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Friday, November 2, 2007

Sola Scriptura & the Canons of scripture

Which Canon is sola? And why?

There are different Canons of scripture. So I'm wondering if the protestant doctrine of Sola scriptura is affected by the reality of multiple canons?

It is said that the Samaritan Canon only has 5 books. The first five books of Moses.

The Torah
1.)Genesis
2.)Exodus
3.)Leviticus
4.)Numbers
5.)Deuteronomy


The Jewish Canon. The Tanakh, has 35 books. They don't divide Kings, Chronicles, Samuel, and Ezra-Nehemiah. To them Kings is one book. Chronicles is one book, samuel is one book......ect.

Some Jews may see the first five books as the primary books and the other books as secondary commentaries to the first five.


The Torah
1.)Genesis
2.)Exodus
3.)Leviticus
4.)Numbers
5.)Deuteronomy


The Prophets
6.)Joshua
7.)Judges
8.)Samuel
9.)Kings

10.)Isaiah
11.)Jeremiah
12.)Ezekial

13.)Hosea
14.)Joel
15.)Amos
16.)Obadiah
17.)Jonah
18.)Micah
19.)Nahum
20.)Habakkuk
21.)Zephaniah
22.)Haggai
23.)Zecariah
24.)Malachi

The Writings
25.)Psalms
26.)Proverbs
27.)Job
28.)Song of Solomon
29.)Ruth
30.)Lamentations
31.)Ecclesiastes
32.)Esther
33.)Daniel
34.)Ezra-Nehemiah
35.)Chronicles



The Christian Old Testament Canons

The Roman Catholic Canon has 46 books

The Pentateuch
1.)Genesis
2.)Exodus
3.)Leviticus
4.)Numbers
5.)Deuteronomy

The Prophets
6.)Joshua
7.)Judges
8.)Ruth
9.)1 Samuel
10.)2 Samuel
11.)1 Kings
12.)2 Kings
13.)1st Chronicles
14.)2nd Chronicles
15.)Ezra
16.)Nehemiah
17.)Tobit
18.)Judith
19.)Esther(extra chapters)
20.)1 Maccabees
21.)2 Maccabees
22.)Job
23.)Psalms
24.)Proverbs
25.)Ecclesiastes
26.)Song of Solomon
27.)Wisdom of Solomon
28.)Sirach
29.)Isaiah
30.)Jeremiah
31.)Lamentations
32.)Baruch
33.)Ezekiel
34.)Daniel(extra chapters)
35.)Hosea
36.)Joel
37.)Amos
38.)Obadiah
39.)Jonah
40.)Micah
41.)Nahum
42.)Habakkuk
43.)Zephaniah
44.)Haggai
45.)Zecariah
46.)Malachi




The Eastern Orthodox Canon has 49 books

The Pentateuch
1.)Genesis
2.)Exodus
3.)Leviticus
4.)Numbers
5.)Deuteronomy

The Historical books
6.)Joshua
7.)Judges
8.)Ruth
9.)1 Samuel
10.)2 Samuel
11.)1 Kings
12.)2 Kings
13.)1 Paralipomenon(1st Chronicles)
14.)2 Paralipomenon(2nd Chronicles)
15.)1 Esdras
16.)2 Esdras
17.)Nehemiah
18.)Tobit
19.)Judith
20.)Esther
21.)1 Maccabees
22.)2 Maccabees
23.)3 Maccabees

The Wisdom books
24.)Psalms(with an extra chapter. 151 chapters.)
25.)Job
26.)Proverbs of Solomon
27.)Ecclesiastes
28.)Asma (Canticle of Canticles)
29.)Wisdom of Solomon
30.)Wisdom of Sirach(also called Sirach & Ecclesiasticus)

The Prophets
31.)Hosea
32.)Amos
33.)Micah
34.)Joel
35.)Obadiah
36.)Jonah
37.)Nahum
38.)Habakkuk
39.)Zephaniah
40.)Haggai
41.)Zechariah
42.)Malachi
43.)Isaiah
42.)Jeremiah
43.)Baruch
44.)Epistle of Jeremiah
45.)Lamentations
46.)Ezekiel
47.)Daniel
48.)4 Maccabees
49.)Prayer of Manessah

Prayer of Manessah is sometimes in the appendix of some Bibles.




The Ethiopian (Narrower) Canon has 52 books

The Pentateuch
1.)Genesis
2.)Exodus
3.)Leviticus
4.)Numbers
5.)Deuteronomy


The Prophets
6.)Enoch
7.)Jubilees
8.)Joshua
9.)Judges
10.)Ruth
11.)1 Samuel
12.)2 Samuel
13.)1 Kings
14.)2 Kings
15.)1 Chronicles
16.)2 Chronicles
17.)Ezra
18.)Nehemiah
19.)3rd Ezra
20.)4rth Ezra
21.)Tobit
22.)Judith
23.)Esther(extra verses)
24.)1 Macabees
25.)2 Macabees
26.)3 Macabees
27.)Job
28.)Psalms(extra chapter)
29.)Proverbs(Proverbs chapters 1-24)
30.)Täagsas(Proverbs chapters 25-31)
31.)Wisdom of Solomon
32.)Ecclesiastes
33.)Song of Solomon
34.)Sirach(Ecclesiasticus. Also called Wisdom of Sirach)
35.)Isaiah
36.)Jeremiah
37.)Baruch
38.)Lamentations
39.)Ezekiel
40.)Daniel
41.)Hosea
42.)Amos
43.)Micah
44.)Joel
45.)Obadiah
46.)Jonah
47.)Nahum
48.)Habakkuk
49.)Zephaniah
50.)Haggai
51.)Zecariah
52.)Malachi



The Protestant Canon has 39 books

The Pentateuch
1.)Genesis
2.)Exodus
3.)Leviticus
4.)Numbers
5.)Deuteronomy

The Prophets
6.)Joshua
7.)Judges
8.)Ruth
9.)1 Samuel
10.)2 Samuel
11.)1 Kings
12.)2 Kings
13.)1 Chronicles
14.)2 Chronicles
15.)Ezra
16.)Nehemiah
17.)Esther
18.)Job
19.)Psalms
20.)Proverbs
21.)Ecclesiastes
22.)Song of Solomon
23.)Isaiah
24.)Jeremiah
25.)Lamentations
26.)Ezekiel
27.)Daniel
28.)Hosea
29.)Joel
30.)Amos
31.)Obadiah
32.)Jonah
33.)Micah
34.)Nahum
35.)Habakkuk
36.)Zephaniah
37.)Haggai
38.)Zecariah
39.)Malachi



New Testament Canon

Rome, Orthodoxy, Ethiopian Narrow(not larger), and Prots all share the same 27 books of the new Testament.

The Gospels
1.)Mathew
2.)Mark
3.)Luke
4.)John

5.)Acts

The Epistles
6.)Romans
7.)1st Corinthians
8.)2nd Corinthians
9.)Galations
10.)Ephesians
11.)Philippians
12.)Colossians
13.)1st Thessalonians
14.)2nd Thessalonians
15.)1st Timothy
16.)2nd Timothy
17.)Titus
18.)Philemon
19.)Hebrews
20.)James
21.)1st Peter
22.)2nd Peter
23.)1st John
24.)2nd John
25.)3rd John
26.)Jude
27.)Revelation


The Nestorian/Church of the East's New Testament Canon differs. They only have 22 New Testament books.


The Gospels
1.)Mathew
2.)Mark
3.)Luke(does not include Luke verses 22:17-18)
4.)John(does not include John verses 7:53 to 8:11)

5.)Acts

The Epistles
6.)Romans
7.)1st Corinthians
8.)2nd Corinthians
9.)Galations
10.)Ephesians
11.)Philippians
12.)Colossians
13.)1st Thessalonians
14.)2nd Thessalonians
15.)1st Timothy
16.)2nd Timothy
17.)Titus
18.)Philemon
19.)Hebrews
20.)James
21.)1st Peter
22.)1st John





So which canon is sola and why?

The Eastern Orthodox Canon was cemented in the 6th eucemenical council around 680 A.D.

I might be wrong but Rome's Canon could of been cemented with the councils of Florence(14 hundreds) and Trent(15 hundreds).I might be wrong again, but it seems as if the Protestant canons were cemented when their confessions(15 and 16 hundreds) were written.

So what does all of this have to do with the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura?



Simple,


If one believes in scripture alone then one must ask: "What is scripture"?


I was wondering if the reality of multiple Bible canons would cause a problem for those who held to Sola scriptura.

What would a Protestant say to a Nestorian who doesn't have the books of Revelations, 2nd, 3rd John, 2nd Peter, and Jude in their New Testament canon?


They can't use those books to convince them.

So the issue of Sola scriptura would ultimately come down to the issue of the canon.


I see a link between the doctrine of Sola scriptura with the canon of scripture.

And from this I see another link between the canon of scripture with the Authority to compile a canon.

1.) Who has the authority to compile a canon?

2.) And by what Authority can one do it?


So in short, what I am saying is this. If one says they believe in scripture alone then I would ask.

"Which canon is sola"?


and if one says the 66 book canon. Then I would ask another question:

"Why is that canon sola and not the other ones?"


My prediction is that eventually it will lead to the issue of "authority". Who has the authority to compile a canon. If the Marcionites didn't have the authority. If the Mormons don't have the authority then who has the authority? And why?




Related link:

When did the Jews(nonbelieving) "officially" reject the Deuterocanon?

The myth of the closed canon of 70 - 90 A.D.

Questions of Canon viewed through Dead Sea Scrolls

Greek in Jerusalem/Palestine

A reflected Egyptian Bible

Observations on Early Papyri and MSS for LXX/OG Study

Dead Sea Scrolls Bible







Jnorm888

5 comments:

Tammy said...

Your logic is wrong. There was not an eyewitness alive to guide the ones who sanctioned the "Canon" of scripture. There were hundreds of years between the formation of the Canon and the death of the eyewitnesses of the events therein.
This takes all legitimate "authority" figures out of the picture by the time the Canon was created. SO we must deal with what CAN be attributed to eyewitnesses and move out from the center of that circle until it begins to turn on itself.
This is the process required for anyone who is defining events after the fact, (detectives, scientists, etc)
IE The works in the canon began with works that were known to be legitimate eyewitness accounts. Other writings were accepted or rejected based on their varying degrees of authenticity ranging from agreement with scripture, mention by known eyewitnesses, agreed teachings of the apostles who were with Moses, the prophets,Jesus, Peter, James, or Paul, etc. (people agreed upon to be revealed as messengers of God). If a book contradicted what was the KNOWN legitimate, eyewitness, books then it could not be included as canon. Canon scripture is as close as possible to the words of God spoken through HIS prophets, apostles and His own Son whom HE made known by showing "miracles, signs,etc."
This MUST be the case, or else Scripture could be written by anyone at anytime.
I could write a very useful and intelligent book that would help someone on their journey. It could be totally scripturally accurate and Holy Spirit inspired.
BUT this is not scripture. Scripture is divine in purpose and holy because it is as close as possible to the words of GOd to man for a specific purpose, to reveal Himself to His people and teach them to live for Him and how to draw others to Himself.
Different Canons does not change this principle. Does man do everything perfectly? NO That is why Jesus came. BUT the principle is really the only thing that matters to God. He sent His Son to make up the difference for those of us who may love Him, but as humans continue to err.
There may be error in canons, but God judges motive. If there is known false teaching included in the Canon, God will judge. He is jealous for His name.
The principle is, when attributing writings as "revelations of our Creator" we should include ONLY that which solely reflects the known eyewitness accounts of his prophets, apostles, and Son. If it were me, I would err on th side of caution, which I believe was the underlying thinking of the process of Canonization in the first place. Otherwise, Scripture itself could be used by the Devil as a stumbling block to God's children for whom he gave His life for their redemption.
This argument requires a belief in the legitimacy of Israel as the chosen people of God and also a model for the children of God today, Prophets (revealed by God) as a mouthpiece of God, Jesus as 2nd in Trinity and Son of GOd, and the apostles as Students of the Jesus appointed to spread the Good News, and Paul (as attested by Peter & James) being the Apostle to the Gentiles who was confronted by the resurrected Son of God Jesus to spread "the Good News". These are the basics of Christianity. Upon these principles we must agree. There is not room for any of these things to be false.

Jnorm888 said...

I never denied the fact that hundreds of years went by when books of scripture were compiled.



When I said Authority. I meant "Who has the Authority to compile books of scripture in the first place".


The Bible never gave people this right. The BIBLE never said "You have the right to compile me."

Scripture never gave us this right so the Authority didn't come from scripture.



1.) What canon are you talking about? We have different canons.
You don't go by the LXX. You go by a canon complied and edited by anti-christs.

The MSS or MS Mesoretic text type is a post christian Hebrew text type that took about 1,000 years to edit. about 150 A.D. to about 900 A.D. give or take a century or two.

That is the canon that you embrace, but who gave the postchristian nonbelieving jews that authority? Who gave them the authority to compile a canon?


SO when you say included in the canon. What canon are you talking about? There are multiple canons.


You never answered the questions of this post.

You keep talking about the canon of scripture without realizing the fact that there are multiple canons on the scene.

What canon are you talking about? The MS canon? If so why that Canon? Why not the LXX? Paul quoted from the LXX. The MS wasn't around then. Most of the Apostles quoted the LXX.


Thanks for posting. But you never answered any of the questions of the post.





JNORM888

sirhemlock said...

Aside from the historical study of canon, brilliantly summarized in F. F. Bruce's fabulous book The Canon of Scripture (cf. also Bruce M. Mezger's work The Canon of the New Testament: It's Origin, Development, and Significance), Christ Himself may be viewed as the central key to inspiration and canonization of OT books; pertaining to the NT Christ is also the key in the promises he made concerning the kerygma.

Frequently we find on the lips of Jesus the phrase “it stands written”; it is multiply attested and occurs in parallel passages of the earliest NT sources; it indicates that appeal to scripture formed a central characteristic of his ministry. Jesus’ view of what for him constituted OT scripture presupposes the NT attestation to Jesus’ view of the OT is reliable; it is not necessary to assume the NT as scripture to establish Jesus’ view.

Acceptance of an OT canon that was considered complete is presupposed by phrases such as “all the Scriptures” (e.g. Lk 24:27: “And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures”). Jesus’ high view of scripture is evidenced throughout the Gospels, e.g. Matthew 5:17-19: "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”; Matthew 22:29: “But Jesus answered and said to them, ‘You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God’”; Jn 10:35: “the scripture cannot be broken”; Luke 24:44-45: all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” is a post-resurrection pericope which clearly reflects the central message of the earliest Christian kerygma, which can be firmly established within a very short period after the resurrection on firm historical-critical grounds. These are just selected examples.

Shorthand for the OT
“The Law and the Prophets”: The earliest division of the OT was a twofold division known as the Law and the Prophets. This terminology goes back to the OT itself: “Law of Moses” (Dan 9:11, 13); “prophets” (Dan 9:6); The Law of Moses as “Thy Law” (Neh 9:29); God also “admonished them by Thy Spirit through Thy prophets” (Neh 9:30); “the law and …the former prophets” (Zech 7:12); “the law and the prophets” (2 Macc 15:9); “law and the prophets” (Manual of Discipline I.3; VIII.15; IX.11).


That this twofold division contained all 39 books of the OT (the Jewish Law and the Prophets numbered these as 22, though the contents were identical) is multiply attested. Josephus describes them as “Five belonging to Moses… the prophets in thirteen books. The remaining four books containing hymns to God and precepts for the conduct of human life” (Against Apion, 1.)..


This twofold division of the Law and the Prophets is also strongly attested in the NT and was spoken of by Jesus (e.g. Matt 5:17; 7:12; 22:40; Lk 16:16, 29, 31; 24:27; Acts 13:15; 26:22).


The “Law and the Prophets” (Mt 5:17; Lk 16:16), referred to as “all the scriptures” (Lk 24:27) were said to contain “everything written” about Christ (Lk 24:44).


Jesus and the NT writers specifically cite 18 of 22 of the books of the “Law and the Prophets”; only Judges, Chronicles, Esther and the Song of Solomon are not directly cited. Josephus lists 24 books of the OT (Against Apion I.Cool. Paul said he believed “everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets” (Acts 24:14; cf. 26:22). Portions of the OT later classified as “Writings” by the Talmud (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Daniel) were earlier included within the two-fold division “Law and Prophets” (cf. Matt 24:15; Lk 4:8-11; Jn 10:34; 1 Cor 3:19).


Other Divisions of the OT canon: threefold and fourfold schematic divisions are attested after the twofold division scheme; the contents of the OT canon are unaffected by this division. Threefold Division: “prophets” divided into “the prophets and the writings” giving the threefold Law (Torah), Prophets (Nebhiim), and Writings (Kethubhim). The Fourfold scheme is reflected in the LXX: Law, History, Poetry, and Prophecy; Jerome’s Vulgate and English translations of the Bible follow this arrangement. Philo spoke of “the laws and oracles delivered through the mouth of the prophets, and psalms, and anything else which fosters perfect knowledge and piety” (De Vita Contemplativa III.25). Jesus once said “everything written about me in the law of moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled” (Lk 24:44).

"The recognition of the literature of the NT as authoritative and useful in the life and worship of the church came earlier than its recognition as canon" (I. M. MacDonald, "Canon" in Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids, eds., Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments (1997), p. 143).

There are suggestions in the Gospels which indicate Jesus’ belief in the inspiration (by the Spirit) and trustworthiness of the kerygma of the early church as exemplified in such phrases as “the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Matt 10:20); “He who hears you hears me” (Lk 10:16); “all the truth” (Jn 16:13); The Holy Spirit would “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (Jn 14:26); Apostles continued what “Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1; cf. Lk 1:3-4); Disciples given “all authority in heaven and on earth”/teaching men to observe His commandments (Mt 28:18-20); “It is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit” (Mk 13:11); etc.

A person who believes in the actual physical resurrection of Jesus might weigh some of the evidence, e.g. of Jesus’ teaching after the resurrection differently than someone who, say, affirms ontological naturalism. There are elements of subjectivism involved in all reconstructions.

With regard to the NT itself, it is important not to attempt to drive a sharp wedge between the issue of "official" canonization and the existence of scripture before such a process in light the historical certainty that many New Testament documents were widely recognized as scripture before their canonization (the latter process emerged primarily as a reaction, e.g. to the challenge of Marcion). I discussed this in considerable depth in the article referenced here: http://kata-christon.blogspot.com/2007/12/bart-ehrmans-lost-christianities.html -scroll down to footnote 3 for some immediate examples. Recent arguments that the apocryphal Gospels and Acts might be considered even with minimal historical credibility as representing authentic early Christianity are entirely without merit IMO (this is the main focus of the aforementioned article). Re. differential assessment of individual books as "recognized," "disputed," "spurious," etc. one cannot do better than the books by F. F. Bruce and Bruce Metzger referenced above (a beginner might also wish to consult something along the lines of Metzger's Introduction (rev. 2005) http://www.amazon.com/New-Testament-Background-Growth-Content/dp/0687052637 as there are many other issues which impinge on this one tangentially). Careful study is likely to raise as many questions as it is to solve, especially along the margins, and thoughtful minds have come to differing conclusions (cf. also Luther's canon). There is however, IMO, ample warrant for anyone who believes in the resurrection of Jesus for the suggestion that the Christian is provided with sufficient resources for faith and practice, however darkly the glass may be through which he or she as an individual may view their particularities.

Appeal to Holy Tradition might seem at first glance to provide a neat and tidy solution to all such vagaries and uncertainties. Still, the seeker must grapple with the fact that every group which affirms Holy Tradition affirms every other group affirming Holy Tradition has added spurious traditions to Holy Tradition (e.g. Oriental Orthodox vs. Eastern Orthodox; Eastern Orthodox vs. Catholics, etc.). Even in terms of the Ecumenical Councils there is the vexing issue cited by Bishop Kallistos (Dr. Timothy Ware PhD) that "councils of bishops can err and be deceived..." (The Orthodox Church, p. 252; cf. 253f.); the demarcation criterion between Holy Tradition and spurious tradition -often glossed over by apologists- only presses problems of legitimization to another level where human judgment still appears (at least to those outside a given tradition) to be firmly in play (I say this in awareness of proposed solutions e.g. Khomiakov's). In any case the absence of Tradition-grounded certainty is not necessarily quite as devastating for the Christian who has not come to the point of accepting such as is often opposed by some apologists IMO for all the reasons cited above as their uncertainty will tend to run along the perimeters of what is perceived to be scripture rather than scripture in toto. And if a Christian expects to find the influence of the Spirit active throughout history within the people of God beyond strict "canonical" peremiters, he or she may find much of great value in some of the deuterocanon/apocrypha, patristic and other Christian literature in any case. –sirhemlock@yahoo.com

P. S. This is a fantastic blog; great job.

Jnorm888 said...

Sirhemlock,

Thanks for posting, but you are forgetting that when Jesus and the Apostles say "It is written", "Scripture", and "all the scripture".

They are mainly quoting a text from the LXX family of texts. And we all know what books the LXX has in it.

The Reformers don't embrace the Hebrew structure of the Old Testament. They embrace the LXX basic structure, but they eventually through out the D.C.'s.

Luther put them in an appendix, this was the common practice for Protestants, until the rise of the Puritans, who basicaly took them out. In America, most Protestant Bibles stopped printing the D.C.'s in the appendix around 1880 A.D.

If you want to embrace the post christian Hebrew cannon then you should embrace it's structure.

The Christian Old Testament was always the LXX, and we always embraced some of the D.C.'s.


The Bible never gave Martin Luther to do what he did. Luther followed Saint Jerome, and that was the reason why he did it.






JNORM888

sirhemlock said...

Hi, and thanks for your prompt reply.

As my remarks above were confined to the question of "by what authority" certain books might be included in the category of “scripture” (which question I answered in some detail according to the Christological principle that "Christ is the key” as demonstrable via historical criticism taken alone) quite aside from textual critical questions regarding different witnesses to the OT, I actually I didn't address the LXX/MT/SP/DSS (i.e. the various textual witnesses to the OT; LXX = Septuagint; MT = Masoretic text; SP = Samaritan Pentateuch; DSS = Dead Sea Scrolls) question at all -positively or negatively- thus far; nor have I specifically addressed the Deuterocanonical (DC) writings except to say that it is reasonable to consider them of value. My main point was that no one who holds to the physical resurrection of Jesus and to the fact that a reliable NT witness to what He considered to be scripture (on purely historical grounds) is utterly without any justification for scripture whatsoever apart from the authority of Holy Tradition; to this much you have not specifically object to thus far.

But these additional issuesyou raise are important ones. I certainly would agree the LXX comprises a very good early textual witness. With many modern scholars I agree that many of its readings are superior to the MT. Further, I see no good reason to suggest that the Orthodox should adopt a different version than the one that has proven quite sufficient for so many centuries in their worship. I’ll address some of your points more specifically:

“The Christian Old Testament was always the LXX, and we always embraced some of the D.C.'s.” (Jnorm888).

This is by and large true albeit not exclusively so. E.g. Brenton remarks in the preface to his translation of the LXX “While the majority of the OT quotations rendered by the NT authors are borrowed directly from the Septuagint [LXX], a number of times they provide their own translation which follows the Hebrew text against the Septuagint” (in fact St. Paul, for example, sometimes made his own translations from the Hebrew that differ from the witness of the LXX and the MT (cf. Archer, G. L., and Chirichigno, G. C., Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament: A Complete Survey).

Had the NT authors considered the LXX "perfect" it is doubtful that they would have offered renderings here and there that differ from it. It also seems -or so is the judgment of all contemporary LXX scholarship- that some portions of the LXX are translated better than others (there are portions generally deemed to have been translated rather abysmally). This does not mean that the LXX did not (as it does still) have a critical place in God’s long-planned extension of the people of God to include non-Jews (Gentiles/nations/Heb. goyyim) in a manner that Orthodox have long regarded as specially inspired. It is not self-evident that exclusive usage of the MT is superior overall in establishing the authentic text of the OT, but to me it does not seem warranted –at least from a textual critical perspective- to throw out all our other versions of the OT and simply assume the LXX always has it right although certainly the LXX may be reasonably regarded sufficient for the worship of the church.

Brenton further remarks: “The Septuagint version having been current for about three centuries before the time when the books of the NT were written, it is not surprising that the Apostles should have used it more often than not in making citations from the OT. They used it as an honestly-made version in pretty general use at the time when they wrote. They did not on every occasion give an authoritative translation of each passage de novo, but they used what was already familiar to the ears of converted Hellenists, when it was sufficiently accurate to suit the matter in hand. In fact, they used it as did their contemporary Jewish writers, Philo and Josephus, but not, however with the blind implicitness of the former. In consequence of the fact that the NT writers used on many occasions the Septuagint version, some have deduced a new argument for its authority, -a theory which we might have thought to be sufficiently disproved by the defects of the version, which evince that it is merely a human work. But the fact that the New Testament writers used this version on many occasions supplies a new proof in opposition to the idea of its authority, for in not a few places they do not follow it, but they supply a version of their own which rightly represents the Hebrew text, although contradicting the Septuagint” (Brenton, The Septuagint with Apocrypha, p. iv).

Perhaps “authority” is not so completely out of place in Christendom as Brenton opined, however, if by the term we mean its long-standing official usage e.g. in the worship of the church.

As to the question of the Deuterocanonicals (DC) you raised, the “differences” you perceive between our perspectives may in the final analysis be more over language than substance or reality. You will perhaps recall my statement “And if a Christian expects to find the influence of the Spirit active throughout history within the people of God beyond strict "canonical" peremiters, he or she may find much of great value in some of the deuterocanon/apocrypha, patristic and other Christian literature in any case.” This may seem to slight the DCs too much relative to the stance of Orthodoxy which holds them to be “genuine parts of scripture,” but to at least a degree this is more over perception than reality, e.g. consider the following statement by Orthodox Bishop Kallistos (Timothy Ware PhD) whom I hold in highest regard: “The Hebrew version of the Old Testament contains thirty nine books. The Septuagint contains in addition ten further books, not present in the Hebrew, which are known in the Orthodox Church as the ‘Deutero-Canonical Books.’ These were declared by the Councils of Jassy (1642) and Jerusalem (1672) to be ‘genuine parts of scripture.’; most Orthodox scholars at the present day, however, following the opinion of Athanasius and Jerome, consider that the Deutero-Canonical Books, although part of the Bible, stand on a lower footing than the rest of the Old Testament. Christianity, if true, has nothing to fear from honest inquiry. Orthodoxy, while regarding the Church as the authoritative interpreter of Scripture, does not forbid the critical and historical study of the Bible, although hitherto Orthodox scholars have not been prominent in the field” (Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church, pp. 200-201). Consequently the statements I have made here about the DCs being of great value –I would add they are not only of value historically but also spiritually- are not necessarily so far removed from the position Bishop Kallistos (aka Timothy Ware) claims represents a majority opinion within current Orthodox scholarship in the final analysis.

Blessings,
sirhemlock

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