Lee Martin McDonaldMay 26, 2023
Before There Was a Bible
Authorities in Early Christianity
T&T Clark 2023
Before There Was a Bible: Authorities in Early Christianity (T&T Clark, 2023) is a natural outgrowth from McDonald’s significant and ongoing work in the field of canon studies, which traces the development of the Christian Old and New Testaments as we know them today. Given that McDonald holds, as is now common in canon scholarship, that the biblical canon does not begin its formation until the fourth century CE, Before There Was a Bible examines the sources of authority that existed in the early, pre-canonical Christian centuries. Among these are the revered words of Jesus, early preferences for the Hebrew Scriptures that inspired Jesus’s ministry, and the different weights and values placed at times on the texts that would become accepted as part of the New Testament, the apostolic leadership of the churches, and the successors of the apostles, such as the bishops who maintained core traditions, creeds, hymnody, lectionaries, and other checks and balances on the spiritual sources for their churches. McDonald joined the New Books Network to discuss all these topics and more from his career in New Testament scholarship.
Lee Martin McDonald (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh, 1976) is President Emeritus at Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia, where he taught New Testament Studies for many years, and was also president of the Institute for Biblical Research from 2006 to 2012. He has written or edited 35 books over a career that spans back to the 1980s, and his most recent work is Before There Was a Bible: Authorities in Early Christianity (Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, 2023).
Rob Heaton (Ph.D., University of Denver, 2019) hosts Biblical Studies conversations for New Books in Religion and teaches New Testament, Christian origins, and early Christianity at Anderson University in Indiana. He recently authored The Shepherd of Hermas as Scriptura Non Grata: From Popularity in Early Christianity to Exclusion from the New Testament Canon (Lexington Books, 2023). For more about Rob and his work, please see his website at https://www.robheaton.com.