ntcanon Development of the New Testament canon From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia For the Jewish canon, see Development of the Jewish Bible canon. For the Old Testament canon, see Development of the Old Testament canon. 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Although the Early Church primarily used the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint or LXX, or the Targums among Aramaic speakers, the apostles did not otherwise leave a defined set of new scriptures; instead the New Testament developed over time. The development of the New Testament canon was, like that of the Old Testament, a gradual process. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia article on the Canon of the New Testament: “ The idea of a complete and clear-cut canon of the New Testament existing from the beginning, that is from Apostolic times, has no foundation in history. The Canon of the New Testament, like that of the Old, is the result of a development, of a process at once stimulated by disputes with doubters, both within and without ” the Church, and retarded by certain obscurities and natural hesitations, and which did not reach its final term until the dogmatic definition of the Tridentine  Council. A folio from P46, an early 3rd century collection of Pauline epistles. The writings attributed to the apostles circulated amongst the earliest Christian communities. The Pauline epistles were circulating in collected form by the end of the first century AD. Justin Martyr, in the early second century, mentions the "memoirs of the apostles," which Christians called "gospels" and which were regarded as on par with the Old Testament. A four gospel canon (the Tetramorph) was asserted by Irenaeus, c. 160, who refers to it directly. By the early 200's, Origen may have been using the same 27 books as in the Catholic NT canon, though there were still disputes over the canonicity of Hebrews, James, II Peter, II and III John, and Revelation, see also Antilegomena. Likewise the Muratorian fragment is evidence that perhaps as early as 200 there existed a set of Christian writings somewhat similar to the 27-book NT canon, which included four gospels and argued against objections to them. Thus, while there was a good measure of debate in the Early Church over the New Testament canon, the major writings are claimed to have been accepted by almost all Christians by the middle of the second century. In his Easter letter of 367, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, gave a list of exactly the same books as what would become the 27-book NT canon, and he used the word "canonized" (kanonizomena) in regards to them. The North African Synod of Hippo, in 393, approved the 27-book NT canon together with the Septuagint books, a decision that was confirmed by Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419. These councils were under the authority of St. Augustine, who regarded the canon as already closed. Pope Damasus I's Council of Rome in 382, if the Decretum Gelasianum is correctly associated with it, issued a biblical canon identical to that mentioned above, or if not the list is at least a sixth century compilation. Likewise, Damasus's commissioning of the Latin Vulgate edition of the Bible, circa 383, was instrumental in the fixation of the canon in the West. In circa 405, Pope Innocent I sent a list of the sacred books to a Gallic bishop, Exsuperius of Toulouse. Christian scholars assert that when these bishops and councils spoke on the matter, however, they were not defining something new, but instead "were ratifying what had already become the mind of the Church." Thus some claim, that from the fourth century, there existed unanimity in the West concerning the New Testament canon (as it is today), and that by the fifth century the Eastern Church, with a few exceptions, had come to accept the Book of Revelation and thus had come into harmony on the matter of the canon. Nonetheless, a full dogmatic articulation of the canon was not made until the Council of Trent of 1546 for Roman Catholicism, the Thirty- Nine Articles of 1563 for the Church of England, the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647 for Calvinism, and the Synod of Jerusalem of 1672 for the Greek Orthodox. McDonald and Sanders's The Canon Debate, 2002, Appendix B, lists the following most important primary sources for the NT Canon. Contents [hide] 1 Early Christianity 2 The Apostolic Fathers 2.1 Clement of Rome 2.2 Justin Martyr 3 Early Christian diversity 3.1 Marcion of Sinope 4 The Proto-orthodox response to early Christian heresies 4.1 Muratorian Canon 4.2 Diatessaron 4.3 Irenaeus 4.4 Clement of Alexandria 4.5 The Alogi 4.6 Eusebius 4.7 Claromontanus Canon 4.8 Constantine the Great 4.9 Cyril of Jerusalem 4.10 Athanasius 4.11 Cheltenham/Mommsen Canon 4.12 Synod of Laodicea? 4.13 Epiphanius 4.14 Apostolic Canon #85 4.15 Gregory of Nazianzus 4.16 Amphilochius of Iconium 5 The Vulgate Bible 5.1 Jerome 5.2 Augustine and the North African canons 5.3 Pope Damasus I 5.4 Pope Innocent I 5.5 A consensus emerges? 5.6 Cassiodorus 6 Eastern canons 6.1 Peshitta 6.2 Armenian canon 6.3 East African canons 7 Reformation era 7.1 Martin Luther 7.2 Council of Trent 7.3 Protestant confessions 7.4 Synod of Jerusalem 8 Jefferson Bible 9 Further Catholic Developments 10 Jesus Seminar 11 Apocrypha 12 Evangelical canons 13 References 14 External links  Early Christianity The Septuagint: A page from the Codex Vaticanus, the basis of Sir Lancelot Brenton's English translation. Early Christianity relied on the Sacred Oral Tradition of what Jesus had said and done, as reported by his apostles and disciples. These oral traditions were later written down as gospels. In the one-hundred-year period extending roughly from A.D. 50 to 150 a number of documents began to circulate among the churches. These included epistles, gospels, acts, apocalypses, homilies, and collections of teachings. While some of these documents were apostolic in origin, others drew upon the tradition the apostles and ministers of the word had utilized in their individual missions. Still others represented a summation of the teaching entrusted to a particular church center. Several of these writings sought to extend, interpret, and apply apostolic teaching to meet the needs of Christians in a given locality.  The Apostolic Fathers The period immediately following the passing of the Apostles is known as the period of the Apostolic Fathers. Many of these men walked with the Apostles and were taught directly by them. Polycarp and Papias, for instance, are considered to have been disciples of John the Apostle. Doctrinal authority during this period rested on two sources, the Old Testament and the notion of Apostolic Succession, being able to trace a direct association to one of the Apostles and thus to Christ. Although the New Testament canon was written, it was not yet seen as a separate body of books equivalent to the Old Testament. Six Apostolic Fathers are commonly referred to: Barnabas, Hermas, Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Papias, and Ignatius.  Their concerns were more with practical and moral issues than with theological reflection. The works of these early Christian writers contain no formulated doctrine of Scripture or canon, and yet there is much that is suggestive of later development.  Clement of Rome By the end of the 1st century, some letters of Paul were collected and circulated, and were known to Clement of Rome (c. 96), Ignatius of Antioch, and Polycarp of Smyrna but they were not usually called scripture/graphe as the Septuagint was  and they weren't without critics. In the late 4th century Epiphanius of Salamis (died 402) Panarion 29 says the Nazarenes had rejected the Pauline epistles and Irenaeus Against Heresies 26.2 says the Ebionites rejected him. Acts 21:21 records a rumor that Paul aimed to subvert the Old Testament (against this rumor see Romans 3:8, 3:31). 2 Peter 3:16 says his letters have been abused by heretics who twist them around "as they do with the other scriptures." In the 2nd and 3rd centuries Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History 6.38 says the Elchasai "made use of texts from every part of the Old Testament and the Gospels; it rejects the Apostle (Paul) entirely"; 4.29.5 says Tatian the Assyrian rejected Paul's Letters and Acts of the Apostles; 6.25 says Origen accepted 22 canonical books of the Hebrews plus Maccabees plus the four Gospels but Paul "did not so much as write to all the churches that he taught; and even to those to which he wrote he sent but a few lines." Bruce Metzger in his Canon of the New Testament, 1987, draws the following conclusion about Clement: “ Clement's Bible is the Old Testament, to which he refers repeatedly as Scripture (graphe), quoting it with more or less exactness. Clement also makes occasional reference to certain words of Jesus; though they are authoritative for him, he does not appear to enquire how their authenticity is ensured. In two of the three instances that he speaks of remembering 'the words' of Christ or of the Lord Jesus, it seems that he has a written record in mind, but he does not call it a 'gospel'. He knows several of Paul's epistles, and values them highly for their ” content; the same can be said of the Epistle to the Hebrews, with which he is well acquainted. Although these writings obviously possess for Clement considerable significance, he never refers to them as authoritative 'Scripture'. —page 43  Justin Martyr Justin Martyr, in the early second century, mentions the "memoirs of the apostles", which Christians called "gospels" and which were regarded as on par with the Old Testament.  Early Christian diversity See also: Christian heresy Between 140 and 220, both internal and external forces caused Proto- orthodox Christianity to begin to systematize both its doctrines and its view of revelation. Much of the systemization came about as a defense against the diverse Christian viewpoints that competed with emerging Proto-Orthodoxy. The early years of this period witnessed the rise of several strong movements of faith deemed heretical by the church in Rome: Marcionism, Gnosticism and Montanism.  Marcion of Sinope Main article: Marcion of Sinope Marcion of Sinope, a bishop of Asia Minor, was the first of record to propose a definitive, exclusive, unique canon of Christian scriptures. (Though Ignatius did address Christian scripture, before Marcion, against the perceived heresies of the Judaizers and Docetists, he did not publish a canon.) In his book Origin of the New Testament Adolf von Harnack argued that Marcion viewed the church at this time as largely an Old Testament church (one that "follows the Testament of the Creator-God") without a firmly established New Testament canon, and that the church gradually formulated its New Testament canon in response to the challenge posed by Marcion. Marcion rejected the theology of the Old Testament entirely and regarded the God depicted there as an inferior Being. He claimed that the theology of the Old Testament was incompatible with the teaching of Jesus regarding God and morality. Marcion believed that Jesus had come to liberate mankind from the authority of the God of the Old Testament and to reveal the superior God of goodness and mercy whom he called the Father. But this message had been obscured in the Gospel by Judaizing corruptions. Paul and Luke were the only ones to find favour with Marcion and even then only to a limited extent. Marcion created a canon, a definite group of books which he regarded as fully authoritative, displacing all others. These comprised ten of the Pauline epistles (without the Pastorals and Hebrews) and Luke's Gospel. He seems to have edited these books, purging them of what did not accord with his views, or alternately his versions were the originals that were later modified by Proto-Orthodoxy against Marcionism. The Gospel of Luke, which Marcion called simply the Gospel of the Lord, he edited to remove any passages that connected Jesus with the Old Testament, or as stated above, these passages were later added to the Gospel of Luke. This was because he believed that the god of the Jews, Yahweh, who gave them the Jewish Scriptures, was an entirely different god than the Supreme God who sent Jesus and inspired the New Testament. He used ten letters of Paul as well (excluding Hebrews and the Pastoral epistles) assuming his Epistle to the Laodiceans referred to canonical Ephesians and not the apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans or another text no longer extant. He also edited these in a similar way, or at least they differ from the current received text. To these, which he called the Gospel and the Apostolicon, he added his Antithesis which contrasted the New Testament view of God and morality with the Old Testament view of God and morality, see also Expounding of the Law#Antithesis of the Law. Marcion asserted that these changes removed judaizing corruptions and recovered the original inspired words of Jesus and Paul. He edited the ten epistles by Paul as well as the Gospel of Luke. Marcion's canon and theology were rejected as heretical by the early church; however, he forced other Christians to consider which texts were canonical and why. He spread his beliefs widely; they became known as Marcionism. In the introduction to his book "Early Christian Writings", Henry Wace stated: "A modern divine… c u fu discuss the question raised by Marcion, whether there is such opposition between different parts of what he regards as the word of God, that all cannot come from the same author." The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913 characterized Marcion as "perhaps the most dangerous foe Christianity has ever known." Everett Ferguson in chapter 18 of The Canon Debate quotes Tertullian's De praescriptione haereticorum 30: “ Since Marcion separated the New Testament from the Old, he is necessarily subsequent to that which he separated, inasmuch as it was only in his power to separate what was previously united. Having ” been united previous to its separation, the fact of its subsequent separation proves the subsequence also of the man who effected the separation. Note 61 of page 308 adds: “ ” [Wolfram] Kinzig suggests that it was Marcion who usually called his Bible testamentum [Latin for testament]. Robert M. Price, a New Testament scholar at Drew University, considers the Pauline canon problem: how, when, and who collected Paul's epistles to the various churches as a single collection of epistles. The evidence that the early church fathers, such as Clement, knew of the Pauline epistles is unclear. Price investigates several historical scenarios and comes to the conclusion and identifies Marcion as the first person known in recorded history to collect Paul's writings to various churches together as a canon, the Pauline epistles. Robert Price summarizes, "But the first collector of the Pauline Epistles had been Marcion. No one else we know of would be a good candidate, certainly not the essentially fictive Luke, Timothy, and Onesimus. And Marcion, as Burkitt and Bauer show, fills the bill perfectly." If this is correct, then Marcion's role in the formation and development of Christianity is pivotal.
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