Dating of the new testament
Still it can be said that from the third century, or perhaps earlier, the existence of all the books that today form our New Testament was everywhere known, although they were not all universally admitted, at least as certainly canonical.
However, uniformity existed in the West from the fourth century.
It was reserved to modern times, especially to our own days, to dispute and deny the truth of the opinion received from the ancients concerning the origin of the books of the New Testament.
This doubt and the negation regarding the authors had their primary cause in the religious incredulity of the eighteenth century.
The Acts can hardly be said to be later; Harnack even thinks they were composed nearer to the year 60 than to the year 70. Paul remain beyond all dispute, except those to the Ephesians and to the Hebrews, and the pastoral Epistles, about which doubts still exist.
In like manner there are many who contest the Catholic Epistles; but even if the Second Epistle of Peter is delayed till towards the year 120 or 130, the Epistle of St.
With the profane authors this latter term means always, one passage of Aristophanes perhaps excepted, the legal disposition a man makes of his goods for after his death.
To this Luther added the inadmissibility of the doctrine, as regards the Epistle of St. However, it was practically the Lutherans alone who sought to diminish the traditional Canon, which the Council of Trent was to define in 1546.
These witnesses to the truth of a religion no longer believed were inconvenient, if it was true that they had seen and heard what they related.