QOTD: Francis Watson on Gaining Canonical Status

No religious, philosophical, or literary text enters the world with the label “canonical”already attached. Canonical status is a matter not for authors but for readers; it arises not from composition but from usage. As a rule, it is only after the death of the author that a work either consolidates its initial impact by establishing a quasi-permanent position within a particular reading community, or, more commonly, fails to do so and consequently fades from view. Many texts are produced and consumed, but few are selected for classic or canonical status. Selection is sequent to production: authors and editors produce, but it is later readers who select by continuing to engage with a limited number of texts while allowing other to fall by the wayside.

Francis Watson, Gospel Writing, p. 3

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