Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
by Michael J. Kruger
Given the popular-level conversations on phenomena like the Gospel of Thomas and Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus, as well as the current gap in evangelical scholarship on the origins of the New Testament, Michael Kruger’s Canon Revisited meets a significant need for an up-to-date work on canon by addressing recent developments in the field. He presents an academically rigorous yet accessible study of the New Testament canon that looks deeper than the traditional surveys of councils and creeds, mining the text itself for direction in understanding what the original authors and audiences believed the canon to be.
Canon Revisited provides an evangelical introduction to the New Testament canon that can be used in seminary and college classrooms, and read by pastors and educated lay leaders alike. In contrast to the prior volumes on canon, this volume distinguishes itself by placing a substantial focus on the theology of canon as the context within which the historical evidence is evaluated and assessed. Rather than simply discussing the history of canon—rehashing the Patristic data yet again—Kruger develops a strong theological framework for affirming and authenticating the canon as authoritative. In effect, this work successfully unites both the theology and the historical development of the canon, ultimately serving as a practical defense for the authority of the New Testament books.
“This book fills a lacuna in evangelical scholarship. Rarely does academic specialization in canon studies converge with thorough commitment to biblical authority. In this work, close evaluation of the history of approaches to the canon is matched by a richly theological interpretation of what it means to call Scripture our ‘canon.’ Careful, accessible, and wise in his explorations, Michael Kruger has given us a gift that will keep on giving for generations to come.”
―Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California
“The Christian canon of Scripture is under fire now more than ever. Sadly, even as so much of this fire has been issuing from academic quarters, we are left with more smoke than light. Stepping into the gap with a fresh synthesis is Michael Kruger’s Canon Revisited. Gracefully uniting theology and history, Kruger invokes the chief Reformed argument for canon and gives it fresh wings.”
―Nicholas Perrin, Dean, Wheaton College Graduate School
“Of all the recent books and articles on the canon of Scripture, this is the one I recommend most. It deals with the critical literature thoroughly and effectively while presenting a cogent alternative grounded in the teaching of Scripture itself. Michael Kruger develops the historic Reformed model of Scripture as self-authenticating and integrates it with a balanced appreciation for the history of the canon and the role of the community in recognizing it. This is the definitive work on the subject for our time.”
―John M. Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary
“Michael Kruger has written the book on the canon of Scripture that has been much needed for a long time. His focus is not on the process, but on the vitally important question of how Christians can know that they have the right books in their canon of Scripture. The question is an excellent one and needs to be addressed honestly and competently. Kruger does just that. This excellent book goes a long way toward clearing up confusion and misguided theories. I highly recommend it.”
―Craig A. Evans, John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins, Houston Baptist University
“Here, finally, is what so many pastors, seminary professors, and students have long been waiting for: a clear, well-informed, and scripturally faithful answer to the question of how Christians should account for the New Testament canon. Perhaps not since Ridderbos’s Redemptive History and the New Testament Scriptures has there appeared such a valuable single source on the New Testament canon that is both historically responsible and theologically satisfying (and this book improves on Ridderbos in many ways). Michael Kruger’s work will help readers get a handle on what may seem like a myriad of current approaches to canon, whether ecclesiastical or critical. This book will foster clearer thinking on the subject of the New Testament canon and will be a much referenced guide for a long time to come.”
―Charles E. Hill, John R. Richardson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando
“Michael Kruger has written an important and comprehensive treatment of the New Testament canon. As an advocate of the self-authenticating view, he goes to great lengths to argue his case, but he also delves deeply into the variety of historical and community-based positions. He provides an insightful treatment of epistemological grounds for belief, and debates the positions in a rigorous way not often found in such discussions. I am sure friend and foe alike will learn from this valuable volume.”
―Stanley E. Porter, President, Dean, and Professor of New Testament, McMaster Divinity College; author, Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament
“Canon Revisited is a well-written, carefully documented, and helpful examination of the many historical approaches that have been written to explain when and how the books of the New Testament were canonized. The author’s interest, however, is to move beyond the historical to the theological, concluding that the concepts of a self-authenticating canon and its corporate reception by the church are ultimately how we know that these twenty-seven books belong in the New Testament.”
―Arthur G. Patzia, Senior Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary; author, The Making of the New Testament
About the Author
Michael J. Kruger (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is the president and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kruger is ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America and also blogs regularly at MichaelJKruger.com and tweets at @michaeljkruger.
368 pages (hardcover)