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The Canon of Scripture

Winner of two 1990 Christianity Today Awards: Readers’ Choice (1st place; theology & doctrine) and Critics’ Choice (1st place; theology & doctrine). A 1989 ECPA Gold Medallion Award winner! How did the books of the Bible come to be recognized as Holy Scripture? Who decided what shape the canon should take? What criteria influenced these decisions? After nearly nineteen centuries the canon of Scripture still remains an issue of debate. Protestants, Catholics and the Orthodox all have slightly differing collections of documents in their Bibles. Martin Luther, one of the early leaders of the Reformation, questioned the inclusion of the book of James in the canon. And many Christians today, while confessing the authority of all of Scripture, tend to rely on only a few books and particular themes while ignoring the rest. Scholars have raised many other questions as well. Research into second-century Gnostic texts have led some to argue that politics played a significant role in the formation of the Christian canon. Assessing the influence of ancient communities and a variety of disputes on the final shaping of the canon call for ongoing study. In this significant historical study, F. F. Bruce brings the wisdom of a lifetime of reflection and biblical interpretation to bear in answering the questions and clearing away the confusion surrounding the Christian canon of Scripture. Adept in both Old and New Testament studies, he brings a rare comprehensive perspective to his task. Though some issues have shifted since the original publication of this book, it still remains a significant landmark and touchstone for further studies. ~ Book Description

Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • Abbreviations

    Part One: Introduction

    • 1. Holy Scripture

    Part Two: Old Testament

    • 2. The Law and the Prophets
    • 3. The Greek Old Testament
    • 4. The Old Testament Becomes a New Book
    • 5. The Christian Canon of the Old Testament: A. In the East
    • 6. The Christian Canon of the Old Testament: B. In the Latin West
    • 7. Before and After the Reformation

    Part Three: New Testament

    • 8. Writings of the New Era
    • 9. Marcion
    • 10. Valentinus and His School
    • 11. The Catholic Response
    • 12. The Muratorian Fragment
    • 13. Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Novatian
    • 14. Tertullian, Cyprian and Others
    • 15. The Alexandrian Fathers
    • 16. Eusebius of Caesarea
    • 17. Athanasius and After
    • 18. The West in the Fourth Century to Jerome
    • 19. Augustine to the End of the Middle Ages
    • 20. The New Testament Canon in the Age of Printing

    Part Four: Conclusion

    • 21. Criteria of Canonicity
    • 22. A Canon Within the Canon?
    • 23. Canon, Criticism and Interpretation
    • Appendix 1: The ‘Secret’ Gospel of Mark
    • Appendix 2: Primary Sense and Plenary Sense
    • Bibliography
    • Index