Thursday, July 27, 2017

KANWN and Disputed Bible Books

To my knowledge, disputes about genuine Bible books began to occur in the second century: the first-century assembly evidently did not have these dissensions. Nor did the Primitive EKKLHSIA need a "list" (KANWN) of authoritative works: such a move was necessitated by the Christian APOSTASIA foretold in Acts 20:28-31 (see Frend, The Rise of Christianity, 250ff; C.C. Ryrie, Basic Theology, 105-107). It is anachronistic to use the term KANWN in the sense of a "list" to describe first-century Christian Scripture. The term "canon" as a list qua list of divine Christian books possibly was not employed that way until 367 CE by Athanasius--prior to that time, a KANWN was simply a rule or measuring standard, not a list per se. The word's denotations progressively unfolded. So one problem stems from the fact that some Bible readers attempt to superimpose a fourth-century usage on a first-century anthologia. But that is synchronically unsound and highly problematic.

See for a discussion of the relevant issues surrounding the term "canon."

What books constituted Scripture for the first-century EKKLHSIA? Were the so-called Deuterocanonicals part of the inspired texts?

It is a little misleading to assert that the Deuterocanonicals belonged to the early Septuagint Version. The evidence for this claim is scant: "While the New Testament writers all used the Septuagint, to a greater or lesser degree, none of them tells us precisely what the limits of its contents were. The 'scriptures' to which they appealed covered substantially the same range as the Hebrew Bible [which did not contain the apocrypha]" (F.F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture, pp. 50ff).


1 comment:

Duncan said...