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Antilegomena

(Gk. “spoken against”). Certain books of the NT on which there was no unanimity but some uncertainty in the early ch. regarding their canonicity. Distinguished from homologoumena (Gk. “universally accepted”). Because certain false teachers and other unauthorized persons tried to have their writings introd. into Christian congs. (cf. 2 Th 2:2), it was necessary for Christians to be alert, lest false gospels or letters be acknowledged, esp. by being ascribed to true apostles or disciples of apostles. It was due chiefly to this special vigilance that the following books were not accepted by the ch. everywhere before the latter part of the 4th c.: Ja, Jude, 2 and 3 Jn, 2 Ptr, Heb and Rv The author of Heb is not definitely known; the identity of the James who is the author of the letter was not altogether certain, and the content of the letter was misunderstood; 2 and 3 Jn are addressed to private persons and were not made accessible to larger circles; 2 Ptr was most likely written shortly before the death of the author and had no definite addressees; Jude is very short and has a very circumscribed message; and the Rv was under suspicion because of its nature. Over against these objections it is to be noted that all these books are mentioned at a very early date, some of them referred to as early as the beginning of the 2d c. as apostolic writings, and all of them finally accepted by the ch. in the course of the 4th c. Doubts have been expressed about some of them even by orthodox Luth. teachers, but in almost every case the clear apostolic doctrine, the depth of the admonitions and of the whole presentation, and the high prophetic insight into future events speak strongly in their favor. Most of the objections raised in recent cents. have been satisfactorily met by earnest searchers after the truth. See also Canon, Bible, 5, 6.

For gen. information see references under Canon, Bible; for the position of Luth. dogmaticians see C. F. Walther, “Ist derjenige für einen Ketzer oder gefährlichen Irrlehrer zu erklären, welcher nicht alle in dem Convolut des Neuen Testamentes befindlichen Bücher für kanonisch hält und erklärt?” L. u. W., II (1856), 204–216.


Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
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Content Reproduced with Permission

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