Origin of the New Testament

Author: Harnack, Adolf (1851-1930)

For Harnack, applying the methods of historical criticism to the Bible signified a return to true Christianity, which had become mired in unnecessary and even damaging creeds and dogmas. Seeking out what “actually happened,” for him, was one way to strip away all but the foundations of the faith. In The Origin of the New Testament, Harnack explores the early history of the biblical canon—how it came to be what it is, and why. In particular, he explores the ideologies driving people to accept some texts as biblical cannon and not others. Controversially, Harnack finds some of these ideologies anything but Christian, and he hints that a re-evaluation of what the church considers canonical is necessary.

Kathleen O’Bannon
CCEL Staff