Noncanonical - Noncanonical Scriptures, RN101, 4/14/08 I...

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Noncanonical Scriptures, RN101, 4/14/08 I Diversity within the canon. Who is Jesus? In our course so far, as we’ve been reading the four Gospels that eventually became the only Gospels, we’ve noted quite marked differences between one account of who Jesus is and another. MK presents him as a grown man; MT and LK as a promised birth, then born of a virgin and the offspring of the Holy Spirit; in John he is the Word who was a) flesh & blood but who, as the Logos, b) was “with God in the beginning,” and “was God.” II Diversity outside the NT Canon This dissension within the corpus of the canonical NT is nothing , however, compared to the wide spectrum of early second and third century convictions about 1) who Jesus really was, 2) what it means to follow him, and 3) what texts are to be considered as true and binding on believers. It takes until the mid-4 th century for the Church finally to decide what books comprise the Bible and what teachings derived from those Scriptures are orthodox, true teaching. Then come official statements or summaries Creeds (“credo,” I believe) – the Apostles, the Nicene, the Athanasian – that further pin down what it means to confess the Christian faith. Today look at some of the sacred literature that, for whatever reason, were rejected by the Church as heretical; that was combated by the early theologians (“Church Fathers”) who nonetheless quoted them extensively, and ; that were largely driven underground – quite literally, as at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, buried in the earth. III Who were these “other” Christians and what did they believe? Until recently, our knowledge based on polemical writing against them. Since 1945 we have fragments of works. Excellent resource for this material is Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities: the Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew , and Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the NT ) Ebionites : “Jews for Jesus”; Jesus the Jewish Messiah sent to Jews in fulfillment of Jewish Scripture. To be a Christian, must be a Jew: circumcision, Sabbath, kosher. Christology: Jesus completely human. Not born of Virgin or pre-existing “in the beginning”; was born of human parents; was “adopted” by God as God’s son – why? because he kept the law perfectly. Offered himself up as sacrifice, which God rewards by raising him from the dead. 1
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Ebionite Bible? The OT; MT w/o the Virgin birth, NO PAUL! Marcionites: complete antithesis of Ebionites. Presents a Christianity with nothing Jewish about it. Marcion rejects the Hebrew Bible; his NT consists of 11 books – 10 of Paul’s epistles and an edited Gospel of Luke. But how can a Jewish Jesus, quoting a Jewish Bible, be shorn of Jewishness? Marcion (born c. 100) begins with contrast between “bad news” of the Law,
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This note was uploaded on 06/22/2008 for the course RN 101 taught by Professor Hawkins during the Spring '08 term at BU.

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Noncanonical - Noncanonical Scriptures, RN101, 4/14/08 I...

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