An evolving Bible?

August 16, 2006

A People So Bold asks Would it be a good idea to include new books in the Bible?

I’m reminded of the Good as New paraphrase of the Bible, which adds the Gospel of Thomas and leaves out the (often dangerously misinterpreted) Book of Revelations.

I’m also reminded of Luther’s decision to remove the Apocrypha.

Assuming that we don’t believe that the process of deciding which documents were included was an infallible process, on what basis do we accept the current list? Is it only that everyone else does, so we do to?

The core of the Bible for me contains those documents which witness of the life and teachings of Jesus, so I would include those documents which are the earliest of those witnesses (the current Gospels and most of the letters. Thomas? Maybe. Revelations? Maybe not – after all, it never even made it into all the bibles in the first place)

After that, what? Any why?

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One Response to “An evolving Bible?”


  1. What about a deconstructed Bible instead? The whole concept of “canonicity” carries within it an assumption of Orthodoxy: that there is a yardstick against which we can measure “straight belief.” Technically speaking, none of the New Testament documents can be said to represent “eyewitness” testimony anyway — although those criteria (apostolic origin and suitable for reading at public worship) were the basis of the original New Testament canon, and resulted in the exclusion of other early Christian manuscripts like the Didiche, The Shepherd of Hermas, and the letters of Clement, all of which were very important to 1st and 2nd century Christians. As a historian, I’m much more interested in WHY certain things got into the canon and others didn’t than I am in second-guessing the Dead White Males who made those decisions. I’m much less interested in an evolving Bible than I am an emerging faith which is still evolving today.


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