The oldest materials that we have for Christianity-- and so what the lecture today is going to be about is how did the particular twenty-seven books that came to be the New Testament canon, how did those get chosen?
They just thought they were writing a gospel or a sermon or a letter or something like that. So when you see the term "scripture" in the New Testament, every time except, maybe, one time
By whom--who made the decision? When did they make the decision? And what were the criteria they used? Why did they allow some books in and other books not in?
The oldest written materials of Christianity are actually the letters of Paul.
Well, the gospels are actually all written after the letters of Paul were written by 20 or 30 years.
So the oldest material we have are the letters of Paul. And the oldest one of those letters is 1 Thessalonians, probably, dated to around the year 50 or thereabouts.
Pretty quickly, though, different churches, probably Paul's churches, initially, started sending around copies of Paul's letters. Remember, there's no printing press in the ancient world. 03:58 Whenever your church would get a copy of one of these letters from Paul, you would have scribes, often slaves, because slaves were especially trained to be scribes.
The letter to the Ephesians looks like it was not actually written to only one church. It looks like it was a circular letter meant to be circulated to different churches.
And one of the ways we think this-- one of the reasons we think this is because in some of the old manuscripts of Ephesians, "To the Ephesians" is not there.
Ephesians was written by a different disciple of Paul, and he was using as his model for a Pauline letter the actual letters of Paul, or at least some of them that he possessed and knew of.
But he was, also, using the letter to the Colossians.
So some scholars have suggested that maybe the letter to the Ephesians was originally intended as a circular letter.
Paul's letters actually became so famous and respected, and at least in some aspects of early Christianity, that they were called themselves "scripture."
The guy who wrote 2 Peter--again, not really Peter, but a writer writing in Peter's name-- talked about Paul's letters as if--and he calls them scripture.
So already by the time 2 Peter was written, which was much later than the letters of Paul, Paul's letters have come to be regarded by at least some early Christians as scripture themselves.
So collections of Paul's letters were gradually being made and copied and circulated.
That's the first development of what you have a collection of what would be considered holy writing among Christians that was more than just the Jewish scripture.
We also know, though, about oral traditions in Paul's letters.
We know that there were oral traditions about Jesus. People would tell stories about Jesus in their churches.
Sometimes, they would tell sayings. So in Romans 12:14, Paul says, "Bless those who persecute you. 07:52 Bless and do not curse them." Now, he doesn't say this is a quotation of Jesus. But it sounds an awful lot like you find in some of the gospels, like in Matthew 5:44. So Paul's saying this, probably, passing this along as a quotation of Jesus.
Glasp is a social web highlighter that people can highlight and organize quotes and thoughts from the web, and access other like-minded people’s learning.