(Larry Hurtado): One our former PhD students, Michael Kruger, has produced a fine study of the emergence of the New Testament canon: Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2012). Kruger’s first book (arising from his PhD thesis here) was The Gospel of the Savior : An Analysis of P.Oxy.840 and Its Place in the Gospel Traditions of Early Christianity (Leiden: Brill, 2005), in which he focused on a portion of an unidentified early Christian gospel-like text, P. Oxryrhynchus 840, producing a “360” study of pretty much all features and questions relating to this fascinating text.
In Canon Revisited, Kruger (addressing a diverse readership including “general” readers as well as scholars) offers a case for whether “the Christian belief in the canon is intellectually justified” (p. 11). He shows impressive acquaintance with the primary data and also with an oceanic body of scholarship on the issues treated. Essentially, Kruger argues that the NT writings evidence an awareness by their authors that they were writing with a certain sense of authority (as, e.g., in Paul’s letters to his churches) and/or with a profound aim of providing reliable bases for Christian faith and practice. In this sense, he contends, the NT writings already have the germ of a canonical/scriptural role.
It is, of course, a position that will generate critique as well as consent. But Kruger makes his case clearly, without special pleading, and with a wide compass. And we’re always pleased to see the further academic productivity of our PhD graduates. Congratulations, Mike!