This post is the final contribution to the series on the Scriptures of Saint Patrick of Ireland.
As Fraz Stuhlhofer notes, one important aspect of considering scriptural citations in early Christian literature is to consult the findings of previous studies, especially those involving scripture registers. Accordingly, I have offered a summary of the major scripture registers concerning Patrick’s Confessio below. Continue reading
This post is part of an ongoing series examining Marcion of Sinope and his influence of the formation of the New Testament canon.
We now turn to the third perspective on Marcion’s relationship with the notion of a specifically Christian canon, namely that while Marcion likely refined the idea and parameters of canon, he was basically following the example of previous collections of Christian writings. This I term the “Canon Refinement School” of thought. As this position best fits the evidence from textual criticism (as I argued for in last week’s post), this school of thought has become increasingly popular in recent decades. Continue reading
This post is part of an ongoing series outlining the formation of the New Testament canon.
By the end of the second century, Christians and Christian writings had spread to every corner of the Roman Empire. And with this increase came an increase in quotations, allusions, and citations of New Testament writings. The research of scholars such as Franz Stuhlhofer, Biblia Patristica, and Bruce Metzger is invaluable in understanding the quality and quantity of these uses by the early Church Fathers. From a detailed study of second century writings, we notice a distinct pattern of use. Excluding Old Testament allusions and quotations, the use of specifically Christian writings (that is, those written after the death and resurrection by those claiming to follow Jesus of Nazareth) fell into three categories: books viewed as authoritative and scriptural, books viewed as non-scriptural, and “fringe” books. Among the books generally accepted as scriptural (and thereby part of the “practical canon”), a core of immediately emerged as the chief texts of Christianity, including the Synoptic Gospels (especially Matthew), the Fourth Gospel (John), and the major Pauline epistles. Metzger and Barton indicate that surrounding these core Christian texts were two additional categories of “practically canonical” writings: writings which were generally accepted but less used than the core texts, and writings which were candidates for the fringe category. By the second and third centuries those categories had become clearly differentiated, with books such as the Acts of the Apostles, the minor Pauline letters, the Catholic Epistles, and the Apocalypse of St. John, being widely viewed as scriptural and texts such as First Clement, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Herman, and the Didache generally categorized as “fringe” writings. Continue reading