Gerd Thieissen takes up the problem of the emergence of the New Testament writings and the formation of the canon out of the wider variety of early Christian literature.
Touching on Max Weber's discussion of the evolution of religious movements, Theissen correlates waves of developing early Christian literature with a series of phases in the life of the movement: the charismatic, the "pseudographic", the "functional" phase in which other independent forms developed, and at last, "the canonical", as the New Testament took shape as the literature of a world religion.
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