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In the sixteenth century the Greek New Testament was published for the first time in printed form. The great Dutch philologist Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam had established a text from a handful of manuscripts dating from the later Middle Ages. Unfortunately he used only manuscripts of inferior quality for his edition of A few verses from the Apocalypse were lacking in the manuscripts at his disposal. He simply re-translated them from the current Latin version!
RobinsonDan Wallaceand William F. Albright dated all the books of the New Testament before 70 AD.
For example, Richard Pervo dates Luke-Acts to c. A  and David Trobisch places Acts in the mid- to late second century, contemporaneous with the publication of the first New Testament canon. And Tertullian continues later in the book, writing:  [note 2].
By the 4th centurythe existence-even if not the exact contents-of both an Old and New Testament had been established. Lactantiusa 3rd-4th century Christian author wrote in his early-4th-century Latin Institutiones Divinae Divine Institutes : . But all scripture is divided into two Testaments. That which preceded the advent and passion of Christ-that is, the law and the prophets -is called the Old; but those things which were written after His resurrection are named the New Testament.
The Jews make use of the Old, we of the New: but yet they are not discordant, for the New is the fulfilling of the Old, and in both there is the same testator, even Christ, who, having suffered death for us, made us heirs of His everlasting kingdom, the people of the Jews being deprived and disinherited.
As the prophet Jeremiah testifies when he speaks such things: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new testament to the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not according to the testament which I made to their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; for they continued not in my testament, and I disregarded them, saith the Lord. For that which He said above, that He would make a new testament to the house of Judah, shows that the old testament which was given by Moses was not perfect; but that which was to be given by Christ would be complete.
Each of the four gospels in the New Testament narrates the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazarethwith the exception of Mark which in the original text ends with the empty tomb and has no account of the post-resurrection appearances.
The gospel was considered the "good news" of the coming Kingdom of Messiahand the redemption through the life and death of Jesus, the central Christian message. Starting in the late second century, the four narrative accounts of the life and work of Jesus Christ have been referred to as "The Gospel of The first author to explicitly name the canonical gospels is Irenaeus of Lyon,   who promoted the four canonical gospels in his book Against Heresieswritten around The first three gospels listed above are classified as the Synoptic Gospels.
They contain similar accounts of the events in Jesus's life and his teaching, due to their literary interdependence. The Gospel of John is structured differently and includes stories of several miracles of Jesus and sayings not found in the other three. These four gospels that were eventually included in the New Testament were only a few among many other early Christian gospels. The existence of such texts is even mentioned at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke.
The Acts of the Apostles is a narrative of the apostles' ministry and activity after Christ's death and resurrection, from which point it resumes and functions as a sequel to the Gospel of Luke. Examining style, phraseology, and other evidence, modern scholarship generally concludes that Acts and the Gospel of Luke share the same author, referred to as Luke-Acts. Luke-Acts does not name its author.
The epistles of the New Testament are considered by Christians to be divinely inspired and holy letters, written by the apostles and disciples of Christ, to either local congregations with specific needs, or to New Covenant Christians in general, scattered about; or "catholic epistles.
The Pauline letters to churches are the thirteen New Testament books that present Paul the Apostle as their author.
Four are thought by most modern scholars to be pseudepigraphici. Opinion is more divided on the other two disputed letters 2 Thessalonians and Colossians.
Prominent themes include the relationship both to broader " pagan " society, to Judaism, and to other Christians. The last four Pauline letters in the New Testament are addressed to individual persons. They include the following:. All of the above except for Philemon are known as the Pastoral epistles. They are addressed to individuals charged with pastoral oversight of churches and discuss issues of Christian living, doctrine and leadership.
They often address different concerns to those of the preceding epistles. These letters are believed by many to be pseudepigraphic. Some scholars e. The author discusses the superiority of the new covenant and the ministry of Jesus, to the Mosaic covenant [Heb. The book has been widely accepted by the Christian church as inspired by God and thus authoritative, despite the acknowledgment of uncertainties about who its human author was.
Regarding authorship, although the Epistle to the Hebrews does not internally claim to have been written by the Apostle Paulsome similarities in wordings to some of the Pauline Epistles have been noted and inferred.
In antiquity, some began to ascribe it to Paul in an attempt to provide the anonymous work an explicit apostolic pedigree. In the 4th century, Jerome and Augustine of Hippo supported Paul's authorship.
The Church largely agreed to include Hebrews as the fourteenth letter of Paul, and affirmed this authorship until the Reformation. The letter to the Hebrews had difficulty in being accepted as part of the Christian canon because of its anonymity.
Contemporary scholars often reject Pauline authorship for the epistle to the Hebrews,  based on its distinctive style and theology, which are considered to set it apart from Paul's writings. The Catholic epistles or "general epistles" consist of both letters and treatises in the form of letters written to the church at large.
The authorship of a number of these is disputed. In the New Testament canon, it is considered prophetical or apocalyptic literature. Its authorship has been attributed either to John the Apostle in which case it is often thought that John the Apostle is John the Evangelisti.
Some ascribe the writership date as circa AD, and others at around 68 AD. The order in which the books of the New Testament appear differs between some collections and ecclesiastical traditions.
The order of an early edition of the letters of Paul is based on the size of the letters: longest to shortest, though keeping 1 and 2 Corinthians and 1 and 2 Thessalonians together. The Pastoral epistles were apparently not part of the Corpus Paulinum in which this order originated and were later inserted after 2 Thessalonians and before Philemon.
Hebrews was variously incorporated into the Corpus Paulinum either after 2 Thessalonians, after Philemon i. This reflects the thoughts of the Reformer Martin Luther on the canonicity of these books. The books that eventually found a permanent place in the New Testament were not the only works of Christian literature produced in the earliest Christian centuries.
The long process of canonization began early, sometimes with tacit reception of traditional texts, sometimes with explicit selection or rejection of particular texts as either acceptable or unacceptable for use in a given context e.
Over the course of history, those works of early Christian literature that survived but that did not become part of the New Testament have been variously grouped by theologians and scholars. Drawing upon, though redefining, an older term used in early Christianity and among Protestants when referring to those books found in the Christian Old Testament although not in the Jewish Biblemodern scholars began to refer to these works of early Christian literature not included in the New Testament as "apocryphal", by which was meant non-canonical.
Collected editions of these works were then referred to as the " New Testament apocrypha ". Typically excluded from such published collections are the following groups of works: The Apostolic Fathersthe 2nd-century Christian apologists, the AlexandriansTertullianMethodius of OlympusNovatianCyprianmartyrdoms, and the Desert Fathers.
Almost all other Christian literature from the period, and sometimes including works composed well into Late Antiquityare relegated to the so-called New Testament apocrypha. Although not considered to be inspired by God, these "apocryphal" works were produced in the same ancient context and often using the same language as those books that would eventually form the New Testament. Some of these later works are dependent either directly or indirectly upon books that would later come to be in the New Testament or upon the ideas expressed in them.
There is even an example of a pseudepigraphical letter composed under the guise of a presumably lost letter of the Apostle Paul, the Epistle to the Laodiceans. The books of the New Testament were all or nearly all written by Jewish Christians -that is, Jewish disciples of Christ, who lived in the Roman Empireand under Roman occupation.
According to the large majority of critical scholarsnone of the authors of the Gospels were eyewitnesses or even explicitly claimed to be eyewitnesses. Ehrman of the University of North Carolina has argued for a scholarly consensus that many New Testament books were not written by the individuals whose names are attached to them.
Traditionalists tend to support the idea that the writer of the Gospel of John himself claimed to be an eyewitness in their commentaries of John 21 and therefore the gospel was written by an eyewitness;   however, this idea is rejected by the majority of modern scholars.
Most [ citation needed ] scholars hold to the two-source hypothesiswhich posits that the Gospel of Mark was the first gospel to be written. On this view, the authors of the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke used as sources the Gospel of Mark and a hypothetical Q document to write their individual gospel accounts.
Scholars agree that the Gospel of John was written last, by using a different tradition and body of testimony. In addition, most scholars agree that the author of Luke also wrote the Acts of the Apostles. Scholars hold that these books constituted two-halves of a single work, Luke-Acts.
All four gospels and the Acts of the Apostles are anonymous works. The same author appears to have written the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, and most refer to them as the Lucan texts. The Pauline epistles are the thirteen books in the New Testament traditionally attributed to Paul of Tarsus. The anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews is, despite unlikely Pauline authorship, often functionally grouped with these thirteen to form a corpus of fourteen "Pauline" epistles.
Seven letters are generally classified as "undisputed", expressing contemporary scholarly near consensus that they are the work of Paul: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians and Philemon.
Six additional letters bearing Paul's name do not currently enjoy the same academic consensus: Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus. While many scholars uphold the traditional view, some question whether the first three, called the "Deutero-Pauline Epistles", are authentic letters of Paul. As for the latter three, the "Pastoral epistles", some scholars uphold the traditional view of these as the genuine writings of the Apostle Paul; [note 7] most, however, regard them as pseudepigrapha.
One might refer to the Epistle to the Laodiceans and the Third Epistle to the Corinthians as examples of works identified as pseudonymous. Since the early centuries of the church, there has been debate concerning the authorship of the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews, and contemporary scholars generally reject Pauline authorship.
The epistles all share common themes, emphasis, vocabulary and style; they exhibit a uniformity of doctrine concerning the Mosaic LawJesus, faith, and various other issues. All of these letters easily fit into the chronology of Paul's journeys depicted in Acts of the Apostles. From the middle of the 3rd century, patristic authors cited the Epistle as written by James the Just. Many consider the epistle to be written in the late 1st or early 2nd centuries.
The author of the First Epistle of Peter identifies himself in the opening verse as "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ", and the view that the epistle was written by St. Peter is attested to by a number of Church Fathers : Irenaeus -Tertullian -Clement of Alexandria - and Origen of Alexandria - Unlike The Second Epistle of Peterthe authorship of which was debated in antiquity, there was little debate about Peter's authorship of this first epistle until the 18th century.
Although 2 Peter internally purports to be a work of the apostle, many biblical scholars have concluded that Peter is not the author.
The debate has continued over the author's identity as the apostle, the brother of Jesus, both, or neither. The Gospel of John, the three Johannine epistlesand the Book of Revelationexhibit marked similarities, although more so between the gospel and the epistles especially the gospel and 1 John than between those and Revelation. The gospel went through two or three "editions" before reaching its current form around AD The author of the Book of Revelation identifies himself several times as "John".
The author has traditionally been identified with John the Apostle to whom the Gospel and the epistles of John were attributed. It was believed that he was exiled to the island of Patmos during the reign of the Roman emperor Domitianand there wrote Revelation. Justin Martyr c. According to the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Biblemodern scholars are divided between the apostolic view and several alternative hypotheses put forth in the last hundred years or so.
The earliest manuscripts of New Testament books date from the late second to early third centuries although see Papyrus 52 for a possible exception. Explicit references to NT books in extra-biblical documents can push this upper limit down a bit further. The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippianswritten some time between and Polycarp's death in AD, quotes or alludes to most New Testament texts.
Ignatius of Antioch wrote letters referencing much of the New Testament. His writing is usually attributed to the end of his lifetime, which places the Gospels as First Century writings. Literary analysis of the New Testament texts themselves can be used to date many of the books of the New Testament to the mid- to late first century.
The earliest works of the New Testament are the letters of the Apostle Paul. It can be determined that 1 Thessalonians is likely the earliest of these letters, written around 52 AD.
It is generally agreed by most scholars that the historical Jesus primarily spoke Aramaic perhaps also some Hebrew and Koine Greek. The majority view is that all of the books that would eventually form the New Testament were written in the Koine Greek language.
As Christianity sprea these books were later translated into other languages, most notably, LatinSyriacand Egyptian Coptic. However, some of the Church Fathers  imply or claim that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaicand then soon after was written in Koine Greek.
Nevertheless, some scholars believe the Gospel of Matthew known today was composed in Greek and is neither directly dependent upon nor a translation of a text in a Semitic language. The process of canonization of the New Testament was complex and lengthy. In the initial centuries of early Christianitythere were many books widely considered by the church to be inspired, but there was no single formally recognized New Testament canon.
One of the earliest attempts at solidifying a canon was made by Marcioncirca AD, who accepted only a modified version of Luke the Gospel of Marcion and ten of Paul's letters, while rejecting the Old Testament entirely. His canon was largely rejected by other groups of Christians, notably the proto-orthodox Christiansas was his theology, Marcionism.
Adolf von Harnack John Knox, and David Trobisch among other scholars, have argued that the church formulated its New Testament canon partially in response to the challenge posed by Marcion. PolycarpIrenaeus and Tertullian held the epistles of Paul to be divinely inspired "scripture. Justin Martyr, in the mid 2nd centurymentions "memoirs of the apostles" as being read on Sunday alongside the "writings of the prophets".
The Muratorian fragmentdated at between and as late as the end of the 4th century according to the Anchor Bible Dictionarymay be the earliest known New Testament canon attributed to mainstream Christianity. It is similar, but not identical, to the modern New Testament canon. The oldest clear endorsement of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John being the only legitimate gospels was written circa AD.
A four gospel canon the Tetramorph was asserted by Irenaeus, who refers to it directly in his polemic Against Heresies :. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the church is scattered throughout all the world, and the 'pillar and ground' of the church is the gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh.
The books considered to be authoritative by Irenaeus included the four gospels and many of the letters of Paul, although, based on the arguments Irenaeus made in support of only four authentic gospels, some interpreters deduce that the fourfold Gospel must have still been a novelty in Irenaeus's time. Likewise, the Muratorian fragment is evidence that, perhaps as early asthere existed a set of Christian writings somewhat similar to the twenty-seven book NT canon, which included four gospels and argued against objections to them.
Origen was largely responsible for the collection of usage information regarding the texts that became the New Testament. The information used to create the late-4th-century Easter Letterwhich declared accepted Christian writings, was probably based on the Ecclesiastical History [HE] of Eusebius of Caesareawherein he uses the information passed on to him by Origen to create both his list at HE and Origen's list at HE Eusebius got his information about what texts were then accepted and what were then dispute by the third-century churches throughout the known worl a great deal of which Origen knew of firsthand from his extensive travels, from the library and writings of Origen.
In fact, Origen would have possibly included in his list of "inspired writings" other texts kept out by the likes of Eusebius-including the Epistle of BarnabasShepherd of Hermasand 1 Clement. Notwithstanding these facts, "Origen is not the originator of the idea of biblical canon, but he certainly gives the philosophical and literary-interpretative underpinnings for the whole notion. The Book of Revelation is counted as both accepted Kirsopp Lake translation: "Recognized" and disputed, which has caused some confusion over what exactly Eusebius meant by doing so.
From other writings of the church fathers, it was disputed with several canon lists rejecting its canonicity. It is not indeed right to overlook the fact that some have rejected the Epistle to the Hebrews, saying that it is disputed by the church of Rome, on the ground that it was not written by Paul.
But they say that he ventured to paraphrase certain words of the apostle Paul, in order to improve their style.
In his Easter letter ofAthanasiusBishop of Alexandria, gave a list of the books that would become the twenty-seven-book NT canon,  and he used the word "canonized" kanonizomena in regards to them.
A brief summary of the acts was read at and accepted by the Council of Carthage and the Council of Carthage Augustinewho regarded the canon as already closed.
Pope Damasus I 's Council of Rome inif 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 6th-century compilation. 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.
The New Testament canon as it is now was first listed by St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandriainin a letter written to his churches in Egypt, Festal Letter Also cited is the Council of Romebut not without controversy.
That canon gained wider and wider recognition until it was accepted at the Third Council of Carthage in and Even this council did not settle the matter, however. Certain books, referred to as Antilegomenacontinued to be questioned, especially James and Revelation. Even as late as the 16th century, the Reformer Martin Luther questioned but in the end did not reject the Epistle of Jamesthe Epistle of Judethe Epistle to the Hebrews and the Book of Revelation. To this day, German-language Luther Bibles are printed with these four books at the end of the canon, rather than in their traditional order as in other editions of the Bible.
In light of this questioning of the canon of Scripture by Protestants in the 16th century, the Roman Catholic Council of Trent reaffirmed the traditional western canon i. Thus, some claim that, from the 4th centurythere existed unanimity in the West concerning the New Testament canon as it is todayand that, by the 5th centurythe Eastern Churchwith a few exceptions, had come to accept the Book of Revelation and thus had come into harmony on the matter of the canon.
Although a number of Christians have thought that church councils determined what books were to be included in the biblical canons, a more accurate reflection of the matter is that the councils recognized or acknowledged those books that had already obtained prominence from usage among the various early Christian communities.
Christian scholars assert that when these bishops and councils spoke on the matter, they were not defining something new, but instead "were ratifying what had already become the mind of the Church". Some synods of the 4th century published lists of canonical books e. Hippo and Carthage.
Although these councils did include statements about the canon, when it came to the New Testament they were only reaffirming the existing canon, including the Antilegomena. 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.
Athanasius Apol. Little else is known, though there is plenty of speculation. For example, it is speculated that this may have provided motivation for canon lists, and that Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus may be examples of these Bibles. Like other literature from antiquitythe text of the New Testament was prior to the advent of the printing press preserved and transmitted in manuscripts.
Manuscripts containing at least a part of the New Testament number in the thousands. The earliest of these like manuscripts containing other literature are often very fragmentarily preserved. Some of these fragments have even been thought to date as early as the 2nd century i. For each subsequent century, more and more manuscripts survive that contain a portion or all of the books that were held to be part of the New Testament at that time for example, the New Testament of the 4th-century Codex Sinaiticusonce a complete Bible, contains the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermasthough occasionally these manuscripts contain other works as well e.
The date when a manuscript was written, however, does not necessarily reflect the date of the form of text it contains. That is, later manuscripts can, and occasionally do, contain older forms of text or older readings.
Some of the more important manuscripts containing an early text of books of the New Testament are:. Textual criticism deals with the identification and removal of transcription errors in the texts of manuscripts. Ancient scribes made errors or alterations such as including non-authentic additions.
Even if the original Greek versions were lost, the entire New Testament could still be assembled from the translations. In addition, there are so many quotes from the New Testament in early church documents and commentaries that the entire New Testament could also be assembled from these alone.
For example, the Gnostic writings of Valentinus come from the 2nd century AD, and these Christians were regarded as heretics by the mainstream church. On noting the large number of surviving ancient manuscripts, Bruce Metzger sums up the view on the issue by saying "The more often you have copies that agree with each other, especially if they emerge from different geographical areas, the more you can cross-check them to figure out what the original document was like.
The only way they'd agree would be where they went back genealogically in a family tree that represents the descent of the manuscripts. In attempting to determine the original text of the New Testament books, some modern textual critics have identified sections as additions of material, centuries after the gospel was written.
These are called interpolations. In modern translations of the Bible, the results of textual criticism have led to certain verses, words and phrases being left out or marked as not original. According to Bart D. Ehrman"These scribal additions are often found in late medieval manuscripts of the New Testament, but not in the manuscripts of the earlier centuries.
Most modern Bibles have footnotes to indicate passages that have disputed source documents. Bible Commentaries also discuss these, sometimes in great detail. While many variations have been discovered between early copies of biblical texts, almost all have no importance, as they are variations in spelling, punctuation, or grammar. Also, many of these variants are so particular to the Greek language that they would not appear in translations into other languages. For example, order of words i.
Outside of these unimportant variants, there are a couple variants of some importance.
Dating the New Testament. Home. Introduction. Gallery. Motives. Overview and Timeline. Destruction of Jerusalem. 29 rows Dating of the New Testament Books In order By Most Likely Date Free Beginning Home. The Authorship and Dating of the New Testament. Before we can talk about what the New Testament says, we have to justify that what it says can be trusted. We must understand as much as we can about the authors of the New Testament and when they wrote it.
The two most commonly cited examples are the last verses of the Gospel of Mark and the story of the adulterous woman in the Gospel of John.
The often referred to Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, a book written to prove the validity of the New Testament, says: " A study of Greek [manuscripts] of the Gospel of Luke has revealed more than 30, different readings It is safe to say that there is not one sentence in the New Testament in which the [manuscript] is wholly uniform.
By the 4th century, textual "families" or types of text become discernible among New Testament manuscripts. A "text-type" is the name given to a family of texts with similar readings due to common ancestors and mutual correction. Many early manuscripts, however, contain individual readings from several different earlier forms of text. Modern texual critics have identified the following text-types among textual witnesses to the New Testament: The Alexandrian text-type is usually considered to generally preserve many early readings.
It is represented, e. The Western text-type is generally longer and can be paraphrastic, but can also preserve early readings. The Western version of the Acts of the Apostles is, notably, 8. A text-type referred to as the " Caesarean text-type " and thought to have included witnesses such as Codex Koridethi and minusculecan today be described neither as "Caesarean" nor as a text-type as was previously thought.
However, the Gospel of Mark in Papyrus 45Codex Washingtonianus and in Family 13 does indeed reflect a distinct type of text. Increasing standardization of distinct and once local text-types eventually gave rise to the Byzantine text-type.
Since most manuscripts of the New Testament do not derive from the first several centuries, that is, they were copied after the rise of the Byzantine text-type, this form of text is found the majority of extant manuscripts and is therefore often called the "Majority Text.
Biblical criticism is the scholarly "study and investigation of biblical writings that seeks to make discerning judgments about these writings. It will vary slightly depending on whether the focus is on the Old Testamentthe letters of the New Testament, or the Canonical Gospels. It also plays an important role in the quest for the historical Jesus. It also addresses the physical text, including the meaning of the words and the way in which they are used, its preservation, history, and integrity.
Biblical criticism draws upon a wide range of scholarly disciplines including archaeologyanthropologyfolklorelinguisticsOral Tradition studieshistory, and religious studies. The textual variation among manuscript copies of books in the New Testament prompted attempts to discern the earliest form of text already in antiquity e. The efforts began in earnest again during the Renaissancewhich saw a revival of the study of ancient Greek texts.
During this period, modern textual criticism was born. This was the beginning of modern New Testament textual criticismwhich over subsequent centuries would increasingly incorporate more and more manuscripts, in more languages i. Books that later formed the New Testament, like other Christian literature of the period, originated in a literary context that reveals relationships not only to other Christian writings, but also to Graeco-Roman and Jewish works. Of singular importance is the extensive use of and interaction with the Jewish Bible and what would become the Christian Old Testament.
Both implicit and explicit citations, as well as countless allusions, appear throughout the books of the New Testament, from the Gospels and Acts, to the Epistles, to the Apocalypse. The first translations usually called "versions" of the New Testament were made beginning already at the end of 2nd century. The earliest versions of the New Testament are the translations into the SyriacLatinand Coptic languages.
Several Syriac translations were made and have come to us. Most of the Old Syriac, however, as well as the Philoxonian version have been lost. Tatianthe Assyrian, created the Diatessarona gospel harmony written in Syriac around AD and the earliest form of the gospel not only in Syriac but probably also in Armenian. In the 19th century, manuscript evidence was discovered for an "Old Syriac" version of the four distinct i. These "separated" Syriac: da-Mepharreshe gospels, though old, have been shown to be later than the Diatessaron.
The Old Syriac gospels are fragmentarily preserved in two manuscripts: the 5th-century Curetonian Syriac and the Sinaitic Syriac from the 4th or 5th century. The Old Syriac version is a representative of the Western text-type. The Peshitta version was prepared in the beginning of the 5th century. It contains only 22 books neither the Minor Catholic Epistles of 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude, nor the Book of Revelation were part of this translation.
The Philoxenian probably was produced in for Philoxenus, Bishop of Mabung. The Gospels were likely translated into Latin as early as the last quarter of the 2nd century in North Africa Afra.
Not much later, there were also European Latin translations Itala. There are about 80 Old Latin mansucripts. For the avoidance of confusion, these texts were written in Late Latinnot the early version of the Latin language known as Old Latinpre 75 BC. The bewildering diversity of the Old Latin versions prompted Jerome to prepare another translation into Latin-the Vulgate.
In many respects it was merely a revision of the Old Latin. There are currently around 8, manuscripts of the Vulgate. There are several dialects of the Coptic language: Bohairic northern dialectFayyumicSahidic southern dialectAkhmimicand others.
The first translation was made by at least the 3rd century into the Sahidic dialect cop sa. This translation represents a mixed text, mostly Alexandrianthough also with Western readings. A Bohairic translation was made later, but existed already in the 4th century. Though the translation makes less use of Greek words than the Sahidic, it does employ some Greek grammar e. For this reason, the Bohairic translation can be helpful in the reconstruction of the early Greek text of the New Testament.
The continued spread of Christianity, and the foundation of national churches, led to the translation of the Bible-often beginning with books from the New Testament-into a variety of other languages at a relatively early date: ArmenianGeorgianEthiopicPersianSogdianand eventually GothicOld Church SlavonicArabicand Nubian. Historically, throughout the Christian world and in the context of Christian missionary activitythe New Testament or portions thereof has been that part of the Christian Bible first translated into the vernacular.
The production of such translations grew out of the insertion of vernacular glosses in biblical texts, as well as out of the production of biblical paraphrases and poetic renditions of stories from the life of Christ e. The 16th century saw the rise of Protestantism and an explosion of translations of the New and Old Testament into the vernacular. Most of these translations relied though not always exclusively upon one of the printed editions of the Greek New Testament edited by Erasmusa form of this Greek text emerged as the standard and is known as the Textus Receptus.
This text, based on the majority of manuscripts is also used in the majority of translations that were made in the years to AD. Translations of the New Testament made since the appearance of critical editions of the Greek text notably those of TischendorfWestcott and Hortand von Soden have largely used them as their base text. Unlike the Textus Receptusthese have a pronounced Alexandrian character. Though all Christian churches accept the New Testament as scripture, they differ in their understanding of the nature, extent, and relevance of its authority.
Views of the authoritativeness of the New Testament often depend on the concept of inspirationwhich relates to the role of God in the formation of the New Testament. Generally, the greater the role of God in one's doctrine of inspiration, the more one accepts the doctrine of biblical inerrancy or authoritativeness of the Bible.
One possible source of confusion is that these terms are difficult to define, because many people use them interchangeably or with very different meanings. This article will use the terms in the following manner:.
The self-witness of the Bible to its inspiration demands a commitment to its unity. The term "inspiration" renders the Greek word theopneustos. All of these concepts depend for their meaning on the supposition that the text of Bible has been properly interpreted, with consideration for the intention of the text, whether literal history, allegory or poetry, etc. Especially the doctrine of inerrancy is variously understood according to the weight given by the interpreter to scientific investigations of the world.
The notion of unity in diversity of Scripture claims that the Bible presents a noncontradictory and consistent message concerning God and redemptive history.
The fact of diversity is observed in comparing the diversity of time, culture, authors' perspectives, literary genre, and the theological themes. Studies from many theologians considering the "unity in diversity" to be found in the New Testament and the Bible as a whole have been collected and summarized by New Testament theologian Frank Stagg. He describes them as some basic presuppositions, tenets, and concerns common among the New Testament writers, giving to the New Testament its "unity in diversity":.
Both of them are interpreted by the teachings of the Church. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence. Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.
In Catholic terminology the teaching office is called the Magisterium. The Catholic view should not be confused with the two-source theory. While many Eastern Orthodox writers distinguish between Scripture and Tradition, Bishop Kallistos Ware says that for the Orthodox there is only one source of the Christian faith, Holy Tradition, within which Scripture exists. In the famous words of Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells: "As for my religion, I dye in the holy catholic and apostolic faith professed by the whole Church before the disunion of East and West, more particularly in the communion of the Church of England, as it stands distinguished from all Papal and Puritan innovations, and as it adheres to the doctrine of the Cross.
Following the doctrine of sola scripturaProtestants believe that their traditions of faith, practice and interpretations carry forward what the scriptures teach, and so tradition is not a source of authority in itself. Their traditions derive authority from the Bible, and are therefore always open to reevaluation.
This openness to doctrinal revision has extended in Liberal Protestant traditions even to the reevaluation of the doctrine of Scripture upon which the Reformation was founded, and members of these traditions may even question whether the Bible is infallible in doctrine, inerrant in historical and other factual statements, and whether it has uniquely divine authority.
However, the adjustments made by modern Protestants to their doctrine of scripture vary widely.
Within the US, the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy is a statement, articulating evangelical views on this issue. Paragraph four of its summary states: "Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.
All of these churches have more ancient doctrinal statements asserting the authority of scripture, but may interpret these statements in such a way as to allow for a very broad range of teaching-from evangelicalism to skepticism. It is not an impediment to ordination in these denominations to teach that the scriptures contain errors, or that the authors follow a more or less unenlightened ethics that, however appropriate it may have seemed in the authors' time, moderns would be very wrong to follow blindly.
For example, ordination of women is universally accepted in the mainline churches, abortion is condemned as a grievous social tragedy but not always a personal sin or a crime against an unborn person, and homosexuality is sometimes recognized as a genetic propensity or morally neutral preference that should be neither encouraged nor condemned. In North America, the most contentious of these issues among these churches at the present time is how far the ordination of gay men and lesbians should be accepted.
Officials of the Presbyterian Church USA report: "We acknowledge the role of scriptural authority in the Presbyterian Church, but Presbyterians generally do not believe in biblical inerrancy.
Presbyterians do not insist that every detail of chronology or sequence or prescientific description in scripture be true in literal form. Our confessions do teach biblical infallibility. Infallibility affirms the entire truthfulness of scripture without depending on every exact detail. Those who hold a more liberal view of the Bible as a human witness to the glory of God, the work of fallible humans who wrote from a limited experience unusual only for the insight they have gained through their inspired struggle to know God in the midst of a troubled world.
Therefore, they tend not to accept such doctrines as inerrancy. These churches also tend to retain the social activism of their evangelical forebears of the 19th century, placing particular emphasis on those teachings of scripture that teach compassion for the poor and concern for social justice. The message of personal salvation is, generally speaking, of the good that comes to oneself and the world through following the New Testament's Golden Rule admonition to love others without hypocrisy or prejudice.
Toward these ends, the "spirit" of the New Testament, more than the letter, is infallible and authoritative. There are some movements that believe the Bible contains the teachings of Jesus but who reject the churches that were formed following its publication. These people believe all individuals can communicate directly with God and therefore do not need guidance or doctrines from a church.
Arguments for Early Dates (Luke and Acts)
These people are known as Christian anarchists. Messianic Judaism generally holds the same view of New Testament authority as evangelical Protestants. Jehovah's Witnesses accept the New Testament as divinely inspired Scripture, and as infallible in every detail, with equal authority as the Hebrew Scriptures.
They view it as the written revelation and good news of the Messiahthe ransom sacrifice of Jesusand the Kingdom of Go explaining and expounding the Hebrew Bible, not replacing but vitally supplementing it.
They also view the New Testament as the primary instruction guide for Christian living, and church discipline. They generally call the New Testament the "Christian Greek Scriptures", and see only the "covenants" as "old" or "new", but not any part of the actual Scriptures themselves. Oneness Pentecostalism subscribes to the common Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura. They view the Bible as the inspired Word of God, and as absolutely inerrant in its contents though not necessarily in every translation.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church holds the New Testament as the inspired Word of God, with God influencing the "thoughts" of the Apostles in the writing, not necessarily every word though. The first fundamental belief of the Seventh-Day Adventist church stated that "The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of [God's] will. They believe instead that God inspired the thoughts of the biblical authors and apostles, and that the writers then expressed these thoughts in their own words.
Regarding the teachings of the New Testament compared to the Old, and the application in the New Covenant, Adventists have traditionally taught that the Decalogue is part of the moral law of God, which was not abrogated by the ministry and death of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the fourth commandment concerning the Sabbath is as applicable to Christian believers as the other nine. Adventists have often taught a distinction between "moral law" and "ceremonial law".
According to Adventist beliefs, the moral law continues into the "New Testament era", but the ceremonial law was done away with by Jesus. How the Mosaic law should be applied came up at Adventist conferences in the past, and Adventist theologians such as A. Jones and E. Waggoner looked at the problem addressed by Paul in Galatians as not the ceremonial law, but rather the wrong use of the law legalism.
Smith in particular thought the Galatians issue had been settled by Ellen White already, yet in she claimed justification by faith is "the third angel's message in verity. Ellen White interpreted Colossians as saying that the ceremonial law was nailed to the cross.
Despite the wide variety among Christian liturgiestexts from the New Testament play a role in almost all forms of Christian worship. In addition to some language derived from the New Testament in the liturgy itself e. These readings are most often part of an established lectionary i. No readings from the Book of Revelationhowever, are included in the standard lectionary of the Eastern Orthodox churches.
Central to the Christian liturgy is the celebration of the Eucharist or "Holy Communion". The Words of Institution that begin this rite are drawn directly from 1 Corinthians - In addition, the communal recitation of the Lord's Prayer in the form found in the Gospel of Matthew is also a standard feature of Christian worship. Most of the influence of the New Testament upon the arts has come from the Gospels and the Book of Revelation.
The earliest Christian art would often depict scenes from the New Testament such as the raising of Lazarusthe baptism of Jesus or the motif of the Good Shepherd. Biblical paraphrases and poetic renditions of stories from the life of Christ e. Indeed, the Passion became a central theme in Christian art and music. The ministry and Passion of Jesus, as portrayed in one or more of the New Testament Gospelshas also been a theme in film, almost since the inception of the medium e.
For the most part, I will quote only these unless the record is thin or conflicting. Papias late 1st cent. He wrote a five book series, Interpretations of the Sayings of the Lor which has now been lost except for quotations in later books, which are referred to as the fragments of Papias.
New testament dating
The Muratorian Fragment ca A. It is the oldest list of the books of the New Testament. The document itself is in bad shape, so for the most part it is difficult to interpret the absence of a particular book from this list. A book being on the list is a fair indication that it was in widespread use, however. It is dated because the author refers to the recent episcopate of Pius I of Rome, who died in A.
Irenaeus A. His preserved writings argue primarily against the Gnostics, a heretical splinter group. Because of the theme of this writing, he spent more time discussing sources than most writers of this era.
Clement of Alexandria A. He should not be confused with Clement of Rome, one of the first popes. Tertullian A. He converted to Christianity in middle life, but split away from the main church late in life largely because the church was not strict enough to suit him. Origen A. He left there as a result of a conflict more political than theological with the local bishop, and founded a new school in Caesarea.
Eusebius A. He preserved much of the tradition that would have been lost otherwise. Jerome ca. He was the primary creator of the Vulgate, a key Latin translation of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew sources. Augustine A. He was one of the great theologians of the church, and he also reported on historical details.
Dating the New Testament
In this time and largely under the influence of Jerome and Augustine there were several councils that ratified the contents of the current Roman Catholic Bible. As such, this is a natural time to end the discussion of the tradition.
Practically speaking, the vast majority of the canon was accepted as soon as it was written, but there were several books with more controversial histories that took longer to accept or reject. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke show dramatic similarities. When displayed in three columns, with Matthew on the left, Mark in the middle, and Luke on the right Gospel Parallels Throckmortonit becomes apparent that there is a significant relationship between the Gospels.
They frequently describe the same events, have events in the same order, and use the same wording in a way that implies written dependence rather than oral dependence. Understanding the source of these similarities is referred to as the synoptic problem. The dominant understanding is that Matthew and Luke both separately had access to Mark, but not to each other. Mark's language is awkward or problematic in many cases.
Both Matthew and Luke fix this language, but often in different ways.
Appendix 8: CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF THE BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. While no arrangement of these books can be made with absolute confidence, the following dates are sufficiently reliable to serve the purpose of the Bible student. First Thessalonians - Second Thessalonians - First Corinthians - Second Corinthians - At first, I approached the content in a light-hearted fashion; we all have been taught the modern dates assigned to the writing of the new testament books. Modern scholars have been correcting the Church Fathers for well over years. This book takes a contrary view by Cited by: The earliest papyrus manuscripts come very close to the time when the New Testament was written. Of course, manuscripts on papyrus were known before, but these dated from a much later period and tended to be rather fragmentary. For almost all New Testament books we .
Similarly, Matthew and Luke often modify the order of events in Mark, but not in the same way. That is to say, for passages that are in all three Gospels, Matthew agrees with Mark and Luke agrees with Mark much more than Matthew agrees with Luke against Mark.
Both Matthew and Luke agree with each other, however, on content that is not in Mark. The understanding here is that there is another source, called Q by scholars, that both Matthew and Luke had.
Q is primarily composed of sayings of Jesus. It is not expected that Matthew or Luke used each other because of the significant number of otherwise inexplicable omissions and conflicts between Matthew and Luke in how they use Mark and Q.
Finally, there is material that is unique to Matthew and other material that is unique to Luke. These are referred to as M and L, respectively. What we have described is called the four source hypothesis, where Mark, Q, M, and L are the sources. It is also often referred to as the two source hypothesis, where Mark and Q are the sources, and M and L are assumed.
Dating the New Testament (an overview using Mark as example) part 2
Also apparent is that the author of John did not use the other Gospels as sources, and the other Gospels did not use John as a source. John almost never uses the same words to describe events and only occasionally describes the same events.
It is likely that John was aware of the other Gospels, because his was the last written see below. However, he was more concerned about recording what the others did not write about than what they did. Now let us look in more detail at each of the books themselves. The Letters of John. The first was written by John the apostle, likely with the assistance of an amanuensis, A. The second and third were written by the presbyter, which may or may not have been John, A.
The Apocalypsewritten by John the apostle, A. The Letters of Paulwritten by Paul, A.
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