Talk:History of the Biblical canon

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Cleanup Excess

The following notes were sifted, and may be useful in the future. Either I couldn't validate the entries, or didn't find them sufficiently relevant.

Haven't validated: (many are too vague to track down)

4th c. BCE: Torah (Law) and Nevi'im (Prophets) were canonized

250 BCE – 100 CE: Septuagint

  • First "official" translation of the Tanakh into Greek

350 CE: Earliest complete copies of Christian writings

200 CE: Dionysius

  • Demanded, that his letters and the "writings of the Lord" are revised, thus questioning the veracity of all Scripture

200 CE: Talmud was canonized

1443 CE: Council of Florence

  • Upheld Athanasius' list
  • Finally sealed the 27-books-canon of the New Testament
  • Was convoked because the authenticity especially of the Hebrew-Epistle were doubted when the people of the Renaissance began to read and think for themselves

Insufficiently relevant (if we want to keep this straight forward and simple)

50 – 90 CE: Signs-Gospel

  • The Signs-Gospel is hypothetically the source of the Gospel of John which focuses on "demonstrating" the godliness of Jesus

50 – 97 CE: Clemens Romanus

  • We have many of his letters.
  • He never quoted any gospel, not even Mark. He would have known about the Gospel of Mark if Mark had written it for a Roman audience.
  • He frequently referred to Paul's Epistles and considered them to be wise advice (but not divinely inspired!)

(Relates to Hebrew bible canonization, at that point) ca. 100 CE: Synode of Jawne

  • Ketuvim (Writings) were canonized
  • The Tanach (Jewish "Bible") was officially finished

(I don't know how this adds to the page's point) ca. 130 CE: Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis

  • Wrote 5 books "Interpretations of the Sayings of the Lord", a collection of orally conveyed quotes of the apostles.
  • No original copies, fragments passed on by Eusebius of Caesarea
  • Interested in written text, but shows that oral tradition was more important back then

ca. 130 CE: Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna

  • Wrote a letter containing ca. 100 quotes attributed to Jesus. Some of them match quotes from the Gospels, some match quotes from the Epistles
  • Polycarp didn't name sources

157 CE: Montanism

150 – 215 CE: Titus Flavius Clemens aka Clement of Alexandria [1]

  • Believed a number of theological positions that were considered heretical,
  • First serious scholar among the church fathers
  • Quoted written sources ca. 8,000 times
  • 2,500 of the quotes were not Christian or Jewish
  • Agreed with Tatian's Diatessaron but also accepts the Gnostic Egyptian Gospel, the Hebrew Gospel, the Traditions of Matthias, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Barnabas-Epistle, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Didache and oral tradition

(Too problematic to include; may be forgeries,etc) The "secret Gospel of Mark" Clement mentioned 3 different versions of the Gospel of Mark in a letter to Theodoros:

  • A short version written in Rome, based on the teachings of Peter
  • A longer, more spiritual version written in Alexandria after Peter's death
  • A "secret" version, 2 fragments of which are preserved together with the letter

(Maybe too much detail - let's keep this brief) In 231 CE he fled to Caesarea after a clash with Bishop Demetrius. He founded a new school there that soon outshone the school in Alexandria. He converted Ambrosius from gnostic Valentianism to Orthodoxy. Ambrosius became his financier. He agreed with Tatian's Diatessaron and calls it the only reliable piece of work criticized by no one (only talking about non-heretics, which indicates that non-heretics, too, argued about the Gospels). He also accepted the Gospel of Peter, the Shepherd of Hermas, Didache, the Barnabas-Epistle as holy scriptures but he doubted the veracity of the 2nd and 3rd Epistles of John, the 2nd Epistle of Paul and the Hebrew Epistle.

260/264 – 339/340 CE: Eusebius of Caesarea

  • Followed Origen's teachings
  • Agreed with the Trinity-concept, albeit with Jesus on a lower rank than God
  • Agreed with forgeries and lies in favour of God and against heresy

4th c. CE: Codex Sinaiticus

  • Bible manuscript found at the Mount Sinai
  • Contains large portions of the Old Testament, the entire New Testament from Matthew to Revelations, the Shepherd of Hermas and the Barnabas-Epistle

1516 CE: First edition of the Textus Receptus in Greek

  • Published by Erasmus of Rotterdam
  • The first edition was fairly flawed
  • Many Bible translations are based on the Textus Receptus

1521 CE: Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German

  • Used the 2nd edition of Erasmus' Textus Receptus, Erasmus' Latin translation and the Latin Vulgate

1545 - 1463 CE: Council of Trent

  • Affirmed the Council of Florence

1604 – 1611 CE: Translation of the KJV


  1. Wikipedia: Clement of Alexandria
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