[quote=TertiumQuid]Ok.First thing, I have a link that should answer most of your questions on this topic:
Now, as to your unanswered questions.No one stopped Luther, but Luther did revise many of his views on the canon (my link above will document this). For instance, Eden posted that Luther called James “an epistle of straw”- true enough, but when he revised his prefaces he deleted that comment. Eden forgot to tell you this.
Some folks have answers, but I have strong doubts as to their accuracy.Catholic apologist Steve Ray claims,
“Martin Luther understood the place of the Church in establishing the canon… He realized that if he could jettison the Church, or at least redefine it as “invisible” and “intangible”, he was free to reevaluate and regulate the content of the canon for himself. He actually began to function as his own pope and council. If it weren’t for his theologian Philip Melanchthon, Protestants would no longer consider James, Revelation, Hebrews, Jude and a few other books as inspired Scripture.”
Source: Steve Ray: “Bible’s Canon: Do Protestants or Catholics Have The Correct Books?.”
Ray infers that Luther wanted to create his own canon, while most scholars recognize Luther holds to a “canon within a canon” [see Roland Bainton, Studies on the Reformation (Boston: Beacon Press, 1963) 5]. Paul Althaus explains that Luther “allows the canon to stand as it was established by the ancient church. But he makes distinctions within the canon” [See Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966), 83].
Ray makes questionable points that make me wonder how familiar he is with Luther. Which “few other books” is Mr. Ray referring to? I am unaware of Luther ever seriously questioning the canonicity of any other New Testament book other than the four mentioned above. Ray also gives Melanchon far too much credit for the entire course of subsequent Protestantism. Melancthon’s theological opinions did not carry overly significant influence in other protestant non-Lutheran lands. For instance, Calvin in Geneva would hardly factor Melanchthon’s opinions as the decisive element in determing his theological perspectives.
Ray also seems to indicate, Luther’s views on the canon were somehow curtailed by Melanchthon. Ray says elsewhere,
“When Martin Luther rejected “popes and councils” he also realized that the canon was again up for grabs. He didn’t like James as we know, but he also placed Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation at the back of the book, not with the inspired books. It was only later that Philipp Melanchthon convinced him to defer to long tradition and place the books back in the New Testament, back in the recognized order. How did Luther fail to recognize the self-authenticating writings?"
Source:Steve Ray, “New Testament Books: Self-authenticating? No Need for the Church to Close the Canon?”
Ray would do well to provide further information to substantiate this claim that Melanchthon was the primary reason Luther put books “back in the New Testament.” To my knowledge, there is no such document from either Melanchthon or Luther. I have e-mailed him in the past asking for a source, I recieved no response. I tend to think its because it does not exist.
Thank you for the thoughtful response.
The link provided contains far too much information for me to wade through, and because it’s from mostly a single source, it makes me suspicious right off the bat.
I am too gun-shy to accept this information as objective.
It’s kinda like a Catholic posting “Catholic Answers” links at an anti-Catholic site. This approach presents no credibility.
I highly respect Steve Ray’s work partly because he is an ex-Protestant.
It seems that too much of apologetics (Protestant, Catholic, anti-Protestant, anti-Catholic) is geared toward sound bites that give us just enough ammo to shoot ourselves in the foot (and yes, my own foot is very holy). Maybe it’s geared toward damage control.
I am open to non-Catholic information. Simple historical information and name lists that can be googled are more along the lines of what I’m looking for.
Pardon the bluntness. Your own (written) thoughts come across with precision, only to have your links and comments about Steve Ray cast a “here we go again” shadow over them.
Now go to time out for 15 minutes.