Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Canon Discussion: Terms and Definitions

I realized my posts on the canon use a lot of terms that people who are not familiar with the topic may find confusing. Below are some excerpts from Wikipedia to help define things – follow the link to Wiki for a full explanation.

-A biblical canon is a list of Biblical books which establishes the set of books which are considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular Jewish or Christian community. (Protestants and Catholics disagree on the biblical canon).

Deuterocanonical Books
-The Deuterocanonical books of the Bible are books considered by the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Christianity to be canonical parts of the Christian Old Testament but are not present in the Hebrew Bible, which is often described as protocanonical….Protestant Christians usually do not classify any texts as "deuterocanonical"; they either omit them from the Bible, or include them in a section designated Apocrypha. (these books are the difference between the Catholic and Protestant bibles).

Council of Trent
-The Council of Trent is the Nineteenth Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church. It was convened three times between December 13, 1545 and December 4, 1563 in the city of Trent (modern Trento, Alto Adige) as a response to the theological and ecclesiological challenges of the Protestant Reformation. It is considered one of the most important councils in the history of the Catholic Church, clearly specifying Catholic doctrines on salvation, the sacraments, and the Biblical canon.

Ecumenical Council
-An Ecumenical Council (also sometimes Oecumenical Council) or general council is a meeting of the bishops of the whole Church convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice. (only the decrees of an ecumenical council are infallible and binding)

-The Vulgate is an early 5th century version of the Bible in Latin which is largely the result of the labors of Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations. The Vulgate was a substantial improvement over these earlier translations. Its Old Testament is the first Latin version translated directly from the Hebrew Tanakh rather than from the Greek Septuagint. It became the definitive and officially promulgated Latin version of the Bible of the Roman Catholic Church.

Septuagint (LXX)
-The Septuagint, or simply "LXX", is the name commonly given in the West to the Koine Greek version of the Old Testament, translated in stages between the 3rd to 1st century BC in Alexandria. (The Septuagint was used by early Christians and contained the deuterocanonicals)

Masoretic Text (MT)
-The Masoretic Text (MT) is the Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible (Tanakh). It defines not just the books of the Jewish canon, but also the precise letter-text of the biblical books in Judaism, as well as their vocalization and accentuation for both public reading and private study. The MT is also widely used as the basis for translations of the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles, and in recent decades also for Catholic Bibles.

-The biblical apocrypha includes texts written in the Jewish and Christian religious traditions that either: 1) were accepted into the biblical canon by some, but not all, Christian faiths, or 2) whose canonicity or lack thereof is not yet certain, or are frequently printed in Bibles despite their non-canonical status.

I will add to this list as needed.


Reginald de Piperno said...


Since this is a list of terms and definitions, perhaps you ought to add a "Glossary" tag/label and tag this post with it. That way you don't have to add new stuff to this specific post, and your glossary will always be readily visible in the sidebar.

Hope this helps.

Carrie said...

That's a good idea. Thanks!