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By Arthur G. Patzia / IVP / 1995
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In The Making of the New Testament, Arthur Patzia retells the New Testament’s story. His textbook study of the origin, collection, copying and canonizing of the New Testament documents answers a myriad of questions – cultural, historical, geographical, linguistic and spiritual.
What motivated the early Christians to commit teaching and events and visions to papyrus? How were the stories and sayings of Jesus circulated, handed down and shaped into Gospels? Why were four Gospels included instead of one? What is known about ancient letter writing, secretaries and "copy shops"? Would a first-century librarian have known how to classify a Gospel, an Acts or an Apocalypse? How were Paul's letters, sent here and there, gathered into a single collection? Are there other documents that almost made it into the New Testament but didn't?
The Making of the New Testament compiles a vast array of scholarly research into a single comprehensible volume. The author’s introduction to the literary world of the New Testament is followed by sections on the Gospels, the Pauline literature, and other New Testament material. Attention is then turned to specific textual issues. All throughout, Patzia presents a historically informed overview of the past 100 years of critical methods in biblical scholarship.
The narratives and letters of our New Testament were shaped by worn pens gripped by calloused, ink-stained fingers. Their authors' ears were more likely assaulted by the urban clatter of busy intersections and bustling markets than attuned to a still small voice. Scrolls that bumped across cobbled Roman roads and pitched through rolling Mediterranean seas found their destination in stuffy, dimly lit, crowded Christian house churches in Corinth or Cenchreae. There they were read aloud and reread, handled and copied, forwarded and collected, studied and treasured. Their ordinary story is true to their extraordinary message: the mystery of the Word that became flesh. The Making of the New Testament brings the remarkable story of the New Testament to light.
Patzia has produced a clear, lucid and comprehensive beginning introduction to matters concerning the origin and formation of the NT canon, textual criticism, and historical criticism.
This accessible introduction to the making of Christian Scripture… The sections on formation of the canon, textual transmission, and textual criticism will be of particular value to serious students (in or out of formal academic settings) who seek a critically informed encounter with Christian Scripture.
Arthur G. Patzia (Ph.D., McMaster University) is professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary of Northern California. He is also the author of Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon in the New International Bible Commentary series.