Ferris’s “Formation Of The New Testament” -- By: Parke P. Flournoy

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 066:264 (Oct 1909)
Article: Ferris’s “Formation Of The New Testament”
Author: Parke P. Flournoy


Ferris’s “Formation Of The New Testament”1

Rev. Parke P. Flournoy

Eusebius 2 speaks of Quadratus as a prophet, and as an evangelist who traveled to many countries and peoples, and who, with others who did the same work, “also delivered to them the books of the holy Gospels.” He speaks of him as one of those “who held the first rank in the apostolic succession.” Eusebius tells us, also, of Quadratus, that he presented to the Emperor Hadrian an apology or defense of Christians who were suffering persecution, and that this work was in his own hands. This apology may have been presented to Hadrian at his accession (117 a. d.), some seventeen years after the death of the Apostle John. It is noteworthy that, as early as this, evangelists had already been engaged in distributing “the books of the holy Gospels” wherever they went.

But Eusebius introduces us to another defender of the faith, who presented his apology to the same emperor (Hadrian) at Athens in the eighth year of his reign; and that apology, both in the original Greek and in a Syriac translation, has come to light of late years. Dr. Rendel Harris discovered the Syriac translation in the St. Catherine convent on Mount Sinai in 1889, and this led to the discovery of a

large part of the Greek text embedded in another work, called “Barlaam and Josaphat.”

In this apology, Aristides tells Hadrian of the “holy Gospel writing” which the Christians had, “and their other writings,” which he exhorts the Emperor to read, and from which he said he derived his information. There is no reason to doubt that these were our Gospels and other writings in the New Testament. His condensed account of our Saviour’s incarnation, death, burial, and resurrection he speaks of as taught in “the Gospel, as it is called … which, a short time ago, was preached among them,” and adds, “and you also, if you will read therein, may perceive the power which belongs to it.”

There are the clearest references to the Acts of the Apostles, and a remarkable parallel, in this speech of the Athenian philosopher at Athens, to the address of Paul to the philosophers on Mars Hill at Athens, recorded in the seventeenth chapter of Acts. When he says that one of the apostles “traversed the countries about us,” we can hardly help believing that he refers to Paul, the apostle who first brought the gospel to Athens, Corinth, and Macedonia.

But Aristides gives evidence that he not only knew the matter contained in the Gospels and the Acts, but also th...

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