canon - Amy Peeler

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canon - Amy Peeler
canon
Formation of the Word of God
What does “Canon”
mean?
• kanon, straight rod, measuring line
• Criterion or standard
• Authoritative list of NT books
Questioning the
canon
Late, arbitrary, and
artificial imposition by
Bart Ehrman,
University of North Carolina
the ecclesial
establishment
history
Septuagint - translation of the Hebrew Bible into
Greek
Penteteuch (Gen - Deut) 250 BC Alexandria
Alternate translations continue through the first
centuries of the common era
Adolf Deissmann “A single hour lovingly devoted
to the text of the LXX will further our exegetical
knowledge of the Pauline Epistles more than a
whole day spent over a commentary”
Factors - Positive
Read liturgically in Church gatherings — the
Septuagint and letters
Sent letters to one another (Col 4:16)
Sayings of Jesus cited by Paul – 1 Tim 5:18 –
saying of Jesus alongside Deuteronomy
Citing letters as inspired (2 Peter 3:15–16;
Church Fathers)
Early Development
• Apostolic Fathers (second generation Christians)
categories of citations:
1. Four Gospels and major Pauline letters cited
frequently
2. Rest of the NT cited occasionally
3. Non-canonical books almost never cited
Instigating factors
Marcion’s (writing from 140–160 AD) Canon –
edited version of Luke and 10 letters of Paul
Tatian’s Diatesseron (170 AD)
Gnostic Writings
lists
Muratorian Fragment (200 AD)
lacks Hebrews, James, 3 John,
1 and 2 Peter
adds Wisdom of Solomon,
Shepherd of Hermas
Eusebius, Bishop of Cesarea
(early 300’s)
Recognized – Four Gospels,
Acts, fourteen Pauline letters
(included Hebrews), 1 John,
1Peter, Revelation
Disputed: James, Jude, 2
Peter, 2–3 John
Spurious- Acts of Paul,
Shepherd of Hermas,
Apocalypse of Peter, Epistle of
Barnabus, Didache
Athanasius, Festal Letter, 367
27 books in our order
Augustine, De doctrina christiana,
396
Council of Carthage, 397
Requirements
It must be….
Genuine: Apostolic derivation (involves authorship and
time)
Accepted: Use in the Church universal, not just local
True: Theological consistency (regula fidei)
Regula fidei - Faith that has been known from the
beginning, handed down by the apostles
Did they see these texts as God-breathed?
The Church uses the language of recognizing these
texts rather than choosing these texts
Hebrews
as A Test case
Authorship
ideas of Paul written by someone else
Rule of Faith
East - pilgrimage; West- authority
Concern over the warnings against apostasy
Provided aid for Christological heresies
Wide spread use
Affirming the
canon
Late, arbitrary, and artificial imposition by
the ecclesial establishment ?
Early
Thoughtful
Organic/Grassroots
Providential
Is the Canon Closed?
Open to finding insight in other places
Dawn Devries, “Ever to Be Reformed According to the Word of God”:
•
The process of forming the canon in essence involved groups of
Christians identifying those writings through which they reliably
encountered a Word of God. Since the time in which the canon was
officially determined, groups of Christians have continued regularly
to encounter a Word of God in these texts. Were they to substitute a
different set of writings, however, the collective experience of the
Christian community would no longer justify their confidence in the
texts; that would have to be established in some other way.
Convinced of the ever present and powerful reality of sin, the
theologian would be obliged to question the motives and
justifications a small group of people could have for establishing a
new sacred canon. The collective experience of the many is always
more reliable than the select experience of the few.
Translation issues
1. Majority Text vs. Early
Manuscripts
Mark 16:9ff
John 8
2. Type of Translation
Formal equivalence NASB
Dynamic
equivalence - New
Living
Present Issues
Gendered
translation for
humans
brothers and
sisters?
Heb 2:10 - sons
or children?
Gendered
language for God?
Further Reading
The Canon of
the New
Testament By
Bruce
Metzger
The Biblical
Canon By Lee
Martin
McDonald

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