ATHANASIUS: Early Christian theologian and defender of Christian orthodoxy against Arianism. He studied philosophy and theology at Alexandria, Egypt, and in 325 he attended the Council of Nicaea, which condemned the Arian heresy. In 328 he was appointed patriarch of Alexandria, but theological disputes led to the first of several banishments in 336. He returned from exile repeatedly and resumed his office, but Arian opposition continued. After being banished by Constantius II in 356, he lived in a remote desert in Upper Egypt and wrote theological treatises, incl. his Four Orations Against the Arians. The emperor's death in 361 gave him a brief respite under the toleration proclaimed by Julian, but a controversy with Julian's heathen subjects forced him to flee into the Theban desert. At the time of his death he again possessed the see at Alexandria.


COPTIC:The latest form of the Egyptian language but written with mostly Greek letters and still used to some extent in religious functions of the Coptic Christian church.


CODEX MURATORIAN: (350 CE)  The Muratorian canon, named after L.A. Muratori  (EXHIBIT A)  The manuscript is mutilated in the beginning, but we can conclude that it has four Gospels, Acts, 13 Paulís epistles, Jude, 2 of Johnís letter, Apocalypse of John (Revelation) and of Peter (revelation), and Wisdom of Solomon. Apocalypse of Peter (revelation) now does not belong to our New Testament (Exhibit A), while Wisdom of Solomon is now part of (Catholic not Protestant) Old Testament. The compiler mentioned about Shepherd of Hermas which can be read but not to be given to people. He also wrote about Paulís epistle to Laodicean (Col 4:16) and to Alexandrines which he claimed to be forged. Hence, the Muratorian Canon rejects the Shepherd of Hermas and Pauline letters to the Laodiceans and Alexandrians. It also rejects the writings of the Gnostic Valentinus.


CODEX IRANAEUS: named after Iranaeus, bishop of Lyon (c. 170 CE) quoted Shepherd of Hermas as scripture (EXHIBIT A). In his two literary works (against Heresies and Demonstration of Apostolic Preaching), Iranaeus quoted from 1 and 2 John, 1 Peter and most likely knew all 13 Paulís epistles (except Philemon), and maybe James and Hebrews and Revelation. Close to the end of 2nd century, Tertullian of Carthage in his work mentioned the four Gospels, Acts, 13 Paulís epistles, 1 Peter, 1 John, Jude and Revelation. He mentioned Hebrews as the work of Barnabas and in his judgment was worthy to be included in the canon.


CODEX ORIGEN: (185 - 254 CE) distinguished the undisputed and the disputed books of  The New Testament (EXHIBIT A). The former consisted of the four gospels, Acts, Pauline epistles, 1 Peter, 1 John and Revelation. The latter consisted of 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, James, Jude, Didache and he referred Epistle of Barnabas as Catholic epistle (a term now applied to all non Pauline seven epistles). He was the first known Christian writer to mention 2 Peter. He also considered Shepherd of Hermas as scripture and mentioned about Gospel according to Hebrews and Acts of Paul and some other books.


CODEX CYPRIAN? Cyprian in the third century listed four Gospels, Acts, 9 Paulís epistles (minus Philemon), 1 Peter, 1 John and Revelation. He also cited Shepherd of Hermas as scripture and recognized Didache as apostolic quotations.


CODEX EUSEBIUS: Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea in Palestine (314 - 339 CE) divided New Testament books into three categories: universally acknowledged, disputed and spurious. The first consisted of the four gospels, Acts, Pauline 14 epistles (including Hebrews), 1 John, 1 Peter and Revelation. The second category included James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John; while books like Acts of Paul, Shepherd of Hermas, Apocalypse of Peter, Epistle of Barnabas, Didache, but also Revelation belonged to the third category. Note that Revelation was listed both as the first and the third category. It shows the two different opinions of the canonicity of Revelation, which was especially true among the eastern churches. He also mentioned Gospel of Peter, which was read and appreciated by Christians in the second century and quoted by Justin Martyr. Eusebius also mentioned as heretical books like Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Matthias and groups of books of Acts bearing names of apostles (Paul, Peter, Andrew, John and Thomas). All these books and others which do not belong to our present New Testament canon are now known as New Testament apocrypha. (Exhibit A).


CODEX ATHANASIUS: In 367 CE, Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria gave the list of 27 New Testament books, for the first time without making any distinction of them and which now becomes our New Testament. However, there appears to be other books in it to which are no longer part of our New Testament such as Didache and Shepard of the Hermas (Exhibit A).


CODEX COUNCIL OF LAODICEA   (c 363 CE) gave the list of 26 New Testament books (Revelation was not included) (Exhibit A).


CODEX CYRIL OF JERUSALEM:  (386 CE) The list of 26 New Testament books (Revelation was not included). (Exhibit A)


CODEX GREGORY OF NAZIANZEN: (386 CE) The list of 26 New Testament books (Revelation was not included). (Exhibit A)


CODEX AMPHILOCHIUS:   (395 CE) Amphilochius of Iconium gave the 27 books but mentioned that some of them (Hebrews, 2 and 3 John, 2 Peter, Jude and Revelation) as spurious. (Exhibit A)


CODEX JOHN OF CHRYSOSTOM:   Bishop of Constantinopel from (370 to 407 CE) gave list which excluded 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude and Revelation. He appeared to be the first who used the phrase "the books" (which later became "the Bible") to refer to both Old and New Testaments. (Exhibit A)


CODEX SYRIAC CHURCH:   (600 CE) The Syriac churchís earliest canon of New Testament consisted of either 4 gospels or Diatessaron, Acts and  Paulís epistles and the Pastorals. From early fifth century it included also James, 1 Peter and 1 John. Not until 508 CE, the monophysite branch of Syriac church finally included the other five books while the other branch, Nestorians accepts only 22 books to this day. (Exhibit A)


CODEX JEROME:  (419 CE) At the order of pope Damasus I, Jerome translated the 27 books into Latin (Vulgate) (Exhibit A). Augustine in the fifth century listed the 27 books in his work, "On Christian Learning". Those 27 books were later declared at the Council of Hippo in 393 CE and at Third Council of Carthage in 397 CE. The same councils also declared the list of Old Testament books which now become Catholic Old Testament. The sixth Council of Carthage in 419 CE repromulgated the (same) canon of Bible. It can be said that the 27 books of New Testament (together with Catholic Old Testament books) were determined in the fourth century. Among the 27 books, seven (James, Jude, Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John and Revelation) books entered the list after some disputes. They are more or less the same as "deuterocanonical" books of Catholic Old Testament (which were dropped from most of Protestant Old Testament). The above councils also show the authority of the Church to define which books belong to Old and New Testaments. It is true that those councils were not ecumenical councils, hence they did not speak for the whole church. This fact was shown by the existence of different list of books in some of early manuscripts made in and after 4th century.  



CODEX SINAITICUS:(4th Century) has all 27 books of our present New Testament, but also includes Epistle of Barnabas and Shepherd of Hermas. (Exhibit A)


CODEX VATICANUS: (4th century) was torn at the end, so does not reveal the whole list; the existing part consists of 21 books and part of Hebrews of our present New Testament. (Exhibit A)


CODEX ALEXANDRINUS: (5th century) has the 27 books plus 1 and 2 Clement. (Exhibit A)


CODEX CLAROMONTANUS: (4th century) has no Phil, 1 and 2 Thes and Heb but includes Epistle of Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, Acts of Paul and Revelation of Peter. (Exhibit A)


CODEX CHELTENHAM: (4th century) list, now known as Cheltenham list has only 4 gospels, 13 Pauline epistles (minus Hebrews), Acts, Revelation, 1 John and 1 Peter. (Exhibit A)


CANON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: The completion of the Old Testament occurred by a Synod at Jabneh between 90 and 100 A.D., a group of rabbis decided which books were to be regarded as genuine. (Exhibit A)


COUNCIL OF TRENT: As a response to Reformation, Catholic Church reaffirmed the canonicity of 27 books of New Testament (and 45 books of Old Testament) at Ecumenical Council (19) of Trent. For Catholics, council of Trent gave the final list of books of the Bible; no one (not even Pope) can add or drop any book into or from the Bible. (Exhibit A)


CLEMENT : (96 CE):  bishop of Rome, also an early Christian writer. (Exhibit A)


DIATESSARON: (165 CE) the four Gospels combined into one in a chronological order with Gospel of John as framework. The Diatessaron quotes from the Gospel according to the Hebrews  when it referred to a light which shone around at Jesus baptism. This Diatessaron was in use in Syrian church until early fifth century when they gave up (reluctantly) for the four separate gospels. (Exhibit A)


DIDACHE: (50-300 A.D.) A manual on Christianity (Exhibit A)


ECUMENICAL COUNCIL:  Ecumenical councils  have the authority to speak for the whole church because Bishops from all denominations are present to ratify a new belief.


NON-ECUMENICAL COUNCIL:  Non-Ecumenical councils do not have the authority to speak for the whole church because Bishops from all denominations are not present to ratify a new doctrine.


EDICT OF MILAN: The Edit of Milan was a proclamation, initiated by Constantine in the West, but agreed to by Licinius in the East, by which Christianity was given legal status, equal to paganism if not a little superior to it. Persecution in any form from 313 was supposed to come to a stop.


GNOSTICISM: From the Greek word for knowledge, gnosis, this movement flourished in the second century. Its most characteristic doctrines include redemption apart from the material world, a dualist worldview that held that different gods were responsible for creation and redemption, and the importance of secret gnosis in salvation. Christian Gnostics emphasized certain wise teachings of Jesus, but denied his suffering and his humanity. Most Gnostic writings were destroyed by the early church.


IGNATIUS (110 CE): bishop of Antioch, also an early Christian writer.

MARCIONISM. One of the first collections of the New Testament (c 140 CE) (EXHIBIT A). His "canon" consisted of Gospel of Luke and 10 Paulís epistles that he referred as Gospel and Apostle. He declared that God of Old Testament was different with the One whom Jesus spoke. For this reason he rejected all Old Testament books. He broke away from Rome and established his own church. His counterpart, Valentinus also broke away from Rome and founded a gnostic school. He wrote The Gospel of Truth, which is not a rival gospel but a mediation on the true gospel of Christ. It alludes to Matthew and Luke (and possibly Acts), Gospel and first epistle of John, 10 Paulís epistles (minus the three Pastorals), Hebrews and Revelation. Both Marcion and Valentinus prompted the Church to define what belonged to written apostolic teaching, thus starting the collection of New Testament books.  Marcion was brought up in a Christian home as his father was the bishop of Sinope in Pontus.  He was convinced that the material world is evil and he was anti Jewish in his teachings. Marcion believed that Jehovah and God are two separate persons.  The Fatherís purpose was to have a spiritual world, but Jehovah out of his ignorance and evil intent created this material world and made man. Jehovah is vindictive and constantly punishes who would disobey him. As a result Marcion did not believe in the Old Testament.  The Old Testament was by an inferior god and it should not be read in the Church. On the other hand the Father God is not vindictive but a loving, compassionate and the forgiving supreme God; he sent his Son Jesus to save man, he gives salvation freely. Marcion denied that Jesus had a real body and denied his deity. Jesus came to deal with sin. Marcion wrote a gospel in A.D. 130 (EXHIBIT A)  and called it the gospel of the Lord.  Also, he compiled a list of books that should be read in the church. He included Luke and the epistles of Paul, regarding Paulís reference to the Old Testament that was the work of the Judaizers taking away the original message. Marcion attempted to compile a New Testament. Marcion was ex-communicated and the church responded to his challenge by compiling the sacred writings of the apostles.

MARTIN LUTHER: preacher during the reformation in sixteenth century. Luther  included James, Jude, Hebrews and Revelation in his list of New Testament, he considered them to have inferior status. He particularly disliked James that he labeled (in his 1522 German translation of New Testament) as "Epistle of Straw." In addition, he added the word "only" in Romans 4:28 to support his doctrine of "sola fide" or "salvation by faith alone." (Exhibit A)



A branch of the Syriac Church, the monophysite branch of The Syriac church includes the 27 books that most other Christian denominations include; however, the  Nestorians accept only 22 books to this day.  Monophysite  doctrines  argue against the two natures of Christ. The Fourth Ecumenical Council (EXHIBIT B) fought against the Monophysites doctrines.


MONTANISM - A prophetic movement that broke out in Phrygia in Roman Asia Minor (Turkey) around 172. Montanism was a Christian apocalyptic movement that arose in the 2d century. It took its name from Montanus, (EXHIBIT A) a Phrygian, who, shortly after his baptism as a Christian (156 or 172 AD), claimed to have received a revelation from the Holy Spirit to the effect that he, as representative prophet of the Spirit, would lead the Christian church into its final stage. Aided by two women, Maximilla and Priscilla (or Prisca), Montanus founded a sect of enthusiasts who preached the imminent end of the world, austere morality, and severe penitential discipline. They forbade second marriages, denied the divine nature of the church, and refused forgiveness for sins that persons committed after baptism. Montanus called for less church hierarchy and more charismatic prophecy. He regarded a life of seclusion and contempt of the world as the only true Christian ideal. The Montanists seem to have sought renewal of the church from within through a rebirth of the religious enthusiasm that had marked Christian beginnings. By the 3d century, however, they had established separate communities in which women and men were admitted to presbyterate and episcopacy. Tertullian became one of the movement's adherents. As a spiritual and charismatic movement, Montanism posed a threat to the emerging church hierarchy. Despite a series of condemnations and continued opposition from orthodox Christian writers, however, Montanism did not disappear until about the 6th century.


NESTORIANS:   A branch of The Syriac Church, the monophysite branch of The Syriac church includes the 27 books that most other Christian denominations include; however, the Nestorians accept only 22 books to this day. Nestorius was Bishop of Constantinople;  Nestorius taught that in Jesus there were two separate persons, he also taught that Mary was the mother of Christ, but not the mother of God. The Third Ecumenical Council (EXHIBIT B) rejected his teachings and upheld the Church's position that Mary was, indeed, the mother of God.

POLYCARP: (110-120 CE) Bishop of Smyrna, also an early Christian writer.


PAPIAS: (125 CE) bishop of Hierapolis, formed a canon that was known to know at least  two Gospels (Matthew and Mark). (EXHIBIT A)



The name given since Griesbach's time (about 1790) to the first three canonical Gospels. It is derived from the fact that these Gospels admit -- differently from the evangelical narrative of St. John, of being arranged and harmonized section by section, so as to allow the eye to realize at a glance (synopsis) the numerous passages which are common to them, and also the portions which are peculiar either to only two, or even to only one, of them.


TATIAN: (165 CE) a disciple of Justin Martyr who introduced the Diatessaron (Exhibit A)



(c.AD 155-after 220) Early Christian theologian and moralist. Born and educated in Carthage, he became impressed by the courage, morality, and uncompromising monotheism of Christian martyrs, and converted to Christianity. He became a leading member of the African church and one of the early Apologists. He devoted himself to writing for 20 years, producing works on such topics as defense of the faith, prayer and devotion, and morality, as well as the first Christian book on baptism, De baptismo. Later, dismayed by the laxity he witnessed among even his orthodox contemporaries, he joined the prophetic movement known as Montanism, then left it to form his own sect, which survived in Africa until the 5th cent.


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  2. Hunt, D. (1994). A Woman Rides the Beast, Harvest House Publishers, Oregon, USA.
  3. McCarthy, J.G. (1995). The Gospel According to Rome, Harvest House Publishers, Oregon, USA.
  4. Zins, R.M. (1995). Romanism: The Relentless Roman Catholic Assault on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, White Horse Publications, Alabama, USA.
  5. Encyclopedia Britannica: Online at Yahoo!