Re: Re: Can we expand the NT canon?

Date:    Sun, 23 Jan 94  9:47 EST
From:    "Bart D. Ehrman"                            <BARTUNC>
To:      "Sterling G. Bjorndahl" <bjorndahl@AUGUSTANA.AB.CA>
Subject: Re: Re: Can we expand the NT canon?

   I am not interested in getting into the question of whether
the NT canon _ought_ to be expanded, for many of the reasons
Sterling Bjorndahl and others have adduced: the canon was never
_meant_ to display the wide range of early Christian diversity,
but in fact was meant to overcome it.  Indeed, I'd take Sterling's
comment much further: there was far _more_ than a _certain_
political element to the process.  (I might add, though, that
there in fact was _not_ an early consensus on the four Gospels
and Paul.  THe consensus was among only one of the parties, the
proto-orthodox.  Jewish Christian groups, for example, for a long
time excluded Paul; and numerous other groups through the second
and third centuries insisted on either a different Gospel or on
only one of our canonical four).
   I _do_ wonder though about Sterling's concomitant claim, which
seems to contradict this busines of a political element, that
that the idea of heresey being fundamental to the construction of the
canon has been overturned.  I think that quite to the contrary, this
continues to be the most plausible explanation for the phenomenon of
canon construction, and the one most scholars still subscribe to, no?
   -- Bart D. Ehrman, University of North Caronlina at Chapel Hill