Origins of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible: An Analysis of Josephus and 4 Ezra

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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MrMacSon
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Origins of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible: An Analysis of Josephus and 4 Ezra

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:46 pm

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The Origins of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible: An Analysis of Josephus and 4 Ezra

Series: Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, Volume: 186

Author: Juan Carlos Ossandón Widow
In The Origins of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible: An Analysis of Josephus and 4 Ezra, Juan Carlos Ossandón Widow examines the thorny question of when, how, and why the collection of twenty-four books that today is known as the Hebrew Bible was formed. He carefully studies the two earliest testimonies in this regard —Josephus’ 'Against Apion' and 4 Ezra— and proposes that, along with the tendency to idealize the past, which leads to consider[ation] that divine revelation to Israel has ceased, an important reason to specify a collection of Scriptures at the end of the first century CE consisted in [/of] the need to defend the received tradition to counter those that accepted more books.
https://brill.com/abstract/title/39111

semiopen
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Re: Origins of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible: An Analysis of Josephus and 4 Ezra

Post by semiopen » Sat Dec 22, 2018 6:17 am

Coincidentally, I glanced at this paper a few days ago:

A JEWISH CANON BEFORE 100 BCE
ISRAEL' S LAW IN THE BOOK OF ARISTEAS
Ian W. Scott

https://www.academia.edu/37932580/A_Jew ... f_Aristeas
A close reading of the Book of Aristeas,however, seems to demonstrate quite the opposite - that some Alexandrian Jews had developed
a full concept of 'canon' well before the Common Era. Although this work is often called the Letter of Aristeas, it is not really a letter at all. It is a fictionalized account (Sirjynois) of the translation of the Pentateuch into Greek under Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BCE ) .


Dr. Scott concludes -
The evidence presented by the Book of Aristeas does not somehow license a return to the simplistic, overconfident models of canonization of
an earlier generation. The work of Eugene Ulrich and others has forced us now to recognize that the canon's development was a far messier, and far
later, process than we had imagined before. We cannot even say whether the author of Aristeas shared the completely Torah-centric outlook of the
Jews in his narrative, or whether he allowed a significant role for Israel's prophets which is simply obscured by his subject matter. What Aristeas
does show, however, is that we cannot correct earlier maximal readings of the evidence for canon development simply by rushing to the opposite
extreme of minimalism.


Refreshing to listen to a debate where I'm not emotionally involved.

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MrMacSon
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Re: Origins of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible: An Analysis of Josephus and 4 Ezra

Post by MrMacSon » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:44 pm

semiopen wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 6:17 am

Coincidentally, I glanced at this paper a few days ago:

A JEWISH CANON BEFORE 100 BCE
ISRAEL' S LAW IN THE BOOK OF ARISTEAS
Ian W. Scott

https://www.academia.edu/37932580/A_Jew ... f_Aristeas
A close reading of the Book of Aristeas,however, seems to demonstrate quite the opposite - that some Alexandrian Jews had developed
a full concept of 'canon' well before the Common Era. Although this work is often called the Letter of Aristeas, it is not really a letter at all. It is a fictionalized account (Sirjynois) of the translation of the Pentateuch into Greek under Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BCE ) .


Dr. Scott concludes -
The evidence presented by the Book of Aristeas does not somehow license a return to the simplistic, overconfident models of canonization of an earlier generation. The work of Eugene Ulrich and others has forced us now to recognize that the canon's development was a far messier, and far later, process than we had imagined before. We cannot even say whether the author of Aristeas shared the completely Torah-centric outlook of the Jews in his narrative, or whether he allowed a significant role for Israel's prophets which is simply obscured by his subject matter. What Aristeas does show, however, is that we cannot correct earlier maximal readings of the evidence for canon development simply by rushing to the opposite extreme of minimalism.


Refreshing to listen to a debate where I'm not emotionally involved.
Cheers, semiopen. It seems there is still a lot of ongoing investigation into these things.

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MrMacSon
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Re: Origins of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible: An Analysis of Josephus and 4 Ezra

Post by MrMacSon » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:46 pm

The Mishnah (‘published’ around 180-200 AD) distorts history by talking about the Jewish Temple as if it’s still standing –

… in the world described by the Mishnah the Temple still exists and the laws that governed it are expressed in the present tense … the Mishnah itself ignores the events of the Roman occupation of the land of Israel.

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/mishnah/
Maybe other concurrent or later Jewish texts do too. I think it’s likely this influenced early Christian authors and the texts they produced.

It is only now that the veracity of such texts and their critics, such as Jacob Neusner, mentioned here, are being better unpacked, eg. –


The Mishnah’s ritual narratives are a series of texts of varying length – from one or two sentences to a whole tractate – embedded in the Mishnah’s continuous discourse that describe in vivid detail how rituals were performed in the Temple, in relation to the Temple, or in the court of law …

In the past, the Mishnah’s ritual narratives have been studied in one of two ways. Traditionally, they were treated as transparent historical accounts which provide the historian or the scholar of religion access to historical events and to rituals performed in the time of the Second Temple. Jacob Neusner took the opposite approach, arguing that the Temple-oriented ritual narratives (like all Temple material in the Mishnah) were pure fantasies created by rabbis of the Ushan generation (mid-second century CE), living after the destruction of the Temple. According to Neusner, the rabbis created a utopian fantasy in which the sacred center of Judaism, the Temple, continued to exist within the religious imagination of its authors. Both of these approaches, which are problematic in their extreme stances toward the narratives, took important steps in describing the ritual narratives as a collectivity.

In this dissertation I break with the earlier approaches and treat these narratives neither as transparent history nor as total fantasies, but as far more complicated and nuanced texts with characteristic narrative shape and thematics. My approach is informed by a multidisciplinary perspective incorporating insights from the study of the Mishnah, the study of narrative, and the study of ritual, and I build on recent scholarly work on the Mishnah, especially works on the historical context of the Mishnah and on the Mishnah’s narrative. Similarly, I build on the recent studies of Beth Berkowitz and Ishay Rosen Zvi, who treat individual narratives from a culture-critical perspective.

From The Ritual Narrative Genre in The Mishnah: the Invention of the Rabbinic Past in the Representation of Temple Ritual, a Dissertation in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations presented to the Faculties of the University of Pennsylvania by Naftali S. Cohn in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy 2008
.

From the abstract –

the rabbinic narration of past ritual can best be treated as collective memory. By remembering the [Temple] Court in a position of authority over temple ritual, the rabbis are imagining this past institution in the image of the legal-ritual role they are attempting to construct for themselves in their present. This memory of the Court…gives meaning to and orients the rabbinic present. And it makes a claim for rabbinic authority over ritual law and practice in post-temple times.


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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Origins of the Canon of the Hebrew Bible: An Analysis of Josephus and 4 Ezra

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:32 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:46 pm
The Mishnah (‘published’ around 180-200 AD) distorts history by talking about the Jewish Temple as if it’s still standing –

… in the world described by the Mishnah the Temple still exists and the laws that governed it are expressed in the present tense … the Mishnah itself ignores the events of the Roman occupation of the land of Israel.

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/mishnah/
Maybe other concurrent or later Jewish texts do too.
I have mentioned before that this may simply be a case of the Mishnah being a law code. Copies of the US Constitution still retain the following law from Article I, Section 2: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons," even though the three-fifths precept has been superceded by Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

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