New Testament Canon Prof. M. M. Ninan
Old Testament was the Scripture of the Early Church
and all these others who witnessed Jesus on the Road and the Risen Lord
People who saw and heard Jesus shared their experience
1Co 15:6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
Oral and written traditions behind the gospels Collected, memorized and (perhaps) recorded: • Sayings of Jesus • Miracle stories • Passion narrative Q from the German Quelle, "source"
Source Criticism Four Source Hypothesis "M" Mark "Q" "L" Luke Mathew
Various Source Hypotheses posits three sources for Luke: Mark, Q, and to a lesser extent Matthew 2SH holds that Mark was the first gospel to be composed and became the primary narrative source for Matthew and Luke (Markan priority). In addition, Matthew and Luke independently supplemented their Markan material with sayings of Jesus from a lost sayings collection, termed "Q". 4SH: Matthew's and Luke's own special sources are postulated to be distinct, written sources How the gospel writings evolved Markan Hypothesis Matthew and Luke used the first version of Mark (pMk), which was revised into Secret Mark (dMk). Our Mark then comes an edited version of Secret Mark. The Logia Translation Hypothesis from Hebrew and Greek stories Proto gospel and Q
Problem of collecting and codifying came only when churches realized that witnesses are dying. Historical Jesus 4 BC -30 AD Miracle and Parables Oral Transmission 30 AD - 50 AD
the early church gathered for a meal and remembered the life, works and the words of Jesus
Memories fade • People who witnessed the event die • The 4 gospels were written very early after Jesus’ death and resurrection: • Mark: around 70 A.D. • Matthew: around 80 A.D. • Luke: around 80 A.D. • John: around 90 A.D.
Collecting the books Canonization of the New Testament Phase I About 50 A.D. – 100 A.D. • The Apostles Consider their Writings to be scripture. • Paul – Colossians 4:16, I Thessalonians 5:27, II Thessalonians 2:15 • Peter – II Peter 1:15, 3:1-2 • Paul – I Timothy 5:18 • Peter – II Peter 3:15-16
Emphasis on the book varied with area It was the Apostolic witness that formed the core of the faith of Christiansall around the World
ca. 51-100 AD: The New Testament books are written. But during this same period other early Christian writings are produced: • The Didache (ca. 70) • 1 Clement (ca. 96) • The Epistle of Barnabas (ca. 100) • 7 Letters of Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 110) • The Shepherd of Hermas (ca. 100) • If you want to read them: www.earlychristianwritings.com Oldest MS of John 125 AD
Development of the New Testament Canon Nobody thought of a Code of Canon until heresies cropped up
Development of the New Testament Canon we see the wisdom of defining the Canon and Creed as we see the mushrooms of heresy
incorporates Christian ideas. (mid-second century) Proliferation of Gnostic writings Gospels Acts Apocalypses
Gnostic Christian Traditions • Gospels • Gospel of Mary Gospel of Thomas Gospel of Truth Gospel of Philip Gospel of Judas • Apocalypse • The Apocryphon of John The Apocalypse of Adam • Thomasine works • Hymn of Jude Thomas the Apostle in the Country of Indians • The Gospel of Thomas • The Book of Thomas: The Contender Writing to the Perfect • Valentinian . ca 153 AD/CE, Bishop of Rome • The Divine Word Present in the Infant On the Three Natures • Adam's Faculty of Speech To Agathopous: Jesus' Digestive System • Annihilation of the Realm of Death On Friends: The Source of Common Wisdom • Basilides (132–? CE/AD). • The Octet of Subsistent Entities The Uniqueness of the World • Election Naturally Entails Faith and Virtue The State of Virtue (Fragment D) • The Elect Transcend the World (Fragment E) Reincarnation 2nd C
In India this generated new Iswaras in the place of Isa This gave rise to Hinduism Manicaen
Real Problem in the west (c.110-160) Marcion ca. 140AD: He was a businessman in Rome. Marcion donated 200,000 sesterces to the Church of Rome after Pope Hyginus died in 143, an impressive sum of money. Many have conjectured that this "gift" was actually a calculated bribe on the part of Marcion and his adherents in order to obtain the bishopric of Rome.
ca. 140AD: There are two Gods: • Yahweh, the cruel God of the Old Testament • Abba, the kind father of the New Testament Church returned his money and excommunicated him after a hearing Marcion,(c.110-160)
Marcion’s Canon Gospel according to Luke Romans I Corinthians II Corinthians Galatians Ephesians (Laodiceans) Colossians Thessalonians I Thessalonians II Philemon
Marcion's "New Testament“—the first to be compiled forced other Christian leaders, like Irenaeus, to decide on a core canon:
Tests for inclusion • three main criteria were used • Early date • Was it written within a 100 years of the death of Jesus? Written during the life time of Apostles. John died in AD 100 • 2.Apostolic connections • What eye witness corrobation is behind it? • 3.Intrinsic soundness • Quality of theological reflection • Is it Good Theology? The Incarnation and historicity of Jesus of Nazareth
Canonization of the New Testament Phase II About 100 A.D. – 170 A.D. • First collection of New Testament books showed up in Rome. • Other areas held some collections of New Testament books • Each region or area would have a different collection of books • The church had no council, meeting, or conference to bring all the apostolic writings together. • Distance kept the New testament canon very diverse. • Each church used and read the writings it had.
Irenaeus’ list ca. 180 AD Thessalonians I Thessalonians II I Timothy II Timothy Titus James (?) 1 Peter 1 John Revelation of John Shepherd of Hermas Matthew Mark Luke John Acts Romans I Corinthians II Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians
Canonization of the New Testament Phase III About 70 A.D. – 200 A.D. • Early Church Fathers consider the Apostolic letters to be scripture • Clement of Rome – refers to Matthew, Luke, Romans, Corinthians, Hebrews, I Timothy, I Peter. • Polycarp – Quotes Philippians, and nine other of Paul's Epistles. • Ignatius – Quotes Matthew, I Peter, I John, and nine of Paul’s Epistles. • Papias (pupil of John) – Quotes John and talks about the origin of Matthew and Mark • Others • Tatian, Justin Martyr, Basilides, Marcion, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen • All considered the Apostolic letters to be scripture
AD 200 Muratorian fragment List But the periphery of the canon is not yet determined. According to one list, compiled at Rome around 200 (often called the Muratorian Canon), the NT consists of: • The 4 Gospels (though first 2 are missing) • Acts • 13 letters of Paul (Hebrews is not included) • 1-2 John • Jude • The Apocalypse of Peter. • But not Hebrews, James, 3 John, 1 & 2 Peter, or Revelation
Canonization of the New Testament Phase IV About 300A.D. – 340 A.D. • Constantine accepts Christianity. • He orders 50 Bibles to be prepared for all the churches in his city Constantinople. • Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea was given the job of preparing the 50 Bibles.
300 AD Eusebius of Caesarea Church Historian Eusebius A.D. 260 - 340 Eusebius lived through the Great Persecution under Diocletian and served as the bishop of Caesarea during the reign of Constantine. He was one of the bishops present at the Council of Nicaea. He is best known for writing his Ecclesiastical History.
300 AD Eusebius of Caesarea Church Historian Eusebius A.D. 260 - 340 Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History When he wrote his History, Eusebius' vital concern was to record facts before they disappeared and before eyewitnesses might be killed and libraries might be burned during the next persecution. He faithfully transcribed the most important existing documents of his day, enabling later generations to have a collection of factual history about the first three centuries of Christianity. Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History is one of the classics of early Christianity and stands in equal stature with the historical works of Josephus.
Eusebius did extensive research to find out what books were accepted by the churches. Eusebius divided the books into four groups Eusebius A.D. 260 - 340
300 AD Eusebius of Caesarea Church Historian Eusebius A.D. 260 - 340 “recognized,” “disputed,” “spurious” and “heretical”
Eusebius A.D. 260 - 340 Recognized: • The four Gospels, • Acts, • Paul’s letters, • 1 John, • 1 Peter • and “if it really seems right,” Revelation
Eusebius A.D. 260 - 340 Disputed: • James, • Jude, • 2 Peter • and • 2 & 3 John
Eusebius A.D. 260 - 340 Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History • Spurious:Acts of Paul, Shepherd of Hermas, Apocalypse of Peter, Letter of Barnabas, the Didache, the Gospel of the Hebrews and, “if it seems right,” Revelation
Eusebius A.D. 260 - 340 Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History Heretical: • Gospels of Peter, Thomas, Matthias, etc., • Acts of Andrew, John or other apostles
Using groups 1and 2, he made his list of accepted books. Which happen to be identical to our modern day list of New Testament books.
367AD : Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria,in his Easter letter. The earliest extant list of the books of New Testament, in exactly the number and order in which we presently have them in his Easter letter of 367