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The Question of Canon: Challenging the…
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The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament… (edition 2013)

by Michael J. Kruger

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2013 Preaching Survey of the Year's Best Books for PreachersPreaching's Preacher's Guide to the Best Bible Reference for 2014 (New Testament General)Did the New Testament canon arise naturally from within the early Christian faith? Were the books written as Scripture, or did they become Scripture by a decision of the second-century church?Why did early Christians have a canon at all? These are the types of questions that led Michael J. Kruger to pick apart modern scholarship's dominant view that the New Testament is a late creation of the church imposed on books originally written for another purpose. Calling into question this commonly held "extrinsic" view, Kruger here tackles the five most prevalent objections to the classic understanding of a quickly emerging, self-authenticating collection of authoritative scriptures.Already a noted author on the subject of the New Testament canon, Kruger addresses foundational and paradigmatic assumptions of the extrinsic model as he provides powerful rebuttals and further support for the classic, "intrinsic" view. This framework recognizes the canon as the product of internal forces evolving out of the historical essence of Christianity, not a development retroactively imposed by the church upon books written hundreds of years before. Unlike many books written on the emergence of the New Testament canon that ask "when?" or "how?" Kruger focuses this work on the "why?"--exposing weaknesses in the five major tenets of the extrinsic model as he goes. While The Question of Canon scrutinizes today's popular scholastic view, it also offers an alternative concept to lay a better empirical foundation for biblical canon studies.… (more)
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Title:The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
Authors:Michael J. Kruger
Info:IVP Academic (2013), Paperback, 256 pages
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The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate by Michael J. Kruger

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The Christian “canon” refers to that set of scriptures, complete and bounded, that we accept as scripture. Modern Bible scholars often examine the development of the canon from an extrinsic model, noting that the canon was formed over the course of several centuries as the church fathers selected their favorites. Many argue that Irenaeus, in the late second century, was the first to feel the need for an authoritative canon. But what if the selection of accepted writings was more intrinsic … that is, guided from within, rather than from without? What if the New Testament writers themselves understood that they were writing Scripture, and their work was quickly recognized and adopted as such, perhaps with God’s guidance?

Kruger doesn’t deny the extrinsic claims, that the canon was fluid and argued over for centuries. He simply highlights the evidence that our New Testament writers were knowingly writing Scripture, and our earliest Scripture readers knew it. This Kruger does by critically examining five tenets of the extrinsic model to see if they really do hold water. The five tenets he questions, in five chapters, are:

1. We must make a sharp distinction between Scripture and canon.

2. There was nothing in earliest Christianity that might have led to a canon.

3. Early Christians were averse to written documents.

4. The New Testament authors were unaware of their own authority.

5. The New Testament books were first regarded as Scripture at the end of the second century.

Kruger hits his stride at about chapter three, and it gets stronger from there. So if you find the book winding up a little slowly, I promise it’ll be slinging fast balls by the end. Kruger’s research is convincing and well-argued, with generous footnotes. At the very least, this book will make you a believer in the passion and conviction of the New Testament writers, even as they sought to remain anonymous, letting the gospel message speak for itself on its own authority. ( )
1 vote DubiousDisciple | Dec 4, 2013 |
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2013 Preaching Survey of the Year's Best Books for PreachersPreaching's Preacher's Guide to the Best Bible Reference for 2014 (New Testament General)Did the New Testament canon arise naturally from within the early Christian faith? Were the books written as Scripture, or did they become Scripture by a decision of the second-century church?Why did early Christians have a canon at all? These are the types of questions that led Michael J. Kruger to pick apart modern scholarship's dominant view that the New Testament is a late creation of the church imposed on books originally written for another purpose. Calling into question this commonly held "extrinsic" view, Kruger here tackles the five most prevalent objections to the classic understanding of a quickly emerging, self-authenticating collection of authoritative scriptures.Already a noted author on the subject of the New Testament canon, Kruger addresses foundational and paradigmatic assumptions of the extrinsic model as he provides powerful rebuttals and further support for the classic, "intrinsic" view. This framework recognizes the canon as the product of internal forces evolving out of the historical essence of Christianity, not a development retroactively imposed by the church upon books written hundreds of years before. Unlike many books written on the emergence of the New Testament canon that ask "when?" or "how?" Kruger focuses this work on the "why?"--exposing weaknesses in the five major tenets of the extrinsic model as he goes. While The Question of Canon scrutinizes today's popular scholastic view, it also offers an alternative concept to lay a better empirical foundation for biblical canon studies.

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