & Importance of Canonicity’ 33 paragraphs
Kayser, Phillip – The Canon of Scripture: Biblical Presuppositions (2010) 54 pp.
An excellent, detailed summary and analysis of what the Bible itself testifies to as to its own formation, transmission, authority, cessation of special revelation and its sufficiency. The author is a partial-preterist in his interpretation of numerous prophecies.
Haines, David – ‘The Role of Natural Knowledge in Biblical Interpretation as Key to Solving the Protestant Problem’ (2018)
This is the rough draft of the author’s presentation at the Davenant Convivium in 2018.
Abstract: “This, then, is the protestant problem: How can we “infallibly” determine which doctrines are necessary for a person to be considered orthodox if the only authority for Protestant theology is the Bible, as interpreted by the individual reader? I will argue that natural knowledge of man, God, and the universe is necessary for biblical interpretation, and is a key element in a well-rounded solution to the protestant problem.”
Whitaker, William – 1st Controversy, 1st Question, ‘Of the Number of the Canonical Books of Scripture’ 84 pp. in A Disputation on Holy Scripture, Against the Papists, especially Bellarmine & Stapleton (†1595)
Cosin, John – A Scholastical History of the Canon of the Holy Scripture, or the Certain & Indubitate books thereof as they are received in the Church of England (Oxford: London, 1657) ToC
Cosin (1595-1672) was an Arminian Anglican. Archibald Alexander, in his work above, was much indebted to this work.
Du Pin, Louis Ellies – A Complete History of the Canon & Writers of the Books of the Old & New Testament: By Way of Dissertation with Useful Remarks on that Subject 2 vols in 1 (London : H. Rhodes, 1699)
Du Pin (1657-1719) was a Romanist, French ecclesiastical historian, and professor of philosophy at Paris. Beware that Romanism has traditionally included the Apocrypha in the Canon.
The Canon of the Old & New Testaments Ascertained: or the Bible Complete Without the Apocrypha & Unwritten Tradition HTML 1833 374 pp.
Alexander was the first professor of Old Princeton Seminary. See the remarks of T.H. Horne on this work: Manual, p. 154.
Evidences of the Authenticity, Inspiration, Canonical Authority of the Holy Scriptures (1906) 326 pp. This is a later expanded edition that includes A Brief Outline of the Evidences of the Christian Religion (1825) and parts of The Canon of the Old and New Testaments Ascertained (1833)
Wordsworth, Christopher – On the Canon of the Scriptures of the Old & New Testament, & on the Apocrypha: Eleven Discourses… being the Hulsean Lectures for the year 1847 (London, 1848) ToC Has valuable appendices, filled with original languages
Wordsworth (1807–1885) was an English bishop in the Anglican Church and a man of letters. He was the nephew of the poet William Wordsworth.
Cunningham, William – Theological Lectures: on Subjects Connected with Natural Theology, Evidences of Christianity, the Canon & Inspiration of Scripture Buy (1878) 625 pp. See especially lectures 33-35.
Cunningham was one of the great lights of the Free Church of Scotland. This collection of lectures in its subject matter forms an extended exposition of the first chapter of the Westminster Confession. Cunningham “had bestowed much care and labor upon their composition and revision, and that he had attached a special value to them as the first-fruits of his professional labors.”
The Canon of the Holy Scriptures: Examined in the Light of History Buy (1862) 469 pp.
Gaussen was a Swiss-Reformed pastor.
The Canon of the Holy Scriptures from the Double Point of View of Science & of Faith Buy (1863) 712 pp. Part I of this book (the first 410 pp.) is nearly identical to his other work on the topic of the Canon above. Part II (the last 300 pp.) is new.
Stowe, Calvin E. – Origin & History of the Books of the Bible, both the Canonical & the Apocryphal, Designed to Show What the Bible is Not, What it is & How to Use It (Hartford, CT: Hartford Publishing, 1868) ToC
Stowe (1802–1886) was an American Bible Scholar and a professor at Andover Theological Seminary, and the husband of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Harris, Robert Laird – Inspiration & Canonicity of the Bible Buy (1957)
Harris was an Old Testament scholar and minister in the Bible Presbyterian Church and the P.C.A.
“On a somewhat higher level, R. Laird Harris, Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible… is a basic, reliable work on canonization that covers most of the major issues. Harris lucidly argues that inspiration is the core principle of canonicity.” – Joel Beeke
“A masterly approach to the subject of bibliology.” – Cyril J. Barber
Lightfoot, Neil – How We Got the Bible (1963; rev. & exp. MJF Books, 2003) 225 pp. ToC
McRae, William J. – The Birth of the Bible Buy (1984)
“The beginning reader should consult William J. McRae, ‘The Birth of the Bible’… or Neil Lightfoot, ‘How We Got our Bible’… for a simple treatment of the establishment of the sacred canon of Scripture.” – Joel Beeke
Ridderbos, Herman – Redemptive History & the New Testament Scriptures Buy (1988)
Latin Books on the Biblical Canon
von Mastricht, Gerhard – The Ecclesiastical Canon of Sacred Scripture, Collected according to the Series of Ages after the Birth of Christ, & Illustrated by Notes of the Same… (Jena & Lobenstein, 1725)
von Mastricht (1639-1721) was reformed.
Schmid, Christian Frederick – The Old History, & a Vindication, of the Sacred Canon of the Old & New Testament (Leipzig, 1775) ToC
“An excellent treatise in which the canon of Scripture is most satisfactorily vindicated from the rash criticisms and assertions of Oeder, Semler, and other modern German theologians.” – T.H. Horne
The Old Testament Canon
Harrison, Roland K. – ‘The Canon of the Old Testament’ in modern editions of Young’s Analytical Concordance Buy
“…clear, concise, and sound.” – Joel Beeke
Beckwith, Roger – ‘Introduction’, ‘The Fact of the Canon’, (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f) of ‘The Identity of the Canonical Books: The Books Excluded As Uncanonical’ in The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church & its Background in Early Judaism Buy (1986) pp. 1-15, 63-104, 366-408, 419-33
“Beckwith’s book is the most significant contribution on canon in a century. His purpose is to describe the canon as it existed in the first century A.D., particularly the canon of Jesus’ day. He marshals strong evidence that Jesus’ canon was the same as that in contemporary Protestantism.” – Tremper Longman III, 5 out of 5 stars
Young, E.J. – ‘The Canon of the Old Testament’ (1958) 13 pp. in Carl F.H. Henry, ed., Revelation & the Bible. Contemporary Evangelical Thought, pp. 155-168
Books on the OT Canon
Lewis, Thomas – Book 8 in Origines Hebraeae: The Antiquities of the Hebrew Republic, vol. 4 (London, 1725), pp. 185-338
Blair, John – Lectures on the Canons of the Old Testament, comprehending a Dissertation on the Septuagint Version Ref (London, 1785) Available on ECCO
Blair (d. 1782) was a British clergyman, and chronologist.
Green, William – General Introduction to the Old Testament: vol. 1: the Canon (1911) 210 pp. ToC
Green (1825–1900) was an imminent, old Princeton, Hebrew scholar. ‘General’ in the title means that Green stays at the level of background issues that involve the whole O.T., as opposed to ‘special introduction’, which dives into the issues related to particular books.
“For a more scholarly approach to canonization, a diligent reading of… William Henry Green, General Introduction to the Old Testament, the Canon… will reap rewards, notwithstaning their datedness.” – Joel Beeke
Latin Article on the OT Canon
Hornemann, Claus Frees – ‘A Dissertation Setting Forth Observations to Illustrate the Doctrine of the Canon of the Old Testament out of Philo’ in A Second Specimen of Critical Exercises in the Version of the 70 Interpreters out of Philo, with A Dissertation Setting Forth Observations… Premitted… (Hauniae, 1776) The prefixed dissertation cannot be found in this edition. Other editions of the Dissertation exist, but have not been found on the net. Ref
The New Testament Canon
Eusebius – ch. 25, ‘The Divine Scriptures that are accepted and those that are not’ of Book 3 of Ecclesiastical History
Eusebius (A.D. 260/265 – 339/340) was a historian of Christianity, exegete, and a Christian polemicist.
Cunningham, William – Lectures 34-35, ‘Canon of the New Testament’ in Theological Lectures (1878), pp. 424-46
Cunningham was one of the great lights of the Free Church of Scotland.
“For a more scholarly approach to canonization, a diligent reading of William Cunningham’s essay on canonicity in his Theological Lectures… will reap rewards, notwithstanding their datedness.” – Joel Beeke
‘The Canon of the New Testament: How & When Formed’ 8 pp. in The Inspiration & Authority of the Bible, Appendix 1, pp. 411-19
Syllabus on the Canon of the New Testament in the Second Century (1881) 91 pp. in Five Papers
Article 2, ‘The Canonicity of Second Peter’ in Southern Presbyterian Review, vol. 33, No. 1 (Jan., 1881) 45-75
Harrison, Everett F. – ‘The Canon of the New Testament’ in modern editions of Young’s Analytical Concordance Buy
“…clear, concise, and sound.” – Joel Beeke
Ridderbos, Herman – The Canon of the New Testament (1959) 13 pp. in Revelation & the Bible. Contemporary Evangelical Thought, ed. Carl Henry
Book on the N.T.
Jones, Jeremiah – A New & Full Method of Settling the Canonical Authority of the New Testament…, vol. 1, 2, 3 (Oxford, 1798) Jones argues for the orthodox canon.
On this work, see T.H. Horne, Manual, p. 152. Archibald Alexander, in his work above, was much indebted to Jones’s work.
Latin Works on the NT Canon
Ens, Johannes – The Sacred Library, or on the Canon of the Books of the New Testament, in which is drawn out the history of the first collection of the Sacred Books of the New Testament… (Amsterdam, 1710) 464 pp. ToC Index Scripture Index
Ens (1682-1732) was a reformed professor of theology at Utrecht, Netherlands.
Mosheim, Johann Lorenz – Ch. 2, ‘A Defense for the Canon of the New Testament’ in Old Vindications of the Instruction [Disciplinae] of Christians, contra the Celebrated Johann Toland… (Hamburg, 1722), pp. 342-71
Mosheim (1693-1755) was a Luthern ecclesiastical historian, and is often regarded as the father of modern, critical Church history.
A Theological Tract on the Epistles of the Apostles being their Own, in that the Apostles wrote their Letters not by Amanuensis, but by their own hand, lucidly Demonstrated (Guelpherbyti, 1751) 128 pp. ToC
Stosch (1717-1780) was a German reformed theologian.
Apostolikon Olokleron Hoc Est Tractatvs Theologicvs De Epistolis Apostolorum Non Deperditis: Quo Nullam Ex Epistolis Ab Apostolis Jesu Christi Exaratis Periisse Luculenter Demonstratur… Ref (Groningen, 1753) [A Theological Tract, that the Epistles of the Apostles have not Perished, and that No Lost Epistles of the Apostles of Jesus Christ have been dug up, Lucidly Demonstrated]
Salthenius, Daniel – A Commentary on the History of the Sacred Text of the Canon of the New Covenant… (1752) 242 pp. no ToC
Salthenius (1701-1750) was a Swedish educator and Protestant theologian.
Stosch, Eberhard Heinrich Daniel – A Historical-Critical Commentary on the Canon of the Books of the New Testament, with a Dissertation on the Care of the Old Church about the books of the New Testament Prefaced (Frankfurt, 1755) 311 pp. ToC
Stosch (1716-1781) was a reformed professor of theology at Duisburg & Frankfurt.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son”
“…all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms…”