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There are reasons for thinking that at this date the corresponding word "testamentum" was already in use amongst the Latins.

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With the profane authors this latter term means always, one passage of Aristophanes perhaps excepted, the legal disposition a man makes of his goods for after his death.

However, at an early date, the Alexandrian translators of the Scripture, known as the Septuagint, employed the word as the equivalent of the Hebrew , which means a pact, an alliance, more especially the alliance of Yahweh with Israel. Paul (I Cor., xi, 25) Jesus Christ uses the words "new testament" as meaning the alliance established by Himself between God and the world, and this is called "new" as opposed to that of which Moses was the mediator.

Later on, the name of testament was given to the collection of sacred texts containing the history and the doctrine of the two alliances; here again and for the same reason we meet the distinction between the Old and New Testaments.

In this meaning the expression Old Testament () is found for the first time in Melito of Sardis, towards the year 170.

It narrates the foundation of the Churches of Palestine and Syria only; in it mention is made of Peter, John, James, Paul, and Barnabas; afterwards, the author devotes sixteen chapters out of the twenty-eight to the missions of St. They are, with the exception of this last-mentioned, addressed to particular Churches (Rom.; I, II Cor.; Gal.; Ephes.; Philip.; Colos.; I, II Thess.) or to individuals (I, II Tim.; Tit.; Philem.).

The seven Epistles that follow (James; I, II Peter; I, II, III John; Jude) are called "Catholic", because most of them are addressed to the faithful in general.

The Apocalypse addressed to the seven Churches of Asia Minor (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamus, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea) resembles in some ways a collective letter. John had at Patmos concerning the interior state of the above-mentioned communities, the struggle of the Church with pagan Rome, and the final destiny of the New Jerusalem. The books that compose it appeared one after another in the space of fifty years, i.e. Written in different and distant countries and addressed to particular Churches, they took some time to spread throughout the whole of Christendom, and a much longer time to become accepted.

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.

The Acts of the Apostles, as is sufficiently indicated by the title, relates the preaching and the labours of the Apostles. Paul, and perhaps fourteen, if, with the Council of Trent, we consider him the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

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