Last week I did a live “TV” interview with Ratio Christi on the topic, “Can We Trust the New Testament?” The interview covered a wide range of topics from textual criticism to bible contradictions to the development of the NT Canon. Here it is:
Over the last decade, I have taught an elective here at the RTS Charlotte campus entitled “The Origin and Authority of the NT Canon.” We cover a variety of subjects related to the origins of the NT, including definition of canon, theology of canon, epistemology of canon, the historical reception of the canon, and so on.
It was this class that gave birth to my book, Canon Revisited (Crossway, 2012). I was unable to find a book on canon that answered the questions my students were asking. So, I decided to write one that did!
On of my favorite parts of the class has been a section where we explore early New Testament manuscripts and the way those manuscripts inform us about the history of the NT. We also read from high resolution photographs of P66–a late second-century copy of the Gospel of John (see inset photo). [Read more…]
There is little doubt that most people are confused by the book of Revelation. Perhaps is not surprising, then, that people are equally confused by its journey into the New Testament canon.
Revelation is one of those “debated” books in the early church, along with books like 2 Peter, 2-3 John, and Jude.
If you are looking for more on the canonical history of Revelation, I point you to my recent article entitled, “The Reception of the Book of Revelation in the Early Church” which has just come out in the new volume Book of Seven Seals: The Peculiarity of Revelation, its Manuscripts, Attestation and Transmission, eds. Thomas J. Kraus and Michael Sommer (Mohr Siebeck, 2016), 159-174. [Read more…]
Next week, Aug 1-5, I will teach an elective at RTS Charlotte entitled, “The Origin and Authority of the New Testament Canon.”
In this class, we will be covering not just the history and development of the canon, but also its theological meaning, and its epistemological foundation. In other words, we will not only discuss when these books were recognized, but we will explore how we know which books belong and which do not.
So, the class will cover the various canonical models present in theological circles today, as well as responding to modern historical-critical scholars who attack its integrity.
One other interesting part of the course is that we will do in-class reading from high resolution photos of the Greek manuscript P66, an almost complete copy of John’s gospel dated c.200. This is one of the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament that we possess and provides a wonderful introduction to the world of ancient manuscripts. We will discuss not only the Greek text, but scribal habits, inscriptional features, nomina sacra, and more.
As one might guess, the base textbook for this class will my Canon Revisited (Crossway, 2012). But, I will also be using other texts and articles along the way.
Probably too late for many of you to consider taking this course, but if you are in the area, and have some free time, come and join us. You can read more about it here.
And, as an additional note, the class is being recorded by our Global Campus and should be available online in the year to come.
It has been a while since the so-called Gospel of Jesus’ Wife has been in the headlines. It was originally unveiled by Karen King at Harvard (here), but quickly exposed as a likely forgery. I have also written on the fragment (here and here).
While this document’s status as a forgery is relatively certain, what has been uncertain (until now) is the identity of the forger. Who was the person who created this document and convinced King and others to promote it?
The forger must have had some Coptic abilities. But, the abilities would have had limits–as demonstrated by the mistakes in the Coptic text.
What is remarkable is that King herself has not undertaken a rigorous investigation of the document’s origins and provenance. Who discovered this document? Who owned it? And how was it passed along? If the authenticity of a document is in doubt, this is an important avenue to pursue. But no one has wanted to pursue it.
But, now someone finally has. A journalist named Ariel Sabar has just published a splendid piece in The Atlantic documenting the history of this forgery and tracing it back to the current owner, and likely forger, a rather shady German business man, and washed-out Coptic student, named Walter Fritz.