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The Orthodox Tewahedo biblical canon is a version of the Christian Bible used in the two Oriental Orthodox churches of the Ethiopian and Eritrean traditions: the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church. At 81 books, it is the largest and most diverse biblical canon in traditional Christendom.
Western scholars have classified the books of the canon into two categories — the narrower canon, which consists mostly of books familiar to the West, and the broader canon, which includes nine additional books.
It is not known to exist at this time as one published compilation. Some books, though considered canonical, are nonetheless difficult to locate and are not even widely available in the churches' home countries of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
|Hebrew Bible (Judaism)|
|Old Testament (Christianity)|
The Orthodox Tewahedo narrower Old Testament canon contains the entire established Hebrew protocanon. Moreover, with the exception of the first two books of Maccabees, the Orthodox Tewahedo canon also contains the entire Catholic deuterocanon. In addition to this, the Orthodox Tewahedo Old Testament includes the Prayer of Manasseh, 3 Ezra, and 4 Ezra, which also appear in the canons of other Christian traditions. Unique to the Orthodox Tewahedo canon are the Paralipomena of Jeremiah (4 Baruch), Jubilees, Enoch, and the three books of Meqabyan.
The books of Lamentations, Jeremiah, and Baruch, as well as the Letter of Jeremiah and 4 Baruch, are all considered canonical by the Orthodox Tewahedo churches. Additionally, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Books of Ethiopian Maccabees are also part of the canon; while they share a common name they are completely different from the books of Maccabees that are known or have been canonized in other traditions. Finally, within the Orthodox Tewahedo tradition, 3 Ezra is called Second Ezra, 4 Ezra is called Ezra Sutu'el, and the Prayer of Manasseh is incorporated into the Second Book of Chronicles.
The Orthodox Tewahedo narrower New Testament canon consists of the entire 27 book Christian protocanon, which is almost universally accepted across Christendom.
The broader canon adds to the 27 books of the New Testament the following:
The Ethiopic Didascalia, or Didesqelya, is a book of Church order in 43 chapters, distinct from the Didascalia Apostolorum, but similar to books I–VII of the Apostolic Constitutions, where it most likely originates.
The broader canon seems to have been created by Ethiopian scholars commenting on the Fetha Negest law code, which says that the canon contains 81 books, but only lists 73. The additional eight books were those presumed to be missing from the list.
A project to translate the complete Ethiopian canon into English for the benefit of Ethiopian expatriates is underway.
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Outline of Bible-related topics|
List of Old Testament books in the Orthodox Tewahedo Bible:
List of New Testament books in the Orthodox Tewahedo Bible, including the broader canon: