Review: The Making of the New Testament

11230776The Making of the New Testament: Origin, Collection, Text & Canon (Second Edition) by Arthur G. Patzia is a thoroughly revised, expanded, and updated edition of his classic textbook on the origin, collection, copying and canonizing of the New Testament documents. Nearly everything that was previously praised about the first edition has remained here. However, to the benefit of the reader, Patzia has made several needed changes to this second edition, including revised and updated documentation and interaction with more recent works on the subject material.

The Making of the New Testament is divided into seven major sections: (1) The Literary World of the New Testament, (2) The Gospels, (3) The Pauline Literature, (4) Other New Testament Literature, (5) The Criteria of Canonicity, (6) Writing, Copying & Transmitting the New Testament Manuscripts, and (7) Textual Variants & The Practice of Textual Criticism. Beyond these seven major sections, Patzia also provides five useful appendixes relating to the making of the New Testament: (1) Canon of the Old Testament, (2) Significant Leaders of the Early Church, (3) Early Canonical Lists of the New Testament, (4) Later Canonical Lists of the New Testament, and (5) Early Manuscripts Containing the New Testament. Like the material found throughout the volume, the appendixes have been both updated and revised.

The Making of the New Testament is an excellent resource for anyone who has ever pondered questions about how books and documents were produced in the first century, the motivation of the early Christians to write Scripture, why there are four Gospels instead of one, who decided and what criteria was used to choose the New Testament documents, and much more. Patzia has packed the book with a number of excellent graphs, charts, tables, and illustrations to illuminate the material for the reader. These are helpful even for those familiar with the subject matter of the book. Patzia also does an incredible job providing examples for the reader to better connect the material to the New Testament. This is especially helpful in his interaction with The Synoptic Problem, Source Criticism, Writing New Testament Manuscripts, and various aspects of Textual Criticism. Lastly, the Glossary and Selected Bibliography provide the reader with an excellent point of reference for immediate and further study.

The Making of the New Testament: Origin, Collection, Text & Canon by Arthur G. Patzia has been a well-received and widely used textbook for over two decades. Patzia is clear, concise, and informed in his interaction and communication of the issues related to the making of the New Testament. Those looking for an up-to-date introductory summation of the various disciplines related to the making of the New Testament will do well in acquiring this volume. It comes highly recommended to readers with all levels of interest and familiarity, but especially pastors and laity looking to ground their faith in something of substance and communicate it more clearly.


I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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