Sunday, 11 January 2009

[Sunday School] Day 2: topic 1 part 2

[carrying on from last week's topic]

4 Ezra dates to some time after 70 CE. It mentions 94 divinely-inspired books, 24 of which are made available to the public. Are those the 24 books in the Jewish scriptures?

Josephus lived in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. Here he mentions 22 books that the Jews treasured. Did Josephus know of a canon that has 2 less books than the Jewish scriptures? Or, did he combine some of the books and came up with the number 22?

There is also evidence that the Rabbis continued to debate the canonical status of certain books (e.g., Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes; all in the Writings section).

We've read a lot of stuff. But now, having seen the evidence, we may now draw some sensible conclusions.

Here we see two views. The one in the Encyclopaedia says that some rabbis around 100 CE sat down and decided the canon. The other in the Oxford Dictionary says that there was nobody in particular made up the canon; it was just a natural process.

Here is how I would answer if am presented with these questions. You're welcome to draw different conclusions.


Rolf said...

Are we also going to discuss when and how the new testament cannon was formed?

Howtindog said...

No, we'll focus on OT topics. The NT canon is an entirely different topic, with a whole set of different issues and evidence.