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Not by Paul Alone

The Formation of the Catholic Epistle Collection and the Christian Canon

David R. Nienhuis

Publication Year: 2007

Not by Paul Alone explores the historical reasons for the creation of the book of James and the implications for the creation of the Christian canon. Nienhuis makes a compelling case that James was written in the mid-second century and is, like 2 Peter, an attempt to provide a distinctive shape to the emerging New Testament. This book bolsters the claim that the Catholic Epistles not only have a distinct witness individually, but that collectively they are also a considered theological agenda within the Christian church.

Published by: Baylor University Press


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p. vii-vii

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pp. ix-x

The so-called “Catholic Epistles”—James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John, and Jude—are usually studied in isolation from each other. Of course, obvious points of contact are duly noted and discussed. 2 Peter is intended as a sequel to 1 Peter and is probably dependent on Jude; 2 and 3 John serve as appendices to 1 John; and there are striking parallels between the three major letters in the collection (James, 1 Peter, 1 John), parallels commonly explained by appeal to shared parenetic tradition. Otherwise...

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pp. xi-xii

Writing acknowledgments for one’s very first book is an emotionally overwhelming task. How do I rightly give thanks for the complex web of supportive mentors, friends, and family who have held me up over the years during which this project developed from an amorphous idea, to a Ph.D. dissertation, and now to this book? I suppose it makes the most sense for me to begin by thanking Professor Francis Watson of the University of Aberdeen, who supervised my Ph.D. thesis. This book is really just a lightly revised version of the work I completed under his tutelage...


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pp. xiii-xviii

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pp. 1-28

Sometime in or around the year 413, Augustine of Hippo wrote a treatise entitled De fide et operibus in which he articulated one of the earliest reckonings of the logic behind the final form of the NT apostolic letter collection (CSEL 41.33–97).1 The work addresses contemporary errors associated with a misunderstanding of the relationship between faith and works in the Christian life: the first identified is the tendency of certain groups to justify the sin of schism in their zeal for the moral purity of the community; the second is the tendency for the church to teach only...

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Chapter 1: A Canonical History of the New Testament Catholic Epistle Collection

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pp. 29-97

The central goal of this chapter is to produce a thorough account of the canonical formation of the CE collection. Though assumptions about its development abound in introductory works, and a number of shorter summaries can be found here and there in more scholarly texts, a detailed analysis of all the issues involved is required.1 The following chapter will begin by considering the early development ...

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Chapter 2: Early James Traditions and the Canonical Letter of James

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pp. 99-161

Though the authenticity of the letter of James was generally taken for granted by many church leaders after Augustine, we have seen that several noteworthy patristic figures recorded for posterity their doubts about the document. Origen was the first on record to accept the letter, but comments acknowledging that other churchmen of his time rejected it cast a shadow over his glowing approval (for example...

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Chapter 3: Reading James as a Canon-conscious Pseudepigraph

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pp. 163-231

My second chapter argued that James of Jerusalem did not write the canonical letter of James. Sufficient evidence exists to suggest that the canonical letter might have been composed sometime in the second century, possibly penned by someone who sought to forge together a collection of Pillar letters that would serve as a canonical counterbalance to the Pauline letter collection. My first chapter demonstrated this ...

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Chapter 4: Conclusion

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pp. 233-238

This study bears a number of possible implications for contemporary New Testament research. Methodologically, my goal has been to offer a canonical reading justified on historical grounds, or put another way, a historical hypothesis demonstrated to be plausible by a combination of literary and canonical evidence. It is up to others to determine whether or not I have been successful in this endeavor. Regardless, it is offered in the hope that it might contribute to a movement away from the occasionally rancorous and simplistic state of affairs wherein “modern” historical...

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pp. 239-258

Index of Selected Ancient Persons, Authors and Texts

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pp. 259-264

E-ISBN-13: 9781602580305
E-ISBN-10: 1602580308
Print-ISBN-13: 9781602583405
Print-ISBN-10: 1602583404

Page Count: 285
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: 1st