Late last year, Michael Kruger released The Question of Canon, which asserts that the NT canon is not an invention of the church hundreds of years after Christ, but rather a natural and even expected development amongst the very earliest followers of Jesus. The Question of Canon is a fairly short work (252 pages) with a precise focus. Kruger wants to rock the boat a little with those who see the NT canon as merely artificial and late in history; something that happened to the early Christian writings rather than something arising from the character and nature of the writings themselves. Or in other words, were the NT documents called canon (the ‘extrinsic model’) or recognized to be canon (the ‘intrinsic model’)? Kruger doesn’t dismiss the truth or values to the extrinsic model, yet wants to reveal its prominent weaknesses and challenge its exclusivity amongst many scholars. This is much more than a work of apologetics but it certainly has apologetic ramifications.
Since Kruger’s argument consists of addressing 5 common questions I have decided to do individual posts as I walk through The Question of Canon, and then give my final thoughts at the end. I hope that doing so will help promote discussion on these 5 individual points. Here are the five chapters and the question they each address:
- The Definition of Canon // Must we make a sharp distinction between the definitions of Canon and Scripture?
- The Origins of Canon // Was there really nothing in early Christianity that may have led to a Canon?
- The Writing of Canon // Were early Christians averse to written documents?
- The Authors of Canon // Were the NT authors unaware of their own authority?
- The Date of Canon // Were the NT books first regarded as Scripture at the end of the Second Century
Check back soon for our tour through the first chapter. How do we define canon?