Authorship of the Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles are the fourteen books in the New Testament traditionally attributed to Paul the Apostle, although many dispute the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews as being a Pauline epistle. There is nearly universal consensus in modern New Testament scholarship on a core group of authentic Pauline epistles whose authorship is contested: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon. Several additional letters bearing Paul's name are disputed among scholars, namely Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus. Scholarly opinion is divided on whether or not Colossians and 2 Thessalonians are genuine letters of Paul; the remaining four contested epistles – Ephesians, as well as the three known as the Pastoral epistles – have been labeled pseudepigraphical works by most critical scholars. Some scholars have proposed that Paul may have used an amanuensis, or secretary, in writing the disputed letters. There are two examples of pseudonymous letters written in Paul’s name apart from the New Testament epistles, the Epistle to the Laodiceans and 3 Corinthians.
The Epistle to the Hebrews is anonymous, but it has been traditionally attributed to Paul. The church father Origen of Alexandria rejected the Pauline authorship of Hebrews, instead asserting that, although the ideas expressed in the letter were genuinely Pauline, the letter itself had been written by someone else. Most modern scholars agree that Hebrews was not written by the apostle Paul. Various other possible authorships have been suggested. Scholars use a number of methods of historiography and higher criticism to determine whether a text is properly attributed to its author; the primary methods used for Paul's letters are the following: This consists of what the author tells us about himself in the letter, either explicitly – the author identifies himself – or implicitly – provides autobiographical details. This evidence is important in spite of its problems. For example, because the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews never identified him or herself, scholars as early as Origen of Alexandria in the 3rd century suspected that Paul was not the author.
This consists of references, again either explicit or implicit, to the text during earliest times by those who had access to reliable sources now lost. Explicit references would be mentioning the text or letter by name, or a recognizable form of that text. Examples include a list of accepted biblical books, such as the Muratorian fragment, or the contents of an early manuscript, such as Papyrus 46; these witnesses are either damaged or too late in date to provide much help. Implicit references are quotation from Paul indirect or unattributed, or expressing ideas and phrases that appear in his works; this use or reference implies the material quoted was in existence at the time the external evidence was created. For example, the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians is named by Irenaeus in the mid-2nd century, as well as Justin Martyr and Ignatius of Antioch. On the other hand, lack of witness by ancient sources suggests a date, an argument from silence. However, use of this line of reasoning is dangerous, because of the incompleteness of the historical record: many ancient texts are lost, have been revised or contrived.
An independently written narrative of Paul's life and ministry, found in the Acts of the Apostles, is used to determine the date, possible authorship, of Pauline letters by locating their origin within the context of his life. For example, Paul mentions that he is a prisoner in his Epistle to Philemon 1:7. One difficulty with this position is the limited data available on Paul's historical setting, this is true with the conclusion of the narrative of Acts prior to Paul's death, it assumes that the book of Acts was written by an actual traveling companion of Paul's. Vocabulary, sentence structure, employment of idioms and common phrases, etc. are analyzed for consistency with the author’s other known works. A similar style implies common authorship, while a radically divergent vocabulary implies different authors. For example, E. J. Goodspeed argued that the vocabulary of the Epistle to the Ephesians showed a literary relationship with the First Epistle of Clement, written around the end of the 1st century.
E. Percy argued that the speech and style of Colossians more resembled Pauline authorship than not. Of course and language can vary for reasons other than differing authorship, such as the subject of the letter, the recipient, the circumstances of the times, a different amanuensis, or maturation on the part of the author. Similar to internal evidence, doctrinal consistency and development are examined against the author's other known works. Theological themes like the eschaton or the Mosaic Law could reappear in different works, but in a similar manner. A consistent point of view implies a common author. For example, W. Michaelis saw the Christological likeness between the Pastoral Epistles and some of Paul's undisputed works, argued in favor of Pauline authorship. A problem with this method is analyzing the coherence of a body of developing teachings; this is seen in the disagreement between scholars. For example, with the same epistles mentioned above, B. S. Easton argued their theological notions disagr
Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient Jewish religious manuscripts found in the Qumran Caves in the Judaean Desert near the Dead Sea. Scholarly consensus dates these scrolls from the last three centuries BCE and the first century CE; the texts have great historical and linguistic significance because they include the second-oldest known surviving manuscripts of works included in the Hebrew Bible canon, along with deuterocanonical and extra-biblical manuscripts which preserve evidence of the diversity of religious thought in late Second Temple Judaism. All of the Dead Sea Scrolls collection is under the ownership of the Government of the state of Israel, housed in the Shrine of the Book on the grounds of the Israel Museum. Many thousands of written fragments have been discovered in the Dead Sea area, they represent the remnants of larger manuscripts damaged by natural causes or through human interference, with the vast majority holding only small scraps of text. However, a small number of well-preserved intact manuscripts have survived – fewer than a dozen among those from the Qumran Caves.
Researchers have assembled a collection of 981 different manuscripts – discovered in 1946/47 and in 1956 – from 11 caves. The 11 Qumran Caves lie in the immediate vicinity of the Hellenistic-period Jewish settlement at Khirbet Qumran in the eastern Judaean Desert, in the West Bank; the caves are located about one mile west of the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, whence they derive their name. Scholarly consensus dates the Qumran Caves Scrolls from the last three centuries BCE and the first century CE. Bronze coins found at the same sites form a series beginning with John Hyrcanus and continuing until the period of the First Jewish–Roman War, supporting the radiocarbon and paleographic dating of the scrolls. In the larger sense, the Dead Sea Scrolls include manuscripts from additional Judaean Desert sites, dated as early as the 8th century BCE and as late as the 11th century CE; the texts have great historical and linguistic significance because they include the second-oldest known surviving manuscripts of works included in the Hebrew Bible canon, along with deuterocanonical and extra-biblical manuscripts which preserve evidence of the diversity of religious thought in late Second Temple Judaism.
Biblical texts older than the Dead Sea Scrolls have been discovered only in two silver scroll-shaped amulets containing portions of the Priestly Blessing from the Book of Numbers, excavated in Jerusalem at Ketef Hinnom and dated c. 600 BCE. The third-oldest surviving known piece of the Torah, the En-Gedi Scroll, consists of a portion of Leviticus found in the Ein Gedi synagogue, burnt in the 6th century CE and analyzed in 2015. Research has dated it palaeographically to the 1st or 2nd century CE, using the C14 method to sometime between the 2nd and 4th centuries CE. Most of the texts use Hebrew, with some written in Aramaic, a few in Greek. Discoveries from the Judaean Desert add Arabic texts. Most of the texts are written on parchment, some on papyrus, one on copper. Archaeologists have long associated the scrolls with the ancient Jewish sect called the Essenes, although some recent interpretations have challenged this connection and argue that priests in Jerusalem, or Zadokites, or other unknown Jewish groups wrote the scrolls.
Robert Eisenman vigorously posits his theory that the non-biblical "sectarian" scrolls must be viewed in the context of a wider first-century CE “Opposition Movement,” including Essenes, Sicarii, and/or Nazoreans, the early Judeo-Christian community of Jerusalem, the Ebionites, whose leader, the brother of Jesus, was acknowledged by the entire “Opposition Movement,” and, no other than the Scrolls' Teacher of Righteousness. He thus creates a strong link between the pre-Pauline Jewish Christian community. Owing to the poor condition of some of the scrolls, scholars have not identified all of their texts; the identified texts fall into three general groups: About 40% are copies of texts from the Hebrew Scriptures. Another 30% are texts from the Second Temple Period which were not canonized in the Hebrew Bible, like the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees, the Book of Tobit, the Wisdom of Sirach, Psalms 152–155, etc; the remainder are sectarian manuscripts of unknown documents that shed light on the rules and beliefs of a particular group or groups within greater Judaism, like the Community Rule, the War Scroll, the Pesher on Habakkuk, The Rule of the Blessing.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in a series of twelve caves around the site known as Wadi Qumran near the Dead Sea in the West Bank between 1946 and 1956 by Bedouin shepherds and a team of archeologists. The practice of storing worn-out sacred manuscripts in earthenware vessels buried in the earth or within caves is related to the ancient Jewish custom of Genizah; the initial discovery by Bedouin shepherd Muhammed edh-Dhib, his cousin Jum'a Muhammed, Khalil Musa, took place between November 1946 and February 1947. The shepherds discovered seven scrolls housed in jars in a cave near what is now known as the Qumran site. John C. Trever reconstructed the story of the scrolls from several interviews with the Bedouin. Edh-Dhib's cousin noticed the caves, but edh-Dhib himself was the first to fall into one, he retrieved a handful of scrolls, which Trever identifies as the Isaiah Scroll, Habakkuk Commentary, the Community Rule, took them b
The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first part being the Old Testament, based on the Hebrew Bible. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the New Testaments together as sacred scripture; the New Testament has accompanied the spread of Christianity around the world. It serves as a source for Christian theology and morality. Extended readings and phrases directly from the New Testament are incorporated into the various Christian liturgies; the New Testament has influenced religious and political movements in Christendom and left an indelible mark on literature and music. The New Testament is a collection of Christian works written in the common Greek language of the 1st century AD, at different times by various writers, the modern consensus is that it provides important evidence regarding Judaism in the 1st century. In all Christian traditions today, the New Testament consists of 27 books: the four gospels, The Acts of the Apostles, twenty-one epistles, Revelation.
The united Catholic Church defined the 27-book canon. The earliest known complete list of the 27 books is by the 4th-century eastern Catholic bishop Athanasius; the first time that church councils approved this list was with the councils of Hippo and Carthage in North Africa and Pope Innocent I ratified the same canon in 405, but it is probable that a Council in Rome in 382 under pope Damasus gave the same list first. These councils provided the canon of the Old Testament, which included the apocryphal books; the original texts were written in the first century of the Christian Era, in Greek, the common language of the Eastern Mediterranean from the conquests of Alexander the Great until the Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD. All the works that became incorporated into the New Testament are believed to have been written no than around 120 AD. John A. T. Robinson, Dan Wallace, William F. Albright dated all the books of the New Testament before 70 AD. Others give a final date of 80 AD or of 96 AD.
Collections of related texts such as letters of the Apostle Paul and the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John were joined to other collections and single works in different combinations to form various Christian canons of Scripture. Over time, some disputed books, such as the Book of Revelation and the Minor Catholic Epistles were introduced into canons in which they were absent. Other works earlier held to be Scripture, such as 1 Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Diatessaron, were excluded from the New Testament; the Old Testament canon is not uniform among all major Christian groups including Roman Catholics, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Slavic Orthodox Churches, the Armenian Orthodox Church. However, the twenty-seven-book canon of the New Testament, at least since Late Antiquity, has been universally recognized within Christianity; the phrase new testament, or new covenant first occurs in Jeremiah 31:31. The same Greek phrase for'new covenant' is found elsewhere in the New Testament.
In early Bible translations into Latin, the phrase was rendered foedus,'federation', in Jeremiah 31:31, was rendered testamentum in Hebrews 8:8 and other instances, from which comes the English term New Testament. Modern English, like Latin, distinguishes testament and covenant as alternative translations, the treatment of the term Διαθήκη diathḗkē varies in Bible translations into English. John Wycliffe's 1395 version is a translation of the Latin Vulgate and so follows different terms in Jeremiah and Hebrews: Lo! Days shall come, saith the Lord, I shall make a new covenant with the house of Israel, with the house of Judah. For he reproving him saith, Lo! Days come, saith the Lord, when I shall establish a new testament on the house of Israel, on the house of Judah. Use of the term New Testament to describe a collection of first and second-century Christian Greek scriptures can be traced back to Tertullian. In Against Marcion, written c. 208 AD, he writes of: the Divine Word, doubly edged with the two testaments of the law and the gospel.
And Tertullian continues in the book, writing: it is certain that the whole aim at which he has strenuously laboured in the drawing up of his Antitheses, centres in this, that he may establish a diversity between the Old and the New Testaments, so that his own Christ may be separate from the Creator, as belonging to this rival god, as alien from the law and the prophets. By the 4th century, the existence—even if not the exact contents—of both an Old and New Testament had been established. Lactantius, a 3rd–4th century Christian author wrote in his early-4th-century Latin Institutiones Divinae: But all scripture is divided into two Testaments; that which preceded the advent and passion of Christ—that is, the law and the prophets—is called the Old.
The biblical apocrypha denotes the collection of apocryphal ancient books found in some editions of Christian Bibles in a separate section between the Old and New Testaments or as an appendix after the New Testament. Some Christian Churches include some or all of the same texts within the body of their version of the Old Testament. Although the term apocryphal had been in use since the 5th century, it was in Luther's Bible of 1534 that the Apocrypha was first published as a separate intertestamental section. To this date, the Apocrypha is "included in the lectionaries of Anglican and Lutheran Churches." Moreover, the Revised Common Lectionary, in use by most mainline Protestants including Methodists and Moravians, lists readings from the Apocrypha in the liturgical kalendar, although alternate Old Testament scripture lessons are provided. The preface to the Apocrypha in the Geneva Bible explained that while these books "were not received by a common consent to be read and expounded publicly in the Church," and did not serve "to prove any point of Christian religion save in so much as they had the consent of the other scriptures called canonical to confirm the same," nonetheless, "as books proceeding from godly men they were received to be read for the advancement and furtherance of the knowledge of history and for the instruction of godly manners."
During the English Civil War, the Westminster Confession of 1647 excluded the Apocrypha from the canon and made no recommendation of the Apocrypha above "other human writings", this attitude towards the Apocrypha is represented by the decision of the British and Foreign Bible Society in the early 19th century not to print it. Today, "English Bibles with the Apocrypha are becoming more popular again" and they are printed as intertestamental books; the seven books which comprise the Protestant Apocrypha, first published as such in Luther’s Bible are considered canonical Old Testament books by the Catholic Church, affirmed by the Council of Rome and reaffirmed by the Council of Trent. The Anglican Communion accepts "the Apocrypha for instruction in life and manners, but not for the establishment of doctrine", many "lectionary readings in The Book of Common Prayer are taken from the Apocrypha", with these lessons being "read in the same ways as those from the Old Testament"; the first Methodist liturgical book, The Sunday Service of the Methodists, employs verses from the Apocrypha, such as in the Eucharistic liturgy.
The Protestant Apocrypha contains three books that are accepted by many Eastern Orthodox Churches and Oriental Orthodox Churches as canonical, but are regarded as non-canonical by the Catholic Church and are therefore not included in modern Catholic Bibles. Jerome completed his version of the Bible, the Latin Vulgate, in 405. In the Middle Ages, the Vulgate became the de-facto standard version of the Bible in the West; the Vulgate manuscripts included prologues, in which Jerome identified certain books of the older Old Latin Old Testament version as apocryphal – or non-canonical – though they might be read as scripture. In the prologue to the books of Samuel and Kings, called the Prologus Galeatus, he says: This preface to the Scriptures may serve as a “helmeted” introduction to all the books which we turn from Hebrew into Latin, so that we may be assured that what is not found in our list must be placed amongst the Apocryphal writings. Wisdom, which bears the name of Solomon, the book of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, Judith, Tobias, the Shepherd are not in the canon.
The first book of Maccabees I have found to be Hebrew, the second is Greek, as can be proved from the style. In the prologue to Ezra Jerome states. In his prologue to the books of Solomon, he says: Also included is the book of the model of virtue Jesus son of Sirach, another falsely ascribed work, titled Wisdom of Solomon; the former of these I have found in Hebrew, titled not Ecclesiasticus as among the Latins, but Parables, to which were joined Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs, as though it made of equal worth the likeness not only of the number of the books of Solomon, but the kind of subjects. The second was never among the Hebrews, the style of which reeks of Greek eloquence, and none of the ancient scribes affirm. Therefore, just as the Church reads the books of Judith and the Maccabees, but does not receive them among the canonical Scriptures, so one may read these two scrolls for the strengthening of the people, not for confirming the authority of ecclesiastical dogmas, he mentions the book of Baruch in his prologue to the Jeremias but does not include it as'apocrypha'.
In his prologue to the Judith he mentions that "among the Hebrews, the authority came into contention", but that it was "counted in the number of Sacred Scriptures" by the First Council of Nicaea. In his reply to Rufinus, he affirmed that he was consistent with the choice of the church regarding which version of the deuterocanonical portions of Daniel to use, which the Jews of his day did not include: What sin have I committed in following the judgment