abused verses of Hebrews appeared to make a certain sin (clerical apostasy) unforgivable. In contrast, Alexandria and the East in general had, from the beginning, always accepted Hebrews without question and as having come from Rome and from St. Paul himself. One early author explained why, during the third century, Hebrews was not being used in church in Rome: Non legitur propter Novatianos. (‘It is not read because of the Novatians’). 22
In contrast again the Apocalypse was always accepted in Rome but, because of abuse of its millenarian verses by Millenarian groups in the East, was unpopular with many Church leaders there. (In the fourth century St. Cyril of Jerusalem and St. Gregory Nazianzen did not number Apocalypse among the New Testament writings, while St. John Chrysostom and Theodoret never used it.) Because of its heavy coding and many obscurities it was also a difficult text for use in teaching. Also, because of its sharp thinly disguised attacks upon pagan Rome as ‘Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of every abomination on earth ...drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus,’ it was politically dangerous.* 23
A few objected to II and III St John as being too brief and as they contained hardly any doctrine. Others objected to St. Jude because of its apparent use of episodes from apocryphal works, and to II St. Peter because of its use of St. Jude. No objection by any orthodox Church leader was ever based on any suspicion of fraudulence or on any consciousness of a different tradition as to authorship. All objections were based simply on grounds of suitability for use in church. The earliest extant listing of all and only the 27 books of the New Testament as we have it today is found in St. Athanasius’ Easter Letter from Alexandria in 367. Notes Epilogue 1
St. Clement, Corinthians, 37.
Corinthians, 40. St. Clement’s epistle is usually dated to c. 96 by its internal reference to its having been delayed by some ‘sudden and repeated calamities which have befallen us’. (Corinthians, 1.1) If these ‘calamities’ were those of 64 to 70, St. Clement’s epistle would then have been written in the early 70’s. 5
St. Jerome, De Viris Illustribus, 9.
The first quote is from Trallians 3, 1. The second is from the beginning of Philadelphians. 8
The example quoted is from Smyrneans, 8
In the first century the Christians had one safeguard in having the magistrates regard them as merely a Jewish sect. 11
That forgers were claiming his name and prestige for their writings shows how important St. Clement of Rome was regarded as being during the second century. In the 19th century anti-Church scholars have used the ‘Clementine’ writings as authority for their picture of the Apostolic church as a battleground between ‘Petrine’ and
Published on Nov 29, 2011
This survey of how the New Testament came to be written is also a chronicle of the first 40 years of the history of the Christian Church. It...