Friday, January 11, 2013

Cyril of Jerusalem: Limit Yourself to the Twenty-Two Book Old Testament Canon

Cyril of Jerusalem (318-386): The teaching you have heard is that of the divinely-inspired Scriptures, both of the Old and the New Testament. For there is one God of the two Testaments, who foretold in the Old Testament the Christ who appeared in the New, and who, through the preparatory school of the Law and the Prophets, led us to Christ. For “before the faith came, we were guarded under the Law”; and, “the Law trained us for Christ’s school.” And so, if ever you hear any heretic blaspheming the Law or the Prophets, quote that saving word against him: Jesus came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. Be eager to learn, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testament, what of the New; and I pray you, read none of the apocryphal books. For why should you, when you do not know the books acknowledged by all, trouble yourself needlessly with those whose authenticity is disputed? Read the divine Scriptures, these twenty-two books of the Old Testament translated by the seventy-two interpreters.

Fathers of the Church, Leo P. McCauley, Vol. 61, Catechesis IV.33 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, Inc., 1969), pp. 135.

Greek text: Ταῦτα δὲ διδάσκουσιν ἡμᾶς οἱ θεόπνευστοι γραφαὶ τῆς παλαιᾶς τε καὶ καινῆς διαθήκης. Εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὁ τῶν δύο διαθηκῶν Θεὸς, ὁ τὸν ἐν τῇ καινῇ φανέντα Χριστὸν ἐν τῇ παλαιᾷ προκαταγγείλας· ὁ διὰ νόμου καὶ προφητῶν εἰς Χριστὸν παιδαγωγήσας. Πρὸ γὰρ τοῦ ἐλθεῖν τὴν πίστιν, ὑπὸ νόμον ἐφρουρούμεθα· καὶ ὁ νόμος παιδαγωγὸς ἡμῶν γέγονεν εἰς Χριστόν. Κἄν ποτε τῶν αἱρετικῶν ἀκούσῃς τινὸς βλασφημοῦντος νόμον ἢ προφήτας, ἀντίφθεγξαι τὴν σωτήριον φωνὴν, λέγων· Οὐκ ἦλθεν Ἰησοῦς καταλῦσαι τὸν νόμον, ἀλλὰ πληρῶσαι. Καὶ φιλομαθῶς ἐπίγνωθι, καὶ παρὰ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, ποῖαι μέν εἰσιν αἱ τῆς παλαιᾶς διαθήκης βίβλοι, ποῖαι δὲ τῆς καινῆς. Καί μοι μηδὲν τῶν ἀποκρύφων ἀναγίνωσκε. Ὁ γὰρ τὰ παρὰ πᾶσιν ὁμολογούμενα μὴ εἰδὼς, τί περὶ τὰ ἀμφιβαλλόμενα ταλαιπωρεῖς μάτην; Ἀναγίνωσκε τὰς θείας γραφὰς, τὰς εἴκοσι δύο βίβλους τῆς παλαιᾶς διαθήκης ταύτας, τὰς ὑπὸ τῶν ἑβδομήκοντα δύο Ἑρμηνευτῶν ἑρμηνευθείσας.

Catecheses ad illuminandos IV, §33, PG 33:493, 496.