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January 22, 2008 / vivator

Epiphanius and canon of Old Testament

Epiphanius (c. 315 to 403 AD) was bishop of Salamis in Cyprus.  He was known in his attempts to refute heresies from the beginning of the Church to his days through his works: Panarion (Medicine Chest) or Adversus Haereses.  His other mostly known work is de Mensuris et Ponderibus (On Weights and Measurements).  In those two works Epiphanius gave us three lists of Old Testament canon. 

The first one (Adversus Haereses 8.6) comprises Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, 4 books of Kingdoms (Samuels and Kings), 2 books of Chronicles, The Twelve, Isaiah, Jeremiah + Lamentations + Epistle of Jeremiah + Baruch in one book, Ezekiel, Daniel, 2 books of Esdras (Ezra and Nehemiah), Esther. 

The second list (de Mensuris et Ponderibus 4) has Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Joshua, Judges & Ruth in one book, 1 & 2 Chronicles in one book, 1 & 2 Kingdoms in one book, 3 & 4 Kingdoms in one book, the Twelve, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, 2 books of Esdras, Esther. 

The third list (de Mensuris et Ponderibus 23) comprises Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Job, Judges, Ruth, Psalms, 2 books of Chronicles, 4 books of Kingdoms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, the Twelve, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, 2 books of Esdras, Esther. 

The first list includes deuterocanonical Epistle of Jeremiah and Baruch, both combined with Jeremiah and Lamentations.  The second and third lists are identical with different order and grouping of books. Lamentations is missing in the second and third lists, unless it is combined with Jeremiah and all deuterocanonical books are excluded.  Interestingly Epiphanius considered deuterocanonical Wisdom and Sirach to be part of New Testament (Adversus Haereses 76 Conf. Act 5 p. 941).

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