Use of the term “canon” has long been subject to debate among those studying the formation of the New Testament. The word itself comes from the Greek kanonikos, the basic meaning of which is “of one rule.” So a canon is something that other things are ruled by, the “standard” by which all other things are measured. Determining precisely what this “rule” has meant, however, has not been nearly so clear, leading to a series of conversations dubbed the “Canon Debate.” Continue reading
Most Christians, and I would dare say most Americans, know some basic things about the Christian New Testament. But many people don’t know (or don’t want to know) how the New Testament came into being. Some people seem to think that Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation fell from the sky in a nicely leather bound English translation (whichever your church happens to use, of course). Hopefully, most of you know that wasn’t quite how it happened.
So how did the New Testament canon form? Continue reading
While I’m the last person who is truly qualified to offer such a list, Church Times recently offered a list of the 100 Best Books of the Christian Tradition, and, as a graduate student studying the History of Christianity, I happen to read a lot of books belonging to the Christian tradition. And I like making lists. So I figured I would try my hand at listing the 100 Best Book of the Christian Tradition. Before starting, three notes: 1) these are not intended to strictly be the “best” books (I still have a lot to read), bur rather important works worth reading; 2) while the list is in some sort of order, the hierarchy is not overly rigid; and 3) his list contains only books I’ve read at least substantial portions of, and does not include works I have not read in some fashion. Continue reading