St. Athanasius: “Defines the New Testament Books Accepted as Canonical by the Church – AD 367”

From Letter 39 – St. Athanasius’ Paschal Letter of AD 367

(For 367.) Of the particular books and their number, which are accepted by the Church. From the thirty-ninth Letter of Holy Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, on the Paschal festival; wherein he defines canonically what are the divine books which are accepted by the Church…

“5. Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James, one; of Peter, two; of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John.” (bold italics mine)

The Complete Works of St. Athanasius (20 Books): Amazon.com. Kindle Edition.

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  1. #1 by johnbholt on January 29, 2023 - 2:24 PM

    In Tolstoy’s “Calendar,” he observes for January 1st, Henry Thoreau’s admonition “Read the best books first, otherwise, you’ll find you do not have time.” St. Athanasius in defining the New Testament Books accepted as canonical by the church identifies the “best books” that should be read first. Indeed, they are the “First Thoughts.”

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