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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Constantine's Bible: Politics and the Making of the New Testament
Dungan, David

Minneapolis: Fortress, 2007 pp. xii +224. $17.00


Description: Most college and seminary courses on the New Testament include discussions of the process that gave shape to the New Testament. Now David Dungan re-examines the primary source for this history, the Ecclesiastical History of the fourth-century Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, in the light of Hellenistic political thought. He reaches startling new conclusions: that we usually use the term "canon" incorrectly; that the legal imposition of a "canon" or "rule" upon scripture was a fourth- and fifth-century phenomenon enforced with the power of the Roman imperial government; that the forces shaping the New Testament canon are much earlier than the second-century crisis occasioned by Marcion, and that they are political forces. Dungan discusses how the scripture selection process worked, book-by-book, as he examines the criteria used–and not used–to make these decisions. Finally he describes the consequences of the emperor Constantine's tremendous achievement in transforming orthodox, Catholic Christianity into imperial Christianity.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Early Church Origins

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Review by Jean-François Racine
Published 6/23/2007
Citation: Jean-François Racine, review of David Dungan, Constantine's Bible: Politics and the Making of the New Testament, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2007).


Review by Garwood P. Anderson
Published 6/23/2007
Citation: Garwood P. Anderson, review of David Dungan, Constantine's Bible: Politics and the Making of the New Testament, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2007).


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