20 Besides historians Michael Grant and A.N. Sherwin-White, whose views on the historical value of the Gospels we have studied in chapter 3, see R.T. France, The Evidence for Jesus(Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1986), chapter 3, especially pp. 121–125; Blomberg, Historical Reliability, p. 161; Drane, Introducing the NT, chapter 12.

21 A.M. Hunter, Bible and Gospels, pp. 32–37.

gives virtually no indication of earlier developments.^22 Accordingly, critiques of her thesis have abounded.^23

Koester’s approach is both typical and more sophisticated. While holding that the New Testament canon was “essentially created” at the end of the second century (by Irenaeus), he also informs his readers of the earlier recognition of important groupings of canonical texts. Yet, he still implies that certain apocryphal writings (including Gnostic documents) were also in general circulation, almost as alternative explanations to the early Christian tradition.^24