73 Comments

A New New Testament: Are You Serious?

Just released from the giant publishing firm, Houghton Miflin Harcourt: A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts, edited by Hal Taussig.

The advertisement from HMH distributed widely via email last week was not shy in its claims for the 600-page volume. The subject line read, “It is time for a new New Testament.” In the email blast are strong endorsements by Marcus Borg, Karen King, and Barbara Brown Taylor. Borg and King, like Taussig, were members of the Jesus Seminar (a group headed up by the late Robert W. Funk, which determined which words and deeds of Jesus recorded in the Gospels were authentic). King and Taylor are on the Council for A New New Testament. All of them share a viewpoint which seems to be decidedly outside that of the historic Christian faith, regardless of whether it is Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant.

The New Books

The title of the book sounds provocative; the reality is just as much so. “A council of scholars and spiritual leaders” was convened to determine which books besides the traditional 27 should be added to the New Testament. Significantly, it’s not called a “council of scholars and church leaders” for a reason. Although, to be sure, there were bona fide scholars on the council, not all were church leaders; arguably, in fact, almost none were. The council of 19—including two rabbis—examined several ancient writings which the jacket blurb euphemistically calls ‘scriptures’ and determined which of these worthies deserved a place at the table with original New Testament books. Ten books were selected for this honor, along with two prayers and one song. The song (if that’s the right term) is called “The Thunder: Perfect Mind” and is one of the Nag Hammadi codices. There are no references to it in the ancient world; it never mentions Jesus and may, in fact, have been written three centuries before he was born. Some of the council members wanted it to be listed first in the New New Testament, in spite of (or because of?) its apparent non-Christian perspective. How it is possible for the jacket blurb to say this book was ancient ‘scripture’ when our only knowledge of it comes from Nag Hammadi staggers the mind.

Here is the list of new books added to the New Testament by this council:

  • The Prayer of Thanksgiving
  • The Prayer of the Apostle Paul
  • The Thunder: Perfect Mind
  • The Gospel of Thomas
  • The Gospel of Mary
  • The Gospel of Truth
  • The Acts of Paul and Thecla
  • The Letter of Peter to Philip
  • The Secret Revelation of John
  • The First, Second, Third, and Fourth Books of the Odes of Solomon

What strikes one immediately is that most of these additions seem to be of two types: Gnostic or proto-Gnostic essays and writings that exalt women. Further, what is also striking are books that did not make the cut. Among them are the Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, First Clement, and other books in the collection known as the Apostolic Fathers. In other words, the books selected by the council were selected with an agenda in mind; they were not chosen because they ever made a serious claim to canonicity. Indeed, as was mentioned above, at least one of them is not even mentioned in any extant ancient writing.

Consider again the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. These are writings that were considered orthodox in that they offer a similar viewpoint on doctrinal and practical matters as is found in the New Testament. They are purportedly written by first-generation disciples of the original apostles, though in some cases they are another generation removed. The Shepherd of Hermas was so highly regarded in the ancient church that we have more copies of it from before AD 300 than we do the Gospel of Mark. The Muratorian Canon speaks highly of it but stops short of treating it as bearing the same authority as the New Testament books because of its known recent vintage (mid-second century). But certainly the Shepherd has far better credentials than any of the 13 newly discovered writings for canonization. That the ancient church rejected even this document is implicitly damning evidence that none of the new discoveries really belong within the pages of Holy Writ. We will revisit this issue of the ancient church’s view of authoritative writings at the end of this short review.

The Council of Nineteen and the Ancient Church Councils

The council of nineteen that is attempting to do nothing less than reshape Christianity into an image more compatible with their worldview requires some scrutiny. Who are these people and on what basis does this council have any binding authority on anyone? Most of them are professors, pastors, authors, or rabbis. I cannot say for sure, but I do not believe that any one of them would consider themselves to be orthodox in the sense of holding to the seven universal creeds of the ancient church. John Dominic Crossan and Karen King are perhaps the best known scholars in the group. All we are told about their purported authority to add thirteen writings to the New Testament (bringing the total to 40, a number which often speaks of trials and judgment in the Bible!) is that this group was “modeled on early church councils of the first six centuries CE that made important decisions for larger groups of Christians” (A New New Testament, 555). But the similarities with the ancient councils stop there. Perhaps this is why nothing more is said.

The ancient church sent representatives to the great councils who would make decisions that the churches agreed were to be binding on all. These ancient councils especially hammered out doctrinal issues. And today, all branches of Christendom embrace the decisions and viewpoints of these universal councils as at least good guidelines on what constitutes orthodoxy, if not fully authoritative. There is one key exception to this: the liberal Protestant branch of the church rejects these councils because it rejects the divinity and bodily resurrection of Christ. And the council of nineteen? I cannot speak for all of them, but a good portion of them at least are adamantly against Christ’s deity, his bodily resurrection, his atoning death, the Trinity, and that the Bible has any kind of authority in doctrinal matters.

And they certainly did not conduct their meetings in the spirit of the ancient councils. Those councils were populated by persecuted Christians, representing the major churches and sees, who came to theological decisions based on the final deposit of revelation in the New Testament. Many of them were exiled or lost their lives after the state was swept along by every wind of doctrine while the persecuted saints remained steadfast in their beliefs. The council of nineteen may claim some semblance to these ancient councils, but there is more dissemblance than semblance in the their attempted coup.

Ancient Canon Decisions

As for thinking through what belonged in the New Testament, there was no universal church council that ever made an official list. Here is another point of incongruity between this postmodern council and the ancient ones: the council of nineteen has, by its own self-asserted authority, pronounced a verdict on what goes into the New Testament. At least they did not throw out the Gospel of John, something that more than one member of the Jesus Seminar was wont to do!

Even though there was no ancient universal council regarding the New Testament canon (suggesting, in the words of Bruce Metzger, that the canon is a list of authoritative books [the Reformed view] rather than an authoritative list of books [the Catholic view]), the ancient church did follow three basic guidelines: apostolicity, orthodoxy, catholicity. These will be briefly explained below.

Apostolicity meant that a book had to be written by an apostle or an associate of an apostle if it was to be included in the New Testament. Practically speaking, this meant that any document written after the end of the first century was automatically disqualified. This is why the Muratorian Canon—the first orthodox canon list, composed in the late second century—rejected the Shepherd of Hermas as authoritative, even though it considered it to be very beneficial to Christians. Further, any book that was known to be a forgery was rejected by the ancient church. Not one of the thirteen books proposed by the council of nineteen was written by the person it is ascribed to. The ancient church would—and often did—immediately reject such books because of their spurious nature. The test of apostolicity alone thus disqualifies all thirteen newly discovered books. Relatively speaking, almost all of these newly discovered books should also be called new books.

Orthodoxy meant that those books considered for canonical status needed to conform to what was already known to be orthodox. Orthodoxy was known even before any writings were accepted as scripture. It was known through hymns, the kerygma, and the traditions passed down by the apostles. If there never had been a New Testament, we would still have enough to go on to guide us as to what essential Christianity looked like. And it looked nothing like most of the thirteen books proposed by this new council. The Gnostic and proto-Gnostic books were soundly rejected by the ancient church. And even those that were closer to orthodoxy (like The Acts of Paul and Thecla) were rejected because they failed the test of apostolicity. To put The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Mary, and The Gospel of Truth into the New Testament, side by side with writings that embraced a diametrically-opposed view of the Christian faith, is unspeakably brash. And although Professor Taussig and his friends think they are doing Christendom a favor by including known heretical writings in their expanded New Testament, they are doing so at both the cost of historical integrity and pedagogical method. This can only confuse laypeople, yet even Barbara Brown Taylor—considered one of the ten best preachers in America, and thus someone who knows better than to create Chicken Littles out of the chaos that this tome will almost surely incite—has endorsed the plan and layout of this volume. Orthodoxy seemed to be the furthest thing from the minds of the New New Testament council.

Finally, catholicity was a criterion used in deciding what earned a place at the table of the New Testament canon. By ‘catholicity’ I do not mean Roman Catholicism. No, I mean that for a book to make the cut it generally needed to be accepted by all the churches. To be sure, some New Testament books struggled in this department, but not all did. In fact, within a century of the completion of the New Testament, the ancient church throughout the Mediterranean world achieved a remarkable unanimity concerning at least twenty of the twenty-seven books. This included all thirteen letters ascribed to Paul and the four Gospels. The rest would find acceptance by the fourth century, in both the eastern and western branches of the church. Most of the new additions to the New Testament fail this test miserably, too. Again, catholicity is not something that the council of nineteen considered when deciding on what books to put in. Rather, catholicity is something that this book aims to achieve. And yet it does so principally through a Gnostic-like route: by urging Christians to accept these books on the basis of their largely politically correct viewpoint, the council is seeking to reshape Christianity into something more palatable to the postmodern world, where presumably knowledge replaces faith.

(For more on these criteria, see Reinventing Jesus, by Ed Komoszewski, James Sawyer, and Daniel B. Wallace.)

Conclusion

In short, the New New Testament is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The council that put these books forth is a farce. It has nothing to do with the councils of old, yet implicitly seeks to claim authority on the basis of concocted semblance. The books were selected by those who, though certainly having a right to scholarly examination of the Christian faith, are not at all qualified to make any pronouncements on canon. That belongs to the church, the true church. Outsiders may address, critique, and comment on the New Testament. They have that right—a right given them by the very nature of the Bible: this book is the only sacred document of any major religion which consistently subjects itself to historical inquiry. Unlike the Bhagavad Gita, the Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha, the Qur’an, or the Gospel of Thomas, the Bible is not just talking heads, devoid of historical facts, places, and people. It is a book that presents itself as historical, and speaks about God’s great acts in history, intersecting with humanity in verifiable ways. This is where orthodoxy and heterodoxy should meet, dialoging and debating over whether the Bible is in any sense true. But to suspend the discussion by a sleight of hand is both cowardly and bombastic.

 

Epilogue: The Value of the New New Testament

After reading the critique above, one might be tempted to ask, “Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?” There actually is value in this book—even, I think, for laypeople. These are important ancient books that show both continuity with the early church and discontinuity. Some are essentially orthodox; most are subchristian. But they represent how ancients perceived the Christ event and remind us that even in the early period not all ‘Christian’ groups truly embraced Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. Heresy is found in the earliest period of the Christian faith, too: it dogged the apostle Paul and even found a home in some of his churches after he left for other mission fields. At bottom, the question that we must all grapple with, and what many of these ancient writings grappled with, is this: What will you do with Jesus of Nazareth? That question is still the most important one that anyone can ever ask.

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73 comments on “A New New Testament: Are You Serious?

  1. Dan, Thank you for this clear authoritative view of this new threat to our Bible.
    Surely no one can claim the name “New Testament” in any way. Should we not prohibit them from abusing the name in some way? I just don’t know who or how it should do it, but we cannot let this kind of heresy be spread and then have to extinguish the fires afterwards. There is no “New New Testament” There is only one New Testament. An edition may contain the apocrypha, but then it is mentioned outright, and clearly indicated.
    Thank you also for clearly explaining the guidelines the ancient Churches followed in deciding which books would be included in our canon.
    God bless, Herman.

  2. Reblogged this on Veracity and commented:
    Veracity is all about the Bible: what it is and is not, how it came to be, what it reports and claims, who it describes, and the difference it should make in our lives. Here’s another outstanding post by Dr. Daniel Wallace that gets to the heart of these issues, demonstrating solid scholarship and discipleship in response to yet another agenda to remake Christianity.

  3. What about the book of Hebrews? How did it pass the Apostolicity test since we don’t know the author?

    • Although it is true that the author is unknown, it is quite likely that he was associated with Paul. In chapter 13 he speaks of Timothy, one of Paul’s close associates. And his logic and theological framework shows a great deal of indebtedness to Paul. Since the test of apostolicity does not explicitly require apostolic authorship, but rather association with an apostle, the ancient church was justified in considering this letter as passing the test.

      • Possibly Barnabas, who we know was a companion of Paul.

      • Dan, your justification for the book of Hebrews is , well, wanting. Really? If anyone else used such a justification for including a new book into the canon it would get lambasted. The fact is, there are no clear criteria, only common practice and opinions. Having said that, I generally agree with most of your comments and theology. I like the NNT, not because of the new books, but it does a masterful job of translating the old NT into contemporary English. Ken

  4. Thanks Dan for the excellent “heads-up” on the New New Testament, I shared it on my Facebook wall.

    Sent from my iPhone

  5. So we should call it the Added-To New Testment rather than the completely New New Testament? See Rev.22:18 (Unless this verse applies only to the book of Revelation – the church has not been clear on that.)
    So did the Council of Nineteen (sounds familar probably because of the similarity of that name to the Creed of Nicene or the Council of Nicea…) miss out on an opportunity to include the Gospel of Judas?
    Of course we have edited the Bible since the KJV, because of additional manuscripts coming to light, by making corrections. This raises a question on the issue of inspiration in my mind. What exactly do we mean by that term? I don’t think we exactly know.
    “Decent scholars improved on the text as they compared notes and manuscripts. The KJV New Testament, for example, was essentially based on seven Greek manuscripts, dating no earlier than the eleventh century. Today we have about 5800 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, including those that the KJV translators used. And they date as early as the second century. So, as time goes on, we are actually getting closer to the originals, not farther away.” Dr. Dan Wallace in Five Myths About Bible Translation.

    • Inspiration does not apply to particular versions. Most statements of inspiration (in church constitutions, etc) apply inspiration to the original manuscripts of the NT. The improvements on the text you describe bring us closer to those original manuscripts.

      • So what is inspiration…where it does apply?

      • Here is a quote from my church constitution: “We believe the Holy Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testaments to be the verbally inspired, completed Word of God, and the final authority for faith and life, inerrant and infallible in the original writings.”

        Here is a quote from Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology: “The doctrine of inerrancy applies in the strict sense only to the originals, but in a derivative sense to copies and translations, that is, to the extent that they reflect the original.” The same statement may be made of inspiration as well. Because there is agreement on over 99% of the NT among the various texts that derivative sense is very important. I have no problem standing in front of a church and saying, with my Bible in my hand, ”This is the Word of God.”

        If you want more, I urge you to read a standard evangelical systematic theology, by someone like Erickson or Grudem or Reymond. They will cover these issues fully.

      • Hi friendofinspiration.
        Thank you for taking the time to attempt to answer. It is important to rightly divide the word of truth isn’t it? However, I am not asking where inspiration applies, of course it applies to the original autographs as they were penned or vocalized.

        I am asking what is it? What is inspiration? I believe the meaning we have today is derived. What does God-breathed actually mean? I don’t believe we fully know, but we like to say the text is inspired because that makes it infallible automatically. But we know the copies we have today are being revised still to take us closer to the inspired version.

        I think of the word of God as a power, not a book. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are the divine, holy and infallible ones. I don’t believe the Bible is divine in the form of text, nor is it a 4th part of the Trinity. So whatever inspiration is, I don’t see it as infallible 100%. (That is redundant.) The Bible is a tool, a pointer, to the real thing. That real thing, we experience in our beings, not just in intellectual pursuit. We have seen the intellectual pursuit ad nauseum with liberal scholars. There must be another step beyond the reading of the Bible to get the real infallible

        Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
        Hi friendofinspiration.
        Thank you for taking the time to attempt to answer. It is important to rightly divide the word of truth isn’t it? However, I am not asking where inspiration applies, of course it applies to the original autographs as they were penned or vocalized.

        I am asking what is it? What is inspiration? I believe the meaning we have today is derived. What does God-breathed actually mean? I don’t believe we fully know, but we like to say the text is inspired because that makes it infallible automatically. But we know the copies we have today are being revised still to take us closer to the inspired version.

        I think of the word of God as a power, not a book. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are the divine, holy and infallible ones.

        Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

        I don’t see that the Bible is divine in the form of text nor is it a 4th part of the Trinity. So whatever inspiration is in the text, I don’t see it as infallible 100%. (That is redundant.) The Bible is a tool, a pointer, to the real thing. That real thing, we experience in our beings, not just an intellectual pursuit. We have seen the intellectual pursuit ad nauseum with liberal scholars. They somehow miss the real deal!

        So I believe we should hold loosely to some of the mysteries of God. We don’t have to have all the answers exactly to believe in the majority of scholars work narrowing down the actual text. Like Dr. Wallace say, they didn’t think in terms of exact words in that day.

        I am thankful I have the real God in my life. Thanks to the Bible partly.

      • I’m not sure what you mean by derived. If you mean it is a construct of systematic theology, I will agree, but so is the Trinity and you seem to have no problem with that construct. This doctrine is derived from a number of passages of Scripture, but the end result is a book that is authoritative and infallible because God-breathed.

        The way I have explained is like this. As a master craftsman, God constructed the instruments, some 40 human instruments. He constructed each with his own characteristics, etc. As a master musician, He then “played” (God-breathed) each instrument so that it struck exactly the chord that He wanted it to and so that all the instruments together formed a perfect symphony in perfect harmony. The end result is exactly what God wanted us to hear or know.

    • Good point, and thank you for sharing
      .

  6. Reblogged this on beliefspeak2 and commented:
    Daniel Wallace again gives good insight into the issues of historicity, orthodoxy, and the canon. A quote from him on the uniqueness of the Bible is worth repeating: “the Bible is not just talking heads, devoid of historical facts, places, and people. It is a book that presents itself as historical, and speaks about God’s great acts in history, intersecting with humanity in verifiable ways.”

  7. […] not ever heard of them? Read Dan Wallace’s review and his reminder of what criteria should always be used when establishing the canon of the New […]

  8. “(bringing the total to 40, a number which often speaks of trials and judgment in the Bible!)”

    Are you into Gemetria? I thought that was more geared toward jewish mysticism.

  9. […] Also, Dan Wallace has written an additional review of ”a New New Testament,” which I highly recommend. Read it here. […]

  10. Great remarks from my old prof who taught me Greek. I think the biggest problem here is that the proposed additions are almost all later than the first century, with the possible exception of Odes, Thunder, and a hypothetical redactional layer in Thomas. So as professional historians, from a purely evidentiary point of view, why would sources that clearly do not reflect accurate historical data about Jesus of Nazareth, or the historical beliefs and actions of his immediate successors, the ‘apostles,’ be included in this so-called New Testament? I’m sure the reply would be “Well, the 2nd century pseudonymous texts in the NT are already in this category, so why not add more?” However, even if you grant that point (which I do not), the supposedly late writings are not as late as the new ones being proposed for inclusion; and furthermore, they reflect the original apostolic setting more accurately than the obviously legendary and ahistorical texts being added by these scholars. Really, they ought to be embarrassed at allowing their historical perspicuity be trumped by their personal agenda. This is the sort of abuse of sources that makes classical scholars think NT scholars are a joke as historians.

    • Very well put, Bryan! I would perhaps offer one ‘correction’ on your comments. 2 Peter is often dated later than Thomas. But there’s another reason why this council is out of touch with the historic faith: The early church never knowingly accepted any books for the canon if they believed such books were forgeries. I agree with you that the Pastorals, Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Peter, etc. are authentic. One who is consistently in line with the ancient church’s view of the canon also accepts that these books are authentic. The council of nineteen not only did not regard any of their own additions’ ascriptions to be true, they also think the ancient church was duped when it came to the disputed books.

      You are quite right about classical historians looking at much in New Testament historiography as a joke. It’s fascinating to see classical historians occasionally turn their attention to New Testament studies. And when they publish their findings, it often upsets the liberal apple cart!

      • If all of the letters attributed to Paul are included in the NT by virtue of his self-proclaimed Apostleship, then, I would think the NT should exclude those letters not considered his.

  11. Great stuff, professor Wallace. It is so frustrating to see how the media picks up on the Jesus seminar folks and promote them and associated writings with no care to scholarship. It’s what lost sinners will do, though. Thanks for the article.

  12. Thank you Dan. I had not heard of this prior to reading your post.

  13. Reblogged this on Bible differences and commented:
    From Prof. Dan Wallace his comments on a very disturbing new publication.

  14. […] B. Wallace on 17 March 2013 in Contemporary Issues, Early Christianity, New Testament […]

  15. […] B. Wallace on 17 March 2013 in Contemporary Issues, Early Christianity, New Testament […]

  16. “Orthodoxy meant that those books considered for canonical status needed to conform to what was already known to be orthodox. Orthodoxy was known even before any writings were accepted as scripture. It was known through hymns, the kerygma, and the traditions passed down by the apostles. If there never had been a New Testament, we would still have enough to go on to guide us as to what essential Christianity looked like.”

    Great way to phrase it.

  17. “The New New Testament”….they couldn’t come up with something better? They are definitely taking a jab at conservative Christianity with this title.
    I appreciated your overview of canonicity, and the contrast it poses to the Council of Nineteen’s ancient writing selection. What is most striking here is the blatant contradictory nature of the books here, even among the Gnostic writings the council selected.
    In the GThomas, saying 114;
    “Simon Peter said to them, “Mary should leave us, for females are not worthy of life.” Jesus said, “See, I am going to attract her to make her male so that she too might become a living spirit that resembles you males. For every female that makes itself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.” (ww.earlychristianwritings.com)
    And in GMary we find in 9:4;
    “He questioned them about the Savior: Did He really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He prefer her to us?” (ww.earlychristianwritings.com)
    In GThomas we find almost a misogynist attitude, while in GMary we see the main character Mary exhaulted above the male 12 Apostles.
    Much more could be said here on the very contradictory nature of these Gnostic writings. Also, one could point out the dependence these later (much later in some cases) Gnostic writings have on the completed New Testament writings. Mark Goodacre does just this with his latest book “Thomas and the Gospels: The Case for Thomas’s Familiarity with the Synoptics.” How would this speak to the acceptance of these writings? It would speak very negatively. But ultimately, these facts will fall on deaf ears because there is an underlining post-modernist view that is at work here, an unspoken premise, that is; “Because these early semi-Christian-Gnostic groups disagreed with orthodox Christianity and accepted these books as some sort of scripture, then we cannot reject them.”
    Thank you for your excellent review!
    Tim Mitchell

    • Tim,
      Thank you for bringing to our attention some of the nonsense that is found in these Gnostic apocrypha. People sometimes have the idea that the Church hide the apocrypha because they have some highly informative, important or enlightening information! I appreciate your stance on this matter.
      God bless.

      • Herman,
        Thank you for your kind comments! I agree that many give the impression that these works are some how “suppressed” or “oppressed” into oblivion, when in actuality these works have hardly survived because they did not enjoy the wide circulation and readership that the canonical writings enjoyed (Harry Gamble, “Books and Readers in the Early Church” gives a fantastic study on early Christian book production and reading practices, which is where I get this information).
        However, I do believe these books are highly informative and valuable in giving insight into early Christianity and its many Gnostic spin-offs. Especially in the GThomas one can find very early sayings attributed to Jesus (extra-biblically) that early Fathers quoted as authentic (See GThomas saying 22 and 2 Clement 12). These writings should not be simply ignored or written-off. But I do not think that Dr. Wallace is suggesting this, simply critiquing the Council of Nineteen’s attempt to treat them as equally with the NT writings, which is simply invalid.
        Thanks again for the engaging comments and the kind words!
        Tim

  18. […] Wallace’s article (A New New Testament:  Are You Serious?) on his blog on Sunday gave a crushing argument against this blatant attempt to undermine […]

  19. […] his blog, Dan Wallace gives a fairly scathing critique of the New New […]

  20. […] What strikes one immediately is that most of these additions seem to be of two types: Gnostic or proto-Gnostic essays and writings that exalt women. Further, what is also striking are books that did not make the cut. Among them are the Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, First Clement, and other books in the collection known as the Apostolic Fathers. In other words, the books selected by the council were selected with an agenda in mind; they were not chosen because they ever made a serious claim to canonicity. Indeed, as was mentioned above, at least one of them is not even mentioned in any extant ancient writing. (source) […]

  21. […] Dan Wallace on the New New Testament: […]

  22. […] Wallace has a thorough response to the recent project here. He points out the blatant historical and theological problems with the project, along with the […]

  23. Torn. I am disappointed in what it is, but I’m also excited it’s the first publication using the Open English Bible translation.

  24. […] Wallace reports on the release of a new New Testament.  A band off 19 liberal Christian and Jewish scholars got […]

  25. Sorry, edit out that first half of my repeated text. Obviously my text is not infallible! :)

  26. […] a previous post I introduced you to The New New Testament. Now Dan Wallace has provided a review of this new project and while he ends on a positive note he has some strong words to say about […]

  27. […] A New New Testament: Are you Serious? The council of 19—including two rabbis—examined several ancient writings…and determined which of these worthies deserved a place at the table with original New Testament books. Ten books were selected for this honor, along with two prayers and one song. […]

  28. I have to wonder at this lengthy response (obviously prepared with a great deal of labor & thought) to an attack on scripture that does not once, that I can detect, itself appeal to scripture. Could it be that Mr. Wallace’s years as a textual critic, mimicking the serpent in the garden of Eden with ‘yea, hath God said’, casting doubt upon His words, rendered him incapable of giving a biblical response to this more blatant form of attack? If we lack the faith to believe God (despite what experts like Mr. Wallace tell us) when he says we have all of His words and that they are preserved forever, what grounds have we (other than our own clever philosophical arguments) to reject the 37-book New New Testament?

    “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mk 8:38

    “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” Mk 13:31

    “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” Ps 12:6

    • Dear Caleb,
      The Scriptures you quote are very important, and pose a stern warning to all those who want to falsify the Word of God. Dan Wallace gives important criteria that stands above suspicion!

      You should consider 2Tim.4:3 seriously: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

      And while you are in the book of 2 Timothy, read through the whole of chapter 3 prayerfully.

      For 1900 years the 27 books of the true NT were sufficient to let the faith in Christ spread through the world. We don’t need some Gnostic writings of uncertain origin, author or late date, that never had been taken seriously by true Christians to be added to the Word of God.

      God is a consuming fire! Take care!

    • Caleb, perhaps you could restate your point. I’m not clear if you are scolding Wallace for not quoting scripture, or if you are critiquing his argument.

      If the former, I would suggest that you have failed to understand the context of the blog entry, the blog or the author for that matter.

      If the latter, I’m not clear as to how the verses you use or any other verses for that matter would be useful in defending the historic cannon. Except perhaps verses used to demonstrate internal agreement/cohesion, which of course Wallace has appealed to (see Orthodoxy).

      It may be that the serpent in the garden here are the KJVO currents into an otherwise technical and logical discussion.

  29. Now there’s concern for doctrine? I think that something should have been said long ago with regards to so-called translations based on MSS claimed to be superior just because they’re older. (Beside the point.)

    A New New Testament is definitely a huge leap in the wrong direction, but we have gotten to this point because of loose standards concerning The Bible. Many scholars have no real respect for its teachings. Therefore, we are going to see the above–adding to Scripture–because it has been done for the past few hundred years with the actual text alone.

  30. […] his blog post, A New New Testament: Are You Serious?, Daniel Wallace, professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, gives insight […]

  31. Don’t care what you think, what school you sent too, KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF THE KING JAMES BIBLE.

  32. I don’t care what Professor of New Testament Studies thinks, maybe professor had dropped too much acid. Professor Pinhead, Don’t tread on the King James Bible.

  33. Something that needs also to be said is that the books not only need to affirm other New Tesament books, but they also cannot violate Old Testament doctrine or revelation. “All Scripture (the Old Tesament) is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness.” (2 Tim 3:16)

  34. Reblogged this on Who is Messiah, the Savior of the world? and commented:
    This article states that the added New Testament books are Gnosticm and do no complement the other New Testament books. My thought, and more importantly, the added books probably violate the original Scriptures, the foundation – the Old Testament – as well. This New New Testament is being promoted by some guy who is being led by his spirit guide demon impersonating John from the Bible.

  35. […] Wallace on the “new” New Testament: “Just released from the giant publishing firm, Houghton Miflin Harcourt: A New New […]

  36. […] 1. “A New New Testament: Are You Serious?” (Daniel B. Wallace, on 17 March 2013) […]

  37. […] A New New Testament: Are You Serious? 03/17/13 Another new “Bible” was released. This one is just the New Testament. It is a direct attack on the authority of the Bible, as this New Testament adds books to it! This is all part of the process of creating a one-world religion. These modern “Bibles” both remove and add verses and books to change authentic Christianity and doctrine. […]

  38. […] A New New Testament: Are You Serious? 03/17/13 Another new “Bible” was released. This one is just the New Testament. It is a direct attack on the authority of the Bible, as this New Testament adds books to it! This is all part of the process of creating a one-world religion. These modern “Bibles” both remove and add verses and books to change authentic Christianity and doctrine. […]

  39. Great post. We have to be ever on guard.

  40. […] 8)  “A New New Testament: Are You Serious?” by Dan Wallace. This is a brand new posting by Dr. Wallace, professor of New Testament at Dallas Seminary and director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, and one of the leading experts on New Testament manuscripts in the world. This is about a new book published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt claiming to be a “new” New Testament, including over a dozen books never considered to be part of the New Testament before. It’s Jesus Seminar déja vous all over again! Oy vey! […]

  41. […] B. Wallace. A New New Testament: Are You Serious? danielbwallace.com. March 17, […]

  42. […] Wallace gets pretty worked up over A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered […]

  43. […] Pretty interesting article from D. Wallace, you should read it. Link HERE […]

  44. […] It worth reading aspects of the Christian Concern complaints and then Daniel Wallace’s review of ‘A New, New Testament’. Dr. Daniel Wallace covers materials and principles of Biblical interpretation and understanding, which Bragg would surely have known about and benefited from, as would his listeners. One would understand the critique of Bragg in the Catholic Herald when you read Daniel Wallace on a different work that includes materials Bragg used in his presentation. […]

  45. As I show in The Truth About Jesus and the “Lost Gospels” (Harvest, 2007), there are no such things as the “Gospels of Thomas, Mary, or Truth.” This is an unscrupulous marketing ploy to fool people into thinking things that are very different are actually alike. Those three books are not gospels in any sense, either etymologically, or by analogy to the real gospels. Neither are they of any historical value in telling us anything new about Jesus, NOR would they likely have made the world a better place.

  46. […] a previous post I introduced you to The New New Testament. Since then we’ve seen reviews from Dan Wallace, Michael Horton and now Michael Kruger has chimed in. Kruger highlights historical, methodological […]

  47. Excellent Article. Sort of on this subject I had a question sir. Regarding John 1:18, which reading is in the earliest manuscripts? Is it “The only begotten Son” or “The only only begotten God”? I saw that the NU-Text says God, where as M-Text says Son. Which reading is in the earliest manuscripts?

    God Bless

  48. How much you wanna bet Bart Ehrman is behind this? Why he is always so angry and wants to destroy Christianity I would really like to know.

  49. I drop a leave a response whenever I appreciate a post
    on a website or I have something to contribute to the conversation. It’s caused by the sincerness displayed in the
    article I browsed. And on this post A New New
    Testament: Are You Serious? | Daniel B. Wallace. I was actually excited
    enough to drop a thought :-) I do have some questions for you
    if you don’t mind. Is it only me or do a few of these comments look like
    coming from brain dead people? :-P And, if you are writing
    at additional online sites, I’d like to follow you. Could you
    list all of all your shared pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

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