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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential NT reference work
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.
Published on 27 Jan 2008 by Origen

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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and careful study, though rather dry
A thorough and careful study of how the New Testament (NT) became the collection of writings it is today. Still the standard work on the topic, it analyses how various communities in the early church began to grant authority to scriptures other than the Old Testament, as indicated in writings such as the late first-century work known as the second epistle of Clement...
Published on 3 Nov 2008 by Jeremy Bevan


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential NT reference work, 27 Jan 2008
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Origen (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance (Paperback)
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.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and careful study, though rather dry, 3 Nov 2008
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Jeremy Bevan (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance (Paperback)
A thorough and careful study of how the New Testament (NT) became the collection of writings it is today. Still the standard work on the topic, it analyses how various communities in the early church began to grant authority to scriptures other than the Old Testament, as indicated in writings such as the late first-century work known as the second epistle of Clement. Other factors stimulating the creation of an acknowledged core of works deemed vital to the new faith included the rise of Gnosticism and Montanism, the work of the second-century scholar Marcion (who created his own, much shorter, version of the NT), and persecution. Metzger analyses the developments in the eastern and western churches and, in his most interesting chapter, shows how other books, now not 'officially' recognised, were granted authority in particular local areas: these included various apocryphal Acts and Gospels. Attempts at closing the Canon (that is, fixing the list of writings that `made it' into the NT) reveal just how disputed the process was, especially in respect of the epistle of James, the second epistle of Peter, and Revelation. What determined the canon ultimately was not, surprisingly, `inspiration' (a slippery concept, in Metzger's view). It was more a matter of how particular works earned a measure of authority in widely differing areas of the ancient world by reflecting accurately - as the churches saw it - traditions about Jesus and the earliest apostles that were held to be important.

Shortcomings with this otherwise sound work are its tendency to become just a rather dry series of lists at times; and its lack of analysis of how issues of worldy power and rivalry tended to get in the way of a supposedly objective and studiously deliberative process. For much better accounts of the latter, see Bart Ehrman's excellent `Whose Word Is It ?' and David Dungan's `Constantine's Bible'.
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