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The Canon of the Bible and the Apocrypha in the Churches of the East

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Vahan Hovhanessian

The Canon of the Bible and the Apocrypha in the Churches of the East features essays reflecting the latest scholarly research in the field of the canon of the Bible and related apocryphal books, with special attention given to the early Christian literature of Eastern churches. These essays study and examine issues and concepts related to the biblical canon as well as non-canonical books that circulated in the early centuries of Christianity among Christian and non-Christian communities, claiming to be authored by biblical characters, such as the prophets and kings of the Old Testament and the apostles of the New Testament.

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Banned from the Lectionary: Excluding the Apocalypse of John from the Orthodox New Testament Canon (Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou) 51

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• E U G E N I A S C A R V E L I S C O N S T A N T I N O U • Banned from the Lectionary: Excluding the Apocalypse of John from the Orthodox New Testament Canon he Book of Revelation occupies a peculiar place in the New Testament canon of Orthodox Christianity. Although it is acknowledged as canonical, it is entirely excluded from the lectionary of the Eastern Orthodox Church due to earlier controversies surrounding it. Other books were also disputed within the canon. But the Apocalypse of John traveled a unique road to canonical acceptance. Many authors and scholars continue to simplistically proclaim that the New Testament canon was “fixed” in the fourth century, usually with the publication of St. Athanasius’ famous Paschal Encyclical of 367. They suggest that since the great Athanasius had spoken, his opinion trumped all others and finally settled the issue of the canon. Indeed, it was Athanasius who provided, for the first time, the exact list of books which would eventually comprise the New Testament canon. But it can hardly be said that his directive to the faithful in his jurisdiction conclusively settled the matter for the entire Church, for the East, or even for the Church of Alexandria since variations within the canon continued long after Athanasius, especially in the case of Revelation.1 In fact, Athanasius provided his opinion of the canon precisely be- cause it remained an unsettled issue. It can only be said that...

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