Origin of the New Testament
by Adolf Harnack
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For Harnack, applying the methods of historical criticism to the Bible signified a return
to true Christianity, which had become mired in unnecessary and even damaging creeds
and dogmas. Seeking out what “actually happened,” for him, was one way to strip away
all but the foundations of the faith. In The Origin of the New Testament, Harnack
explores the early history of the biblical canon—how it came to be what it is, and why. In
particular, he explores the ideologies driving people to accept some texts as biblical
cannon and not others. Controversially, Harnack finds some of these ideologies anything
but Christian, and he hints that a re-evaluation of what the church considers canonical is
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