New Testament Canon

NEW TESTAMENT CANON


The New Testament Canon has been under assault in the latter years of the 20th century. Non-Christians have taken over theology departments at major American universities and sought to deconstruct the Christian Faith. Popular writers such as Dan Brown and Elaine Pagels have published fictional works that distort the true history of the Christian Faith and its New Testament Canon.


I read recently that thousands of people every day use search engines looking for "books removed from the Bible" "a list of the lost books of the Bible" "forbidden books of the Bible" "missing books of the Bible" "books omitted from the Bible" "banned books of the Bible" and "lost books of the Bible."


I have even seen views expressed that Constantine "wrote" the Bible, and the whole thing was a vast conspiracy. So let us take a look at how it came to be that we have a New Testament Canon.


THE DAKE STUDY BIBLE (MY FAVORITE KING JAMES VERSION BIBLE)
THE DAKE STUDY BIBLE (MY FAVORITE KING JAMES VERSION BIBLE)

WHAT IS A CANON?


The Greek word "kanon" refers to a carpenter's ruler. It was used to decide what is straight and what is not; what meets a standard of excellence and what does not. Kanon came to be applied to Greek philosophy (the love of wisdom) as a metaphor for accuracy, order, clarity, and truth.


Today, we know the word "canon" as a strict boundary around a set of sacred writings (Scripture). Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have Canons of Scripture but the other world religions do not. The Canon of Judaism (Mishnah) was set in the 3rd century by Judah the Prince; the Canon of Christianity in the 4th century by orthodox bishops; the Canon of Islam in the 7th century by the third Caliph.


THE DIDACHE IS STILL IN PRINT
THE DIDACHE IS STILL IN PRINT
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF CLEMENT IS STILL IN PRINT
THE FIRST EPISTLE OF CLEMENT IS STILL IN PRINT

THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH


The very first Christians—the Apostles of Jesus Christ and their disciples—sought order, standardization, and written regulations about church doctrine. Jesus had commanded them to remain unified—not to splinter off into competing groups. As early as 50 AD, we see Christian leaders coming together for an assembly (ekklesia in Greek) to debate doctrine and come to agreements to maintain unity.


Within roughly thirty years of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, all of the books now in the New Testament were written with the exception of the books by the Apostle John, which are dated around 90 AD.


Two of the oldest documents we have from the Apostolic Church are the Didache (Greek for teaching) also known as the Teaching of the Lord through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations; and the First Epistle of Clement.


The Didache was published well before the year 100 and circulated throughout the Christian community. It might have been written by the Apostle Matthew. The Didache shows that the first Christians had established standards for personal behavior, order in the church, the Eucharist (Communion), and for Baptism. It is noteworthy that the standard for the latter is immersion in "living waters" and "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."


The First Epistle of Clement was written in 95 by the Bishop of Rome—also known as the First Apostolic Father—Clement. In it are these words:


"The apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus, the Christ, was sent from God. Thus Christ is from God and the Apostles from Christ. The Apostles . . . went out in the confidence of the Holy Spirit to preach the Good News . . . and appointed their first converts, after testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers."


In around 167, Melito, Bishop of Sardis, compiled the first Christian Canon of what we now know by the term he coined: "The Old Testament." A copy of the New Testament with 22 of its current 27 books has been found that was collated in the year 174.


WHY GNOSTIC WRITINGS ARE REJECTED
WHY GNOSTIC WRITINGS ARE REJECTED

GNOSTICS & GNOSTICISM


In the 2nd century, Satan began working through men to confuse the early Christians. These men composed "new gospels" that preached a diabolical message opposed to that of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the first was Basilides, but the more popular of this first wave of heretics was Valentinus. Both men hailed from Alexandria, Egypt, and both are known as Gnostics.


Gnostics are people who claim to have secret knowledge that sets them above regular folks, and who believe that this secret knowledge is salvific. Gnosticism can come in unlimited forms but usually it involves Pantheism—the disbelief in God the Creator in favor of worshiping nature as God.


Gnosticism is about men wanting to be worshiped as sages, forming their cults around themselves, usually fusing Christian thought with Greek philosophy or Indian mysticism or both. Because of these Gnostic writers, who wrote "gospels" that they claimed were written a century earlier, lost, but now thanks to them, are "found;" genuine Christians saw the need to make a firm boundary around the authentic writings of the Christian Faith.


THE LIVES AND OPINIONS OF EMINENT PHILOSOPHERS IS STILL IN PRINT AND REPRESENTS A CANON OF ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHY
THE LIVES AND OPINIONS OF EMINENT PHILOSOPHERS IS STILL IN PRINT AND REPRESENTS A CANON OF ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHY

CANONS


It is to the Greeks that we owe the idea of a Canon—to separate the authentic from the inauthentic. The great medical doctor Galen (129-199) studied sixty writings ascribed to the ancient "father of medicine," Hippocrates (460-370 B.C. [Before Christ]), and declared that only thirteen of them were actually authentic. He thus produced a "canon" of these writings.


Before Diogenes Laertius published the monumental Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers in about 230—the book by which we know about the lives and concepts of Plato, Aristotle and others—he and a crack team of expert scholars poured over all known writings attributed to the Greek philosophers. They divided them into two categories: genuine and spurious.


Laertius lists the succession of philosophers at Plato's Academy—those who trained new students, hired copyists to accurately reproduce Plato's genuine dialogues, and saw to it that the founder's writings were accurately interpreted. Laertius and his experts also examined and compared writings that made claims to authenticity but veered far from the vision of Plato and his successors. They used the same methodology for the teachings of Aristotle.


Laertius and his fellow scholars were on the real mission of philosophy—the Quest for Truth. The writings they cast off as forgeries were those that did not match in doctrinal accuracy the true philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Thus was produced a "canon" of the genuine article.


THE LOGO OF MARCION
THE LOGO OF MARCION
THE LOGO OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
THE LOGO OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

MARCION


A flood of phony writings in the 2nd century claiming to be "lost gospels" caused the Christian Church to feel compelled to officially separate the authentic works of the 1st century by the Apostles of Jesus and their disciples from these forgeries.


Marcion (110-160) is the first known heretic inside the Christian Church. He was the bishop of Sinope, in what is now Turkey. Marcion insisted that God the Father of Jesus Christ was a different god than the god of the Jewish Faith in the Old Testament. He taught that the Old Testament god was indeed the Creator, but that he was a bad actor who was cruel, jealous, and ignorant. The Father of Jesus was the good god who stepped in to save humanity from the bad god. Jesus was not the Jewish Messiah—being Marcion's key point.


Marcion therefore made up his own bible that consisted of the first ten Epistles of Paul and most of the Gospel of Luke. He rejected the other sacred books since they linked the New Covenant to the Old, and he claimed that these Scriptures were written by Judaizers. Marcion also altered Luke to portray Jesus as coming down to earth as a full grown man.


It was in reaction to Marcion's bastardized "bible" that the leaders of the church were moved to formalize the Canon of the New Testament. Clement of Alexandria coined the term "New Testament" in the late 2nd century.


IRENAEUS
IRENAEUS
TERTULLIAN
TERTULLIAN
ORIGEN
ORIGEN

WHO WILL DEFEND THE BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT AGAINST HERESIES?


To counteract the unorthodox ideas of Marcion and the Gnostics, God raised up mighty men to fight heresy. One such man was Irenaeus (120-202), Bishop of Lyon. Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp (69-155), Bishop of Smyrna, who in turn had been a disciple of the Apostle John.


Irenaeus showed that orthodox beliefs not only in regard to doctrine but also in a particular set of sacred texts had been handed down in a line of succession directly from the Apostles of Jesus. Marcion and the Gnostics had no line of succession at all. They were propagating something new—that contradicted the beliefs of the Apostles of Jesus.


Irenaeus wrote that "those who were by the apostles instituted bishops in the Churches and the succession of these men to our own times . . . neither taught nor knew anything like what these [heretics] rave about."


This line of succession had handed down the whole truth because it had handed down the true message of the apostles who lived and walked with Jesus Christ. This Truth was consistent across multiple international apostolic successions in Jerusalem, Alexandria, Ephesus, and Rome—without variation or contradiction. As the next great heresy fighter Tertullian (160-240) added: "It is not likely that so many churches . . . have gone astray into one and the same faith."


The only line of succession the Gnostics had was to Simon Magus—universally recognized as the first heretic. Simon Magus was a sorcerer who claimed to be divine while running a sex cult.


The Gnostic system is one "which neither the prophets announced, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles delivered," wrote Tertullian. Any so-called "gospel" besides those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are fraudulent—created by inspiration of the Devil.


Tertullian wrote that the Apostles "founded churches in every city, from which all the other churches, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith. . . . the apostolic churches . . . comprise but one primitive church founded by the apostles." The Gnostics had no apostolic churches in which their writings were read.


One of the most distinguished scholars of this era, Origen (185-234) of Alexandria, spent his life in study of the Christian sacred writings. He confirmed that the traditional four gospels are the only ones that were believed by the whole Christian Church before and during his lifetime.


Origen also confirmed what we now have as the Christian New Testament. He did express doubts about the authorship of 2 Peter and 2 John and 3 John. But these are minor points. Origen published an extensive study of the Book of Hebrews in which he concludes it contains the thoughts of the Apostle Paul but was perhaps written down by Luke.


EUSEBIUS
EUSEBIUS
ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY BY EUSEBIUS IS STILL IN PRINT TODAY
ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY BY EUSEBIUS IS STILL IN PRINT TODAY
THE WRITERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
THE WRITERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

EUSEBIUS


Eusebius (260-341) was the Bishop of Caesarea. He is called the "Father of Church History." Much of what we know of the early church comes from his astonishingly accurate book Ecclesiastical History.


What Eusebius proved was that orthodox Christianity had a set of sacred writings—and interpretations of them—from the time of the Apostles that is coherent, consistent, and reliable. To start with, Eusebius showed the complete chain of succession of bishops for each of the major churches straight back to the Apostle who founded them, with specific names and dates.


These bishops had been charged with deciding which texts should be used in their churches. Eusebius was able to demonstrate that the bishops had used the same sacred writings since the days of the Apostles. And he set about to catalog these sacred writings.


Eusebius examined approximately 100 texts to verify their authenticity. This included all known writings that any cult or person made any claim about as being divinely inspired. This includes the Gnostic writings. He separated them into three categories: genuine, disputed, and rejected.


Into the category of genuine Eusebius only included writings that every Christian church had universally used since the beginning of the faith; only those that no voice of dissension had ever been raised against; only those indisputably written by an Apostle or a disciple of an Apostle. In other words, only those that historically had received unanimous consensus were declared genuine.


These genuine books include 20 of the 27 books we find in our New Testament today: the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; the Acts of the Apostles; 1 John; 1 Peter; and the writings of the Apostle Paul known as Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, Galatians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Philemon, and Titus.


The other seven books in the New Testament today were listed by Eusebius as disputed. These books had been acknowledged and approved by the vast majority of bishops and theologians throughout church history—but not unanimously. These books include James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Hebrews and Revelation. We must keep in mind that a single "no" vote by any bishop over nearly 300 years was enough to make it onto this "disputed" list.


All other writings were consigned to the rejected bin by Eusebius. These are writings that he could not find a single bishop, theologian, or historian in the Christian churches who had ever used them. This includes the so-called Gnostic gospels.


Eusebius wrote that the rejected writings are "very different from that of the Apostles, and the sentiment and purport of the things that are advanced in them, deviating as far as possible from sound orthodoxy, evidently proves that they are the fictions of heretical men." In other words, we can tell a fraudulent writing if it radically deviates from the universally approved Scriptures—if it presents a very different Jesus.


In 367, Athanasius declared a firm Canon of the New Testament that includes the 20 undisputed books and the 7 non-unanimous books. The Third Synod of Carthage in 397 confirmed this same list of Scriptures. Thus the New Testament we have today was in place and has not changed since. It has proved to be hard as granite.


Contrary to modern fictions, Eusebius and his predecessors were not involved in some grand, secret conspiracy to dupe the faithful. By all accounts these men were utterly devout, pious, learned, and serious scholars. Eusebius ignored regional agendas, personal preferences, and political pressure in his Quest for Truth.


THE SPIRIT OF THE REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE (MY FAVORITE BIBLE IN MODERN ENGLISH [NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION])
THE SPIRIT OF THE REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE (MY FAVORITE BIBLE IN MODERN ENGLISH [NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION])

THE BIBLE BY CONSTANTINE?


The demonic author Dan Brown states in the Da Vinci Code that Constantine "created" the New Testament. This is utterly false and used to confuse people and make money for Dan Brown. He claims there were eighty-four gospels written—which has zero basis in history. Brown himself also says that the Da Vinci Code is fiction.


I find it incredible that anyone would think the God of the Universe—the Author of the Books of the New Testament—was not able to move on the hearts of men to put the collection together as He wanted.


My primary source for this article is Constantine's Bible by David L. Dungan.



More by this Author

  • Christian History 1250
    80

    Frederick II (1194-1250) was named Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1220. His contemporaries called him “the astonishment of world.” To some this was meant as a compliment, and to others it wasn’t....

  • The Great Awakening
    102

    The First Great Awakening was a thirty year revival that led to American Independence. It united the colonies for the first time as 75% of colonists participated with George Whitfield leading the way.

  • The French Revolution: Cause and Effect
    61

    The French Revolution; Jacobins; Reign of Terror; Guillotine; Vendee Uprising; King Louis XVI; Robespierre; Bigot; Illuminati; Cult of Reason; Atheism; Communism; Feminism; Satanism; the Antichrist.


Comments 163 comments

oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 4 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Hello James, I recall learning all about how the canon was put together. It was no small task. Learning about what made it in, and what was "cut" and why all made sense the more I learned it. I agree, that it makes sense that God, if he indeed has shared his word with mankind, would make a way to make sure that other works that were not necessarily his word, did not make it in.

It makes sense, that many people would be writing on many topics during these days. Not just the writers of the Bible. Once things begin to contradict other known historical scriptures, you can't help but want to look deeper.

I find your approach here to be very thorough and thoughtful. My hope is that all people everywhere try and put biases aside (that is for me first, as I have been challenged to do the same!), and look at the evidences fairly and squarely. It is hard for people to put aside their own held beliefs and ideas of the world and reality, to just follow evidences where they lead.

Thinking of Dan brown as a demonic author is not something I had thought of before! He definitely makes a good case, or not, and people have to be fair and decide. Its easy to be "easily convinced" by anyone, on either side.

This is getting long, but thank you so much for sharing your research and thoughts here. Its very fascinating history, and not many people know how much work and the details that went into bringing us the bible we have today. Its as if it has been protected all along as well, despite is history of detractors... Very interesting indeed.


Lynn S. Murphy 4 years ago

Very well laid out and presented. I have always found this interesting, and I'm going to study this more for sure.


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 4 years ago from North Carolina, USA

This is an excellent summary. I'm currently reading "God's Secretaries" about the translation of the KJV.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

wonderful hub. Thank you for writing this, you are helping me learn a lot! I really need this.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

This is a very scholarly piece of work, James, and represents much thoughtful research. I will come back to study it further. Thank you for putting this together.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 4 years ago from US

2 Timothy 2:15 says it all, to study to show yourself approved, rightly dividing the Word of God. Every person is responsible to know what the bible says instead of letting someone tell you because you are too lazy or don't have enough interest to know. I can tell you I love a good teacher and I don't know that I have agreed 100% with any. I double check them all and it is my desire to know the truth. If we seek we will find, I know that to be true. Satan's time is almost up and he has many many people doing his bidding, and what a shame they don't even know it.

Wonderful article and such precise facts you have put such good time on. God bless you James. All my support and votes for you on this.


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan

Thanks for writing this up James. I talk to this woman that is always telling me that there are books that are hidden in the Vatican. She provides no proof, and she doesn't know that they are mostly Gnostic forgeries. True Christianity never stopped, not even by Constantine and his Catholic church. The true Christians never gave up their inspired books and they transferred those books through time to the present day.


Tams R profile image

Tams R 4 years ago from Missouri

Great hub James! I too have heard stories that the true books are hidden in the Vatican. My source tells me the books we see are edited to benefit the belief in certain aspects of Christianity and to increase the ability of the church to sway us in a certain direction.

It is sad to me there is any question about the integrity of such a coveted book.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

James I hope you don't mind, but I added this hub to my favorites list so I can read the highlites you added to your hub. I would like to read them, when I have the time.

Thank you very much


platinumOwl4 profile image

platinumOwl4 4 years ago

James A Watkins, Thank you for your comment on my article, "The Final Crack". If you ask a large number of people about their faith, their reply is always," I go by the bible" therein lies the problem going by but not in the bible is a dangerous process. It allows others to sway your thinking if you are thinking at all. Yesterday I read a heartbreaking story, an 18 year old child was sentenced to life in prison for slaughtering her childhood friend. When asked why she replied, " I wanted to know what it felt like to kill a person, she was fifteen at the time of questioning. What was this child exposed to causing her to relive an Lizzie Borden episode? An enormous amount of history, great article as usual.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

I believe if any word is hidden from us at this point it is God's Will, I think He is not going to let His word be hidden and He will let it be found when the time is right if there is any hidden. Who is more powerful than God? Certainly not one He created. One thing is for sure though, from what we have we can know God and know what is not true, such as Jesus only being a prophet and such abdominal talk as that. Even ones who feel sorry for satan and claim to not believe in God, what hypocrisy! Those whose are Gods and study His word have no worries here I feel very certain.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

Oh and BTW I cannot believe men who go off and write their own version of the bible and people actually follow them! How can they be so ignorant?


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

Thank God for Eusebius! Had it not been for that holy man I think maybe our sacred and authentic writings might have been disintegrated by now. This is very enlightening. I have never heard the word Pantheism before.


Hxprof 4 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

Engaging read. I've wanted to spend more time looking at how the current canon was put together; this was a great primer.

It didn't take long after the apostles died for 'wolves in sheep's clothing' to appear as Paul predicted; heck, he was dealing with liars from among the 'circumcision party', trying to sway Christians to first become Jews. Today the liars are out in droves. A multitude offer a watered down gospel, kind of a shoo-in faith in Christ. Many teachers are coming in Christ's name saying, "I am the Christ" (I know the way to Christ, follow my scriptural teachings and you'll be fine). These teachings are particularly damning because they contain a fair amount of truth, but it's mixed with their own thoughts. Those coming in Christ's name purport to "mislead many" with their teachings that tickle the ears, when what Christians need is to hear the harder teachings of Christ that are not taught in the watered down Gospel.

Enough said. This is a timely piece.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago

James , I know you've taken flack for defending christianity ,and I suppose you will here too, however you are a great defender of something being attacked regularly by the P.C. crowd.Awesome job....:-}


Kristeen profile image

Kristeen 4 years ago from Michigan

James this us very interesting! I plan to print it and keep it for reference. I consider it so awesome when I see history matching up so perfectly with the Bible. I know I have learned a lot of this in school over the years, but Have not retained it all in my memory. Thanks so much for sharing and for taking the time to research. Be Blessed!


Rick Davis 4 years ago

Good article James. very informative. When it comes to Jesus being the Messiah, I choose to believe he is, and that he is on the right hand of the father making intercession for all of us. I would rather be morally correct than politically correct. James, May you prosper even as your soul prospers.


poetvix profile image

poetvix 4 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

James, you could write text books for divinity. The amount of research you put into this is staggering. I have never seen such a complete history put together in such a short span of words and done in such an easy to read way. I think this is truly inspired. There is so much information out there to twist and deceive believers and those yet to come to Christ. The up button doesn't go high enough for this one.


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 4 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

James, I think there is a reason why this book IS the greatest and most influential book in the history of the world...it is truly facsinating how much went into the making of this book...It is the most scrutinized book ever and yet held as the most sacred of all literature ever written....this is NO FLUKE.

It will always come down to either you have faith in God, and accept it as His Word or you can deny it.

James thanks for this hub, you have caused me to spend much of my morning into researching and reading more about this....

Great work (as always)

Chris


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

oceansnsunsets- Hello there! Thank you for being my first visitor. I appreciate your remarkable comments.

You said something very important, and that is "why it all made sense the more I learned about it."

That is the way it is. Anybody can spout off that it was some mysterious conspiracy and if people have never really learned about it they can be easily taken in. Everybody likes mysteries and everyone likes a sage who can explain the mysterious. Hence the limited success down from ancient days of the Gnostics.

As you wrote, "it makes sense that God, if he indeed has shared his word with mankind, would make a way to make sure that other works that were not necessarily his word, did not make it in."

Amen.

The thing about Dan Brown that sticks out to me is that he himself flatly says his books are fiction but millions of people quote from them as factual. Ah! The Devil is a wily fellow!

As you say, "it [The Bible] has been protected all along as well, despite is history of detractors."

Yes, indeed.

Thanks again for reading my work, and for your kind compliments. I enjoyed your remarks. And you are most welcome.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Lynn S. Murphy- Thank you! Thank you very much. :-)

ps Love your new picture!


donnaisabella profile image

donnaisabella 4 years ago from Fort Myers

Brilliant, great piece of work, I enjoyed reading it from the beginning to the end because I love to go back to see why things are the way they are, how they came about and who did what and why. You took me on a wonderful trip and I enjoyed every minute of it. Definitely provocative, now I want to go back into that church history and study more of it. God bless you and thanks for writing.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

kschimmel- Thank you very much for reading my work and for the nice compliment.

I recently watched a documentary, "King James Bible: The Book That Changed The World." I wonder if it is related to "God's Secretaries" in any way?


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 4 years ago from North Carolina, USA

Not long before he died, Christopher Hitchens wrote a nice piece in Vanity Fair praising the KJV as a brilliant piece of literature fundamental to our English-speaking culture. "God's Secretaries" was one of the books in his footnotes.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 4 years ago from Texas, USA

I enjoyed reading this interesting, informative and well written article, thanks for sharing.


Drtruthman profile image

Drtruthman 4 years ago from Harlingen, Texas

Great Hub James but Now I know you had to know I would just have to respond to this being one of those crazy old Southern Baptist Seminary Trained Theologians...LOL Anyway, is not all said here and frankly I have better things to do than argue with Christians and would be theologians over what is really at play here. Your history is mostly accurate but unfortunately it is is mainly reformation theology which in itself, our record of such is very inaccurate and flawed. As you may or may not know we as Southern Baptist do not really associate with complete reformation theology so I admit some prejudice here. When I have more time I will attempt to enlighten why (not that I know everything; I certainly do not) via a Hub or on one of my other blogs. I do appreciate the attempt here. Unfortunately as the old saying goes, a "little knowledge in the wrong hands is dangerous" and not necessarily with you but others that read and that really frightens me. Your comments about Dan Brown are totally unfounded. He is not demonic in any sense of the word; just a fictional author no different than Dr. Tim LaHaye in his fictionalizing of the last times in books like "Left Behind" where he also takes scripture and simply gives an interpretive fictional story "take" of what he thinks will happen. Dan Brown did nothing less. Jesus did have a relationship with Mary Magdalene,she was NOT a prostitute (there is NO Biblical or historical evidence), Joseph of Arimathea was his uncle who did travel and in all probability Jesus was married.... !!! So what, He was born physical as a man, He took on the sins of the world, tempted in all like manner and since was being married wrong for a man. He could not have been called RABBI without being married. I am not a liberal, I am a conservative evangelical theologian but just tired of the historical truth being sliced and diced for convenience sake in an attempt to support people who might have diminished faith. If Dan Brown did anything, it was to get people thinking about the word of God and checking it out. I have led more people to Christ as a RESULT of the DaVinci code and people realizing that Jesus (although God) was a man. I know Calvinism (Bless Johns heart)has a problem with that and that is a shame. There is allot which is not known and the Bible itself states such. The canonization of scripture was "man's measurement" (not God's) of what MAN and not necessarily God wanted included as scripture. As a theologian, I have always had questions about the limitations of reformation theology. It limits God and God cannot and will not be limited. Again, I do appreciate the time you took to prepare this piece. I simply find it flawed with numerous error and filled mostly with a "feel good", INSIDE the Box typical Sunday School approach to an all too important topic. With all due respect (and I have the utmost respect for your faith, belief and your writing) but this is just not the entire story. I did vote UP and interesting because you are an absolutely terrific writer and obvious researcher. I could not vote useful because I feel it does more harm than good in helping believers actually understand the Canonization of Scripture. I suggest a thorough reading (if you have not already) of Kenneth Scott Latourette's "A History of Christianity"-Harper & Row. Other than my objections, great job.


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi James

I always wondered if the bible was God's word or just a story made up by man. I have changed my option after reading about Eusebius's book of Ecclesiastical History.

Voted up and awesome


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

Geeee I know I did not write abdominal instead of abominable, but since I was discussing it with a young man Polly did a story on (my son) I think he is getting even and changed that and I am going to literally kill him unless I cool off very much before I see him! I am so embarrassed. So much worse being such a serious subject. lol


einron profile image

einron 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Great hub, James. It must have taken you a lot of time and research to do the job. I have added it to my favorite.

You have put all the names in the correct historical time frame, so it is easier to follow the events that took place. You are such a good biblical history writer. Thanks.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Michele Travis- You are welcome. I am well pleased to be of some service. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I very much appreciate your warm words. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

drbj- You are welcome. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to "study" my Hub. Thank you for your kind comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Polly- As you so rightly noted, "2 Timothy 2:15 says it all, to study to show yourself approved, rightly dividing the Word of God."

Amen!

Thank you ever much for the lovely laudations and awesome accolades! You have made my day, and warmed the cockles of my heart with your gracious words.

I sincerely appreciate the voted up and you hitting all the good buttons for me. You continue to inspire and encourage me. You are a blessing to me, Sister.


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA

Outstanding article, James. You write concisely and accurately. A very needed and helpful piece. No doubt, I'll be linking this to some of my own.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

michiganman567- You are welcome, my fellow Michigander. The Vatican may have some hidden books. If so, I doubt they are good ones. They might have some they have forgotten are there.

I like the way you put this: "The true Christians never gave up their inspired books and they transferred those books through time to the present day."

Amen!

I enjoyed your outstanding remarks. Thank you for coming by to read my article.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Tams R- Thank you for your gracious compliments.

You wrote: "My source tells me the books we see are edited to benefit the belief in certain aspects of Christianity and to increase the ability of the church to sway us in a certain direction."

I do not believe that. What the books actually mean was debated for 1000 years before doctrine was mostly settled. And then the debate raged on. If somebody wanted to just make something up to make people do certain things, a much clearer set of books would have been written that would not leave as much to interpretation. That is what men would do. That is how men think.

I appreciate the visit.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

My brother, James. You never disappointed me and with your passion. You always share great hub about the history and everything seems beautiful in your hand. I am proud to know this from you. Rated up and God bless you!

Prasetio


Sturgeonl profile image

Sturgeonl 4 years ago

This is a very informative hub that presents really well the creation and validity of the new testament. Voted up and awesome.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Michele Travis- You are welcome. I am honored that you would add this Hub to your favorites!

The series I wrote on the History of Christianity has about 40 episodes by now, and goes all the way to 1900 so far. The nine Hubs I provided links to above cover from 33 AD to about 1000 AD.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

platinumOwl4- You are welcome. It was my pleasure, as your article is quite good.

The story you relate to us here in your fine remarks, about the murderous female child, is horrific.

I surely appreciate your gracious compliments on this article. I am glad you came and glad you liked my Hub.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Jackie Lynnley- I very much appreciate your twin comments. Thank you for taking the time to read my article about the New Testament Canon. As I think you know, I agree with you.

I heard a fine sermon in church this morning about listening to God. It was based on Psalm 81 and digressed into the Prodigal Son, who did not listen to his father but thought his own way better. It was so good I might even write a Hub about it.

I am grateful for your presence on HubPages.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Cardisa- Pantheism is alive and well today. Many of the New Age religious-escuse me, "spiritual"- concepts are Pantheist ideas. It denies a personal God, a God with whom one can have a relationship other than by communing with nature. God is nature; nature is God, is the thought. It refuses to put God above nature.

Thank you for your excellent remarks. I appreciate the visitation.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Hxprof- Yes, as you say, there were Judaizers in the first century A.D. (Year of our Lord). I am not so sure they were "liars." I think they believed they were on the right path but misunderstood the Gospel message.

But I totally agree with you that "Today the liars are out in droves. A multitude offer a watered down gospel . . ."

No doubt, cafeteria Christianity is in vogue now. You can pick the items off the menu-The Bible-that agree with the lifestyle you want to live and leave the rest behind.

If I may quote the great Dr Samuel Johnson:

"We not only do what we approve, but there is danger lest in time we come to approve what we do, though for no other reason but that we do it. A man is always desirous of being at peace with himself; and when he cannot reconcile his passions to his conscience, he will attempt to reconcile his conscience to his passions"

http://hubpages.com/literature/Dr-Johnson

As you wisely observed, "These teachings are particularly damning because they contain a fair amount of truth"

Amen!

Thank you for your piercing insights. It is always a distinct pleasure to hear from you my friend.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

ahorseback- I am truly humbly grateful for your kind words. You have encouraged me to carry on, to fight the good fight. And I thank you for it.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Kristeen- I am deeply honored that you would print this out and keep it for reference. You have made my day!

Thank you for the gracious note, and your blessings. I appreciate you coming by to visit. And you are most welcome. :)

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Rick Davis- Hello, my friend! I appreciate your compliments, kind sir.

I agree with what you wrote 100 percent. I love that you added, "I would rather be morally correct than politically correct."

Brilliant! Amen.

I am so glad you are reading some of my work. Thank you, Brother. And God Bless You.


DavePrice profile image

DavePrice 4 years ago from Sugar Grove, Ill

Another well done article brother, but you haven't responded to drtruthman yet, who, if he really is a theologian, is a lousy linguist, and that doesn't begin to speak to his heresies - seems such a "learned" man could reply more intelligently. Waiting...


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

poetvix- I am so grateful to you for the comment you posted about this Hub. I am humbled and yet happy at your high praise indeed. Especially coming from you, whom I consider one of the smartest writers on HubPages, it is gratifying to be affirmed in this way. Thank you very much.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

C Merritt- Chris, I could not agree with you more that "there is a reason why this book IS the greatest and most influential book in the history of the world."

And I must say I love how you worded this: "It is the most scrutinized book ever and yet held as the most sacred of all literature ever written....this is NO FLUKE."

Thank you very much for these outstanding remarks. I appreciate the compliment. And you are quite welcome.

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

donnaisabella- You are welcome and thank you for your blessings.

I could easily have written these words that you wrote: "I love to go back to see why things are the way they are, how they came about and who did what and why."

Me too! That is why I love history so. Reading about it and writing about it. I am pleased to meet a kindred spirit.

I am glad you enjoyed this article. Thank you ever much for the laudations.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

kschimmel- Thank you for that tidbit. I appreciate it. :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Coolmon2009- You are welcome. I am glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for the accolades.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

James: Interesting article. I don't consider Dan Brown, author of "The Davinci Code" demonic, but on the other hand I don't buy his theories on Christ's lineage either. I can only speak for the Catholic Church, but I do know they have chosen the gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as "the truth" and the "new testament of Christ" The gnostic gospels exist, but are not formally recognized by the Catholic Church. One thing the Catholic Church has admitted is that Mary Magdaleen was not a prostitute as the gospels want to portray her and gospels written by men. She is quietly considered by the Catholic Church to be one of Christ's apostles. I have seen the painting of the "Last Supper" in Italy, and I cannot say that the one apostle painted next to Christ is Mary Magdaleen as the Davinci Code puts forth, but I do know that men are fallible and did not portray Mary Magdaleen in the correct light.

Your research is quite extensive and I do not know all about that you write, but this is very interesting, nonethe less. Keep up the good works!


ruthclark3 profile image

ruthclark3 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

This is the first of your hubs that I've read. It won't be the last. I appreciate your research, your attention to detail, your awesome presentation. Thank you. It seems that people just can't accept that God is God, gave us His message which has been preserved through the ages. Some must add to or take away. I'm content.


stars439 profile image

stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Wonderful hub with so much knowledge, and education in it. It is a very valuable education to all that adore our Heavenly Father, and the ways of all that is good, sacred, and beautiful. God Bless You, and Thank You Dear Brother, and Cherished Friend.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Drtruthman— I very much appreciate your commentary.

Regarding my Hub, you write "unfortunately it is mainly reformation theology. . . . We as Southern Baptist do not really associate with complete reformation theology"

I had no idea that this Hub was about theology in particular. It is about the New Testament Canon. I did not see a "Reformed" slant in my article or the book I used as a resource. I see now that the author of the book is a Presbyterian but I could not tell that by the book as I read it. I only found that out just now because you prompted me to look it up. I thought the author could just as easily have been a Southern Baptist. From the website of your denomination, I see this statement of faith:

"The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation."

I belong to no denomination. I am not a Calvinist; probably more of an Arminian. My saintly prophetess grandmother who taught me the Bible was a Southern Baptist. My favorite Bible is one published by a Pentecostal. I have friends in all denominations but I belong to none.

You write, "a "little knowledge in the wrong hands is dangerous" and not necessarily with you but others that read and that really frightens me."

You think something I wrote on this page is "dangerous?"

You write, "Your comments about Dan Brown are totally unfounded. He is not demonic in any sense of the word; just a fictional author no different than Dr. Tim LaHaye in his fictionalizing of the last times in books like "Left Behind" where he also takes scripture and simply gives an interpretive fictional story "take" of what he thinks will happen."

That, sir, is utter nonsense. Dan Brown does not believe in Christ or the Bible; Tim LaHaye does. That is a ridiculous comparison. You may as well compare Anton LaVey with Billy Graham. Dan Brown's books are not based at all on Scripture.

You write, "Jesus did have a relationship with Mary Magdalene, . . . in all probability Jesus was married."

Well sir, you are an apostate from the Southern Baptist Convention, no need to bring Reformed Theology into the picture. There is no evidence that Jesus was married. And what do you mean by relationship? That God Incarnate was having sex with a woman?

You write, "Joseph of Arimathea was his uncle."

What Scripture are you using for this revelation?

You say, "He could not have been called RABBI without being married."

Jesus was not technically a rabbi, nor did he portray himself as one. The apostles addressed him as such to say he was their teacher, not because he held any kind of official Jewish office. The Jews asked Jesus 'by what authority' he did certain things because he did not hold any kind of formal office within Judaism. He did not have an official position that would have permitted him to do things like act within the temple (Mark 11:28). As far as the Jewish leaders were concerned, Jesus had no recognized role within Judaism.

Besides that, you CAN become a Rabbi without being married though the custom is that you eventually be married if you are not crucified first.

You write, "The canonization of scripture was "man's measurement" (not God's) of what MAN and not necessarily God wanted included as scripture."

I think you at odds with at loggerheads with your own denomination, and everybody else's that come to mind. I completely disagree with you and your ideas.

You claim my Hub is "flawed with numerous error." Such as what?

I appreciate it that you added, "I did vote UP and interesting because you are an absolutely terrific writer and obvious researcher. I could not vote useful because I feel it does more harm than good in helping believers actually understand the Canonization of Scripture. I suggest a thorough reading (if you have not already) of Kenneth Scott Latourette's "A History of Christianity"-Harper & Row."

This Hub does harm? To whom and how?

I have not read Latourette's book. My favorite books about Christian History are "The Christians" edited by Ted Byfield but put together by editors, writers, artists, researchers and professional historians who represent much of the denominational spectrum of Christianity. They include many Catholics, Anglicans and Evangelical Protestants, several from the "mainline" Protestant churches. Byfield is a member of the Orthodox Church in America, but you wouldn't know that from these extraordinary but expensive books (that I am blessed to have). I also enjoyed Paul Johnson's A History of Christianity and I love Jeroslav Pelikan's five volume series on the History of Christian Doctrine.

Anyway, thank you for visiting and commenting.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Sueswan- Hello there. Thank you for taking the time to come by and read my article. I very much appreciate the "voted up and awesome." Always good to hear from you.


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA

James, thanks for your firm and factual but gracious response to drtruthman. I cut my church history teeth on Kenneth Scott Latourette's History of Christianity. At a Reformed seminary. You'll be interested to know that he was a Baptist minister.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Jackie Lynnley- Don't wory about that little typo. I knew what you meant when I read it.

You really think your son sabotaged your comment? Interesting. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

einron- Thank you for the gracious compliments. I spent a fair amount of time on this, yes. But it was worth it I think.

I am honored that you would add this to your "favorites." It is always a pleasure to hear from you. And you are most welcome.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

liftandsoar- It is an honor that would consider linking this article to your own. I consider that high praise indeed. Thank you for the encouraging words and the accolades. :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Prasetio! Great to see you my friend. I am well pleased to read your gracious remarks. I appreciate your blessings, as well as the rated up. You never disppoint me with your kind words. God Bless You!

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Sturgeonl- Welcome to the HubPages Community, Lisa Marie. Thank you for voted up and awesome. I appreciate this visitation and your compliments. I look forward to reading your more of your Hubs. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

DavePrice- Thank you, Brother. The waiting is the hardest part. Now it is over. I have responded. :D


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 4 years ago from Manila

This is indeed an excellent hub James Watkins and it gives much glory to God. Voted up and useful. I find this hub very interesting and I enjoyed reading it. Truly there are so much heresies arise in our time and the writing of this hub is just timely.Thank you for the courage n depending the christian faith.Surely the Lord is glorified in this hub. I am wishing you a great day today. May you and your family be blessed today and always. Best regards.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

suzettenaples— It is great to "see" you here. I cannot say for certain that Dan Brown is demonic but his books do not glorify God, from where I am sitting, and they sow much doubt among even the faithful.

I agree with the Catholic Church in these matters. The Mary Magdelene stuff seems to have come from Gregory the Great way back in 591. I see the Church has disavowed what he wrote but how does that concord with the doctrine of papal infallibility?

I don't think the Church of Rome said that the Gospels were written by men wrongly to make Mary Magdelene look bad; they said Pope Gregory's writings about her were wrong.

It is fascinating that Mary Magdelene became the patroness of "wayward women", and "Magdalene houses" were established to help save women from prostitution.

Thank you very much for coming over to read my article. I appreciate your most excellent remarks! :-)


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

James: I am taking a catechism class (don't laugh) at my parish church and the teaching on the infallibility of the pope has changed. They are now teaching that the apostles and the men in the Catholic Church including THE POPE are fallible and that only God/Jesus is infallible. So I have really had my eyes opened during this class.

We are seeing a video of the book, "Catholicism: Back to the Heart of the Faith", by Father Robert Barron. It is very interesting (I have read the book) and this is the new teaching for the Catholic Church in the 21st century. It is quite philisophical at the same time and the class I take sees the video (based on the book) and then we have group discussions about our religion and faith. I'm never too old to learn!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

ruthclark3— Welcome to the HubPages Community! I look forward to reading many of your Hubs in the future.

I am glad you came over to read my article, and I am grateful for your encouragement. God is God! We are surely in agreeance about that. :-)

Thank you for your precious comments. And you are quite welcome.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

stars439— You are welcome, Brother. Thank you for your gracious laudations, and your cherished blessings.

I always long to hear from you, my friend. God Bless You, Joann, and Becky!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

liftandsoar— You are welcome. That is interesting. Thank you for coming by to offer your gracious words. I appreciate you. :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

cristina327— You are quite welcome. It is always a distinct pleasure to read your gracious comments. I sincerely appreciate your affirmation, encouragement, compliments, and blessings.

Thank you for taking the time to read my work. I am glad you enjoyed this piece. I am thankful for the voted up and useful. God Bless You.

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

suzettenaples— Thank you for coming back by. I won't laugh. I think taking a catechism class would be cool. I like the new teaching you describe about infallibility. This may help the ecumenical movement get further down the road because papal infallibility was one of the stumbling blocks.

Wow, that book, "Catholicism: Back to the Heart of the Faith", by Father Robert Barron, is universally praised. I might want to get that one myself.

Like you, "I'm never too old to learn!" I appreciate you telling me about that book and DVD series. I see the DVDs are about $100 so I'd have to stick with the book. :)


SirDent 4 years ago

Very informative with lots of details. Many of those mentioned I had never heard of before. Well done my brother.

Voted up and useful!


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA

James, I've commended your hubs in my profile. Thanks for enrichng it.


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

I studied this subject in depth many years ago. I too was and am convinced as to the authenticity of the Bible in its present form. I'm not sure if Josh Mcdowell goes into this subject in detail but I believe he does. And as you mentioned God is more than capable in protecting His word.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

this is very interesting- both teh hub and teh comments, and I didn't think a religious topic would stir so much interest in me, I try to not read these, but I figured you make it interesting, and so it is. Very intersting. Keep these coming and I'll keep on reading


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

SirDent— I appreciate the voted up and useful, as well as your kind comments. Thank you for taking the time to come over and read my article. God Bless You.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

liftandsoar— You are welcome. I am honored beyond words that you would add me/my article to your profile page. Thank you and God bless you. :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

wba108@yahoo.com— I had to go look up Josh McDowell. I had heard the name but didn't know who he was. I find it interesting that he grew up in Union City, Michigan, less than 100 miles from where I am from.

I am glad we are in agreeance about the "authenticity of the Bible in its present form."

Thank you for your comments. I appreciate this visitation from you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Rebecca E.— Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I am well pleased and honored to hear from you again.

I appreciate your gracious comments and I am glad you found this Hub to be interesting.

Thanks again!

James


Civil War Bob profile image

Civil War Bob 4 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

Well, done, James. You summed up a good deal of my seminary training...free of charge! Oh, I have a blogspot site called Self Indulgent B.S. on which this "Bobism" appears that I thought you might appreciate: 8. The DaVinci Code is a chick flick love story, wrapped in a mystery with pagan goddess worship to make it sellable....a product that is 6,000 years old, just for your information.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

While all those alternative gospels and what not are interesting to think about, that's about all they are good for. Dan Brown's novels sure stirred up a lot of noise, and at least got people talking. Maybe some of those folks read on and went to the New Testament. The idea that people have taken Brown's ideas as factual is ridiculous. It does show how fiction can impress people though.

In today's world, with so much "information" it's easy to stumble on misinformation, especially when we get our information online. That people confuse fiction with fact is almost silly. I recently read a book that had the Hudson River flowing up into the Adirondack mountains. You don't have to know the area to understand that rivers don't flow up.

If a work of fiction interests us, we should read further. Of course there are plenty of nonfiction books that are total nonsense as well.

Great hub.


no body profile image

no body 4 years ago from Rochester, New York

I'm so sorry I did not get to this article sooner. It is excellent. It gives me the tools to answer some arguments proposed by friends of mine that were disputing the canonicity of some extra-Biblical works. I am so appreciative of you and your dedication to factual, reliable history. I love you sincerely my brother and pray for you all the time. Keep up the battle for you are a great soldier in Jesus' army.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Both Jaoslav Pelikan and Paul Johnson are well respected authors. I read several of Paul Johnson's books as part of my graduate studies. I was quite impressed with his historical research and his ability to tell history as a narrative story. In that respect you remind me of him. Excellent Hub.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

I'm not surprised the book of Hebrews was one of the New Testament books in dispute as no author is identified resulting in centuries of debate. Would love to know the reasons the others with named authors were questioned. Sounds like another great hub to me.

I'm reading through the Bible in chronological order this time (as much as you can trust the resources to list it in a timeframe) to get a sense of the mechanics of how it was written down. Reading through it as a complete book does so much for how you appreciate it - more than just reading a passage here and and passage there. You said your favorite version/translation was by a Pentacostal. Which one is that? I'd be interested to know.

Can't begin to imagine how much time you spend on a hub like this. Do you eat and sleep like an mere mortal?

I also have trouble with people who assume to be critical of the God of the Universe. Nothing wrong with questions, but criticisms and judgements? Visual image of an ant shaking his fist at the heavens.

Up and awesome at least.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Civil War Bob— Welcome to the HubPages Community! I appreciate your kind compliments.

I love the Bobism! Thank you very much for sharing that with us. I agree with your analysis. I will have a chapter in my book about "New Age" "spirituality" that I am very proud of. I enjoyed your fine remarks.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Dolores Monet— I agree with your assessment of the the alternative or "Gnostic" gospels. And I think you are right that Dan Brown sure made a lot of folks get interested in the subject at hand. His books and the subsequent films are truly fascinating, of that there is no doubt.

You made a great point that 'In today's world, with so much "information" it's easy to stumble on misinformation."

You added, "That people confuse fiction with fact is almost silly."

Maybe so, but it seems quite prevalent these days. Fiction and reality are commonly blended these days on television.

That is a funny anecdote you gave us about the "Hudson River flowing up into the Adirondack mountains." :D

And I agree wholeheartedly that "Of course there are plenty of nonfiction books that are total nonsense as well."

Thank you ever much for reading my article. I enjoyed your thoughtful and insightful remarks.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

no body— No need whatsoever to apologize my brother. I am just glad you are here to visit.

Thank you ever much for reading my article and for your warm words. I cannot ask for more than your prayers, my friend. I am eternally grateful to you for your encouragement of my work.

I love you Bob. God Bless You!

James :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

phdast7— As you say, "Both Jaroslav Pelikan and Paul Johnson are well respected authors."

If I remind you in any way of Paul Johnson in my writings I am honored beyond belief. You have made my day! I cannot thank you enough for this precious blessing you have bestowed on me by your words here. God Bless You Theresa!

James


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

James - I am very glad to have made your day. :) You and Mr. Johnson both have the ability to write history as a "story" with a narrative flow that enables the untrained reader to grasp and understand history.

But you also ground your narrative story in sufficient research and provide the details that historians look for. There is a fine line between writing material suitable for public and academic readers, and you walk it quite well. May God continue to richly bless you too.


Artin2010 profile image

Artin2010 4 years ago from Northwestern Florida, Gulfcoast

James, the article/hub is awesome, sorry I didn't make it here to comment sooner. The comments are even awesome! This hub should be on the wall of Jasper in Heaven when we arrive there, my brother in Jesus. I am only one made in the likeness of, but I must say, well done, good and faithful servant of the Most High and ever merciful God.

This should really get the gnostics minds churning if they get hold of it. Clarification through research. I am honored to be a follower of your efforts. Peace be with you! Thank you for sharing your hard work.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Kathleen Cochran— You are right on about Hebrews. Origen, in his Homily on the Epistle to the Hebrews, said it was very popular but not accepted by all the churches, probably because, as you said, no one was quite sure who wrote it.

James and Jude, written by the half-brothers of Jesus, were not protested that I can find. It was just that some churches did not have James, and most churches did not have Jude, in their collections. All I can find is that they were simply not as widely dispersed and read.

2 Peter, 2 John, and 3 John were not widely known or used in the apostolic churches. And 2 Peter seemed to differ in style too much from 1 Peter to have been written by the same author. I can find no one, however, who claimed the doctrines contained therein were unorthodox.

The only book that was truly controversial was Revelation. Eusebius notes it had much strong support and, lesser so, some strong opposition. So, I guess they either loved it or hated it. :)

Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and Origen loved Revelation. Dionysius fought to exclude it, because he did not think the Apostle John wrote it, and because he did not think an apocalyptic book should be in the Canon of the New Testament, that it did not "fit."

My favorite King James Version is featured in my first photo capsule near the top of this page—the Dake Annotated Reference Bible. It includes 35,000 notes and 500,000 cross references. The Reverend Finis Jennings Dake spent 100,000 hours over 43 years putting it together.

I absolutely loved your outstanding comments and I agree with everything you said. I very much appreciate your kind compliments. Thank you for reading my article. I am grateful to you for the "Up and awesome at least." :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

phdast7— I do not think I have ever received such a thoughtful compliment. If what you say is true, then I am definitely "on mission." Thank you for the affirmation and encouragement. :D

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Artin2010— You are quite welcome, Brother. No need to be sorry about anything at all. I am just glad you made it by to read my Hub. Thank you for the lovely laudations.

I agree with you that "The comments are even awesome!"

Your comments are most excellent indeed—thoughtful and insightful. I very much appreciate your affirmation and encouragement of my work. God Bless You and Peace be with You.

James


stars439 profile image

stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Dear James : Your knowledge of the books created for the sake of helping us to understand the greatness of our Lord is awesome, and our asset as you share, and we learn. You so dearly honor our Lord in Heaven so well , and your heart takes note in the good of us , and empowers us with certain self confidences. God Bless you for always planting seeds of hope , and awe in our lives as you are a wonderful teacher of many good, and wonderful things.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

stars439-- Thank you so much for reading this article. Your ongoing encouragement of my work on HubPages means so much to me. Your comments here on this Hub move my spirit and warm my heart. You seem to discern exactly what I had hoped to accomplish. For that in particular, I am grateful to you.

As you said so beautifully, "the books created for the sake of helping us to understand the greatness of our Lord." Wow. You have put it with clarity, my brother. God Bless You and Joann, and Becky. :)


Highvoltagewriter profile image

Highvoltagewriter 4 years ago from Savannah GA.

I had to pack a lunch to make it to the end of your commit section so I could also commit-which just shows how highly prized your writing and research is in this writers community.

I personally want to thank you for the great job you did in tackling such a tough subject as this one, for I have learned much from this hub. God Bless!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Highvoltagewriter— It is great to "see" you here. It has been a long time since we have interacted.

Thank you very much for taking the time to come over and read my work here. I appreciate your gracious compliments. And you are most welcome.

Your comments have made my day! Thanks again and God Bless You.

James


vector7 profile image

vector7 4 years ago

I'm impressed. I'd doodled all around this site and around all of your writings and finally stumble in the door. This is an excellent article and as I already believe in the Bible's integrity, this just adds another thousand ton brick to the stack of my previous research.

It's amazing the sheer quantity of false information accepted as truth on a whim.

Praise God for you upholding His Truth. Absolutely incredible work.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

vector7— Thank you very much for the gracious accolades. I sincerely appreciate this visitation from you and your lovely words.

I love your profile page. Bold yet humble. A Servant of the King. God Bless You!

James


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

James, God bless you for writing on this subject and for the time spent researching. I believe the Bible is God-breathed. Well done my Brother! Agape love you to always, Faith Reaper


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Faith Reaper— Welcome to the HubPages Community!

I surely appreciate your blessings, love, affirmation, and encouragement. I look forward to reading many of your Hubs. Thank you for visiting! God Bless You. :-)

James


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

Interesting read, but I disagree with some of your opinions. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading your article.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

AudreyHowitt— I very much appreciate you taking the time to read my article. I am glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for your comments.


skye2day profile image

skye2day 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains

My brother James. Well this is another shining article. Well done good and faithful servent. I love how you presented this it flows like the fresh living waters.

Gods word reighns and as much as anyone has tried to alter or add to it, only the truth of Christ will stand. One day every knee will bow and tongue confess Jesus is Lord.

GOD Bless you and yours brother. I do love stopping into your neighborhood. I learn a great deal. Thank you my bro. I just love ya. Hugs IN Christ, Your sister.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

skye2day— You are quite welcome. What a blessing to hear from you again, Sister! You know I agree wholeheartedly with your words. Welcome to my neighborhood. :-)

I sincerely appreciate the hugs, love, blessings, and gracious compliments, my dear friend.

Thank you ever much for the encouragement. Love and blessings to you.

Brother James


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

James, what a wonderful and well writte hub. You're such a great essayist, I don't even come close. I didn't know about the word "canon" and what it actually meant. I know the word from music and what it means in that perspetive...again, great hub.

Voted up and away

John


Derdriu 4 years ago

James, What a careful, compelling, comprehensive historical foray into how and why there's a New Testament Canon! In particular, I appreciate how you define terms -- such as the original derivation and meaning of "canon." Additionally, you do a great job of focusing on individual accomplishments and scriptural consequences, especially in the case of the valiant Eusebius. It's especially helpful how you spell out the criteria -- universal consent and use -- that served as Eusebius' guide.

Up + UFABI of course.

Respectfully, and with many thanks for sharing, Derdriu


Martus 4 years ago

James A Watkins,

Thank you for all wanderfull teaching commimg as a result of your availability to the Holy Spirit. May our Heavenly Father increase your creativity according to your willingness and obedience, that many of us might be taught and inspired.

Much better than any words of my gratitude , accept please following words of the Scripture:

" And the teachers and those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness-- to uprightness and right standing with God [ shall give forth light ] like the stars for ever and ever." ( Daniel 12: 3 )

Regarding the authorship of the Epistle to the HEBREWS :

The author of the Book of Hebrews is unknown. Martin Luther suggested that Apollos was the author. This is based on Acts 18:24-28, where Apollos is referred to as well-- read, Helenistic Jew from Alexandria in Egypt. Tertulian ( writing in A.D. 150-200) said that Hebrews was a letter of Barnabas. Adolfo Harnack and J. Rendel Harris speculated that it was written by Priscilla ( or Prisca). William Ramsey suggested that it was done by Philip. However , the traditional position is that the Apostle Paul wrote Hebrews. From the very beginning , the eastern church attributed the letter to him, but the western church did not accept this until the forth century. Eusebius ( A.D. 263-339) believed that Paul wrote it, but Origen( ca. A.D.185-254) was not positive of Pauline authorship. About the end of the second century, Clement of Alexandria thought that Paul had originally written the letter in the Hebrew language and that it was later translated by Luke or by someone else into Greek. Notwithstanding, the recipients of the letter knew who the author was and recognized his credibility in writing the work.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

John Sarkis— Hello, my friend. Thank you for the kind compliments. I think very highly of your work as well. I am surely glad that you enjoyed this piece and got something out of it. Thank you for the voted up and away. Good man! :D

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Derdriu— I love the alliteration. I can always count on you to lift my spirits and inspire me to get back to writing again.

Eusebius was a hard worker, determined, diligent, and a good all around chap methinks.

This subject might not be everyone's cup of tea but I find it fascinating and I am well pleased you enjoyed it too. You know how much I appreciate the voted up and UFABI. :)

Even more, I love reading your thoughtful and insightful remarks. Brilliant!

Thank you very much! And you are welcome.

Faithfully Yours,

James


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

James, outstanding work. I read it and to my surprise there is no my comment.

Vlad.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Martus— You are most welcome. Thank you very much for taking the time to read my articles. I appreciate your outstanding comments and especially the gracious compliments. :D

I totally agree with your assessment of the authorship of the Book of Hebrews. I am grateful for your prayers and the Scripture you sent me is a blessing to me.

God Bless You! Thanks again.

James


Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago

James, I am glad u are using Dake.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Vladimir Uhri— Thank you for reading my article and for both of your comments. I sincerely appreciate your gracious compliments as well.

I LOVE my Dake Bible. I read it every day. The footnotes are fabulous!

It is always a peasure to hear from you, my friend. God Bless You!

james


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 4 years ago

James A Watkins, It has been awhile… But I knew that I would receive a concise literary composition on the history of the Canon from you! As always well done, Professor! You have presented a marvelous insightful spiritual feast that serves to further confirm the authenticity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

As you well stated by Clement: “The apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus, the Christ, was sent from God. Thus Christ is from God and the Apostles from Christ. The Apostles . . . went out in the confidence of the Holy Spirit to preach the Good News . . . and appointed their first converts, after testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers." AMEN!

Your presentation is thorough and profoundly displays a wealth of exciting documented Biblical history on the New Testament Canon! No doubt there has been much spiritual warfare from it’s inception to distort and undermine the authenticity of the Word of God! You have listed an admirable list of scholars that have made significant notable contributions to preserve the commendable contents of these God inspired “Sacred Writings.”

Jesus Himself substantiates and confirms the immutable Truth of HIS WORD! “I tell you the TRUTH, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away but My Words will Never pass away.” “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighted down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always watchful, and PRAY that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of man...” Luke 21. The infallible Word of God will never pass away and it prestigiously stands on its own merit! PRAISE GOD! Jesus Christ return is imminent we are to live as though He were to return at any moment… We can always have HOPE with the LORD in our lives!

Informative and splendid read! Thank you for sharing, In HIS Love, Grace, Mercy, Joy, Peace & Blessings!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

DeBorrah K. Ogans— It has been awhile! What a pleasure it is for me to hear from you. It has been six months since I last published a Hub. I promise to come by soon and see what you've been writing lately. I have been working very hard to get my first book published.

Thank you for reading my article and for your gracious compliments.

I certainly agree with you wholeheartedly that "No doubt there has been much spiritual warfare from its inception [the New Testament Canon] to distort and undermine the authenticity of the Word of God!"

You can say that again. Amen!

As you said so well, "The infallible Word of God will never pass away and it prestigiously stands on its own merit! PRAISE GOD!"

I sincerely appreciate your encouragement and blessings. God Bless You! And you are welcome.

James :-)


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 4 years ago

James A Watkins, O how marvelous! The Lord will not let your sincere efforts go unnoticed! I know that your "BOOK" will be phenomenally brilliant! I look forward to it along with many others I am sure... I Pray that our heavenly Father removes all barriers and hindrances then opens all the necessary doors for it to go forth… Be ENCOURAGED!

I am excited for YOU!!! All of God’s Word is true! “A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great!” Proverbs 18. Your gift will make room for you and our GOD will make the way!

As always it is a pleasure! In HIS Love, Grace, Mercy, Joy, Peace & Blessings! God Bless You!


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

I had to reread it again, James my friend.


Jerry Hulse profile image

Jerry Hulse 4 years ago from Kingsport, Tennessee

I am speechless, defiantly got to reread this.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

DeBorrah K. Ogans— Thank you very much for your prayers. You are incredibly gifted as a teacher and an encourager. My book is tentatively entitled: "Jesus in the World: The First 600 Years." What do you think?

James :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Vladimir Uhri— I am honored that you would do so, Brother. Thank you for your ongoing affirmation and encouragement. God Bless You!

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Jerry Hulse— Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate the visitation and your comments.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Excellent Hub. I fear I do not share your spiritual certainty. And I do not have such discernment so as to call others demonic. I take the gospels as truth but not necessarily the Canons. I would hope that all writings are viewed through a notion that God had them composed for a reason, of His will not mine be done. The reason that sounds authentic to me is Love.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 4 years ago from Southern Minnesota

Very interesting article on the history of the New Testament. I have heard the scriptures called the Canon but had no idea what it meant...loved the explanation of the word.

Most interesting of the bad guys in this was Marcion beings his ridiculousness seemed to inspire a solidification of what really does belong in the New Testament.

I most admired Eusebius wisdom and discernment.

It is miraculous that the scriptures have remained intact as long as they have after going through all the scrutiny and how often they have run up against falsehood.

Great article, I knew little to nothing about any of these historical elements of the Bible.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Ericdierker— No relation to Larry, right? :D

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate the compliments. Welcome to the HubPages Community!

I mean no offense by the word "demonic." Christ Jesus certainly believed in demons and taught that they oppose God and work against the proper interests of men. The duty of demons would naturally be to tear down the Body of Christ in any way they can.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Tamarajo— It is a distinct pleasure to "see" you here. You are right on about Marcion. Heresy produced orthodoxy—not the other way round. Wild and crazy ideas forced serious churchmen to clarify, after praying for guidance from the Holy Spirit, what their positions were on Scripture and Doctrine.

I think the Bible is truly miraculous. Men like Eusebius were raised up at the perfect time, of course, to carry out the Lord's work.

I am so glad you came by to visit and read this article, and that you liked it. Thank you for your thoughtful comments and kind compliments. :)


John King IV 3 years ago

This article was terrible. I have lost all credibility in you as a result. I think I will research the french revolution on my own, I can not trust such deceptions.

In case you are interested I will provide the reasons why your article is terrible. It is full of false information and distortions.

1) Gnostics: You totally mis-represented these early christian groups. Simon Magus was not the founder of these Christians. in fact, gnosticism may predate Christianity. gentile wise men who became aware of Judaism had allready shown interest in it, and adapted Judaism to their life as a religion. Also, Gnostics where not oppossed to Jesus! this is a huge lie. Gnostics where christian believers. They just saw jesus differently than you now do. Gnostics had many sects, some where accussed of immoral conduct, others where sophisticated philosophers who where condemned for being too smart and too devoted to the true gospel message of Jesus. From the gnostic perspective, the trinitarian-orthodox persecutors where the heretics, who preached a 3 headed god called the trinity.

2) the gnostic gospels: Some of them where written in the first century. In fact the original Matthew, called Q by modern scholars, was more like the gospel of Thomas, than with any synoptic gospel.(Thomas was written around the same time as revelation). The gospel of Thomas has sayings of Jesus, most of which are found in the synoptic gospels. Why was this authentic gospel rejected by the trinitarian heretics? Because it did not mention the god who died on a cross. Therir was also many other gospels by the way, which even other non-gnostic christian peoples acknowledged as "the inspired words of god". For instance, even Athanasius own congregation acknowledged the gospel of peter. In fact the gospel of Peter was highly regarded by around half of the triniotarian-orthodox christians, even by some of their leaders.

3) Marcion: You said "he made up his own bible" and "he "bastardized the bible" These are complete lies and bias towards other christians who thinked differently from your established traditions. Marcion and many other of his thousands of followers authentically believed in Paul and Luke his apostle, that their writngs alone where perfect and without corruption. They preserved Pauls letters and Lukes gospel, and authentically preached and represented these apostles teachings with great accuracy. Obviously their enemies did not think so, and you who follow this tradition, also do not think so.


John King IV 3 years ago

continuation of my criticism....

4) Iraneus, Tertullian, and Origen: These church fathers where ironically called heretics by later orthodox-trinitarian christians a few years later. Did you know that? Iraneus and Eusebius in fact where not trinitarians. They had a monotheistic view of god. (In resemblance to the arians, the theodotians, and the ebionite jewish christians). Tertulian, was branded a heretic for his radical views of circumcision. He made himself into a eunuch for the sake of jesus and his gospel, (not for Torah or Judaism). You also seem to sugest that the didache had a trinitarian doctrine because it mentions that baptism needed a "in the name of the father, the son, the holy spirit" While this is true, even the synoptic gospels mention only once, that the gentiles where to be baptized in this manner, this does not support a trinitarian doctrine and view of the gods, jesus, holy spirit, mary, elohim, or to any other name of the biblical gods.

5) The new testament: You seem to believe that their was allways the true christians with a true new testament from the beginning, and that these true christians where of course like you and that they held your views. This is ignorance of the highest degree. In fact all christian denominations held themselves as owners of the truth, and the new testament kanon, while the rest where the apostates, heretics, false churchs, who had false gospels and new testaments. This was in fact the reason why the council of nicea came into being, and even why the catholic church evolved.

6) You say: "the new testament has not changed since Athanasius" This is also clearly not true. Their where, and still are I believe some eastern orthodox churches with different new testaments. They may include Barnabas, Hermas, plus have different old testament books such as the book of Enoch, jubilees, psalm 151, the collection known as the apocrypha...macabees, tobit, judith, etc, plus many more. Fact: Even long after nicea, many different Christian denominations, with different bibles persisted to exist and flourish. Arians successfully converted many of the germanic peoples, perhaps even your very own ancestors, gnostics also spread, especially in the east. In modern times, after the protestant revolt and division of christiandom, Mormonism evolved from protestantism. The mormons are christians with a new gospel called the book of mormon.

7) You say: "Dan brown is a demonic author" From his point of view he could say the same thing about you, and provide many good reasons too! While I agree with you, that his novel should not be taken as history, I am not so hostile and prejudiced towards this author of fiction as you seem to be.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 3 years ago

James A. Watkins, Oh my! I did not answer your question. No better time than now. I think that you have selected a marvelous title. I am so looking forward to your book Professor! "Jesus in the World: The First 600 Years!" I am sure that you have as usual thoroughly researched the content for your biblical narrative. I am confident that you will represent the life and character of our Lord well... Your work is always concise and your presentations impressive! God Bless you Brother James.

In HIS Love, Grace, Mercy Joy, Peace & Blessings!


John King IV 3 years ago

correction to one small detail in my fourth criticism....It was origen, not tertullian, who held the radical circumcision doctrine and practice, that branded him a heretic by later church fathers...


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago Author

John King IV— Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate your commentaries on the New Testament Canon. As to the points you made:

1) You claim both that Gnosticism is Christian and that it predates Christianity—and both cannot be true. Sure, some ideas adapted by Gnostics predate Christianity, such as Pantheism. But any religious system that predates Christ is not Christian.

When Satan realized that violence had backfired in his efforts to stop the Church by persecution, he employed espionage. His followers disguised themselves as Christians to infiltrate the Church. They always shift their ethical interest away from personal conduct—where individuals decide to obey or not obey God. The emphasis on special knowledge necessarily means that humility ceases to be a virtue.

Maybe, as you say, some Gnostics were not "opposed" to Jesus—the Jesus they invented! But they were opposed to the Real Jesus who is the Christ. Many Gnostics try to adopt Christ and pay him some sort of homage while at the same time disassociating themselves from the teachings of and about Christ.

Heresy refers to false doctrine, to believing in ideas that are simply not true. A person outside the faith cannot be a heretic. A heretic is a traitor inside one's own camp. True doctrines can bring eternal salvation but false doctrines can lead people down the road to perdition—and eternal damnation. Therefore, this is serious business.

The non-Trinitarians were Arians, but they were not—as you claim—Gnostics.

Gnostics are people influenced by Satan to present a belief system to others based on the lie that they have some secret knowledge (Gnosis) not in the Bible. Gnosticism is a spiritual parasite that always piggybacks on another religion. It comes in a variety of forms designed to appeal to different kinds of people. Some Gnostics practice complete sexual licentiousness—obviously attractive to some. Some reduce Jesus to a mere mythological person such as the Fairy God Mother. Most all of their ideas originate in eastern mysticism, paganism, or Greek philosophy.

Gnostics always borrow terminology from existing religions as well as from pantheism, magic, and astrology. Gnosticism is satanic, it mimics Christianity and floods the world with phony ideas and writings. Its spirit is utterly alien to that of Christ. It often makes God an undefined infinite something with no personality, and not even a person. It is a rebellion against God that usually includes ritually breaking his moral laws about sexuality. It masquerades as an advancement toward the highest truth.

The Gnostics assert that besides the simple Gospel that all ordinary spirits can understand, there is a higher secret knowledge reserved for an elite group. Gnosticism always adds alien ideas from non-Christian sources. In particular, it denies the biblical account of Creation. To the Gnostic, God is impersonal and the conflicts in the world of good versus evil, as well as our individual personalities, are either temporary manifestations or illusions. It is fundamentally incompatible with Christianity.

Pantheism is similar to Christianity in one regard: Both see a single spiritual power, God, as the Author of all reality. But to the Pantheist, the world is merely an emanation of his being while to the Christian the world is totally distinct from God even though created by His personal power. The God of the Bible is personal and he can and does give us evidence of his reality by communicating with us through revelation. He is not the Silent God of Pantheism.

Gnosticism has appeal for the egos of people in all ages because to claims to possess a secret lore that is only accessible to an elite—the elite defined as all Gnostics, of course. Gnosticism preserves very few of the historical realities or doctrinal facts of the Christian faith. They are buried under mountains of concepts that spring from the human imagination so as to confuse the issue. If Gnosticism had triumphed we would not have had the Scientific Revolution because unlike Christianity it views the material world as meaningless.

2) Your claim that the gnostic gospels were written in the First Century is false. And your declaration that "the original Matthew, called Q by modern scholars," is nothing more than conjecture. "Scholars" are often motivated by the simple fact that they are non-believers to start with and are looking for any and all ways to deconstruct the faith so as to tear down the faithful. "Scholars" may guess that there was a Q. There is absolutely zero evidence that any "Q" ever existed.

A big deal is made today over so-called Gnostic gospels. Many popular books have been written that claim these phony books are on par with the books of the New Testament; that evil men conspired to suppress them for sinister purposes. But in most every case, it is claimed these books were written in the 1st century, lost, and miraculously found. Not true. They are forgeries written between 200 and 500 with perhaps the 2 exceptions of Thomas and Peter, and even those are not believed to have been written earlier than 125 by anyone but quacks inhabited by demons.

The Devil inspired the counterfeit books of the Gnostics and attached the names of the Apostles of Christ to them.

There are two Greek and two Latin redactions of the Gospel of Thomas, differing much from one another. A Syriac translation is also found. It is clear that the original Pseudo-Thomas was of heterodox origin, and that it dates from the second century; the citations of Hippolytus establish that it was palpably Gnostic in tenor. But in the extant Thomas Gospel there is no formal or manifest Gnosticism. The prototype was evidently expurgated by a Catholic hand, who, however, did not succeed in eradicating all traces of its original taint. The apocryphon in all its present forms extravagantly magnifies the Divine aspect of the boy Jesus. In bold contrast to the Infancy narrative of St. Luke, where the Divinity is almost effaced, the author makes the Child a miracle-worker and intellectual prodigy, and in harmony with Docetism, leaves scarcely more than the appearance of humanity in Him. This pseudo-Gospel is unique among the apocrypha, inasmuch as it describes a part of the hidden life of Our Lord between the ages of five and twelve. But there is much that is fantastic and offensive in the pictures of the exploits of the boy Jesus. His youthful miracles are worked at times out of mere childish fancy, as when He formed clay pigeons, and at a clap of His hands they flew away as living birds; sometimes, from beneficence; but again from a kind of harsh retribution.

3) The granddaddy of the old time Heretics was Marcion (b.110). He was a rich, intellectual Greek who came to Rome around 125, the son of a bishop from Turkey who was probably himself a consecrated bishop. His family had gotten fabulously wealthy from its fleet of merchant ships. Upon his arrival in Rome he boasted, "I will divide your Church."

Marcion loved the writings of Paul but hated the Old Testament and the parts of the New Testament that linked Jesus to Judaism. He wanted the breach between the Christian faith and Judaism to be total. He put together his own bible with only seven (or maybe ten) of Paul's letters and a truncated Gospel of Luke. He did not believe in sex or marriage or that humans should continue to propagate their species. But he was a brilliant man of admirable character who had donated big money to the Church at Rome. Despite that, his views were rejected and he moved east—a big blow to the finances of the Church.

Marcion founded his own sect in 144—and 300 years later this had followers, perhaps longer in the east (such as in Byzantium). To him Christ was the Son of God but not the Jewish God. This is perhaps the most dangerous heresy the Church ever faced. Polycarp called him "The first born of Satan."

Marcion preached that the Jewish God was cruel and he proposed a "good god" "bad god" theory. He cut out all the text in the New Testament that he did not agree with. This still goes on today.

Marcio cut the first two chapters out of Luke and combined the r


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago Author

John IV— SORRY--MY TEXT GOT CUT OFF. HERE IS THE REST OF IT.

He cut the first two chapters out of Luke and combined the rest of it with ten of Paul's Epistles to form his very own bible. He thought Peter, James, and John were Judaizers. He refused to acknowledge the Creator of this world as his God—his made up god was greater he said. All men were created by the old Jewish God but the new god is all love—no anger, no merit, no punishment, only mercy. This new god had been unknown until he revealed himself in Christ—who was not God Incarnate but God made manifest. He is "Deus ex machina." Jesus was not the Jewish messiah but the opposite from the "Demiurge."

The God of Abraham was the Demiurge, an evil adversary of man. He did create the world but he is alien to the true God and to spiritual man. He is responsible for the misery in the world, he is Yahweh, not the good Ultimate Father. There are two gods, the imperfect, wrathful god of the Old Testament and the "unknown God," the spiritual Father who had revealed himself in Jesus. But he also denied that Jesus was ever truly Incarnate, ever truly lived as a man. He denied that Jesus suffered and died on the cross because He was God Himself and God Himself cannot suffer or die.

Marcion was the most successful heretic in that he had the personal energy and organizational talent to form a rival church. To him, the Torah was totally superseded by the Gospel. Of course, his detractors said this was because his personal conduct grossly violated the standards of morality delineated in the Old Testament. But his foremost critic, Tertullian, said he was " a most holy teacher" who "imposed sanctity on the flesh." He was no libertine then but he was the first great heretic.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago Author

DeBorrah K. Ogans— I am well pleased that you like the title. I have thoroughly researched my topic alright—for years! I will do my best to meet your expectations and hopes that I "will represent the life and character of our Lord well."

I sure appreciate your lovely laudations and your blessings. God Bless You Sister!

Faithfully Yours,

James


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago Author

John King IV— Thank you for your additional comments, containing your points 4,5,6, & 7.

As the Christian community began to express its beliefs more clearly and in greater detail, an orthodox faith of correct doctrines came into view. Faith is more than an attitude of trust; it is a trust based on certain definite convictions. The challenge to orthodox theologians is to state and define those convictions.

As to your point # 4: I find no record of Irenaeus ever being deemed a heretic. It is true that during his day the Trinity as not fully developed as a doctrinal idea, but Irenaeus did say: "Naturally the Son is fully divine: the Father is God, and the Son is God, for whatever is begotten of God is God."

You write: "Iraneus and Eusebius in fact where not trinitarians. They had a monotheistic view of god."

But the Trinity IS a monotheistic view of God.

Personally, I am not hung up on the Trinity either way. I believe that Jesus is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. As far as the relationship between God and Jesus, I will let them sort that out. Whether they are equal or Jesus is subordinate (and to what extent he might be subordinate), these are questions we cannot truly answer, and from my view, do not matter in regard to Salvation.

Origen could be considered the father of Arianism, and no doubt Eusebius thought the world of Origen. Eusebius seems to be more a recorder of the thoughts and concepts of others rather than a formulator of his own ideas. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Irenaeus believed that Logos became a man. Origen believed that man became Logos. The latter view leads us to the development of adoptionism—the view that Jesus was just a man until at some point, usually his baptism but sometimes after death on the cross, God adopted Him as His Son as a reward for the perfect life He lived, He became the Christ. Obviously, this means that Jesus earned His divinity by not sinning during His time on earth and that means that we could too if only we would. Which we won't because we can't.

Origen called Christ the Word, the Wisdom, the Justice, and the Truth of God. He is Logos and not merely a manifestation of God but a Person, through whom all things were created. The Holy Spirit only works in the lives of the Saints, and He also is a Divine Person. All that exists derives existence from the Father, all that is rational derives rationality from the Word, all that is holy drives its holiness from the Spirit.

Origen was brilliant and made many contributions to the development of orthodox doctrine but his imagination was so fertile that he drifted off into speculation oft times and so produced so many unorthodox ideas as to embarrass the Church.

Tertullian did split from the Church but your insinuation that this split had anything to do with Trinity is flat out wrong. Tertullian was the first man to use the term and he believed in it. He left the Church after he got involved with the Montanists, who might be considered the forerunners of today's Pentecostals.

You write: "You also seem to suggest that the Didache had a Trinitarian doctrine because it mentions that baptism needed a "in the name of the father, the son, the holy spirit."

Well yes, that does specify that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are separate persons though part of the One True God.

As to point # 5: You repeat the same mistakes as Dan Brown—who is not in any wise a Christian—by proclaiming that the Council of Nicea was called to make the New Testament. That is a bald-faced lie. The Books of the Bible, the Canon, was not even discussed at Nicea. That is a lie of the Devil, the Father of Lies. The Council was called to settle the controversy over a theological point—over an interpretative point not over Scripture itself—that had divided the Church into camps loyal to Athanasius and Arius. They BOTH used the same Scriptures. They disagreed over what those same Scriptures meant.

While I have not read the Shepherd of Hermas, it appears that it is a work that was much loved by some early Christians, but deemed not to meet the level of acceptance necessary to be included in the Bible. This does not mean it is the work of Satan. For instance, my pastor sometimes will quote CS Lewis, or DL Moody, or Francis Schaeffer, or Billy Graham, or even Billy Sunday. Many wonderful Christian books have been written, Pilgrims Progress, for instance. They can be profitable and contain real Godly Truth. That doesn't mean we are going to add Lewis's marvelous Mere Christianity to the New Testament.

The Eastern Orthodox Church listed the Epistle of Barnabas as a "secondary work" not as Scripture.

I know that the Ethiopians use the Book of Enoch. They also claim to have the original Ark of the Covenant in their possession. The Jews do not include this book in their Canon. It was excluded from the Tanakh and the Septuagint long before the birth of Jesus. So that can't be some Christian conspiracy there.

It was not uncommon in ancient days to include books in bound Bibles that were not in the Canon but in the apocrypha, meaning "of questionable authenticity", or "Christian texts that are not canonical." That would be like printing a Bible today and including some CS Lewis or Rick Warren or Jonathan Edwards writings in the book for additional illumination, but with the clear understanding conveyed that this extra material is not part of the Scriptures themselves. I could do that tomorrow if I wanted to. That would not change the Canon.

As to your point # 7: No, Dan Brown could not say the same about me. He is not a Christian. His views represent the views of the anti-Christ. How can I tell? His books are full of lies and deception and Satan is the father of lies and the Deceiver of mankind. This makes Dan Brown his agent.


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 3 years ago

Comments sometimes = post hub Hubs written with complete clarity. Nicely done~


John King IV 3 years ago

Mr. Watkins:

Before I begin my responce, I would like to say that I am glad to see that you handled my criticism in a very civilized manner. You could have chosen to delete or refuse to read my criticism, and cut off all dialogue. But you did not. Your writings also show that you are a very educated man, and have much knowledge on Christianity and all its traditions and origins. Having said this, I will proceed to respond. I will not address the issues that you brought up which I agree with and have no dispute over. The issues I bring up are the ones I disagree with:

1) Gnosticism: It is Christian. Have you ever read the nag hammadi library? These people where clearly christians. You totally missrepresent these ancient christians. You are correct that they did have special emphasis on the doctrine of "the elect" (as in fact some modern protestants under the calvinist philosophy do). They also emphasized a special or secret knowledge that brought salvation. Is this so foriegn to the gospel? Why did Jesus use parables? Why did he explain them to his special elect only? Why does the apocalypse use such mysterious language of symbolism? Can everyone clearly understand these things? Was everyone ressurected from the dead? Did all have eternal life? Or where the vast majority of peoples asleep and waiting to be raised from the dead? Here are some other similar things that ancient gnostics shared with early trinitarian/orthodox christians: They aknowledged most or perhaps all of the modern books found in our modern new testament cannon. They worshipped jesus as a god. They attended church, and participated in all or most of traditional christian customs: (example: easter rituals, baptism, christmas, etc), they shared around 70 - 80% of todays commonly known christian beliefs: example, heaven and hell, salvation, satan, angels, the last days, judgement day, ressurection of the dead, etc)

2) Pantheism: It is a modern idea. Gnostics where not pantheists. In fact I do not believe that any ancient christian denomination was ever a pantheist. Pantheists hold that god is the universe and is in every thing in the universe. (even in rocks, stars, people, everything). Gnostics in contrast believed god can be found in souls. Also for the record, I am not a pantheist, so do not treat me a a religous person who believes in your pantheistic doctrines.

3) You missrepresent my views on many issues: First, I never claimed that "Arians where gnostics" Far from it. In fact, Arians where more similar to the trinitarians than to the gnostics. Second, I allready stated that Tertullian was a clear trinitarian, (perhaps the first). Tertullian's views of god was not a monotheistic one like the arians. He divided his gods into 3 persons. Yet as we all know, the trinitarian doctrine of god allways stresses that these 3 gods are somehow united into one godhead. Third, I believe that the Didache does not teach any trinity doctrine. In fact, I think the author(s) saw god as one, and not a trinity.

4)We have different views on many of the concepts you mention: example:

a) "the real jesus" Your jesus is not a real jesus at all for me, but an idol that you invented and probably try to get others to worship.

b) "Salvation" For me it has nothing to do with your religious beliefs and identity.

c) "Satan" I see this concept very differently from your views. (Read my hub on satan if you desire to know my views). Your satan is too powerful, to exagerated. Your satan is allmost like an evil god, who is allmost as powerful as your jesus god.

d) philosophy: You view it as an evil thing that was foreign to christianity. Many of the church fathers where in fact philosophers! read Augustin and observe how this philosopher was greatly influenced by the more ancient Greek and roman philosophers. Do you know your history? In the later middle ages, many christian philosophers existed. The scholastics for instance where greatly influenced by philosophy, especially Plato and aristotle. This is not very different from modern christian thinkers who use C. S lewis, or other modern christian philosophical thinking, to influence their own doctrines about the bible.


John King IV 3 years ago

Part 2:

5) "Q" You say their is no evidence that it existed. Their are thousands of scholars who dissagree with you and provide good reasons why they believe their was an original gospel, and that this gospel predated the 3 synoptic gospels (matthew, mark, luke). Have you read Eusebius: Eusebius tells us that the first gospel ever written was A hebrew Matthew. (This gospel should not be confused with our modern greek matthew). This hebrew matthew also went by other names. Example the gospel of the ebionites (Ebionites where pure jews, but who saw Jesus as their Messiah. They belonged to the church of jerusalem under James brother of Jesus. After James death, Symeon, a cousin of Jesus suceeded as the bishop of this jewish church of Jerusalem. This original Hebrew gospel, I identify with the "Q" of the scholars. I believe it was later deemed as a heretical gospel, because it lacked the emphasis on the crucifixion of Jesus, and of the exagerated miracles, which can be found in the later synoptic gospels in Greek for the gentile believers.

6) Forgery: I recommend Bart eherman's book "Forgery" For more on this subject. Many scholars have good reasons to believe that some of the modern new testament books are in fact products of forgery. Example 2 peter was not written by Peter, but by another follower of Peter, years after Peter was martyred in Rome in 64 CE. Same with Paul's pastoral letters (1 and 2 timothy, and titus for instance), they where not written by Paul, but by one of his followers years after Paul was beheaded in 64 CE. Some of the gnostic gospels are clear forgeries, that where written many years later (eg the second or even the third century) Example the gospel of judas, the gospel of mary magdalene. But the gospel of Thomas, may in fact have been written around the same time as the gospel of john. In fact, The gospels of Peter and thomas, may have been inspired by earlier documents of the first century. I would go so far as to say that Thomas was inspired by the original Q itself (Hebrew matthew). In Thomas, (And also I believe Q), Jesus is a complete human. Their is no exagerated miracles, their is no god who died on a cross. No wonder the christian jews, some of who where direct relatives of Jesus himself, and their original gospel, was later deemed a satanic heresy.

b) As for your traditional bible cannon: Even some of the old testament jewish books, are forgeries according to many scholars. For example, Ecclesiastes, written in hellenistic times, is attributed to solomon. Daniel, which was written down in hellenistic times is attributed to Daniel. Even the torah itself, was probably re-written and edited hundred of years after Moses, and yet still, these later editors attribute it to moses!

7) Marcion: He did not cut out the new testament text! The new testament as we now know it, did not even yet exist in the time of marcion.

8) Eusebius: He was not a trinitarian. Find me one clear evidence from Eusebius that indicates he saw God as trinity. (You will not find it).

9) The council of Nicea: Its purpose was not limited to a battle of arians vs trinitarians as you stated. It was an attempt by the christian authorities, to unify and gather together all christian churches throughout the roman empire. Athanasius, one of the bishops who attended did indeed propose a uniform new testament bible cannon. However, it was not until pope Leo and saint Jerome about 100-150 years later, where one standard bible was promoted to all the churches of the western roman world (western europe).

10) Dan Brown: He could say anything he wants about you. You can not silence him, or anybody else like him. He can criticize you with or without your approval. He can indeed argue that you are demon possessed and say other evil things about you, as you did to him.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago Author

Kaie Arwen--- Thank you, my dear. Affirmation and encouragement mean more to me coming from you than anyone else.

JJRBJ

aka

YM


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago Author

John King IV— I appreciate your gracious compliments. Thank you for continuing our dialogue. I did not intend to "misrepresent" the beliefs or worldview of Gnostics nor of you personally.

1) No sir, I have not read the read the Nag Hammadi Library. You write that the Gnostics shared 70-80% of the beliefs of orthodox Christians. I suppose that could be true, though Gnosticism appeared in so many variants that the percentage must be variable. That is, in fact, what made Gnosticism so dangerous. A heresy that is 100% false is far easier to refute than one that is 20-30% false. The Devil knows full well it is best to mix in the truth with falsity.

Most forms of Gnosticism went to one extreme or the other, either such extreme asceticism that forbade marriage, sex, and children, or extreme antinomianism that encouraged wild orgies and drunken abandonment.

Gnosticism was protean and highly syncretistic drawing from—picking and choosing and combining—Orphic and Platonic dualism, mystery cults, astrology, and other religious views from Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia. Gnostics believed that the true gospel, or true salvation, was a secret only disclosed to a few, to the initiated. They attempted to justify their wild concepts by attaching them to the Truth—Christ Jesus. But the Great Commission shows that the Gospel is not a secret for those in a little club who are smarter than everybody else. Come as a child, as an innocent, does not match up with Gnosticism and neither does the wisdom of men is foolishness to God and the wisdom of God is foolishness to men. Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

The Gnostics had their Demiurge and always either made Christ into just a man and nothing more or none of a man, a phantom, an illusion. Their chief fault is how they distorted Jesus, and God, and make them quite different from the Father and the Son recorded in the New Testament.

2) There was certainly a Pantheist strain to some varieties of Gnosticism but not all. I don't think Pantheism is a modern idea. I think it is quite ancient.

The real Jesus exists independent of what you think or I think. But He cannot be an idol I created. I didn't write the New Testament. But I believe it is the inspired Word of God, my Maker, and the Creator of all that we see. Salvation has only to do with Grace by Faith. I will read your Hub on Satan. I have made a note of it. Satan is super intelligent. The problem for people is that they understand at least one key aspect of Satan: He knows everything every human being who has ever lived knew or knows—and more.

I do not view philosophy as "evil" as you claim, any more than I view television as evil. Both can be used for good or for bad. I have read mountains of philosophy, from all ages and epochs. I am fully aware that the Greek and Latin Fathers used philosophical terms to try to put into language Christian concepts. Aquinas too.

I will take up your second comment soon. Thank you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago Author

John King IV— PART TWO:

5) I reiterate that there is NO evidence of a Q that actually existed. It is a theory by scholars, and I must add that the "scholars" in question are nonbelievers. So what they look for in their research is excuses to blast orthodox Christian belief because they don't believe in it themselves. It would be like me becoming a physics professor when I didn't believe in the laws of physics. It is preposterous.

It is possible that Matthew was first written in Hebrew, or even in Aramaic, and that the Greek version we have is a translation. Some go with the "Two-Source Theory." There are those who think Luke was written first, and far more "experts" who think Mark was written first. I say: What difference does it make?

I am familiar with the Ebionites, who insisted that Jesus was just a man, a prophet, a spokesman for God, much like Moses, Isaiah, or Jeremiah. They did not belong to the Church at Jerusalem, and were certainly not attached to James unless you mean that they admired him. He was long dead before the Ebionites came around. They believed that Gentile Converts to the Christian Faith had to become Jews first, and obey Mosaic Law. This question had long been settled, for one, by the very James you mentioned.

And I do not believe anyone "exaggerated" any miracles.

5) Oh Please! I would never recommend Bart Ehrman to anybody, unless I hated them and wished to see them burnt in hell fire. He is a satanic person. Why on earth would I read a book by anybody who says he is a "scholar" of the New Testament and the whole thing is a forgery? I may as well say I am a scholar on Canada and by the way, there is no Canada, Canada is an illusion, Canada is make believe. Since when does a university hire someone to teach a subject who believes the whole subject is a joke and a sham and a fraud?

My first exposure to Bart Ehrman was when I bought a course from the Teaching Company on the New Testament. I wanted to learn more about the New Testament, not hear some demon tell me it is all a fraud. I can get that from Richard Dawkins.

There is no evidence at all of any forgery of the books in the New Testament. What there is is bad men who do not believe in God worming their way into teaching positions to teach that God is a myth, and to teach it with the authority that we attach to an "expert" and a "scholar."

A merely human Jesus couldn't save anybody—He would need a Savior Himself. You can bet that NONE of the people who knew Him best, his disciples, his apostles, thought he was just some man they met. They gave up their lives to profess otherwise.

Some books in the Hebrew Bible are forgeries? Says who? Any orthodox Jews? I didn't think so. I can say anything is a forgery. So what.

You are correct that Marcion did not "cut" up a New Testament but he did reject books that everybody else believed were divinely inspired. The Church would not have excommunicated such a wealthy contributor to its coffers had not this guy gotten WAY out line. Marcion insisted the Church had obscured the Gospel by combining it with the Hebrew Bible—exactly the opposite of the Ebionites, whom you also admire so. He said that the God of the Jews was not the God of Jesus—there were two gods and the God of the Hebrew Bible was evil. James of Jerusalem would not have liked to hear that. Marcion held that the Demiurge created the world and men but he was not the God of Jesus, the good God, that Marcion wanted to worship. Marcion also taught that Jesus was not even a real person at all. He was a phantom.

10) You write: "Dan Brown: He could say anything he wants about you. You cannot silence him, or anybody else like him. He can criticize you with or without your approval. He can indeed argue that you are demon possessed and say other evil things about you, as you did to him."

Well sir, I never said anything about "silencing" Dan Brown, now did I? Dan Brown does not believe in Christ Jesus, the Christ who walked the earth as God Incarnate, the savior of mankind. He gets rich by trying to tear down the faith of other people so they can join him in hell. This qualifies him as demonic in a way that disqualifies me. I believe in Jesus and those who don't, like Dan Brown, are anti-Christian, as in against the Faith, as in serving the Antichrist. That is demonic. Dan Brown doesn't believe in demons so how could he call me "demonic?" That makes no sense.


John King IV 3 years ago

Yes I am glad that their is mutual grace in these dialogues. I think it is a great skill and also very important to know how to carry on a civilized and organized dialogue involving sensitive and perhaps even controversial things. Religion and politics are things that many people kill over. Many just can not tolerate different beliefs, or different ways of thinking. Anyway onwards...

1) My statistics where designed as mere estimates, not as accurate measurements. I did not actually travel back in time and interview every gnostic to find out how exactly their beliefs matched the belief system of the orthodox-trinitarian gentile christians. You made a good point about the diversity within gnosticism itself. I could not agree any more with this statement. However, I dissagree with your absolute 100% judgement of the gnostics. That they where 100% liars. So by your rational, if gnostics believed jesus was god they are liars then? If gnostics shared any views that you have they are liars then?

Also, I must state plainly that I do not believe in your devil.

Also I am not like you, in hating wisdom. The ancestors of christians like you in fact where people who closed the doors of knowledge to people and prevented them from entering. The old pharasees, like modern christian authorities are in fact the ones who close all knowledge to the world. They prevent people from getting knowledge, and they also refuse to get knowledge as well. Religious authorities have allways hated knowledge and where satisfied with their pride and belief that they allready know it all, and own the truth.

You again miss-represented the gnostics. They did not see jesus as a pure man, as the jews did. Gnostics, like modern christians saw jesus as a god.

2)Pantheism: I see no evidence that any ancient christian sect: (trinitarians, gnostics, arians, jewish followers of jesus, the marcionites, etc) none of them seemed to hold a pantheistic doctrine or view of god. Can you provide evidence of the presence of pantheism in ancient authors? I have never heard of any ancient one mention a pantheistic view.

Also, not only do I see your jesus as an idol that you and others like you invented... I do not see the bible as the word of any god. For me the bible is an idol not a god or the words of a god. Your idol in john 1.1 says: "in the beginning was the word and the word was god" I do not hold your trinitarian views, or any other irrational religious view. the bible is not a god, it was a document created by men, written by human beings. Every single word in the bible had human authors behind them.


John King IV 3 years ago

Part 2:

3) Q: I admit that the designation Q is a modern invention. But the fact that their was an original and older gospel that predated the synoptic gospels is real. I personally believe Mark and Matthew in Greek used this original lost source as a kind of prototype and outline for updating and making a kind of superior second or third edition of the gospel. Mark came before Matthew, but according to the historian Eusibius, Hebrew matthew predated all other gospels. I believe the annonymous greek gentile who translated hebrew matthew added extra material, such as the birth story, more sensational miracles about the legend of jesus, and about the passionate events of passover which lead to crucifixion and ressurection.

Your analogy about " a physics teacher who does not believe in physics" I think is not that appropriate. In fact the best kinds of teachers are the ones who hold no bias. Ones who look at the evidence itself, with out any pre-concieved beliefs. For example when jesus says in the gospel" Do not call me good, God alone is good" or "The son does not know, only the father knows" or "the father is greater than I" or "I (Jesus) can do nothing on my own" (without God), one must examine these statements without any pre-concieved trinity doctrines. Does this suggest that jesus saw himself as a god? Their are millions of things in the new testament that suggest different facts that contradict your pre-conceived doctrines. If this god of your was without sin, then why did he say he was not good? Where does it say that god became a man? that god died for the world? These are your ancestral beliefs inherited through the ages by generations of trinitarian believers who where converted gentiles.

4) The Ebionites: The first jews under the party of jesus where first reffered to as "Nazarenes" by their fellow jews. Most where Galileans. Gentile converts began to be called Christians shortly after the retirement of Jesus. The remaining jewish Nazarenes followed James brother of Jesus, headquartered at Jerusalem. These people at some point in time began to be reffered to as "ebionites" probably because of their humbleness and poverty, in the eyes of other jews and christians. By around 200-300 CE other gentile christians regarded them as heretics, because of their views of jesus as being a pure man, the son of joseph and mary.

I for one have high regard for the scholarship of professor eherman. I also have high regards for r. dawkins. They certainly know their material well, and present to us many great things about religion and bible history and facts. They hold no pre-concieved christian bias. It is nice to study the bible without a christian lence or christian teacher distorting the bible with their traditional doctrines and distortions.

Marcion believed jesus was god not a mere phantasm spirit as you probably believe.

Finally, I do not believe jesus or the apostles saw the concept of salvation anywhere near the way you see it. A human sacrifice, or a religion was simply not salvation for these people. This is totally unlike modern christian faith.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago Author

John King IV— Thank you for coming back to post your additional comments.

You write: "However, I disagree with your absolute 100% judgment of the Gnostics. That they were 100% liars. So by your rational, if Gnostics believed Jesus was god they are liars then? If Gnostics shared any views that you have they are liars then?"

I am not saying that everybody who believed in Gnosticism was a liar. There were certainly liars and charlatans in the bunch, and there were innocent people who were led by them. That is why such a heresy is so dangerous, when you are talking about life and death issues. It is not that a Vladimir Lenin cannot be allowed to hold whatever opinion he wants about the world. It is if he is particularly persuasive, and himself possessed by demons, who are far smarter than any men, he might led millions of people astray and into death. Lenin was definitely a liar. But most of his followers were not liars. They simply had no spiritual discernment of the Truth. And they believed what they wanted to believe. The Devil will make up whatever lie is needed for each person he is trying to seduce, and use people to draw other people into perdition.

The majority of Gnostics identified matter as evil and because of this any Creator of matter as wicked. The Gnostic "god" could have no contact with the material world, so they created this elaborate scheme involving "emanations"—that I am sure you know about. But the One True God says Creation is Good. The material world is worthy to be used and enjoyed by man.

As CS Lewis says: "There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature. He wants us to use material things like bread and wine. God invented eating . He likes matter. He invented it." The body is no burden to be discarded. It is a gift from God for life on earth and for the life to come. Maybe Gnostics burned bodies like refuse but Christians bury bodies like treasure.

The god of this world to a Gnostic is not the God of the Jews. But it could not be more clear that the God of the Jews is who Jesus calls His Father. And you may not believe in Satan but Jesus most certainly did. In general, the Gnostics rejected Jesus' humanity while your Ebionites rejected his divinity. Ebionites might reject the Virgin Birth but Gnostics rejected any kind of birth for Jesus. They are opposite heresies.

In orthodox Christianity redemption for man comes not by some secret knowledge of spiritual realms but by God's action in history. The Son of God entered time, lived, walked, breathed, and taught men, was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead. That is not gnosis; that is Event.

Man needs salvation not because he is imprisoned in a body but because he willfully chooses his own way rather than the Way of God. Man's evil is not in his body; it is in his affections. He loves the wrong things. Man does not need a teacher. He needs a Savior.

You write: "Also I am not like you, in hating wisdom. The ancestors of Christians like you in fact where people who closed the doors of knowledge to people and prevented them from entering. . . . They prevent people from getting knowledge, and they also refuse to get knowledge as well. Religious authorities have always hated knowledge and where satisfied with their pride and belief that they already know it all, and own the truth."

That is so wrong. It is no accident that the Scientific Revolution only occurred in Christendom. Modern Science was born of the conviction that a rational God had made the universe, and therefore it is rational and can be understood by studying it; and that God made human beings with rational minds capable of such study. All of the early scientists were Christians.

Christianity is criticized from the other direction as well, that it used too much of the world's knowledge, not too little as you claim. Especially from the Greek philosophy, such as Origen and the Greek Fathers of the Church. The official position of orthodox Christianity has been that knowledge can be good and wisdom is always good. Nobody hates wisdom that I know. Knowledge is good unless it is used to tear down the Faith of the Body of Christ. Then it is bad and false.

And yes, you are right that the writers of the Bible were men. But its Author is God. Men were His instruments. Why? They always are! That is how God chooses to work.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago Author

John King IV— PART TWO:

You write: "In fact the best kinds of teachers are the ones who hold no bias. Ones who look at the evidence itself, without any pre-conceived beliefs."

That is not true. First of all, there exists no human being without "pre-conceived beliefs" unless you are a baby. The best teachers are always, in any subject, persons who LOVE the subject they teach. Would you want an art teacher who thinks art sucks? Would you want a history teacher who thinks history is useless? Would you want a music teacher who hates music?

You then mention Mark10:18, which is one of many verses that ought to make you realize that your earlier claim that the New Testament was falsified by Jesus' followers is not true. People who falsify do not include passages that seem to go against the grain of their main narrative. It is these types of verses that show the Gospel writers wrote what they believed to be true, even when it was not a "selling point" for their faith. It is also extremely unlikely that the early church would have invented Matthew 24:36 so people like you could use it against Jesus. From it we can ascertain that while in human form, Jesus was somewhat limited in his knowledge.

You write, "Jesus says in the gospel 'Do not call me good, God alone is good'." But you misrepresented what Jesus said. He did not say "Don't call me good" and he did not say "I am not good." He asked a question: "WHY do YOU call me good when only God is good?" In other words, "Do you believe that I am God Incarnate? Is that why you call me good? Or are you simply trying to flatter me?"

I could not care less about the Trinity concepts. Nor do I care how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It makes no difference to me. The Bible never claims to answer every question a man could dream up. It does not tell us everything we might want to know. It tells us what we NEED to know. It is not a book to satisfy the profane wanderings of a curious mind. For instance, it does not tell us Jesus' height and weight. We do not need to know. It does tell us what we need to know about Christ Jesus.

As the head of the Trinity, it makes sense that Jesus would say His Father is greater than He. You must remember that Jesus is humble; and that when he said this he had made himself lower by becoming human, a humbled state lower than angels. These are surely not verses that would be in any book dummied up by phony men, as you say, to lead others astray. During His time on earth, Jesus was under subjection to His Father.

Jesus was killed for saying he was God Incarnate. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” In fact, the Jews were ready to kill Him right there! Why? “Because you,” they said, “a mere man, claim to be God” (John 10:33). On another occasion, He used the personal name of Israel’s God–the name revealed to Moses (Exodus 3:14)–to refer to Himself. And He even used the Torah for context, so no one would misunderstand Him: “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). This would be about wild as telling a Muslim, “I am your God, Allah.” Don’t try that in Saudi Arabia! It’s no wonder the Jews tried to stone Him to death. That was the exact penalty for blasphemy under the Jewish legal system. It was pretty clear to everyone there that He was saying, “I am Israel’s God."

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. (63-64).

6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.[c] From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?

The Ebionites repudiated Paul. Marcion loved Paul. You seem to be arguing on both their sides. Which is strange. There is no evidence that anybody headquartered at Jerusalem and following James were called Ebionites.

You must be kidding or tripping when you made the ludicrous claim that Ehrman and Richard Dawkins are without bias. According to your view, anyone who believes is Jesus is based but anyone who hates Jesus is not. Love him or hate him, you are biased.


newenglandsun 3 years ago

Everyone has bias whether they be a theist or an atheist. Many people like to claim they are without bias. Unfortunately, the entirety of your article refutes your main claim. Your main claim is that there were no books banned from the Bible. Yet you insisted that the Gnostic gospels were rejected by the early church.

I do believe that Pagels and Brown have incorrect understandings of the Gnostic gospels (Pagels doesn't seem to understand why the Gnostic gospels were rejected and Brown thinks they taught a purely human Jesus). Nevertheless, to insist that the Gnostic gospels were not "banned" from the New Testament is a complete misunderstanding of church history. They were banned from the NT canon.

There were also books that are currently in the NT canon that were originally rejected. The gospel of John being a prime example of this. It was first thought to be "heretical" and of Gnostic origin.

You can find out more here:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/


John King IV 3 years ago

very interesting comments. Pleasure to read. I will address the things that I dissagree with.

I suppose now that I think about it, all my dis-agreements here are theological in nature:

1) You say the god of the jews is the father of jesus. This is clearly wrong, both today, and in the ancient world. The ancient jewish believers of Jesus as the Messiah, believed that the God of Jesus, ("his heavenly father"), was God. However, in the first to third centuries, these jews where a clear minority. In Revelation, you can read for yourself about only 144,000 elect jewish followers of Jesus as Messiah. The total jewish population was far bigger than this, probably as much as a few million of them. The jews who attended the church at Jerusalem, began to be called Ebionites by other people. When? We do not know for certain. My guess, probably at the end of the first century. (lets say 90's CE or so). All the other jews, (zeolots, pharasees, saducees, and essenes), did not see jesus as a messiah. In fact, many of them did not even see jesus as a prophet. The only thing all jews might agree upon, was that Jesus was a rabbi. (A teacher). The very concept of jesus as a god, was totally foreign and ridiculous for all jews, and in fact, for even some of the early gentile converts (the christians). Not even the apostles, or Paul saw Jesus as a god. As for modern jews. They totally reject jesus as god, messiah, and even prophet. One exception is the messianic jews, who are in fact protestant christians in disguise.

2) Satan: I do believe that this phenomenon exists. I just do not believe in the satan of christianity, or in the gods of christianity.

3) Saviour: Again, I simply do not believe in any other saviour besides my God. I do aknowledge human saviours. But I see them as mere heroes, not as supernatural dieties.

4) Jesus:

a) Mat. 24.36: The son says he does not know. But the father (the god of jesus) alone knows. This contradicts your trinity doctrine. If jesus was god, surely he would know it all. How can god be limited? Your limited god is pathetic.

b) Only God is good. not jesus apperantly. who said why do you call me good? Jesus taught that God alone was good, not jesus. according to the trinity doctrine if jesus was god, you should rewrite your bibles and correct this "mistake". make jesus say. you are correct, I am good, I am god, worship me.

c) Why jesus was "killed". I just dissagree with all of that. I do not believe jesus was killed. But even if he was, how can one kill god? It is absurd. According to the gospels, the jewish authorities desired to kill him, and charged him with blasphemy. They argued to the Roman procurator, that jesus, as a blasphemer, constituted as a serious threat against Roman rule, by promoting sedition and rebellion. The crowds also put much pressure on the pro-curator to have him crucified. I think if Pilate got his way, Jesus would have gotten off the hook with perhaps a mild whipping only.

d) Caiaphas asked him if he was the son of the blessed one (God). Not if he was God himself.

e) Philip asked to see God. Jesus replies does not in any way clearly say that he was God. Jesus was merely saying, I as a prophet of god, am the revelation and word of god. I see no evidence here that jesus saw himself as god. Also the famous "i am the way the truth and the life" This does not say jesus was god. It does not even mean that jesus was saying that only one religion was the salvation that gets you into heaven. What about the famous "i am" quotes? All prophets, even paul used these statements. They where prnouncing God's name, not saying that they where God. Also, sometimes i am, simply means i am. (No intent to pronounce gods name)


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I have read considered and pondered your Comment. A vision such as your's is cynical and without any emoting suggestion of love in heart. I do not suggest this is wrong, but I query; why would you want it so?

Why would you rally against this new covenant? This declaration of freedom from restriction and welcoming to a world of love and no more ancient judgment?

My man King, I implore to answer your own question: Are you more happy as an antagonist of Christ and a Critic of New Testament, than I am loving as Christ taught?


John King IV 3 years ago

Eric: Let me see if i understand you. (It is very difficult to be a good cummincator. I, like these dialogues, because i get to practice the art of communication).

Any way: you say something about me being cynical, also that I lack the emotion of love? That I am against "a new covenant" That i am an enemy of "christ".

My answer to my accusser and adversary. (your words):

1) I am not cynical. You are wrong.

2) I do not lack the ability to love. You are wrong.

3) I do not believe in your new covenant.

4) I do not believe in your christ. So you are wrong on all counts about me.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

John, try this --- I said "a vision such as yours........" I did not say you. The "your's" rather than saying you, Indicates I am arguing with the position and not you. Based on my readings of you, you are bright, loving, caring and intellectual.

We have different points of view, that is awesome! My point was that if one is truly looking for something, they will find it. You found the negative in my comment, so be it. But mine was not personal, it went to the issue, not the man.


newenglandsun 3 years ago

Eric,

To quote some of your queries of John:

"I do not suggest this is wrong, but I query; why would you want it so?"

Note: You then follow up asking him questions about his character:

"Why would you rally against this new covenant? This declaration of freedom from restriction and welcoming to a world of love and no more ancient judgment?"

What you are doing here by asking these questions of John is implying if not actually stating between the lines that John is trying to wage a war against "love".

Ending it on one final question:

"Are you more happy as an antagonist of Christ and a Critic of New Testament, than I am loving as Christ taught?"

Here, you are stating explicitly that John is an antagonist of Christ so when you say that you are arguing against his position and not him in general, you are lying to yourself.

Thanks for that piece of genuine history, John. You might be the only one besides me standing up for genuine history instead of Christian apologetics/hallucinogens.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

New, If you look really hard at something you and John can both find the negative and interpret anything as an attack on you. My comments are not no matter how hard you twist them and apply your intent on my content.

I think this is good for this hub, because it reminds us, that part of our covenant deal is a need to view life in terms of love and not hate.


newenglandsun 3 years ago

I do not believe in your covenant and I do not view things in terms of "hate". Your comments are ad hominem classifications. False generalizations. Since John and I do not believe what you tell us we believe. Stop dictating what we believe!


forgotten books of eden 3 years ago

You did a really great job typing this post about gospel of mary.


Voyager 12 3 years ago

James and John, “I have read considered and pondered your Comment"s, as Erick said, and I wonder if you can help me to figured out something;

James, as a great historian and John as the critic, you may help me to understand who were the Ebonites / Nazarenes.

To say that Christ was called Nazarene because He was from the town of Nazareth doesn't make much sense.

Although the historian Flavius Josephus (AD 37 – c. 100) mentions 45 towns in Galilee, he never mentions Nazareth.

The earliest known reference to Nazareth outside the New Testament and as a contemporary town is by Julius Africanus, who wrote around AD 200.

That Christ was a Nazarene is actually upheld in the Roman annals; and the first-century chronicles of the Jews and the Bible's Acts of the Apostles confirm that Christ's brother James was a leader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

What I've sourced from St. Jerome's writings says, that the first believers in Christ were known as “Nazarenes” or in Hebrew “Netzarim” (Acts 24:5).

The “church father” St. Jerome (3/4 th. century AD.) described these Nazarenes as those

“…who accept Messiah in such a way that they do not cease to observe the old Law.” (Jerome; On. Is. 8:14).

In the letter to St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Jerome wrote:

Hieron., "Epist. ad August.":

"There is to-day among the Jews throughout all the synagogues of the East a heresy which is called [the heresy] of the Minaei, and is even until this day cursed by the Pharisees;

these Minaeans are commonly called Nazoraeans, and they believe in Christ, the Son of God. . . . But while they will be both Jews and Christians, they are neither Jews nor Christians."

Elsewhere I have found slightly different translation which says:

"Today there still exists among the Jews in all the synagogues of the East a heresy which is called that of the Minæans, and which is still condemned by the Pharisees;

[its followers] are ordinarily called ‘Nazarenes’;

they believe that Messiah, the son of God, was born of the Virgin Miriam, and they hold him to be the one who suffered under Pontius Pilate and ascended to heaven, and in whom we also believe.”

(Jerome; Letter 75 Jerome to Augustine)

So we know that St. Jerome (doctor of the Latin Church and author of Vulgate, the only Catholic bible for another 1000 years), knew that the first followers of Christ were in fact called Nazarenes - not Christians.

What St. Jerome said is that

"these Minaeans are commonly called Nazoraeans,..."

or we can read that

this Nazareans were in fact Minaeans.

However, what do we know today about MINAEANS ???


John King IV 3 years ago

Here are my views on "the Nazarenes". and the "ebionites"

The Nazarenes was the earliest name of the party loyal to joshua of nazareth. I do not believe that the group was called nazarenes because of the city of nazareth in galilee. I think it was a nickname given to them because they all took up a nazarite vow. In the mishnah their is a mention that those who took up this vow had in fact different nicknames. Example "nazirs".

Also I reject the belief that Jesus and his apostles where edomites. This is a later designation which the jews placed on christians. However, I am talking about the ancient world, ....a time before rabbinic judaism or catholic-orthodox european christianity existed.

The nazarenes, I see as pure jews from Galilee, who followed Joshua of nazareth. After Joshua retired, the disciples became their own leaders and founded churches among the gentiles, with one exception. James brother of Joshua headed a church at Jerusalem. These guys where jewish nazarenes loyal to joshua. They where not gentile christians from other lands who where loyal to joshua, and converts of other disciples of joshua.

the nazarene jews loyal to jesus, at some point began to called by the nickname "ebionites" (much in the same way as you use the term "minaeans") Probably because the nazarenes lived a life of humbleness, and rejected the persuit of wealth, and even family. This ascetic lifestyle was probably picked up by earlier teachings of joshua and john the baptist, who in turn probably picked it up from the earlier elite sect of the essenes of the desert. (eg of Qumram community). Again, the essenes where full jews. (not edomites like the herodians or edumeans). The essenes where in every respect like their brothers the pharasees and the saducees. They however where not interested in the temple, or in the politics of jerusalem. However, the family known as the boethians, who where high priests in the second temple era, may have in fact been essenes. (that is just a speculation, their is no proof of this to my knowledge).


John King IV 3 years ago

The nazarene party are mentioned in the new testament. Seek, and you will find. The jews themselves called the party of joshua (in greek jesus), a nazarene, and his party nazarenes.

Josephus main topic is jews. The christians are hardly mentioned. joshua/Jesus is hardly mentioned. You must understand, that Christians where a small band of gentile converts at this time. they where found allmost exclusively in gentile lands. Israel had hardly any christians (around 70 CE). The only people in Jerusalem who where members of the jesus party where jews, lead by james, and then by his successor at jerusalem symeon, a cousin of jesus.

Christians where not edomites. Edomites where hebrew people with a jewish religion (in first century CE). Edomites spoke hebrew! christians on the other hand where pure pagans who had once believed in zeus, aphrodite, mars, pluto, etc) They where from lands far away from israel. For these gentiles, judaism was a new exciting thing. The apostles brand of Judaism was what they adopted as their religion, mixed in with their older traditions. (As paul taught them, they did not need to be jews and keep all of the jewish laws of the bible). So I repeat, edomites where not christians. The Herodian kings where not christians. The Romans where not edomites. The herodian kings where jewish in religion. the Romans where european gentiles, with an assortment of pagan religious backgrounds. Only much later on did Edom start getting associated with christianity and rome.


Voyager 12 3 years ago

James, John and whoever may be interested.

Now we know that Christ was Nazarene, and not from Nazareth, because such a town did not existed when Christ was born.

St. Jerome, in the letter to St. Augustine tells us that the Nazarenes were in fact Minaeans.

From archeological excavation of Arabia, Levant and Egypt we know that Minaeans left thousands of inscriptions on the rocks of Arabia, Levant and Egypt, written in their own Minaean / Nazarene script.

Some "interesting points arise in the Minaean / Nazarene inscriptions.

God is known as EL, and the several gods of the Minaean pantheon as ELOHIM— both of which forms appear in the Biblical name for God.

The priestess of Wadd is called a Levite (lawiat);

and there are further verbal identities in the words for the sacrificial cart (mekonah), the cauldron (mabsal), a feast (haj), the tithe (ma'ser), the congregation (kahal), the sin-offering (hattath), and so on.

In fact 'the Minaean inscriptions exhibit an extensive correspondence to the Hebrew ritual, and the vista is open for still more "light on the Bible" when Arabia comes at last to be scientifically explored'.

[J. A. Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible (1934).] "

The amazing truth is, that when Minaeans / Minoans worshiped ELOHIM, some 3500 years ago, the Israelite were still in slavery in Egypt, and Moses wasn't even born yet.

Copied from "THE INFLUENCE OF ARABIA"

"Far more readily assimilated, we may well believe, was the influence of the kindred Semitic culture of Arabia.

Here, as the fifteenth-century BCE. (Before Christ) Minaean inscriptions show,

the Divine Name JAH

[JAH is the basic element in Jahweh, that is the Biblical JHWH, transliterated in the English Bible as 'Jehovah'.]

had survived from the most primitive times.

What may have been the original meaning or root of this mysterious name is still in doubt.

It is found (as Ya or Yau) on Babylonian tablets of 2000 BC and later, always as a Semitic Deity.

It is found in name-compounds among the Ras Shamra tablets.

It appears again in the Minaean records as the God of Heaven, whose second name is Love (Wadd), and Who has His shining Hosts (Sabaoth).

It may well be that here in Midian Moses learnt to call upon the 'Name of the LORD'

[In our Bibles the word LORD (printed in capitals) always represents the Hebrew JHWH, the Divine Name which the Jews were not allowed to pronounce.]."

After all, who were those Minaeans / Nazarenes, what were they doing in Galilee in the times of Christ, and where they came from?

Do we have any records about Minaeans / Nazarene, in the Bible???


John King IV 3 years ago

I have never heard of any people called Minaeans. I suppose it is possible that Augustine used this word. I need to read Augustine to confirm that.

But I have read virtually all of the ancient literature from first century CE, and before.... I have never heard the word maneaen.

You use all kinds of foreign words from other languages. Fine by me, no problem. It just makes communication more difficult between us if we speak different languages.

As for the name of the God of Israel. I believe that it evolved from a very old tradition indeed. The book of Genesis pretty much mentions this tradition. From Seth son of Adam (when people began to use this name of the deity) to Noah, to the patriarchs, up to the ultimate climax of Moses. By the time of Moses Judaism and its God had been perfected and completed. (In terms of the name and concept of this God of Israel.)

I do not think it that important as to the spelling and language of God's name. What is by far more important is to understand the concept of this God. Is this God a person? A bible name? etc...


John King IV 3 years ago

ok I have never read Pliny the elder. (forgot about him). I did focus on pliny the younger, his nephew, who was an eye witness to the explosion of vesuvius, which killed pliny the elder.

Anyway....... all these facts. You concentrate on Arabia and frankensence... and then the minoans. I have heard of the Minoans. (They where ancient people from Crete. We call them Minoans after the legendary king Minos)

Minoans where definately not nazarenes. Minoans lived long before the nation of Israel existed. The Minoan civilization was around even before the legendary jewish patriarchs. They spoke an awkward language which is unlike any other. I would not call them Greeks or Europeans. My guess, they where descendants of Egyptian colonists and native cretans. The biblical Philistines and the "Hyksos" sea peoples mentioned by the ancient Egyptians may have also been descended from them.

Nazarenes on the other hand was a name of a party of jews. These jews however where hated by later jews, because of Jesus and Christianity's foundations. Their names however will never be erased from history, no matter how hard people try. Personal hate and bias are lies of people, are destined to never prevail over the truth. Like the Nazarenes or not, history will remain forever.

Anyway thanks for your knowledge. How can I express my feelings as to this information? Like exchanging sport statistics with you... Some say sport statistics is vanity and worthless. For others, this data is valueable and amazing. Others may say, that it can distract one from their focus and interests, or from life itself...


John King IV 3 years ago

ancient arabs in america...........nazarenes are minoans.....

You are in your own world. This is the domain of creationism.

I see no point in attempting to state facts anymore. Your reasoning is just way too different from my own.


BY: WATERSTAR : 3 years ago

BY: WATERSTAR : The solution answer of the Nature of the Matter who or what is wright or wrong , of the accuracy of the BIBLE is stated in a simple Phrase, HOLY MARY - MOTHER OF GOD : The Holy Child that SHE bore, Was and His Called JESUS , SO PUT 2 + 2 and get the = answer, JESUS said if you see me , You see GOD , for ME and GOD are ONE , or the Same Person , in ACTS of the Apostle chaper 2 and verse 38 GOD apostle give everyone the Formula How to Get save and be Ready for Heaven , it is easy to do , anybody who Love GOD , will HUMBLE themself and Just Do It , without any Mumbo Jumbo Question , His apostle did it What else does ones need any futher , when you are the one that will reap Life everlasting in Paradise ,the Rapture is very near, go get ready Now , Let us all Love and Care for each other in this Selfish World do Good To Everyone: BY :WATERSTAR:


John W Sidoti 3 years ago

2Timothy 4:3, 4--"There will comw a time when they will not put up with the wholesome teaching, but according to their own desires, they will surround themselves with teachers to have their ears tickled.

They will turn away from listening to the truth and give attention to false stories."


Drive By Quipper profile image

Drive By Quipper 3 years ago from Wrong Side of Town

I tried to read the Gnostic gospels, but I didn't have any mushrooms and lost interest.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working