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Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books Hardcover – April 30, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book fills a lacuna in evangelical scholarship. Rarely does academic specialization in canon studies converge with thorough commitment to biblical authority. In this work, close evaluation of the history of approaches to the canon is matched by a richly theological interpretation of what it means to call Scripture our ‘canon.’ Careful, accessible, and wise in his explorations, Michael Kruger has given us a gift that will keep on giving for generations to come.”
Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California; author, Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God's Story

“The Christian canon of Scripture is under fire now more than ever. Sadly, even as so much of this fire has been issuing from academic quarters, we are left with more smoke than light. Stepping into the gap with a fresh synthesis is Michael Kruger’s Canon Revisited. Gracefully uniting theology and history, Kruger invokes the chief Reformed argument for canon and gives it fresh wings.”
Nicholas Perrin, Dean, Wheaton College Graduate School

“Of all the recent books and articles on the canon of Scripture, this is the one I recommend most. It deals with the critical literature thoroughly and effectively while presenting a cogent alternative grounded in the teaching of Scripture itself. Michael Kruger develops the historic Reformed model of Scripture as self-authenticating and integrates it with a balanced appreciation for the history of the canon and the role of the community in recognizing it. This is the definitive work on the subject for our time.”
John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando

“Michael Kruger has written the book on the canon of Scripture that has been much needed for a long time. His focus is not on the process, but on the vitally important question of how Christians can know that they have the right books in their canon of Scripture. The question is an excellent one and needs to be addressed honestly and competently. Kruger does just that. This excellent book goes a long way toward clearing up confusion and misguided theories. I highly recommend it.”
Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College and Acadia University

“Here, finally, is what so many pastors, seminary professors, and students have long been waiting for: a clear, well-informed, and scripturally faithful answer to the question of how Christians should account for the New Testament canon. Perhaps not since Ridderbos’s Redemptive History and the New Testament Scriptures has there appeared such a valuable single source on the New Testament canon that is both historically responsible and theologically satisfying (and this book improves on Ridderbos in many ways). Michael Kruger’s work will help readers get a handle on what may seem like a myriad of current approaches to canon, whether ecclesiastical or critical. This book will foster clearer thinking on the subject of the New Testament canon and will be a much referenced guide for a long time to come.”
Charles E. Hill, Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary

“Michael Kruger has written an important and comprehensive treatment of the New Testament canon. As an advocate of the self-authenticating view, he goes to great lengths to argue his case, but he also delves deeply into the variety of historical and community-based positions. He provides an insightful treatment of epistemological grounds for belief, and debates the positions in a rigorous way not often found in such discussions. I am sure friend and foe alike will learn from this valuable volume.”
Stanley E. Porter, President, Dean, and Professor of New Testament, McMaster Divinity College; author, Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament

Canon Revisited is a well-written, carefully documented, and helpful examination of the many historical approaches that have been written to explain when and how the books of the New Testament were canonized. The author’s interest, however, is to move beyond the historical to the theological, concluding that the concepts of a self-authenticating canon and its corporate reception by the church are ultimately how we know that these twenty-seven books belong in the New Testament.”
Arthur G. Patzia, Senior Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary; author, The Making of the New Testament

About the Author

Michael J. Kruger (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is president and professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, and the author of a number of articles and books on early Christianity.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; 47046th edition (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433505002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433505003
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've been trying how to figure out how my readers can know if they should read Michael Kruger's newest book, Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books. I think I've found a way.

Try to answer the following question:

Why are the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John included in the New Testament but those attributed to Peter, Thomas, and Mary Magdalene aren't?

If you honestly don't know or if your memory is a bit fuzzy, then you should pick up Kruger's book.

Kruger is a professor of New Testament and academic dean at Reformed Theological Seminary (in my good state of North Carolina). He wrote Canon Revisited to show Christians that they are justified in believing in the 27 books of the New Testament. To do this, Kruger looks at how people have tried to determine how the canon was established and the historical proof that the church had a core canon in mind early in its existence.

I'll give an overview of the book before moving on to what I did and didn't like.

(A note before the review. This is a complex topic to tackle, and I've done my best to fairly present Kruger's argument. If you've read the book and spot an error, please let me know so I can fix it.)

The Book

Kruger's first two chapters examine what he thinks are faulty methods of determining the canon.

The community determined model argues that the canon is made by the community (in this case, the church). The historically determined model argues that the 27 NT books can be verified through historical investigation.
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Format: Hardcover
Since entering college, some ten years ago (wow! I'm feeling old just typing that!), I have been especially interested in issues related to New Testament canon development. In the course of my study through undergrad, graduate school, and now in the midst of PhD research, I have read many helpful books on the canon. For instance, there are classics by F.F. Bruce and Bruce Metzger seemingly available on demand. Newer works by Lee Martin McDonald, James Sanders, and Philip Comfort have further provided valuable insights. I was excited to see Michael Kruger's Canon Revisited published by Crossway but I wondered what would set it apart from the aforementioned resources. So, what does, if anything, make Kruger's book worthwhile?

In a general sense, much of what is covered in Canon Revisited is standard fare for canon study. However, even the standard material is up-to-date with the latest findings of prominent researchers. Yet, what sets Kruger's volume apart from others has less to do with the content of his research and more to do with the application of his methodology. Early on, Kruger presents his case for understanding the New Testament canon as self-attesting. Realizing that such a claim is highly controversial in both theology in general and in bibliology specifically, Kruger carefully nuances his definition in a manner that is both well argued and winsome. Frankly, it was this section on self-attestation that caused me to fall in love with Canon Revisited. The remainder of the text approaches issues of canonicity through this lens and does so in a fashion that takes well established data and presents it in a new and theologically satisfying fashion.

In conclusion, Canon Revisited is an excellent book and a must-read for anyone doing canon research.
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Format: Hardcover
How did the New Testament Canon come to be and why should we regard it as authoritative? My own denomination has historically affirmed scripture as' the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine and conduct,' but is this position defensible? Where does biblical authority rest if the canon was decided upon by the church.

Michael Kruger, professor of New Testament and academic dean at Reformed Theological Seminary, has written a lucid and helpful examination of issues surrounding the formation of the canon and argues convincingly for a self authenticating model of the New Testament canon. Kruger is remarkably gregarious in his approach, often affirming the good in the models he opposes while trying to establish a model of canon which is both faithful to scripture and tradition and can stand up to critical scrutiny. If you read one book about canon formation this year, this book should be it.

The book is organized into two parts. In part one, Kruger presents and evaluates various approaches to Canon formation. In chapter one he critiques `community determined models' which argue that the basis of a book's canonicity is solely determined by the book's recipients (the church or faith community). Of course there are a wide range of community determined approaches: historical-critical, Roman Catholic, Canonical criticism, and Existential/Neo Orthodox. Because of the range of approaches and brevity of Kruger's treatment, he runs the risk of oversimplifying but is generally fair and well documented in his treatment of each model (even separating out the strand of Roman Catholic teaching which seems to affirm his self-authenticating approach from the strand which places the authority of scripture as subservient to the authority of church).
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