The study of how the manuscript editions of the texts have changed is called redaction criticism. This is the examination of these literary biblical document to discover how the biblical authors have formed and linked the materials together. How did they edit these texts to establish their meaning and significance?
Fundamentalists interpret Scripture with certitude, guidance, and peace. The Bible is God’s direct, divine word to humanity. 39% of Americans believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible, that the authors were inspired to write the specific exact words. The literal, plain meaning is the primary meaning of a word, the simple intention of the author. However, there are spiritual or deeper meanings in an allegorical or moral sense. There is no need for critical history and literary analysis, since it is plain and clear already.
The 2nd century apostolic writers had a loose connection to the original apostles. Some of these early 2nd century writings were occasionally considered part of the canonical biblical writings. This post-apostolic group lived after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE. These authors included Clement of Rome (40-101 CE) and his writings, as well as the so-called Second Letter of Clement, a 2nd century sermon, but not from Clement. There also was Ignatius of Antioch (50-117 CE) with his letters, and the 2nd century Pseudo-Barnabas letter. From the late 1st century, the Didache, the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, has intrigued scholars. The 2nd century Shepherd of Hermas, has an apocalyptic document that included visions, commands, mandates, and parables or similitudes. Theophilus of Antioch (115-180 CE) and Melito of Sardis (+190 CE), an important bishop of Asia Minor, were writing apologists for Christianity. Clement of Alexandria (150-215 CE) and his pupil Origen (185-254 CE) played an important role in the developing Christian theology in Alexandria. Justin the martyr (100-165 CE) gave a great description of the Christian activities. Irenaeus (140-202 CE), a disciple of the martyr Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna, wrote against various early Christian heretics.
The question of authorship or attribution is important. Like many of the books of the Old Testament, some of the books attributed to some authors in the New Testament writings are not the persons mentioned. Moses did not write all the Torah. Paul did not write all the letters attributed to him. The technical scholarly name for this is pseudo epigrams. Sometimes, they are forgeries. These false attributions exist for a number of biblical books. Since we do not know the names of many of the writers of these books in the Bible, we can say that anonymous people wrote these works. However, I have decided to use the traditional attributed names that have been associated with these pseudo epigram works to better identify them.