Saturday, December 17, 2005

If I wrote the canon . . .

If I wrote the canon this would be the order:

John
Mark
Matthew
Luke
Acts
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
Galatians
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Romans
Philippians
Ephesian
Colossians
Philemon
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
Titus
Hebrews
1 Peter
2 Peter
Jude
James
1-3 John
Revelation

Why?

Well John should be first, afterall, "In the beginning was the Word". John is the new Genesis for the New Testament.

Next is Mark due to Marcan priority then Matthew, follwed by Luke-Acts as a two part literary unit.

Thereafter I would try to put in the Pauline epistles roughly in chronological order but also trying to keep the sets together, e.g. 1 & 2 Corinthians and 1 & 2 Thessalonians. I'd like to group the captivity letters together: Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians, and Philemon. Additionally, Colossians and Ephesians naturally go together as do the Pastorals.

In the Catholic epistles, Hebrews is a good transition from the Pastorals to the Petrine letters since they are both Hellenistic and/or Paulinesque.

I would want to place 2 Peter and Jude side by side since they contain similar material and place James and Jude side by side since they both claim to be written by a relative of Jesus. Finally, the letters of John and of course Revelation, which means that my canon is bracketed by a "Johannine Inclusio".

Not that there's anything particularly wrong with the order of the current NT canon as it stands, but if a church council was convened to re-order the books, this is how I would do it.

4 comments:

Celucien joseph said...

I like your order Michael. Of course, I would also place John's gospel first.For it is the genesis of the New Testament corpus.

J. B. Hood said...

Oh, boy, you are SO wrong. Have you never read Matt 1:1 in Greek? Or noticed his opening 17 verses? Don't these tell the Story of Israel that began in Genesis, the Story which God determined would be the Story in which we find the resolution of the Metanarrative of the world and the solution to its crisis (begun in Gen 3-11)? Don't you find the patriarchs, kings, heroes and heroines, sinners and 'aints? The covenants (Mt 1:1, 16)? The prophets (1:10, Amos)? The Psalms (1:7, Asaph)? The Exile?

Keep in mind the NT follows the OT, and we need to sum it up the OT and review it before we bust into the new material.

I do agree, though, that John would make a good second choice; and it's first in "chronological order" with its beginnings.

Ben Myers said...

Very nice, Mike. I suspected that a Jesus scholar like you would put Mark first -- but I'm delighted that you chose John instead.

James Crossley said...

I reckon you're a (not-so-) secret heretic!