Some New Horizons For Future Research
As church-historian Hans Lietzmann once wrote, the history of the canonization of the New Testament is one of the most difficult topics in the field of research in ancient Christianity.1 This is why, in this essay, I will give only a paradigmatic sketch and not a well painted picture.2 I plan to concentrate on three different points. First I would like to make some remarks on the question of modelling. Then, to the well known picture of canonization, I would like to add two forgotten regions and also a text that is already known but has not been interpreted precisely yet. I turn first to remarks on the question of modelling.
Without a doubt, it is necessary to use models to reconstruct the process of the formation of the Christian biblical canon. One main reason hes in the poverty of our sources: We only possess 14% of the Christian literature of the 2nd century that, according to our sources, must have existed once. But, an important question is which model describes the historical development convenientiy and which
1 H. Lietzmann, Wie wurden die Bücher des Neuen Testaments heilige Schrift? (Tübingen, 1907), 2f. = K. Aland (ed.), Kleine Schriften, Vol. II Studiën zum Neuen Testament (Berlin, 1958), 17: „Die Aufgabe 1st sehr schwer; denn die Kanongeschichte gehort, was im allgemeinen dem Nichtfachmann nicht deudich zu werden pflegt, zu den allerkompliziertesten Teilen der kirchenhistorischen Wissenschaft”.
2 The following contribution is a revised and shortened selection of two presentations held in Jerusalem. The whole material will be published soon by the publishing house Mohr-Siebeck (Tübingen) in a chapter of my book Kaiserzeitliche christliche Theologie und ihre Institutionen. Prolegomena zu einer Geschichte der antiken christlichen Theologie. Parts of this chapter will be published in the journal Apocrypha in 2002.