The Canon of Scripture

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by quantumfaith, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
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    I would like to see a discussion of the positions, thoughts, traditions and opinons on the How and Who (other than God) decided and gave us the cannon of scripture that we accept as valid today. What I mean by "other than God" is we all know scripture was given to mankind by God, we all as believers accept that as an axiom.
     
  2. Iconoclast

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    Much comes from scripture itself. Jesus used and quoted from scripture itself as in Lk24.Peter calls Pauls writing scripture.
     
  3. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
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    Appreciate that ICON, it is a valid point. But I was hoping for a "different" discussion. You and (yes even I would agree), those outside of the "tent of faith" might consider that "tautological".
     
  4. Iconoclast

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    Yes....I was just trying to get the ball rolling.
     
  5. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
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    :thumbsup:
     
  6. Yeshua1

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    the deal with the canon though is that since the bible itself is a direct product of God to mankind, as the written revealtion from god to us, by that very nature, unless one is saved , they will not accept and see the fingerprints of God all over the creation and acceptance of the books of Canon!
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    You're asking a pretty broad question. What aspect of canonization are you really hoping to discuss?

    The revelatory?
    The inscripturation?
    The transmission?
    The corruption?
    The assembly?
    The reconstruction?

    A little bit of delimiting thought would be helpful.

    FWIW, I've studied this topic heavily over the past 10 years and have walked through the heavy literature. The answers are not cut and dry, regardless of what some might suggest. That said, I whole-heartedly accept the 66 books of the Bible as inspired, infallible, inerrant, and authoritative revelation from God.

    Should be a good thread. :)
     
  8. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
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    Anything, I perused a Wikipedia link and was astounded at what I did not know regarding the differing "canons". Who specifically was responsible for the canon that we "acknowledge" in western christianity? Here is the link that I perused..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon

    BTW, I can "read", I just wanted some conversation and insights from folks in BB land.
     
    #8 quantumfaith, Oct 16, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2013
  9. quantumfaith

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    Please feel free to share a missive on any related issue that you have done a good amount of research into, something that you might have a passion about. I am looking to LEARN, not argue.
     
  10. SolaSaint

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    For a book to be included in the Canon, doesn't have to be written by an Apostle or by someone directly mentored by an Apostle. Seems like I heard that somewhere.
     
  11. quantumfaith

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    Not sure if this addresses your question or not.

    Protestant canon

    Protestants accept the Masoretic texts as the inspired Hebrew Bible, rather than the earlier Septuagint translation into Greek (from pre-Masoretic Hebrew), though many recognize the latter's wide use by Greek-speaking Jews in the 1st century. They note that early Christians evidenced a knowledge of a canon of Scripture, based upon internal evidence, as well as by the existence of a list of Old Testament books by Melito of Sardis, compiled around 170 AD (see Melito's canon).[37]
    Many modern Protestants point to the following four "Criteria for Canonicity" to justify the selection of the books that have been included in the New Testament—though these ideas aren't isolated to Protestant theology, but extend to or are derived from other Christian traditions:
    Apostolic Origin — attributed to and based upon the preaching/teaching of the first-generation apostles (or their close companions).
    Universal Acceptance — acknowledged by all major Christian communities in the ancient world (by the end of the 4th century) as well as accepted canon by Jewish authorities (for the Old Testament).
    Liturgical Use — read publicly when early Christian communities gathered for the Lord's Supper (their weekly worship services).
    Consistent Message — containing a theological outlook similar to or complementary to other accepted Christian writings.[38]
    It is sometimes difficult to apply these criteria to all of the books in the accepted canon, however, and one can point to writings that Protestants consider to be unscriptural, which would fulfill these requirements. In practice, most Protestants hold to the Jewish Tanakh for the Old Testament and the Roman Catholic canon for the New Testament
     
  12. Van

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    I think the traditional view is that a "canon" is simply a list. Thus the "canon" is a list of books, i.e. Genesis to Revelation.
    Each book is thought to be inspired by God. And many but not all believe these books started out as inerrant in the original autographs, but during "transmission" corruptions occurred. Thus we have folks thinking the TR is the least corrupt, and others thinking the CT is the least corrupt.

    So the question becomes, why include this book but not that book. Basically the people making the various lists over time developed "tests" by which a book was included or expunged.

    Here are some of the very common tests:

    1) Is the book dynamic, i.e. does it change lives?

    2) Was the book accepted by the initial audience as authentic.

    3) Is the OT book referenced as "scripture" by Jesus.
     
  13. preachinjesus

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    Well fair enough. The topic is pretty wide and I wanted to see if you had a specific category in mind. :)

    Essentially, I would point out that the formation of the Canon has multiple stages and was not completed, formally, until AD 397...and that goes for both testaments.

    Initially for the OT, by the time of the Second Temple all of the texts existed and were in the process of being included in a formal canon for the Jews. The Pentateuch was set along with most of the Wisdom literature and the major prophets. The historical books were pretty set, though Chronicles through Ezra are in flux. Esther is, imho, one of the final books of the OT. Once the process of gathering the LXX was started most of the OT was translated by the time of Christ.

    For the NT, the books were written by AD 90 with Revelation being last (and obviously written in AD 90 ;).) Paul's works are among the earliest with the Synoptics being next then the Catholic epistles leading to the Johannine corpus. The earliest communities (as Icon helpfully noted) were clearly circulating these works but the process was slower than most evangelicals think. Definitely by the middle of the second century the earliest communities were pointing out erroneous books and working to consolidate the authentic ones. That's why we see all the lists start coming out at the end of the second century.

    I really believe the process was like the inscripturation process, a combination of the Holy Spirit and organic processes. We have an authoritative set of books that are clearly inspired. How we got them isn't as nice and tidy as some would believe. But's okay. We are left with the most unique and original set of religious texts the world has ever seen. :)
     
  14. SolaSaint

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    Nicely stated PiJ. Now what about the Muratorian fragment? Does this document lend any credibility to the debate? I think it shows for the most part, a lot of the canon was accepted very early, but it does have it's problems. WHat do you say?
     
  15. Yeshua1

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    Some of the reasons used to discern if inspired from God to the church included:

    Did an Apostle write it? or did the writer have "apostoloc authority" behind it, as in Peter for Mark, paul for Luke?

    Did it speak/read as authoritative/inspired

    was it already received/regarded as being inspired in ealy Apostoloc Church?

    Did it agree with already received canonized scripture, the Old testment?

    Did earliest church fathers quote and refer to it as being received as sacrred scriptures?

    Important to rrealise that by time first century ended, after John passed away, all but 4 were already received/accepted and circulated as sacred texts, and James was looked at by some as opossing paul, Hebrews unknown author. 2 peter thought to be by some not from Him, and revelation had question on which John wrote it, but amazing all but that were alreaduy seen as "canon"by AD 100!
     
  16. preachinjesus

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    I think the Muratorian fragment is essential to establishing a canonicity discussion that shows an early third century, informal recognition of the NT canon.

    Though some, mostly more conservative evangelicals, try to push for a very dating on the fragment, I can't realistically place it before AD 200. Other supporting documentation affirms the fragment and, the result of the canonicity process also helps. It seems pretty evident that early texts were circulating, though it isn't clear that any formal attempt at canonicity was seen to be necessary prior to the rise of some heretics in the second century and beyond.

    What is so interesting about this discussion, and particularly for most theological formation in the period, is that the canon wasn't seen to be entirely necessary until the rise of false teachers and heretics. At that point the orthodox Christians of the early Church began pulling together legitimate books to contravene the proposals of the heretics.

    Most particularly the influence of Marcion with his limited canon pushed this issue more than nearly anyone else. The Montanist controversy also was important.

    As a result, the early Church began formally pushing towards a formal canon, but not until prompted by necessity.

    Some will disagree, but I think the evidence is pretty substantial for such an observation. :)
     
  17. Yeshua1

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    What is very interesting ion reagrds to this topic is that we can piece together essentially ALL of the canon of the Bile by using the quotes of the church Ftahers right after the Apsotolic age ended, as in early second century, almost all canon books were recogised and being used as such in the churches, and copying of them was underway!
     
  18. quantumfaith

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    PJ,

    What final group (or meeting) gave us the "final" NT Canon? Were they, what we today would think of as catholic?
     
  19. Yeshua1

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    Think the Church recognised and was using copies of the final canon before that Council, they just made it "official!"
     
  20. quantumfaith

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    Yeshua, I may be wrong, but I don't think that is correct. No church at this time had a complete copy of all that we call the canon. I would think, they had "bits and pieces" and circulated those.
     

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