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Others, however, believe it more likely that James is a pseudonymous work of a later period. For these reasons, many recent interpreters assign James to the period A.D. Paradoxically, this very Jewish work is written in an excellent Greek style, which ranks among the best in the New Testament and appears to be the work of a trained Hellenistic writer.

Still more, critical discussions can even now solve most of the contested cases, so that no serious doubts exist except concerning about one-sixtieth of the contents of the New Testament. Perhaps even the number of passages of which the authenticity has not yet had a sufficient critical demonstration does not exceed twelve, at least as regards substantial alterations. We must not forget, however, that the Cambridge critics do not include in this calculation certain longer passages considered by them as not authentic, namely the end of St. Mark (xvi, 9-20) and the episode of the adulteress (John, viii, 1-11.

49Every day I was with you in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me! But this has happened in order that the scriptures would be fulfilled. Suffice it to say, the legitimacy of the four Gospels were something all Christians could agree on. While there was some back and forth in determining the rest of the canon, the Church was able to utilize the charisms given to her by our Lord Jesus in reaching a consensus and determining the truth of the matter.


Between the Western text and the Alexandrian text is the place of the Syrian, which was that used at Antioch in Cappadocia and at Constantinople in the time of St. John Chrysostom. It is the result of a methodical “confluence” of the Western text with that received in Egypt and Palestine towards the middle of the third century. The Syrian text must have been edited between the years 250 and 350. This type has no value for the reconstruction of the original text, as all the readings which are peculiar to it are simply alterations.

To this Luther added the inadmissibility of the doctrine, as regards the Epistle of St. James. However, it was practically the Lutherans alone who sought to diminish the traditional Canon, which the Council of Trent was to define in 1546. On the basis of their language, content, and other factors, the pastoral epistles are considered by many as not having been written by Paul, but after his death. Parallel to the chain of evidence we have traced for the canonical standing of the Gospels extends one for the thirteen Epistles of St. Paul, forming the other half of the irreducible kernel of the complete New Testament canon. All the authorities cited for the Gospel Canon show acquaintance with, and recognize, the sacred quality of these letters. St. Irenæus, as acknowledged by the Harnackian critics, employs all the Pauline writings, except the short Philemon, as sacred and canonical.

If, indeed, the Epistle to the Ephesians agrees with the Acts in more instances than does the Epistle to the Colossians, it is because the two former have one identical object, namely, the constitution of the Church by the calling of the Jews and Gentiles. At least some rabbinic and Christian listings of books seem to be based on nothing more significant than length, which surely implies that the order has no hermeneutical implications. Thus the fact that Paul’s correspondence has been turned into an ordered corpus is important, but the fact that the Corinthian letters come before those to Thessalonica is not. No mention is made of the Jewish controversy over legalism, which is found in nearly all of Paul’s letters.

65 date also, as we have seen, points to a date for the synoptic Gospels prior to A.D. That really leaves only the writings of the apostle John to be somewhat later—and even they must have been completed before the turn of the first century. Once this “fact” was in place, every other piece of evidence relating to the dating of the Gospels had to conform to this single conclusion. So, if evidence was found that a particular Gospel was written earlier than A.D.

The material conditions under which a book was spread before the invention of printing , the little care of the copyists, correctors, and glossators for the text, so different from the desire of accuracy exhibited today, explain sufficiently the divergences we find between various MSS. To these causes may be added, in regard to the Scriptures, exegetical difficulties and dogmatical controversies. To exempt the sacred writings from ordinary conditions a very special providence would have been necessary, and it has not been the will of God to exercise this providence. More than 150,000 different readings have been found in the older witnesses to the text of the New Testament—which in itself is a proof that Scriptures are not the only, nor the principal, means of revelation. In the concrete order of the present economy God had only to prevent any such alteration of the sacred texts as would put the Church in the moral necessity of announcing with certainty as the word of God what in reality was only a human utterance. Let us say, however, from the start, that the substantial tenor of the sacred text has not been altered, notwithstanding the uncertainty which hangs over some more or less long and more or less important historical or dogmatical passages.

Councils Discussed the Canon of Books

Then, ideas so crowd upon him that his pen is overtaxed; his sentences teem with synonyms and qualifying epithets and keep taking on new propositions, thus losing the sharpness and vigour of controversy and assuming the ample proportions of a hymn of adoration. Hence we can understand why, in these letters, Paul’s style grows dull and sluggish and why the literary composition differs so widely from that of the first Epistles. When writing to the Colossians he at least had one particular church to deal with and certain errors to refute, whereas, in the Epistle to the Ephesians, he addressed himself at one and the same time to a group of unknown churches of which he had received but vague information. There was nothing concrete in this and the Apostle was left entirely to himself and to his own meditations.

The Syriac Version of this primitive epoch that still survives contains only the Gospels. The most widespread of these revisions, which became almost the official version, is called the Pesitta ; the others are called Philoxenian (sixth cent.), Heraclean (seventh cent.), and Syro-Palestinian (sixth cent.). Egyptian Version.—The best-known type is that called Bohairic and also Coptic from the generic name Copt, which is a corruption of the Greek aiguptos Egyptian. A greater interest is attached to the version of Upper Egypt, called the Sahidic, https://matchreview.org/soulsingles-review/ or Theban, which is a work of the third century, perhaps even of the second. The ancients were aware of the variant readings in the text and in the versions of the New Testament; Origen, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine particularly insisted on this state of things. In every age and in diverse places efforts were made to remedy the evil; in Africa, in the time of St. Cyprian ; in the East by means of the works of Origen (200-54); then by those of Lucian at Antioch and Hesychius at Alexandria, in the beginning of the fourth century.

9Then Moses and the priests, the Levites, spoke to all Israel, saying, “Be silent and hear, Israel, for this day you have become a people for Yahweh your God. Then Moses and the elders of Israel charged the people, saying, “Keep all of the commandment that I am commanding you today. 14I have not eaten during my time of mourning, and I have not removed anything from it while being unclean, and I have not offered any of it to someone who has died.

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But gradually the German Protestants familiarized themselves with the idea that the difference between the contested books of the New Testament and the rest was one of degree of certainty as to origin rather than of instrinsic character. The full recognition of these books by the Calvinists and Anglicans made it much more difficult for the Lutherans to exclude the New Testament deuteros than those of the Old. One of their writers of the seventeenth century allowed only a theoretic difference between the two classes, and in 1700 Bossuet could say that all Catholics and Protestants agreed on the New Testament canon. The only trace of opposition now remaining in German Protestant Bibles is in the order, Hebrews, coming with James, Jude, and Apocalypse at the end; the first not being included with the Pauline writings, while James and Jude are not ranked with the Catholic Epistles. St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, and St. Polycarp, of Smyrna, had been disciples of Apostles; they wrote their epistles in the first decade of the second century ( ). In St. Ignatius we find the first instance of the consecrated term “it is written” applied to a Gospel (Ad Philad., viii, 2).

Paul’s Pastoral Epistles

110, implies that “the Gospel” was already a well-known and definite collection. This view understands canon as an authoritative rule, that is, canon as an authoritative set of teachings that shape the Christian community that emerged within the first decades of the Christian movement (say 40 C.E.?). Unity has been achieved between Jews and Gentiles through the person of Christ. The Gentiles, who at one time were separated from the people of God and who were in bondage to the evil powers of the universe, are now offered salvation and have been made one with the children of God through Jesus Christ. A new household of God has been created through the preaching of the apostles and the Christian prophets. The church has been called into being to bear witness to the divine purpose and to knit together people from all races and nations into a single community in which God dwells through his Spirit.

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