Talk:Canonical Gospels

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 Definition The four Gospels in the New Testament, telling of the life and death of Jesus Christ. [d] [e]
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I posted a short introduction in three parts for the topic. Curiously, the actual events and particular history of the canonical scriptures is hard to find. Most sources I have read over the years start by assuming they are simply a given and provide very little discussion about process of selection. Interesting. Thomas Simmons 31 March, 2007 (EPT)

Vocabulary changes Question: "conflated" was changed to 'merged" in

  • The Gospels of Matthew and of Luke contain nativity stories, which are often conflated for popular commemoration.
  • The Gospels of Matthew and of Luke contain nativity stories, which are often merged for popular commemoration.

Why? --Thomas Simmons 18:40, 28 April 2007 (CDT) +17 hours

I changed the headers to comply with current usage. --Thomas Simmons 20:28, 23 June 2007 (CDT)

Hey-- I just removed the mention of the Edict of Milan at the beginning of the Intro. I could not see how it was really relevant to the canonization of the gospels at Nicaea. (It's not as though Constantine and Licinius said: "Stop persecuting those Christians, with those four gospels of theirs!") It's certainly relevant to the topic of early Christianity, just not relevant to this article. Brian P. Long 16:34, 13 April 2008 (CDT)

The stuff about the Council of Nicaea is just mediaeval legend. No up-to-date scholarly source repeats it. No ecumenical council defined a canon of scripture before the Council of Florence in 1439. The earliest source in which the standard canon of the NT appears is dated 367, & alternative canons continued to appear in diminishing numbers of sources for centuries. All this is stated in any respectable modern scholarly account. Peter Jackson 16:59, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Discuss so-called "legends" and reach consensus rather than arbitrarily dumping them

Let us discuss this sort of thing before it is deleted wholesale. It is not appropriate to simply label things legends and then arbitrarily delete them. So, if anyone insists on deleting again, this must first be taken up with an editor. I found the idea that Constantine had offered to buy the collection intriguing. I have never heard of that before, Is there a source for it?Thomas Simmons 02:00, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Hey all--
Just thought I'd jump in here. Thom, I am frankly having trouble finding any reference to the Council of Nicaea in the canonization of the gospels in any of the standard sources I use. The closest thing I can come up with (from the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd ed.) is the mysterious Council in Rome under Damasus in 382; the same list of scriptures was repeated by Gelasius and the Council of Trent. I don't know anything about this council at Rome, or whether it had any impact outside of the West...
Might I suggest that we work on incorporating this material (about the various canonical lists-- Eusebius, Athanasius, the Muratorian-- and the Council of Trent) into the text of the article? Arguing on the talk pages is not going to bring us any closer to a better article. Thanks, Brian P. Long 07:07, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, standard sources? You have a list of standard sources that are the canonical list for CZ? I keyed this in and found no such list. Perhaps you can give me the URL.Thomas Simmons 14:47, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Addendum: May I suggest that the language you employ here be less inflammatory. Labeling the move to revert a clearly undiscussed deletion as "arguing" is simply poisoning the well. Reminding people to respond here in accordance with the CZ policies is not arguing in the sense that anyone is quarreling. Unless you meant that we are involved in scholarly argumentation? But then that is what we are enjoined to do.Thomas Simmons 14:47, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Hello again--
I looked into the chapter on "The History of the Text and Canon of the New Testament to Jerome" by C. S. C. Williams in the Cambridge History of the Bible, vol. 2. Though not all of the information in the chapter is strictly relevant to the matter at hand, he does give a good, detailed discussion of the formation of the canon, and a full discussion of canon-formation outside the western Church. There is a lot of good information in there if anyone wanted to start writing an article on the development of the New Testament canon. (The book was originally published in 1969, though.)
I also looked at the chapter on the Council of Nicaea (by Mark Edwards) in vol. 1 of the Cambridge History of Christianity (2006). Edwards notes that "there is nothing to corroborate the tradition that the bishops removed another source of discord by proclaiming a canon of scripture." (560) He implies, though, that it's not entirely implausible: "it seems probable that more work was transacted at Nicaea than our records now disclose." (loc. cit.)
I think this is fairly conclusive, and means that we should remove the reference to the Council of Nicaea from our article on the Canonical Gospels. I am going to go ahead and do so. All of the indications are that there is no longer any real scholarly debate about the matter. Thanks, Brian P. Long 08:23, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

Well first of all, we discuss before we edit unilaterally. You did not discuss anything. Second we are expected to provide legitimate rescues for what we say here--policy is that articles be verifiable. I gave two sources--to wit:
The selection of the 27 books of the entire New Testament took place over a period of about 300 years before they were finally approved by consensus of the 318 representatives of the Churches in Asia, Africa and Europe in 325 A.D.[1][2]
You provide absolutely zero
The formation of the 27 books of the New Testament and their acceptance as the definitive body of scripture took place over a period of about 300 years. In 367, Athanasius of Alexandria gave the list of the New Testament scriptures used today in one of his festal letters. However, different parts of the New Testament had become canonical at different times, and the four gospels were already part of the fixed canon before Athanasius.
Now in point of fact I have read that Festal Letter and have downloaded copies in the Original Greek and the translations. But since you are saying that this is the first time the NT was mentioned as a whole and you say you are a graduate student at Notre Dame we must assume that you know the meaning of the word "discuss" and you are competent to use APA or MLA style for footnotes. Another consideration is that you refer to one source and you also provide the source's admission that the perspective given may be in error and that is the basis of your statements "I think this is fairly conclusive, and means that we should remove the reference to the Council of Nicaea from our article on the Canonical Gospels. I am going to go ahead and do so. All of the indications are that there is no longer any real scholarly debate about the matter. All of the indications are that there is no longer any real scholarly debate about the matter," which are utterly unfounded--one source which says it may be mistaken.
I did not start this article so, as long as this sort of willful disregard for scholarship and CZ policy are the rule here, I have more productive things to do than be involved in this article. Thomas Simmons 14:47, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
  1. Thos. E. Fitzgerald (1995) The Orthodox Church. Westport Connecticut: Greenwood Press. (pp. 4-5)
  2. The figure of 318 may be symbolic rather than actual. Lists of those attending vary from 220 to 300. Davis, L.D. (1983) The First Seven Ecumenical Councils *325-787): Their history and theology. (pages 57-58). Collegeville Minnesota: Liturgical Press. ISBN 0-8146-5616-1