testimony books

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A possible collection of testimonies to Christ assembled before the gospels were compiled. It is suggested that there was an urgent need in the Church for such a collection of testimonies (Latin, testimonia). These were OT texts supporting the Christian claims about Jesus' Messiahship, and in particular the concept of a suffering Messiah. Christian teachers searched the OT for anything that might lend credibility to their controversies with the Jews; it was, for example, necessary to explain how one of the Twelve could have betrayed Jesus, as well as other historical details which were an embarrassment. Books of testimonies were certainly available to the Fathers (e.g. Cyprian, in 248 ce) and similar collections were in use to support doctrine in the Qumran community. However, because NT quotations of the same OT text sometimes differ in the wording, it may be that there was a body of oral testimony tradition used in the Church and that the hypothetical books did not exist.

Subjects: Biblical Studies.

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