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There are reasons for thinking that at this date the corresponding word "testamentum" was already in use amongst the Latins. In this meaning the expression Old Testament ( he palaia diatheke ) is found for the first time in Melito of Sardis, towards the year 170.
Jerome, on account of ecclesiastical prescription and, by the fact, the authenticity of the contested books became of minor importance.
Little time was needed to find, in analyzing them, indications of a later origin.
The conclusions of the Tübingen school, which brought down to the second century, the compositions of all the New Testament except four Epistles of St. When the crisis of militant incredulity had passed, the problem of the New Testament began to be examined more calmly, and especially more methodically.
In any case it was common in the time of Tertullian.
The New Testament, as usually received in the Christian Churches, is made up of twenty-seven different books attributed to eight different authors, six of whom are numbered among the Apostles (Matthew, John, Paul, James, Peter, Jude) and two among their immediate disciples (Mark, Luke).
Some Humanists, as Erasmus and Cardinal Cajetan, revived the objections mentioned by St.
Jerome, and which are based on the style of these writings.
If we consider only the contents and the literary form of these writings they may be divided into historical books (Gospels and Acts ), didactic books (Epistles), a prophetical book (Apocalypse).
Before the name of the New Testament had come into use the writers of the latter half of the second century used to say "Gospel and Apostolic writings" or simply "the Gospel and the Apostle ", meaning the Apostle St. The Gospels are subdivided into two groups, those which are commonly called synoptic (Matthew, Mark, Luke), because their narratives are parallel, and the fourth Gospel (that of St.
John), which to a certain extent completes the first three.
They relate to the life and personal teaching of Jesus Christ.
To-day it is admitted that the first Gospels were written about the year 70.