Bible Canon

by allelsefails 17 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • allelsefails

    Has anyone done any personal research on how the bible canon was selected? I am putting together an article on this and would like whatever insight anyone would care to give. Preferably historical references that are verifiable. ... I personnally look at the earliest canon we have (c)190 [Muratorian fragment] and see an apocalypse of Peter mentioned along with John's. No mention of 2 Peter (no way the same author as 1 Peter) no mention of James (my favorite NT book) no mention of Hebrews (no way Paul wrote this) and a frank recognition that some books are not settled as a true part of the canon. The writers of these books are pure speculation/tradition as well. How can we know who wrote any of these books?

  • behemot
  • behemot

    forgot to add ... you will find a summary of Metzger's book here:


  • Chalam


    Some info here

    Biblical canon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    All the best,


  • Mad Dawg
    Mad Dawg

    Here are two sites that discuss this issue. Both sites are well documented with scholarly sources and have lists of books, some of which deal with the canon.

  • awildflower

    I'm not sure if this fits here but I just read this from a book I'm reading called The God Code by Gregg Braden. It's interesting anways!

    Lost Books of the Bible
    The 20th century witnessed the recovery of some of the most significant and intriguing records of human history. From lost biblical texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the translation of thousands of Sumerian tablets, to the Gnostic and New Testament finds of Egypt's Nag Hammadi Library, a growing body of evidence suggests that the chain of knowledge linking ancient wisdom with our modern world has, in fact, been broken on more than one occasion. Each time the records of our past have been deleted, hidden, or reworded, the mystery of who we are has only been confused further.

    As so much of the way we view our present is based upon an incomplete understanding of our past, it should come as no surprise that many of our scientific principles, medical practices, spiritual understandings, and historic facts-as well as how they serve us-also remain incomplete. Perhaps one of the greatest interruptions in our chain of knowledge resulted from the biblical edits of the early Christian Church in the fourth century.

    Scholars openly acknowledge the editing and deletion of material from the early Christian texts by a panel that was convened to establish Church doctrine in 325 c.e. Under the direction of the Roman Emperor Constantine, the bishops, clergy, and historians that formed the Council of Nice were presented with the daunting task of converting centuries of disparate religious works into a single document that would be meaningful to the people of their time. Taking into consideration a loose assemblage of parables, teachings, and historic records, many of the books that came to their attention were redundant and poorly written, with overlapping versions and repeated stories. In some instances, the Council found the texts to be so mystical that they were believed to be beyond any practical value. Such was the case with the Book of Enoch. As a result of their efforts, the Council recommended that at least 45 documents be removed. The outcome remains with us today in the form of one of the most powerful and controversial books in the history of our world, the Holy Bible.

    It's clear from the letters left behind by the Council's members that the original edits were well intended. When asked why he chose to translate and publish such ancient texts rather than his own contemporary works, for example, the Archbishop of Canterbury Wake replied, "Because I hoped that such writings as these would find a more general and unprejudiced acceptance with all sorts of men than anything that could be written by anyone no living." How could the members of the Nicean Council have known that the book they would produce would eventually become the basis for one of the great religions of the world and be considered the most sacred book for over one-third of the world's population? (I never thought of it that way before, it's not like they were looking into the future, they were putting something together for THEIR TIME AND PEOPLE! Add this info with what I sent the other day and it makes a little bit more sense!)

    In recent years, many of the books that were removed during the fourth-century edits have been recovered, translated, and made available to the general public. To the best of my knowledge, there is no single compilation containing all of the texts in their original order, as the translations are the result of different authors working in different languages over the centuries. There are, however, groups of translations that have been made available from time to time, such as a compilation of lost biblical books published early in the 20th century. Following is a partial listing of books that are now known to have been removed during the edits of the Council of Nice.

    Letters of Herod and Pilate
    Paul and Thecla
    Paul and Seneca
    I Infancy
    II Infancy
    I Hermas-Visions
    II Hermas-Commands
    III Hermas-Similtudes
    The Apostle's Creed
    Christ and Abgarus
    I Clement
    II Clement

    While many of the books listed above were relegated to obscurity following their removal, a number of others were not. Considered to be secondary, or supporting documents, the following is a partial listing of texts that are typically reserved for scholars.

    The First Book of Adam and Eve
    The Second Book of Adam and Eve
    The Book of Enoch
    The Psalms of Solomon
    The Odes of Solomon
    The Fourth Book of Maccabees
    The Story of Ahikar
    The Testament of Reuben

  • Narkissos
  • awildflower

    Thank you, I will, it's a lot so it may take me awhile and I'm on my way out. Can you give me the gist?

  • Narkissos

    Sure: the basic story in your cut'n'paste is a hoax; a relatively old and popular one, but a hoax nonetheless. The Council of Nicaea did not decide on the canon of scripture, and did not ask for (let alone effect) the destruction of literature aside from the works of contemporary "heretics" (mostly Arians).

  • slimboyfat

    Metzger in the book recommended above gives a traditional account of the development of the canon which is essentially an updated version of Brooke Foss Wescott's classic nineteenth century treatment: A Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament. Studies in this mould have relied heavily on evidence from the writings of the early Church Fathers.

    For a completely new account of the development of the canon that places much more emphasis on the evidence of early manuscripts and their textual features as well as redactive tendencies in the texts themselves see David Trobisch's The First Edition of the New Testament.

    He makes the bold claim that the New Testament canon was settled as early as the second century. The evidence he adduces to support his conclusion is fascinating.

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