1607Re: [lxx] Re: Question(s) from new members
- May 16, 2005Well, it does look like the arrangement of Old Testament books was irregular across
Christianity, from the Peshitta OT, when and where it was used by Christians, to the great
Codices, including Alexandrinus (Codex A), to the Vulgate. My useless speculation repeats
something I heard, that can only have referred to the Old Testament of the Reformation,
which seems to have used the order found in the Vulgate, without the deuterocanonicals.
Whether the theology was confined to dropping the deuterocanonicals, or positioning the
Book of the 12 Minor Prophets right before the NT, I have no idea.
From what we know of the Hebrew OT and scribal practices in antiquity and Late Antiquity,
it seems unlikely that there was ever really an exact order of books bound together until
medieval times. I will take this question to the Hugoye list, on Syriac, but I am intrigued
that the oldest "full" Peshitta Codex (7a1, or the Ambrosian Library Peshitta) includes the
deuteroncanonicals. Now recent opinion has inclined to the view that the Peshitta Syriac
translation was done from the Hebrew by Jews--but some of the material in the 7a1 codex is
material from the Apocrypha--Judith, 1 Macc through 4 Macc, and other material not found in
TaNaKh. Who translated it, and when?
The sense that there was a Great Church, with common doctrine, from the times of Irenaeus
onward (177) (Greer, in Greer and Kugel, EARLY BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION, 109), does not
match the heterogeneity of the order of the OT (and the NT) books, which persists (between
Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic, for example, or between Catholic and Protestant
bibles) to the present day. For NT heterogeneity, compare the various orders of the books
in Syriac, to the Greek, to the Latin.
Have I sufficiently contradicted myself? Yes, I think so.
Does this have much to do with LXX/OG? Only by way of context.
Sigrid Peterson petersig@...
> On Mon, 16 May 2005, Sigrid Peterson wrote:
> > Had the entire collection of texts in the Hebrew-Aramaic Jewish Scriptures (or the LXX)
> > been as fixed for as long as the Torah/Pentateuch, we might now have a Christian OT that
> > reflected that fixed order. Since the arrangement was in flux anyway, and interpretation
> > was the order of the day, why not place the messianic prophecies right before the NT?
> As your comments indicate, there seem to have been theological concerns
> afoot in the Christian structuring or arrangement of the canon. I think
> these theological concerns play a greater role than any pre-existing
> structures inherited from Judaism could have. As for the ordering of the
> Torah or Pentateuch, it does, after all, present itself as a chronological
> progression (from the beginning of the world through entry to the promised
> land). My understanding is that. rather than having a legal import, the
> Pentateuch held for Christians a historical import, and was included where
> it stands and in that order in Christian canons because it is the
> historical starting point and outlines the earliest phases (though Job
> does seem to belong in there somewhere). The history continues, as it did
> in Judaism, with Joshua and Judges but also with Ruth prior to Kingdoms
> (or the books of Samuel as they are named in Hebrew) and the books of
> Chronicles--obviously historically associated with Kingdoms
> material--adjacent to them. Placement of the prophets in Christian canon
> structures varied though: they come after Chronicles in Codex A, for
> example. In that manuscript the Wisdom complex followed prophets and
> preceded the NT. In Codex A the structure is, as I understand it, thus: 1)
> history (which includes the Pentateuch), 2) prophets, 3) continuation of
> history (Esther following Daniel and being followed in turn by some
> deutero-canonical material and the books of Esdras and then the books of
> Maccabees), 4) the wisdom genre, then 5) NT. To summarize, I think the
> pre-existing structure of the material could have played only a very
> limited role in the Christian handling of it. Even had the order been
> better fixed in Judaism prior to the rise of Christianity, I question
> whether that order would have been held authoritative. Additional
> speculation on the abstract proposition "had . . . texts . . . been as
> fixed . . . we might. . ."
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