The origin of the Old Testament canon

The term "canon" (meaning "standard" or "guideline" in English), which was borrowed from the Greek language, is used to describe the collection of holy writings that have been binding on all Christendom since the middle of the fourth century.

The Christian canon of the Old Testament is based on the Hebrew canon of Judaism. Even by the time of Jesus and the early Apostles, Judaism did not yet have a firmly defined canon. Although there was a basic collection of holy writings (the Torah, the books of the prophets, and the Psalms), there were also other books which were accepted as holy by some Judaic groups but rejected by others. The scope of the Hebrew canon was conclusively defined by the end of the first century AD.

At that point in time, the Christian canon of the Old Testament was far from complete.

To this day there is no uniform canon of the Old Testament that is binding on all Christian churches.

[1] The Hebrew term berit, which means "covenant", is rendered as diatheke in the Greek translation of the Bible. This Greek term has the double meaning of "covenant" and "testament".