Muratorian Fragment


Late-second-century document; discovered in the 1700s by a priest named Muratori; an ancient listing of books recog­nized as part of the New Testament canon; called a ‘‘fragment’’ because its first portion is missing. In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown claims that men who possessed ‘‘a political agenda . . . to solidify their own power base’’ (231–34) established the New Testament canon in the fourth cen­tury. The Muratorian Fragment demonstrates that most New Testament books were established in the canon no later than the second century. Accepted by its author were the four gospels, Acts, Paul’s letters, Jude, two letters of John (the second of these may include the two books known today as 2 and 3 John), Revelation, and Wisdom of Solomon.

Although he personally accepts Apocalypse of Peterthe author admits that ‘‘some will not allow it to be read in the church.’’ He rejects Shepherd of Hermas, stating that ‘‘it cannot be read publicly to the people in church either among the Prophets, whose number is complete, or among the Apostles, for it is after their time.’’ Hebrews, James, and 1 and 2 Peter were not yet listed, but the Muratorian Fragment demonstrates that most of the New Testament canon was fixed as early as 170. See also apocryphaBible; canon.


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