26 Apr 2010

Biblical canon

Submitted by Stephen Winters
TitleBiblical canon
Publication TypeWeb Article
Year of Publication2010
Access Year2010
Access DateApril 26, 2010

A Biblical canon or canon of scripture[1] is a list or set of Biblical books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community, generally in Judaism or Christianity. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources.[2] The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example: the Masoretic Text is the canonical text for Judaism.

The canons listed below are usually considered closed (i.e., books cannot be added or removed[3]). The closure of the canon reflects a belief that public revelation has ended and thus the inspired texts may be gathered into a complete and authoritative canon.[4] By contrast, an open canon permits the addition of additional books through the process of continuous revelation.

These canonical books have been developed through debate and agreement by the religious authorities of their respective faiths. Believers consider these canonical books to be inspired by God or to express the authoritative history of the relationship between God and His people. Books such as the Jewish-Christian Gospels, excluded from the canon, are considered non-canonical — however, many disputed books considered non-canonical or even apocryphal by some are considered Biblical apocrypha or Deuterocanonical or fully canonical by others. There are differences between the Jewish and Christian canons, and between the canons of different Christian denominations. The differing criteria and processes of canonization dictate what the communities regard as the inspired books.

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