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date: 19 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The stages by which the Gospel and letters commonly known as ‘of John’ (as also of the Apocalypse, often assigned to the same author) became part of the canon are exemplary of wider canonical processes in the early church. While closely inter-related there are also differentiated patterns of recognition of these writings in different parts of the church and at different times. This chapter examines those stages with attention to the evidence of early Christian writings and to scholarly debate about it. More recent discussion has interrogated the nature of ‘canon’ in relation to other terms expressing authority, and also in relation to the range of actual textual practices and of the wider body of texts that flourished among early Christians.

Keywords: canon, acknowledged books, contested books, four gospel canon, Catholic Letters, authorship, apostolicity, contextual textual practices

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