NT canon


#1

I’ve been taught that the Church councils affirmed the canon but did not choose it. In other words, by the close of the first century, the canon was already pretty well settled in that the writings that became part of the canon were considered inspired writings (unlike 2nd Macabees) in the same way that the OT was in Israel. There were other ‘teaching’ letters, but the Gospels and most of the NT was written and distributed really early.

Also, the author of a book I’m reading says that the Church should not be over scripture, but instead follow scripture so that scripture is over the Church. That way churches can’t say that the scripture says what they ‘want’ it to say. Also, he quotes from John 20 and says that John believed the scripture is sufficient.

Anyone, anyone…:wink:
oneseeker


#2

<< Also, he quotes from John 20 and says that John believed the scripture is sufficient. >>

Actually what John 20:31 says is that “these things are written” so that you may believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that you may have salvation. No one disputes that. However, that is not sola scriptura which says Scriptures are the only infallible rule of faith, and that tradition and the Church are not necessary. The Gospel of John explicitly states there is much more that could have been written (John 20:30; 21:25).

What book are you reading?

Phil P


#3

By no means was the canon of the New Testament settled by the end of the First Century. In fact, the phrase “Novarum Testamentum” doesn’t appear until about 200 AD, and the author who uses it (Tertullian) makes it clear that he is talking about the Church, not a new book.

The idea of a New Testament was slow to emerge, and came from the practice of reading Christian documents at Mass. One early list of books or documents “suitable for reading in church” is the Muritorian Fragment, which is dated to about 170 AD. It is imcomplete, so we don’t know all the books the author considered suitable, but you can see that some books were accepted by the author that are not in the New Testament. You can also see that other books which the author rejected (such as The Shepard of Hermas) clearly were accepted by others.

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#4

. . . at which nevertheless he was present, and so he placed [them in his narrative]. [1] (2) The third book of the Gospel is that according to Luke. (3) Luke, the well-known physician, after the ascension of Christ, (4-5) when Paul had taken with him as one zealous for the law, [2] (6) composed it in his own name, according to [the general] belief. [3] Yet he himself had not (7) seen the Lord in the flesh; and therefore, as he was able to ascertain events, (8) so indeed he begins to tell the story from the birth of John. (9) The fourth of the Gospels is that of John, [one] of the disciples. (10) To his fellow disciples and bishops, who had been urging him [to write], (11) he said, ‘Fast with me from today to three days, and what (12) will be revealed to each one (13) let us tell it to one another.’ In the same night it was revealed (14) to Andrew, [one] of the apostles, (15-16) that John should write down all things in his own name while all of them should review it. And so, though various (17) elements [3a] may be taught in the individual books of the Gospels, (18) nevertheless this makes no difference to the faith of believers, since by the one sovereign [3b] Spirit all things (20) have been declared in all [the Gospels]: concerning the (21) nativity, concerning the passion, concerning the resurrection, (22) concerning life with his disciples, (23) and concerning his twofold coming; (24) the first in lowliness when he was despised, which has taken place, (25) the second glorious in royal power, (26) which is still in the future. What (27) marvel is it then, if John so consistently (28) mentions these particular points also in his Epistles, (29) saying about himself, 'What we have seen with our eyes (30) and heard with our ears and our hands (31) have handled, these things we have written to you? [4] (32) For in this way he professes [himself] to be not only an eye-witness and hearer, (33) but also a writer of all the marvelous deeds of the Lord, in their order. (34) Moreover, the acts of all the apostles (35) were written in one book. For ‘most excellent Theophilus’ [5] Luke compiled (36) the individual events that took place in his presence — (37) as he plainly shows by omitting the martyrdom of Peter (38) as well as the departure of Paul from the city [of Rome] [5a] (39) when he journeyed to Spain. As for the Epistles of (40-1) Paul, they themselves make clear to those desiring to understand, which ones [they are], from what place, or for what reason they were sent. (42) First of all, to the Corinthians, prohibiting their heretical schisms; (43) next, [6] to the Galatians, against circumcision; (44-6) then to the Romans he wrote at length, explaining the order (or, plan) of the Scriptures, and also that Christ is their principle (or, main theme). [6a] It is necessary (47) for us to discuss these one by one, since the blessed (48) apostle Paul himself, following the example of his predecessor (49-50) John, writes by name to only seven churches in the following sequence: To the Corinthians (51) first, to the Ephesians second, to the Philippians third, (52) to the Colossians fourth, to the Galatians fifth, (53) to the Thessalonians sixth, to the Romans (54-5) seventh. It is true that he writes once more to the Corinthians and to the Thessalonians for the sake of admonition, (56-7) yet it is clearly recognizable that there is one Church spread throughout the whole extent of the earth.

(Continued in next post


#5

Continuing the Moritorian fragment:

For John also in the (58) Apocalypse, though he writes to seven churches, (59-60) nevertheless speaks to all. [Paul also wrote] out of affection and love one to Philemon, one to Titus, and two to Timothy; and these are held sacred (62-3) in the esteem of the Church catholic for the regulation of ecclesiastical discipline. There is current also [an epistle] to (64) the Laodiceans, [and] another to the Alexandrians, [both] forged in Paul’s (65) name to [further] the heresy of Marcion, [6b] and several others (66) which cannot be received into the catholic Church (67)— for it is not fitting that gall be mixed with honey. (68) Moreover, the epistle of Jude and two of the above-mentioned (or, bearing the name of) John are counted (or, used) in the catholic [Church]; [7] and [the book of] Wisdom, (70) written by the friends [7a] of Solomon in his honour. (71))

We receive only the apocalypses of John and Peter, (72) [7b] though some of us are not willing that the latter be read in church. (73) But Hermas wrote the Shepherd (74) very recently, [7c] in our times, in the city of Rome, (75) while bishop Pius, his brother, was occupying the [episcopal] chair (76) of the church of the city of Rome. [7d] (77) And therefore it ought indeed to be read; but (78) it cannot be read publicly to the people in church either among (79) the Prophets, whose number is complete, [8] or among (80) the Apostles, for it is after [their] time. (81) But we accept nothing whatever of Arsinous or Valentinus or Miltiades, (82) who also composed (83) a new book of psalms for Marcion, (84-5) together with Basilides, the Asian founder of the Cataphrygians [8a] . . .

As you can see, when this was written, there was no generally accepted canon, and the purpose of the writer was to advance his arguments for what was and was not suitable to be read in church.


#6

ntcanon.org/table.shtml


#7

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