The Development of the Canon of the New Testament

Home | Authorities | Writings | Table | Lists | Places | Heresies | Miscellaneous | for more Information

Early Christian Authorities

Ignatius of Antioch
Polycarp of Smyrna
Justin Martyr
Irenaeus of Lyons
Clement of Alexandria
Tertullian of Carthage
Muratorian Canon
Eusebius of Caesarea
codex Sinaiticus
Athanasius of Alexandria
Didymus the Blind

Didymus the Blind (born ~313, died ~398 CE Alexandria)   

Didymus the blind was a celebrated head of the catechetical school at Alexandria. Although he was a layman and had become blind at the age of 4, he memorized great sections of the scriptures and, by means of secretaries, dictated numerous exegetical works. Among those holding him in great esteem were Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, who made him head of the Alexandrian school; and Jerome, who acknowledged Didymus as his master. Jerome later retracted, however, when the issue of Origenism became the subject of a heated controversy that subsequently culminated in the second Council (553) of Constantinople, in which Didymus' works - but not his person - were condemned for teaching Origenist doctrine. Because of this condemnation, most of his works were not copied during the Middle Ages and thus were lost.

The accidental discovery in 1941 at Toura, south of Cairo, of a group of papyrus codices, dating from the 6th or 7th centuries and comprising nearly 2000 pages, has brought to light the text of half a dozen additional commentaries. Although these commentaries are on Old Testament books, Didymus includes in his exposition hundreds of citations from the New Testament. These come from all the books of the New Testament with the exception of:

Philemon, II John, and III John

On the other hand he considered these writings, not in the present New Testament, of value:

For a visual summary of his opinions see the Cross Reference Table.

Didymus and the New Testament

According to [Metzger]:

These [Didymus' citations] come from all the books of the New Testament except Philemon, II John, and III John. (p. 213)

Presumably, these citations are listed in [Ehrman].

Didymus and the Gospel of the Hebrews

In Didymus the Blind's Commentary on the Psalms (184, 9-10):

It may appear that Matthew is named Levi in the Gospel of Luke. But in fact that is not so; it is Matthias, the one who replaced Judas, who is the same as Levi, known by two names. This is found in the Gospel according the Hebrews.
See [Ehrman2]. This quotation was provided by Luke Buckler.

Didymus and the Epistles of John

According to [Metzger] (p. 213):

... the fact that when quoting I John Didymus refers to it as the Epistle of John and not the First Epistle of John must mean that he did not accept the canonical status of II and III John.

Didymus and the Apostolic Fathers

In his commentaries discovered in 1941, Didymus refers to four Apostolic Fathers with the following frequencies:

Apostolic Father quotations
and allusions
I Clement 1
Epistle of Barnabas 4
Didache 2
Shepherd of Hermas 5

Presumably, these citations are listed in [Ehrman].

Pages created by Glenn Davis, 1997-2010.
For additions, corrections, and comments send e-mail to