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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 62 customer reviews

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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 (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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