WebDef: Canonical

Ca·no·ni·cal /kəˈnänək(ə)l/ – Adj: officially accepted into the list of recognized scripture. From the Greek ?a???, for measuring stick.

The Christian Bible is made up of a number of distinct books, beginning with Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and so on, through Revelation. This collection of books that gelled gradually in a process that took hundreds of years, and was still in flux at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD.

Around 383 AD a Latin Vulgate edition was commissioned, and a final list of which books were accepted as both accurate and authoritative was necessary. Finally, by the fifth century, there was widespread agreement throughout the community. Over the years, certain denominations have made some changes, so that not all texts are found in all versions of the Bible. For example, The Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, which is part of Catholic canon but not part of Protestant canon, is only found in in Catholic editions of the Bible. In addition, the Jewish Tanakh [Torah, Nevi'im (or Prophets), Ketuvim (or Writings), hence TaNaKh.] is not identical to the Christian Old Testament. Early Christians had relied on a Greek translation from 300 BCE, known as the Septuagent, and changes were still occurring in the Hebrew scripture in the Jewish community until about 100 AD.

See related Webdefs, including Scripture, and Apocrypha.

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WebDefs – simple definitions of key terms relating to ministry and healing arts – are a regular feature of NHM Ministrants. Offered (where applicable) in conjunction with select key scriptural passages and analysis, WebDefs can be a useful starting place for exploring a topic of interest.

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