Toward a Canon-Conscious Reading of the Bible: Exploring the History and Hermeneutics of the Canon

Title: Toward a Canon-Conscious Reading of the Bible: Exploring the History and Hermeneutics of the Canon
Author: Ched Spellman
Publisher: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014
Series: New Testament Monographs, 34
List Price: $110.00
Binding: Hardback & Paperback (amz)
Pages: xi + 278

First Sentence:
What is the Bible, and how does it work?
Last Sentence:
Let the reader understand!
About the Book (from the back cover):
Two distinct questions about the canon of the Bible can be raised: (1) How did the biblical canon come to be?, and (2) What effect does that canon have on its readers? The former is a historical question about the formation of the biblical canon; the latter is a hermeneutical question about the function of the biblical canon. Though these questions have often been pursued in virtual isolation from one another, Spellman argues that there are considerable gains from observing the interconnections between the two lines of inquiry.

On the historical question of the origin of the canon, Spellman asks, Is the shape of this collection an accident of history or a result of intelligent design? He concludes that canon-consciousness played an important role in the formation of the canon, even impinging on the work of the biblical authors themselves. On the hermeneutical question, the communities of readers of the Bible may also be shown to have been directed by their own canon-consciousness, using it as a guide in their interpretative task. 

In this interdisciplinary work, Spellman marshals historical, theological and hermeneutical resources in order to paint a picture of how the concept of canon can enrich reading communities of today.

Table of Contents:

  1. Review by John Barton (University of Oxford) in Review of Biblical Literature (RBL, July, 2015).
  2. Review by Jennifer Guo (MDiv, Trinity) in Exegetical Tools, posted November 2015.
  3. Review by T. Renz in Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 40.5 (Jun 2016), 35.
  4. Review by Casey Croy in Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 20.2 (2016), 108-11.    
  5. Review by Jason Kees in Midwestern Journal of Theology 16.2 (Fall 2017), 141-44.
  6. Review by Matthew Y. Emerson in Fides et Humilitas 4 (Winter 2018), 114-17. 
How You Can Get Your Hands On It:
April 2, 2020


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