The Book of Revelation: How Difficult Was Its Journey into the Canon?

Revelation

The story of the New Testament canon is a fascinating one, with many twists and turns.  There are books that were accepted very quickly, almost from the start (e.g., the four gospels), and there are other books that struggled to find a home (e.g., 2 Peter).

And then there is the book of Revelation. 

Roman Catholicism and the NT Canon: Today on the Dividing Line with James White

Pope

My new book, The Question of Canon, is designed to challenge a particular approach to the New Testament canon that is prevalent in the modern academy.  It is the approach that suggests that in the earliest stages of Christianity the canon was in disarray; the canonical process was a wide-open affair where no one agreed on much of anything and no one was able to distinguish canonical books from apocryphal ones.

What is ironic about this critical approach is that it has an unexpected ally: Roman Catholicism.  The Catholic claim is remarkably similar to the one of critical scholars (at least in its premise).  Both claim that the canonical …

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Bible Secrets Revealed?: A Response to the New History Channel Series (Part 3)

Gnostic Gospels

This is the third installment of a new series reviewing the History Channel series entitled Bible Secrets Revealed (for others, see here and here).  The newest episode is entitled, “The Forbidden Scriptures,” as is definitely one of the most provocative so far. It is designed to argue that certain books were “banned” or “forbidden” from the New Testament.

This episode makes numerous claims about the development of the New Testament that, once again, prove not to be the whole story.  Many such claims were made, but I will only mention a few of the key ones here.

1. Was the canon just a power-play?   This episode repeats the …

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Did Justin Martyr Know the Gospel of John?

Justin Martyr

There has been a long-standing scholarly discussion about how far back we can trace the roots of the fourfold gospel.  We certainly see it in Irenaeus, who is quite plain about his view, “It is not possible that the gospels can be either more or fewer than the number they are.  For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live and four principle winds… [and] the cherubim, too, were four-faced” (Haer. 3.11.8).

But, can we trace the fourfold gospel back even further?  Justin Martyr, an early Christian apologist writing c.150-160, is a key player in this debate.  He clearly knows the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark …

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