We see references to Ethiopia in the Bible beginning with the table of nations in Genesis 10. The descendants of Ham are thought by many to have inhabited the areas of North Africa. In that list we find Sheba son of Cush a descendant of Ham. Then in I Kings 10 the Queen of Sheba visits Solomon in Jerusalem. The Ethiopian Church preserves additional details of that tradition in the Kebre Negest, (The Glory of the king).

The story goes that on her return to Ethiopia the Queen of Sheba bore Solomon a son, whom she named Menelik.  When Menelik grew up he visited his father in Jerusalem, and came home accompanied by many Israelites, the sons of Levites and bringing with him the Ark of the Covenant, which he had obtained by subterfuge. The result is that Judaism has been practice in Ethiopia from that time and continues to this day.

In the Acts 8.26-40, we read the familiar story of the Ethiopian Eunuch, the treasurer of Queen Candace of Ethiopia, who had come to Jerusalem to worship the God of Israel. There he met Philip and was baptized by him. Ethiopian tradition asserts that the Eunuch returned home and evangelized the people. The tradition of the Ethiopian Church Tewahido is that it is not the result of a later missionary plant, but rather part of the original Apostolic Church.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church does not hold the notion of the Biblical canon as tightly as do most Churches. From their web site we read:

The Holy Scriptures are one of the two great foundations of the faith and here is what our church holds and teaches concerning it. The word of God is not contained in the Bible alone; it is to be found in tradition as well. The Sacred Scriptures are the written word of God who is the author of the Old and New Testaments containing nothing but perfect truth in faith and morals. But God's word is not contained only in them; there is an unwritten word of God also, which we call apostolic tradition. We receive the one and other with equal veneration.


The canon of the Ethiopic Bible differs both in the Old and New Testament from that of any other churches.


The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has 46 books of the Old Testament and 35 books of the New Testament that will bring the total of canonized books of the Bible to 81.

(http://www.ethiopianorthodox.org/english/canonizedbooks/canonizedbooks.htm 12/4/06)

The Old Testament

  1. Genesis
  2. Exodus
  3. Leviticus
  4. Numbers
  5. Deuteronomy
  6. Joshua
  7. Judges
  8. Ruth
  9. I and II Samuel
  10. I and II Kings
  11. I Chronicles
  12. II Chronicles
  13. Jublee
  14. Enoch
  15. Ezra and Nehemia
  16. Ezra (2nd) and Ezra Sutuel (I and II Ezdras)
  17. Tobit
  18. Judith
  19. Esther
  20. I Maccabees
  21. II and III Maccabees
  22. Job
  23. Psalms
  24. Proverbs
  25. Tegsats (Reproof)
  26. Metsihafe Tibeb (the books of wisdom)
  27. Ecclesiastes
  28. The Song of Songs
  29. Isaiah
  30. Jeremiah
  31. Ezekiel
  32. Daniel
  33. Hosea
  34. Amos
  35. Micah
  36. Joel
  37. Obadiah
  38. Jonah
  39. Nahum
  40. Habakkuk
  41. Zephaniah
  42. Haggai
  43. Zechariah
  44. Malachi
  45. Book of Joshua the son of Sirac (Ecclesiasticus or Sirach)
  46. The Book of Josephas the Son of Bengorio

The New Testament

  1. Matthew
  2. Mark
  3. Luke
  4. John
  5. The Acts
  6. Romans
  7. I Corinthians
  8. II Corinthians
  9. Galatians
  10. Ephesians
  11. Philippians
  12. Colossians
  13. I Thessalonians
  14. II Thessalonians
  15. I Timothy
  16. II Timothy
  17. Titus
  18. Philemon
  19. Hebrews
  20. I Peter
  21. II Peter
  22. I John
  23. II John
  24. III John
  25. James
  26. Jude
  27. Revelation
  28. Sirate Tsion (the book of order)
  29. Tizaz (the book of Herald)
  30. Gitsew
  31. Abtilis
  32. The I book of Dominos
  33. The II book of Dominos
  34. The book of Clement
  35. Didascalia

According to www.ethiopianorthodox.org, "the Ethiopic version of the Old Testament... was made from the Septuagint." A comparison of the above list to the list on my Septuagint page shows that there are additional books. Some say that the Ethiopian canon represents an earlier Septuagint tradition than the Greek that has come down to us and become the Bible of the Greek Church today. The books in italics are unique to the Ethiopian canon although many are available in languages other than Amaric.

The above list is from http://www.ethiopianorthodox.org/english/canonical/books.html 12/4/06

Some Comments on the additional books [under construction]:

I am not going to spend much time at this but here is a quick dash through it.  It is unlikely that I will get back here for some time.


The Book of Jubilees is sometimes called Lesser Genesis.  It is not considered canonical by Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Churches.  Jubilee is considered canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as well as Bete Israel (Ethiopian Jews).  

It was well known to Early Christians, as evidenced by the writings of Epiphanius, Justin Martyr, Origen, Diodorus of Tarsus, Isidore of Alexandria, Isidore of Seville, Eutychius of Alexandria, John Malalas, George Syncellus, and George Kedrenos. The text was also utilised by the community that originally collected the Dead Sea Scrolls. No complete Hebrew, Greek or Latin version has survived. There is conjecture among western biblical scholars that Jubilees may be a rework of material found in the canonical books of Genesis and Exodus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubilees 2/1/14

Enoch (also known as I Enoch in the pseudepigrapha)

The Book of Enoch is traditionally ascribed to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. It is not part of the biblical canon as used by Jews, apart from Etheopian Jewa (Bete Israel). It is regarded as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, but not by any other Christian group.

The older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) are estimated to date from about 300 BC, and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably was composed at the end of the 1st century BC.

It is wholly extant only in the Ge'ez language, with Aramaic fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls and a few Greek and Latin fragments. For this and other reasons, the traditional Ethiopian view is that the original language of the work was Ge'ez, whereas non-Ethiopian scholars tend to assert that it was first written in either Aramaic or Hebrew.

The authors of the New Testament were familiar with the content of the story, Enoch 1:9 is quoted in the New Testament Letter of Jude (1:14–15), and is attributed to "Enoch the Seventh from Adam."  The text was also utilised by the community that originally collected the Dead Sea Scrolls.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Enoch 2/1/14


These books are not about the Hasmonean Maccabees. 

The first one stars Meqabis and his sons who stay true to Yahweh even to death, due to a wicked idol worshiper called Tsirutsaydan (king of Media).  The second one actually takes place before that and in it a King (now of Moab) named Meqabis is warring with Israel (naturally as a punishment), but in the end he repents and then teaches the Torah.  The third book is a mix bag talking about “salvation and punishment,” as seen from the various great men of the faith, such as Adam, David, Job, etc (http://knightword.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/ethiopian-canon-is-that-maccabees-or-meqabyan%E2%80%A6/ 2/1/14)

Tegsats (Reproof)

Proverbs 25-31 according to http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071028042717AAGn1m8 2/2/14 but this post is wrong on other books.

Metsihafe Tibeb (the books of wisdom)

Perhaps The Wisdom of Solomon (http://knightword.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/ethiopian-canon-is-that-maccabees-or-meqabyan%E2%80%A6/) 


The Book of Josephas the Son of Bengorio also called the Book of Joseph ben Gurion, or Pseudo-Josephus, is a history of the Jewish people thought to be based upon the writings of Titus Flavius Josephus which will be more familiar to most readers. The canonical Ethiopic version (1–8 Yosëf wäldä Koryon) has eight parts.

Sirate Tsion (the book of order)

Tizaz (the book of Herald)



The I book of Dominos

The II book of Dominos

The book of Clement

The Ethiopic canonical book of Clement, is distinct from what we in the west know as the Clemetine Epistles; I and II Clement.  It is a uniquely Ethiopic book in seven parts, believed to have been communicated by Peter to Clement of Rome.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthodox_Tewahedo_Biblical_canon 2/1/14


The Didascalia, or the Catholic Teaching of the Twelve Apostles and Holy Disciples of Our Saviour, is a Church Order, composed, according to recent investigations, in the first part, perhaps even the first decades, of the third century, for a community of Christian converts from paganism in the northern part of Syria. The work is modelled on the Didache (cf. vol. I, pp. 29-39) and forms the main source of the first six books of the Apostolic Constitutions.

The unknown author of the Didascalia seems to have been of Jewish descent. A bishop with a considerable knowledge of medicin, he lacked special theological training. He makes ample use of Holy Scripture and borrows from the Didache, Hermas, Irenaeus, the Gospel of Peter and the Acts of Paul. (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/didascalia.html 2/2/14)