The Formation of the Canon of the New Testament

Recorded May 20th 2010 at St. Thomas More, as part of the Scripture Topics series.

The first part traces the process of formation of the canon of 27 books of the New Testament from early in the 2nd Century, to when in was (mostly) decided, in the 5th Century. There were three main criteria for inclusion of a book: (1) Is is written by an Apostle or at least one of their close companions?, (2) Does it teach correct doctrine, especially about Jesus? (3) Is it widely known and accepted among the Churches?

The Canon of the New Testament Part 1

In the second part, we listened to a selection of the texts which were not accepted:

  • The Infancy Gospel of Thomas
  • The Proto Gospel of James
  • The First Letter of Clement
  • The Didache (“The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”)
  • The Gospel of Truth

I am grateful to the writings of Bart Ehrman of UNC, who has written much in this field, especially Lost Scriptures. Our session included a discussion of his work.

The Canon of the New Testament Part 2


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