Thursday, August 8, 2013

Consuming the Word 8: The Canon of the New Testament

Hahn begins this chapter on Canon with an exposition of the thought of Marcion, who attempted to "separate the law from the gospel; the God of Justice and creation from the God of grace and redemption; the God of the Old Testament from the Father of Jesus Christ (67)."  While he was eventually excommunicated, the whole affair began a slow process by which the New Testament books were officially canonized.

Hahn points out Eusebius does not initially call this list of books as kanon, but diatheke.  In this way, for the Church in the fourth century these sacred books were known as  "the covenant documents, the testamental documents (70)."  And again, as pointed out in earlier chapters, these books were the ones that were read in the liturgical assembly.

After giving a brief historical sketch of how the Church discerned finally which books belongs in the Canon, Hahn concludes the chapter by pointing out how even today the Marcion heresy persists.  Veiled in forms of "unconscious anti-Semitism" some still try to avoid the teachings of the Old Testament law and culture in order to create an even a "New Testament more to this or that individual's liking (74)."

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