Canon Formation

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    Bruce, F. F.

     (88K)

    "The Canon of the New Testament", Chapter 3 in The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?

    "The historic Christian belief is that the Holy Spirit, who controlled the writing of the individual books, also controlled their selection ant collection, thus continuing to fulfil our Lord's promise that He would guide His disciples into all the truth. This, however, is something that is to be discerned by spiritual insight, and not by historical research. Our object is to find out what historical research reveals about the origin of the New Testament canon. Some will tell us that we receive the twentyseven books of the New Testament on the authority of the Church; but even if we do, how did the Church come to recognise these twentyseven and no others as worthy of being placed on a level of inspiration ant authority with the Old Testament canon?"
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    Donner, Theo

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    Some Thoughts on the History of the New Testament Canon

    "Our ‘bird’s-eye’ view on the authority of the New Testament writings in the early church suggests that it is by no means impossible, or intrinsically unlikely, that all the apostolic writings which today make up our New Testament were accepted as apostolic and therefore as authoritative by the post-apostolic church and that their authenticity only came to be doubted at a later date for certain recognizable reasons, which do not cast doubt on their acceptance as apostolic by the post-apostolic church."
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    Glynn, Daniel

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    The Formation of the New Testament Canon

    "The first Christians relied on both the preaching of the Apostles and the Jewish Scriptures as their standard. The Apostles and their disciples wrote letters to churches and to individuals in order to lead and teach them further. Initially, the oral tradition of the Apostle‘s words were viewed as superior, but by the mid second-century the writings had grown to be more authoritative, and eventually the –canonical Scriptures‘ (the standard and authoritative word of God) were born. At this time there existed no upper hierarchy to guide and control the collection of the texts, so to a certain extent it was left to those leading churches and those defending the faith from heresy to investigate and decide which texts were deserving of canonical status...The heretics and their influence offered new reasons to search out the authentic writings and gave added incentive to the Church to produce an authoritative list."
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    Heard, Richard

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    "How the Books of the New Testament Were Selected”, Chapter 2 in An Introduction to the New Testament

    "While the New Testament can now be regarded as ‘apostolic’ only partially, and in a very wide sense, it remains true that the New Testament does contain substantially all that has survived of those first-century Christian writings which preserved the knowledge of the early ministry of Christ and the teaching of the first Christian generation. As such it is of unique authority for Christians. None of the other Christian writings which survive from the first and second centuries can rank as serious competitors for inclusion; neither in information about Jesus nor in the formulation of Christian doctrine do they add anything that is at once important and primitive."
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    Holding, J. P.

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    Canon Fire: On the Formation of the NT Canon

    "Human beings will never agree unanimously on anything, even the canon of Scripture. Even today, many groups (such as the Mormons) seek to add to what has been written. This, of course, is their right; but the fact remains that the canon has been fixed, not by some 4th-century Church Council, but by the witness of history itself. As Metzger writes: 'the canon cannot be remade - for the simple reason that history cannot be remade.' (ibid., 275) The books that made it into the canon did so by means of "survival of the fittest" - it was not a random drawing with all participants beginning on equal footing."
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    Keating, Corey

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    The Criteria Used for Developing the New Testament Canon in the First Four Centuries of the Christian Church

    "In this modern age, people take for granted that the New Testament they use represents authentic words and teachings of Jesus Christ and His Apostles. They don’t question the process by which these books were chosen to form the Bible. However there was a time when the New Testament as a collection of writings did not exist. The development of the New Testament canon came about over a long process in the early centuries of the Christian Church. It was not produced at a specific point in time, nor was it decided on by one specific person or council. The criteria for including a particular writing in the New Testament canon included such items as apostolic authenticity, orthodoxy, antiquity, and usage by earlier Church Fathers."
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    Kent, Homer A.

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    How We Got Our New Testament

    "How was the New Testament written? Why was it written? When? And how can we, be sure it is authoritative from beginning to end? These are questions every Christian ought to be able to answer...Christians today are the possessors of a New Testament that has a remarkable history. It was promised by Christ, who said He would empower the apostles to be His witnesses. It was written at a time when the Koine Greek language, the international language of the Roman Empire, was virtually worldwide. And it has been preserved in thousands of manuscripts to assure us that we have the very words that Christ desired for His believers."
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    Kistemaker, Simon J.

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    The Canon of the New Testament

    "In the last decade, interest in the canon has increased significantly. Such interest, of course, comes to expression in numerous articles and books on the subject...[S]ome scholars believe that the shape and content of the canon needs revision. David L. Dungan has surveyed the articles and books written of late on the canon of the NT. He mentions such areas as recently discovered apocryphal gospels at Nag Hammadi, Septuagintal studies, Greek NT MS collections, and ecumenical concerns...The question fo what books are to be in the NT canon arose, of course, in apostolic times. In those days the Church asked what books were to be received as the very Word of God."
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    Lieuwen, Daniel F.

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    The Emergence of the New Testament Canon

    "All Christians agree that Scripture is the heart of the Christian tradition. However, what they mean by this affirmation often differs. To shed light on how this affirmation ought to be understood, this paper will trace the history of the New Testament canon from the apostolic church to the present. The goal is to show how we know that the Church properly identified all and only those books that belong in Sacred Scripture and to consider the implications of the process of identification."
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    Nicole, Roger

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    The Canon of The New Testament

    "...[T]he dogmatic study of canonics explores on what ground we may attain a conviction that the 39 books of the OT and the 27 books of the NT constitute the full collection of the inspired authoritative books that God intended for his people and that this collection is pure (the canon does not include any intruding book that should not be included) and complete (no book that should be there has been omitted). We must therefore study the criteria of canonicity and evaluate their adequacy singly or in combination to give us assurance. Since the authority of the Hebrew canon was clearly established by the practice of Jesus and the apostles, we will consider here only the canonicity of the NT and review seven criteria that have been at times invoked in the evangelical Church."
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    Pate, C. Marvin

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    Current Challenges to the Christian Canon

    "This article...deals with a timely subject that has captured the imagination of popular audiences due to the DaVinci Code, and has stirred up old controversies in the academy, thanks to scholars like Elaine Pagels, Karen King, John Dominic Crossan, Bart Ehrman, along with the Fellows of the Jesus Seminar. The purpose of this article is to inform the reader about the current debate over the relationship between the Christian canon..., and orthodoxy. Should the two be equated or not? Perhaps the best way to proceed would be to summarize the subject by highlighting three stages of the debate: (1) the traditional understanding of the Christian canon, namely, the NT is rightly equated with orthodoxy; (2) the liberal challenge to the traditional view, which is that the NT canon should be expanded to include alternative expressions of early Christianities; (3) the traditional counter-responses to the liberal challenge."
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    Sawyer, James M.

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    Evangelicals and the Canon of the New Testament

    "The conservative American evangelical apologetic for the shape of the New Testament canon has been historically the weakest link in its bibliology. Arguments for the shape of the canon have been built upon unexamined theological assumptions and historical inaccuracies. Contemporary evangelical apologists for the New Testament canon have downplayed the reformers' doctrine of the 'witness of the Spirit' for assurance of the shape of the New Testament canon, appealing instead to historical evidences for the apostolicity of the New Testament documents and to a theological argument of providence for the closure of the New Testament canon in the fourth century. There are, however, methodological weaknesses with each of these appeals. It is suggested the evangelicals reassert the doctrine of the 'witness of the Spirit' as a key feature in their apologetic for the New Testament canon rather than rely exclusively upon historical arguments."
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    Schnabel, Eckhard J.

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    History, Theology and the Biblical Canon: an Introduction to Basic Issues

    "The lack of precise answers for many specific questions, the undeniable human element in the history of the canon, and the time factor in the process of canonization all show the human side of the Bible. The canon of Scripture is not a book which fell from heaven. The canonical process and our knowledge of it reflect the very nature of Scripture. As Scripture is both a human record of Israel’s and the apostles’ experience in history and the divinely inspired revelation of God’s will, so the canon of Scripture is the outcome of human appreciation and evaluation of foundational documents and at the same time the result of God’s sovereign will."
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    Voorwinde, Stephen

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    The Formation of the New Testament Canon

    "After almost 2000 years of church history how can Christians be sure that they have the right Bible? Can we indeed be absolutely certain that we have exactly the right books in the Bible - no more and no less? As our standard of faith and practice can we confidently appeal to the canon of Scripture as a collection of authoritative writings to which nothing can be added and from which nothing can be taken away? What if archaeology uncovered an ancient epistle of Paul or another apostolic writer? Could such a hitherto lost document be added to the canon?...These are some of the urgent questions to which a thoughtful consideration of our topic will inevitably lead. They are not only issues of abiding theological interest, but can at times also be matters of apologetic importance and even of pressing pastoral concern."