Skip to comments.HOW WE GOT OUR BIBLE And WHY WE BELIEVE IT IS GOD'S WORD
Posted on 07/27/2012 2:27:56 PM PDT by wmfights
STRUCTURE AND HISTORY OF THE BIBLE
OUR English version, and probably most of the translations of the Bible, consists of sixty-six Books, thirty-nine in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New, and is regarded with special consideration by all Christians because it is held to be the record of the divine religion of Redemption.
The Old Testament shows how this religion was prepared through many centuries; the New tells how it was at length provided and proclaimed.
The keynote of the former is, therefore, Preparation, and this is twofold:
- The preparation of the Redeemer for the people;
- The preparation of the people for the Redeemer.
The keynote of the latter is Manifestation, and this is also twofold:
- The manifestation of the Redeemer in Person,
- The consequent manifestation of his grace in the redeemed, both individually in believers and corporately in the community of Christians, which we call the church.
Thus both Testaments together form a complete record of human sin and divine salvation, the former making the latter necessary.
- Sin is seen in its nature and consequences,
- Salvation in its character and effects.
The Books of the Old Testament are the product of at least thirty authors and cover a period of at least a thousand years.
They are made up of: - History,
The Jewish Old Testament, following the classification of the Hebrew text, is in three parts;
- The law,
- The prophets,
- The psalms.
The law consists of the first five books of the Bible and on this account is called the Pentateuch (five rolls).
Note - It may be said in passing that there is no trace in the historical tradition of the Jews of a Hexateuch (six rolls, including Joshua).
The second division of the Hebrew Bible, called the prophets, includes the historical books of Judges, Samuel and Kings, and the prophetic books proper with the exception of Daniel, which because it is apocalyptic rather than, as the other prophetic books, strictly predictive, is in the third section.
The historical books are called "the former prophets" because they are written from a religious standpoint and are not mere historical annals. They were pretty certainly the work of prophets or prophetic men.
The third part of the Hebrew Bible is so called from the first book in it, and the rest of it consists of those Books which are not found in the other two parts. Our English Old Testament has a different order and comes from the Greek Version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint).
It consists of four parts: - Pentateuch,
The New Testament numbers twenty-seven Books, and is the work of eight authors, covering only about fifty years. Of the eight authors, five were apostles of CHRIST and three were associates of the apostles.
The New Testament has three main parts:
- History, contained in the Gospels and Acts;
- Doctrine, in the Epistles;
- Prophecy, in the Revelation.
These three provide respectively the commencement, the course, and the culmination of the Christian religion.
There is a striking connection between the Old Testament and the New beyond the general unity mentioned above. The Old Testament emphasizes the three aspects of the divine Saviour: the prophet, the priest, and the king. These answer to the three deepest necessities of man.
- He requires a prophet to reveal GOD;
- He requires a priest to redeem from sin;
- He requires a king to rule his life for GOD.
Each of these is emphasized in the Old Testament, and in general can be associated with sections of its Books.
The New Testament fitly shows how this threefold need is met in CHRIST as Prophet, Priest, and King; revealing, redeeming, and ruling. The full title "Jesus Christ our Lord" suggests this:
- JESUS the Prophet,
- CHRIST the Priest,
- The Lord the King.
Such is the Bible as we have it today. But how did it come to be what it now is? There has been a gradual growth, and the steps of this we must note.
At first and for a long time the revelation of GOD was oral. "The word of the Lord came to Abram" (Genesis 15:1).
This was sufficient for ages. But the time came when it was necessary to put the divine revelation in a written form. It would seem as though a book were essential for the maintenance and continuance of religion, and it is at least interesting and perhaps also significant that all the great religious systems of the world have their sacred books.
Literature is the nearest possible approach to reliability. This is a point which will need fuller consideration at a later stage.
There are traces in the Old Testament of a gradual growth by accretion. The Jewish tradition associates Moses with the commencement of the Scripture, and there is no doubt of the essential truth of this position. Certainly there is no other tradition attaching to the books; and in view of the tenacity with which the Jews kept their national traditions, this belief about Moses calls for adequate explanation.
A careful study of passages found throughout the Old Testament shows this development, indications being found at almost every period, of growth and additions to the existing writings.
Among others the following passages should be noted:
And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven (Exodus 17:14).
And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the LORD: and these [are] their journeys according to their goings out (Numbers 33:2).
And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of [that which is] before the priests the Levites (Deuteronomy 17:18).
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success . . . And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD (Joshua 1:8; 24:26).
Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house (I Samuel 10:25).
Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples . . . To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:16, 20).
Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day (Jeremiah 36:2).
In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:2).
And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel (Nehemiah 8:1).
These references, taken from each period of the history, indicate a gradual growth of the Jewish Scriptures.
The complete volume is associated by tradition with Ezra, and there are no valid reasons for doubting this, especially as it harmonizes with the testimony of the wellinformed and representative Jew, Josephus, who, writing in the first century of the Christian Era, said that no book was added to the Jewish Scripture after the time of Malachi.
As to the preservation of the gradually growing volume through the ages from Moses to Ezra, it has been pointed out by that eminent Egyptologist, Professor Naville, that it was the custom among Eastern nations to deposit their books in their sanctuaries, and there is every likelihood that the Jews did the same. The copy found by Hilkiah was probably this temple copy (II Kings 22:8).
The New Testament was also marked by. a gradual growth.
At first came the oral accounts of the life of CHRIST and the presentation of the Christian message.
Then followed the apostolic letters, confirming and elaborating their oral teaching.
These letters were read in the assemblies of the Christians (I Thessalonians 5:27; II Thessalonians 3:14).
The next stage was the interchange of these letters among the churches (Colossians 4:16).
Not long after the need of a record of the life of the founder was felt, and as a result came our Gospels (Luke 1:l-4; John 20:31). The story of the early church naturally followed (Acts), and the Apocalypse fitly crowned the whole with its outlook on the future.
As the primitive churches had the Old Testament volume in their hands, it was a constant reminder of the need of an analogous volume of the New Testament, though everything was so very gradual and natural that it is only when the process is complete that it is realized to have been also manifestly supernatural.
At this point the important question arises how we can be sure that our Bible today really represents the books which have been thus naturally and simply collected into a volume.
The answer is that it is quite easy to prove that our Bible is the same as the church has had through the centuries.
We start with the printed Bibles of today and it is obviously easy to show that they correspond with the printed Bibles of the sixteenth century, or the time when printing was invented.
From these we can go back through the English and Latin versions until we reach to the great manuscripts of the fourth century as represented by the three outstanding codices known as:
- The Codex Sinaiticus (in Petrograd),
- The Codex Vaticanus (in Rome)
- The Codex Alexandrinus (in the British Museum).
Then we can go back still farther and compare the use of Scripture in the writings of the Fathers of the third century, and from these work back to the second century when versions in several languages are found.
From this it is but a short step to the time of the apostles and the actual composition of the New Testament writings.
There is no reasonable doubt that we possess today what has always been regarded as the Scriptures of the Christian Church.
The proof as to the Old Testament can be shown along similar lines.
Our Old Testament is identical with the Bible of the Jews at the present time. This is the translation of Hebrew manuscripts dating from several centuries past, and the fact of the Jews always having used the same Bible as they do today is a proof that all through the ages the Christian Church has not been mistaken in its inclusion of the Old Testament in its Bible.
An additional evidence of great value is the fact that the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek about two centuries before CHRIST, and this translation is essentially the same as the Hebrew text from which we get our Old Testament.
The additional books which are found in the Greek Old Testament, called the Apocrypha, were never part of the Jewish Scriptures, and were never regarded as Scripture by those who knew the Hebrew language. These books were not written in Hebrew, and were not included in Scripture by any body of Christians until the Church of Rome arbitrarily decided to include them at the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century. In addition to other points which could be mentioned, these books contain inaccuracies in history and doctrine, which make it impossible for them to be regarded as part of the Word of GOD for man.
These are some of the facts which are connected with our Bible as we now have it, and from them we can proceed to consider the various points which are involved in our belief that the Bible is for us the Word of GOD, and as such, the rule of our faith and practice
Those who defend the Apocryphal books, do so out of misplaced loyalty to their religious leaders of the past than they do what God has delivered for us all. As the article points out, these disputed books contain numerous errors and that alone SHOULD disqualify them from being thought of as God-breathed Scripture. If you have ever read them, they do not even SOUND like the rest of Scripture does. They lack that spiritual grip - that sense that this is from God. This remains a big deal to some and they will fight tooth and nail over the issue, accusing others of ignorance and all sorts of silly things, and forget that the rest of the Bible - the 66 books - are NOT in dispute with any Christian. No, we have the Bible God meant for us to have and it STILL works in the heart of all those who answer the call of Almighty God.
“We are compelled to concede to the Papists
that they have the Word of God,
that we received it from them,
and that without them
we should have no knowledge of it at all.”
~ Martin Luther
Sounds like an open and shut case.
That's a serious charge, and of course if it is true it must be backed up by serious evidence.
I had laid out briefly, above, the historic councils that codified the Canon of Scripture. We know the times and places of these Councils ---the Council of Rome (382), the Council of Hippo (393), Third and Fourth Councils of Carthage (397, 418)---and the names, too, of those who affirmed the Catholic canon as we know it today.
So, are you saying that it was some other group of Christians who were preserving the Bible? I would like to know more. Who were they? Are you thinking of the Montanists? Or the Assyrian Church of the East -- the Nestorians? Or the Persian Church, a dhimmi community under the Rashidun Caliphate? Or ... When did this ancient "Bible preserving" happen, apart from the Catholic Church? and where? Did they produce an official Canon, other than the one affirmed by the Councils above? And where are the ancient Bibles they preserved?
You can see I am eager to know more about your historic Bible sources.
In your unlearned opinion. The Deuterocanonicals are not part of the abridged, edited versions of Scripture that showed up centuries after the original. The corrupted KJV, not KJB, was produced over 12 centuries later. However, they were there when the 73 book canon was closed in 405 AD by Pope St. Innocent I.
If a Christian relies on edicts of theologians to validate their belief in something it is easy to be misled. In this case by looking for councils to determine what is, or is not Scripture it is easy to miss the beautiful working of the Holy Spirit. Christians recognized the Scriptures very early on. For example, the Muratonian Fragment which includes all but a few of the books found at the end of the NT dates back to 150AD. No hierarchy with the power of the State behind it established this, it was Christians led by the Holy Spirit.
The other issue in looking to councils of one church ignores that at the same time that the allegorical view of Scripture was emerging a literal school of interpretation already existed. In other words by relying solely on those that came later, acting as if those that were present at the beginning had not already established something, a Christian can fall into the trap of only seeing part of the truth.
St. Jerome, pray for us!
The authority of the Church is very much dependent on the Holy Spirit and not at all dependent on "edicts of theologians". If it were, the Catholic Church through the centuries would have been captured by Montanism, Arianism, Pelagianism, Donatism and every other enthusiasm and split-off movement that came along, since as you know Montanus, Arius, Pelagius and Donatus were members of the long (and still continuing) line of error-prone theologians including Martin Luther, Fr. Hans Kung and Fr. Robert Drinan!
Being dependent on the self-described "leading of the Spirit" of any "individual" theologian is always going to be prone to error, since it is so easy to be misled when one is acting as a "lone ranger" cut off fromn thr Apostles and their successors.
That's why the Councils are so important. Whenever there is a major controversy or crisis, starting with the Council of Jerusalem in Apostolic times, the leaders of the Church must gather to weigh evidence, hear testimony, search Scripture, pray ardently, discuss and debate (sometime heatedly) and finally grasp a Truth they can announce with confidence, "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us..." (Acts 15:29).
If you disregard Councils, you are disregarding how the Holy Spirit guided the Church in every single century --- through 20 centuries --- until now: as Jesus promised, the Church has never been left an orphan or abandoned. And we have the evidence.
The Muratorian Fragment is part of that evidence. It illustrates how the Church over the centuries had to deal with controversies about the question of the canon. The MF includes at least one book accepted by Catholics and Orthodox, but which today's Protestants would list with the Apocrypha (Wisdom), at least one properly called patristic (The Shepherd, by Hermas), and some which are seriously dubious "...the new book of psalms for Marcion, together with Basilides, the founder of the Asian Cataphrygians."
And although the Muratorian Fragment lists most of the New Testament books, it's missing a few (e.g. Matthew, James, 3 John), and it adds several works which are not inspired.
You clearly state your view (not mine) that the Muratorian Fragment was Holy Spirit-inspired. Really? Is it accepted as such by, for instance, the Baptists? If so, I take it you accept the book of Wisdom? And omit John 3, Matthew and James?
Not me. I think the Councils' canons, being unanimous over a period of almost 1700 years, are more reliable than that.
"Those that were present at the beginning" on whom everything subsequent depends, were the Apostles. The Catholic Church is built on the Apostles, on the foundation laid by Christ, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I personally find any other foundation dubious.
It is disputed that this Jamnia council ever took place.
Those scholars who delve into such things, cannot precisely and irrefutably agree exactly when and where the Hebrew "canon" was closed, even as the idea of "canon", though not a word of their making, can be shown to be a principle of their own making.
What can otherwise be found, is of course the historian/explainer Josephus, pointing to those number which later are known to us as what is contained in the present Hebrew canon, with quite early on Melito agreeing, followed by Jerome, whom confirmed Melito.
What comes earliest, should be given great consideration.
We see too, that the apocrypha doesn't quite fit. It is neither "Law", the history related to the giving of the Law, including the consequences for both obeying or disobeying, nor is it Psalms, nor books of the minor prophets.
What is of no slight consideration, is just what the Sanhedrin held as being canonical, at the very moment when Jesus stood in the flesh before them.
Nothing else counts. Who else but the Pharisees in Jerusalem were the "foremost"? Would Christ have come and showed himself to any lessor? That was the Jewish religious "Supreme Court". There was no higher authoritative body on earth at the time, in matters regarding the religion of the Jews.
Pointing to the Septuagint as "end of story" is quite problematic, for a host of reasons. First, could be "which version"? Then one would need to irrefutably show that the foremost Jewish authorities, those in Jerusalem, accepted that translation and collection as being canonical. Such has not been accomplished.
Since it is in dispute that this precise Jamnia council even took place (though something of the sort quite possibly did) by what authority can it be claimed that they
hence by implication, that was the motive behind their removal of what should have been known to them as "Scripture" from that work?
If not arguing "perfidious Jews" perfidious even to their own collection of Covenant with G-d, guided by G-d;
Here one must argue "stupid Jews" coming from what is now Israel, stupid since they didn't know what their own Holy Writ contained, and what it did not.
But on the other hand, "smart, well informed Jews" living for enough generations back in Egypt to have all but entirely lost their ability to understand Hebrew, as the ones who were "smart".
Just the symbolism alone of such an idea is problematic, and that before delving into whether or not those Jews whom were actually adequately informed among the Egyptian Jewry, themselves accepted the work without reservation. I do seem to recall there being found in the historic record, some quibbling regarding this very thing, there in Egypt at that time, but have lost the thread, mentioning it here as something for other readers and searchers to be on the lookout for.
Is there something "the Jews" would see magical in the apocrypha, that does the trick, turning people into Christians? Were those books in and of themselves the key to it all? Would "the Jews" be motivated to meddle with their own Holy Writ, just to meddle with and/or "get back at" early Christians in some way?
What a preposterous proposition, but one found hidden in the mention of "Jamnia" and vague allusion to nefarious motives attributed to those dad-gum, perfidious Jews of Israel who "edited out" what is still here now in dispute... and what was long termed 'apocrypha', even by early Catholic scholars.
By What logic would Jewish scholars of that time, those whom actually knew the Hebrew, and were well apprised of tradition, knowing what was considered to be properly seen as Scripture, and what was not --- throw out portions of what was Holy to themselves?
Along those lines, why would later Hebrew language scholars do the same?. Answer that please, but show it from tracing through the most ancient Hebrew sources available, while also explaining why Josephus got it wrong (but certain details of Christ correct!) along with why Melito and later Jerome, should not be seen as authoritative and best informed, coming as they did before the later councils (which you seem to favor).
Why would they do such a precise thing, rejecting certain late-in-the-making written works, (and other works considered by them to be spurious?). Would they do so just to frustrate those irritating Christians? To confuse Jewish converts to Christianity, even at the cost of confusing wider Jewry, by removing the "rabbinical period" and other writings, which otherwise should well enough have been considered by themselves to be sacred, set apart from all else?.
If we are to make assumption concerning the issue, it is much more logical to assume (if Jamnia occurred) they were making clear statement to the Jews in Egypt and elsewhere, to not use the Septuagint unreservedly, for it was contaminated to a degree, in and of itself. The spread of Christianity undoubtedly highlighted the use of that work, possibly contributing to a sense of urgency in their own work aimed at correcting the Septuagint. (not only are they converting to that cult of Christ, but they are perverting our own Scriptures while they are at it!).
It is no wonder then, that there would have been those Jewish scholars, from those whom were left alive after the destruction of the Temple and their Institutes of Learning, whom would desire strongly to set the record straight. Their point of view at that juncture of history, as to what Holy Writ was, and was not, is not to be taken lightly.
Jews truly "in the know" one can surmise, would desire very much to reestablish proper canon, for reasons contained within Judaism, itself.
To argue that the Hebrew canon (what can be properly considered to be what we know of today as the Old Testament) should unreservedly be some version of the Septuagint, is an argument one should take up with Jewish scholars.
Good luck with that.
See on this FR thread Mr. Rogers' post # 6
I think the point is that the Apocrypha was long considered unacceptable for matters of doctrine. And even the Council of Trent didn’t care to open that can of worms. While it affirmed some of the Apocrypha as being ‘canon’, it didn’t tackle if the Apocrypha had authority “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”.
The Council of Trent also screwed up its list of books, dropping 3 small parts that had long been considered canon - since they were part of the Apocrypha. That is why the term “deuterocanonical” was coined - to describe what was left of the Apocrypha after the Council of Trent dropped part of it out.
Meanwhile, about Jamnia, note that I wrote ""IF" it could be said..." I regret not having made the "iffiness" of this reputed council even more explicit. I cannot vouch for the historicity of what is called the "Council of Jamnia" --- and so it's even more nebulous as to why the Masoretic canon should be preferred to the Septugint canon.
I do think the authenticity of the LXX rests, not on our objections against this "iffy," historically dubious "Council of Jamnia," but on the fact that 80% of the OT quotes found in the NT itself, are taken from the LXX.
I don't think ou can throw out the LXX without throwing out the NT. It's very obviously the version of Scripture that the Evangelists and the Epistle-writers used. St. Paul tells Timothy, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness...", and the Scripture he quotes in his own Epistles is the LXX. "ALL Scripture therefore is not limited to just the 39-book "short version" OT. The LXX also includes the 7 books you call Apocrypha.
Both the Catholics and the Orthodox have faithfully preserved, and taught from, the LXX, just as the Apostles did. So, are you saying that it was some other group of Christians (other than the Cath/Orthodox) who were preserving the Bible? I would like to know more. Who were they?...When did this ancient "Bible preserving" happen, apart from the Catholic Church? and where? Did they produce an official 66 Book OT/NT Canon? When was the earliest 66-Book Canon list written and where is it to be found?
You can see I am eager to know more about your historic Bible sources.
Eak perked (\..\)
Always left out of the discussion is mention that the hypothetical Council of Jamnia determining canon is NOT some hoary tradition. It was made up about 140 years ago.
Just offhand, I know the Western Church uses Wisdom, Sirach, and Maccabees Liturgically in the Lectionary, as well as Daniel 3:24-90, the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Hebrew Children. Don't know about the Eastern Church. Maybe The_Reader_David will tell us about that.
Just recently I saw a long list of such "quotes", and could readily see that most all in which I had strong familiarity with, could be derived from the Hebrew canon, in fact most needed to be for sake of contextual deeper meanings, tying together broader themes, even if some form of "repeat" of those words and phrases could be in the works referred to as apocryphal.
Those wishing to make the "80%" claim, might do well to dig deep and see how much of that can be easily enough falsifiable (otherwise found in Hebrew canon).
I lay that duty not to your own charge, but more as a precautionary note.
Why should things be seen as nebulous? Are we to believe the Jews lost their own Holy Writ? Even as we have clear enough indications there was resistance and complaint on their account that works such as the Septuagint went beyond what they considered to be Hebrew canon, in that first century or so after Christ?
What of Jerome? And Before him Melito (which we have no real real extant texts for, but mention and quotes from him, significant to this discussion by Jerome).
I do not believe there is any listing of what is to be considered Old Testament outside of Judaism, earlier than Melito. he died in 180 A.D.
What of Josephus? I sure do enjoy using him as a secular proof for the life and death of Christ, with Josephus also including brief comment as to the dispute over what happened to "the body" which parallels strongly what we see in the New Testament.
I'll go and check the link... yet I can hardly imagine the questions I raise again [repeat, sorry] here will be sufficiently addressed.
Thank you for your kind and polite reply. I'm not certain I deserve such, but I have noticed that you are quite polite as habit, and I do respect and appreciate that, even as we can have some small matters of disagreement.
“The Deuterocannicals are unacceptable? To whom? “
What I wrote was:
“I think the point is that the Apocrypha was long considered unacceptable for matters of doctrine.”
Most Catholic theologians prior to Trent, and quite a few afterward. Remember, the Council of Trent left THAT discussion open:
“This question was not only a matter of controversy between Catholics and Protestants: it was also the subject of a lively discussion even between Catholic theologians. St Jerome, that great authority in all scriptural questions, had accepted the Jewish canon of the Old Testament. Thc books of Judith, Esther, Tobias, Machabees, Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, which the majority of the Fathers, on the authority of the Septuagint, treated as canonical, Jerome described as apocryphal, that is, as not included in the canon though suitable for the edification of the faithful The general of the Franciscans Observant, Calvus, dealt thoroughly with the problems raised by Cajetan in a tract drawn up for the purposes of the Counci1. He defended the wider canon, and in particular the canonicity of the book of Baruch, the story of Susanna, that of Bel and the dragon, and the canticle of the three children (Benedicite). On the other hand, he refused to accept the oft-quoted Apostolic Canons as authoritative for the canonicity of the third book of Machabees. The general of the Augustinians, Seripando, on the contrary, was in sympathy with Erasmus and Cajetan and sought to harmonise their views with the Florentine decree on the ground that the protocanonical books of the Old Testament, as “canonical and authentic”, belong the the canon fidei, while the deuterocanonical ones, as “canonical and ecclesiastical books”, belong to the canon morum. Seripando, accordingly, follows the tendency which had made itself felt elsewhere also in pre-Tridentine Catholic theology, which was not to withhold the epithet “canonical” from the deuterocanonical books, yet to use it with certain restrictions.
The tracts of the two generals of Orders show that opinions diverged widely even within the Council. The prestige of the Augustinian general and that of the Bishop of Fano who sided with him, may have prompted Cervini to discuss the whole complex question in his class. It became evident that no one supported the subtle distinction between a canon fidei and a canon morum, though it met with a somewhat more favourable reception in the general congregation of 12 February when several of the Fathers deemed it useful, though not necessary. The majority agreed with the opinion of the general of the Servites, that controverted theological questions, which had already been the subject of discussion between Augustine and Jerome, should not be decided by the Council but should be allowed to remain open questions. The result of the above-mentioned vote of the general congregation of 15 February committed the Council to the wider canon, but inasmuch as it abstained from a theological discussion, the question of differences between books within the canon was left as it had been.
Hubert Jedin, History of the Council of Trent, pgs 56-57
I myself, brought up the doubt, here on this thread. Why post to me "it is always left out"?
Made up some 140 years ago? Well, ok, maybe, but then again there have been enough scraps of "activity" (just that I know of!) traced to the first/second century, related to objection from some Jewish quarters concerning their disagreement.
Some of that I think it safe to assume, was the stuff the "Jamnia" council hypothesis was founded upon. There is evidence there...enough to give us a sense something, some activity akin to it, transpired.
There was a network of schools or colleges that the Romans destroyed along with Temple in Jerusalem. Would we expect that they were able to pry out of the mind and conscience of the Hebrews which studied there, knowledge of such primary importance to them, as to what their Scripture was, and was not?
Like I said --- go to the Jewish scholars, and ask THEM why they hold the "canon" which they do presently.
They claim to be carrying it forward unchanged for many more centuries than the Catholic Church does, for what they carry.
At issue is not what writings which can be found and translated (and have been, but not uniformly) but which particular ones were considered canonical at the time of Christ.
What did the Sanhedrin hold to be canon? That is the question.
I can't lay my hands on it now, but I got a lot of my notions from Timothy McLay (google him), an Evanglical scholar ---his publisher is Eerdmans anyhow, he teaches at St. Stephens University in New Brunswick. His statistical analysis of the lexicon is dauntingly technical, but he goes beyond just word-mincing: he argues that the whole theology of the NT exhibits the strong influence of the Greek scriptural tradition not only in its vocabulary, but also in its citations of Scripture, and its concepts.
-- and also from the great, great, great Jarislav Peliken, once-Evangelical Lutheran, studied with the rabbis, joined the Orthodox---Russian Orthodox, I think, St. Vladimir's--- and has now passed on to his reward where --- ahem --- everyone is Catholic. (I mean, 'catholic,' as in kata-holos!) ;o)
I want to thank you, too, for a pleasant and reasonable discussion. I regret that sometimes in these disputes, one scarcely gets in impression that the belligerents are actually people who share a love of the Lord Jesus. In any case, I do ask your prayers, and think, on the whole, we will draw the closer, the closer we draw to Our Lord.
One can wager that the Bais Haknessess Hagdolah (Sanhedrin) did not hold Greek texts to be canon.
The was a religious school at Yavneh (Jamnia). Their teachings form the basis of the Mishna. They wouldn’t have dared tampered with ‘canon’, which has been mentioned does not even mean the same thing to Jews as it does to Christians.
Previous to the 1870s, I believe Christians insisted the Jews changed ‘canon’ at the time of the Masoretes.
There's my bottom line.
Good evening, and God bless you, my dear!
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