Catholic FAQ


Latest Threads
newest posts



Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics
 

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Jun 27, '12, 1:17 am
CutlerB's Avatar
CutlerB CutlerB is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: May 11, 2012
Posts: 1,528
Religion: Catholic
Default The Gospels' acceptance in the Early Church

Hello there everybody,

there's a claim around that says:
Quote:
"The four Gospels were universally accepted among Christians at least as early as the mid-second century."
I got this claim from JWs, which makes me quite sceptical about it. They continued:
Quote:
"Also noteworthy is an observation by Irenaeus of the late second century C.E. He asserted that there must be four Gospels, as there are four quarters of the globe and four cardinal winds. Though his comparisons may be questioned, his point supports the idea that there were only four canonical Gospels at the time."
They further claim that Matthew was written around 41 AD and Luke around 58 AD, which seem quite early dates and I am used to hearing dates about the mid 60s.

Here's my question: Could the written Gospels have been widely accepted at that time? If so, doesn't that show that the Church's role in establishing the Canon of Scripture was secondary? Or more generally, how can we show that the Church's role was vitally important in establishing the Canon?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old Jun 27, '12, 4:49 am
JRKH's Avatar
JRKH JRKH is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: September 14, 2007
Posts: 22,212
Religion: Catholic Revert
Default Re: The Gospels' acceptance in the Early Church

The issue may not be whether the four gospels were widely accepted but rather whether it was only these four that were widely available and/or accepted by the mid/end of the second century...
Does that make sense?

Peace
James
__________________
.... if I have all faith so as to move mountians but have not love, I am nothing. - (1Cor 13:2)


The Best book on Spirituality that I ever Read: "The Fulfillment of All Desire"

Oh my God , I will continue
to perform, all my actions
for the love of Thee
Amen.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old Jun 27, '12, 5:00 am
CutlerB's Avatar
CutlerB CutlerB is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: May 11, 2012
Posts: 1,528
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: The Gospels' acceptance in the Early Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRKH View Post
The issue may not be whether the four gospels were widely accepted but rather whether it was only these four that were widely available and/or accepted by the mid/end of the second century...
Does that make sense?

Peace
James
Well, while the idea is good, it doesn't match with the second quotation suggesting there were only four canonical gospels at that time?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old Jun 27, '12, 5:44 am
1ke 1ke is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: May 25, 2004
Posts: 24,258
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: The Gospels' acceptance in the Early Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by CutlerB View Post
Here's my question: Could the written Gospels have been widely accepted at that time? If so, doesn't that show that the Church's role in establishing the Canon of Scripture was secondary?
Well, no.

Who exactly do you think it was who did the accepting? the Church
]
__________________
Pax, ke

ke's universal disclaimer: In my posts, when I post about marriage, canon law, or sacraments I am talking about Latin Rite only, not the Orthodox and Eastern Rites. These are exceptions that confuse the issue and I am not talking about those.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old Jun 27, '12, 5:48 am
CutlerB's Avatar
CutlerB CutlerB is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: May 11, 2012
Posts: 1,528
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: The Gospels' acceptance in the Early Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ke View Post
Well, no.

Who exactly do you think it was who did the accepting? the Church
]
I meant that the Church could have been "stating the obvious".
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old Jun 27, '12, 6:16 am
TarkanAttila's Avatar
TarkanAttila TarkanAttila is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: March 9, 2010
Posts: 1,656
Religion: Critical-Thinking Catholic
Send a message via Skype™ to TarkanAttila
Default Re: The Gospels' acceptance in the Early Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by CutlerB View Post
Here's my question: Could the written Gospels have been widely accepted at that time? If so, doesn't that show that the Church's role in establishing the Canon of Scripture was secondary? Or more generally, how can we show that the Church's role was vitally important in establishing the Canon?
Good question. I have no idea!

But according to what little I know about the issue, your Jehovah's Witness friends, at very least, are accepting numbers - at worst, are making up numbers - which most Bible scholars do not for the dating of the Gospels. Even Protestant Bible scholars (like James Patrick Holding, for example) only date the Gospels as far back as ~60, not (goodness gracious) 41 AD!

Here is something which might help, though. According to my high school education, and Focus on the Family (which I believe is a Protestant site?), the books were canonised - that is, measured along certain guidelines, such as the orthodoxy of the teachings in the books and their connection to the Apostles.

But how can one measure by a standard, unless one has a standard, and a governing body, if you will, to keep track of that standard (until it becomes common knowledge)?

Without that government of the church, whatever it looked like in the 3rd and 4th centuries, anyone might have added the apocrypha to the canon of Scripture, and who could challenge them? But the Church not only decides which books are canonical. It also filters bad works out.
__________________
Increase the population of Saint Gilbert, named after G.K. Chesterton.
Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.
- Gerard Manley Hopkins
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old Jun 27, '12, 6:17 am
thistle thistle is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: August 23, 2005
Posts: 19,950
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: The Gospels' acceptance in the Early Church

Development of the New Testament:

http://www.ntcanon.org/table.shtml
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old Jun 27, '12, 9:49 am
CutlerB's Avatar
CutlerB CutlerB is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: May 11, 2012
Posts: 1,528
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: The Gospels' acceptance in the Early Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by thistle View Post
Development of the New Testament:

http://www.ntcanon.org/table.shtml
This is a great site! Thank you!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old Jun 27, '12, 11:47 am
pablope pablope is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 29, 2010
Posts: 7,018
Religion: catholic
Default Re: The Gospels' acceptance in the Early Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by CutlerB View Post
Hello there everybody,

there's a claim around that says: I got this claim from JWs, which makes me quite sceptical about it. They continued:

They further claim that Matthew was written around 41 AD and Luke around 58 AD, which seem quite early dates and I am used to hearing dates about the mid 60s.

Here's my question: Could the written Gospels have been widely accepted at that time? If so, doesn't that show that the Church's role in establishing the Canon of Scripture was secondary? Or more generally, how can we show that the Church's role was vitally important in establishing the Canon?
Here is something to think about too and consider....the persecution of Christians...by both Jews (of which Saul of Tarsus was one)...and the Romans.

The Church was underground.....popes and bishops were mainly hunted down and martyred.....there was no printing press.....so wide distribution could not be done....as copying was by hand....and many could not read and write....so the early Christians had to rely on their bishops and presbyters...to guide them.

So if there was an early acceptance of the gospels...it was through the bishops....not the ordinary lay christians who did not read and write.

I think it refutes your JW friend...and it affirms the authority of the Church, exercised through the Bishops, who we view as successors of the Apostles....I think it affirms Apostolic succession more than anything.

Has your JW friend visited the catacombs in Rome yet?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old Jun 27, '12, 11:59 am
CutlerB's Avatar
CutlerB CutlerB is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: May 11, 2012
Posts: 1,528
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: The Gospels' acceptance in the Early Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by pablope View Post
Here is something to think about too and consider....the persecution of Christians...by both Jews (of which Saul of Tarsus was one)...and the Romans.

The Church was underground.....popes and bishops were mainly hunted down and martyred.....there was no printing press.....so wide distribution could not be done....as copying was by hand....and many could not read and write....so the early Christians had to rely on their bishops and presbyters...to guide them.

So if there was an early acceptance of the gospels...it was through the bishops....not the ordinary lay christians who did not read and write.

I think it refutes your JW friend...and it affirms the authority of the Church, exercised through the Bishops, who we view as successors of the Apostles....I think it affirms Apostolic succession more than anything.

Has your JW friend visited the catacombs in Rome yet?
Good stuff to think about!

Yes, we have been, if you are referring to St Peter's tomb. I for my part loved it. It was breathtaking. Now, my JW friend was not so happy about it. Here's the story.

Down in the necropolis there is a mausoleum in which there is a beautifully crafted mosaic of somebody who seems to be the pagan god Helios. The guide explained that if it weren't for a little detail, the light beams from the head forming a cross, this would really have been pagan. (The reaction comes later) So we went on to St Peter's tomb, and the guide invited us to pray with her at the tomb, also having the priest accompanying us give the blessing.

I asked after the visit how he liked it, and he said he was furious that the guide lady commended the early Christians in Rome for being so courageous as to hide the symbol of the Cross in that mosaic. He said: "There is nothing heroic about it! They used pagan symbols!" He went on that he was outraged about the prayer at the tomb and the blessing. Our guide offered and invited us to pray there, she didn't force us. (I guess she assumed we were Catholic pilgrims) And well, he had caught the Apostolic Blessing twice before from the Holy Father himself in St Peter's Square.

I don't know what he thinks about the tomb. I am convinced it is Peter's, maybe he is pondering it. I hope he is. (In fact, I've given him some stuff to read about Mary, which I hope might get him to re-think.)
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old Jun 29, '12, 9:17 am
jschutzm jschutzm is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: March 30, 2009
Posts: 354
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: The Gospels' acceptance in the Early Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by CutlerB View Post
Hello there everybody,

there's a claim around that says: I got this claim from JWs, which makes me quite sceptical about it. They continued:

They further claim that Matthew was written around 41 AD and Luke around 58 AD, which seem quite early dates and I am used to hearing dates about the mid 60s.

Here's my question: Could the written Gospels have been widely accepted at that time? If so, doesn't that show that the Church's role in establishing the Canon of Scripture was secondary? Or more generally, how can we show that the Church's role was vitally important in establishing the Canon?
Everyone is making good points.. but here's my 30 second, laymen's insight.

Sure... that's maybe all well and good.. MAYBE (and I think most here have shot down the ideas already) But even given if that is TRUE...


What about the OTHER books?.. there are more then 4 books in the Christian Canon, how did THOSE get into the bible at a time when Christianity was spread out and most people didn't read?
What about the books that DIDN'T make in... Like the ProtoEvangelium of James or Mary's supposed gospel? -- Who kept the non-canonical books OUT and kept local Priests and layity from ADDING to it?

HOW did the Early Christians settle differences, such as over the book of James when 1 Christian community wanted to included it, but another did not?

All these questions seem to POINT to a living authority which could bind and loose.. settle disagreements and keep Christianity from instantly splintering off, like Protestantism did in the 1500s
Reply With Quote
Reply

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics

Bookmarks

Tags
bible, canon, early church, gospel, scripture

Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search
Display

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
8302Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: GLam8833
5069CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: UpUpAndAway
4352Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: Marla Frances
4035OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: 3DOCTORS
3851SOLITUDE
Last by: tuscany
3611Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: RJB
3263Poems and Reflections
Last by: PathWalker
3210Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: 4elise
3192Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: Amiciel
3066For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: Thomas Choe



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:15 am.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2014, Catholic Answers.