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Apostolic Writings just as CORRUPT as New Testament

Taken from  Christopher M. Tuckett and Andrew Gregory’s, The Reception of the New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers:

By way of conclusion, I will simply summarize my findings and restate my thesis. Over the entire course of their transmission, the texts of the Apostolic Fathers were not copied with anything like the frequency of the books that made it into the New Testament—even though in the early centuries of the church some of them (such as the Shepherd) were at least as popular and widely copied as several books that became canonical (such as Mark). When these books were copied, however, they were subject to the same kinds of textual corruption that one finds attested among the manuscripts of the New Testament. They were accidentally altered on occasion, by careless, tired, or  inept scribes, to probably about the same degree as were the writings of Scripture. And they were intentionally changed by scribes in light of their own historical, theological, and social contexts: on rare occasions they were changed because of regnant liturgical practices; they were changed to lower the status and role of women in the churches; and they were changed in light of theological controversies that raged in the worlds of the scribes who were copying their texts. In short, the factors that affected the transmission of the texts of the New Testament played a similar role in the transmission of the early proto-orthodox writings that came to be excluded from the canon of sacred Scripture.



Is the Didache Apostolic?

Taken from here:

“Of apostolic origin no one should presume to speak, since the text of the document makes no such claim, and internal evidence is obviously against such a suggestion”


The Didache cannot be taken as a reliable source for tradition received from Jesus’ disciples, because it was written (as is the opinion of the majority of scholars) in the second half of the second century, by an unknown author who had not, obviously, met the disciples. [28]

We cannot take the Didache as a proof for the existence of the canonical Gospels as we know them today, even if we accept, for the sake of argument, that the Didache was written in the first century. This is because, due to the noticeable differences between the Didache text and our four Gospels, the opposite view should lead us to one of two options: either to believe that the text of the Gospels used by the Didachist was too different from the canonical version we know, or that the Didachist felt free to reshape Jesus’ sayings by mingling them with extra-canonical material and attributing its words to himself, not to Jesus.[29]

Aaron Milavec, who is an authority in the Didache studies, insists after thorough and careful consideration that the Didache is totally independent of the Gospels in the internal logic, theological orientation, and pastoral practice that runs decisively counter to what one finds within the received Gospels. [30]


Value of the Apostolic Fathers’ Quotations

value of the apostolic Fathers’ quotations before getting into their details.

  • Vincent Taylor: “Until about A.D. 150 the quotations are of little value for textual purposes.” [13]
  • Frederic George Kenyon: “Quotations from the New Testament are found in the earliest writers of the sub-apostolic age, but they are so scanty as to be of little service for our present purpose.[14]
  • A. T. Robertson: “Little help is gained from the Greek Apostolic Fathers for the text.”[15]
  • Bruce Metzger: “The Apostolic Fathers seldom make express citations from New Testament writings.”[16]
  • Marvin R. Vincent: “The Apostolic Fathers are of little value for patristic quotation, since they do not so much quote as blend the language of the New Testament with their own.[17]
  • William L. Petersen: “It is clear that the vast majority of passages in the Apostolic Fathers for which one can find likely parallels in the New Testament have deviations from our present, critically reconstructed New Testament text. It must be emphasized that the vast majority of these deviations are not minor (e.g., differences in spelling or verb tense), but major (a completely new context, a substantial interpolation or omission, a conflation of two entirely separate ideas and/or passages).” [18]
  • Caspar René Gregory professes, despite his apologetic tone, that “the very earliest of the Christian writers did not make a point of quoting the New Testament with any precision.”[19]

Early Christian Attitudes towards Beards

  • St Clement of Alexandria
    • “The hair of the chin showed him to be a man.” St Clement of Alexandria (c.195, E), 2.271
    • “How womanly it is for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, and to arrange his hair at the mirror, shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them!…For God wished women to be smooth and to rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane. But He adorned man like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him as an attribute of manhood, with a hairy chest—a sign of strength and rule.” St. Clement of Alexandria, 2.275
    • “This, then, is the mark of the man, the beard. By this, he is seen to be a man. It is older than Eve. It is the token of the superior nature….It is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness.” St. Clement of Alexandria, 2.276
    • “It is not lawful to pluck out the beard, man’s natural and noble adornment.” St. Clement of Alexandria, 2.277


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