Looking for Brief and Accessible Books on the Origins of the Biblical Canon? Here are Two Good Ones

Whenever I speak on the origins of the New Testament canon, I am regularly asked about whether there are brief, accessible books on the subject—the kind that could be given to lay folks in the church. Unfortunately, my books on canon usually don’t qualify (e.g., Canon Revisited clocks in at over 300 pages).

For years, I have been asked to write a shorter version, but just haven’t had the time. Thankfully, others have stepped in to fill that gap. Let me mention two wonderful little books that have just come out in the last few years.

Who Chose the Books of the New Testament? (Questions for Restless Minds): Hill, Charles E., Carson, D. A.: 9781683595199: Amazon.com: BooksJust this year, Chuck Hill, professor emeritus of New Testament at RTS Orlando, has …

Continue reading...

My Review of “How the Bible Became Holy”

This past week, my review of Michael Satlow, How the Bible Became Holy (Yale, 2014) appeared in the latest volume of Themelios.

As the title suggests, this is yet another book (in a long list of predecessors) that insists that the idea of an authoritative Scripture is a late invention of Christians.

According to Satlow, the Bible was not originally holy. It became holy. And that didn’t even happen until well into the third century or later.

Although Satlow’s volume covers both OT and NT issues, my review addressed some weaknesses on the NT side of things:

As for the development of the New Testament canon, Satlow provides a

Continue reading...

Does the Entire Biblical Canon Have Seven Sections?

There are so many historical details to manage in the study of the NT and OT canon, that it is often difficult to step back and get the big picture. Scholarly energies are typically preoccupied with whether a certain church father cited a certain biblical book, and thus the entire biblical collection is rarely viewed as a completed whole.

In short, we tend to study the canon one book at a time.  But, as Walter Brueggemann observed regarding this approach, “That is problematic because one never gets a sense of the whole of the Bible” (Creative Word, 5).

When we take that step back, and examine the overall …

Continue reading...