The Development of the Canon of the New Testament

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Apocryphal New Testament Writings

Gospel of Thomas
Gospel of Truth
Gospel of the Twelve
Gospel of Peter
Gospel of Basilides
Gospel of the Egyptians
Gospel of the Hebrews
Gospel of Matthias
Traditions of Matthias
Preaching of Peter
Acts of Andrew
Acts of Paul
Acts of John
Epistle to the Laodiceans
I Clement
Epistle of Barnabas
Shepherd of Hermas
Apocalypse of Peter

I Clement (95-96 CE)

The letter from the Christians in Rome to their fellow believers in Corinth known as I Clement is one of the earliest extant Christian documents outside the New Testament. There is widespread agreement in dating this letter 95-96 CE, in the year of the emperor Domitian or the first of his successor, Nerva. The letter reveals something of both the circumstances and attitudes of the Roman Christians, and how they differ from those of their fellow Christians in Asia Minor to whom the Revelation of John was addressed. Whereas in the Revelation of John, Rome is presented as the great harlot whose attacks upon the Church must be resisted, in I Clement one finds a much more positive view of the Roman government, and the elements of peace, harmony, and order that are so important to the author of this letter reflect some of the fundamental values of Roman society.

While the letter, which was sent on behalf of the whole church, does not name its writer, well-attested ancient tradition identifies it as the work of Clement, although precisely who he is is not clear. Tradition identifies him as the 3rd bishop of Rome after Peter, but this is unlikely because the office of monarchical bishop, in the sense intended by this later tradition, does not appear to have existed in Rome at this time.

Despite the popularity of this document in antiquity, relatively few manuscripts have survived. It was not until 1873 that a complete copy of the text was discovered by Bryennios in codex Hierosolymitanus that also includes II Clement, Epistle of Barnabas, and the Didache. The sources for the English translation in [LHH] 28-64 are:

  • codex Alexandrinus (5th century, lacks 57.7-63.4)
  • codex Hierosolymitanus (1056 CE)
  • Latin translation (in a single 11th century MS)
  • Syriac translation (in a New Testament MS, 1169-70 CE)
  • Coptic translation (in 2 MSS, 4th and 7th century)

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