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Products>The Making of the New Testament: Origin, Collection, Text & Canon (2nd ed.)

The Making of the New Testament: Origin, Collection, Text & Canon (2nd ed.)

, 2011
ISBN: 9780830866229

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The story of the making of the New Testament is one in which scrolls bumped across cobbled Roman roads and pitched through rolling Mediterranean seas, finally finding their destinations in stuffy, dimly lit Christian house churches in Corinth or Colossae. There they were read aloud and reread, handled and copied, forwarded and collected, studied and treasured. And eventually they were brought together to make up our New Testament.

This revised and expanded edition of The Making of the New Testament is a textbook introduction to the origin, collection, copying, and canonizing of the New Testament documents. Like shrewd detectives reading subtle whispers of evidence, biblical scholars have studied the trail of clues and pieced together the story of these books. Arthur Patzia tells the story, answering our many questions:

  • How were books and documents produced in the first century?
  • What motivated the early Christians to commit teaching and narrative and vision to papyrus?
  • How were the stories and sayings of Jesus circulated, handed down and shaped into Gospels?
  • What do we know about ancient letter writing, secretaries and "copy shops"?
  • Why were four Gospels included instead of just one?
  • How were Paul’s letters, sent here and there, gathered into a single collection?
  • Who decided—and by what criteria—which documents would be included in the New Testament?
  • Explore these questions and more about these Scriptures whose every day, gritty story rings true to their extraordinary message: the palpable mystery of the Word made flesh.

Resource Experts
  • Explores the writing, collection and reception of the Gospels, Pauline letters and the rest of the New Testament literature
  • Gives an overview of the evidence and theories of how the New Testament canon was formed
  • Explains how the New Testament documents were copied and transmitted over the centuries

Top Highlights

“the influence of the Qumran community on early Christianity as reflected in the New Testament is minimal” (Page 42)

“Redaction critics seek to discover the uniqueness and theological perspective of each Gospel by examining the ways each evangelist, as redactor/editor and theologian, handled the traditions that he inherited.” (Page 78)

“It is important to realize that Jesus is not condemning the law of Moses as such, a law that he too regarded as divine revelation. He was opposing a religious system that overemphasized the legal and ceremonial dimensions of Torah at the expense of the moral.” (Page 49)

“Approximately eight hundred copies of some of Paul’s letters have survived in ancient manuscripts, which, in comparison with most ancient works, is an amazingly large number.” (Page 24)

“First, the Gospels as we now have them in our New Testament were not written until thirty to fifty years after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus and the founding of the church at Pentecost. New Testament scholars are fairly unanimous in dating Mark at around a.d. 65–70, Matthew and Luke around a.d. 85, and John around a.d. 95.” (Pages 53–54)

Patzia has produced a clear, lucid and comprehensive beginning introduction to matters concerning the origin and formation of the NT canon, textual criticism, and historical criticism.


Arthur Patzia is the former senior professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, Northern California, and in retirement serves as an adjunct professor. A distinguished scholar, he is the author of several books, including The Making of the New Testament, The Emergence of the Church, and the Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Terms.


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Digital list price: $33.99
Save $9.00 (26%)