From Publishers Weekly
Beginning with a meticulous study of just what a canon is, Dungan offers a panoramic view of the first three centuries of Christian history and how the major players, both ecclesiastical and civil, contributed to defining the collection of writings we call the New Testament. One of the claims of the bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code
is that the institution of theCatholic Church suppressed some writings that challenged its own views and agendas. Dungan, professor of religion at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, finds this view untenable and offers as evidence a long and detailed examination of the scripture selection process as documented by the fourth-century church historian Eusebius. While various schools of Christianity exerted pressure to either include or exclude certain works, he concludes that the selection process produced "a minimalist canon, but one that is as hard as rock: all regional agendas have been intentionally ignored, all personal proclivities of prominent theologians or bishops dispensed with, every possible taint of 'politicking' avoided." Although written for the general reader, the book's detail can be overwhelming. But while his case for an orthodox canon is not unassailable, he succeeds in providing a wealth of information to enable readers to decide for themselves. (Oct.)
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"Dungan's study of what Constantine and Eusebius did toward establishing that unity will be the touchstone in future discussions of the New Testament canon." -- James A. Sanders "Professor Emeritus of Old Testament and Intertestamental Literature, Claremont School of Theology,"