In my previous posts on how we got the canon of the New Testament I’ve discussed several books allegedly written by Peter – one that got into the New Testament (2 Peter); one that came close to getting in (the Apocalypse of Peter – the one that gives Peter’s first-hand description of heaven and hell; NOT the “Coptic” Gnostic one that I discussed last week in two posts); one that was thought by some proto-orthodox Christians (but maybe not many) as having a rightful place (the Gospel of Peter); and one that really never had much of a chance (Peter’s letter to James).
I can now set forth an overview of what I plan to cover in my book on the canon – when I eventually write it — and the conclusions I will draw under a series of interrelated rubrics. These can be imagined as chapter divisions, to come after an introduction that explains the importance of the question of how we got the canon, how it has become such a pressing question for lay readers over the past two or three decades, and some of the surprising issues involved concerning the rather serendipitous historical, cultural, and religious reasons we even have a canon, how it was decided, by whom, and when. The chapters will build a full case for what we now know about the process and its outcome.
The Original Christian Canon of Scripture.
As devoted Jews, Jesus and his followers were already committed to the Hebrew Bible as a canon of Scripture – which is to say, Christianity was born with a canon. Contrary to what is commonly thought, the canon of the Hebrew Bible was
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