Defining Apostolicity

This is a subsidiary post of Apostolicity and the New Testament.

Campenhausen, Hans von.  The Formation of the Christian Bible.  trans. J. A. Baker.  Augsburg Fortress, 1972; Sigler Press, 1997 edition.  See p. 330.

“So far as any ‘principle’ can be discerned behind the sources it appears to be one simply of chronological limitation: the normative testimonies must derive from the period closest to Christ, namely that of Christian origins, the age of the apostles and their disicples.”

Dunbar, David G.  “The Biblical Canon” in Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon, ed. D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge.  Academie Books, 1986.  See p. 358; the embedded quote is from Campenhausen, p. 330 (see above).

“Broadly stated, the church regarded apostolicity as the qualifying factor for canonical recognition; however, this apostolicity should be understood not strictly in terms of authorship but in terms of content and chronology.  That which was canon must embody the apostolic tradition, and this tradition was to be discerned in he most primitive documents: ‘ the normative testimonies must derive from the period closest to Christ, namely that of Christian origins, the age of the apostles and their disciples.’  The recognition of this apostolicity, moreover, was based primarily on the tradition of the church.  Those books that had functioned authoritatively for earlier Christians were received as authentic apostolic tradition.  In turn, those documents were used in a negative way to exclude works of later vintage or varying doctrinal content, as happened, for example, in [sic] case of The Gospel of Peter.”

Zahn, Theodor.  Geschichte des neutestamentlichen Kanons.  Deichert, 1888-1892.   Per Campenhausen (see above) in footnote 9 on p. 330 of The Formation of the Christian Bible:

“Zahn…pertinently comments: ‘The concept of what was “apostolic”, to the extent that it coincided with what we call “canonical” or “New Testament”, was not derived directly from the idea of a special official dignity attaching to the twelve apostles and to Paul, but from the conviction that complete sections of the traditional New Testament were written by apostles and companions of the apostles, and thus were reliable documents for the apostolic age, and in particular for the apostolic preaching and tradition’.”

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