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The Origin Of The New Testament by Adolf Harnack

Conclusion

In the foregoing pages an attempt has been made to survey and set in order the most important consequences of the Creation of the New Testament. This task belongs to the historian of the Origin of the Sacred Collection -- not only because practically all these consequences made their appearance with the Book itself, but also because from the consequences we can gain a clearer and more certain knowledge of the motives which produced the Book, and because in these consequences the real character of the Book first appears. It is true, as has been shown, that consequences do not always correspond to motives -- a creation very speedily creates its own law and follows its own logic -- but knowledge of the coming into being of the New Testament is imperfect so long as an account is not given of what really came into being in this case. Therefore it is much to be desired that, for the future, histories of the |Origin of the Canon of the New Testament| should not be written without a description of the innate functions and consequences of the factor introduced into the history of the Church by the appearance of the New Testament. The investigation of the history of the New Testament from Origen and still more from Athanasius downwards is, except in a few important points, only of interest to scholars; but to know what the New Testament meant to the Church as soon as it was created belongs to general theological culture.
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