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This term relates to those NT books over which there was some dispute within the Christian Church during the first four centuries. It was used by Eusebius* in his classification of Christian books to distinguish certain books from those admitted by all, which he called the homologoumena. Among the Antilegomena he placed James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John of the canonical books, together with others which were revered but not included in the NT canon. Among these latter he included the Acts of Paul, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Epistle of Barnabas, and the Didache, all of which attained only a local significance, mainly in Egypt. The Antilegomena were sharply distinguished by Eusebius from spurious works which were emphatically rejected.

ANTILEGOMENA (ἀντιλεγόμενα). In the history of the NT Canon, this is a term used to describe books which were disputed in the first few centuries of the Church. Eusebius used it of two distinct groups: (1) those books well-known and recognized as canonical by most, of which he names James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John; and (2) those which he considered spurious, such as the Acts of Paul, Shepherd of Hermas, Apocalypse of Peter, Barnabas, and the Didaché. The former group were later fully accepted by all as Scripture. (See Euseb. Hist. III. 25.)