Editorial -- By: Anonymous
BETS 9:4 (Fall 1966) p. 161
With the extensive acclaim given to the Oxford Annotated Bible including the Apocrypha by Catholics and Protestants alike many questions concerning canonicity are being reopened for discussion. Throughout colleges and seminaries this volume with its cross references, study helps, supplementary articles, and annotations is the text through which students in courses in religion are introduced to the Bible. For the laity this volume will likewise offer a consensus of scholarship in guiding their approach to the Scriptures.
According to this volume the canonicity of the Old Testament was not a reality in history until about A.D. 100. By a gradual process in the post-Solomonic centuries the Pentateuch was compiled and adopted as the Law of Moses by about 400 B.C. Subsequently other books were regarded as authoritative so that by the time of the Jamnia assembly, ca. A.D. 90-100, the question of disputed texts was settled. Concerning the Apocrypha assertions are made that they were definitely excluded at this meeting (cf. B. Metzger, An Introduction to the Apocrypha, New York: Oxford University Press, 1957, p. 8).
The question of the canonicity of the Bible, especially of the Old Testament, needs careful restudy in modern research. What evidence is there that any decisions were made at Jabneh affecting the canonicity of the Old Testament or the Apocrypha? Those concerned with any statements assigned to a “Jamnia Council” do well to consider the scholarly study represented in the article by Jack P. Lewis “What Do We Mean By Jabneh?” (The Journal of Bible and Religion, Vol. XXXII, no. 2, pp. 125–132).
In need of critical evaluation is the assertion that the Pentateuch was adopted as the Law of Moses under Ezra or that Deuteronomy was declared to be authoritative in Josian Times. Subject to question is whether or not either of the above assertions can be supported by the careful exegesis of the scripture passages cited as the basis.
The basis quotion in canonicity is whether or not any assembly—a Jewish legislative body or a Church Council—ever made any part of the Bible authoritative or canonized any part of it. Could it be possible that the books now in the canon possessed and exercised divine authority before any such bodies ever considered them or made such pronouncements?
Consider the example of the Pentateuch. For those who do not limit the authority of the Bible to matters of faith and practice but consider it trustworthy in its entirety the text in Deuteronomy thirty-one indicates that Moses provided a written copy of the law. This book of the law was not ratified, adopted, or made authoritative by public assembly. It was regarded as authoritative for Joshua and the Israelities. Frequent apost...
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