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allengreen's avatar

Does anyone know who compiled the Bible? Who decided what books would be included or excluded?

Asked by allengreen (1631points) August 23rd, 2008

What was the criteria for inclusion or exclusion? How do our friendly-Fundalmentalists justify the Bible as the word of God if some Roman cobbled together books based on something other than perserving the word of God?

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14 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

The Council of Rome which took place in 382 under the authority of Pope Damasus I.

buster's avatar

King James.

anthony81212's avatar

The King James I Version of the Bible is “conceived in response to the perceived problems of the earlier translations as detected by the Puritans, a faction within the Church of England.
The king gave the translators instructions designed to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology and reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and its beliefs about an ordained clergy. The translation was by 47 scholars, all of whom were members of the Church of England.”

For further reading you can see:

Harp's avatar

Athanasius of Alexandra, a Father of the Eastern church, compiled a list of New Testament books which he proposed as a canon that preceded the list promulgated by the Council of Rome by 15 years and was identical. Many feel that it served as the basis for the Council’s canon.

The bibical canon was fixed long before the King James translation (1611).

buster's avatar Books of the bible that didn’t make the cut.

jvgr's avatar

Whoever actually compiled the bible, their compilation was based solely on the selection of available material that supported the overall thesis of the compilers. Many things were left out because they were contrary and many things are included though they are contradictory.

It certainly wasn’t the effort of a completely object effort.

watchman220's avatar

This link has a more detailed version of when the books were chosen as part of the biblical canon.

Here is part of the table of dates and events.
324 C.E.
Eusebius of Caesarea (Jerome)[20]

Translated Bible from Greek & Hebrew into Latin (Vulgate edition—early 5th Century)[21]
Early church historian lists in his Church History the following controversial books: Hebrews, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation; plus other books no longer considered part of the canon such as The Shepherd, Acts of Paul, Apocalypse of Peter, Barnabas, and Teachings of the Apostles.

325 C.E.
Council of Nicea
Decisively ruled that that Jesus was both human and divine, and that he was equivalent to (literally, “of the same substance as”) God the Father. Resulted in making Arianism a heresy. The Nicene Creed encapsulated this theological doctrine.

350 C.E.
Cyril of Jerusalem
Lists acceptable books to read. Includes four gospels, “Acts of the twelve apostles; and in addition to these the seven catholic epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude; and as a seal upon them all, and the latest work of disciples, the fourteen epistles of Paul. But let all the rest be put aside in a secondary rank.”

363 C.E.
Synod (Council) of Laodicea, first official church-wide body to define books in New Testament canon
Some say this list no longer exists, but Metzger lists them.[22]

367 C.E.
Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria, compiled a list including all 27 books of the New Testament canon.
Athanasius, chief defender of the Nicene Creed. Known as “the Great”. 293?-373 C.E. The Greek patriarch of Alexandria and leading defender of Christian orthodoxy against Arianism.[23]

382 C.E.
Council of Rome
Produces list of Old and New Testament books (Galasian Decree) as know today. Prompted by Pope Damasus’ (366–384 C.E.) Decree. Same list as later adopted by the Council of Trent (1545–1563 C.E.).

393 C.E.
Council of Hippo[24]
Local North Africa Council of Bishops created the list of Old and New Testament books which forms the Roman Catholic Bible today.

jvgr's avatar


-“What was the criteria for inclusion or exclusion?”

The books selected for the bible were based on including those which supported a hierarchical organization which was held to be necessary to interpret the bible for the followers (Pope, bishops, priests, et al)

Books excluded were primarily the “gnostic” books that were contrary to a hierarchical leadership organization and supported the notion that individual knowledge was required and that individual belief was paramount.

“The canon is neither a total nor a random collection of early Christian texts. It is both deliberate and selective and it excludes just as surely as it includes. I would even say that you cannot understand what is included in the canon unless you understand what was excluded from it. When the [extracanonical] gospels are played over against the four canonical gospels, both the products and the processes of those latter texts appear in a radically different light.” — John Dominic Crossan, Prof. Religious Studies, DePaul Univ.

You can learn more about what was excluded here: Excluded Books

National Geographic was the first to publish the book of Judas.

The Book of Thomas is the best known of the excluded texts and is similar to the version of the bible that Thomas Jefferson wrote. Book of Thomas

-“How do our friendly-Fundalmentalists justify the Bible as the word of God if some Roman cobbled together books based on something other than perserving the word of God?”
@watchman would be best to answer this question.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

The absolute best source of information is Elaine Pagels’ “Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas.” Pagels’ is a bible historian, and has impeccable credentials as a historian and religious scholar. She is not aligned with any denomination. She talks a lot about the early formation of the Church, the Gospels, and why certain Gospels may have been chosen over others.

watchman220's avatar

Sounds fishy to me. However I would still read the gospel of THomas as entertainment. Is it online anywhere?

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

There are any number of translations on the Internet, including:

Followers of Thomas were widespread in the Middle East and into India in the years following Jesus’ death. The sect was more aligned with finding the presence of God in other men, and acting accordingly. Which, if you were trying to unify a group of people in terms of providing protection, these would be your outlyers, the people that would be of a more individualistic faith, and less inclined to want group identity. You have to think in terms of context of the day. I’ve wondered if the inclusion of the the Holy Spirit in the Trinity was a result of creating a means to bring the followers of Thomas into the fold. The Nicene Creed is the affirmation of a common belief. Christianity, for all practical purposes, was only Catholicism until the Protestant Reformation.

jvgr's avatar

watchman220: “Sounds fishy to me. However I would still read the gospel of THomas as entertainment. Is it online anywhere?”

I believe you will find a Link to Thomas on line in my previous post.
As for fishy, unfortunately, the bible was compiled by those who had a partiicular point of view. They only selected the documents that supported their point of view and omitted those that didn’t. That in itself make the bible a flawed document.

watchman220's avatar

I read some of the content at the link you included above. And I would agree that the “point of view” is different. The most important aspect of what the bible teaches is in regard to the basic message it portrays. The gospel of Jesus Christ, is really simple.
God Created the universe and all that is in it.
The fall from grace by humankind was allowed by God.
It was part of God’s plan to provide redemption for the known outcome.
He chose Abraham which became the nation of Jews.
He made covenant promises to Abraham and the Jews.
He gave the law to Moses.
The law was a schoolmaster to teach us that no one could keep the law.
The sacrifices were a type or example of the final sacrifice.
Jesus fully God, and full man, came to give His life a sacrifice for all men.
He was the final sacrifice that fulfilled the law and the prophets.
He ushered in the period of grace and brought the message to the gentiles through Paul
Paul wrote the message and most of the new testament is written by Paul.
The old and new testament harmonize the above points.
Salvation is the message of the gospel.
Salvation from sin, which we inherit by being born into this corrupted world, this is what we need to be saved from.
We can not save ourselves.
We can not be good enough.
Just look at humanity…if you think we are naturally good, then you are either stupid, or deaf and blind.
We are not getting better. We are getting worse…just as the scriptures foretell.

THomas might have some witty comments, but it would seem that most of it has no bearing on the gospel message of salvation.
THis was the primary criteria that included scripture into the canon that we mostly use today.
Aside from the catholic canon which has a few extra books…which are questionable in the same nature as Thomas was…the bibles are the same.
The canon was refined when those books were removed.
There is no secret gospel that is going to change the focus of the entire bible message.
The stage is set, and the story is true. Just watch it play out.
If you are not a student of biblical prophecy, and you want to know what is going on in the world, I highly recommend that you start looking into what the Word of God has to say about the times we live in.

Simples's avatar

Stack the deck….select the ones that concur and reject, the ones that confuse the pre-doctrinal disposition. (simples) click click.

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