Council of Carthage Canon 24 (or 27)

I was wandering around and I found something I had been looking for, for myself, for a long while: namely, the list of books which were actually declared canonical at the Council of Carthage in 397. Often Catholic apologists have referred to it in order to undermine the Protestant rejection of the Deuterocanonical books, but it always seemed suspicious to me that the Eastern Orthodox, who also look to the same councils, do not have quite the same Canon as the Roman Catholic Church. Catholic apologists often say that the council of Carthage reflects the Roman Catholic canon, but this is the first time I’ve been able to see the list for myself.

“[It has been decided] that nothing except the canonical Scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine Scriptures. But the canonical Scriptures are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paralipomenon two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon, twelve books of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezechiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Ezra, two books of the Maccabees. Moreover, of the New Testament: Four books of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles one book, thirteen epistles of Paul the apostle, one of the same to the Hebrews, two of Peter, three of John, one of James, one of Jude, the Apocalypse of John.

Thus [it has been decided] that the Church beyond the sea may be consulted regarding the confirmation of that canon; also that it be permitted to read the sufferings of the martyrs, when their anniversary days are celebrated. (From Denzinger’s Enchiridion Symbolorum, translated and published in English as The Sources of Catholic Dogma)

A few things are interesting, such as that Hebrews is considered Pauline, but that there is a need to distinguish it from the other Pauline epistles, probably because of controversies over the book. The two books of Ezra are Ezra and Nehemiah. The four books of Kings and the Paralipomenon are 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, and 1&2 Chronicles. The five books of Solomon are Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom of Solomon, and Sirach. That’s exactly the Roman Catholic canon.


About tylerjourneaux

I am an aspiring Catholic theologian and philosopher, and I have a keen interest in apologetics. I am creating this blog both in order to practice and improve my writing and memory retention as I publish my thoughts, and in order to give evidence of my ability to understand and communicate thoughts on topics pertinent to Theology, Philosophy, philosophical theology, Catholic (Christian) Apologetics, philosophy of religion and textual criticism.
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2 Responses to Council of Carthage Canon 24 (or 27)

  1. Walis says:

    I wonder it is Canon 24 or Canon 36? Because some website say it is Canon 24….

    • Actually, it seems like you are right. I’m sure that I read that it was Canon 36, but I have no idea where I got that now. Mistakes are contageous! Clearly, though, I’ve made a mistake – even the Greek Orthodox count it as canon 27 instead of 24, so there’s just no excuse for calling it 36. I’m going to fix it. Thanks. 🙂

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