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CANON: Corporate Reception

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Lesson

Even if a few of the books took a while to be accepted, there was a core canon of 22 books very quickly. Even the Muratorian Fragment, while including two non-canonical books, recognizes that they are different and may be listing them as such. Just because the early church read non-canonical books does not mean there was not a canon.

Outline

I. WHAT IS CORPORATE RECEPTION AND THE CANONICAL CORE?

A. Corporate reception of the canon happened sooner and was more widespread and earlier than typically indicated

B. Core canon

1. 22 New Testament books accepted by middle of second century

2. Seven remaining shorter books struggled

C. Conclusion

1. Wide-spread unanimity

2. The theological trajectory of Christianity was established early

II. MURATORIAN FRAGMENT

A. Includes The Apocalypse of Peter and The Wisdom of Solomon

B. Core was set but edges were fuzzy

C. Suggests The Apocalypse of Peterwas questionable

D. Lists these two books at the end

III. DOES THE PRESENCE OF HERESY SUGGEST THERE WAS NOT A CORE CANON?

A. Doctrine in early Christianity was not that diverse

B. The use of an apocryphal book doesn't mean there was not a canon

C. Clement of Alexandria

IV. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BOOK BEING ORTHODOX OR BEING CANONICAL?

A. All canonical books are orthodox, but not all orthodox books are canonical.

B. Shepherd of Hermas

C. Compare our current libraries