The claim has been repeated over and over that the first person to list the same twenty-seven books that we find in our New Testament today was Athanasius of Alexandria, in the year 367. When this claim comes from the lips of a skeptical scholar, it’s typically followed by a long leap to the conclusion that the New Testament canon was in flux until sometime in the late fourth century A.D. Such a supposition is, however, problematic at multiple levels.Continue reading.
The Canon of the New Testament and the Categories of Eusebius
The suggestion continues to be made by popular skeptics that the New Testament canon was in flux for hundreds of years. One scholar claims that no one came up with “a definitive list of books to be included in the canon that matched our list today” until “the famous Athanasian letter of 367 C.E. Even the powerful Athanasius could not settle the issue once and for all.” It’s true that, in the year 367, Athanasius of Alexandria did write a letter in which he listed the same twenty-seven books that appear in the New Testament today.
But that doesn’t mean that the canon of the New Testament was in complete flux until the end of the fourth century or later!Continue reading.