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The Canon Debate

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What does it mean to speak of a “canon” of scripture? How, when, and where, did the canon of the Hebrew Bible come into existence? Why does it have three divisions? What canon was in use among the Jews of the Hellenistic diaspora? At Qumran? In Roman Palestine? Among the rabbis? What Bible did Jesus and his disciples know and use? How was the New Testament canon formed and closed? What role was played by Marcion? By gnostics? By the church fathers? What did the early church make of the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha? By what criteria have questions of canonicity been decided? Are these past decisions still meaningful faith communities today? Are they open to revision?

These and other debated questions are addressed by an international roster of outstanding experts on early Judaism and early Christianity, writing from diverse affiliations and perspectives, who present the history of discussion and offer their own assessments of the current status.

Resource Experts
  • Addresses common questions about the canon of Scripture
  • Covers the Old and New Testaments
  • Features contributions from diverse affiliations and perspectives
  • William Adler
  • Peter Balla
  • John Barton
  • Joseph Blenkinsopp
  • Francois Bovon
  • Kent D. Clarke
  • Philip R. Davies
  • James D. G. Dunn
  • Eldon Jay Epp
  • Craig A. Evans
  • William R. Farmer
  • Everett Ferguson
  • Robert W. Funk
  • Harry Y. Gamble
  • Geoffrey M. Hahneman
  • Daniel J. Harrington
  • Everett R. Kalin
  • Robert A. Kraft
  • Jack P. Lewis
  • Jack N. Lightstone
  • Steve Mason
  • Lee M. McDonald
  • Pheme Perkins
  • James A. Sanders
  • Daryl D. Schmidt
  • Albert C. Sundberg Jr.
  • Emanuel Tov
  • Julio Trebolle-Barrera
  • Eugene Ulrich
  • James C. VanderKam
  • Robert W. Wall
This volume comprises chapters written by more than thirty scholars who discuss a wide variety of historical and methodological topics bearing on the development of the canon of both Testaments. Encyclopedic in scope, the book will long remain indispensable in assessing the evidence as well as many hypotheses past and present on the origin and formation of the Bible.

—Bruce M. Metzger, professor of New Testament emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary

This collection of essays is without doubt the most comprehensive treatment ever published of canon formation in Judaism and Christianity. The most strikingly innovative aspect of the volume is the inclusion of both Testaments. Each is illuminated by juxtaposition with the other. The treatment of each Testament is exceptionally thorough. The subject is approached not only through study of the material that was included but also through that which was excluded—the Jewish and Christian Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. This exemplary historical overview should be a prerequisite for all future discussion of the canon in biblical theology.

—John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament, Yale University

The Logos edition of The Canon Debate equips you for better study with cutting-edge functionality and features. Logos Bible Software gives you the tools you need to use your digital library effectively and efficiently, searching for verses, finding Scripture references and citations instantly, and performing word studies. Additionally, important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, theology texts, and other resources in your library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. With most Logos resources, you can take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Lee Martin McDonald (PhD, University of Edinburgh), before his retirement, was professor of New Testament studies and president of Acadia Divinity College. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including The Biblical Canon, and coeditor of The Canon Debate (with James Sanders), and The World of the New Testament (with Joel Green). He lives in Mesa, Arizona.

James A. Sanders is professor emeritus at Claremont School of Theology.


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