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The Formation of the NT Canon June 1, 2007. Diversity to Unity or vice-versa Model of Canonization:  Evolutionary: some scholars, like Bart Ehrman, claim.

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Presentation on theme: "The Formation of the NT Canon June 1, 2007. Diversity to Unity or vice-versa Model of Canonization:  Evolutionary: some scholars, like Bart Ehrman, claim."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Formation of the NT Canon June 1, 2007

2 Diversity to Unity or vice-versa Model of Canonization:  Evolutionary: some scholars, like Bart Ehrman, claim that canonization involved the exclusion of various letters so that the early diversity of Christian thought was diminished to a unifying gospel and doctrinal norms. They assume diversity gave way to uniqueness.

3 Which model? Compare the Gospel of Thomas (and Philip), which was written after the Gospels and Paul’s letters we possess today, with the canonized writings, is misguided. Gospel of Thomas—only a collection of sayings; denuded of their narrative context. The story does not matter, only the esoteric and secret wisdom that the sayings contain. Interest in dialogue that is not in Q.  Q has an interest in eschatology, which is absent in Thomas; implies little influence on the early form of Q (that is, the material common to Matthew and Luke but not in Mark).

4 Which model? Marcionite and Gnostic “Christianity” emerged in 2nd century, as well as Ebionite groups (Pharisaic Jewish “Christians” from Jerusalem). Paul, James, and Peter are all in agreement about the Gospel and Gal. 1stresses the need to get the story straight and avoid competing Gospels.

5 Composition of NT Oral Tradition and Living Eyewitnesses  Papias; Ancient historians prioritize hands-on experience  Stories transmitted by word of mouth for a considerable period of time…until living witnesses began dying.  Firmly regulated “narrative forms,” hymns, collections of sayings, collections of miracles, and other collections that would be passed on from community to community.  Anyone regarded as a living and active witness would have been granted priority in teaching, or someone directly connected to the apostles.

6 NT Composition  Septuagint (LXX)—“the interpretation of the seventy elders”: Greek version of Hebrew Bible completed by 72 (six from each tribe) Jewish scholars in Alexandria, Egypt in 250 B.C. (Ryland’s Papyrus #458-150 B.C.; Deut. 23-28) Hebrew Scripture quotes in NT from the LXX and Aramaic Targums. It seems that early Christians had collections of Scriptures, called catenae, to lend authority to a teaching, a narrative, or a point of preaching (Romans 9:25-29; 10:18-21; Heb. 1:5-13).  Sayings/Deeds of Jesus (Aramaic),  Apostles and LIVING eye-witnesses “Q”

7 NT Composition o Written documents in this cultural context served as a substitute for what would preferably be stated orally, or in public conversation. So, most documents were written with keen attention to how they would sound when read aloud.

8 Paul Paul (I Cor. 15; cf. Phil. 2—worship hymn) had received an earlier synopsis of doctrine—this antedated his writing of 1 Thessalonians (49 A.D.).  Earliest Jewish Christians had already brought their knowledge of the OT to bear on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and actual teachings from Jesus—e.g. Romans 13-15, Galatians 4-5, 1 Thessalonians 4-5.

9 Paul o Paul’s letters (and the entire NT for that matter) are oral documents. They were meant to be the next best option outside of physical, face-to-face speech. They are meant to be read as something that would be said in conversation.

10 Pauline Epistles  Prayers—1 Cor. 16:22—“Let anyone be accursed who does not love the Lord,” marana tha. (shorter form of: anathema marana tha). A prayer follows the oath curse. This implies a High Christology among Aramaic-speaking Christians in the early years of the Church.

11 Pauline sources  Creedal Fragments  Hymns or hymn fragments (Phil. 2: Gospel story in oral form as written synopsis, latest date of 62 A.D.)  Teaching collection (Hebrews 6; I Cor. 15:1-10) All of these reflect a High Christology— Jesus as redefining what YHWH was like: he put a human face on God.

12 Writing Materials/Surfaces Papyrus; Parchment or Vellum—scribes were among the few persons who knew how to write and read. Paul seems to have had someone who could write down what he recited.  Expensive—most Papyrus made near the Nile, in Egypt.  NT epistles and gospels considered lengthy by most ancient standards of letter-writing. No punctuation or division of words, e.g. “JESUSISNOWHERE”.

13 “Q” and the Synoptic Gospels Mark is considered the earliest Gospel (late 60’s A.D.)--the most complete miracle accounts, with phrasing that appears inchoate elsewhere. Matthew and Luke drew from him independently and from an alternate source, which scholars call “Q” (and other oral forms). “Q”: This is a collection of sayings and doings of Jesus that are not in Mark, but in both Matthew and Luke. EMPHASIS: Wisdom, Discipleship—eschatology Contains primarily sayings of Jesus, but also directs attention to miracle accounts.

14 COLLECTION AND CANON  Collection of NT: Pauline letters—evidence of circulation; seven-churches edition (P46), Ten-Letter edition (Marcion), fourteen letter edition (Codex Sinaiticus)  Canonization: Four-fold Gospels (tetraevangelium)--Justin Martyr (asserted that these were widely accepted)-- (“memoirs”), Irenaeus, P45, Codex D

15 COLLECTION AND CANON CONT.  Role of Marcion (joined the Roman church from Pontus in 144 A.D.—deemed the OT God to be vengeful; Kept Paul and Luke, and even omitted Luke 1-2 as “too Jewish”) and the Montanists/Gnostics  Closure: Muratorian Canon—22 of 27 documents included; Eusebius (320-330) 4th century—lists all 27; EAST—Letter of Athanasius, writing in 367 A.D., affirms all 27 books as “wellsprings of salvation.”  Standards for Canonization: Apostolicity, Universality, Traditional Usage, Ecclesiastical Centers, Inspiration

16 MANUSCRIPTS APOCRYPHA (hidden books)—Council of Trent (1545, 1563 part of counter-reformation) MS MSS DSS 4QD+ⁿ = 4th Cave-Deuteronomy P = papyrus P52—oldest NT papyrus in the world, Jn. 1, University of Manchester.

17 MANUSCRIPTS Codex—book of manuscripts There are a couple hundred ancient Greek manuscripts. 5,000 up to the Middle Ages 40,000 in all languages up to the Middle Ages (Coptic, Syrian, Latin, Ethiopic, Armenian, Slavonic, Georgian, Gothic) DIRECTION OF READING—Koine and Hebrew

18 MANUSCRIPTS LOWER CRITICISM OT—97% represents originals NT—99.4% represents original; Mk 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11 disputed. HIGHER CRITICISM Who, when written Why Audience Where written and “situation” Gospel of Thomas/Peter—Gnostic texts-Psuedoepigrapha: NT APOCRYPHA.

19 MANUSCRIPTS-OT Masoretic text—included vowels Oldest Hebrew (MT) manuscripts 1000 A.D. DSS closed the gap by over 1000 years— 150 B.C.--300 B.C. Dead Sea—very dry conditions Qumran community—Essenes

20 NumberContentsApproximate Date p 46 most of Paul's letters and Hebrews once dated c. 200 redated by Young Kyu Kim to c. 85Young Kyu Kim p 52 fragment of Johnc. 110-125 p 66 most of John c. 125-175 or 3rd century p 45 four gospels and Acts usu. III but some date it II p 32 most of Titus usu. III but some date it II p 75 most of Luke and Johnc. 175-225 p 13 part of Hebrewsc. 200 p 72 1 Pet, 2 Pet, JudeIII p 47 fragment of RevelationIII

21 PAPYRI AND UNCIALS While the papyri are generally early, most of them are fragmentary. The earliest nearly complete NT manuscripts are from c. 325-350, and most of them are later. These are written on parchment and are generally referred to simply as Uncials in order to distinguish them from the later manuscripts that were written using lower case letters. The Uncials date from c. 200 to the 11th century (XI).


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