The Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Canons of the Old Testament

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

– John 1:1

The Old Testament Canons of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Christianity

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The Three Old Testament Canons of Christianity

I. Protestant Christianity: 39 Books

II. Roman Catholicism: 46 Books

III. Eastern Orthodoxy: 51 Books

The Protestant Old Testament Canon of 39 Books is less than 500 years old. It contains the exact same text of the Hebrew, or Jewish, Bible that is also called the Tanakh. Even though the Tanakh consists of only 24 Books, the same set of documents has been organized into the 39 Books of the Protestant Old Testament. The Protestant Canon comes mostly from Bibles translated into the German, Scandinavian, and English languages

The Catholic Old Testament Canon of 46 Books is more than 1,600 years old. The earliest list comes from the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. and comes mainly from Bibles translated into the Latin and sometimes Greek languages.

The Eastern Orthodox Old Testament Canon of 51 Books is nearly as old as the Catholic Canon and comes mainly from the Septuagint, a Bible that was translated into Greek centuries before Christianity even began.

I. The 39 Books of the Protestant Old Testament

1) The Book of Genesis, 2) The Book of Exodus, 3) The Book of Leviticus, 4) Book of Numbers, 5) The Book of Deuteronomy, 6)The Book of Joshua, 7) The Book of Judges 8) The Book of Ruth, 9) The 1st Book of Samuel, 10) The 2nd Book of Samuel, 11) The 1st Book of Kings, 12) The 2nd Book of Kings, 13) The 1st Book of Chronicles, 14) The 2nd Book of Chronicles, 15) The Book of Ezra, 16) The Book of Nehemiah, 17) The Book of Esther, 18) The Book of Job, 19) The Book of Psalms, 20) The Book of Proverbs, 21) The Book of Ecclesiastes, 22) The Song of Solomon, 23) The Book of Isaiah, 24) The Book of Jeremiah, 25) The Book of Lamentations, 26) The Book of Ezekiel, 27) The Book of Daniel, 28) The Book of Hosea, 29) The Book of Joel, 30) The Book of Amos, 31) The Book of Obadiah, 32) The Book of Jonah, 33) The Book of Micah, 34) The Book of Nahum, 35) The Book of Habakkuk, 36) The Book of Zephaniah, 37) The Book of Haggai, 38) The Book of Zechariah, 39) The Book of Malachi

II. The 7 Additional Books of the Catholic Old Testament

40) The Book of Tobit

41) The Book of Judith

42) The 1st Book of the Maccabees

43) The 2nd Book of the Maccabees

44) The Book of the Wisdom of Solomon

45) The Book of Sirach

46) The Book of Baruch

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III. The 5 Additional Books of the Eastern Orthodox Old Testament

47) The 1st Book of Esdras

48) The 3rd Book of the Maccabees

49) The 4th Book of the  Maccabees

50) The Book of Odes

51) The Letter of Jeremiah

I. Protestant Canon = 24 Books of the Hebrew Bible (Judaism) = 39 Books of the Old Testament

II. Roman Catholic Canon = 39 Protestant + 7 Catholic = 46 Books of the Old Testament

III. Eastern Orthodox Canon = 39 Protestant + 7 Catholic + 5 Orthodox = 51 Books of the Old Testament

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The Current Uncertainty about the Books of the Old Testament

– The traditional dating of the Books which comprise the Old Testament appear to be based upon assumptions that remain inconclusive, at least according to the criteria of today’s Biblical scholarship.

– Since around the 19th century, a number of Biblical scholars have raised doubts about the assumed dates and supposed authors of the Christian Old Testament.

– To rectify the uncertainty surrounding the authors and dates of the Old Testament, some modern Biblical scholars have proposed a series of alternative dates and conclusions concerning certain Old Testament Books.

– Basically, a number of modern Biblical scholars now claim that at least some Old Testament Books were written later on by a greater number of authors who remain unknown.

– To give credit both to the traditional dating and authorship of the 39-51 Books of the Christian Old Testament and to the modern skeptics who doubt them, the following tentative statements have been compiled to provide an overall understanding of this particular Biblical subject.

– The first 39 Statements listed below describes the official Protestant Old Testament Canon, the first 46 Statements describe the official Catholic Old Testament Canon, while all 51 Statements describe the official Orthodox Old Testament Canon. This can be understood in the following manner:

Protestant Old Testament Canon: Statements 1 to 39

Roman Catholic Old Testament Canon: Statements 1 to 46

Eastern Orthodox Old Testament Canon: Statements 1 to 51

– To simplify the conflicting evidence and numerous conclusions of today’s Biblical scholars, the following Statements have been written for each and every Book included in the three different Canons of the Christian Old Testament.

– These Statements do not represent any final conclusions about the exact dates and authors of the 39-51 Book being discussed, but are simply an attempt to clarify the current chaos, confusion, and uncertainty resulting from the on-going debates among many different Biblical scholars who have many different perspectives and who originate from different sects of Christianity.

– The 51 Statements on the Books of the Old Testament –

1. The Book of Genesis was probably written by the Prophet Moses in the year 1,400 B.C. or later.

2. The Book of Exodus was probably written by Prophet Moses in the year 1,400 B.C. or later.

3. The Book of Leviticus was probably written by Prophet Moses and completed in the year 1,400 B.C. or later.

4. The Book of Numbers was probably written by the Prophet Moses and completed in the year 1,400 B.C. or later.

5. The Book of Deuteronomy was probably written by Moses and completed in the year 1,400 B.C. or later.

6. The Book of Joshua was probably written by Joshua and completed in the year 1,350 B.C. or later.

7. The Book of Judges was probably written by the Prophet Samuel and completed in the year 1,000 B.C. or later.

8. The Book of Ruth was probably written by the Prophet Samuel and completed in the year 1,000 B.C. or later.

9. The 1st Book of Samuel was probably written by the Prophet Samuel and completed in the year 1,000 B.C. or later.

10. The 2nd Book of Samuel was probably written by the Prophet Samuel and completed in the year 1,000 B.C. or later.

11. The 1st Book of Kings was probably written by the Prophet Jeremiah and completed in the year 600 B.C. or later.

12. The 2nd Book of Kings was probably written by the Prophet Jeremiah and completed in the year 600 B.C. or later.

13. The 1st Book of Chronicles was probably written by the Prophet Ezra and completed in the year 450 B.C. or later.

14. The 2nd Book of Chronicles was probably written by the Prophet Ezra and completed in the year 450 B.C. or later.

15. The Book of Ezra was probably written by the Prophet Ezra and completed in the year 450 B.C. or later.

16. The Book of Nehemiah was probably written by the Prophet Ezra and completed in the year 450 B.C. or later.

17. The Book of Esther was written by an unknown author and completed in the year 400 B.C. or later.

18. The Book of Job was probably written by Prophet Moses and completed in 1,400 B.C. or later.

19. The Book of Psalms was probably written by King David and completed in the year 1,000 B.C. or later.

20. The Book of Proverbs was probably written by King Solomon and completed in the year 1,000 B.C. or later.

21. The Book of Ecclesiastes was probably written by King Solomon and completed in the year 1,000 B.C. or later.

22. The Song of Solomon was probably written by King Solomon and completed in the year 1,000 B.C. or later.

23. The Book of Isaiah was probably written by the Prophet Isaiah and completed in the year 700 B.C. or later.

24. The Book of Jeremiah was probably written by the Prophet Jeremiah and completed in the year 600 B.C. or later.

25. The Book of Lamentations was probably written by the Prophet Jeremiah and completed in the year 600 B.C. or later.

26. The Book of Ezekiel was probably written by the Prophet Ezekiel and completed in the year 550 B.C. or later.

27. The Book of Daniel was probably written by the Prophet Daniel and completed in the year 550 B.C. or later.

28. The Book of Hosea was probably written by the Prophet Hosea and completed in the year 750 B.C. or later.

29. The Book of Joel was probably written by the Prophet Joel and completed in the year 850 B.C. or later.

30. The Book of Amos was probably written by the Prophet Amos and completed in the year 750 B.C. or later.

31. The Book of Obadiah was probably written by the Prophet Obadiah and completed in the year 600 B.C. or later.

32. The Book of Jonah was probably written by the Prophet Jonah and completed in the year 700 B.C. or later.

33. The Book of Micah was probably written by the Prophet  Micah and completed in the year 700 B.C. or later.

34. The Book of Nahum was probably written by the Prophet Nahum and completed in the year 700 B.C. or later.

35. The Book of Habakkuk was probably written by the Prophet Habakkuk and completed in the year 600 B.C. or later.

36. The Book of Zephaniah was probably written by the Prophet  Zephaniah and completed in the year 650 B.C. or later.

37. The Book of Haggai was probably written by the Prophet Haggai and completed in the year 520 B.C. or later.

38. The Book of Zechariah was probably written by the Prophet Zechariah and completed in the year 500 B.C. or later.

39. The Book of Malachi was probably written by the Prophet Malachi and completed in the year 430 B.C. or later.

– END OF PROTESTANT OLD TESTAMENT CANON –

40. The Book of Tobit was probably written by Tobit and completed in the year 200 B.C. or later.

41. The Book of Judith was written by an unknown author and completed in the year 150 B.C. or later.

42. The Book of Wisdom was probably written by Solomon and completed in the year 100 B.C. or later.

43. The Book of Sirach was probably written by Jesus ben Sirach and completed in the year 200 B.C. or later.

44. The Book of Baruch was probably written by Baruch and completed in the year 150 B.C. or later.

45. The 1st Book of the Maccabees was written by an unknown author and completed in the year 100 B.C. or later.

46. The 2nd Book of the Maccabees was written by an unknown author and completed in the year 100 B.C. or later.

– END OF ROMAN CATHOLIC OLD TESTAMENT CANON –

47. The 1st Book of Esdras was probably written by the Prophet Ezra and completed in the year 330 B.C. or later

48. The 3rd Book of the Maccabees was written by an unknown author and completed in the year 100 B.C. or later

49. The 4th Book of the Maccabees was written by an unknown author and completed in the year 100 B.C. or later

50 The Book of Odes was compiled by an unknown author and completed in the year 50 A.D. or later.

51. The Letter of Jeremiah was probably written by the Prophet Jeremiah and completed in the year 300 B.C. or later.

– END OF EASTERN ORTHODOX OLD TESTAMENT CANON –

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The Three Versions of the Christian Old Testament

The 39 Books of the Protestant Old Testament

1) The Book of Genesis, 2) The Book of Exodus, 3) The Book of Leviticus, 4) Book of Numbers, 5) The Book of Deuteronomy, 6)The Book of Joshua, 7) The Book of Judges 8) The Book of Ruth, 9) The 1st Book of Samuel, 10) The 2nd Book of Samuel, 11) The 1st Book of Kings, 12) The 2nd Book of Kings, 13) The 1st Book of Chronicles, 14) The 2nd Book of Chronicles, 15) The Book of Ezra, 16) The Book of Nehemiah, 17) The Book of Esther, 18) The Book of Job, 19) The Book of Psalms, 20) The Book of Proverbs, 21) The Book of Ecclesiastes, 22) The Song of Solomon, 23) The Book of Isaiah, 24) The Book of Jeremiah, 25) The Book of Lamentations, 26) The Book of Ezekiel, 27) The Book of Daniel, 28) The Book of Hosea, 29) The Book of Joel, 30) The Book of Amos, 31) The Book of Obadiah, 32) The Book of Jonah, 33) The Book of Micah, 34) The Book of Nahum, 35) The Book of Habakkuk, 36) The Book of Zephaniah, 37) The Book of Haggai, 38) The Book of Zechariah, 39) The Book of Malachi

The Protestant Nations

The 46 Books of the Catholic Old Testament

1) The Book of Genesis, 2) The Book of Exodus, 3) The Book of Leviticus, 4) Book of Numbers, 5) The Book of Deuteronomy, 6)The Book of Joshua, 7) The Book of Judges 8) The Book of Ruth, 9) The 1st Book of Samuel, 10) The 2nd Book of Samuel, 11) The 1st Book of Kings, 12) The 2nd Book of Kings, 13) The 1st Book of Chronicles, 14) The 2nd Book of Chronicles, 15) The Book of Ezra, 16) The Book of Nehemiah, 17) The Book of Tobit, 18) The Book of Esther, 20) The 1st Book of the Maccabees, 21) The 2nd Book of the Maccabees, 22) The Book of Job, 23) The Book of Psalms, 24) The Book of Proverbs, 25) The Book of Ecclesiastes, 26) The Song of Solomon, 27) The Book of Wisdom, 28) The Book of Sirach, 29) The Book of Isaiah, 30) The Book of Jeremiah, 31) The Book of Lamentations, 32) The Book of Baruch, 33) The Book of Ezekiel, 34) The Book of Daniel, 35) The Book of Hosea, 36) The Book of Joel, 37) The Book of Amos, 38) The Book of Obadiah, 39) The Book of Jonah, 40) The Book of Micah, 41) The Book of Nahum, 42) The Book of Habakkuk, 43) The Book of Zephaniah, 44) The Book of Haggai, 45) The Book of Zechariah, 46) The Book of Malachi

The Catholic Nations

The 51 Books of the Eastern Orthodox Old Testament

1) The Book of Genesis, 2) The Book of Exodus, 3) The Book of Leviticus, 4) Book of Numbers, 5) The Book of Deuteronomy, 6)The Book of Joshua, 7) The Book of Judges 8) The Book of Ruth, 9) The 1st Book of Samuel, 10) The 2nd Book of Samuel, 11) The 1st Book of Kings, 12) The 2nd Book of Kings, 13) The 1st Book of Chronicles, 14) The 2nd Book of Chronicles, 15) The 1st Book of Esdras, 16) The Book of Ezra, 17) The Book of Nehemiah, 18) The Book of Tobit, 19) The book of Judith 20) The Book of Esther, 21) The 1st Book of the Maccabees, 22) The 2nd Book of the Maccabees, 23) The 3rd Book of the Maccabees, 24) The 4th Book of the Maccabees, 25) The Book of Job, 26) The Book of Psalms, 27) The Book of Odes 28) The Book of Proverbs, 29) The Book of Ecclesiastes, 30) The Song of Solomon, 31) The Book of Wisdom, 32) The Book of Sirach, 33) The Book of Isaiah, 34) The Book of Jeremiah, 35) The Book of Lamentations, 36) The Book of Baruch, 37) The Letter of Jeremiah 38) The Book of Ezekiel, 39) The Book of Daniel, 40) The Book of Hosea, 41) The Book of Joel, 42) The Book of Amos, 43) The Book of Obadiah, 44) The Book of Jonah, 45) The Book of Micah, 46) The Book of Nahum, 47) The Book of Habakkuk, 48) The Book of Zephaniah, 49) The Book of Haggai, 50) The Book of Zechariah, 51) The Book of Malachi

The Lamb Of God

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A Basic Timeline of the Old Testament

– The following timeline includes the 39 Books of the Protestants Old Testament, the 7 Additional Books of the Catholic Old Testament, and the 5 Additional Books of the Orthodox Old Testament.

– For the most part, the dates seen below represent the earliest, rather than the latest, dates when the specific Old Testament Book was finally completed

– The personal name written in parenthesis at each point in the timeline represents the traditional identity of the author. Some modern Biblical scholars continue to claim that these identities cannot be proven, therefore there are more unknown authors than previously assumed.

– The Dates, the Books and the Authors of the Old Testament –

1,400 B.C. – Book of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (Moses)

1,400 B.C. – Book of Job (Moses)

1,350 B.C. – Book of Joshua (Joshua)

1,000 B.C. – Book of Psalms (David)

900 B.C. –  Book of Judges, Ruth, 1st Samuel, 2nd Samuel (Samuel)

900 B.C. – Book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (Solomon)

850 B.C. – Book of Joel (Joel)

759 B.C. – Book of Amos (Amos)

750 B.C. – Book of Hosea (Hosea)

700 B.C. – Book of Isaiah (Isaiah)

700 B.C. – Book of Jonah (Jonah)

700 B.C. – Book of Micah (Micah)

700 B.C. – Book of Nahum (Nahum)

650 B.C. – Book of Zephaniah (Zephaniah)

600 B.C. – Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah)

600 B.C. – 1st Book of Kings, 2nd Kings (Jeremiah)

600 B.C. – Book of Habakkuk (Habakkuk)

600 B.C. – Book of Obadiah (Obadiah)

550 B.C. – Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel)

550 B.C. – Book of Daniel (Daniel)

520 B.C. – Book of Haggai (Haggai)

500 B.C. – Book of Zechariah (Zechariah)

450 B.C. – 1st Book of Chronicles, 2nd Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah (Ezra)

430 B.C. – Book of Malachi, (Malachi)

400 B.C. – Book of Esther, (Unknown)

330 B.C. – 1 Esdras (Ezra)

300 B.C. – Letter of Jeremiah (Jeremiah)

200 B.C. – Book of Odes (Unknown)

200 B.C. – Book of Sirach, (Sirach)

200 B.C. – Book of Tobit, (Tobit)

150 B.C. – Book of Judith, (Unknown)

150 B.C. – Book of Baruch (Baruch)

100 B.C. – Book of Wisdom (Solomon)

100 B.C. – 1st Book of the Maccabees (Unknown)

100 B.C. – 2nd Book of the Maccabees (Unknown)

100 B.C. – 3rd Book of the Maccabees (Unknown)

100 B.C. – 4th Book of the Maccabees (Unknown)

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