One of the Most Remarkable Features of Early Christian Manuscripts

One of my favorite electives I teach here at RTS Charlotte is “The Origin and Authority of the New Testament Canon.” We cover a lot of ground in that course: why we have a NT canon, what is the earliest evidence for a canon consciousness, what were the factors that led to the church receiving just these 27 books, etc. (To take this class online, see RTS Global).

But I think my students particularly enjoy a sub-module of that course where we study high-resolution photographs of early Christian manuscripts. In particular, we spend some time working through images of P66, one of our earliest (nearly complete) copies of …

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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 …

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Persistent Myths about the Origins of the New Testament

Are the NT manuscripts corrupted?  Have scribes irreparably changed the text?  Were Christian scribes competent to copy the text reliably?

How many “other” gospels were there in early Christianity? Were these gospel suppressed by “orthodox” groups? Were these lost gospels as popular as the canonical ones?

Don Carson and I answer these questions for a TGC video:

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Book Notice: Can We Trust the Gospels?

I recently received an advanced reader copy of the new book by Peter J. Williams, Can We Trust the Gospels? (Crossway, 2018). Peter is the Principal of Tyndale House, a study center (mainly focused on biblical studies) out of Cambridge, England.

Although similar books have been written in the past (curiously Mark Roberts wrote a 2007 volume for Crossway with the exact same title!), this new volume has some excellent features:

– It does not presuppose prior knowledge of the Gospels, even having a chapter entitled, “What are the Four Gospels?”  Thus, it would be great to give to a new Christian or a non-Christian.

– There’s an intriguing …

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The Heresy of Orthodoxy: Was the NT Text Reliably Transmitted?

This post is the final installment in a series of videos where Andreas Köstenberger and I discuss the theory of Walter Bauer on unity and diversity in early Christianity.

These discussions are based on our book, The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity (Crossway, 2010).

You can find the prior four installments here, here, here, and here.

In this last video, we tackle the very important issue of textual transmission.  Skeptics have argued that the wild theological diversity in early Christianity would not only have led the church to have different canons, but it would also …

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