The following essay argues that the final fixing of the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian biblical canon did not emerge until the middle to the late fourth century, even though the long process that led to the canonization of the Hebrew scriptures began in the sixth or fifth century BCE and of the New Testament scriptures in the second century CE. Pivotal in the arguments for an early dating of the Hebrew Scriptures is the lack of unequivocal evidence for the fixation of the Old Testament canon in the time before Christ but also the emergence of canonical lists of scriptures only in the fourth century CE. It is also argued that the Muratorian Fragment originated in the middle of late fourth century CE. The paper concludes with a discussion of viability of the traditional criteria of canonicity and whether these criteria should be reapplied to the biblical literature in light of more recent conclusions about authorship, date, theological emphasis, and widespread appeal in antiquity.

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