Dates that Impacted Formation of the Christian Old Testament

Part of the Lost Books of the Bible For Dummies Cheat Sheet

In the last two centuries before Jesus, Jewish writings translated into Greek (including Greek translations of the older Hebrew works not included in the Hebrew Bible) started to come together to form the Christian Bible, more specifically the Old Testament. These dates are important to the development of the Old Testament:

  • 30–33 CE: Jesus quotes from many passages of Hebrew scripture but leaves his followers with no list for a "Bible."

  • 40–60 CE: Saint Paul quotes from the Hebrew scriptures but doesn't discuss lists or a canon.

  • 150–160 CE: Justin the Martyr refers to the Hebrew Bible as "scriptures" for Christians.

  • 363 CE: The Council of Laodicea (59th Statement) restricts readings in the Church to the accepted books, but the 60th Statement that immediately follows, which consists of a list of books, is widely disputed as inauthentic (or added years later) and doesn't include Revelation.

  • 367 CE: The Festal Letter of Athansius provides the first full list of Old and New Testament books for Christians and even lists books that were appreciated but not included as well as a few titles generally rejected. Most scholars agree that this is truly the first list in possession for the Christian canon of the Bible.

  • 1546 CE: The Council of Trent of the Roman Catholic Church makes its list of the Old Testament official, and henceforth, Catholics reaffirm their use of the "Deutero-Canonical" books in their Old Testament.

  • 1950 CE: The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church makes its decision about the Old Testament, including 2 Ezra and 3 Maccabees. It places 4 Maccabees in an appendix.

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