Innocent I

Innocent I was bishop of Rome. His canon list appears in a letter to the bishop of Toulouse.

Letter to Exsuperius, bishop of Toulouse. (A.D. 405) 1

Qui vero libri recipiantur in canone sanctarum scripturarum brevis annexus ostendit. Haec sunt ergo quae desiderata moneri voluisti: Moysi libri quinque, id est Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numeri, Deuteronomium, necnon et Jesu Nave, et Judicum, et Regnorum libri quatuor simul et Ruth, prophetarum libri sexdecim, Salomonis libri quinque, Psalterium. Item historiarum Job liber unus, Tobiae unus, Hester unus, Judith unus, Machabeorum duo, Esdrae duo, Paralipomenon duo. Item Novi Testamenti: Evangeliorum libri iiii, Pauli Apostoli Epistolae xiiii: Epistolae Iohannis tres: Epistolae Petri duae: Epistola Judae: Epistola Jacobi: Actus Apostolorum: Apocalypsis Johannis. Caetera autem quae vel sub nomine Matthiae, sive Jacobi minoris, vel sub nomine Petri et Johannis, quae a quodam Leucio scripta sunt, vel sub nomine Andreae, quae a Nexocharide, et Leonida philosophis, vel sub nomine Thomae, et si qua sunt talia, non solum repudianda verum etiam noveris esse damnanda. Which books really are received in the canon, this brief addition shows. These therefore are the things of which you desired to be informed. Five books of Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and Joshua the son of Nun, and Judges, and the four books of Kings 2 together with Ruth, sixteen books of the Prophets, five books of Solomon, 3 and the Psalms. Also of the historical books, one book of Job, one of Tobit, one of Esther, one of Judith, two of Maccabees, two of Ezra, 4 two of Chronicles. And of the New Testament: of the Gospels four. Epistles of the apostle Paul fourteen. 5 Epistles of John three. Epistles of Peter two. Epistle of Jude. Epistle of James. Acts of the Apostles. John's Apocalypse. But the rest of the books, which appear under the name of Matthias or of James the Less, or under the name of Peter and John (which were written by a certain Leucius), or under the name of Andrew (which were written by the philosophers Xenocharides and Leonidas), or under the name of Thomas, and whatever others there may be, you should know they are not only to be rejected but also condemned.

1. The Latin text here conforms to the one printed in B.F. Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament (5th ed. Edinburgh, 1881), pp. 570f.

2. That is, First and Second Samuel and First and Second Kings.

3. According to Augustine, five books were sometimes ascribed to Solomon: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom of Solomon, and Ecclesiasticus.

4. That is, Ezra and Nehemiah.

5. F.F. Bruce prefers "thirteen" here, which implies the omission of Hebrews. He states that "the three best" copies of the letter "reckon Paul's epistles as thirteen (written xiii), but the rest reckon them as fourteen (written xiiii)." (Canon of Scripture, p. 234.) But it is not at all probable that Hebrews would have been deliberately omitted from the list by a Roman bishop in the year 405, and the variation between xiiii and xiii is easily explained by scribal error.