Catholic letters

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New Testament
Acts of the Apostles
Paul's letters
Catholic letters

The Catholic letters of the New Testament refer to the first and second letters of Peter , the letter of James , the three letters of John and the letter of Jude.

The designation of the letters as Catholic (Greek καθολικός kathikós "general") goes back to the fact that the addressees are "more general" than in the letters of the Apostle Paul addressed to individual communities or individuals . Although the Christians of five regions are named as recipients in 1 Peter’s letter, this cannot be used to form a short name, as is the case with Romans, for example . Only the third of John's letters mentions a single recipient by name, namely Gaius. The term “Catholic letters” was soon associated with the idea that these letters were addressed to the entire Church (for the meaning of the word in the general sense, see catholicity ).

The Catholic letters are in many Christian Bibles immediately one after the other in the order James - 1./2. Peter - 1st / 2nd / 3rd John - Jude listed, but in Bibles that follow the tradition of Luther , they are arranged in such a way that after the two letters of Peter and John, first the letter to the Hebrews follows, then the letter of James and the letter of Jude; In doing so, Luther moved the four writings, whose theological value he valued less than that of the other New Testament writings - namely, Letter to the Hebrews, Letter to James, Letter to Jude and the Revelation of John - at the end of his Bible edition. The old Greek Church placed the Catholic letters before the Pauline letters, the Slavic Orthodox Churches still handle it this way today; in most of today's churches, including today's Greek Orthodox Church, they come after Paul's letters.

In early Bible manuscripts that did not yet contain the entire New Testament in a single document, the Catholic letters were usually placed in one manuscript with the Acts of the Apostles . Such a manuscript is referred to as the Corpus Apostolicum in biblical tradition .

The term “Catholic letters” has been used since the third century; B. from Dionysius of Alexandria , Origen and Eusebius of Caesarea .

Catholic letters
James Ιακοβου Epistula Iacobi Jak
1. Peter’s letter Πετρου Α Epistula I Petri 1 pet
2. Peter’s letter Πετρου Β Epistula II Petri 2 pet
1. Letter to John Ιωανου Α Epistula I Ioannis 1 Joh
2. John Ιωανου Β Epistula II Ioannis 2 Joh
3. Letter to John  Ιωανου Γ Epistula III Ioannis  3 Joh
Jude's letter Ιουδα Epistula Iudae Jud

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Origen used the term Catholic letter