Thursday, July 05, 2007

A High View of Scripture? (Craig Allert)

This was an extremely lucid, engaging and stimulating survey of how the New Testament canon was formed. Although I had the 'big picture' already, I learned a tremendous amount of new detail through the book. It'll form a key resource in my autumn series of talks. Here's a juicy quote:
"Before there was even Scripture, there was the faith; the early church did not set the limits of the scriptural canon as the paramount task of nascent Christianity. Its first goal was to settle the content of the faith, and it did this using means other than the Bible... the early church would never have restricted the term 'canon' to the Bible alone... Each element in the canonical tradition of the church has a part to play in the whole, and the canonization of Scripture took place within this whole."

What was most intriguing was the central role given to the apostolic tradition as the source of primary authority, including for the words of Jesus. "Scripture" was not the centre of gravity for the community, and there was no such thing as "the Bible" for hundreds of years. Fascinating.

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