NT Canon

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Bluefalcon, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. Bluefalcon

    Bluefalcon
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    (carryover from another thread)

    One deduction is that these debates were a prelude to these books' introduction into the canon. My deduction is these debates were both a reaction to a 27 book NT canon that had been circulating since the 1st century and also a staunch defense against all books that may have had the appearance of not being apostolically sanctioned.

    No NT manuscript of any time suggests books other than the 27 we have now were ever a part of the NT canon. Even 4th century Sinaiticus has the 27 NT books before its devotional readings of extrabiblical books. We may also observe the ca. 200 MS, p46, that has only NT books with no admixture of others, and other 3rd century MSS p45, p66, p75 are evidence for the same. If no one in the 2nd century knew what books were canonical, where is the mass of manuscript confusion surrounding the NT in any century? It's just not there.

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  2. TCassidy

    TCassidy
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    I think you have it figured out, Bluefalcon. A bunch of lost guys sitting around arguing about what is and what is not the canon really doesn't cut it for me. Sounds too much like the Jesus Seminar. God inspired His canon and God closed His canon when John penned the "Amen" to the book of the Revelation. Some people just don't seem to be able to understand that.
     
  3. mcgyver

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    Hi guys, and God bless....

    I've got a question (as I am still on the learning curve re. textual criticism).

    First, I agree with both TC and Bluefalcon. I understand the basics as to the process of canonization, etc., but my question is this:

    What would be the earliest date that we would find the Bible in the present form (containing 66 books)? Or alternately, the Bible with the 66 canonical books and the apocrypha? When, in your learned opinions; were all canonical books found in one volume?

    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  4. Bluefalcon

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    I remember reading B. B. Warfield somewhere, wish I could remember where, saying something to the effect of, "The apostles themselves imposed the NT writings on the church regardless of whether the church recognized it or not." That pretty much sums up my idea of this arguing over the canon business. Sure, some church leaders wanted to make sure of the integrity of the canon, but they had absolutely no apostolic authority to decide what was or wasn't canonical in the first place. All they could do was recognize, as B. B. Warfield stated, what the apostles themselves had imposed on the church.

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  5. mcgyver

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    Yes, I remember reading that....I was just curious to know when (if known) the first "single volume" Bible appeared on the scene (in any language)......

    Sheer curiosity...... [​IMG]
     
  6. Bluefalcon

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    Mcgyver,

    First of all, in ancient times the 66 book canon all put together in one book would hardly have been able to be moved simply for its weight and size.

    That said, as far as I know, the earliest whole Bible that has lasted to the present day would be the great 4th century Greek uncial manuscripts Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. They contained all 66 books of the Bible, plus a couple books after Revelation, although the latter is not certain in the case of Vaticanus because the hind part of that MS has perished. I know from Matthew to Revelation in both there were 27 books, but for the Old Testament, Sinaiticus and perhaps Vaticanus also contained the apocryphal books, although, if I'm not mistaken, separate from the actual 39 OT books. This is not as important since the Hebrew OT has never kept anything other than the 39 books we have today.

    So, you have hard evidence at least from the 4th century on, and it is doubtful that these two MSS were the first of their kind. But nearly 100 percent of all fragments of the NT ever found (dating back to the 2nd century) have been from bound "books" of the Bible, and this suggests that even from the earliest times of Christianity the Bible was circulated in bound sections, i.e., the four Gospels, Acts and the pastorals, Paul's letters (including Hebrews in the middle), and Revelation. If one was rich enough he might be able to purchase and bind the whole Bible together, but that, as the evidence shows, must have been quite rare.

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon

    [ April 01, 2005, 11:56 PM: Message edited by: Bluefalcon ]
     
  7. Gold Dragon

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    What about the idea that it takes time for scrolls and letters to be copied and circulated around the 1st century church? It's not like Xerox and Fedex were in business yet. ;)

    I can see how even the church in Rome probably took some time before they had copies of all 27 books, maybe even the 3rd century. I can also understand how the general epistles and revelations took some time to be circulated and accepted as canonical.

    An oral tradition was probably the primary means of transmission of teaching in the first, second and maybe even third centuries with a canonical transmission becoming dominant in the fourth.
     
  8. TCassidy

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    I agree with FF Bruce who said
    As to the date of the oldest actual list we have it would probably be that of Athanasius which dates to the early 4th century. However, it must also be pointed out that Codex Sinaiticus (c350AD) contains all of the canon we now accept with the inclusion of the Epistle of Barnabas and most of the Shepherd of Hermas. Those two books were often used as teaching aids so their inclusion does not necessarily mean the compilers believed them to be canonical. Sinaiticus is probably one of the 50 bibles Constantine commissioned Eusebius to copy.
     
  9. TCassidy

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    You have a pretty good memory!
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Bluefalcon

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    I don't think so. I mean, you've got Clement of Rome in AD 90 quoting from like 24 of the 27 NT books, Hebrews being quoted the most! How much more circumstantial evidence does one need?

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  11. Bluefalcon

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    Oops, I'm mistaken in that Clement of Rome doesn't quote from or allude to as many N.T. books as I said, but does quote Hebrews most frequently. Actually equally as significant is Polycarp around 115 quoting from or mentioning every N.T. book but Jude!

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  12. icthus

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    Reading from the above posts, I get the distinct impression that a real understanding of the Canon of the New Testament is absent. You guys are under the false impression, that from the first century, there was bound in one volume, the 27 books of the New Testament! No, the books were in circulation in various parts of the Church, East and West, together with other "books" that were also considered by some orthodox Church fathers as being inspired by the Holy Spirit. The "Shephead", by Hermas is one good example. Though it was written in the second century, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, ans even Tertullian in his early days, regarded this work as divine "Scripture" and so quoted it. It was used in the Greek Church in the 2nd and 3rd centuries as Scripture. Its final rejection came as it was suspected as containing heresy. "The author seems to identify the Holy Spirit with the Son of God before the Incarnation, and to hold that the Trinity came into existence only after the humanity of Christ had been taken up into heaven" (Dr F L Cross; Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, p.630)

    "Eusebius of Caesarea (265-339)...following Origen, he sought to ascertain the usages of all Churches with regard to the New Testament books. Those recognised by him (that is by the Churches as a whole), on the basis of this wide knowledge, are the four Gospels, Acts, the Epistles of Paul, First John, First Peter, and the Apocalypse. Among those that are disputed, but known to the majority, are the so-called Epistle of James, the Epistles of Jude, Second Peter, and the so-called Second and Third Epistles of John" (Dr A Souter, The Text and Canon of the New Testament, p.170)

    It is quite evident from this, that the whole Church in the third century did not use all the 27 books of the New Testament as Scripture, and some of them were very much disputed. The earliest list of the books of the New Testament, with the exception of the Revelation of John, was from the Council of Laodicea, held in A.D.363, which gives 26 books. It was not till 367 that Athanasius finally closed the canon with the 27 books of the New Testament as we have it.
    I do not dispute that all of this was done by the Holy Spirit, but to assume that it was all cut and dry from the start, is wishful thinking and an ignorance of the actual facts.

    It is interesting to note, that even John Calvin, though he accepted Second Peter as part of the canon, rejected Peter as its author!
     
  13. mcgyver

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    Hello TC and Bluefalcon,

    Thanks, you answered my question. [​IMG]
     
  14. Bluefalcon

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    To be honest, I don't care if 10 popes called something Scripture that wasn't, it doesn't mean a thing to me.

    In the 1st and 2nd centuries the church was most dominant in Asia Minor. The greatest concentration of churches and theological leaders of the 2nd century were from there. The apostle Paul's legacy, and perhaps the apostle John's as well, were seated there. How many documented cases are there from a leader in Asia Minor calling anything Scripture that wasn't?
    (HINT: Let's take a good look at Polycarp here)

    The apostles considered their own writings to be authoritative Scripture, and they imposed these on the church. Some in the church down the line were confused and some today still are. It doesn't matter to me. From the earliest times the church has always had the Scriptures whether it recognized it or not.

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  15. icthus

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    Bluefalcon, I don't follow what you are on about?
     
  16. icthus

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    Where do you get your information from? Polycarp mentions or quotes every book of the NT except Jude?

    He never quotes or alludes to

    2 Timothy
    Titus
    Philemmon
    Hebrews
    James
    2 Peter
    3 John
    Revelation

    I will stand correct, if what i have give is wrong
     
  17. Bluefalcon

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    That's okay, icthus, my thoughts are not your thoughts, obviously.....

    Yours,

    Bluefalcon
     
  18. icthus

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    I see, now you are saying that you "think" that Polycarp quoted or alluded to every NT book, except Jude? As you have failed to provide any hard evidence. I wait
     
  19. Gold Dragon

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  20. Bluefalcon

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    "There are perhaps fifty clear quotations taken from Matthew, Luke, Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, 1 and 2 Peter, and 1 John, and many allusions including to Mark, Hebrews, James, and 2 and 3 John. (The only NT writer not included is Jude!)"

    Wilbur Pickering, The Identity of the NT Text (Nashville: Thomas Nelson), chapter 5, page 2.
     

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