It's no secret that I am a person who affirms the clear existence of orthodoxy - especially an orthodoxy that is both apostolically (made up word?) authentic and superior to heresies. However, when dealing with orthodoxy and heresy in early papyri of letters - how would one define orthodoxy?
My points thus far:
- Defined by the four-fold gospel canonical gospel tradition. As Hengel and others have shown, the canonical gospels were prominent and authoritative early on in Christianity. (The Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ).
- However, we must also account for diversity in the New Testament. This brings us to James D.G. Dunn's Unity and Diversity in the New Testament. What unity was there? Dunn contends no real creed - but a consistency and unity between the historical Jesus and the exalted Jesus. Of course, I disagree with Dunn - but aye, so do a lot of people?
- The crucifixion of Jesus - such a belief can be linked to the pre-Pauline Jerusalem church; is found independently in the Gospels which are extended Passion narratives; is found in works of Paul; Peter (?); Hebrews, etc. (No pseudo-deaths (Thiering); etc)
- In light of above, a Jesus fitting into the Jewish milieu - a physical death as Jesus was fully man (so no docetism); and a physical resurrection belief.
- Whilst stressing the humanity of Jesus- we also have the belief in the divinity of Jesus. As Larry Hurtado has pointed out - the New Testament paints a Jesus that is both human, and subordinate to the Father - but also divine in some sense. (How on Earth Did Jesus Become a God?). Furthermore, we must also account for the pre-Pauline Christology just in case we have someone Paul-averse. (The Many Faces of the Christ)
- A Trinitarian - or at least monotheistic binitarian - formula and belief.