The Development of the Old Testament Canon, Part 1 Objectives: 1 To illustrate the process by which the Old Testament became a uniform body of literature • To stimulate deeper and more discriminating study of the Bible • To affirm faith in God and His word
First Form of the Biblical Material Oral Form: The contents of most of the books of the OT existed in an oral form before they were eventually written down, sometimes hundreds of years later.
Evidence of Oral Existence The pattern the “Word of the Lord” Most of the time this pattern had to do with oral communication, not with written communication: • Mic 1:1; Zeph 1:Hag 1:1; Zech 1:1,7: The word of the Lord came to Micah, etc. • Jer 4:2: Hear the word of the Lord O house of Israel
Evidence of Oral Existence • Psa 138:2-4 You have magnified your word …when they heard the words of your mouth • Deut 5:5, 22: I declare to you the words of the Lord • The preaching of Jesus, Luke 5:1; 8:11; 11:28 • The word preached by the Apostles, Acts 4:29; 6:2 • Paul, the Gospel he preached, 1Cor 14:36; 2Cor 2:17
Importance of Oral Communication in Antiquity • Plato’s Seventh Letter: • Every serious man in dealing with really serious subjects carefully avoids writing, least thereby he may possibly cast them as prey to the envy and stupidity of the public. As quoted in William Schniedewind, How the Bible Became a Book, 14 • Written words seem to talk to you as though they were intelligent, but if you ask them anything about what they say, from a desire to be instructed, they go on telling you just the same thing forever, Schniedewind, 14
Papius • “If anyone came who had been a follower of the presbyters, I inquired into the words of the presbyters, what Andrew or Peter or Phillip or Thomas or James or John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s disciples had said, and what Aristion and the presbyter John, the Lord’s disciples, were saying. For I did not think that information from books would help me so much as the utterances of a living and surviving voice ” • Eusebius, The History of the Church, 3:39.
Importance of Oral Communication in Antiquity • 2 John12 : Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full. See also, 3 John 13,14 • Note: The Rabbis of the first century AD emphasized that the oral tradition i.e., oral Torah was the final authority above the written Torah, Schniedewind, 15.
The Sources of the OT: JEDP • J = Yahwistic • E = Eloistic • D = Deuteronomistic • P = Priestly
Sources • YHWH (J): Used the name YHWH for God, e.g., source of Gen 2; mostly Gen, Exo, Num (Date: 10th Cen BC) • Eloist (E): Employed name Elohim for God., e.g., Gen 1:1-2:4b (9th Cen BC) • Deteronomistic (D): Source, concerned with laws, e.g., the book of Deuteronomy • Priestly (P): Writings concerned with the priesthood, e.g., Leviticus; Gen 2:4b
Evidence of Oral Existence in Multiple Sources Different accounts of the same events: • Exo 33:7 - Tabernacle outside the camp • Num 2:17 - Tabernacle in middle of the camp • Exo 19:1- Commandments given at Sinai • Deut 1:6 - Commandments given at Horeb
Evidence of Oral Existence: Multiple Sources Exo 19: 3,20; 24:2: Moses alone enters the mountain to receive Ten Commandments Exo 24:1, 9- Moses, Nadab, Abihu, plus 70 elders enter mountain to receive Ten Commandments Exo 24:11: They (including Moses) saw God, eat and drink Exo 34:28: Moses did not eat or drink
Multiple Sources Exo 24:12 God wrote the Ten Commandments Exo 24:4;34:28 Moses wrote Ten Commandments Note the emphasis on oral communication where the Ten Commandments and other laws are concerned, e.g., in Exo 20 the Ten Commandments are not written but spoken; see also 31:12;13 In Deuteronomy 1:1 the laws are again spoken to the people by Moses
Thought Question • If Moses was the original author of the Pentateuch, how is it that he is saying so many opposites about his own experience, and • why is he always writing in the third person throughout the Pentateuch and • did he record his death in Deuteronomy 34 ?
Multiple Sources Languages: Gen 10: 5,20,31 Many nations and many languages Gen 11:6 The whole earth, one language Building of the Ark: Deut. 10:1-5 Ark built before Moses ascended Mt. Sinai Exo. 40:20/Deut 37:1 Ark build after Moses descended from the mountain Different Order of Places: Deut 10:6-7 Num 33:30,39
Multiple Sources Deut 10:6 Aaron died at Moserah Num 22:1-29; 33, 38 Aaron died at Mt. Hor Note: If he died at Moserah he could not have arrived at Kadesh to which the Israelites journeyed after leaving Moserah. In addition, he played a prominent role in the events of Kadesh then from there to Mt. Hor. See also, Num 20:22-29; Deut 32:50
Evidence of Multiple Sources other Places in the OT 2 Sam 24:1-The Lord caused David to number Israel 1Chro 21:1-The Devil caused David to number Israel Note the many differences in both stories
Some Evidences of Editorial work • Two books of Jeremiah • Two books of Isaiah • The Isaiah and Kings sources • The stories of the Chronicles, Kings and Samuel As it is written in the books of Gad and Asher
Editorial Activity in Jeremiah There are actually two books of Jeremiah Book 1: Jer 25:13 - completed before 3rd Babylonian deportation, 582 BC • This is shorter version, now lost • Basis for LXX Book 2: Longer version edited during Babylonian captivity • Is 1/6 longer than version 1, i.e., the LXX version • Basis for the Masoretic text, found in English Bible
Editorial Activity in Jeremiah • Verses present in the Masoretic Hebrew text but missing in the Greek LXX include: Jer 2:1; 7:1; 8:11-12; 10:6-8; 11:7; 17:1-4; 25:13b-14; 27:1,7,13, 17, 21; 29:6,16-20; 30:10-11,22; 33:14-26; 39:4-13 (// Jer 52:4-16); 46:1; 49:6
Hebrew (MT) 1-25:13a 25:13b-38 26-45 47 48 49:1-6 49:7-22 49:23-27 49:28-33 49:34-39 50-51Babylon 52 Greek (LXX) 1-25:13a 32:13b-38 26 29 31 30:17-21/22 30:1-16 30:29-33 30:23-28 25:14-20 27-28 52 Differences in the Hebrew MT and the Greek LXX of Jeremiah
Edit • Note: edited version of Jeremiah intended to show that Johoiachin not Zedekiah legitimate ruler of Judah and that the fate of Judah was a result of the sins of Manesseh and the false prophets.
Two Books of Isaiah • Book 1: Chap 1- 39 • Book 2: Isa 40:66 • Note the difference in tone and message of both sections
Evidences of Editorial Activities Schniedewind, 186 2 Sam 5-24 reorganized in 1Chron 1:1-21 Note: negative aspects of David’s life (Bathsheba/Uriah incident) edited out, so as to present him worthy to “build” temple etc. Chronicles borrows heavily from Samuel and Kings
Approximate Date of OT Writings • Most of the OT was written between the 8th - 6th Cen. BC, Schniedwind, 17 • Ezra is credited for being the scribe who pulled all the different books into one collection 5th – 4th Cen. BC • Prior to that, it existed in oral/written form as the previous evidences show • Note: writing was not popular among the Jews until the 8th Cen. BC
The Septuagint - 285-247 BC • Jews of post-Babylonian captivity forgot Hebrew language • Greek became the international language • Jews in Alexandria translated Hebrew OT into Greek
The Septuagint • Nature: An interpretive text, does not always agree with the extant Hebrews texts • Origin: From mss earlier than the Masoritics mss • Usage: 80 % of time by NT writers • Contents: The Apocryphal books, e.g., 1-3 Macabbees, Judith,Tobit, Bel and the Dragon, Ecclesiasticus
Law Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy History Joshua Judges Ruth 1 Reign = 1 Samuel 2 Reigns = 2 Samuel 3 Reigns = 1 Kings 4 Reigns = 2 Kings 1 Chronicles 2 Chronicles 1 Edras 2 Edras = Ezra-Nehemiah Esther Judith Tobit 1Maccabees 2 Maccabees 3 Maccabees 4 Maccabees Arrangement of Books in the Septuagint
Poetry Psalms Proverbs Odes Ecclesiastes Song of Songs Job Wisdom Ecclesiasticus Psalms of Solomon Prophecy The Twelve Hosea Amos Micah Joel Obadiah Jonah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zephaniah Haggai Zachariah Malachi Isaiah Jeremiah Baruch Lamentations Epistle of Jeremy Arrangement of Books in the Septuagint
Ezekiel Susanna Daniel Bel and the Dragon x Arrangement of Books in the Septuagint
Relation of the LXX to the Masoretic Hebrew Text BC 285/247 Jesus/NT 200AD Heb (Lost) LXX Masoretic (Heb) Greek OT Heb OT -English
Multiple Sources: Difference Between the LXX and the Masoretic Text • 1Sam 17-18: Story of David and Goliath- two versions from different sources a). Not included in the LXX [or addition to Masoretic] 17:12-31, 41, 50, 55-58 18:1-6; 9-11; 17:19; 30-19:1 b) addition to 1Sam 17:43- And the Philistine said to David, am I a dog that thou comest against me with a staff and stones? And David answered, Nay but worse than a Dog
The Bibles of Jesus’ day • There was no fixed canon in the time of Jesus, there were: • The canon of the Pharisees • The canon of the Sadducees • The Canon of the Essenes • The Canon of the Samaritans
Canon of the Pharisees • Written Torah (OT) + Oral Tradition • Written Torah: The Law, the Prophets and the Psalms, essentially the LXX Moses received the Law from Sinai and committed it to Joshua, and Joshua to the elders, and the elders to the Prophets; and the Prophets committed it to the men of the Great Synagogue. Mishnah, Aboth 1:1
Canon of the Pharisees Oral Tradition: Two dimensions a) halakah = rules b) haggadah = lore, stories, theology
Canon of the Sadducees • Only the five books of Moses • Evidence: Matt 22:23-33 & Mk 12:18-27 – note Jesus’ response from Exo 3:6 instead of from prophetic books where the resurrection is more clearly mentioned (see also, Acts 23:6-10)
Canon of the Sadducees • The Sadducees teach that the soul dies along with the body and they observe no tradition apart from the [written] laws. Whenever they assume office however they submit to the formula of the Pharisees, because the masses would not tolerate them otherwise. Ant 18.16.
Canon of the Essenes 1. All Old Testament (except the book of Esther) with Apocryphal books 2. The Manual of discipline
The Canon of the Essenes • “Essenes would alter the text of scripture e.g., add the refrain “praise be the Lord and praise be his name forever and ever” after each verse of Psa 145. Also changed the script spelling and grammar and content of Isaiah…. Therefore different attitude from later rabbinic Judaism that copied every word faithfully.” McDonald, Formation, 73
Canon of the Samaritans The Samaritan Pentateuch: Only Moses was inspired Differs From Hebrew Scriptures: 1.Mt. Gerizim, not Jerusalem is the chosen place of worship 2. Had different numbering for the Ten Commandments 3. Tenth Commandment = a passage based on Deut 27:2-8 &11:30 4. Inserted singular verb with the plural Elohim, Gen 20:13; 31:53; 35:7 Note: More strict than the Jews in applying the letter of the Torah, had no commentary on the Torah.
x End - Part 1
Ascension of Isaiah11:34 Romans 1:19-23 Jude 4 Jude 6 Jude 14 2Peter Heb 1:3 James 4:5 1Cor 2:9 Wisdom of Sol 13-15 1Enoch 48:10, 1Enoch 10:6 1Enoch 1:9 1Enoch 2:4; 3:6 Wisdom 7:25-26 Unknown source The Use of the Apocrypha in the NT
NT Use of the OT • Judges, Ruth & Esther not mentioned by NT writers • Jesus does not quote from Judges, Ruth and Esther (p. 98) • Luke 24:44 - Only clear reference to the third division of the OT in NT. • Therefore OT canon in time of Jesus appears to be the Law, Prophets and an undefined section, the Psalm
Josephus 22 book Canon • Against Apion 1:37-43 “Our books those which are justly accredited, are but two and twenty and contain the records of all time.” 4 Ezra14:22-48- written 100ce Mentioned 24 books in the Hebrew scriptures -does not say which 24
Criteria for Canon Among 2nd Century Jews 1. Prophecy ceased by time of Artaxerxes, 465- 424BC,Therefore books written thereafter suspect 2. A book originally written in Hebrew 3. A book used by Christians suspect, e.g. the Apocrypha 4. Conformity to the Torah 5. Practical value among Jews
Criteria for Canon Among 2nd Century Jews 6. Reject the LXX because Christians used it • Replaced with Aquila’s translations from the Hebrew
Criteria for Canon Among 2nd Century Jews • Note: Early Judaism of Jesus’ day had a wider canon than later Judaism of second century onwards. By second century OT canon “decided” among Jews, at the same time the quest for OT Canon began among Christians. Gowan, Bridges, p.127
OT Canon Among Christians 2nd Onwards Whereas for the Jews the OT canon was fixed by the end of the 2nd Century for the Christians the same period marked the process that began the fixing of the OT canon
Disputed Books Among Christians/Jews From 3rd – 6th Cen • Ester: Never mentioned the name God Song of Songs: There seems not be nothing about God therein, other than what is derived from interpretation • Ezekiel: It appears to be in conflict with the Torah • Ecclesiastices: Its authorship by Jeremiah was in doubt
Canon Lists of the of the Early Church When the early church began to compile lists of OT books none of the various lists were identical e.g., 1. Cyril of Jerusalem (350AD): 22 canon 2. Jerome (342-420AD): 24 book canon 3. Augustine (354-430AD): 44 book canon, (includes Wisdom, Sirach,Tobias,Judith, 1-2 Maccabees, Baruch,Jeremiah etc).
Canon Lists of the of the Early Church Note: Melito bishop of Sardis was the first to offer a list of books that make up the OT canon of scriptures, his list contains 22 books including Wisdom of Solomon but exclude Ester