The Christian claim that the new reality has become manifest and is continually known through proclamation and reception in the mystery of faith raises the inevitable issue of the role of an antecedent or contributing reality or realities. It is the problem of the relation of the Christian faith, anchored in the New Testament, to the Old Testament. The formal interrelation is obviously attested in that the Christian Scripture contains the Old and New Testaments. This, however, does not settle the question of the diverse range of interpretation. On the one end, the Old Testament is interpreted as a precursor, now no longer valid or relevant except as an historical past that is entirely overcome and therefore to be abandoned. On the other end, it is said to have essentially the same content as that of the New Testament. Then the two Testaments represent a different "administration" of the same reality.
Circles of the early Church, as in Alexandria, stand near the first alternative, not in that antecedent realities are denied but because other avenues of knowing, such as gnosis, were preferred by