Antilegomena

Antilegomena

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Antilegomena, a direct transliteration
Transliteration
Transliteration is a subset of the science of hermeneutics. It is a form of translation, and is the practice of converting a text from one script into another...

 from the Greek , refers to written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed.

Eusebius in his Church History
Church History (Eusebius)
The Church History of Eusebius, the bishop of Caesarea was a 4th-century pioneer work giving a chronological account of the development of Early Christianity from the 1st century to the 4th century. It was written in Koine Greek, and survives also in Latin, Syriac and Armenian manuscripts...

 written c. 325 used the term for those Christian scriptures that were "disputed" or literally those works which were "spoken against" in Early Christianity
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

, before the closure of the New Testament canon
Development of the New Testament canon
The Canon of the New Testament is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the New Testament of the Christian Bible. For most, it is an agreed-upon list of twenty-seven books that includes the Canonical Gospels, Acts, letters of the Apostles, and Revelation...

. This group is distinct from the notha ("spurious" or "rejected writings") and the Homologoumena ("accepted writings" such as the Canonical gospels). These Antilegomena or "disputed writings" were widely read in the Early Church and included the Epistle of James
Epistle of James
The Epistle of James, usually referred to simply as James, is a book in the New Testament. The author identifies himself as "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ", with "the earliest extant manuscripts of James usually dated to mid-to-late third century."There are four views...

, the Epistle of Jude
Epistle of Jude
The Epistle of Jude, often shortened to Jude, is the penultimate book of the New Testament and is attributed to Jude, the brother of James the Just. - Composition :...

, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, the Apocalypse of John, the Gospel according to the Hebrews, the Acts of Paul
Acts of Paul
The Acts of Paul is one of the major works and earliest pseudepigraphal series from the New Testament also known as Apocryphal Acts, an approximate date given to the Acts of Paul is 160 CE. The Acts were first mentioned by Tertullian. Tertullian found it heretical because it encouraged women to...

, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter
Apocalypse of Peter
The recovered Apocalypse of Peter or Revelation of Peter is an example of a simple, popular early Christian text of the 2nd century; it is an example of Apocalyptic literature with Hellenistic overtones. The text is extant in two incomplete versions of a lost Greek original, one Koine Greek, and an...

, the Epistle of Barnabas
Epistle of Barnabas
The Epistle of Barnabas is a Greek epistle containing twenty-one chapters, preserved complete in the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus where it appears at the end of the New Testament...

 and the Didache.

During the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, beginning c. 1517, Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 brought up the issue of the Antilegomena among the Church Fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

, and though none of the New Testament books of the Canon of Trent
Canon of Trent
Though many canons or canon laws were formulated as a result of the 16th century Ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church known as the Council of Trent, the phrase Canon of Trent usually refers to the list of biblical books that were from then on to be considered canonical...

 were rejected from Luther's canon
Luther's canon
Luther's canon is the name of the biblical canon attributed to Martin Luther, which has influenced Protestants since the 16th century Protestant Reformation. As of today, it is the official canon of the Lutheran Church...

, the terminology remains in use today. Since he questioned Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation, these books are sometimes termed "Luther's Antilegomena".

Terminology


In multiple languages and traditions the term Homologoumena is considered a viable alternative "friendly" form to the dogmatic terms Protocanonical and Deuterocanonical, with the only exception of those books that at the present day are not included in any Christian Canon of the Bible
Development of the Christian Biblical canon
The Christian Biblical canon is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the Christian Bible. Books included in the Christian Biblical canons of both the Old and New Testament were decided at the Council of Trent , by the Thirty-Nine Articles , the Westminster...

. So, in multiple traditions through the world, the Deuterocanonical books
Deuterocanonical books
Deuterocanonical books is a term used since the sixteenth century in the Catholic Church and Eastern Christianity to describe certain books and passages of the Christian Old Testament that are not part of the Hebrew Bible. The term is used in contrast to the protocanonical books, which are...

 of the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 are also known as Antilegomena of the Old Testament and the Antilegomena of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

are also known as the Deuterocanonical books of the New Testament.

Eusebius


The first major church historian, Eusebius
Eusebius of Caesarea
Eusebius of Caesarea also called Eusebius Pamphili, was a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist. He became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine about the year 314. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon...

, who wrote his Church History
Church History (Eusebius)
The Church History of Eusebius, the bishop of Caesarea was a 4th-century pioneer work giving a chronological account of the development of Early Christianity from the 1st century to the 4th century. It was written in Koine Greek, and survives also in Latin, Syriac and Armenian manuscripts...

 c. AD 325, applied the Greek term "antilegomena" to the disputed writings of the Early Church:
The Epistle to the Hebrews
Epistle to the Hebrews
The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the books in the New Testament. Its author is not known.The primary purpose of the Letter to the Hebrews is to exhort Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and his...

 is also listed earlier:
Codex Sinaiticus
Codex Sinaiticus
Codex Sinaiticus is one of the four great uncial codices, an ancient, handwritten copy of the Greek Bible. It is an Alexandrian text-type manuscript written in the 4th century in uncial letters on parchment. Current scholarship considers the Codex Sinaiticus to be one of the best Greek texts of...

, a 4th century text and possibly one of the Fifty Bibles of Constantine
Fifty Bibles of Constantine
The Fifty Bibles of Constantine were fifty Bibles commissioned in 331 by Constantine I and prepared by Eusebius of Caesarea. They were made for the use of the Bishop of Constantinople in the growing number of orthodox churches. It was described by Eusebius in his Life of Constantine and his account...

, includes the Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas. The original Peshitta
Peshitta
The Peshitta is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition.The Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from the Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD...

 (NT portion is c. 5th century) excluded 2-3 John, 2 Peter, Jude and Revelation. Some modern editions, such as the Lee Peshitta of 1823, include them.

Reformation


During the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 brought up the issue of the antilegomena among the Church Fathers
Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were early and influential theologians, eminent Christian teachers and great bishops. Their scholarly works were used as a precedent for centuries to come...

. Since he questioned Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation, these books are sometimes termed "Luther's Antilegomena".

F. C. Baur used the term in his classification of the Pauline Epistles
Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

, classing Romans, 1-2 Corinthians and Galatians as homologoumena; Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1-2 Thessalonians and Philemon as antilegomena; and the Pastoral Epistles
Pastoral epistles
The three pastoral epistles are books of the canonical New Testament: the First Epistle to Timothy the Second Epistle to Timothy , and the Epistle to Titus. They are presented as letters from Paul of Tarsus...

 as "notha" (spurious writings).

In current Lutheran usage antilegomena describes those New Testament books that have achieved a doubtful place in the Canon. These are the Epistles of James and Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, the Apocalypse of John, and the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Hebrew Bible


The term is sometimes applied also to certain books in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

. There are records in the Mishna of controversy in some Jewish circles during the 2nd century AD relative to the canonicity of the Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon
The Song of Songs of Solomon, commonly referred to as Song of Songs or Song of Solomon, is a book of the Hebrew Bible—one of the megillot —found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim...

, Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes
The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...

, and Esther
Esther
Esther , born Hadassah, is the eponymous heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther.According to the Bible, she was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus...

. Some doubts were expressed about Proverbs
Book of Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs , commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is a book of the Hebrew Bible.The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is "Míshlê Shlomoh" . When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint the title became "paroimai paroimiae"...

 during this period as well. The Gemara
Gemara
The Gemara is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra; from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by...

 notes that the book of Ezekiel
Ezekiel
Ezekiel , "God will strengthen" , is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Ezekiel is acknowledged as a Hebrew prophet...

 had also been questioned about its authority until objections to it were settled in 66 AD. Also, in the 1st century BC the disciples of Shammai
Shammai
Shammai was a Jewish scholar of the 1st century, and an important figure in Judaism's core work of rabbinic literature, the Mishnah....

 contested the canonicity of Ecclesiastes because of its pessimism, whereas the school of Hillel
Hillel the Elder
Hillel was a famous Jewish religious leader, one of the most important figures in Jewish history. He is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud...

 just as vigorously upheld it. At a hypothetical Council of Jamnia
Council of Jamnia
The Council of Jamnia or Council of Yavne is a hypothetical late 1st-century council at which it is postulated the canon of the Hebrew Bible was finalized....

 (c. 90 AD) it is postulated there was further discussion.

See also

  • Development of the Jewish Bible canon
    Development of the Jewish Bible canon
    Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the 24 books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, as authoritative. Evidence suggests that the process of canonization occurred between 200 BCE and 200 CE. A popular former theory is that the Torah was canonized c. 400 BCE, the Prophets c....

  • Development of the New Testament canon
    Development of the New Testament canon
    The Canon of the New Testament is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the New Testament of the Christian Bible. For most, it is an agreed-upon list of twenty-seven books that includes the Canonical Gospels, Acts, letters of the Apostles, and Revelation...

  • Luther's canon
    Luther's canon
    Luther's canon is the name of the biblical canon attributed to Martin Luther, which has influenced Protestants since the 16th century Protestant Reformation. As of today, it is the official canon of the Lutheran Church...


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