The role of the rule of faith in the formation of the New Testament canon according to Eusebius of Caesarea

Jonathan Joseph Armstrong, Fordham University

Abstract

The thesis of this dissertation is that, according to Eusebius of Caesarea, the rule of faith served as a criterion of canonicity, encompassing both the subcriteria of apostolicity and catholicity. Chapter one reviews F. C. Baur's, Adolf von Harnack's, Walter Bauer's, and Hans von Campenhausen's critique of Eusebius's depiction of the formation of the New Testament canon. The consensus of these nineteenth and twentieth-century scholars is that the orthodox Church patterned its canon after Marcion's New Testament, not after the rule of faith. Chapters two and three establish that, according to Eusebius, the rule of faith served as a criterion of apostolicity and catholicity, and that Eusebius acquired his comprehension of these criteria primarily from Irenaeus and Origen respectively. In chapter four, the present author proposes that the third-century bishop, Victorinus of Pettau, is to be identified as the anonymous author of the Muratorian Fragment. The evidence adduced for this conclusion is twofold. First, Victorinus documents far more literary parallels to the Muratorian Fragment than any other ancient author. Second, several of the otherwise inexplicable peculiarities of the Fragment are rendered intelligible once a Victorinan theory of authorship is accepted. The role that the rule of faith played in the formation of the New Testament canon as evidenced in the Muratorian Fragment dramatically confirms Eusebius's portrait of the rule of faith as a criterion of canonicity. Chapter five provides a summary of the historical argument of the dissertation and a theological reflection. ^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

Jonathan Joseph Armstrong, "The role of the rule of faith in the formation of the New Testament canon according to Eusebius of Caesarea" (January 1, 2006). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3216903.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3216903

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