Most college and seminary courses on the NewTestament include discussions of the processthat gave shape to the New Testament. Now DavidDungan re-examines the primary source for this history,the Ecclesiastical History of the fourth-century BishopEusebius of Caesarea, in the light of Hellenistic politicalthought. He reaches startling new conclusions: that weusually use the term "canon" incorrectly; that the legalimposition of a "canon" or "rule" upon scripture was afourth- and fifth-century phenomenon enforced with thepower of the Roman imperial government; that the forcesshaping the New Testament canon are much earlier thanthe second-century crisis occasioned by Marcion, and thatthey are political forces.
Dungan discusses how the scripture selection processworked, book-by-book, as he examines the criteriaused-and not used-to make these decisions. Finally hedescribes the consequences of the emperor Constantine'stremendous achievement in transforming orthodox,Catholic Christianity into imperial Christianity.