Why Evangelicals Need to Pay Attention to Michael Kruger

Question of Canon

Michael Kruger (blog: Canon Fodder) currently resides as campus president and professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC. The Question of Canon, his sixth book, was published this past week through InterVarsity Press.  Kruger is establishing himself as a conservative voice in canonical and text-critical scholarship. One would think the “canon issue” has been settled throughout the past 1700–1800 years? But as history informs us, each generation produces men articulating new answers to old questions and so, history has brought us Kruger.

As Kruger’s canon books articulate, the canon conversation is alive and seems to progresses with each generation. He seeks to demonstrate how early Christianity and the Scripture organized rather quickly, as opposed to the view that the Scriptures formed later in the midst of theological and ecclesiological diversity. Kruger brings refreshing scholarship to the Patristic value within the NT discipline.

Here is the chapter division to his new book:

1. The Definition of Canon: Must We Make a Sharp Distinction Between the Definitions of Canon and Scripture?

2. The Origins of Canon: Was There Really Nothing in Early Christianity That May Have Led to a Canon?

3. The Writing of Canon: Were Early Christians Averse to Written Documents?

4. The Authors of Canon: Were the New Testament Authors Unaware of Their Own Authority

5. The Date of Canon: Were the New Testament Books First Regarded as Scripture at the End of the Second Century?

Here are a few comments about his new book:

Larry W. Hurtado: With an impressive familiarity with primary data and scholarly studies, and in a patient and generous tone toward other positions, Kruger makes a solid (to my mind, persuasive) case that the formation of a New Testament canon was a historical process with roots at least as early as the circulation and use of certain texts as Scriputre in the early second century.

Craig L. Blomberg: Already the author of one important book on the formation of the New Testament canon, Kruger here tackles the five most prevalent objections to the classic, Christian understanding of a quickly emerging, self-authenticating collection of authoritative counterparts to the Hebrew Scriptures. . . . All who insist on maintaining the (more liberal) scholarly consensus will have to refute Kruger if they are to maintain any credibility on this topic!

Here is a list of Kruger’s other books:

Charles E. Hill and Michael J. Kruger, eds. The Early Text of the New Testament. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Michael J. Kruger. Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012.

Andreas J. Köstenberger and Michael J. Kruger. The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012.

Tobias Nicklas, Thomas J. Kraus, and Michael J. Kruger, eds. Gospel Fragments. Oxford Early Christian Gospel Texts. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Michael J. Kruger. The Gospel of the Savior: An Analysis of P.Oxy. 840 and Its Place in the Gospel Traditions of Early Christianity. Texts and Editions for New Testament Study 1. New York: Brill, 2005.

Why do Evangelicals need to pay attention to Michael Kruger and the work coming out of Charlotte? Kruger is producing robust, Evangelical answers to questions surrounding the base of Evangelical presuppositions: canon and text-criticism. His works, also with Andreas Köstenberger and Charles Hill, are asking difficult questions, excelling in research, and yielding ample works for the church, pastor, and scholar.

I say with Charles Hill, “May this book find many readers.”

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