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Biblical Literature

[To survey the chronological range and literary genres of the books of the Bible and to discuss the formation of the formal canon, this entry comprises two articles: Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament.]

Hebrew Scriptures

The dramatic changes in biblical scholarship during the late twentieth century have shattered the relative consensus that much of the field had enjoyed since the advent of historical criticism in the late 1800s. Feminist, reader-response, de-constructionist, and other new approaches have challenged understandings not only of individual books and passages but indeed of the Bible's very nature and origins.

These heated and on-going debates center on a collection of documents, most of which are believed to have been written in Hebrew, that are accepted as religious canon by Judaism and Christianity. The modern Jewish canon has a tripartite organization: the Torah (the first five books, also called the Pentateuch); Prophets, subdivided into Former Prophets (Joshua through Kings) and Latter Prophets (Isaiah through Malachi); and Writings (a variety of materials, from Psalms to Chronicles). The early Christian canon retained these books as well as deuteroncanonical writings from the Greek-speaking world; to enhance how the collection would lead to the additional documents about Jesus also accepted by the church, Christianity renamed the earlier collection the Old Testament and moved the Latter Prophets to its end. The Protestant Reformers later removed the deuterocanonicals, labeling them Apocrypha. Hence, while Jews, Roman Catholics, and Protestants rightly may be said to share the books found in the Hebrew Scriptures, each community understands differently the significance of a given book within its respective canon, a reality that is also reflected in the ordering of the books in each tradition.

These modern canons include many different types of literature. The Torah narrates events from the creation of the world through the death of Moses, interspersing judicial and cultic regulations as well as poetry. The Former Prophets are primarily narrative in form and cover Israelite history from the entry into the land of Canaan through the fall of Judah. Poetic oracles dominate the Latter Prophets, although biographical narratives occasionally intertwine. The Writings contain liturgical poetry (Psalms), instructions on “wisdom” (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job, Song of Songs), short narratives (Esther, Ruth) and miscellaneous books, such as Lamentations.

Getting a Text.

Such a straightforward description of the organization and content of these existing canons can, however, obscure the fact that the Hebrew Bible as a whole and its constituent parts have undergone an extended process of collection, canonization, transmission, and translation. As a result of the lack of autographs (originals), even determining the text of the collection can be problematic. Modern translators rely on manuscripts (handwritten copies), some of which are removed from their assumed originals by more than a thousand years. The two principal manuscripts, used exclusively prior to 1940 and still used today, are medieval in date. Manuscripts found in the Judean Desert since the 1940s have given scholars more ancient scraps of biblical materials but no complete copies of the whole. Early translations (versions) in languages such as Greek, Coptic, and Syriac also inform textual judgments.

Because such manuscripts and subsequent codices were created in and preserved by religious communities, determining what is genuinely ancient is a matter of scholarly judgment. During the history of biblical interpretation, scholars interested in the historical information the Hebrew Scriptures can provide have developed a number of critical methodologies, such as source criticism, form criticism, and redaction criticism. Recently, however, these methods have been challenged—both in the results they produce and the assumptions from which they work.

Finding an Author.

Although many modern books are the products of a single author writing from a consistent point of view, the great variations in content and style between and within biblical books suggest quite different origins. Alert for inconsistencies in style, vocabulary, and theology, source criticism arose in the 1800s to distinguish the signs of multiple authors. For example, Julius Wellhausen (Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel, reprint, Gloucester, 1983) argued that the Pentateuch was not the work of Moses but rather a compilation of four discrete sources, the first written during the Monarchy and the last in the postexilic period.

Form criticism as developed in the early 1900s claimed that the biblical materials are yet more ancient. Hermann Gunkel (What Remains of the Old Testament and Other Essays, translated by A. K. Dallas, New York, 1928) and his successors interpreted recurring motifs and stereotypical formulae as signs that biblical writings preserve a prior oral stage. Within this framework, some of the writings now found in the Hebrew Bible may be very ancient, perhaps as old as the patriarchs.

Although source and form criticism are still practiced, both have waned in popularity. Myriad literary studies of biblical narrative have argued that source “inconsistencies” exist in the eye of the beholder and that ancient Semitic writers worked within a different aesthetic than that of modern Europeans. While studies of folklore and anthropology continue to trace elements of orality, form criticism has recently been challenged—by John van Seters (In Search of History: Historiography in the Ancient World and the Origins of Biblical History, New Haven, 1983) in the case of the Pentateuch, and by other literary studies that attribute formulae and repetitions to creative authors in other portions of the Bible.

Dating the Composition.

Describing the time period a text talks “about” is much less difficult than determining “when” it was written, although neither may be readily tied to recognized archaeological time periods. Biblical history is usually divided according to the political history of the Israelite and later Judean nations, and thus does not directly coincide with the archaeological designations of the Bronze or Iron Age.

Using biblical terminology, the Hebrew Bible relates material about an undated prehistory through the Hellenistic period. In regard to when it was written, greater consensus exists for the more recent periods than for early ones. For example, that parts of the Bible were written in the Hellenistic period is generally accepted (Daniel, Ecclesiastes, perhaps Joel), and much material is seen to derive from the Persian period (the last of the prophets, some wisdom texts, Ezra, Nehemiah). The Babylonian period is well represented (Jeremiah, Ezekiel, parts of the Pentateuch, perhaps the Former Prophets), as is the Assyrian period (Isaiah, Amos, Hosea).

How many of the writings precede the Assyrian period, however, is questioned. Building on Wellhausen, Gerhard von Rad (The Problem of the Hextateuch and Other Essays, translated by E. W. Trueman Dicken, London, 1984) dated the first strand of the Pentateuch (J) to the era of Solomon. Few modern scholars place the writing of biblical materials before the Monarchy, although the Song of Deborah (Jg. 5) and the Song of Moses (Dt. 32) may be earlier compositions.

Making Comparisons.

In dating discussions, in analyses of literary genres, and in historical reconstructions, scholars have turned to other literature from the ancient Near East for illumination. Comparisons abound, offering much fodder for scholarly debate. Such parallels provide rich background regarding the cosmological, cultural, and religious milieu of the ancient Near East. Mythological texts from Mesopotamia and Ugarit are particularly helpful in this regard. Concerned with the division of the elements from chaos, the loss of immortality because of a sly snake, and the ability of one man to survive a flood on a boat, the Mesopotamian documents Enūma elish and the epics of Gilgamesh and Atraḫasis appear to be the backdrop against which the writers of Genesis worked. Ugaritic myths of Baal's ordeal in the underworld illumine some psalmic and prophetic language.

Similarly, comparison of biblical legal material with that of Mesopotamian and Hittite cultures reveals many similarities, both in individual laws and in their underlying values. Laws often considered unique to Israel (such as sabbath observance and an owner's responsibility for a goring ox) have Mesopotamian counterparts. In addition, the covenant ideology in which biblical law is presented employs diplomatic language typical of Hittite and Assyrian treaties.

Much of the Writings section utilizes common ancient Near Eastern literary types. The Psalms, for example, often adapt Mesopotamian, Ugaritic, and Egyptian hymnody to the monotheism of later Israel. Large portions of the Book of Proverbs draw from the Egyptian wisdom text “The Instruction of Amenemope,” and the books of Job and Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs bear equally strong literary ties to other forms of Near Eastern literature.

Although scholars have long recognized the benefit of such comparisons in appreciating the intellectual and cultural environment in which the Bible arose, much more debated is the accuracy with which specific events recorded in the Hebrew Bible can be verified in extrabiblical documents. A prime example of such disagreement concerns the date of the Exodus. Followers of William Foxwell Albright (for example, John Bright, A History of Israel, 3d ed., Philadelphia, 1981) insist on a thirteenth-century date for the Exodus based on the mention of “Israel” on Pharaoh Merneptah's victory marker (1220 BCE) and on an identification with the store cities mentioned in Exodus 1:11 with Egyptian sites. Earlier dates for the Exodus are embraced by scholars who correlate the ḫapiru mentioned in the Amarna texts with the Hebrew people: if Canaanite rulers were complaining about marauding “Hebrews” in the fourteenth century BCE, the Exodus would necessarily have taken place earlier. A good number of European scholars today are questioning whether the Exodus actually occurred. Similar debates have arisen as well over dating the nature of the Israelite occupation of Canaan and the historicity of the patriarchal narratives.

Forming a Canon.

Understanding how stories and books were gathered into larger units and then into a single collection involves understanding how and why documents came to be understood as canonical. A standard view of this process identifies the first move toward “scripture” with a reform movement recorded in 2 Kings 22, in which a book found in the Temple in Jerusalem (perhaps Deuteronomy) served as a basis for a community covenant. With the concept of canon thus established, Ezra the scribe elevated the Pentateuch in postexilic Judah to the status of “law” and introduced provisions prohibiting exogamy. According to this view of canonical development, the Prophets were accepted as canon by the Maccabean period; the Writings, and hence the whole Hebrew Bible, were ratified by a rabbinic council at Yavneh/Jamnia in about 90 CE.

Alternatives to this understanding of canon development have been offered. According to Martin Noth (English translation: The Deuteronomistic History, Sheffield, 1981), since Deuteronomy through Kings forms a continuous narrative, Deuteronomy would have been composed not with the rest of the Pentateuch but as part of a longer historical work called the Deuteronomistic History. David Noel Freedman (“The Formation of the Canon of the Old Testament,” in Religion and Law: Biblical-Judaic and Islamic Perspectives, edited by Edwin B. Frimage et al., pp. 315–331, Winona Lake, Ind., 1990) posits that a primary history (Genesis through Kings), along with much of the prophetic corpus, was complete by 540 BCE and, hence, that Ezra's contribution was the reorganization of the collections to exalt a Pentateuch devoid of the conquest. Recent studies of Achaemenid governance of the postexilic community suggest that the impetus for codifying the community's laws and membership criteria may have come from Persia.

Discussions since the 1960s have challenged the assumption that the Council of Jamnia finalized the canon, since the “council” model more resembles later Christian councils than it does a first-century Jewish gathering and since the ordering of biblical books remained fluid until at least 400 CE. In the case of Judaism, Talmud Bava' Batra' 14b places the book of Isaiah after Ezekiel, whereas in the modern Jewish canon Isaiah precedes Jeremiah. In Christianity, different canonical orders are given by Epiphanius, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Jerome.

Understanding the Current Discussion.

Recent biblical scholarship has produced many critiques of older views of biblical origins and canonical development without providing a new consensus in their place. Indicative of the late twentieth-century Zeitgeist, newer approaches offer less certainty than they do discrete and passionate voices on these fundamental issues in understanding the Hebrew Scriptures.

[See also Hebrew Language and Literature.]


  • Bright, John. A History of Israel, 3d edition. Philadelphia, 1981.
  • Childs, Brevard S. Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture. Philadelphia, 1979. Explains the processes and movements of canon formation.
  • Freedman, David N. “The formation of the Canon of the Old Testament.” In Religion and Law: Biblical-Judaic and Islamic Perspectives, edited by E. B. Frimage et al., pp. 315–331. Winona Lake, Ind., 1990.
  • Gunkel, Hermann. What Remains of the Old Testament and Other Essays. Translated by A. K. Dallas. New York, 1983.
  • Hayes, John H., and J. Maxwell Miller, eds. Israelite and Judaean History. Philadelphia, 1977. Collection of essays balancing the historically optimistic views of Albright and Bright.
  • Haynes, Stephen R., and Steven L. McKenzie, eds. To Each Its Own Meaning: An Introduction to Biblical Criticisms and Their Applications. Louisville, Ky., 1993. Provides explanations and examples of traditional approaches (historical, source, and form criticism), as well as more modern ones (feminist, poststructuralist).
  • Knight, Douglas A., and Gene M. Tucker, eds. The Hebrew Bible and Its Modern Interpreters. Chico, Calif., 1985. Surveys contemporary thought on most of the topics discussed in this article, with a review of each of the Hebrew Bible's major sections.
  • Noth, Martin. The Deuteronomistic History. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, no. 15. Sheffield, 1981.
  • Pritchard, James B., ed. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. 3d ed. Princeton, 1969. Standard collection of ancient texts offering few explanatory or critical notes; more helpful for general background to the literature than as a source document for scholars.
  • Rad, Gerhard von. The Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays. Translated by E. W. Trueman Dicken. London, 1984.
  • Van Seters, John. In Search of History. New Haven, 1983.
  • Wellhausen, Julius. Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel. Gloucester, 1983.

Julia M. O'Brien

New Testament

The New Testament is a collection of twenty-seven individual documents written between about 50 and 150 CE, the period following the initial founding of the Christian movement. They were originally written for small, specific audiences (either congregations or individuals) but were collected during the next two centuries to form a body of literature. Circulation in this form also influenced the development of the codex (or book type) of manuscript production that became popular among Christians in place of scrolls. Of the twenty-seven documents, the majority (twenty were originally written in the form of private letters, and two more (Hebrews and Revelation) incorporate epistolary features. Because of the diverse and particular nature of the documents, the process of collection and editing to form the present New Testament canon was sometimes complex and contentious.

The earliest New Testament writings are the genuine letters of Paul, dating to the Aegean period of his ministry (c. 50–60 CE). Paul's first letters were written to fledgling house-church congregations of predominantly gentile converts, for whom the letters served as encouragement or to answer questions that arose after Paul had moved on. [See House Churches.] The earliest letter is 1 Thessalonians (c. 51 CE); Paul wrote it while in Corinth, and within a relatively short time after he had left Thessalonike after founding the congregation there. From Corinth, Paul proceeded to Ephesus, which was to become his base of operations for most of this period. [See Ephesus.] He continued to make a regular circuit of visits, but in the interim often sent coworkers, such as Timothy and Titus, bearing a letter from him to a community. Letter writing in the Greco-Roman world followed certain highly stylized conventions of form and address. Paul adopted many of them in his writing, adapting them to a given occasion's particular needs or issues. Formal analysis of the genre and conventions has been greatly enhanced by the discoveries of many private letters on papyrus from Egypt and elsewhere. In addition to giving advice and encouragement, Paul's letters often served as formal letters of recommendation in which he sought hospitality for himself (Phlm. 22) or his coworkers (Rom. 16:2; Phil 2:25–29).

The New Testament contains two letters from Paul to Corinth (1 Cor., from c. 54; 2 Cor., from c. 56/57), both written in Ephesus. From internal references (cf. 1 Cor. 5:9; 2 Cor. 2:3; 7:8), it is clear that Paul also wrote at least two other letters to Corinth that are now lost. The sequence of these letters is, therefore, (1) letter now lost; (2) 1 Corinthians; (3) letter lost (partially?); and (4) 2 Corinthians. Moreover, analysis of 2 Corinthians reveals a later composite of fragments of several letters, especially (3) and (4) and perhaps one or two more. The various Christian groups at Corinth also wrote letters to Paul (cf. 1 Cor. 7:1). There are other letters by Paul that may incorporate fragments of several letters (e.g., Philippians), and there are several other lost letters (cf. Phil. 3:1; Col. 4:16). All the genuine letters from Paul were written from 50 to 60 CE, in the Aegean; the last was most likely his letter to Rome, which was to prepare the way for his intended mission to Spain.

Following Paul's death there was some concern on the part of his followers in these regions to preserve the apostle's legacy and teachings. This led to the composition of pseudonymous (or pseudepigraphic) letters written in his name. Of the thirteen letters in the New Testament attributed to Paul, the authenticity of seven is debated: 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians, and the so-called Pastoral Epistles (1, 2 Tm.; Ti.). Ephesians and the Pastorals are the least likely to have been written by Paul. The explicit address “who are at Ephesus” does not appear at all in the oldest manuscripts of the so-called Ephesian letter; it was probably produced nearer the end of the first century, at about the time that a collection of Paul's letters was first being assembled. The Pastoral Epistles may derive from some partially preserved writing by Paul (in 2 Tm.); however, in their present form, they were probably produced in the early to mid-second century.

There is a wide range of composition, date, and authorship questions relating to letters in the New Testament not attributed to Paul. The Epistle of James is generally associated with the brother of Jesus who, according to tradition, led the Jewish Christian community in Jerusalem until his death (c. 64 CE), just prior to the beginning of the First Jewish Revolt against Rome. [See First Jewish Revolt.] Some scholars have suggested, however, that it is a later pseudonymous composition, probably dating to near the turn of the second century. The two epistles attributed to Peter are likely by different authors: 1 Peter is a pseudepigraph with influences from Pauline tradition (especially the debated letters Colossians and Ephesians) and was probably written sometime in the first decade of the second century, in Asia Minor. The letter 2 Peter appears to be later still (probably from the 120s or so); it draws on (and is thus later than) the Epistle of Jude and seems to reflect an existing collection of Paul's letters (cf. 2 Pt., 3:15–17). The situation addressed by 2 Peter may be similar to that in 2 Thessalonians because both address disputes and opinions over the delay of the eschaton.

The three Johannine letters are probably the work of two distinct schools. The letter 1 John was probably written by the same group of followers of John who produced the Gospel. Like the Gospel, it can be dated to between 95 and 125 CE. The place of composition is usually thought to be Ephesus, but a Syrian origin (such as Antioch) has been suggested by some scholars. The two short letters, 2 and 3 John, seem to be by a single author who is never identified except as “The Elder”; they probably come from early in the second century, from Asia Minor. They might have derived their Johannine attribution from the fact that a figure known as John the Elder, not the same as the apostle, was prominent at Ephesus at the end of the first century. The Book of Revelation (which carries the Greek title of The Apocalypse) is thought by some to be by this same John the Elder because the traditional attribution to the apostle John was disputed in antiquity; the author is, however, clearly different from that of 2 and 3 John. The date of Revelation is traditionally placed at about 95 CE, from Patmos, but it has been variously dated as early as 70 and as late as the second century.

Despite their position within the canon of the New Testament, the Gospels and Acts were products of a long and complex compositional history stretching into the second century. According to prevailing scholarly opinion, the earliest of the canonical Gospels to be written was Mark; it is usually dated to between 66 and 75 CE. A date sometime after the destruction of Jerusalem In 70 seems the most likely, given internal references to these events (cf. Mk. 13:14). The dates usually assigned to the other Gospels follow: Matthew, 75–85/90 CE; Lk., 80–90/95 CE; and John, sometime after 95 CE. The Gospels were composed by authors or groups of authors working with a combination of oral and written source materials that they reworked with their own peculiar stories and concerns. Hence, these authors are properly thought of as redactors (or editors) as well. As with most of the New Testament documents, the actual names of the authors remain unknown. The author of Mark, for example, likely had available an early collection of miracle stories and an existing passion narrative; however, the final narrative of Jesus' life was the product of the Markan redactor. Both Matthew and Luke seem to follow the basic outline of Mark, although they alter some sections radically in shape or position and add some new material. Each adds some material peculiar to its author, so that it is not possible to know whether it was derived from earlier sources or from the author's own composition. Some 250 verses are common to both Matthew and Luke (but are entirely missing from Mark); therefore, scholars have proposed the existence of a lost source (called Q), which appears to be an early collection of “sayings” material. Recent work on the Q document suggests that it dates from about 50 to 70 CE and that it, too, was edited in various stages over time, prior to its incorporation in Matthew and Luke. Further corroboration of the existence of such a collection of sayings has been given since the discovery among the Nag Hammadi (Egypt) library of a complete Coptic text of the Gospel of Thomas, a noncanonical sayings Gospel (originally composed in Greek, probably in Syria) variously dated either before about 70 or to between 100 and 140 CE). [See Nag Hammadi.]

The editorial process at work in each of these Gospels derives in large measure from the context in which each was used. These earliest narrative compilations of the life of Jesus were told and retold within particular Christian communities. The tone and details of the narrative were shaped according to the circumstances of each community. Matthew, for example, was written in Upper Galilee or in Lower Syria (the nearer diaspora) in a context in which emergent Pharisaic and Christian groups were competing to establish their identities. The Christian community of Matthew's Gospel still thinks of itself as completely Jewish, but it feels pressure from other Jewish groups. The vitriolic anti-Pharisaic sentiments attributed to Jesus in Matthew are in reality a reflection of this tension in the period of post-70 reconstruction, rather than the situation in Jesus' own day. In sharp contrast, both Luke and John seem to come from a decidedly Greek environment; each has been claimed as having been written in Antioch and Asia Minor. John's development of the synoptic tradition seems to favor some highly Platonic philosophical speculations, similar to those found in Philo of Alexandria. It has been suggested that John went through five stages of editing to achieve its present form sometime after the death of its namesake, the apostle John. Luke, on the other hand, comes from a later follower of the Pauline tradition, who adapts the synoptic tradition to meet the more cultured literary tastes of a Greco-Roman audience. Luke seems to follow the Greek genres of history writing and novelistic fiction. What sets Luke apart in the development of the Early Christian literary tradition is that it was clearly designed from the outset as a two-part narrative that continues in Acts (cf. Lk. 1.1–4 with Acts 1.1). The formal preface and dedication combine with the stylistic features of the writing to make this the most literary document in the New Testament.

None of the writings of the New Testament have survived in their earliest manuscript form: all are copies of copies that were preserved chiefly through the process of collection beginning in the early to mid-second century. The earliest manuscript version of Paul's letters (the Chester Beatty II papyrus [P46], c. end of the second century), however, clearly omits the Pastoral Epistles. The earliest impulse to assemble such a collection seems to have begun around the legacy of Paul in the churches of Asia Minor and Greece. By the 110s, a partial collection of Paul's letters was known by Ignatius of Antioch, but he does not reflect a knowledge of the diverse Gospel traditions. By the 140s, at least a partial collection of Paul's letters (omitting the Pastorals) was known and used by Marcion, but he refused to accept any Gospel other than Luke. Marcion was originally from Sinope on the Black Sea but migrated to Rome, where he was eventually excommunicated as a heretic.

The earliest canon list that resembles the shape of the present New Testament comes from the so-called Muratorian fragment; preserved in a later Latin manuscript from Milan, it dates to about 180–200 and is most likely from Rome. The beginning is lost, but the fragment commences by naming Luke as the Third Gospel; its strenuous defense of the authorship of John suggests that it was written in response to an ongoing debate. While it includes the deutero-Pauline letters, it omits Hebrews, James, and both Petrine letters. It accepts the debated Apocalypse of John, but also included the apocryphal Apocalypse of Peter and the Wisdom of Solomon. While it knew of other churches (notably in Alexandria) that accepted the Shepherd of Hermas, the Muratorian canon list treats it as secondary—that is, suitable for admonition but not worthy of being numbered among the prophets and apostles. It seems that this last twofold designation was the term by which the entire Christian Bible was conceptualized in the Muratorian list, with the “prophets” designating those books of the Hebrew canon, and the “apostles,” the equivalent of the New Testament. It is the first clear reference to this two-part structure in the Christian tradition. While a core of works (the four Gospels and the letters of Paul) seem to have been fixed from the mid-second century, other works (notably Hebrews and Revelation) continued to be debated into the fourth century. At the same time, numerous other writings were being produced, some with purported apostolic authority. These divisive issues were further fueled by the fact that each geographic region and local sectarian group often used different collections or other competing works. By the time of Constantine, therefore, calls for unity were beginning, and these eventually resulted in the establishment of criteria for considering works as Scripture. Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 325) designated three categories: those “accepted” (Gk., homologoumena) as Scripture, those disputed (Gk., antilegomena), and those that are spurious (Greek., en tois nothois). His final list is less than clear, however, because only twenty writings were in the first category, most of the so-called catholic epistles appear in the second, and Revelation seems to be in the last. Athanasius of Alexandria (in his Festal Letter 39 of 367 CE) produced the first list of New Testament books that corresponds to that used today. This list was eventually ratified by practice rather than dogmatic assertion in later Christian councils, even though some debate continued into the sixth century.


  • Aland, Kurt, and Barbara Aland. The Text of the New Testament. 2d ed. Leiden, 1989.
  • Campenhausen, Hans von. The Formation of the Christian Bible. Philadelphia, 1972.
  • Ferguson, Everett. “Canon Muratori: Date and Provenance.” Studia Patristica 18 (1982): 677–683.
  • Gamble, Harry. The New Testament Canon: Its Making and Meaning. Philadelphia, 1985.
  • Koester, Helmut. Introduction to the New Testament, vol. 2, History and Literature of Early Christianity. Philadelphia, 1982.
  • Koester, Helmut. Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Development. London, 1990.
  • McDonald, Lee M. The Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon. Nashville, 1988.
  • Metzger, Bruce M. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance. Oxford, 1987.
  • Stowers, Stanley K. Letter Writing in Greco-Roman Antiquity. Philadelphia, 1986.

L. Michael White

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