Why is there a New Testament? by Joseph Kelly (Chapman 1986, £6.95).
DR KELLY is professor at John Carroll University, but his book is a popularisation on a level intelligible in English schools at fifth form level, though written in response to the interests and enthusiasm of his own students.
It covers, in a rapid but reasonably informative way, a number of introductory topics: the evolution of the New Testament and its books, the idea of a canon of authoritative books, the New Testament apocrypha, textual criticisms and versions.
There are some interesting fringe-discussions, such as why there was no Christian-Jewish mission to Babylon or Alexandria.
But there is too much which is careless or flabby: "the Christian preacher found himself or herself" (p 26) as though there were women preachers in the first Christian generation. Homer is cited as an example of sacred writing (p 28).