Dating the new testament canon
In two of the three instances that he speaks of remembering 'the words' of Christ or of the Lord Jesus, it seems that he has a written record in mind, but he does not call it a 'gospel'.
He knows several of Paul's epistles, and values them highly for their content; the same can be said of the Epistle to the Hebrews, with which he is well acquainted.
Christian scholars assert that, when these bishops and councils spoke on the matter, however, they were not defining something new but instead "were ratifying what had already become the mind of the Church." By the end of the 1st century, some letters of Paul were known to Clement of Rome (fl.
96), together with some form of the "words of Jesus"; but while Clement valued these highly, he did not regard them as "Scripture" ("graphe"), a term he reserved for the Septuagint.
Discover how God's Word has been painstakingly preserved, and for extended periods even suppressed, during its long and arduous journey from creation to present day English translations.
The Catholic Church provided a conciliar definition of its Biblical canon in 382 at the (local) Council of Rome (based upon the Decretum Gelasianum of uncertain authorship) By the early 3rd century, Origen may have been using the same twenty-seven books as in the present New Testament canon, though there were still disputes over the acceptance of the Letter to the Hebrews, James, II Peter, II John, III John, Jude and Revelation, known as the Antilegomena.On the contrary, it seems that these are precisely the books we would include if we wanted to have access to authentic Christianity.The canon of the New Testament is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the New Testament of the Christian Bible.His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.The reference to, presumably the Septuagint, as the "other" Scripture denotes that the author of 2 Peter regarded, at least, the works of Paul that had been written by his time as Scripture.
Although these writings obviously possess for Clement considerable significance, he never refers to them as authoritative 'Scripture'.