On The History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon

Book coverThis course offers a history of how the books of the New Testament became the canon. I guess the title indicates that. But it’s not a straight ahead timeline of the conscious development of the New Testament. Instead, it’s more of a survey of different things to consider when looking at the history. It discusses the different types of literature in the New Testament, the Gospels, the epistles, and apocalyptic literature. It touches on apocrypha that did not make the final cut (and sometimes why). It talks about the creation of the written literature as the church evolved and needed a central repository of teachings to share among the scattered churches. It also talks about copying errors and whatnot and a touch of church history.

So it’s an interesting listen. My beautiful wife would not like it because she rankles at people who are probably not Christians opining or discussing Christian or Biblical history from a non-Christian perspective. This lecturer says that he’s not going to tackle the theological content of the books under discussion, but at times he does make light of what his Christian students say, so he’s probably not exactly a homer. I, on the other hand, am very interested in church history and consideration of the imperfections of translations of the Bible.

So you good bit of listening if you don’t mind those things.

1 thought on “On The History of the Bible: The Making of the New Testament Canon

  1. Dr. Ehrman does have an axe to grind with theological orthodoxy although I’m told he’s a bit more restrained here than in some of his books. It’s been a very long time since I had to read anything from him so I can’t judge his more recent mindset except by what I see quoted now and again.

    A good written history of the early church and the formation of the canon is “The Story of Christianity” by Justo Gonzalez. Volume 1 deals with the church up through the Reformation and is the better of the two if you just want the early history. It also comes in a single-volume edition. Dr. Gonzalez writes very accessibly and in this work at least is very much in “just the facts, ma’am” mode.

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