Saturday, March 04, 2006

Loose Canons: The Development of the Old Testament (Part 1)

by Michael Barber © 2006
(***update***: Scot McKnight made a very good criticism of what follows below, and I want to address it here. You will frequently see me talk about Jewish "canons". I simply use the term to describe sets of books read in an authoritative way. Certainly using the term and applying its modern connotations to second Temple Judaism is anachronistic. As you will see in the notes, I have cited VanderKam on this [cf. n. 42]).

At the heart of Christianity is the Word of God. The Fourth Gospel, of course, reveals Christ as the Word (John 1:1, 14). Thus, in Christian tradition, the Word of God Incarnate is made known to us through the Word of God Inspired, that is, Scripture. All of this is to say that Christology and Scripture are closely interrelated.

In fact, in Christian theology there has long been a recognition that there is an analogy between (1) the Christian understanding of Jesus as the God-Man and (2) belief in Scripture as the inspired Word of God. As the divine and eternal was united with the human and historical in the person of Christ required so too Scripture involves both divine and human / historical elements. Moreover, just as the Christology underwent a development of doctrine, so too the church's understanding of Scripture involved a historical process.

This essay will focus on the latter aspect of Christian faith in Scripture. Indeed, although there was much debate in the first few centuries concerning what exactly constituted the “New Testament,” the list of the twenty-seven books eventually canonized by the late fourth century councils received virtual universal acceptance from that point on.[1] In this essay, we will look at the more complex issue of the Old Testament canon. Not only did the canonical list develop over time, as we shall see, the very concept of a “canon” itself took time to crystalize in Christian understanding. As we examine this history, we will find that many common presuppositions regarding the canonical process are unhistorical—e. g., the notion of a closed Hebrew canon by 100 C. E.; the assertion that the canon contains the exhaustive books of “inspired” books, etc.[2]

Part I: The “Hebrew Canon”


The term “canon” comes from a Greek word which originally meant “reed,” “rod,” or “measuring stick.”[3] In the Greco-Roman world the term came to describe the criterion or standard by which things are judged. Aristotle, for example, spoke of the just man as the “canon and measure” of truth.[4] The word was soon applied to literature to describe those works which represented models of literary purity.[5]

Interestingly, the term "canon" was not first used in Christian circles to refer to the recognized sacred books of the church, but, rather, in terms of the the standards of orthodoxy, i.e., what was known as the "rule of faith" [6] Hence, the earliest councils of the church began to use the term in reference to their decrees, a practice that continued long after the biblical "canon" was established.[7] Eusebius is credited with the application of the term in reference to the Scriptures, although his exact meaning is unclear.[8] Athanasius’ Festal Letter, written in the late 4th century, uses a verbal from of the term (= “canonized”) to define the set list of sacred books received as authoritative for the church. However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that the specific term “canon” was used to describe the closed set of all the recognized biblical books.[9] Thus for most of Christian history, the word “canon” was much more frequently associated with ecclesiastical decrees and the orthodox “rule” of faith than to a closed set of scriptural books.

“Scripture” in Israel
There is no doubt that the concept of sacred, authoritative books was already present in ancient Israel.[10] Scripture itself records several early instances of “scripture reading”—although using such a term may be a bit anachronistic. Moses is the first to read from the book of the covenant (Ex. 24:7). During the days of Josiah, the “book of the law” was rediscovered in the temple by the priest Hilkiah (2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chr. 34). Much later, Ezra read from the “book of the law” to those who had returned from exile (Neh. 8:18). Likewise, in the account of Nehemiah's re-dedication of the temple, we read that the Levites read from the “book of Moses” (Neh. 13:1ff). Much later, in the Maccabean restoration, Judas is also said to have “collected all the books” (2 Macc. 2:14).

It was once commonly believed that the Hebrew Scriptures gained acceptance in three stages corresponding to its tripartite structure. This view held that the Torah stabilized around 400 B.C.E., the Prophets by 200 B.C.E. and the Writings by 100 C.E. This view, however, has been largely discarded by scholars.

Ever since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars have come to see the problem of referring to a “normative” Second Temple Judaism. [11] As the differences between the various Jewish sects of the period have been more sufficiently recognized, some scholars now even speak of first century “Judaisms.”[12] Even the major groups themselves, such as the Pharisees, were divided into different schools.[13]

With the numerous Jewish groups arose diverse conceptions regarding the Hebrew “canon.” The Sadducees appear to have accepted no books outside of the Torah.[14] The Pharisees accepted a broader authoritative collection.[15] Jews in the Diaspora also had a broader list of sacred books.[16] Likewise, the Essenes and those who lived at Qumran seem to have had their own set of authoritative writings.[17]

After the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, it became especially clear that there was no normative Jewish canon in second Temple Judaism. The Qumran collection evidences no hint of a defined canon. There we find the earliest copies of all the books of the Hebrew Bible, except Esther.[18] Notably, copies of works identified as "apocryphal" were also found, such as Sirach, Tobit, and the Letter of Jeremiah[19] as well as numerous other works, such as 1 Enoch, Jubilees, and many sectarian documents.

These documents do not seem to have been distinguished from one another. In other words, there is no trace of canonical distinctions between these works, leading scholars to conclude:
“There is no list of canonical books at Qumran… Indeed, it appears that some sectarian works… had a much greater use and influence than any of the apocrypha or Old Testament Writings, apart from the Psalms.”[20]

The Emergence of a Three Part Structure
Despite the differing opinions of the various groups, it does seem clear that an early tripartite division of the Hebrew Bible—the Law, the Prophets and the Writings—was already emerging in the second Temple period. 4QMMT, a scroll found in the Qumran collection, refers to the books of “Moses, the Prophets and David.” However, the cryptic reference to David hardly serves as evidence for an early recognition of a closed set of writings. It is probably simply a reference to the Psalms.[21]

The book of Sirach gives us more evidence of an early tripartite structure. The prologue, apparently a later addition to the book, refers to “the law and the prophets and the other books” three times. Interestingly, Sirach makes reference to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the twelve minor prophets. While the reference to “the other books” is clearly evidence of an emerging tripartite structure, this vague reference says nothing about a closed group of books.[22] Even if it did refer to such a set--which it clearly doesn't--such a statement could only be evidence that the author Sirach recognized such a set, not that it was a widely held view among Jews at that time.

In addition, there are numerous references in the New Testament to “the law and the prophets,” which are clearly meant to describe the Hebrew Scriptures (e.g., Matt. 5:17, 7:12, etc.). There is even a mention of “the law, the prophets, and the psalms” (Lk. 24:44). However, the latter term can only refer to the psalter (though which psalms would be included in that is unclear) and not a third collection of books. It would certainly be a stretch to argue that this is evidence of a closed set of authoritative books![23] Others have argued that Jesus referred to the closed Hebrew Bible when he spoke of the death of Zechariah as the final stage in the history that began with Cain’s murder of Abel (Mt. 23:35; Lk. 11:50). Yet, this interpretation also reads too much into the text.[24]

There is also a possible reference to a tripartite structure in Philo’s work, On The Contemplative Life, in which he describes the “laws and oracles delivered through the mouths of prophets, and psalms and anything else which fosters and perfects knowledge” (25). Here again we must be careful not to read too much into what he says. It is unclear which books constitute the "prophets" and what psalms in particular he has in view.

Developing a Hebrew “Canon”
The earliest and most explicit testimony of a Hebrew canonical list comes from Josephus:
“For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another [as the Greeks have], but only twenty-two books, which contain all the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death… the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life.”[25]
Though scholars have reconstructed Josephus’ list differently, it seems clear that we have in his testimony a list of books very close to the Hebrew canon as it stands today. Nonetheless, his canon is not identical to that of the modern Hebrew Bible.[26] Moreover, it is debatable whether or not his canon had a tripartite structure.[27] Thus, one should be careful not to read too much into Josephus' statement. For one thing, Josephus was clearly a member of the Pharisaic party and, although he might not have liked to think so, his was not the universally accepted Jewish Bible—other Jewish communities included more than twenty-two books.[28]

The Council of Jamnia
For a long time it was believed that the Hebrew Bible was closed at the end of the first century C. E. It was believed that a group of Rabbis made an official binding decision at a gathering known as “the Council of Jamnia.” Today, however, it is largely recognized that there is virtually no evidence that such a “council” ever occurred. While some Rabbis may have gathered in Jamnia at the end of the first century C. E. to discuss the status of some disputed books such as Ecclesiastes or Song of Songs, they most certainly did not make any binding decisions about the canon.[29] This is apparent in the fact that rabbinic debate over the canon continued to rage on until 200 C.E.! Strikingly, Sirach is quoted as Scripture in the Babylonian Talmud.[30] In addition, Ecclesiastes was disputed in some rabbinic circles and there remained lingering doubts over the book of Esther.[31]

By the third century B.C.E. there is solid evidence that the Hebrew Bible had begun to be translated into Greek.[32] A legend arose that seventy elders had translated it, but the historical evidence for this story is rather sketchy.[33] Whoever the scribes were, it seems as though the Torah (i.e., the five books traditionally attributed to Moses) was the first to be translated. Beyond that it is virtually impossible to determine when each of the other various books were incorporated into the Greek collection of the Hebrew scriptures.[34]

Indeed, the LXX did not develop among solely Hellenistic circles, isolated from Palestinian Judaism, as was once thought. Scholars believe that many of the books—including Ruth, Esther, Qoheleth, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Judith, 1 Maccabees—were translated in Palestine. Wisdom and Sirach were likely translated by an Alexandrian Jew of Palestinian origin. Indeed, it is now recognized that the Greek Bible was even used in Palestine.[35] Most surprisingly, Greek texts have even been found in the highly segregated community who lived in Qumran, a group especially “hostile to all Greek cultural influence.”[36]

The myth that there was a closed Hebrew canon of second Temple Judaism is further challenged by the textual variants found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Up until recently it was assumed that “apocryphal” additions found in the books of the LXX represented later augmentations in the Greek to the Hebrew texts. In connection with this, the Masoretic text (MT) established by the rabbis in the medieval period has been accepted as the faithful witness to the Hebrew Bible of the first century. Yet this view has been problematized by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Copies of some biblical books found at Qumran reveal sharp divergences from the MT. For example, scholars were amazed to find that the Hebrew copies of 1 and 2 Samuel found in Cave 4 agree with the LXX against the MT. One of these fragments is dated into the third century B.C.E. and is believed to be the very oldest copy of a biblical text found to date. Clearly the Masoretic version of 1-2 Samuel is “significantly inferior here to the LXX exemplar.”[37]

F. M. Cross explains his reaction at the time of this discovery:
“I suddenly realized I had found something that to me and to other textual critics of the Hebrew Bible was earthshaking. My manuscript of Samuel was related to the Hebrew manuscript of Samuel used by the Jewish translators of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. It proved that the translator of the Old Greek had been faithful to the Hebrew text he was translating. Thus the differences between the traditional Hebrew text and the Old Greek translation, for the most part, rested on different textual traditions of the Hebrew Bible. The manuscript of Samuel promised to break the logjam in text-critical studies of the Hebrew Bible. I held a key discovery.”[38]
Discoveries such as this one have helped to reshape scholarly understanding of the relationship between the MT and the LXX. The great textual critical scholar Emmanuel Tov writes, “The preference for the MT seems to go counter to accepted scholarly procedures.”[39]

Important to our discussion of the canon is the discovery of a Hebrew version of the Letter of Jeremiah, excluded by the MT, but included in the LXX. This letter was recognized later by the church as part of the “deuterocanonical” collection and was included as a sixth chapter to the book of Baruch. Likewise, Hebrew fragments of Sirach have also been found at Qumran and Masada, while an ancient Aramaic version of Tobit was discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls.[40]

As we have seen, the traditional presupposition that the Hebrew Bible was closed by the end of the first century is simply unhistorical. [41] James VanderKam explains, “As nearly as we can tell, there was no canon of Scripture in Second Temple Judaism.”[42] Moreover, from the variant textual traditions at Qumran, we see that the MT did not represent the Hebrew vorlage known to the translators of some of the books in the LXX. Indeed, not only were there variant canons but variant textual traditions! [43]

The Criteria of the RabbisSo how did the Jewish rabbis come to agreement over which books to canonize? There is no clear answer. It seems as though the canonical status of the books were decided, at least in part, on the grounds of the date of their composition—no books believed to be written later than the period of Ezra were included. This was based in large part on the Pharisaic thesis that prophetic inspiration ended after Ezra and Nehemiah.[44] However, this presupposition is a problematic criterion for Christians who affirm that the Spirit inspired the books of the New Testament. It is also problematic for some scholars who believe that several canonical books—e. g., Daniel, Esther, Song of Songs, Proverbs, the books of Chronicles—date to a much later period. According to some, Daniel is even later than some of the “apocrypha.”[45]

One thing that is clear about the canonical process used by the Jewish rabbis is that it was motivated in part by an anti-Christian bias.
“Even the final closing of the Hebrew canon by the Pharisaic teachers, constituting themselves as rabbinate toward the end of the first century – a process that lasted into the middle of the second century with respect to individual books and that presupposes a long period of preparation reaching back into pre-Christian times – must be categorized as ‘anti-heretical’, indeed anti-Christian.”[46]
The various discussions in the Mishnah regarding the exclusion of Sirach and the latter apocrypha indicate that they were rejected because they were read among the Christians. It is well-known that the stabilization of the MT text and canon was shaped by an anti-Christian polemic—something many Christian scholars find problematic. [47]

(Read Part 2.)
[1] Of course, there are some variant canons in the East, but restraints here do not allow a thorough discussion. On the history of development of the New Testament canon see F. Cross and E. A. Livingstone, eds. “Canon of Scripture” in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983), 232-233. One case that should be briefly addressed is the list given by Pope Innocent in the 5th century. When Pope Innocent I wrote a list of the canonical books to the bishop of Toulouse in 405 he omitted Hebrews (Epistle 6.7). However, once one looks at Innocent’s letter, the reason for its silence on Hebrews is clear. In the letter Innocent condemns the reading of the pseudepigraphical writings, such as the Gospel of Thomas or the Acts of Thomas. Hebrews was said to be a work of Paul, yet, that was disputed. It seems likely, then, that the pope simply decided not to address the problem of Hebrews. It is extremely important to note that Innocent does not condemn it, even though he mentions many other non-canonical books – works that were much less popular than Hebrews! – that are read in the churches. Hence it seems probable that Innocent did not want to deal with the question of its status in the letter—whether to acknowledge its canonical status or to deny it. See F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1988), 234.
[2] Of critical importance to this essay is the recent publication of a collection of essays entitled, The Canon Debate, edited by Lee Martin McDonald and James A. Sanders. The essays contained therein present the most up to date opinions regarding the formation of the Christian biblical canon. J. J. Collins has called it, “without a doubt the most comprehensive treatment ever published of canon formation in Judaism and Christianity” (back cover).
[3] Bruce Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origen, Development and Significance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), 289; Bruce, The Canon, 17; Beckwith, R. T. “The Canon of the Old Testament,” in The Origins of the Bible, ed. P. W. Comfort (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1992), 51; Floyd V. Filson, Which Books Belong in the Bible? A Study of Canon (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1957). 15.
[4] Metzger, The Canon, 289; Bruce, The Canon, 17.
[5] Metzger, The Canon, 289.
[6] Examples of this usage are found in Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, and Clement of Alexandria. See McDonald, Lee Martin and James A. Sanders, eds. “Introduction” in The Canon Debate (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 202), 12.
[7] Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament, 291. Indeed, one only needs to take a quick glance at the proceedings from practically any council to see that the decrees are given as “canons.”
[8] This Eusebius does is Ecclesiastical History 6.25.3, where he only uses the term in association with the four Gospels. It is unclear whether his phrase “canon of the church” should be understood as a collection of sacred writings or in reference to the broader “rule of faith” received by the Christian Church. There is also a possible reference in Eccl. History (5.28.13). Regardless, Eusebius’ preferred term for the recognized books of the church is “en-covenanted” (Eccl. Hist 3.25.6; also see 6.25.1). Typically in Eusebius the term “canon” is associated with church tradition or the rule of faith. See McDonald and Sanders, “Introduction,” 12. Also see Bruce, The Canon, 18: “Before the word ‘canon’ came to be used in the sense of ‘list’, it was used in another sense by the church—in the phrase ‘the rule of faith’ or the ‘rule of truth’. In the earlier Christian centuries this was a summary of Christian teaching, believed to reproduce what the apostles themselves taught, by which any system of doctrine offered for Christian acceptance, or any interpretation of biblical writings, was to be assessed.” Also, see Paul Blowers, “The Regula Fidei and the Narrative Character of Early Christianity,” Pro Ecclessia 6 (1997): 199-228.
[9] McDonald, et al, “Introduction,” in The Canon Debate, 13: “We should be clear, however, that the current use of the term ‘canon’ to refer to a collection of scripture books was introduced by David Ruhnken in 1768 in his Historia critica oratorum graecorum for lists of sacred scriptures. While it is tempting to think that such usage has its origins in antiquity in reference to a closed collection of scriptures, such is not the case.”
[10] James VanderKam, From Revelation To Canon: Studies in the Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Literature (Leiden: Brill, 1999), 2.
[11] See, D. Harlow, “Jewish Context of the NT,” in Dictionary for Theological Interpretation (ed. K. Vanhoozer; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 375.
[12] N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992), 167.
[13] For example, the Pharisees were divided among themselves into different schools of thought. However, they themselves “were not an official body.” Wright, The New Testament, 189. For a full discussion of the Pharisees, see Wright, The New Testament, 181-203. Also see, Julio Trebolle Barrera, The Jewish Bible and the Christian Bible (Leiden: Brill, 1998), 223: “Phariseeism has usually been considered as an ‘orthodox’ and official variant of Judaism and Pharisees have been considered as real leaders, political even, of the Jewish people… This view of Phariseeism, however, depends on the witness of rabbinic literature and on Josephus, who provide a distorted version of Judaism before 70 C.E. The Judaism of the Hellenistic period, however, took on very many forms. The Pharisees comprised one of the many groups that did exist, the largest and later the most influential, but not the only representative of ‘normative Judaism.’” Also see S. Mason, “Pharisees,” in Dictionary of New Testament Background (ed. C. Evans and S. Porter; Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 785.
[14] Albert Sunberg, “Sadducees,” IDB 4:160-3; Gary Porton, “Sadducees,” ABD 5:892-895; Barrera, The Jewish Bible, 217-220. Thus when Jesus responds to the Sadducees’ question about the resurrection of the dead, Jesus turns only to the Torah (Mark 12:26).
[15] Barrera, The Jewish Bible, 222-224. See, for example, Josephus, whom we will talk about later.
[16] Sunberg, Albert C., “The Septuagint: The Bible of Hellenistic Judaism,” The Canon Debate. McDonald, Lee Martin and James A. Sanders, eds. (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 202), 82.
[17] Here we will not deal with the issue of whether or not the members of the Dead Sea Community were Essenes. Our point here is that there were many Jews in Jesus’ day who apparently held to a rather broad set of authoritative writings. It is clear, for example, that the sectarian documents at Qumran are quoted with the same authority as the biblical and apocryphal books. See B.J. Roberts, “The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Old Testament Scriptures,” BJRL 36 (1953/54): 84; also see Sunberg, “The Septuagint,” 86. For a full discussion of the Essenes, see Gabriele Boccaccini, Beyond the Essene Hypothesis: The Parting of the Ways Between Qumran and Enochic Judaism. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1998.
[18] Bruce, The Canon, 39; Barrera, The Jewish Bible, 227.
[19] Harrington, Daniel. “The Old Testament Apocrypha in the Early Church and Today” in The Canon Debate, 197.
[20] Harrington, “The Old Testament Apocrypha,” in The Canon Debate, 197. For more citations see Sunberg, “The Septuagint,” in The Canon Debate, 86.
[21] 4QMMT 86-103. See Martinez, Florentino Garcia. The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English, 2nd ed. (Leiden: Brill, 1992), 84. Also see Barrera, The Jewish Bible, 162. That the reference to David refers to the Psalms, see Barrera, “Origins of a Tripartite Old Testament Canon,” The Canon Debate, 129. Other sectarian works at Qumran make similar statements (131).
[22] Some have found the tripartite division in Sirach’s words, “… he who devotes himself to the study of the law of the Most High will seek out the wisdom of all the ancients, and will be concerned with prophecies” (Sir. 39:1). Those who advocate an early closing of the Writings argue that this passage gives us the outline for the Hebrew Scriptures—“the law… wisdom… prophecies.” However, “wisdom” is more likely a reference to wisdom literature in general, not necessarily specifically Israelite. Barrera, “Origins,” 129; Craig Evans, “The Scriptures of Jesus and His Earliest Followers,” in The Canon Debate, 187-188.
[23] Evans, “The Scriptures of Jesus and His Earliest Followers,” 187-188; Barrera, “Origins,” 131.
[24] Evans, “The Scriptures of Jesus and His Earliest Followers,” 190; Barrera, “Origins,” 131. There is also a possible reference to a tripartite structure in Philo’s work, On the Contemplative Life, 25, in which he describes the “laws and the sacred oracles of God annunciated by the holy prophets, and hymns, and psalms and all kids of other things by reason of which knowledge of piety are increased and brought to perfection” [trans., C. D. Yonge, The Works of Philo (New Updated Version; Peabody: Hendricksen, 1993), 700]. Here again we must be careful not to read too much into what he says. For further analysis see, L. M. McDonald, Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon (2d ed.; Peabody: Hendricksen, 1995), 39; Evans, “The Scriptures of Jesus,” 188. However, even if this citation does refer to a tripartite structure, the third set of writings, the reference to “the psalms,” is not clear enough to make much of.
[25] Josephus, Against Apion, 38-40. The Works of Josephus. Translated by William Whiston. Peabody: (Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.1987), 776.
[26] “The number of only twenty-two documents raises difficulties since Palestinian Judaism speaks of twenty-four. They were later supposed to have already been available to the ‘men of the Great Assembly’… Either Josephus, like the Church Fathers later, counted Ruth with Judges and Lamentations with Jeremiah, or, as seems more likely to me, he operated with a smaller canon. Perhaps it did not include Canticles or Qoheleth, which were translated into Greek very late and were still controversial among the rabbis of the second century.” Martin Hengel, The Septuagint As Christian Scripture: Its Prehistory and the Problem of Its Canon (trans. M. E. Biddle; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2002), 101.
[27] John Barton, Oracles of God: Perceptions of Ancient Prophecy in Israel after the Exile (London: Longman and Todd, 1986), 47.
[28] Jack N. Lightstone, “The Rabbis’ Bible: The Canon of the Hebrew Bible and the Early Rabbinic Guild,” in The Canon Debate, 170-175.
[29] F. M. Cross, “The Text Behind the Text of the Hebrew Bible,” Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls (ed., H.Shanks; New York: Random House, 1992), 152-153. Also see Jack Lewis, “Jamnia Revisited,” The Canon Debate, 146-162.
[30] Jack Lewis, “Jamnia Revisited,” 158 . Sunberg, “The Septuagint: The Bible of Hellenistic Judaism,” 88.
[31] For further analysis see Barrera, The Jewish Bible, 164-165.
[32] Stanley Porter, “Septuagint/Greek Old Testament,” in Dictionary of New Testament Background (eds., C. Evans and S. Porter; Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 1100; Barrera, The Jewish Bible, 302; also see, H. B. Swete, An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek (rev., R. R. Ottley; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 17-8.
[33] For a treatment of the legend of the seventy(-two) translators see Hengel, The Septuagint, 25-41.
[34] See Hengel, The Septuagint, 19-101.
[35] Sunberg, Albert C. “The Septuagint: The Bible of Hellenistic Judaism” in The Canon Debate, eds. McDonald, Lee Martin and James A. Sanders (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 202), 83.
[36] One of the significant findings is 7Q2, the “apocryphal” Letter of Jeremiah written in Greek. For more discussion see, See James VanderKam, The Dead Sea Scrolls Today (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1994), 34-36; Hengel, The Septuagint, 82; Sunberg, “The Septuagint”, 88-89.
[37] Hengel, The Septuagint, 84-85. For a fuller treatment see, VanderKam, The Dead Sea Scrolls Today, 129-30.
[38] Hershel Shanks, ed. Frank Moore Cross: Conversations with A Bible Scholar (Washington, D. C.: Biblical Archeology Society, 1994), 123.
[39] Tov, Emmanuel. “The Status of the Masoretic Text in Modern Editions of the Bible.” The Canon Debate, 244.
[40] See Harrington, “The Old Testament Apocrypha,” 202-203.
[41] See Nancy de Claisse-Walford, “The Dromedary Saga: The Formation of the Canon of the Old Testament,” in Review and Expositor 95 (1998): 3.
[42] James VanderKam, “Questions of Canon Viewed through the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in The Canon Debate, 91.
[43] Joseph Fitzmyer, The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 200), 7.
[44] James Sanders, “The issue of Closure in the Canonical Process,” in The Canon Debate, 91.
[45] “The inclusion of Qoheleth, Daniel and Esther (and other relatively late writings such as Canticles, the final version of Proverbs, and the books of Chronicles) was based… on historical error.” Hengel, The Septuagint, 91.
[46] Hengel, The Septuagint, 44.
[47] Hengel, The Septuagint, 44-45. Also see Albert Sunberg, “The Protestant Old Testament Canon: Should It Be Re-examined?” in CBQ 28 (2001): 198ff. Also, see Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 31 n. 34.


Anonymous said...

Hello Michael,

Thank you for a very interesting post. I've printed it out and look forward to reading part 2.


Ps Thanks for tipping me off to The Canon Debate. It's now on my purchase list.

Anonymous said...

Started to read your article, and was rather puzzled about the C.E. and B.C.E.
What is wrong with Before Christ B.C., and after Christ? Politically correct? Maybe. It weakened your article, in my opinion.

Nathan Wagar said...

What specific references can one look up regarding specifically Jewish anti-Christian sentiment playing a factor in rejecting the Deuterocanon? You mentioned the Mishnah and apocrypha, but which works/sections of the document? I'm very interested in reading up on this.

e2c said...

@ Helen K: B.C.E. and C.E. are pretty well-established abbreviations in Biblical archaeology and related fields... and have existed for a good while now.

imo, it's nothing to do with being "politically correct," though why that would even apply when talking about the Jewish Bible (or OT) is another thing altogether...

Yomp Strudel Four said...

The author needs to cite chapter and verse for his claims that
1) the Dead Sea Scrolls agree textually in some areas with the LXX over the MT,
2) a Jewish address of Christianity is at all present in the Mishna.

Unknown said...

I like your post ,now I must complete my research for my paper.

MBA Dissertation Service