Eusebius on the canon.

A summary of authoritative New Testament texts.


Eusebius, History of the Church 3.25.1-7:

Ευλογον δ ενταυθα γενομενους ανακεφαλαιωσασθαι τας δηλωθεισας της καινης διαθηκης γραφας.

At this point it seems reasonable to summarize the writings of the New Testament which have been cited.

Και δη τακτεον εν πρωτοις την αγιαν των ευαγγελιων τετρακτυν, οις επεται η των πραξεων των αποστολων γραφη. μετα δε ταυτην τας Παυλου καταλεκτεον επιστολας, αις εξης την φερομενην Ιωαννου προτεραν, και ομοιως την Πετρου κυρωτεον επιστολην. επι τουτοις τακτεον, ειγε φανειη, την αποκαλυψιν Ιωαννου, περι ης τα δοξαντα κατα καιρον εκθησομεθα. και ταυτα μεν εν ομολογουμενοις.

And indeed in the first places should the holy tetrad of the gospels be ordered, after which follows the writing of the Acts of the Apostles. And after this should be catalogued the epistles of Paul, to which follows the extant epistle of John, the former one, and likewise should be effected the epistle of Peter. After these should be ordered, if indeed it appears right, the apocalypse of John, about which the arguments shall be set out in time. And these are among the confessed [books].

Των δ αντιλεγομενων, γνωριμων δ ουν ομως τοις πολλοις, η λεγομενη Ιακωβου φερεται, και η Ιουδα, η τε Πετρου δευτερα επιστολη, και η ονομαζομενη δευτερα και τριτη Ιωαννου, ειτε του ευαγγελιστου τυγχανουσαι, ειτε και ετερου ομωνυμου εκεινω.

Of the disputed [books], and those nevertheless known to the many, the epistle called of James is extant, and that of Jude, and the second of Peter, and that named the second and third of John, whether these happen to be of the evangelist or even of another with the same name as his.

Εν τοις νοθοις κατατεταχθω και των Παυλου πραξεων η γραφη, ο τε λεγομενος ποιμην, και η αποκαλυψις Πετρου, και προς τουτοις η φερομενη Βαρναβα επιστολη, και των αποστολων αι λεγομεναι διδαχαι· ετι τε, ως εφην, η Ιωαννου αποκαλυψις, ει φανειη, ην τινες ως εφην αθετουσιν, ετεροι δε εγκρινουσι τοις ομολογουμενοις. ηδη δ εν τουτοις τινες και το καθ Εβραιους ευαγγελιον κατελεξαν, ω μαλιστα Εβραιων οι τον Χριστον παραδεξαμενοι χαιρουσι. ταυτα μεν παντα των αντιλεγομενων αν ειη.

Among the illegitimate [books] must be ordered the writing of the Acts of Paul, that called the Shepherd, and the apocalypse of Peter, and on top of these the extant epistle of Barnabas, and those called the teachings of the apostles, and yet, as I said, the apocalypse of John, if it appears right, which some, as I said, set aside, but others adjudge it among the confessed [books]. And some indeed catalogue also the gospel according to the Hebrews among these, in which those of the Hebrews who have accepted Christ especially rejoice. All these might be of the disputed [books].

Αναγκαιως δε και τουτων ομως τον καταλογον πεποιημεθα, διακριναντες τας τε κατα την εκκλησιαστικην παραδοσιν αληθεις και απλαστους και ανωμολογημενας γραφας, και τας αλλας παρα ταυτας, ουκ ενδιαθηκους μεν αλλα και αντιλεγομενας, ομως δε παρα πλειστοις των εκκλησιαστικων προφερομενας, ητοι ως Πετρου και Θωμα και Ματθια, η και τινων παρα τουτους αλλων ευαγγελια περιεχουσας, η ως Ανδρεου και Ιωαννου και των αλλων αποστολων πραξεις, ων ουδεν ουδαμως εν συγγραμματι των κατα διαδοχας εκκλησιαστικων τις ανηρ εις μνημην αγαγειν ηξιωσεν. πορρω δε που και ο της φρασεως παρα το ηθος το αποστολικον εναλλαττει χαρακτηρ, η τε γνωμη και η των εν αυτοις φερομενων προαιρεσις πλειστον οσον της αληθους ορθοδοξιας απαδουσα οτι δη αιρετικων ανδρων αναπλασματα τυγχανει, σαφως παριστησιν· οθεν ουδ εν νοθοις αυτα κατατακτεον, αλλ ως ατοπα παντη και δυσσεβη παραιτητεον.

But we have also necessarily made a catalogue of these likewise, judging between those writings which are, according to the ecclesiastical tradition, true and genuine and confessed and the others with these, not testamental but indeed disputed, but likewise available to most of the ecclesiastical men, either gospels held forth as of Peter or of Thomas or of Matthias, or also of certain others besides these, or the acts as of Andrew or of John and the other apostles, of which none of the ecclesiastical men in the succession has in any way seen fit to make mention in his writing. And moreover, somehow even the character of the phrasing differs from the apostolic style, and the opinion and tendency of those things extant in them is so very far from the true orthodoxy that it is indeed clear that they happen to be the forgeries of heretical men. They ought therefore not even to be ordered among the illegitimate [books], but shunned as altogether improper and irreligious.