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The Origin Of The New Testament - Adolf Harnack

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I. The Needs and Motive Forces that led to the Creation of the New Testament

§ 1. How did the Church arrive at a second authoritative Canon in addition to the Old Testament?

§ 2. Why is it that the New Testament also contains other books beside the Gospels, and appears as a compilation with two divisions (|Evangelium| and |Apostolus|)?

§ 3. Why does the New Testament contain Four Gospels and not One only?

§ 4. Why has only one Apocalypse been able to keep its place in the New Testament? Why not several--or none at all?

§ 5. Was the New Testament created consciously? and how did the Churches arrive at one common New Testament?

II. The Consequences of the Creation of the New Testament

§ 1. The New Testament immediately emancipated itself from the conditions of its origin, and claimed to be regarded as simply a gift of the Holy Spirit. It held an independent position side by side with the Rule of Faith; it at once began to influenc

§ 2. The New Testament has added to the Revelation in history a second written proclamation of this Revelation, and has given it a position of superior authority.

§ 3. The New Testament definitely protected the Old Testament as a book of the Church, but thrust it into a subordinate position and thus introduced a wholesome complication into the conception of the Canon of Scripture.

§ 4. The New Testament has preserved for us the most valuable portion of primitive Christian literature; yet at the same time it delivered the rest of the earliest works to oblivion, and has limited the transmission of later works.

§ 5. Though the New Testament brought to an end the production of authoritative Christian writings, yet it cleared the way for theological and also for ordinary Christian literary activity.

§ 6. The New Testament obscured the true origin and the historical significance of the works which it contained, but on the other hand, by impelling men to study them, it brought into existence certain conditions favourable to the critical treatment

§ 7. The New Testament checked the imaginative creation of events in the scheme of Salvation, whether freely or according to existing models; but it called forth or at least encouraged the intellectual creation of facts in the sphere of Theology, and

§ 8. The New Testament helped to demark a special period of Christian Revelation, and so in a certain sense to give Christians of later times an inferior status; yet it has kept alive the knowledge of the ideals and claims of Primitive Christianity.

§ 9. The New Testament promoted and completed the fatal identification of the Word of the Lord and the Teaching of the Apostles; but, because it raised Pauline Christianity to a place of highest honour, it has introduced into the history of the Churc

§ 10. In the New Testament the Catholic Church forged for herself a new weapon with which to ward off all heresy as unchristian; but she has also found in it a court of control before which she has appeared ever increasingly in default.

§ 11. The New Testament has hindered the natural impulse to give to the content of Religion a simple, clear, and logical expression, but, on the other hand, it has preserved Christian doctrine from becoming a mere philosophy of Religion.


APPENDIX I (to § 2 of Part I, pp. 59 f.)

APPENDIX II (to § 1-4 of Part I)





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