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Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Development of the Jewish Canon

As taken from the Wikipedia. (not that I agree with everything from wiki)

"Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the twenty-four books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible. Evidence suggests that the process of canonization occurred between 200 BCE and 200 CE. A popular position is that the Torah was canonized circa 400 BCE, the Prophets circa 200 BCE, and the Writings circa 100 CE[1] perhaps at a hypothetical Council of Jamnia—this position, however, is increasingly criticised by modern scholars. The book of Deuteronomy includes a prohibition against adding or subtracting (4:2, 12:32) which might apply to the book itself (i.e. a "closed book," a prohibition against future scribal editing) or to the instruction received by Moses on Mt. Sinai.[2] The book of 2 Maccabees, itself not a part of the Jewish canon, describes Nehemiah (around 400 BCE) as having "founded a library and collected books about the kings and prophets, and the writings of David, and letters of kings about votive offerings" (2:13-15). The Book of Nehemiah suggests that the priest-scribe Ezra brought the Torah back from Babylon to Jerusalem and the Second Temple (8-9) around the same time period. Both I and II Maccabees suggest that Judas Maccabeus (around 167 BCE) likewise collected sacred books (3:42-50, 2:13-15, 15:6-9), indeed some scholars argue that the Jewish canon was fixed by the Hasmonean dynasty.[3] However, these primary sources do not suggest that the canon was at that time closed; moreover, it is not clear that these particular books were identical in content to those that later became part of the Masoretic text. Today, there is no scholarly consensus as to when the Jewish canon was set.
McDonald and Sanders's The Canon Debate, 2002, Appendix A, lists the
primary sources for the Hebrew Canon.[4]

One of the main influential scholars covering the issue of the canon of the Jewish Scriptures was Dr
Otto Eissfeldt (1887-1973) who published "The Old Testament, An Introduction" subtitled "The History of the Formation of the Old Testament". It was translated from the German by Peter R Ackroyd a Professor of Old Testament Studies, King's College, London in 1965, and covered 861 pages. In his book Eissfeldt had drawn together much of the previous work in this field. Some of the conclusions are dated such as the reliance upon the hypothesis of a Council of Jamnia (see infra), which requires only a slight adjustment in reading. Such authors as Michael Barber provide an adequate correction to the dated material. Never-the-less, Eissfeldt's work remains a useful tool in understanding how the canon emerged.
The theory that the Jewish Canon was closed at a Synod of Jamnia (see
Council of Jamnia) about 90 A.D. was first proposed by Heinrich Graetz in 1871 and became a consensus. W. M. Christie was the first to dispute this popular theory in the July 1925 edition of the Journal of Theological Studies in an article entitled The Jamnia Period in Jewish History. Next, an amateur, Jack P. Lewis, wrote a critique of the popular consensus in the April 1964 edition of the Journal of Bible and Religion entitled What Do We Mean by Jabneh? Raymond E. Brown largely supported Lewis in his review published in Jerome Bible Commentary (JBC) 1968 which also appears in the New Jerome Bible Commentary of 1990. Sid Z. Leiman made an independent challenge for his University of Pennsylvania thesis published later as a book in 1976. Other scholars have since joined in such that today the theory is largely discredited.[5]

To read the rest go to Wiki.



Tony said...

This is always a good thing to study, since it involves the history of not only what the Jews truly believed to be sacred, but how it affected the LXX.

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