Textual Criticism and Canon of Scripture

5774 words 24 pages
Liberty University

Textual Criticism and the Canon of Scripture:
Dealing with Inspiration and Preservation in the light of human error

A Paper submitted to Dr. Tomlin
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For
History of Christianity I – CHHI 520

By: James Mead

December 14, 2007

Table of Contents
Table of Contents 2
Introduction 3
Developing the Need for a Canon 5 Gnostics 5 Cerinthians Gnostics 6 Doketist Gnostics 6 Marcion 7
The Presentation and Elimination of Spurious Writings 8 The Tests of Canonicity 9 The Test of Apostolic Authority 11 The Tests of Antiquity and Orthodoxy 12 The Tests of Catholicity and Traditional Use 13 The Test of Inspiration 14
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As a result of this impasse, some began to adhere to a teaching known as Gnosticism, a belief that “all matter is evil, or at best unreal. A human being is in reality an eternal spirit (or part of the eternal spirit) that somehow has been imprisoned in a body. Since the body is a prison to the spirit, and since it misguides us [sic] as to our [sic] true nature, it is evil.”[7] The danger of this doctrine intensified when relating to the deity of Jesus Christ, for Gnostics maintained that the holiness of God could not inhabit flesh, for flesh is evil. Therefore, two theories about the body of Jesus Christ emerged from two sects of Gnosticism: the Cerinthian Gnostics and the Doketist Gnostics.

Cerinthian Gnostics Cerinthian Gnostics taught that “Jesus was simply a man, the natural-born son of Joseph and Mary, and that the Christ was the Divine Spirit who came and took possession of Jesus at His baptism in Jordan and was with Him through life, but left Him when He hung on the cross.”[8] Followers of this heresy believed that the Divine Spirit of Christ could not


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