Irish1975 wrote: ↑
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:40 pm
I wish I understood the question but I just don't.
I can say that Trobisch's 2000 book The First Edition of the New Testament
is revolutionary to my thinking about the NT, having just read it cover to cover. It is ideal to start from an understanding of what the editor(s) intended, and it is actually possible when the author has an exhaustive, up-to-date knowledge of the manuscripts. The state of the manuscripts provides the best evidence about the origins of the canon, he argues, not patristic commentary or sketchy documents like the Muratorian fragment.
I too found his book very interesting. Not too many moderate-conservative Christian scholars want to delve into redactional
(gasp!) history of the NT collection we have now. The most interesting part for me was how NT manuscripts came to be transmitted in almost uniform groups. There was the four-gospels, the Pauline corpus, Acts & non-Pauline epistles, and the Apocalypse. Over 95% of the time it was those groupings and no others were circulating, which suggests they were considered more or less "authorized" or "standard" sets of books.
The fact that by the 4th century CE there were hardly any stray single book manuscripts of individual books being transmitted, suggests that the sets were so popular that they drove the "non-standard" collections into disuse. So, I conclude that Bishops of the proto-Orthodox factions eventually only wanted "standard " sets of grouped books.
Trobisch is convincing that the editor(s) -- whether or not it was Polycarp of Smyrna, as he has suggested -- were working alongside the author(s) of Acts, 2 Timothy, and 2 Peter. Trying to understand the intentions behind the whole 27-book collection makes for a much clearer picture than torturing gMark and hoping it will yield its secrets. It won't.
This systematic adoption of standard sets of books suggests a later date for the origin of the practice than early (takes time to build a consensus). I'd have expected the 3rd century for this type of uniformity. On the other hand, the only books cited by Irenaeus were from the books transmitted in the four NT groupings (I think he omits one book, but adds no others). So he already was aware of and approved these standards.
Irenaeus, taught by Polycarp, supposedly lived in the latter half of the 2nd century. But this is just after the time of Marcion of Sinope, so perhaps it is true that the threat of Marcion's book choices forced "standard" editions of all popular Christian books. No Gospels of the Egyptians or Hebrews were cited by Irenaeus, unlike Origen, Clement of Rome, and the authors of the "Apostolic" Fathers.
He has "circled the wagons" around core sets of books, to ward off the attacks by heretics.* If one wants to sample what "heretic" Marcionite worship looked like, I think that this is what Pliny the Younger encountered in Pontus/Bithynia around 115 CE. This is not the kind of orthodox Christianity described by Irenaeus or even the Alexandrian fathers, with agape
love feasts and prophecies and all.
This Polycarp connection to Irenaeus, and what Trobisch believes was a clue by the final editor of the "standard edition" which alluded to this name, is why Trobisch thinks that Polycarp was the final editor. Whether it was, or was not, Polycarp, these books were "standard" in Irenaeus' circles. Clement & Origen were from far away Alexandria, which was a "Wild West" of heterodox ideas and books, meaning (to Irenaeus and his crowd) they just didn't "get" it, as this area was also a hotbed of heretical Gnostic speculations.
* "Circling the Wagons" in the US refers to the popular Old West themed movies & TV shows trope of white settlers creating a defensive perimeter so that attacking native Americans could be picked off as they pointlessly rode their ponies around the wagons randomly shooting arrows, which mostly missed. Of course, one shot fired by a Caucasian would often kill at least 2-3 native Americans.