Building a Wall Around the New Testament

Building a Wall Around the New Testament

As with other dogmatic developments in the life of the Church, the canonization of scripture was largely done in response to heresy. For example, prior to Marcion (mid-second century), there was little activity on the part of the Church in establishing a closed ‘canon’ or rule of scripture. It was not until St. Irenaeus that […]

The Canon of Christ

The Canon of Christ

For the earliest Christians—the first two generations or more—the ‘Bible’ was what we now call the Old Testament. The ‘memoirs of the apostles’ and four canonical Gospels spread more widely by the middle of the second century, but before this there was no consensus on which scriptures of the New Testament were canonical. This is […]

A Book of the People: Judaism and the Canon of Scripture

A Book of the People: Judaism and the Canon of Scripture

As is certainly the case today, Judaism was not a monolithic religion in the first century. Limiting ourselves to even the New Testament witness, there are various, competing sects—such as the Pharisees and Sadducees—who disagreed over everything from the resurrection to the proper interpretation of God’s law. Alongside these doctrinal differences was a debate regarding […]

The Signature of God

The Signature of God

Years before Jesus was ever born, the Holy Spirit inspired one of His prophets to tell the future, and to write down some things which had not happened yet. In this prophecy, we hear about someone who claims to be the Son of God, and who is tortured, and is condemned to a shameful death. […]

A Nestorian Canon of Scripture

A Nestorian Canon of Scripture

I have long been interested in the development of the biblical canon. I probably wouldn’t have found my way into the Orthodox Church without such studies. Recently, I found a 13th century canon defined by Nestorian Metropolitan Mar Abd Yeshua (ca. A.D. 1298). He apparently served as the chief bishop of Nisibia and Armenia for […]

A Christian Hymnal in the Middle of the Old Testament

A Christian Hymnal in the Middle of the Old Testament

Did you know that there was once a Christian hymnal in the middle of the Old Testament? And no, I’m not referring to the Psalter of David, or even the later Odes of Solomon. I’m talking about the “Book of Odes” (ᾠδαί), a collection of fourteen Scriptural hymns or canticles, which are still regularly sung […]

What’s Missing from “A New New Testament?”

What's Missing from 'A New New Testament'

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt recently published a new take on the Christian new testament, titled A New New Testament (ANNT hereafter). The publisher’s website gives some background on both its purpose and origins: Over the past century, numerous lost scriptures have been discovered, authenticated, translated, debated, celebrated. Many of these documents were as important to shaping early-Christian communities […]