I’m trying to compile the History of the Bible, at least the Christian recognition of what was inspired and what wasn’t in the Old Testament.
Best way to see what Christians recognized as inspired and what wasn't is to let them speak for themselves. Let's review what the early church quoted as inspired scripture.
~80 AD: Clement of Rome
- Quotes from Book of Wisdom
By the word of his might [God] established all things, and by his word he can overthrow them. 'Who shall say to him, "What have you done?" or who shall resist the power of his strength?' [Wis. 12:12 / Wis. 11:21]
~135 AD: Polycarp of Smyrna
Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood [1 Pet. 2:17]. [...] When you can do good, defer it not, because 'alms delivers from death' [Tob. 4:10, 12:9]. Be all of you subject to one another [1 Pet. 5:5], having your conduct blameless among the Gentiles [1 Pet. 2:12], and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed [Is. 52:5]!
~160 AD: Justin Martyr
Identifies that believers of Christ use the Septuagint (which includes the Deuterocanon), but Jews have started using a smaller set of passages of Scripture (the Hebrew texts) in which they have removed many Scriptures.
But I am far from putting reliance in your teachers, who refuse to admit that the interpretation made by the seventy elders who were with Ptolemy [king] of the Egyptians is a correct one; and they attempt to frame another. And I wish you to observe, that they have altogether taken away many Scriptures from the translations effected by those seventy elders who were with Ptolemy, and by which this very man who was crucified is proved to have been set forth expressly as God, and man, and as being crucified, and as dying; but since I am aware that this is denied by all of your nation, I do not address myself to these points, but I proceed to carry on my discussions by means of those passages which are still admitted by you. For you assent to those which I have brought before your attention, except that you contradict the statement, 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive,' and say it ought to be read, 'Behold, the young woman shall conceive.'
~170 AD: Melito of Sardis
- OT LIST: excludes Lamentations, Nehemiah, Esther and Deuterocanon [Secondary source from ~324 AD]
Accordingly when I went East and came to the place where these things were preached and done, I learned accurately the books of the Old Testament, and send them to you as written below. Their names are as follows: Of Moses, five books: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy; Jesus Nave, Judges, Ruth; of Kings, four books; of Chronicles, two; the Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon, Wisdom also, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Job; of Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah; of the twelve prophets, one book ; Daniel, Ezekiel, Esdras. From which also I have made the extracts, dividing them into six books. Such are the words of Melito.
~170 AD: Muratorian Fragment
- NT LIST: Excludes James, 1 & 2 Peter, Hebrews, and 3 John - but includes Book of Wisdom
Moreover, the epistle of Jude and two of the above-mentioned (or, bearing the name of) John are counted (or, used) in the catholic [Church]; and [the book of] Wisdom, written by the friends of Solomon in his honour. We receive only the apocalypses of John and Peter, though some of us are not willing that the latter be read in church.
~189 AD: Irenaeus
- Quotes from: Baruch and Daniel 13 (additions to Daniel)
~198 AD: Clement of Alexandria
- Quotes explicitly as Scripture: Sirach and Tobit
- Quotes from: Wisdom and Baruch
- [Quote from Sirach as Scripture] - The Paedagogus (The Instructor), Book I, Chapter 8, Section 1
- [Quote from Tobit as Scripture] - The Stromata, Book VI, Chapter 12, Section 7
- [Quote from Book of Wisdom] - The Paedagogus (The Instructor), Book II, Chapter 1, Section 4
- [Quote from Baruch] - The Paedagogus (The Instructor), Book I, Chapter 10, Section 3
~204 AD: Hippolytus
- Quotes from: Baruch, Book of Wisdom
- References: Tobit, Susannah (additions to Daniel), and Maccabees
~240 AD: Origen
- Quotes explicitly as Scripture: 2 Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Sirach, Susanna (additions to Daniel)
- Quotes from: Baruch, Wisdom
- Notes that the "Greek copy" of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) "is found in every Church of Christ". He refers to this copy as "our Scriptures."
- Also makes a point to know exactly what is (and isn't) in the Hebrew version of the Old Testament the Jews of his time used, so in his controversies with them he doesn’t quote something not in their Hebrew copy. Implies Jews established Canon by this time.
- OT Hebrew (Jewish) Canon List: In this list for the Jews of his day, Origen identifies Maccabees as "beside" the rest of the canon. He also appears to exclude the 12 minor prophets (transcription error?) and the Deuterocanon, but does include part of Baruch (Letter of Jeremiah) [Secondary source from ~324 AD, recorded by Eusebius]
[Excerpts from Letter from Origen to Africanus]
In answer to this, I have to tell you what it behooves us to do in the cases not only of the History of Susanna, which is found in every Church of Christ in that Greek copy which the Greeks use, but is not in the Hebrew, or of the two other passages you mention at the end of the book containing the history of Bel and the Dragon, which likewise are not in the Hebrew copy of Daniel; but of thousands of other passages also which I found in many places when with my little strength I was collating the Hebrew copies with ours. [...]
And I make it my endeavor not to be ignorant of their various readings, lest in my controversies with the Jews I should quote to them what is not found in their copies, and that I may make some use of what is found there, even although it should not be in our Scriptures. [...]
Wherefore I think no other supposition is possible, than that they who had the reputation of wisdom, and the rulers and elders, took away from the people every passage which might bring them into discredit among the people. We need not wonder, then, if this history of the evil device of the licentious elders against Susanna is true, but was concealed and removed from the Scriptures by men themselves not very far removed from the counsel of these elders. [...]
What I have said is, I think, sufficient to prove that it would be nothing wonderful if this history were true, and the licentious and cruel attack was actually made on Susanna by those who were at that time elders, and written down by the wisdom of the Spirit, but removed by these rulers of Sodom, as the Spirit would call them. [...]
Where you get your lost and won at play, and thrown out unburied on the streets, I know not, unless it is from Tobias; and Tobias (as also Judith), we ought to notice, the Jews do not use. They are not even found in the Hebrew Apocrypha, as I learned from the Jews themselves. However, since the Churches use Tobias, you must know that even in the captivity some of the captives were rich and well to do. Tobias himself says...
- [Hebrew (Jewish) Canon List] - Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, Book VI, Chapter 25, Section 1-2
- [Quote from Maccabees as Scripture] - De Principiis, Book II, Chapter 1, Section 5
- [Quote from Tobit as Scripture] - On Prayer Chapter 6
- [Identification of Judith as Scripture] - Homily 20 on Jeremiah, 7.3
- [Quote from Sirach as Scripture] - Homily 16 on Jeremiah, 6.2
- [Susanna (additions to Daniel) is received] - Homily 1 on Leviticus, 1.3
- [Quote from Baruch] - Homily 7 on Jeremiah, 3.3
- [Quote from Book of Wisdom] - De Principiis, Book II, Chapter 3, Section 6
~240 AD: Tertullian
- Quotes from: Baruch & Book of Wisdom
[Quote from Baruch]
For they remembered also the words of Jeremias writing to those over whom that captivity was impending: "And now you shall see borne upon (men's) shoulders the gods of the Babylonians, of gold and silver and wood, causing fear to the Gentiles. Beware, therefore, that you also do not be altogether like the foreigners, and be seized with fear while you behold crowds worshipping those gods before and behind, but say in your mind, Our duty is to worship You, O Lord." [Baruch 6:3]
[Quote from Book of Wisdom]
Our instruction comes from "the porch of Solomon," who had himself taught that "the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart." [Wisdom 1:1]
~250 AD: Cyprian of Carthage
- Quotes explicitly as Scripture: Wisdom, Sirach, and Tobit
- Quotes from: 1 Maccabees and Daniel 14 (additions to Daniel)
~325 AD: Council of Nicaea
- Voltaire (1700s) popularised a fictitious anecdote that the canon was determined at this council by placing all the competing books on an altar during the council, and then keeping the ones that did not fall off.
- Nothing we have from the Council of Nicaea indicates they gave any rulings on canon, contrary to popular belief
- Except... Jerome (~382 AD) noted the Council of Nicaea counted Judith (one of the Deuterocanon) among the number of the Sacred Scriptures.
Among the Hebrews the Book of Judith is found among the Hagiographa, the authority of which toward confirming those which have come into contention is judged less appropriate. Yet having been written in Chaldean words, it is counted among the histories. But because this book is found by the Nicene Council to have been counted among the number of the Sacred Scriptures, I have acquiesced to your request...
~326 AD: Alexander of Alexandria
Not that the Son of God is unbegotten, for the Father alone is unbegotten; but that the ineffable personality of the only-begotten God is beyond the keenest conception of the evangelists and perhaps even of angels. Therefore, I do not think men ought to be considered pious who presume to investigate this subject, in disobedience to the injunction, 'Seek not what is too difficult for you, neither enquire into what is too high for you.' [Sirach 3:21]
~350 AD: Cyril of Jerusalem
- OT LIST: Includes Baruch
- Quotes from: Sirach, Book of Wisdom, Susanna (additions to Daniel)
~364 AD: Basil of Caesarea
- Quotes explicitly as Scripture: Sirach
- Quotes from: 2 Maccabees, Baruch, Judith, Wisdom
~367 AD: Hilary of Poitiers
- OT LIST: Includes Epistle of Jeremiah (part of Baruch), and says "to this some add Tobit and Judith"
- Quotes explicitly as Scripture: 2 Maccabees
- Quotes from: Wisdom, Baruch, and additions to Daniel
- [OT List] - Expositions of the Psalms (Tractatus super Psalmos), 15
- [Quote from 2 Maccabees as Scripture] - On the Trinity, Book IV, Section 16
- [Quote from Book of Wisdom] - On the Trinity, Book I, Section 7
- [Quote from Baruch] - On the Trinity, Book IV, Section 42
- [Quote from Susanna, additions to Daniel] - On the Trinity, Book IV, Section 8
~367 AD: Athanasius
- OT LIST: Includes Baruch & excludes Esther. Says Esther & the rest of the Deuterocanon were called non-Canon but profitable for instruction in the word of godliness
- Quotes explicitly as Scripture: Book of Wisdom
- Quotes from: Sirach, Tobit
382 AD: Council of Rome
- OT LIST: Included Deuterocanon
THIS IS THE ORDER OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Kings four books, Chronicles two books, 150 Psalms, proverbs, ecclesiastes, song of songs, The same of Wisdom, ecclesiasticus
LIKEWISE THE ORDER OF THE PROPHETS: Isaiah, Jeremiah, with Cinoth i.e. his lamentations , Ezechiel, Daniel, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habbakuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
LIKEWISE THE ORDER OF THE HISTORIES: Job, Tobit, Esdras two books, Ester, Judith, Maccabees two books
The exact list that Christians used in the early church varied. The Deuterocanonical books enjoyed frequent usage and citing. As the New Testament canon finalized close to 400 AD, so too did the Old Testament canon. With the various regional councils, as well as the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible (which became THE Bible of Christianity for the next 1200 years), the Deuterocanonical books established their position as part of the Bible. This position remained unchanged until the English Long Parliament in 1644 removed them (even Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the KJV translation of 1611 did not remove these books from the Bible).