Textual Criticism Textual criticism is a branch of textual scholarship, philology, and literary criticism that is concerned with the identification of textual variants in either manuscripts or printed books. Scribes can make alterations when copying manuscripts by hand. Given a manuscript copy, several or many copies, but not the original...
Christianity’s Religious Texts: The Bible. Christianity combines the Jewish Old Testament with the New Testament to form the Christian Bible, which followers refer to as the Holy Scriptures. There are many noncanonical texts in the Christian religion as well. Christians believe the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Christianity’s Religious Scriptures
- The Bible (the Old Testament and the New Testament). The Apostolic churches (Catholicism and Orthodoxy) also include the Deuterocanonicals.
- For Protestantism, this is the 66-book canon – the Jewish Tanakh of 24 books divided differently (into 39 books) and the universal 27-book New Testament. Some denominations also include the 15 books of the Apocrypha between the Old Testament and the New Testament, for a total of 81 books.
- For Catholicism, this includes seven deuterocanonical books in the Old Testament for a total of 73 books, called the Canon of Trent (in versions of the Latin Vulgate, 3 Esdras, 4 Esdras, and the Prayer of Manasseh are included in an appendix, but considered non-canonical).
- For the Eastern Orthodox Church, this includes the anagignoskomena, which consist of the Catholic deuterocanon, plus 3 Maccabees, Psalm 151, the Prayer of Manasseh, and 3 Esdras. 4 Maccabees is considered to be canonical by the Georgian Orthodox Church.
- The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (and its offspring, the Eritrean Orthodox Church) adds various additional books depending on the specific enumeration of the canon (see Ethiopian Biblical canon), but always includes 4 Esdras, the Book of Jubilees, 1 Enoch, 4 Baruch, and 1, 2, and 3 Meqabyan (no relation to the Books of Maccabees).
- Some Syriac churches accept the Letter of Baruch as scripture.
- The Bible
- Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. This textbook, along with the Bible, serves as the permanent “impersonal pastor” of the church.
- Nag Hammadi library and other Gnostic texts (not from the Bible)
- Some books of the Old Testament and New Testament
- Cerdonianism and Marcionism
- Only the Gospel of Marcion and selected Pauline epistles accepted
- The Bible (The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures is their preferred translation.)
Latter Day Saint Movement
- The Bible
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) uses the LDS edition of the King James Bible for English-speaking members; other versions are used in non-English speaking countries.
- The Community of Christ (RLDS) uses the Joseph Smith Translation, which it calls the Inspired Version, as well as updated modern translations.
- The Book of Mormon
- The Pearl of Great Price is authoritative in the LDS Church, rejected by Community of Christ.
- The Doctrine and Covenants
- There are significant differences in content and section numbering between the Doctrine and Covenants used by the Community of Christ (RLDS) and the LDS Church.
- Other, smaller branches of Latter Day Saints include other scriptures, such as the Book of the Law of the Lord used by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) or The Word of the Lord used by Fettingite branches.
Native American Church
- The Bible (among Christian-leaning factions only)
- The Bible (Ethiopian Orthodox canon)
- the Holy Piby
- the Kebra Nagast
- The speeches and writings of Haile Selassie I (including his autobiography My Life and Ethiopia’s Progress)
- Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy
- The Bible
- The writings of Ellen White are held to an elevated status, though not equal with the Bible, as she is considered to have been an inspired prophetess.
- The Bible (several books omitted)
- The works of Emanuel Swedenborg (not considered equal to the Bible)
- The Divine Principle
- The Bible as illuminated by more recent revelation
Synoptic Gospels The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are referred to as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in a similar sequence and in similar or sometimes identical wording. They stand in contrast to John, whose content is largely distinct. The term synoptic (Latin: synopticus) comes via Latin from the Greek σύνοψις, synopsis, i.e. “(a) seeing...
What Are The Deuterocanonical Books? The deuterocanonical books are books and passages considered by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church to be canonical books of the Old Testament but which are considered non-canonical by Protestant denominations. They are books from the Septuagint, the standard translation of the Hebrew Bible...
List of Gospels A gospel (a contraction of Old English god spel meaning “good news/glad tidings (of the kingdom of God)”, comparable to Greek εὐαγγέλιον, evangelion) is a written account of the career and teachings of Jesus. The term originally meant the Christian message itself, but in the second century, it came to be used for...
Book of Moses *Not to be confused with Five Books of Moses or Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses. The Book of Moses, dictated by Joseph Smith, is part of the scriptural canon for some in the Latter Day Saint movement. The book begins with the “Visions of Moses,” a prologue to the story of the creation and the fall of...
What Is “Word of Wisdom”? The “Word of Wisdom” is the common name of a section of the Doctrine and Covenants, a book considered by many churches within the Latter Day Saint movement to consist of revelations from God. It is also the name of a health code based on this scripture, practiced most strictly by The Church of Jesus Christ of...
Historicity of the Bible The historicity of the Bible is the question of the Bible’s “acceptability as a history”. This can be extended to the question of the Christian New Testament as an accurate record of the historical Jesus and the Apostolic Age. When examining the books of the Bible, scholars...
Gospel in Islam Injil (إنجيل, Injeel) is the Arabic name for the Gospel of Jesus (Isa). This Injil is described by the Qur’an as one of the four Islamic holy books which was revealed by God, the others being the Zabur (possibly the Psalms), the Tawrat (the Torah), and the Qur’an itself. The...
Gospel of John The Gospel of John is the fourth of the canonical gospels.[Notes 1] The work is anonymous, although it identifies an unnamed “disciple whom Jesus loved” as the source of its traditions. It is closely related in style and content to the three Johannine epistles, and most scholars treat the four...
Nag Hammadi Library The Nag Hammadi library (also known as the “Chenoboskion Manuscripts” and the “Gnostic Gospels”) is a collection of early Christian and Gnostic texts discovered near the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. Thirteen leather-bound papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar were found by a local farmer named Muhammed...
Messianic Secret In biblical criticism, the Messianic Secret refers to a motif primarily in the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus is portrayed as commanding his followers to maintain silence about his Messianic mission. Attention was first drawn to this motif in 1901 by William Wrede. Part of Wrede’s theory involved statements in the New Testament by Jesus to...
New Testament Apocrypha The New Testament apocrypha (singular apocryphon) are a number of writings by early Christians that give accounts of Jesus and his teachings, the nature of God, or the teachings of his apostles and of their lives. Some of these writings have been cited as scripture by early Christians, but since the fifth century a widespread consensus has...
Gospel of Luke The Gospel According to Luke, also called the Gospel of Luke, or simply Luke, is the third of the four canonical Gospels. It tells of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Luke is the longest of the four gospels and the longest book in the...
What Is Catholic Bible? Within Catholicism, the Bible comprises the whole 73-book canon recognized by the Catholic Church, including the deuterocanonical books. It is sometimes referred to as the Catholic Bible. Books included The Catholic Bible is composed of the 46 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament. Old Testament Pentateuch : Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy Historical books : Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1...
Gospel of Mark The Gospel According to Mark is one of the four canonical gospels and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells of the ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to his death and burial and the discovery of the empty tomb – there is no genealogy of Jesus or birth narrative, nor, in the original ending at chapter...
Gospel of Matthew The Gospel According to Matthew (the Gospel of Matthew or Matthew) is the first book of the New Testament and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells how the promised Messiah, Jesus, rejected by Israel, is killed, is raised from the dead, and finally sends the disciples to preach the gospel to...
What Is The Gospel? Gospel originally meant the Christian message itself, but in the 2nd century it came to be used for the books in which the message was set out. The four canonical gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — were written between AD 70 and 100, building on older sources...
Authorship of the Bible This article is about modern scholarly approaches to the composition of the biblical texts. Table I gives an overview of the periods and dates ascribed to the various books of the Bible. Tables II, III and IV outline the conclusions of the majority of contemporary scholars...
Historical Reliability of the Acts of the Apostles The historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles, the principal historical source for the Apostolic Age, is of interest for biblical scholars and historians of Early Christianity as part of the debate over the historicity of the Bible. Archaeological inscriptions and other independent sources show that Acts...
John 18:38 John chapter 18, verse 38 of the Gospel of John, is often referred to as “jesting Pilate” or “What is truth?“, of Latin Quid est veritas? In it, Pontius Pilate questions Jesus’ claim that he is “witness to the truth” (John 18:37). Following this statement, Pilate proclaims to the masses (“the Jews” referring to the...