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In general, the Pharisees were a major source of opposition to Jesus Christ. An elite group composed of aristocratic high priestly families who had gained prominence during the Hasmonean period. Though relatively few in number, they held considerable power, especially over the administration of the temple in Jerusalem. They opposed Jesus Christ for His cleansing of the temple, which they regarded as an affront to their authority.

They rejected traditions and beliefs not found in the written law of Moses, putting them at odds with the Pharisees and many other Jews. In particular, they rejected belief in angels, immortality, judgment, and resurrection. These beliefs were the cause of much of the animosity they had toward the Savior. This Jewish council regulated the internal affairs of the Jewish nation. Though Rome retained political power, the Sanhedrin was allowed jurisdiction over the religious laws of Judea as long as it was able to keep the Jews under control.

Educated men who made their livelihood as record keepers and as copyists of the scriptures. They supplied scriptures to the growing number of synagogues and also became interpreters and teachers of the law of Moses. Synagogues were Jewish congregations, or the actual buildings where Jews assembled for prayer and worship on Sabbaths, festivals, and other holy days.

The institution of the synagogue became pronounced during the Babylonian exile and the intertestamental period as Jews sought ways to worship the Lord while separated from His temple. Remains of several synagogues dating to New Testament times have been discovered.

How Did We Get the New Testament?

Jesus and His Apostles taught in such synagogues. Rather than revealing a day-to-day story of the life of Jesus Christ, the Gospels emphasize His atoning mission, as told in the context of His mortal life and ministry. John stated that the authors were selective in what they recorded see John Matthew —23 ; —17 ; —9 ; Mark ; ; —31 ; ; —62 ; , Luke —4, 35 ; —11 ; —8, 25—32, 44— John —4, 14 ; —39 ; , 58 ; —37 ; — The first two rows on the overview chart show that Matthew, Mark, and Luke share much of the same content.

Even so, each is unique and has much detail that is not shared by the others. The earliest surviving New Testament text dated to the first half of the second century A.

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The earliest full manuscripts of individual New Testament books date to around A. After apostolic authority was taken from the earth through the deaths of the Apostles, which resulted in the loss of priesthood keys, the Apostasy accelerated, and diverse and competing groups of Christians claimed scriptural support for their beliefs.


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As debates over the authenticity and value of various texts intensified, Christians felt a need to gather together an accepted collection of authentic Christian writings. It was generally understood that some writings were authentic and others were questionable, with some being of greater value than others.

Using these criteria, in A. This collection was confirmed by the third council of Carthage in A. This may have been a factor in the development of the collection of books now known as the Bible. The earliest complete text of the New Testament is the Codex Sinaiticus, written in the fourth century A. Following is an overview of a few of the major translations of the Bible throughout history. However, because these translations were not closely controlled, church leaders soon became concerned about the many corruptions and variances in the separate texts.

To address this problem, Pope Damasus in A.

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If, on the other hand, we are to glean the truth from a comparison of many, why not go back to the original Greek and correct the mistakes introduced by inaccurate translators, and the blundering alterations of confident but ignorant critics, and, further, all that has been inserted or changed by copyists more asleep than awake?

The Vulgate was given official sanction at the Council of Trent — To escape religious persecution by a Gothic chief, a Catholic priest named Wulfila sometimes known as Ulfilas fled with his followers from Germany to what is now northern Bulgaria. There, Wulfila translated the Bible from Greek into the Gothic dialect. This version established much of the Germanic Christian vocabulary that is still in use today. In the late 15th and early 16th centuries, a number of German translations of the Bible were produced, but the German translation that had the greatest influence was the one produced by Martin Luther.

Luther was a German priest and theologian, whose break from the Catholic church helped to fuel the Protestant Reformation. He disagreed with many church practices that he felt did not accord with the teachings of scripture, and he came to regard the Bible rather than the church as the reliable source of authority for Christians. After publicly announcing his disagreements with the church in , Martin Luther began to work on translating the Bible into German. He completed work on the New Testament in and published his translation of the entire Bible in This translation into the vernacular of German-speaking peoples was one of the most important acts of the Reformation.

See Article History. Read More on This Topic. The New Testament consists of 27 books, which are the residue, or precipitate, out of many 1st—2nd-century-ad…. Start your free trial today for unlimited access to Britannica. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. The New Testament consists of 27 books, which are the residue, or precipitate, out of many 1st—2nd-century- ad writings that Christian groups considered sacred. In these various writings the…. The Apostle Matthew reports Jesus as having said, in the Sermon on the Mount, that he came not to destroy the law or the prophets but to fulfill them.

Indeed, when Jesus is regarded as a teacher of ethics, it is clear…. Although an older tradition contends that apocalyptic beliefs were a later addition, it is generally held that the preaching and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth and the activities of his followers in the 1st century ad can be properly understood only in…. History at your fingertips. The critical edition of the Latin Vulgate published at Oxford by the Anglicans Wordsworth and White, from to , gives the Gospels and the Acts.

Jerome Old and New Testament. The "Diatessaron" of Tatian is known to us by the Arabic version edited by by Mgr. Ciasea, and by the Armenian version of a commentary of St. Ephraem which is founded on the Syriac of Tatian translated into Latin, in , by the Mechitarists Auchar and Moesinger. The publications of H. Von Soden have contributed to make the work of Tatian better known. Lewis has just published a comparative edition of the Syriac palimpset of Sinai ; this had been already done by F.

Burkitt for the Cureton codex, in There exists also a critical edition of the Peshitto by G. Gwilliam As regards the Egyptian versions of the Gospels, the edition of G. Horner , 5 vols. The English translation, that accompanies them, is meant for a wider circle of readers. It would be particularly easy for the Gospels and the important Epistles of St. Here again a preliminary step must be taken by the critic. Before pronouncing that a Father read and quoted the New Testament in this or that way, we must first be sure that the text as in its present form had not been harmonized with the reading commonly received at the time and in the country where the Father's works were edited in print or in manuscripts.

Cyprian von Sodon, , in Origen Hautsch, , in St.

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Ephraem Burkett, , in Marcion Zahn, , are a valuable help in this work. Method followed 1 The different readings attested for the same word were first noted, then they were classed according to their causes; involuntary variants: lapsus, homoioteleuton, itacismus, scriptio continua; voluntary variants, harmonizing of the texts, exegesis , dogmatical controversies, liturgical adaptations. This however was only an accumulation of matter for critical discussion.

How Did We Get the New Testament? | Cru

This consists in examining each case by itself, and it nearly always had as result that the reading found in most documents was considered the right one. In a few cases only the greater antiquity of certain readings prevailed over numerical superiority. Yet one witness might be right rather than a hundred others, who often depend on common sources.

Even the oldest text we have, if not itself the original, may be corrupt, or derived from an unfaithful reproduction. To avoid as far as possible these occasions of error , critics were not long before giving preference to the quality rather than to the number of the documents. The guarantees of the fidelity of a copy are known by the history of the intermediate ones connecting it with the original, that is by its genealogy.

The genealogical process was brought into vogue especially by two great Cambridge scholars, Westcott and Hort. By dividing the texts, versions, and Patristic citations into families , they arrived at the following conclusions: a The documents of the New Testament are grouped in three families that may be called Alexandrian, Syrian , and Western. None of these is entirely free from alterations.


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  • The text called Western, best represented by D, is the most altered although it was widely spread in the second and third centuries, not only in the West primitive Latin Version, St. Hippolitus , Tertullian , St. However, we find in it a certain number of original readings which it alone has preserved. The Alexandrian text is the best, this was the received text in Egypt and, to a certain extent, in Palestine. It is to be found, but adulterated in C at least as regards the Gospels.

    Cyril of Alexandria. The current Alexandrian text however is not primitive. It appears to be a sub-type derived from an older and better preserved text which we have almost pure in B and N. It is this text that Westcott and Hort call neutral, because it has been kept, not absolutely, but much more than all the others, free from the deforming influences which have systematically created the different types of text. The neutral text which is superior to all the others, although not perfect, is attested by Origen.

    Before him we have no positive testimony, but historical analogies and especially the data of internal criticism show that it must be primitive. Between the Western text and the Alexandria text is the place of the Syrian, which was that used at Antioch in Cappadocia and at Constantinople in the time of St. John Chrysostom. It is the result of a methodical "confluence" of the Western text with that received in Egypt and Palestine towards the middle of the third century.

    The Syrian text must have been edited between the years and This type has no value for the reconstruction of the original text, as all the readings which are peculiar to it are simply alterations. The "received text" is the modern descendant of this Syrian text.

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    The New Testament

    It evidently depends on an eclectic text. Jerome revised a western text with a neutral text and another not yet determined. The whole was contaminated, before or after him, by the Syrian text.