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The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  105 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Completing his New Testament trilogy, eminent theologian Bruce Metzger provides information from Church history concerning the recognition of the canonical status of the several books of the New Testament. Canonization was a long and gradual process of sifting through scores of gospels, epistles, and other books that enjoyed local and temporary authority--some of which hav ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 10th 1997 by Clarendon Press (first published 1987)
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Tsun Lu
REVIEW AND CRITIQUE Metzger, Bruce M. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance. Oxford: Clarendon, 1987.

In THE CANON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: ITS ORIGIN, DEVELOPMENT, AND SIGNIFICANCE, the late professor Bruce Metzger of Princeton Theological Seminary wrestled with a series of complex and difficult issues concerning the canonicity of Scripture: what makes a book canonical? Is the canon still open or close? What is the relationship between inspiration and canonicity?
This is a solid, scholarly introduction into the development of the canon. Throughout the book, Metzger consistently cites Church Fathers and councils to support his positions. His summary includes the Apostolic Fathers, ante-Nicene Fathers, and other Christian writers and councils, even up to the Council of Trent and the Reformation. It would be helpful, however, for one to first have a grasp of basic Koine Greek before reading this book, as Metzger often quotes Greek passage without offering a ...more
Very informative. I found it interesting that the canon was fluid well passed the 4th century but only on the fringes. For the most part, the core books were settled early, by the end of the 2nd century-beginning of the 3rd century. And the canon was primarily a reaction to heresies...these heretical groups were using scriptures to support their message; the church had to attack those sources to repudiate the heretics.

Although this is a scholarly book, it is clearly written in relatively easy t
Jacob Aitken
Metzger traces the historical development of the New Testament canon from apostolic times until the Reformation. Admittedly, there is little in here that is different from the approach of F. F. Bruce. However, Metzger does thoroughly cover much ground in relatively little space. The book is easy to read and follows a strict structure. There is some repetition, but it does not detract from the overall narrative. Metzger ends his book with a balanced and thoughtful discussion on the criteria of th ...more
Danny Daley
Metzger's book is a classic of the canon genre, incredibly erudite if not a bit tedious because of just how learned it really is. Metzger explores the reception of the NT canon in every corner of the galaxy, even where the evidence yields little helpful information. The final 30 pages are the best part, where Metzger explores a bit of the theology of canon, and provides a basis for its validity. An important book for anyone looking to explore this important topic.
Jul 22, 2011 Jimmy added it
A helpful work by Bruce Metzger concerning the topic of the New Testament Canon. The chapters in Metzger's work is logically laid out, and he begins with a historical survey of the scholarship concerning canonical criticism. This section is a great reference for those who desire further study, not only of the works out there but the work's place in the academic world of canonical studies. Metzger's massive knowledge and awareness of the patristics, his interaction with the ideas of various criti ...more
Sameh Maher
الكتاب رائع جدا فى توضيح كيف تم جمع مادة الكتاب المقدس وكيف ظهرت الى الوجود
كيف اقتبس الاباء الاولون من الكتاب المقدس وما هى مقدار الاقتباسات وكيف تعامل اباء الكنيسة مع الكتابات الغير قانونية التى ظهرت بالموازاة مع الكتب القانونية التى اقرتها والكنيسة
كيف اقرت الكنيسة قانون الكتاب المقدس وهل رفضت اناجيل لصالح اناجيل اخرى ام انها لم تعرف من البدء سوى بشارة واحدة رأتها فى بعض الكتابات واعتبرتها قانونية
يناقش الكاتب بمهارة تطور قانون الكتاب المقدس ووضع بعض الرسائل مثل الرسالة العبرانيين والى فليمون و
Bill Brinkley
This is a text book. If you are working on your thesis then this is the book for you. I enjoyed reading it but I do not believe it is for the casual reader. I recommend this book if you want a deeper understanding of the New Testament canon.
Bill Main
A comprehensive look at how the New Testament was formed, it's authors, and scrutiny over time.
Metzger's book gives a very detailed and informative look at how and when the books of the New Testament came to be in the New Testament. This is a very technical book, but very much worth reading for those interested in the subject, and it's really not as hard a read as it looks at first.

People interested in this book might also want to take a look at The Text of the New Testament also by Metzger or F. F. Bruce's book on the Old and New Testament Canon The Canon of Scripture.
I wish I had known of Bruce Metzger's works earlier in my Christian life. He is a brilliant scholar and this was a well written, thoroughly researched book that greatly expanded my knowledge of the Christian faith. I've said already that I think all Christians should know about early church history and how the New Testament was formed. Rather than being something we should be fearful of, I found that the more I knew about how the New Testament was formed, the more I GREW in my faith.
J. Wallace
Good book that discusses the early collection of the eyewitness accounts and their formation into the New Testament. I also discuss this topic in my book, “Cold Case Christianity” (Chapter 4: Test Your Witnesses)

Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels
Great stuff concerning how gradually the books of the new testament came to be regarded as canonical. Also includes a lot of interesting intro material on the various sects of early Christianity that fell outside the catholic (spelled with a small 'c' & not yet "Roman Catholic") church-- Marcion, Montanism, the Gnostics.

Written by a Christian, but handled in an extremely even-handed, scholarly way.
Feb 17, 2010 Collin rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: hardcore biblical history enthusiasts
Metzger isn't making or advancing any arguments here, nor telling any kind of story. He is simply cataloging all the known relevant facts, so it's a thoroughly dry summation of biblical scholarship on the topic of the development of the canon of the New Testament. Kinda boring unless you're super interested.
Brian  Kubarycz
Dec 25, 2007 Brian Kubarycz marked it as to-read
Been needing this for a long time now.
How the sausage was made.
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  • On First Principles
  • Canon of Scripture
  • An Introduction to the New Testament
  • Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul
  • New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors
  • Dictionary of Paul and His Letters: A Compendium of Contempoary Biblical Scholarship
  • The Theology of Paul the Apostle
  • Greek New Testament
  • The Christian Tradition 4: Reformation of Church & Dogma 1300-1700
  • The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations
  • A History of Christian Thought Volume I: From the Beginnings to the Council of Chalcedon
  • Backgrounds of Early Christianity
  • Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism
  • Paul: A Very Short Introduction
  • A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. Volume One, The Roots of the Problem and the Person (The Anchor Bible Reference Library)
  • Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction
  • The Gospel of Luke
  • The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament
Bruce Manning Metzger (February 9, 1914 – February 13, 2007) was an American biblical scholar and textual critic who was a longtime professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and Bible editor who served on the board of the American Bible Society and United Bible Societies. He was a scholar of Greek, New Testament, and New Testament textual criticism, and wrote prolifically on these subjects. Metz ...more
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