The Muratorian Fragment
Written in Rome about the year 170
Catholic Encyclopedia: Muratorian Canon | English Translation from Bruce M. Metzger
The Muratorian Canon is an ancient list of canonical books drawn up in Greek, ostensibly in the late second century due to the reference to Pope Pius, and surviving in a single copy in poor Latin discovered by Muratori. Some have redated the canon to the fourth century.
“the blessed Apostle Paul, following the rule of his predecessor John, writes to no more than seven churches by name. “
“John too, indeed, in the Apocalypse, although he writes to only seven churches, yet addresses all. ” (ANF 5:603).
“John, one of the disciples, composed the Fourth Gospel, at the solicitation of the other disciples and of his companions in the Episcopacy. “‘
Fast with me for three days,’ he said to them, ‘and we will make known to one another whatsoever shall be revealed unto us.’ ”
That same night it was revealed unto Andrew, one of the Apostles, that John was to write the whole in his own name, under the supervision of the others. This, then, is why, although each of the Gospels begins its teachings after a different fashion, that fact in no wise affects the faith of believers, since it is the breath of one almighty and sole Spirit which proclaims everything that concerns the Birth, the Passion, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, His conversation with His disciples ; His twofold coming: the first in lowliness and contempt, which has already taken place; the second in His royal and glorious power, which is to come. Why need we be surprised, therefore, when John, even in his Epistles, so strongly asserts each fact, since he could well say of himself, ‘ That which our eyes have seen, our ears have heard, our hands have handled, this is what we are writing for you.’ Thereby he declares that he has been not an eye witness only, but a hearer as well, and the writer of all the marvellous deeds of the Lord whose history he has compiled.”
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
“Muratori, a learned Italian ecclesiastic (1672- 1750), discovered in 1740, in the Ambrosian Library at Milan, the manuscript known by his name, which once formed part of a Canon of the New Testament, written in Rome about the year 170. This celebrated fragment has furnished material for a goodly number of studies. See Vigouronx, Manuel Biblique, 1897, vol. i. p. 106.” (Saint John and the Close of the Apostolic Age, xi)
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