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The Origin of the Bible: A Guide for the Perplexed
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The Origin of the Bible: A Guide for the Perplexed


T&T Clark 2011

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


The Origin of the Bible: A Guide for the Perplexed introduces the reader to the often perplexing issue of the Bible’s origin and how the different texts were received. This important topic is dealt with especially in light of the discoveries of significant ancient texts that were not included in the Bible. These previously unknown extra-biblical texts raise questions about the nature and formation of the Bible. Why were some books included and others excluded? Why were some included initially and subsequently rejected? Was there a church cover-up? This volume addresses these and related questions in an accessible and thorough manner.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. 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.

Save more when you purchase this book as part of the T&T Clark Bibliology Collection.

Key Features

  • Introduces the reader to the issue of the Bible’s origin
  • Discusses how the different biblical texts were received
  • Addresses why some books were included in the canon while others were excluded


  • Introduction and Preliminary Observations
  • An Overview of the Story
  • The Emergence of an Old Testament Canon
  • The Completion of the Old Testament Canon
  • The Emergence of Christian Scriptures
  • The Influence of “Heresy” and “Orthodoxy” on Canon Formation
  • Fixing the New Testament Canon
  • Final Comment

Praise for the Print Edition

Lee McDonald is widely perceived to be in the front ranks of specialists on the origin of the Bible and the evolution of the canon. In this book, in a lucid engaging fashion, McDonald guides those who are perplexed about such origins . . . It is superb for classes. I recommend it enthusiastically.

J. H. Charlesworth, George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Princeton Theological Seminary

In this Guide for the Perplexed, Lee McDonald has unraveled the intricacies of canon research for the scholar, student, and interested public. Writing in a bracingly accessible style, McDonald clarifies how the Christian Bible of the Old and New Testaments came to be formed and finally fixed. Including numerous extracts from primary sources, McDonald achieves the near impossible in discussing texts ranging from the Hebrew Bible to patristic literature.

Timothy H. Lim, reader in Hebrew and Old Testament studies, University of Edinburgh

Professor Lee McDonald is an expert in the field of the history of the biblical canon. His contribution to the Guides for the Perplexed series is a helpful summary of what can be gathered from the often scattered remarks in the ancient sources. One of the strengths of the book is that it quotes most of the relevant sources at length . . . His own reconstruction of the origin of the Bible is well argued, clear, and readable. Yet the author honestly warns the reader that there remain open questions, and there are areas in this history where other reconstructions may still be possible.

—Péter Balla, head of the New Testament department, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary

Product Details

About Lee M. McDonald

Lee M. McDonald is president emeritus and professor emeritus of New Testament studies of Acadia Divinity School in Nova Scotia and adjunct professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. He serves as scholar in residence for the American Baptist Churches of Los Angeles and the American Baptist Congregations of the Southwest and Hawaii and is the author of several other books.

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