The Canon of Scripture

The Canon of Scripture

by F. F. Bruce


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  • 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 remains an issue of debate. Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox all have slightly differing collections of documents in their Bibles. Martin Luther, one of the early leaders of the Protestant 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 on questions and confusion surrounding the Christian canon of Scripture. Adept in both Old and New Testament studies, he brings a rare comprehensive perspective to the task.
Though some issues have shifted since the initial publication of this classic book, it remains a significant landmark and touchstone for further studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780830852123
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication date: 12/18/2018
Pages: 349
Sales rank: 748,639
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

F. F. Bruce (1910-1990) was known worldwide as the "dean of evangelical scholarship"—a reputation earned by a lifetime of scholarship, teaching, and writing. Trained in classics at the University of Aberdeen and Cambridge University, he taught at the Universities of Edinburgh, Leeds, and Sheffield before serving for nearly twenty years as the Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester in England. During his distinguished career, he wrote many outstanding commentaries and books, including Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free; Israel and the Nations; New Testament History; The Books and the Parchments: How We Got Our English Bible; Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament; and The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? He also served as general editor of The New International Commentary on the New Testament.

Table of Contents



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



What People are Saying About This

Roger Beckwith

"This book is at once learned and readable, and takes account of the most recent discoveries and literature. It is the most comprehensive account of the canon since Bishop Westcott's The Bible in the Church (1864)."

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