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Canon is a term that has various meanings depending on the context of its use. It has different meanings in fields such as literature, film, music, theology, law, and art. Nonetheless, in all its contexts, Canon refers to a set of established norms, standards, or rules that determine what is acceptable or legitimate within a particular domain.
In the context of literature, the Canon refers to a list of literary works that are considered to be the most significant, enduring, and worthy of study. The Canon thus comprises books that are considered classics or masterpieces, such as those authored by Shakespeare, Dickens, Austen, Woolf, James, and Twain.
The establishment of the literary Canon has been a complex and controversial process, with debates centered on who gets to define it, what criteria should be used to select works, and how inclusive or exclusive the list should be. Critics argue that the traditional Canon has been dominated by white, male, Western authors, often leading to the marginalization of works authored by women, people of color, and those from non-Western cultures.
In the context of film, Canon refers to a similar list of movies that are considered iconic or influential. These may include works like Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Psycho, and Casablanca. Just as with literature, debates exist about who decides what should be included in the film Canon and whether the list should be region-specific or global.
In music, Canon refers to a type of composition that involves a musical theme being repeated and developed over time. Composers like Johann Sebastian Bach are famous for using this technique in their music. In photography and art, Canon may refer to specific techniques or approaches that have become established over time and are widely used by practitioners in the field.
In Theology, Canon refers to the collection of sacred texts that are considered scriptural and authoritative by a particular religious tradition. For example, the Christian Canon is made up of books in the Old and New Testaments, while the Islamic Canon includes the Quran and the Hadith. In law, Canon is used in the context of ecclesiastical law for the laws and regulations that govern the church.
In conclusion, Canon is a term that has had various meanings throughout history. Despite its diverse meanings, the term alludes to a set of established norms or standards that are regarded as legitimate or acceptable within a particular domain. While debates and controversies exist in many fields, the notion of Canon serves as a foundation to assess the value and significance of creative output, and to develop robust and recognized traditions over time.