Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Development Of The Old Testament Canon

4QMMT 9:10-11 (c. 250 BC)

"We have written to you so that you might understand what is [written] in the book of Moses and in the words of the Prophets and in David and in the Words of the Days of All the Generations..." 

REMAINDER OF KUMRAN--Commentaries only on biblical books 

BEN SIRA (c. 180 BC) 

Greek Prologue (130 BC): "For what was originally expressed in Hebrew does not have exactly the same sense when translated into another language. Not only this work, but even the law itself, the prophecies, and the rest of the books differ not a little as originally expressed." 

Chapters 44-50: “Let us now praise famous men” (Adam-Nehemiah, only non-biblical figure mentioned is the High Priest Simon son of Onias [50:1-21], who is not the subject of any extra-biblical book).

2 MACCABEES 2:13-15 (c. 105 BC)

"Nehemiah [420 BC]... collected the books about the kings and prophets, and the writings of David ...in the same way Judas [Maccabeus, died 160 BC] also collected all [these] books...

PHILO, DE VITA CONTEMPLATIVA 25 (vol. IX, pp. 126-7) (AD 20-30)

"Laws, and oracles delivered thru the mouth of the prophets, and psalms and all the others which foster and perfect knowledge and piety."

JOSEPHUS, AGAINST APION 1:39-40 (vol. I, pp. 178-179)

"For we have ... only 22 books ... which are justly believed to be divine, and of them five are the books of Moses... the prophets...wrote down what was done in their times in 13 books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life."

Luke 24:44

"Everything written about me in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

Matthew 23:35

"...that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar (II Chron. 24:21ff.)."

4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 14:45 (c. AD 70)

"And...the Most High spoke to me saying, 'Make public the 24 books that you wrote first and let the worthy and the unworthy read them.'"

Mishnah Yadaim 3:5

"All the Holy Scriptures [O.T.] render the hands unclean [i.e., are canonical]. The Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes render the hands unclean. Rabbi Judah says: The Song of Songs renders the hands unclean, but about Ecclesiastes there is dissention. Rabbi Yose says: Ecclesiastes does not render the hands unclean, and about the Song of Songs there is dissention. Rabbi Simeon says: Ecclesiastes is one of the things about which the School of Shammai adopted the more lenient ruling, and the School of Hillel the more stringent ruling. Rabbi Simeon ben Azzai said: I have heard a tradition from the seventy-two elders on the day when they made Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah head of the Academy of Sages, that the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes both render the hands unclean. Rabbi Akiva said: God forbid! No man in Israel ever disputed about the Song of Songs that it does not render the hands unclean, for all the ages are not worth the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel. For all the Writings are holy, but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies. And if anything was in dispute, the dispute was about Ecclesiastes alone. Rabbi Yochanan ben Yehoshua, the son of Rabbi Akiva's father-in-law said: According to the words of ben Azzai so did they dispute and so did they decide.

Tosefta Yadaim 2:13-14

The Gospels and the books of the books of the heretics do not impart uncleanness to hands. And the books of Ben Sira and all the books written thenceforward do not impart uncleanness to hands. 14R. Simeon ben Menassia’ says, “The Song of Songs imparts uncleanness to hands, because it was said by the Holy Spirit. Qohelet does not impart uncleanness of hands, because it is [merely] the wisdom of Solomon.” They said to him, “And did he write only this alone? Lo, it says, ‘And Solomon uttered three thousand proverbs and his songs were a thousand and five’ [1 Kings 5:12]. And it says, ‘Do not add to his words lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar’ [Prov. 30:6].”

Conclusion: OT canonized 400-300 BC, not AD 90! (over)

Cf. also Babylonian Talmud Bava Batra 14b-15a Our Rabbis taught: The order of the Prophets is, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the Twelve Minor Prophets. Let us examine this. Hosea came first, as it is written, God spake first to Hosea. But did God speak first to Hosea? Were there not many prophets between Moses and Hosea? R. Johanan, however, has explained that [what It means is that] he was the first of the four prophets who prophesied at that period, namely, Hosea, Isaiah, Amos and Micah. Should not then Hosea come first? Since his prophecy is written along with those of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, and Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi came at the end of the prophets, he is reckoned with them. But why should he not be written separately and placed first? Since his book is so small, it might be lost [if copied separately]. Let us see again. Isaiah was prior to Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Then why should not Isaiah be placed first? Because the Book of Kings ends with a record of destruction and Jeremiah speaks throughout of destruction and Ezekiel commences with destruction and ends with consolation and Isaiah is full of consolation; therefore we put destruction next to destruction and consolation next to consolation. The order of the Hagiographa is Ruth, the Book of Psalms, Job, Prophets, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Daniel and the Scroll of Esther, Ezra and Chronicles. Now on the view that Job lived in the days of Moses, should not the book of Job come first? We do not begin with a record of suffering. But Ruth also is a record of suffering? It is a suffering with a sequel [of happiness], as R. Johanan said: Why was her name called Ruth? Because there issued from her David who replenished the Holy One, blessed be He, with hymns and praises. Who wrote the Scriptures? Moses wrote his own book and the portion of Balaam and Job. Joshua wrote the book which bears his name and [the last] eight verses of the Pentateuch. Samuel wrote the book which bears his name and the Book of Judges and Ruth. David wrote the Book of Psalms, including in it the work of the elders, namely, Adam, Melchizedek, Abraham, Moses, Heman, Yeduthun, Asaph, and the three sons of Korah. Jeremiah wrote the book which bears his name, the Book of Kings, and Lamentations. Hezekiah and his colleagues wrote (Mnemonic YMSHK) Isaiah, Proverbs, the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. The Men of the Great Assembly wrote (Mnemonic KNDG) Ezekiel, the Twelve Minor Prophets, Daniel and the Scroll of Esther. Ezra wrote the book that bears his name and the genealogies of the Book of Chronicles up to his own time. This confirms the opinion of Rab, since Rab Judah has said in the name of Rab: Ezra did not leave Babylon to go up to Eretz Yisrael until he had written his own genealogy. Who then finished it [the Book of Chronicles]? Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.

List compiled by Dr. W.E. Nunnally, Evangel University:
http://isitinthebible.com/general/Canon_of_the_Bible.pdf

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