The Emergence of the Canon

By Andrea Lopez & Camila Tirado


Many people felt the need to place some boundaries in the number of gospels. In 180 CE, Irenaeus suggested that the proper number of gospels were four based on the thought that there are four cornerns in Earth, four winds, and four beasts of the apocalypse.

The four main Gospels reflect diversity, yet they all share one key element Jesus’ passion, suffering and death which are also connected to the centerpiece of the Christian worship, the Eucharist.

Interesting Points

During the 2nd century, writting Gospels became practically a "cottage industry" for the audience and the need for the literature seemed unlimited. Due to this, as the number of Christian communities grew, so did the number and types of gospels.

Additianal Discussion Questions

  • Where are the other Gospels that are not part of the canon kept?
  • What does Allan Callahan mean when he says "a bunch of cigar smoking Christian big shots got together, and they decided who was going in and who was going out. It was a wrap, they closed up, and taken everything else was on the cutting room floor and the janitors took away what didn't get in the Canon."