ECA: The Canon Debate

This post is part of the ongoing series examining Early Christian Authority. Use of the term “canon” has long been subject to debate among those studying the formation of the New Testament. The word itself comes from the Greek kanonikos, the basic meaning of which is “of one rule.” So a canon is something thatContinue reading “ECA: The Canon Debate”

ECA: Definitions

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Early Christian Authority. The great Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero once said that “every argument about something which is rationally undertaken should proceed from a definition so that it is understood what is being disputed.”[1] The importance of clear definitions, however, has often been neglected byContinue reading “ECA: Definitions”

ECA: Lee McDonald on Early Christian Scripture

This post is part of our ongoing series examining Early Christian Authority. Over at Bible Odyssey, Lee Martin McDonald has offered a brief response to a question about when the writings of the New Testament became scripture: The New Testament (NT) writings were read in churches early on (Col 4:16), but were not generally calledContinue reading “ECA: Lee McDonald on Early Christian Scripture”

ECA: Second Clement

This post is part of our ongoing series examining Early Christian Authority. The Second Epistle of Clement represents the oldest extant non-canonical Christian homily, a sermon that urges followers of Christ to recognize their debts to God and repent of their sins while displacing themselves from the sinful world and committing themselves to self-control andContinue reading “ECA: Second Clement”

ECA: Gnostic and Anti-Gnostic

This post is part of our ongoing series examining Early Christian Authority. Some of the clearest indications that the early Church faced disagreements and divisions have been preserved in the writings on Gnostic Christian traditions and writings opposed to such movements. While various strands of Christian thought differed in their use and interpretation of extantContinue reading “ECA: Gnostic and Anti-Gnostic”

ECA: Shepherd of Hermas

This post is part of our ongoing series examining Early Christian Authority. Even after nearly 2000 years, the Shepherd of Hermas remains an intriguing set of apocalyptic writings from the early Church. The central concern of Hermas revolves around post-baptismal sin: What can Christians do if they have fallen into sin after their baptism? InContinue reading “ECA: Shepherd of Hermas”

Reflections on Beginning Anew (Semester)

For as far back as I can remember, the New Year has been something forth looking forward too. In the lull that follows the festivities and joy of Christmas (seeing old friends, eating too much good food, sharing gifts with family), having something to look forward to helps quite the spirit. “New” is invigorating –Continue reading “Reflections on Beginning Anew (Semester)”

ECA: The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles

This post is part of our ongoing series considering Early Christian Authority. The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (hereafter, the Didache, it’s more common name) is one of the earliest non-canonical extant texts of the Christian tradition. Almost certainly a praxis oriented church “manual,” the Didache has two main sections: an exposition on the PathContinue reading “ECA: The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”

ECA: Epistle of Polycarp

This post is part of our ongoing series on Early Christian Authority. Polycarp of Smyrna remains one of the best attested figures of the early Christian Church. As bishop of Smyrna (cx. Rev. 2.8), recipient of a letter from the Ignatius of Antioch, and a martyr of the church, Polycarp stands apart as an exceptionalContinue reading “ECA: Epistle of Polycarp”

ECA: Ignatius of Antioch

This post is part of our ongoing series on Early Christian Authority. Ignatius of Antioch and the letters he wrote on way to his martyrdom in Rome have long fascinated those studying early Christianity. Killed around 117 CE by the Emperor Trajan, Ignaitus’s tale reads like a drama: the bishop of Antioch (one of theContinue reading “ECA: Ignatius of Antioch”