Background Chart: Development of the Old Testament Canons

PALESTINE (JUDAH)
Jehoiakin, son of Jehoiachim (2 Kings 24:6) r. 598 BC
[1]
Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kgs 24-25) r. 605-562 BC
[4]
[2]
Zedekiah, r. 597-586 BC
(2 Kgs 25:26; Jer 42:14;43:7)
(2 Kgs 25:1)
(2 Chr 36:20; Jer 52:28)
EGYPT
[3]
BABYLON
c. 586 BC
(2 Kgs 25:12,22; Jer 40:11; Eze 33:27)
c. 586 BC
DIASPORA BEGINS
"remnant"
DIASPORA BEGINS
[5]
(2 Chr 36:20,23)
PERSIA
Cyrus
r. 538-529 BC
[6]
Ezra and Nehemiah
Return from exile
(Ezra 7:28; Neh 2:11)
538-445 BC
440 BC
(Ezra 1:5)
[7]
Alexander the Great
r. 334-332 BC
(1 Mc 1:1-4)
founded Alexandria in 332 BC
Alexandria is capital of Egypt
ALEXANDRIA
PALESTINE
[9] Additional Revelation
[8] Biblical silence
DIASPORA continues
DIASPORA continues
3rd - 1st centuries BC
3rd - 1st centuries BC
SEPTUAGINT ("LXX"): [10]
HEBREW CANON collected.
Greek translation.
Hebrew a dying language; dead by 135 AD.
Greek the common language.
Aramaic the common language.
CHRISTIAN ERA
c. 100 AD
NT writers worked with LXX; 300 of 350 OT quotes in the NT are from LXX; Unfixed canon.
Council of Rabbis at Jamnia collected a Hebrew canon of 22/24 books; perhaps pressured by needs of Apostolic Church; Unfixed canon.
c. 200 AD: [11]
Fixed canon: end of 2nd century;
Fixed canon: end of 2nd, early 3rd century.
Melito of Sardis, c. 170 AD
ALEXANDRIAN CANON
PALESTINIAN CANON
45/46 books
39 books (Lamentations was considered a part of Jeremiah)
[12]
383-384 AD: Latin the common language
LATIN VULGATE OT
Rome: St. Jerome
supplied from the Greek the parts not included in the Jewish canon.
based directly on the Hebrew text of the OT as preserved by the Jews
[13]
393 AD: Council of Hippo (North Africa): approved list of OT and NT canon, the same as the Council of Trent list.
397 AD: Council of Carthage (North Africa): approved list of OT and NT canon, the same as the Council of Trent list.
[14]
1452-1455 AD: GUTENBERG BIBLE
Canon of the Council of Trent, 1563, Roman Catholic
Canon of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformers, 1529


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By Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics, © Copyright 1985-1997, Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture texts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament, © 1986, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.
Email comments to pdflan@catholicapologetics.org

Last Updated: January 3, 1997

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