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Other books from Jesus' era

Postby Psycho Lord » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:09 pm

Were there any books floating around the same time as Jesus or the succeeding century, that would give more context to the New Testament? Were the Gnostic or "lost" bibles actually part of the accepted cannon at the time?

It seems like there is something missing from the New Testament. We all know that the Nicene creed basically chose certain gospels, and discarded others. Is it possible that during this process, much of the relevant, important canon was lost?
Psycho Lord
 

Re: Other books from Jesus' era

Postby jimwalton » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:16 pm

There were some secular (non-biblical) books by authors of Palestine and Rome that give us more context to the New Testament: Epictetus, Pomponius Mela, Martial, Juvenal, Seneca the Younger, Gallio (who actually appears in the Bible, Acts 18.12-17), Seneca the Elder, Pliny the Elder, Plutarch, Justus of Tiberia, Philo of Alexandria, Nicolaus of Damascus, and more. There were also writings from a group of scholars called the Church Fathers: Clement of Alexandria, Barnabas of Alexandria, Clement of Rome, Hermas, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Papias, the Didache, and others. There are also the Dead Sea Scrolls. So we have lots of writings to gives us context that helps in our understanding of the New Testament.

> Were the Gnostic or "lost" bibles actually part of the accepted cannon at the time?

No, they were never accepted as part of the canon or even candidates for the canon. Most of the gnostic Gospels were from the second century or later; the Bible books were all from the first century. Although Gnosticism was alive and well in the first century, the Bible books and Church Fathers consistently and unanimously reject their teaching as true, and their prolific writings are resoundingly rejected from the canon.

> As I have hinted in another post

Sorry, I'm not familiar with your other post.

> We all know that the Nicene creed basically chose certain gospels and discarded others.

This is untrue. In fact, the Council of Nicea never discussed the canon at all—it was totally devoted to the questions of the deity of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity.

The deliberations of the church during this time, however, involved recognizing the books given by God to His people rather than deciding what books to include in the Bible. The difference is a subtle
but important one. The books of the New Testament are not Scripture because the church said they were, but are Scripture because from the time of their composition they bore the mark of divine authority. The New Testament, and in fact the Bible as a whole, is thus a list of authoritative writings rather than an authoritative list of writings.

> Is it possible that during this process, much of the relevant, important canon was lost?

It really is not possible.


Last bumped by Anonymous on Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:16 pm.
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