Tomas Bokedal shows how the canon is shaped by numerical patterns of nomina sacra—scribal reverence for divine names. These patterns, which especially revolve around Christ, reveal the devotional and theological preoccupations of the earliest Christians. The rule of faith is not a later development; it is in the very text of Scripture. Christ the Center shows a remarkable interplay between Scripture and theology.
The topic of canon continues to be at the forefront of scholarly discussions today. But sometimes it seems we are rehashing the same topics over and over. Tomas Bokedal’s new volume is different. It presses these canonical discussions in new and fresh directions. Creative and well-researched, this will be an important volume for anyone interested in the origins of the New Testament.
—Michael J. Kruger, president and Samuel C. Patterson professor of New Testament and early Christianity, Reformed Theological Seminary Charlotte
Tomas Bokedal offers us a truly fascinating exploration of the way in which the canon, the rule of faith, and the use of nomina sacra provided the hermeneutical principles for reading the Scriptures. By exploring the familiar (and unfamiliar) material from the first four centuries, Tomas Bokedal offers original and illuminating insights, opening up further dimensions in our exploration of the Scriptures.
—John Behr, Regius Chair of Humanity, University of Aberdeen
With careful interdisciplinary attention to the shape and meaning of biblical texts, abbreviation patterns in early manuscripts, and theological implications for the rule of faith, Bokedal weaves together several lines of inquiry that are sometimes isolated in the study of the New Testament and early Christianity. There is much for the serious student of the biblical canon to consider in this interesting and instructive work.
—Ched Spellman, associate professor of biblical and theological studies, Cedarville University
Each reader will need to sift through this treasure-trove of data and consider the argument—such an effort will be repaid with helpful and penetrating discoveries. Christ the Center will be an important part of the scholarly debate over the formation and function of the Christian canon for years to come.
—Darian R. Lockett, professor of New Testament, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
Tomas Bokedal is associate professor in New Testament at NLA University College in Bergen, Norway, and lecturer in New Testament at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.