Is authorship important?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by jonathan.borland, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. jonathan.borland

    jonathan.borland
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    I've read several books on the NT canon lately, and most scholars do not think several of Paul's letters were written by him. 2 Peter, they say, was written not by Peter but by a pseudonymous author around A.D. 150. So how important is authorship to the integrity of our NT canon? I don't think 2 Peter is pseudonymous, but many people do. If it were a mid-second century pseudonymous work, though, would that lessen the integrity of our canon? How important is it that our Bible was written by apostolic figures? Were apostolic figures around in the mid-second century and capable of writing Scripture?
     
  2. Jim1999

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    In most cases, the authorship is stated in the letter, either directly or indirectly. To deny such authorship is to deny the veracity of that letter.

    Having said that, there are some letters we cannot absolutely agree on who is the author. In these cases it does not alter the facts in the letter.

    With the New Testament, the rule of accepted authorship is the fact that those who wrote the letters had a personal relationship with Jesus.......Paul's experience came by special appearance, and recognized by other apostles.

    There are more autographic problems in the Old Testament.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. franklinmonroe

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    Good questions, Jonathan. Welcome to the BB. I don't have time at the moment, other than to say that our canon is solid, but I hope you get some satisfactory answers from some others here.
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    Destroying the authorship of a NT book destroys its credibility. To say II Peter was not written until AD150 questions the use of it in quotations prior to that time. It says that men could simply add "stuff" into Scriptures without accountability or origin.

    BTW, as a Greek student, the idea of II Peter NOT being written by the same hand as I Peter (or Mark, Peter's sermon transcribed by John Mark) is hard to imagine. It is as easy as piecing together MY comments on the BB's various threads - it would be easy to show via grammar, vocabulary, etymology that they are by the same person.
     
  5. John of Japan

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    Good post and very true. :thumbs:
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    Challenging authorship has often been a back-door to undermining the authority and inspiration of Scripture. I actually affirm that whoever the Scriptures say wrote a book they did write that text. Here are some things to consider:

    1. Why do we feel the need the question the authorship of Scripture?
    2. With the wealth of secretaries who took the dictation from the authors of the New Testament there is quite a bit to suggest that the varying styles and different word usage is a result of those different secretaries.
    3. It is pretty reasonable to suggest that the whole of the New Testament had been written by the end of first century and didn't bleed over into the second century. We even have proof of early manuscripts containing passages from the Gospels.
    4. The reconstructed text of the NT seems to point to earlier and earlier datings of the original texts.
     
  7. jonathan.borland

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    You are expressing my thoughts, too. But some "evangelicals" are sitting in the middle. Lee M. McDonald's book, The Biblical Canon: Its Origen, Transmission, and Authority, is one of the ones I read. He claims 2 Peter could have been written as late as A.D. 180. So, to him, the authorship is irrelevant to the issue of usefulness and authoritativeness of the text to the church. I have a problem with this. I just wanted to hear the consensus of those on this site.
     
  8. jonathan.borland

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    Thank you. I'm still hoping for an early 2nd-century, 27-book codex to turn up in the dry sands of Egypt. But I'm not holding my breath. McDonald and his Sundberg thesis claim the formal selection process for which books were to be included in the canon did not really begin until the 4th century. Luckily, we do have a complete, 27-book NT in the 4th century called Codex Sinaiticus, although after Revelation it has some appendices, i.e., Clement, Shepherd of Hermas, etc. I don't think this codex was original. The problem is we have little empirical evidence of a 27-book canon before the 4th century.
     
  9. jonathan.borland

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    I just got back from the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting this year. The theme was Text and Canon. I must say it was refreshing to hear plenary speakers with a view other than all the authors I've read for the seminar I am taking this semester. Peter Gentry, Stephen Dempster, Dan Wallace, and C. E. Hill all gave wonderful addresses. (We had read Hill already, who is very good.) Reading McDonald, Hahneman, Gamble, Epp, Barton, Metzger, Allert, Sundberg, Ulrich, von Harnack, etc., was making me wonder where anyone if anyone holds to a strong biblical canon anymore. We did read Bruce, who was probably the strongest ally for defending the current canon as legitimate. Metzger's view is similar. If my German was better I would have tried to wade through Th. Zahn's two volumes.
     

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