In this important book, Michael Kruger effectively challenges the common but unjustified conclusion that the canon was the late creation of the church, imposed on it by external forces. Kruger repeatedly points out the mistaken assumptions that underlie that conclusion, while on the positive side providing a more satisfactory understanding of the emergence of the canon within the church from virtually the beginning. The discussion is carried on in dialogue with the latest and best scholarship and reflects balanced and judicious wisdom throughout. If you are interested in the formation of the New Testament canon, you cannot afford to neglect this book.
-Donald A. Hagner,
George Eldon Ladd Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
With an impressive familiarity with primary data and scholarly studies, and in a patient and generous tone toward other positions, Kruger makes a solid (to my mind, persuasive) case that the formation of a New Testament canon was a historical process with roots at least as early as the circulation and use of certain texts as scripture in the early second century. Offering what he calls an 'intrinsic model' as complement to the emphasis on the final stages of canon formation in much current scholarship, he presents a nuanced and cogent picture that more adequately captures the historical complexity that led to the New Testament.
-Larry W. Hurtado,
emeritus professor, University of Edinburgh
For decades the debate surrounding the NT's canonical status has been waged on a stage set with all-too-familiar props and lights. An emerging expert on issues of canon, Michael Kruger brings fresh direction to a well-known script by questioning old assumptive props and setting the main actors under a new light. This is exactly the kind of fresh scholarship we need to go forward.
Franklin S. Dyrness Chair of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College Graduate School
Already the author of one important book on the formation of the New Testament canon, Kruger here tackles the five most prevalent objections to the classic, Christian understanding of a quickly emerging, self-authenticating collection of authoritative counterparts to the Hebrew Scriptures. Not only does he directly address these objections, he provides powerful rebuttals and further support for the classic view. All who insist on maintaining the (more liberal) scholarly consensus will have to refute Kruger if they are to maintain any credibility on this topic!
-Craig L. Blomberg,
Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
The regnant view of NT canon formation in academic circles holds that the canon is a late ecclesiastical creation, and one that is far removed from the mindset of Jesus, his apostles and even the church for at least the first century and a half of its existence. Kruger takes five major planks on which this view is built, subjects them to historical scrutiny, and, where there are any solid splinters of truth left after inspection, shows how they may be incorporated into a better empirical foundation for canon studies. This important study argues that an 'intrinsic' model for canon, which recognizes the canon as the product of internal forces evolving out of the historical essence of Christianity, is superior to the 'extrinsic' model that has dominated canon studies for too long. May this book find many readers.
-Charles E. Hill,
professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary Orlando, and coauthor of The Early Text of the New Testament