8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2008
This is an essential work for anyone working on the history of the New Testament writings and their transmission. The author deals very comprehensively with the transmission of the texts in the patristic authors and his discussion is very carefully and clearly organised. It is a classic and should be on every serious student's shelf.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Bruce Metzger's text is a decent summarisation of the development of the New Testament canon. Thematically, he covers references in the texts collectively known as the Apostolic Fathers, 'outside' influences on the development of the canon (Gnosticism and heretical movements such as Marcionism), separate developments in the East and the West, apocryphal works on the fringe of the canon (and indeed enjoying temporary or local canonicity), early lists of New Testament books, attempts at closing the canon in East and West respectively, questions concerning the canon in antiquity and questions concerning the canon in the present day. Appendices cover the history of the word 'canon', variations in the sequence of books in the New Testament, titles of the New Testament works, and (supplementing the main text) early lists of New Testament books.
I have two main criticisms; firstly I feel that Metzger's understanding of Gnosticism is a little lacking, and secondly I feel that sometimes he is a little too much of a cheerleader for the orthodox position and too easily dismissive of works not in the canon on a subjective basis. Nevertheless this is relatively minor in the context of the work as a whole, and this is a useful volume which should serve as a standard introductory text on the subject.