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Which forces prevailed in forming the New Testament canon? Discussing the selection process book-by-book, Dungan re-examines our primary source---Eusebius---and reaches startling new conclusions. Discover why the term "canon" is inaccurate; how the 4th- and 5th-century Roman government enforced the imposition of a "rule" upon Scripture; and which political influences shaped the NT before Marcion's time. 96 pages, softcover from Fortress.
Most college and seminary courses on the New Testament include discussions of the process that gave shape to the New Testament. Now David Dungan re-examines the primary source for this history, the Ecclesiastical History of the fourth-century Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, in the light of Hellenistic political thought. He reaches startling new conclusions: that we usually use the term "canon" incorrectly; that the legal imposition of a "canon" or "rule" upon scripture was a fourth- and fifth-century phenomenon enforced with the power of the Roman imperial government; that the forces shaping the New Testament canon are much earlier than the second-century crisis occasioned by Marcion, and that they are political forces.Dungan discusses how the scripture selection process worked, book-by-book, as he examines the criteria used-and not used-to make these decisions. Finally he describes the consequences of the emperor Constantine's tremendous achievement in transforming orthodox, Catholic Christianity into imperial Christianity.