Gregory of Nazianzus’ Biblical Canon

The following is an English translation of the works of Gregory of Nazianzus (fourth century AD) as listed in  Migne’s Patrologia Graeca, Volume 37, columns 471-474 (Carmina Dogmatica, Book I, Section I, Carmen XI). All bold and capital emphasis will be mine.

Concerning the Genuine Books of Divinely Inspired Scripture

The divine oracles should always be on the tongue, and be rehearsed in the mind. For God will indeed give a reward for this labor, so that you may obtain light from anything hidden, or, what is far better, that you may be spurred by God to greater purity, and thirdly, be called away from the cares of the world by such study.

But let not extraneous books seduce your mind. For many malignant writings have been disseminated. Accept, Oh friend, this my approved number.

These are all twelve of the historical books, of the most ancient Hebrew wisdom:

First there is Genesis, then Exodus, Leviticus too. Then Numbers, and the Second Law.

Then Joshua and Judges. Ruth is eighth.

The ninth and tenth books [are] the acts of Kings, and [the eleventh is] Chronicles. Last you have Ezra.

The poetic books are five: Job being first, then [the Psalms of] David; and three of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Canticles and Proverbs.

And similarly five of prophetic inspiration. There are the Twelve written in one book:

Hosea and Amos, and Micah the third; then Joel, and Jonah, Obadiah, Nahum also, and Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, Haggai, then Zechariah, and Malachi. All these are one.

The second is of Isaiah. Then the one called as an infant, Jeremiah, then Ezekiel, and the gift of Daniel.

I count therefore, twenty-two of the ancient books, corresponding to the number of the Hebrew letters.

Now count also those of the new mystery.

Matthew wrote the miracles of Christ for the Hebrews, Mark for Italy, Luke for Greece; John for all, the great herald, who walked in the heavens.

Then the acts of the wise apostles.

Of Paul there are fourteen epistles.

And the seven catholic, [which include] one of James, two of Peter, three of John also; and Jude is the seventh.

You have them all. And if there are any beyond these, ARE NOT GENUINE.

Gregory omits Esther from his OT canon and doesn’t include Revelation in his list of NT books.


The Old Testament of the Early Church

The Biblical Books of the Apostolic Canons

The Synod of Laodicea’s Biblical Canon

John of Damascus’ Biblical Canon

The Biblical Canon of the 5th-6th Centuries


7 thoughts on “Gregory of Nazianzus’ Biblical Canon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s