|Canon list||Century of origin||Raw weight|
|Marcionite prologues||100-199 A.D.||3|
|Muratorian Canon fragment||100-199 A.D.||3|
|Eusebius' History||300-399 A.D.||1|
|Codex Sinaiticus||300-399 A.D.||1|
|Athanasius' 39th Festal Letter||300-399 A.D.||1|
|Canon list||Evaluation of books listed||Adjustment factor||List final weight|
|Marcionite prologues||Evaluates the sources for conformity with group's theology||0.50||3 x 0.50 = 1.50|
|Muratorian Canon fragment||Evaluates the sources by historical criteria (e.g. date of origin, known author or forgery)||1.00||3 x 1.00 = 3.00|
|Eusebius' History||Evaluates the sources by strength of attestation||1.00||1 x 1.00 = 1.00|
|Codex Sinaiticus||Lists sources without evaluating||0.75||1 x 0.75 = 0.75|
|Athanasius' 39th Festal Letter||Evaluates the sources by historical origin (antiquity; authorship by apostles or those known to them; or a later work laying a false claim to antiquity)||1.00||1 x 1.00 = 1.00|
Why these particular lists? Here I owe a debt to F.F. Bruce's book The Canon of Scripture. As I figure him to be a greater New Testament scholar than I am likely to become, as he has done appreciable work in the field, and as I have enjoyed his works, I want to give him a nod by beginning with the lists he thought worth including in his book. I do not expect this list to be the end of the project; I have not even included all of F.F. Bruce's work from the book mentioned but only those canon lists of the New Testament up to the point of Athanasius' letter, the first known list that matches our modern list.
I do not consider that I have made any contribution of content at all, but perhaps of method. In this system -- or the beginnings of a system -- we have a framework for giving meaningful comparative scores to the sources. It is my hope that those more knowledgeable than I am about the sources would take up such a method and work towards a more comprehensive evaluation of the books. I would enjoy seeing much more material evaluated, not only additional canon lists but also the history of each work's citations in the early church.
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