New Testament

The New Testament (Koine Greek: Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Hē Kainḕ Diathḗkē) is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first division being the Old Testament. Unlike the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, about which Christians hold different views, the contents of the New Testament deal explicitly with 1st century Christianity, although both the Old and New Testament are regarded, together, as sacred scripture. The New Testament has therefore (in whole or in part) frequently accompanied the spread of Christianity around the world, and both reflects and serves as a source for Christian theology. Phrases as well as extended readings directly from the New Testament are also incorporated (along with readings from the Old Testament) into the various Christian liturgies. The New Testament has influenced not only religious, philosophical, and political movements in Christendom, but also left an indelible mark on its literature, art, and music.

The New Testament is an anthology, a collection of Christian works written in the common Greek language of the first century, at different times by various writers, and canonically named for the early Jewish disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. In almost all Christian traditions today, the New Testament consists of 27 books. The original texts were written in the first and perhaps the second centuries of the Christian Era, most likely in Koine Greek, which was the common language of the Eastern Mediterranean from the Conquests of Alexander the Great (335–323 BC) till the evolution of Byzantine Greek (c. 600). All of the works which would eventually be incorporated into the New Testament would seem to have been written no later than around AD 150.

Collections of related texts such as letters of the Apostle Paul (a major collection of which must have been made already by the early 2nd century) and the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (asserted by Irenaeus of Lyon in the late-2nd century as the Four Gospels) gradually were joined to other collections and single works in different combinations to form various Christian canons of Scripture. Over time, some disputed books, such as the Book of Revelation and the Minor Catholic Epistles were introduced into canons in which they were originally absent, and other works earlier held to be Scripture such as 1 Clement, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Diatessaron were excluded from the New Testament. Interestingly, although the Old Testament canon is not uniform within Christianity, with e.g. Roman Catholics, Protestants, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Slavic Orthodox Churches, and the Armenian Orthodox Church differing as to which books are included, the twenty-seven-book canon of the New Testament has, since at least Late Antiquity, been almost universally recognized within Christianity (see twenty-seven book canon; exceptions include the New Testament of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the canon of which—like that of their Old Testament—has not been unequivocally fixed and Martin Luther's attempt to exclude four books from the New Testament). The New Testament consists of four narratives of the life, teaching, and death of Jesus, called "gospels"; a narrative of the Apostles' ministries in the early church, called the "Acts of the Apostles" and probably by the same author as the Gospel of Luke, which it continues; twenty-one letters, often called "epistles" in the biblical context, written by various authors and consisting mostly of Christian counsel, instruction, and conflict resolution; and an Apocalypse, the Book of Revelation.

Read more about New Testament:  Etymology, Dates of Composition, Language, Development of The New Testament Canon, Early Manuscripts, Textual Variation, Relationship To Earlier and Contemporaneous Literature, Early Versions, Modern Translations, Authority, In The Liturgy, In The Arts

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Famous quotes containing the word testament:

    And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
    —Bible: New Testament John 8:32.

    These words of Jesus are inscribed on the wall of the main lobby at the CIA headquarters, Langley, Virginia.