New Testament Introduction

New Testament Introduction

New Testament Introduction

New Testament Introduction

Excerpt

The expression "New Covenant" or " New Testament (ξαινὴ διαϑήξη, Novum Testamentum) in the earliest Christian literature denotes the new economy of salvation established by Jesus Christ, which replaced the Old Covenant (cf. 2 Cor. 3, 6; Gal. 4, 24; Heb. 8, 6; 9, 15; 12, 24). The name goes back to Christ himself, who at the Last Supper referred to his Blood (that is, to his death on the Cross) as the foundation of a new covenant with men (Mt. 26, 28; Mk. 14, 24: "This is my Blood of the new Testament. Lk. 22, 20; 1 Cor. 11, 25: "This chalice is the new Testament in my Blood").

From the end of the second century the Christian Church also applied this name to the collection of its own early sacred writings while it applied the name Old Testament (παΛαιὰ διαϑήξη) to the sacred writings taken over from the Synagogue. Those early Christian writings were composed in the second half of the first century, but only in the course of the second century were they ranked as a second collection of sacred books having equal authority with the writings taken over from Judaism (cf. § 5,2). in the beginning their number was not fixed. Only in the fifth century. was universal recognition given in the Greek and Latin Church to all the twenty seven books which to-day make up the Canon of the New Testament, namely the Gospels according to SS. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; Acts of the Apostles, by St. Luke; fourteen Pauline Epistles; seven Catholic Epistles, and the Apocalypse of St. John.

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