These terms, derived from Greek canon, which originally meant the stem of a cane and, by extension, any long, straight stick of wood. Since the ancients used canes for measuring, canon also came to mean measure, rule and, by metonymy, measured or ruled. This sense, which reflects the Greek ideal of measure, is present in 2 Cor 10:13, 16, where Paul claims to keep his apostolate to the field that has been measured to him. The nominative form designates a priest who is part of the chapter of a cathedral or collegiate church, as well as other religious institutions which arose in the Middle Ages and later; it can be an honorary title. The adjective canonical distinguishes ecclesiastical legislation from civil, esp. from the 12th c., and indicates that which is in conformity with the norms established by the ecclesiastical legislator: canonical age, canonical impediments, canonical visits, canonical hours. Toward the mid-4th c. there were canonical cantors employed in the service of the church and inscribed in its official register. In opposition to noncanonical books and distinguished from them, it designates those books which form the Bible, i.e., that are considered inspired, comprising the official list of the church and endowed with an intrinsic capacity to infallibly regulate faith and morals. The term was used in this latter sense by Origen In Cant. prol. and by Jerome between 389390 Praef. in lib. Salom.. Between Origen and Jerome was the Council of Laodicea ca. 360, which in canon 59 clearly distinguishes the canonical books from the noncanonical, not allowing the recitation of the latter in church Ench. Bibl., Rome 1954, 5. See also Ancient Lists of Canonical Books and Apocrypha. Basil, Ep. 188 PG 32, 673; Hfl-Lecl 12, 1008; H. Leclercq, Chanoines: DACL III1, 247-248; P. Torquebiau, Chanoines: DDC III, 471-488; Ch. Dereine, Chanoines: DHGE XII, 353-405; HÃ¶pfel H., DBS I, 1022-1045.
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