We want to highlight a recent book that has been published on the New Testament Canon. It is a part of the Viewpoints series published by Kregel, edited by Stanley E. Porter and Benjamin P. Laird. The blurb on Kregel’s website states:
What historical, political, and ecclesial realities drove the canonization of the New Testament?
How are the doctrines of Early Christianity related to the formation of the New Testament?
Should the New Testament differ in authority from other early Christian texts?
As these questions demonstrate, the enduring influence of the New Testament does not lessen the dispute over the events and factors leading to its adoption. Five Views on the New Testament Canon presents five distinct ways of understanding how the New Testament came to be:
- A Conservative Evangelical Perspective — Darian R. Lockett
- A Progressive Evangelical Perspective — David R. Nienhuis
- A Liberal Protestant Perspective — Jason David BeDuhn
- A Roman Catholic Perspective — Ian Boxall
- An Orthodox Perspective — George L. Parsenios
Each contributor addresses historical, theological, and hermeneutical questions related to the New Testament canon, such as what factors precipitated the establishment and recognition of the New Testament canon; the basis of any authority the New Testament has; and what the canon means for reading and interpreting the New Testament. Contributors also include a chapter each responding to the other views presented in the volume. The result is a lively exchange suitable for both undergraduate and graduate students seeking to grasp the best canon scholarship in biblical studies.
A feature not mentioned in this description is that the editors provide both a lengthy introduction and conclusion to the volume. In the introduction, they trace the history of prior discussion of formation of the canon and then outline the major issues in the canon debate and position the contributors and their positions within this discussion. In the conclusion, the editors recount the points of agreement and disagreement among the contributors, and then offer a brief discussion of the primary historical sources for discussion of the New Testament canon.
The question of canon, how the New Testament came to be recognized as the inspired Word of God, in relationship to the other contemporary writings, is an important one, and this book provides both an introduction for someone investigating this question and advanced thoughts for consideration. Everyone interested in canon should pick up this book.
— David I. Yoon and Stanley E. Porter