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Canoncial Criteria--very long post

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  • Larry J. Swain
    I thought it might be useful to list and describe the various criteria in order that I m using to determine whether ancient Jewish groups considered the set of
    Message 1 of 17 , Aug 12, 2003
      I thought it might be useful to list and describe the various
      criteria in order that I'm using to determine whether ancient Jewish
      groups considered the set of "holy writings" a closed set (there are
      no absolutes here, though some authors come close, so I will not be
      using absolutes such as "immutable" to describe this phenomenon) or
      whether it was open. Along the way, we will be able to determine if
      the author of II Tim indeed meant two different classes of writing
      by "hiera grammata" and "pasa grafh" or whether these terms are
      synonymous. This is in no way exhaustive, but it will hopefully do a
      lot to clear up some confusion that my chatty style produced.

      I.

      The easiest and best way to start is with the usage of the terms
      themselves. There are several related terms that authors
      use. "hiera grammata" hagia grammata, hierai graphai, hagiai
      graphai, and hagia graphH are the most common, although words for
      books are also used, H BIBLIOTHECA and even H BIBLOS. All of these
      terms are used in middle to late Second Temple Judaism. The question
      then becomes twofold: to what are they referring when the term is
      used. I will restrict myself to a brief examination.

      Josephus uses the terms frequently. In the prologue to the
      Antiquities he says that he is basing his work on the "holy
      writings": throughout the work we see that he is essentially
      retelling Genesis-II Kings, Ezra-Nehemiah and Esther. He cites or
      refers several of the prophets. In Contra Apionem he describes the
      24 books of the Jews as "hiera grammata", to which we'll return
      later. He does not ever use any of the above terms to refer to
      something outside of what we now know of as the Hebrew Bible.

      Philo also uses the terms frequently. His citations or of what he
      speaks in those contexts are most often the books of Moses although
      somewhere in his works he cites every book in the "hebrew bible" at
      least once. He never refers to anything else as "holy writings" nor
      does he cite any other works as authoritative anywhere in the corpus
      of his surviving works.

      In the New Testament likewise we have statements and citations
      of "hiera grammata" and the like. Likewise here, when an allusion or
      citation accompanies this phrase it too comes from one of the texts
      in the Hebrew Bible and not elsewhere.

      Rabbinic literature demonstrates what we have already found: "holy
      writings" refers to a set of texts, that set of texts when there is
      an allusion, citation, or information about a text described as "holy
      writing", it matches a text found in the Hebrew bible, and no
      examples are found of this descriptor being applied to a work outside
      of this collection.

      The nagative evidence is that these appellations and terms are
      nowhere in our surviving literature of the period applied to any
      other works. While it is true that an author such as Philo for
      example will refer to X being found in the sacred scriptures (such as
      a certain class of man being described in the sacred writings), there
      is nothing that rules out another work such as Enoch being included
      in the "holy writings", but likewise there is nothing to suggest it
      either.

      The result then of this suggests that the "holy writings" while a
      somewhat elastic phrase, applying to the Torah, to a specific cited
      text, or to the whole collection whatever that collection may
      contain, suggests that certain things are not included in the
      collection since they are never cited, referred to, or in any way
      indicated in the context in which these terms occur by any group
      within the period in question.

      II. The enumeration of books.

      A few of our authors give a specific number of books. Regrettably
      they do not also give us a list of what those books are, but they do
      tell us where they are kept.
      Josephus--In the above mentioned Contra Apionem, Josephus contrasts
      the Greeks who have many copies of Homer that contradict each other
      with the books of his own people. He states specifically that there
      are 22 books, believed to be divine, 5 of Moses, 13 prophets covering
      the time from Moses to Artaxerxes, and 4 books containing hymns and
      precepts for the conduct of human life. He goes on to make other
      points: that these books collected together are ancient, that though
      other books have been written, particularly of history since
      Artaxerxes, they are not considered to have the same degree of
      holines, that these books form the basis of Jewish education, and a
      good Jew would give his life willingly for these books.

      Josephus here gives us not only the number of books, but their
      division into sections. One must ask how do we assess Josephus in
      this regard? Is he representing Judaisms as he knows them, or is he
      making it up? He states specifically that no one adds or substracts
      to the number of these books. I see no reason to doubt him,
      especially as his information here is confirmed by other sources. In
      any case, the fact that he claims that there are 22 books, and only
      22 books and that the information such as he gives it matches the
      Hebrew Bible is suggestive. BTW, in specific reference to Enoch for
      example, Josephus rules it out, not explicitly, but by referring to
      the 4 books of Moses, and then in the 13 and the 4 are written by
      those prophets who came after him.

      IV Ezra-this work also gives the numbe of books, but a slightly
      higher one, 24. All commentators agree that the difference between
      the usual 22 count and the 24 count is simply how one counts: there
      are 22 scrolls since Ruth and Lamentations are included on other
      scrolls with other books, and 24 books--i. e. counting Ruth and
      Lamentations as seperate. In any case, it also matches the legend
      elsewhere that it is Ezra who when the Temple was redeicated copied
      out and resotred all teh books to the Temple. Later, Nehemiah is
      also credited with establishing a library for these texts. In
      these legends and interpretations of Ezra-Nehemiah, the number of
      books is given as 22 or 24. So IV Ezra here seems to be referring to
      this tradition and appears to have in mind, and so match the question
      and issue of number.

      barita B. 13b is an early-mid second century list of works included
      in the H3ebrew Bible. We will return to this list moementarilly.
      But it purports to be a list generated by the Tannaim (the earliest
      layer of rabbinic tradition dating to the late first century), it
      counts the books as 22 and gives them a lsting.

      Other Midrashic material dating to the third century given 22 books.

      Second century Christian works give 22. Melito of Sardis, Epiphanius
      who is recording a second century list, Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem,
      Jerome, and the Byrennios list all give 22 books.

      The value of these later works is that though they are late, they do
      witness to an early tradition. It is interesting that there is NO
      OTHER TRADITION either mentioned in other authors, nor referred to in
      these authors who are busily arguing against other groups. Nor does
      any source record than any group (until Marcion and Irenaeus) held a
      different set of texts.

      Josephus then is the earliest witness we have to the number of books,
      but his memory and witness brings us to the middle of the first
      century. There is no reason to suppose that this system was invented
      in his life time, though it can not be said just how long in the past
      it existed either. In any case, such a list found in Josephus, the
      rabbis, the author of IV Ezra does speak of a restricted number of
      texts in a broad spectrum of Judaism before Jude or II Timothy were
      written.

      III. Canon lists.

      The above mention of enumerated texts brings what in other contexts
      is the best and absolute evidence for a closed set of texts.
      Canonical lists of epic poets or of historians circulated in the
      ancient world, the most famous and influential of which is
      Callimachus' Pinakes, penned c. 250 BCE. For Judaism regrettably we
      do not have any lists until the above mentioned baraita in the mid
      second century. While we can make informed guesses based on what
      writers such as Josephus or Philo or others who are attempting to
      systematize Judaism for a Greek audience used, a list would be
      convenient. On the other hand, there is no evidence that the Tannaim
      concocted the list that appears in b. B. 13b and are not themselves
      reporting tradition that they received. That after all was the
      primary purpose of the Tannaim: to preserve that which was
      preservable in Judaism. I do not think it would be untoward to
      suggest then that by the fall of the Temple, a "canon list" existed
      and our early second century document is simply a witness to that
      earlier document and collection. So this brings us to the last third
      of the first century.

      IV. Tripartite division-

      I do not think anyone would disagree that some sort of canon exists.
      The theoretical questions is whether the division of the canon into
      specific categories can happen when the canon is considered to be
      open or loose or fuzzy. There is no clear example of this that I
      know of. One could point to the canonization of English literature
      for example and that no one would claim that when the first Oxford
      Book of English Poetry was done that they thought that no new poetry
      would be penned to include it. ANd that would be true. But they
      considered it closed and finished for their time. And the situation
      is not quite the same in Judaism. For Judaism, particularly for the
      Diaspora and post-70, the canon of their books were tools of self-
      definition, and as such, their canonization and crystallization in a
      closed form is an important step, Thus, the division of the canon
      into types of literature, similar to the Library's list, is witness
      to the process of crystallization at the least, if not evidence of
      the actual closure of the collection of "holy writings." Further, it
      is unknown in literature societies to have a canon of literature
      developed that was considered "open"--the entire purpose of the
      canonical process is to set a standard and so close off works for
      consideration. The next generation or two may reopen the question
      and add new works, but then they too close it off. The thing is, in
      Judaism of the period we have no discussion of reopening the
      question, or of even asking the question, we simply see the
      assumptions by the authors that it was there and complete. Thus, the
      following tripartite division indicates that the authors thought of
      the canon as closed.

      As mentioned previously, it is Ben Sira who provides for us the first
      evidence of the division in the prologue, written c. 200 BCE. In the
      prologue he mentions "the Law, the Prophets, and the other
      writings...." That there is no terminus technicus shouldn't be taken
      as a surprise...it is difficult to have a word that accurately
      describes the collection in the third part. It should also be noted
      that Callimachus' canon also had a large "other" section that seems
      to me to be analagous. In any case, he mentions the 3 fold division.

      Philo also mentions this division into three groups. In his
      discussion of the Therapeutae in De Vita Contempliva Philo calls them
      the law, prophets, hymns and other writings. The context makes clear
      that Philo shares the same division, as do the Therapeutae he
      describes, so there are two groups that have it.

      In the above mentioned Contra Apionem by Josephus, he details not
      only the 22 books, and only 22 books, but also the division of the
      22 books in the Law, books from Moses, the books of the prophets from
      Moses to Artaxerxes, numbering 13, and four books of hymns and
      precepts for moral behavior. This is obviously our clearest
      statement on the question: a clear cut statement that there is a
      canon, it is closed, and is divided into 3 parts and how many books
      it consists of. The only thing that could improve this is if he also
      included a list of the books!

      Lk 24 also includes the division: the law, the prophets, and the
      hymns, the latter, PSALMOI, has been shown to refer to the whole of
      the section called the writings by Roger Beckwith, looking at both
      Greek sources and Hebrew. I'm satisfied with his analysis and accept
      that this is probably what Luke is doing here.

      The Rabbis and Early Christians also have this same division.

      In addition to this tripartite structure, often the collection goes
      by "Law and Prophets" or Law and Writings" or less often, "Prophets
      and Writings". Likewise the whole can be called "Torah", "Writings"
      and "Prophets". This displays some concepts that should be taken
      into account here. When we add the fact again that the whole can be
      described as "H GRAFH", or even HO BIBLOS in this period, it is seen
      that we are beginning to have a conceptual shift. 1) It is known
      that the whole collection is considered to be divine in origin,
      several authors make this statement 2) that the collection is no
      longer being considered merely a collection of texts, even a
      collection of divinely given texts, but are coming to be considered a
      whole, single, seamless unit 3) that nomenclature shifts--in the same
      author, such as Josephus, one can read the tripartite structure and
      then a few pages later read a quotation of Moses as from the Prophets
      and a then turn around and have a citation of the Psalms cited as
      Torah, and then have the Psalms cited as a prophet as well. The
      confusion is modern. Moses is a prophet, as are all the authors of
      the collection, it is all teaching, hence torah, and it is all
      written, hence the short form "Writings". This should not be taken
      as indicative of fuzziness in a tripartite division.

      What this division shows is the crystallization of the canon
      collection. Our first evidence for it is Sirach, c. 200 BCE, and
      continues into the Rabbinic and Christian period. Witness to it
      includes early Chrisitianity, early Rabbis, Josephus, Philo, Sirach
      (himself writing in Palestine)--a broad cross section of Jewish
      writers. It should be noted also that this is consistent over nearly
      four centuries, from 200 BCE to 200 CE and beyond.

      V. Global Works:

      Here I include those works in the mileau which attempt to give an
      account for whatever reason of Judaism as the author knows it. In
      this effort the author then represents the collected texts of Judaism
      and recasts them for his audience. In this period we have two such
      works: Ecclesiasticus where Sirach's grandfather gives a synopsis of
      the "holy writings" that the sage studies and Josephus' Antiquities
      in which he recasts the "sacred texts" into historical narrative for
      his Greek reading audience. Since both of these texts provide other
      evidence of the closed canon of "holy writings", it is important to
      see just what books they represent in their works.

      Sirach-in the later part of the book, the author gives a heroic roll
      call of the faith. In doing so he draws directly on the canonical
      texts for not only citations, but for the names and their deeds. In
      this list, he follows the canonical order. The only exceptions are
      that there is no mention of Daniel. All the other books are
      repesented or cited.

      Josephus-he too is consistent. In his Antiquities he never refers to
      extra canonical books or material, but rather reproduces what we now
      know as the Hebrew Bible.

      Both men are conservative in approach, but one writes in Alexandria,
      the other in Rome after living in Palestine and Jerusalem. But their
      use of only a select collection of books in their grand overviews is
      illustrative of the point--it indicates that for both the collection
      is closed.

      VI. "Discussion of Collection"

      Regrettably there is no discussion in our literature that talks
      specifically the collection or closure of the canon. But there are
      some clues and discussions of what one would call canonical activity.

      -Sirach, once again, seems to assume the collection. In his catalog
      as mentioned he follows canonical order, cites the "Twelve" as a
      group or scroll, and cites every work in the Hagiographa section, and
      even cites Malachi 3:23 (4:4). The Psalms he ascribes to David, calls
      Ezra-Nehemiah "holy writing"

      -More important than Sirach though is II Maccabbees. Before turning
      to this verse in particular, it should be mentioned that it was
      customary to place the important books in temples. This was done
      throughout the Near East and the Mediterranean worlds. Writing after
      all was originally a divine perogative. Judaism was no different.
      Nor were the Greeks, who of course built the MUSEum, a temple
      dedicated to the Muses, and the great library was attached to it. So
      that Judaism then also placed the important books into the Temple is
      not only not surprising, but expected. II Macc 2.13-15 says that
      Judas Maccabeus collected together the holy books and deposited them
      in the Temple.

      Now we know that such a collection existed in the Temple before
      this. For example the Letter of Aristeas tells us that when Ptolemy
      wanted a copy of the holy books of the Jews to read, that the High
      Priest not only sent the 70 to translate it for him, but specifically
      sent one of the scrolls from the Temple. This point will become
      important later.

      It should also be noted is that after this point, we find NO
      DISCUSSION or mention of any books being added to that collection.
      Given the attitude and actions of the ancient world in this regard of
      placing canonical and important texts in temples, it is unlikely that
      if Jewish communities thought of adding a book to the canon list
      of "holy writings" that they should bypass the Temple and the Temple
      collection altogether.

      -Josephus again mentions the temple collection in his discussion of
      the 22 books

      -The early Rabbis frequently mention the Temple scroll(s) in their
      discussions

      IT should be further noted here that the internecine conflicts that
      began to occur some 20 years after the success of the revolt would
      make the formation of a canon of "holy books" difficult and unlikely
      to be accepted across the broad spectrum of Judaism that we see
      testifying to it. But 164/3 when most Jews were somewhat united
      behind Judas Maccabbeus at the rededication of a purified Temple (and
      the miracle of Hanukah made quick rounds) would be the most likely
      moment of the closure of the canon. It should also be kept in mind
      that the librarians in the Mediterranean world were doing similar
      things: producing canons of literature, some for religious purposes.
      No fuzziness.

      These are the most solid indicators of a closed canon. The
      circulation of the number of books, location in the temple, divided
      into 3 parts, fairly early lists etc all are hallmarks of a closed
      canon, a closure that is perfectly inline with the mileau of Greco-
      Roman Hellenism at the time AS WELL AS the religoius and ethnic need
      for a closed canon as self-definition as well as finding parallels in
      non-Hellenistic, Near Eastern societies.

      In addition to these there are other important indicators which I
      list below.

      VII. Citations and Citation Formulae

      Citations of literature in contexts where the citation proves some
      point is a clear indication a texts importance and especially in the
      ancient world witness to its canonical status. Citation formulae
      are a catalog of how these texts are cited. Regrettably, no one
      informed our Second Temple writers that they should only cite the
      canonical texts in a certain way, so the best we can do is describe
      practice as best we can. But even here there are indications that
      bear on the question.

      Generally, the formulae used are variations of: it is written, or it
      is said. The vast majority of such citations are from the works we
      now know of as the Hebrew Bible. There are some that can not be
      placed, but sound or look somewhat similar to those works, and a few
      discussed elsewhere that are citations of outside tradition. This in
      itself is rather telling. But it should be noted that NEVER is I
      Enoch, Jubilees or another such work cited with the forumla "As the
      Lord has spoken/written in X", and even where such a citation does
      seem to exist, the formula is sufficiently different as to cast doubt
      that the work is being cited in the same way as was customary for
      citing the canonical texts.

      VIII. Imitation

      Imitation is useless if it is not imitating a canonical text. That
      is to say, what makes Vergil's Aeneid so important at the time is
      that it has coopted and completed that tale. It was a self-concious
      attempt to become canonical, and thanks to Augustus, succeeded. But
      it illustrates teh importance of mimesis for determining what is and
      what is not canonical.

      In the Jewish world of the period, we find plenty of imitation
      of "biblical" materials: new law codes, retellings of Torah material,
      putting words into the mouths of Biblical characters etc. We do not
      find Testament of Jesus ben Sirach" for example-there is not attempt
      to produce literature that is not dependent on the canonical texts.
      And when we examine these texts we find, say Enoch for example, that
      not only do they choose a "biblical" character, but they weave
      throughout the text citations and allusions to other "biblical"
      texts, the more the text resonated with the received canonical list,
      the more popular it seemed to ahve been. Take Enoch as an example.
      In spite of the book's apparent popularity, at least 2 works from
      antiquity cite it by name--Jude and T. Naphtali (though neither with
      a formula matching other scriptural citaitions), there is no
      imitation of Enoch anywhere, nor does anyone ascribe to the words,
      neither Jude nor Naphtali, or to the text "holiness". As an
      imitation in the technical sense then, Enoch shows the importance of
      the canonical texts, but there is no evidence that at this period
      anyone considered it as part of the collection. Lack of imitation
      itself demonstrates that.

      VIII Commentary

      As with imitation, so with commentary. Societies generally do not
      produce commentaries on works that are not important and not
      canonical. In Judaism of the Second Temple we find no commentary's
      on books outside the canonical ones. It must be admitted that not
      all books in the canon are subject to commentaries either, so the
      value of this indicator is in its negative value: it tells us which
      books are not in the list.

      IX. Allusion

      See above comments on imitation and commentary. Here too, allusions
      to the canonical text are a huge task to catalog, possible allusions
      to other material are so few as to stand out significantly and are
      usually not merley alluded to, but are sourced and explained.

      X. Textual Stability

      When the Pinakes was published, we see an increased activity in
      Alexandria to establish the actual text of the playwrites and Homer
      among others, the beginnings of modern textual criticism. Parallel
      to this we have in the Temple in Jerusalem scribes, some of who went
      to Alexandria as translators, but a whole class of scribal
      authorities, whose purpose was to correct the texts. Rabbinic
      literature mentions these scribes often, but the papyri at Nahal
      Haver and other places bears witness to their work, attempts to
      seemingly standardize even the Greek translations to a Hebrew
      original. We do not find similar work on Enoch or other kinds of
      literature, but we do find it of almost all the biblical texts in the
      first century, in Hebrew and Greek.

      To conclude, when we apply these critieria to second Temple Judaism,
      we find emerging a consistent picture of a collection of texts that
      is closed, not one in which other candidates would be considered.
      Further, a closed canon would necessitate that the development of
      future "holy writings" be considered as a second set, not included
      with the first set. And this is precisely what we see forming in
      Qumran, Pharisees/Rabbis, and nascent Christianity: the formation of
      a second set of "holy writings", not to be included in the first
      set. If the first set were yet open, we would not observe this
      phenomenon. When we apply these criteria to other literature
      produced in Judaism at this time, we find that nothing fits the
      bill.

      One can not be dogmatic. But the indicators are that there was a
      closed canon, shared by a broad spectrum of Judaism out of which
      Christianity came. No one in the ancient world seems to have
      questioned it.

      Now what does this have to do with Jude? Or II Timothy? Simply
      this: if the world out of which Christianity is born has a closed
      canon of texts and has them not only figured out, outlined, listed
      etc, it is unlikely that this group inheriting its "canon" from
      Judaism would all of a sudden open it up without some sort of
      discussion or reference int he literature, especially since the
      interpretation of that set of literature is what defined Jesus for
      them, and themselves. Even where one would expect such claims to be
      made...those Jews over there read teh wrong texts...the claims are
      not made. But claims are made about different interperetations of
      passages in the "canonical texts". So when Jude cites Enoch without
      the common formula, does he mean this to be understood as Scripture?
      As I've indicated in a previous email, there is nothing in the text
      itself that would indicate this. Now that we've looked to the
      situation from which Jude is writing, there is nothing external to
      suggest this either. Likewise, when the author of II Tim uses "hiera
      grammata" and "pasa grafh" there are no internal indications that he
      means two different things. An overview of common usage of the terms
      across a broad spectrum of authors suggests that in Judaism, these
      are understood and used as synonyms. It is interesting to note in
      this regard, that as far as I can determine the phrase "pasa
      grammata" does not occur anywhere, lending credence to my view: the
      author had no choice if he wished to emphasize the PASA as he does
      but to use "grafh".

      Larry Swain

      -
    • tmcos@canada.com
      Dear Larry, I really enjoyed your exposition on canonical criteria. I was interested in finding out from you or the other list members as to why Sirach in his
      Message 2 of 17 , Aug 14, 2003
        Dear Larry, I really enjoyed your exposition on
        canonical criteria. I was interested in finding out
        from you or the other list members as to why Sirach in
        his list of the prophets fails to mention Daniel. Is
        this because Daniel was part of the "writings" section
        of the Hebrew Bible and not the "prophets" section? The
        LXX contains the book of Daniel (and the additions to
        this book only found in the LXX)and I understand that
        the LXX's order of books differs from the MT. I am
        specifically interested in the absence of Daniel in
        Sirach's list of prophets. Best regards,

        Tony Costa, M.A.
        University of Toronto


        On Tue, 12 Aug 2003 23:09:23 -0000, "Larry J. Swain"
        wrote:

        >
        > I thought it might be useful to list and describe the
        > various
        > criteria in order that I'm using to determine whether
        > ancient Jewish
        > groups considered the set of "holy writings" a closed
        > set (there are
        > no absolutes here, though some authors come close, so
        I
        > will not be
        > using absolutes such as "immutable" to describe this
        > phenomenon) or
        > whether it was open. Along the way, we will be able
        to
        > determine if
        > the author of II Tim indeed meant two different
        classes
        > of writing
        > by "hiera grammata" and "pasa grafh" or whether these
        > terms are
        > synonymous. This is in no way exhaustive, but it will
        > hopefully do a
        > lot to clear up some confusion that my chatty style
        > produced.
        >
        > I.
        >
        > The easiest and best way to start is with the usage of
        > the terms
        > themselves. There are several related terms that
        > authors
        > use. "hiera grammata" hagia grammata, hierai graphai,
        > hagiai
        > graphai, and hagia graphH are the most common,
        although
        > words for
        > books are also used, H BIBLIOTHECA and even H BIBLOS.
        > All of these
        > terms are used in middle to late Second Temple
        Judaism.
        > The question
        > then becomes twofold: to what are they referring when
        > the term is
        > used. I will restrict myself to a brief examination.
        >
        > Josephus uses the terms frequently. In the prologue
        to
        > the
        > Antiquities he says that he is basing his work on the
        > "holy
        > writings": throughout the work we see that he is
        > essentially
        > retelling Genesis-II Kings, Ezra-Nehemiah and Esther.
        > He cites or
        > refers several of the prophets. In Contra Apionem he
        > describes the
        > 24 books of the Jews as "hiera grammata", to which
        > we'll return
        > later. He does not ever use any of the above terms to
        > refer to
        > something outside of what we now know of as the Hebrew
        > Bible.
        >
        > Philo also uses the terms frequently. His citations
        or
        > of what he
        > speaks in those contexts are most often the books of
        > Moses although
        > somewhere in his works he cites every book in the
        > "hebrew bible" at
        > least once. He never refers to anything else as "holy
        > writings" nor
        > does he cite any other works as authoritative anywhere
        > in the corpus
        > of his surviving works.
        >
        > In the New Testament likewise we have statements and
        > citations
        > of "hiera grammata" and the like. Likewise here, when
        > an allusion or
        > citation accompanies this phrase it too comes from one
        > of the texts
        > in the Hebrew Bible and not elsewhere.
        >
        > Rabbinic literature demonstrates what we have already
        > found: "holy
        > writings" refers to a set of texts, that set of texts
        > when there is
        > an allusion, citation, or information about a text
        > described as "holy
        > writing", it matches a text found in the Hebrew bible,
        > and no
        > examples are found of this descriptor being applied to
        > a work outside
        > of this collection.
        >
        > The nagative evidence is that these appellations and
        > terms are
        > nowhere in our surviving literature of the period
        > applied to any
        > other works. While it is true that an author such as
        > Philo for
        > example will refer to X being found in the sacred
        > scriptures (such as
        > a certain class of man being described in the sacred
        > writings), there
        > is nothing that rules out another work such as Enoch
        > being included
        > in the "holy writings", but likewise there is nothing
        > to suggest it
        > either.
        >
        > The result then of this suggests that the "holy
        > writings" while a
        > somewhat elastic phrase, applying to the Torah, to a
        > specific cited
        > text, or to the whole collection whatever that
        > collection may
        > contain, suggests that certain things are not included
        > in the
        > collection since they are never cited, referred to, or
        > in any way
        > indicated in the context in which these terms occur by
        > any group
        > within the period in question.
        >
        > II. The enumeration of books.
        >
        > A few of our authors give a specific number of books.
        > Regrettably
        > they do not also give us a list of what those books
        > are, but they do
        > tell us where they are kept.
        > Josephus--In the above mentioned Contra Apionem,
        > Josephus contrasts
        > the Greeks who have many copies of Homer that
        > contradict each other
        > with the books of his own people. He states
        > specifically that there
        > are 22 books, believed to be divine, 5 of Moses, 13
        > prophets covering
        > the time from Moses to Artaxerxes, and 4 books
        > containing hymns and
        > precepts for the conduct of human life. He goes on to
        > make other
        > points: that these books collected together are
        > ancient, that though
        > other books have been written, particularly of history
        > since
        > Artaxerxes, they are not considered to have the same
        > degree of
        > holines, that these books form the basis of Jewish
        > education, and a
        > good Jew would give his life willingly for these
        books.
        >
        > Josephus here gives us not only the number of books,
        > but their
        > division into sections. One must ask how do we assess
        > Josephus in
        > this regard? Is he representing Judaisms as he knows
        > them, or is he
        > making it up? He states specifically that no one adds
        > or substracts
        > to the number of these books. I see no reason to
        doubt
        > him,
        > especially as his information here is confirmed by
        > other sources. In
        > any case, the fact that he claims that there are 22
        > books, and only
        > 22 books and that the information such as he gives it
        > matches the
        > Hebrew Bible is suggestive. BTW, in specific
        reference
        > to Enoch for
        > example, Josephus rules it out, not explicitly, but by
        > referring to
        > the 4 books of Moses, and then in the 13 and the 4 are
        > written by
        > those prophets who came after him.
        >
        > IV Ezra-this work also gives the numbe of books, but a
        > slightly
        > higher one, 24. All commentators agree that the
        > difference between
        > the usual 22 count and the 24 count is simply how one
        > counts: there
        > are 22 scrolls since Ruth and Lamentations are
        included
        > on other
        > scrolls with other books, and 24 books--i. e.
        counting
        > Ruth and
        > Lamentations as seperate. In any case, it also
        matches
        > the legend
        > elsewhere that it is Ezra who when the Temple was
        > redeicated copied
        > out and resotred all teh books to the Temple. Later,
        > Nehemiah is
        > also credited with establishing a library for these
        > texts. In
        > these legends and interpretations of Ezra-Nehemiah,
        the
        > number of
        > books is given as 22 or 24. So IV Ezra here seems to
        > be referring to
        > this tradition and appears to have in mind, and so
        > match the question
        > and issue of number.
        >
        > barita B. 13b is an early-mid second century list of
        > works included
        > in the H3ebrew Bible. We will return to this list
        > moementarilly.
        > But it purports to be a list generated by the Tannaim
        > (the earliest
        > layer of rabbinic tradition dating to the late first
        > century), it
        > counts the books as 22 and gives them a lsting.
        >
        > Other Midrashic material dating to the third century
        > given 22 books.
        >
        > Second century Christian works give 22. Melito of
        > Sardis, Epiphanius
        > who is recording a second century list, Origen, Cyril
        > of Jerusalem,
        > Jerome, and the Byrennios list all give 22 books.
        >
        > The value of these later works is that though they are
        > late, they do
        > witness to an early tradition. It is interesting that
        > there is NO
        > OTHER TRADITION either mentioned in other authors, nor
        > referred to in
        > these authors who are busily arguing against other
        > groups. Nor does
        > any source record than any group (until Marcion and
        > Irenaeus) held a
        > different set of texts.
        >
        > Josephus then is the earliest witness we have to the
        > number of books,
        > but his memory and witness brings us to the middle of
        > the first
        > century. There is no reason to suppose that this
        > system was invented
        > in his life time, though it can not be said just how
        > long in the past
        > it existed either. In any case, such a list found in
        > Josephus, the
        > rabbis, the author of IV Ezra does speak of a
        > restricted number of
        > texts in a broad spectrum of Judaism before Jude or II
        > Timothy were
        > written.
        >
        > III. Canon lists.
        >
        > The above mention of enumerated texts brings what in
        > other contexts
        > is the best and absolute evidence for a closed set of
        > texts.
        > Canonical lists of epic poets or of historians
        > circulated in the
        > ancient world, the most famous and influential of
        which
        > is
        > Callimachus' Pinakes, penned c. 250 BCE. For Judaism
        > regrettably we
        > do not have any lists until the above mentioned
        baraita
        > in the mid
        > second century. While we can make informed guesses
        > based on what
        > writers such as Josephus or Philo or others who are
        > attempting to
        > systematize Judaism for a Greek audience used, a list
        > would be
        > convenient. On the other hand, there is no evidence
        > that the Tannaim
        > concocted the list that appears in b. B. 13b and are
        > not themselves
        > reporting tradition that they received. That after
        all
        > was the
        > primary purpose of the Tannaim: to preserve that which
        > was
        > preservable in Judaism. I do not think it would be
        > untoward to
        > suggest then that by the fall of the Temple, a "canon
        > list" existed
        > and our early second century document is simply a
        > witness to that
        > earlier document and collection. So this brings us to
        > the last third
        > of the first century.
        >
        > IV. Tripartite division-
        >
        > I do not think anyone would disagree that some sort of
        > canon exists.
        > The theoretical questions is whether the division of
        > the canon into
        > specific categories can happen when the canon is
        > considered to be
        > open or loose or fuzzy. There is no clear example of
        > this that I
        > know of. One could point to the canonization of
        > English literature
        > for example and that no one would claim that when the
        > first Oxford
        > Book of English Poetry was done that they thought that
        > no new poetry
        > would be penned to include it. ANd that would be
        true.
        > But they
        > considered it closed and finished for their time. And
        > the situation
        > is not quite the same in Judaism. For Judaism,
        > particularly for the
        > Diaspora and post-70, the canon of their books were
        > tools of self-
        > definition, and as such, their canonization and
        > crystallization in a
        > closed form is an important step, Thus, the division
        > of the canon
        > into types of literature, similar to the Library's
        > list, is witness
        > to the process of crystallization at the least, if not
        > evidence of
        > the actual closure of the collection of "holy
        > writings." Further, it
        > is unknown in literature societies to have a canon of
        > literature
        > developed that was considered "open"--the entire
        > purpose of the
        > canonical process is to set a standard and so close
        off
        > works for
        > consideration. The next generation or two may reopen
        > the question
        > and add new works, but then they too close it off.
        The
        > thing is, in
        > Judaism of the period we have no discussion of
        > reopening the
        > question, or of even asking the question, we simply
        see
        > the
        > assumptions by the authors that it was there and
        > complete. Thus, the
        > following tripartite division indicates that the
        > authors thought of
        > the canon as closed.
        >
        > As mentioned previously, it is Ben Sira who provides
        > for us the first
        > evidence of the division in the prologue, written c.
        > 200 BCE. In the
        > prologue he mentions "the Law, the Prophets, and the
        > other
        > writings...." That there is no terminus technicus
        > shouldn't be taken
        > as a surprise...it is difficult to have a word that
        > accurately
        > describes the collection in the third part. It should
        > also be noted
        > that Callimachus' canon also had a large "other"
        > section that seems
        > to me to be analagous. In any case, he mentions the
        3
        > fold division.
        >
        > Philo also mentions this division into three groups.
        > In his
        > discussion of the Therapeutae in De Vita Contempliva
        > Philo calls them
        > the law, prophets, hymns and other writings. The
        > context makes clear
        > that Philo shares the same division, as do the
        > Therapeutae he
        > describes, so there are two groups that have it.
        >
        > In the above mentioned Contra Apionem by Josephus, he
        > details not
        > only the 22 books, and only 22 books, but also the
        > division of the
        > 22 books in the Law, books from Moses, the books of
        the
        > prophets from
        > Moses to Artaxerxes, numbering 13, and four books of
        > hymns and
        > precepts for moral behavior. This is obviously our
        > clearest
        > statement on the question: a clear cut statement that
        > there is a
        > canon, it is closed, and is divided into 3 parts and
        > how many books
        > it consists of. The only thing that could improve
        this
        > is if he also
        > included a list of the books!
        >
        > Lk 24 also includes the division: the law, the
        > prophets, and the
        > hymns, the latter, PSALMOI, has been shown to refer to
        > the whole of
        > the section called the writings by Roger Beckwith,
        > looking at both
        > Greek sources and Hebrew. I'm satisfied with his
        > analysis and accept
        > that this is probably what Luke is doing here.
        >
        > The Rabbis and Early Christians also have this same
        > division.
        >
        > In addition to this tripartite structure, often the
        > collection goes
        > by "Law and Prophets" or Law and Writings" or less
        > often, "Prophets
        > and Writings". Likewise the whole can be called
        > "Torah", "Writings"
        > and "Prophets". This displays some concepts that
        > should be taken
        > into account here. When we add the fact again that
        the
        > whole can be
        > described as "H GRAFH", or even HO BIBLOS in this
        > period, it is seen
        > that we are beginning to have a conceptual shift. 1)
        > It is known
        > that the whole collection is considered to be divine
        in
        > origin,
        > several authors make this statement 2) that the
        > collection is no
        > longer being considered merely a collection of texts,
        > even a
        > collection of divinely given texts, but are coming to
        > be considered a
        > whole, single, seamless unit 3) that nomenclature
        > shifts--in the same
        > author, such as Josephus, one can read the tripartite
        > structure and
        > then a few pages later read a quotation of Moses as
        > from the Prophets
        > and a then turn around and have a citation of the
        > Psalms cited as
        > Torah, and then have the Psalms cited as a prophet as
        > well. The
        > confusion is modern. Moses is a prophet, as are all
        > the authors of
        > the collection, it is all teaching, hence torah, and
        it
        > is all
        > written, hence the short form "Writings". This should
        > not be taken
        > as indicative of fuzziness in a tripartite division.
        >
        > What this division shows is the crystallization of the
        > canon
        > collection. Our first evidence for it is Sirach, c.
        > 200 BCE, and
        > continues into the Rabbinic and Christian period.
        > Witness to it
        > includes early Chrisitianity, early Rabbis, Josephus,
        > Philo, Sirach
        > (himself writing in Palestine)--a broad cross section
        > of Jewish
        > writers. It should be noted also that this is
        > consistent over nearly
        > four centuries, from 200 BCE to 200 CE and beyond.
        >
        > V. Global Works:
        >
        > Here I include those works in the mileau which attempt
        > to give an
        > account for whatever reason of Judaism as the author
        > knows it. In
        > this effort the author then represents the collected
        > texts of Judaism
        > and recasts them for his audience. In this period we
        > have two such
        > works: Ecclesiasticus where Sirach's grandfather gives
        > a synopsis of
        > the "holy writings" that the sage studies and
        Josephus'
        > Antiquities
        > in which he recasts the "sacred texts" into historical
        > narrative for
        > his Greek reading audience. Since both of these
        texts
        > provide other
        > evidence of the closed canon of "holy writings", it is
        > important to
        > see just what books they represent in their works.
        >
        > Sirach-in the later part of the book, the author gives
        > a heroic roll
        > call of the faith. In doing so he draws directly on
        > the canonical
        > texts for not only citations, but for the names and
        > their deeds. In
        > this list, he follows the canonical order. The only
        > exceptions are
        > that there is no mention of Daniel. All the other
        > books are
        > repesented or cited.
        >
        > Josephus-he too is consistent. In his Antiquities he
        > never refers to
        > extra canonical books or material, but rather
        > reproduces what we now
        > know as the Hebrew Bible.
        >
        > Both men are conservative in approach, but one writes
        > in Alexandria,
        > the other in Rome after living in Palestine and
        > Jerusalem. But their
        > use of only a select collection of books in their
        grand
        > overviews is
        > illustrative of the point--it indicates that for both
        > the collection
        > is closed.
        >
        > VI. "Discussion of Collection"
        >
        > Regrettably there is no discussion in our literature
        > that talks
        > specifically the collection or closure of the canon.
        > But there are
        > some clues and discussions of what one would call
        > canonical activity.
        >
        > -Sirach, once again, seems to assume the collection.
        > In his catalog
        > as mentioned he follows canonical order, cites the
        > "Twelve" as a
        > group or scroll, and cites every work in the
        > Hagiographa section, and
        > even cites Malachi 3:23 (4:4). The Psalms he ascribes
        > to David, calls
        > Ezra-Nehemiah "holy writing"
        >
        > -More important than Sirach though is II Maccabbees.
        > Before turning
        > to this verse in particular, it should be mentioned
        > that it was
        > customary to place the important books in temples.
        > This was done
        > throughout the Near East and the Mediterranean
        worlds.
        > Writing after
        > all was originally a divine perogative. Judaism was
        no
        > different.
        > Nor were the Greeks, who of course built the MUSEum, a
        > temple
        > dedicated to the Muses, and the great library was
        > attached to it. So
        > that Judaism then also placed the important books into
        > the Temple is
        > not only not surprising, but expected. II Macc
        2.13-15
        > says that
        > Judas Maccabeus collected together the holy books and
        > deposited them
        > in the Temple.
        >
        > Now we know that such a collection existed in the
        > Temple before
        > this. For example the Letter of Aristeas tells us
        that
        > when Ptolemy
        > wanted a copy of the holy books of the Jews to read,
        > that the High
        > Priest not only sent the 70 to translate it for him,
        > but specifically
        > sent one of the scrolls from the Temple. This point
        > will become
        > important later.
        >
        > It should also be noted is that after this point, we
        > find NO
        > DISCUSSION or mention of any books being added to that
        > collection.
        > Given the attitude and actions of the ancient world in
        > this regard of
        > placing canonical and important texts in temples, it
        is
        > unlikely that
        > if Jewish communities thought of adding a book to the
        > canon list
        > of "holy writings" that they should bypass the Temple
        > and the Temple
        > collection altogether.
        >
        > -Josephus again mentions the temple collection in his
        > discussion of
        > the 22 books
        >
        > -The early Rabbis frequently mention the Temple
        > scroll(s) in their
        > discussions
        >
        > IT should be further noted here that the internecine
        > conflicts that
        > began to occur some 20 years after the success of the
        > revolt would
        > make the formation of a canon of "holy books"
        difficult
        > and unlikely
        > to be accepted across the broad spectrum of Judaism
        > that we see
        > testifying to it. But 164/3 when most Jews were
        > somewhat united
        > behind Judas Maccabbeus at the rededication of a
        > purified Temple (and
        > the miracle of Hanukah made quick rounds) would be the
        > most likely
        > moment of the closure of the canon. It should also be
        > kept in mind
        > that the librarians in the Mediterranean world were
        > doing similar
        > things: producing canons of literature, some for
        > religious purposes.
        > No fuzziness.
        >
        > These are the most solid indicators of a closed
        canon.
        > The
        > circulation of the number of books, location in the
        > temple, divided
        > into 3 parts, fairly early lists etc all are hallmarks
        > of a closed
        > canon, a closure that is perfectly inline with the
        > mileau of Greco-
        > Roman Hellenism at the time AS WELL AS the religoius
        > and ethnic need
        > for a closed canon as self-definition as well as
        > finding parallels in
        > non-Hellenistic, Near Eastern societies.
        >
        > In addition to these there are other important
        > indicators which I
        > list below.
        >
        > VII. Citations and Citation Formulae
        >
        > Citations of literature in contexts where the citation
        > proves some
        > point is a clear indication a texts importance and
        > especially in the
        > ancient world witness to its canonical status.
        > Citation formulae
        > are a catalog of how these texts are cited.
        > Regrettably, no one
        > informed our Second Temple writers that they should
        > only cite the
        > canonical texts in a certain way, so the best we can
        do
        > is describe
        > practice as best we can. But even here there are
        > indications that
        > bear on the question.
        >
        > Generally, the formulae used are variations of: it is
        > written, or it
        > is said. The vast majority of such citations are from
        > the works we
        > now know of as the Hebrew Bible. There are some that
        > can not be
        > placed, but sound or look somewhat similar to those
        > works, and a few
        > discussed elsewhere that are citations of outside
        > tradition. This in
        > itself is rather telling. But it should be noted that
        > NEVER is I
        > Enoch, Jubilees or another such work cited with the
        > forumla "As the
        > Lord has spoken/written in X", and even where such a
        > citation does
        > seem to exist, the formula is sufficiently different
        as
        > to cast doubt
        > that the work is being cited in the same way as was
        > customary for
        > citing the canonical texts.
        >
        > VIII. Imitation
        >
        > Imitation is useless if it is not imitating a
        canonical
        > text. That
        > is to say, what makes Vergil's Aeneid so important at
        > the time is
        > that it has coopted and completed that tale. It was a
        > self-concious
        > attempt to become canonical, and thanks to Augustus,
        > succeeded. But
        > it illustrates teh importance of mimesis for
        > determining what is and
        > what is not canonical.
        >
        > In the Jewish world of the period, we find plenty of
        > imitation
        > of "biblical" materials: new law codes, retellings of
        > Torah material,
        > putting words into the mouths of Biblical characters
        > etc. We do not
        > find Testament of Jesus ben Sirach" for example-there
        > is not attempt
        > to produce literature that is not dependent on the
        > canonical texts.
        > And when we examine these texts we find, say Enoch for
        > example, that
        > not only do they choose a "biblical" character, but
        > they weave
        > throughout the text citations and allusions to other
        > "biblical"
        > texts, the more the text resonated with the received
        > canonical list,
        > the more popular it seemed to ahve been. Take Enoch
        as
        > an example.
        > In spite of the book's apparent popularity, at least 2
        > works from
        > antiquity cite it by name--Jude and T. Naphtali
        (though
        > neither with
        > a formula matching other scriptural citaitions), there
        > is no
        > imitation of Enoch anywhere, nor does anyone ascribe
        to
        > the words,
        > neither Jude nor Naphtali, or to the text "holiness".
        > As an
        > imitation in the technical sense then, Enoch shows the
        > importance of
        > the canonical texts, but there is no evidence that at
        > this period
        > anyone considered it as part of the collection. Lack
        > of imitation
        > itself demonstrates that.
        >
        > VIII Commentary
        >
        > As with imitation, so with commentary. Societies
        > generally do not
        > produce commentaries on works that are not important
        > and not
        > canonical. In Judaism of the Second Temple we find no
        > commentary's
        > on books outside the canonical ones. It must be
        > admitted that not
        > all books in the canon are subject to commentaries
        > either, so the
        > value of this indicator is in its negative value: it
        > tells us which
        > books are not in the list.
        >
        > IX. Allusion
        >
        > See above comments on imitation and commentary. Here
        > too, allusions
        > to the canonical text are a huge task to catalog,
        > possible allusions
        > to other material are so few as to stand out
        > significantly and are
        > usually not merley alluded to, but are sourced and
        > explained.
        >
        > X. Textual Stability
        >
        > When the Pinakes was published, we see an increased
        > activity in
        > Alexandria to establish the actual text of the
        > playwrites and Homer
        > among others, the beginnings of modern textual
        > criticism. Parallel
        > to this we have in the Temple in Jerusalem scribes,
        > some of who went
        > to Alexandria as translators, but a whole class of
        > scribal
        > authorities, whose purpose was to correct the texts.
        > Rabbinic
        > literature mentions these scribes often, but the
        papyri
        > at Nahal
        > Haver and other places bears witness to their work,
        > attempts to
        > seemingly standardize even the Greek translations to a
        > Hebrew
        > original. We do not find similar work on Enoch or
        > other kinds of
        > literature, but we do find it of almost all the
        > biblical texts in the
        > first century, in Hebrew and Greek.
        >
        > To conclude, when we apply these critieria to second
        > Temple Judaism,
        > we find emerging a consistent picture of a collection
        > of texts that
        > is closed, not one in which other candidates would be
        > considered.
        > Further, a closed canon would necessitate that the
        > development of
        > future "holy writings" be considered as a second set,
        > not included
        > with the first set. And this is precisely what we see
        > forming in
        > Qumran, Pharisees/Rabbis, and nascent Christianity:
        the
        > formation of
        > a second set of "holy writings", not to be included in
        > the first
        > set. If the first set were yet open, we would not
        > observe this
        > phenomenon. When we apply these criteria to other
        > literature
        > produced in Judaism at this time, we find that nothing
        > fits the
        > bill.
        >
        > One can not be dogmatic. But the indicators are that
        > there was a
        > closed canon, shared by a broad spectrum of Judaism
        out
        > of which
        > Christianity came. No one in the ancient world seems
        > to have
        > questioned it.
        >
        > Now what does this have to do with Jude? Or II
        > Timothy? Simply
        > this: if the world out of which Christianity is born
        > has a closed
        > canon of texts and has them not only figured out,
        > outlined, listed
        > etc, it is unlikely that this group inheriting its
        > "canon" from
        > Judaism would all of a sudden open it up without some
        > sort of
        > discussion or reference int he literature, especially
        > since the
        > interpretation of that set of literature is what
        > defined Jesus for
        > them, and themselves. Even where one would expect
        such
        > claims to be
        > made...those Jews over there read teh wrong
        texts...the
        > claims are
        > not made. But claims are made about different
        > interperetations of
        > passages in the "canonical texts". So when Jude cites
        > Enoch without
        > the common formula, does he mean this to be understood
        > as Scripture?
        > As I've indicated in a previous email, there is
        nothing
        > in the text
        > itself that would indicate this. Now that we've
        looked
        > to the
        > situation from which Jude is writing, there is nothing
        > external to
        > suggest this either. Likewise, when the author of II
        > Tim uses "hiera
        > grammata" and "pasa grafh" there are no internal
        > indications that he
        > means two different things. An overview of common
        > usage of the terms
        > across a broad spectrum of authors suggests that in
        > Judaism, these
        > are understood and used as synonyms. It is
        interesting
        > to note in
        > this regard, that as far as I can determine the phrase
        > "pasa
        > grammata" does not occur anywhere, lending credence to
        > my view: the
        > author had no choice if he wished to emphasize the
        PASA
        > as he does
        > but to use "grafh".
        >
        > Larry Swain
        >
        > -
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        >
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      • James Murphy
        ... So far as I can remember, Daniel was part of the Writings (Heb. Kethubim) which contained the following: Psalms, Proverbs, Job Five Rolls (Megilloth) - -
        Message 3 of 17 , Aug 14, 2003
          On Thursday, August 14, 2003, at 02:36 PM, tmcos@... wrote:

          > Dear Larry, I really enjoyed your exposition on
          > canonical criteria. I was interested in finding out
          > from you or the other list members as to why Sirach in
          > his list of the prophets fails to mention Daniel. Is
          > this because Daniel was part of the "writings" section
          > of the Hebrew Bible and not the "prophets" section? The
          > LXX contains the book of Daniel (and the additions to
          > this book only found in the LXX)and I understand that
          > the LXX's order of books differs from the MT. I am
          > specifically interested in the absence of Daniel in
          > Sirach's list of prophets. Best regards,

          So far as I can remember, Daniel was part of the "Writings"
          (Heb. Kethubim) which contained the following:

          Psalms, Proverbs, Job

          Five Rolls (Megilloth) - -
          (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Esther, Ecclesiastes)

          Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles

          > Tony Costa, M.A.
          > University of Toronto

          James B. Murphy
        • Larry J. Swain
          Tony, Thanks for your response and questions. I ll answer as best I may. ... If Ecclesiasticus is being written 185-200 BCE, and if we accept the scholarly
          Message 4 of 17 , Aug 15, 2003
            Tony,

            Thanks for your response and questions. I'll answer as best I may.

            --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, tmcos@c... wrote:
            > Dear Larry, I really enjoyed your exposition on
            > canonical criteria. I was interested in finding out
            > from you or the other list members as to why Sirach in
            > his list of the prophets fails to mention Daniel.


            If Ecclesiasticus is being written 185-200 BCE, and if we accept the
            scholarly date of c. 165 for Daniel, Daniel doesn't make it into that
            catalog of heroes for the simple reason that it wasn't written yet.


            Is
            > this because Daniel was part of the "writings" section
            > of the Hebrew Bible and not the "prophets" section? The
            > LXX contains the book of Daniel (and the additions to
            > this book only found in the LXX)and I understand that
            > the LXX's order of books differs from the MT. I am
            > specifically interested in the absence of Daniel in
            > Sirach's list of prophets. Best regards,

            The MT's sequence is rather late. The second century baraita I
            mentioned though, its order by the way is close to the MT but not
            quite the same, places Daniel in the WRitings, so this tradition
            seems fairly early. However, Josephus in his discussion of the 22
            books has 5 by Moses, 13 by prophets, four hymns and moral precepts,
            which indicates to me that he included Daniel among the prophets
            there. And later in Antiquities he retells Daniel's story and talks
            about his prophecies. Jesus also cites Daniel as a prophet.

            My speculation is simply that after the events of 70 and 135, and the
            wane of apocalypticism in many Jewish circles that the sequence was
            shifted and Daniel included among the writings rather than prophets--
            his place in the "canon" too solidified to remove. Similarly we find
            between Josephus and the baraita that Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles
            likewise shifted from prophets to Writings, and my speculation there
            is that with the Temple gone, a change in conception occurs in
            relation to those writers who spoke of the founding and refounding of
            the Second Temple. No evidence though....

            OR it may be that Josephus is not representitive of the Temple
            scrolls and scribes in the Temple pre-70, and thus has no real
            bearing on the question at all. Obviously, this isn't my stance, but
            should be recognized as a possibility.

            Regards,

            Larry Swain
          • Robert Kraft
            Larry complains that my posts are short and selective. This is because I only have a small amount of time each evening for these pursuits. But the topic is
            Message 5 of 17 , Aug 22, 2003
              Larry complains that my posts are short and selective. This is because I
              only have a small amount of time each evening for these pursuits. But the
              topic is important to many, so I'll make a start at commenting on his list
              of criteria. Briefly, I hope! But his longish explanations are necessary
              if the reader is to understand my comments. Sorry.

              > I thought it might be useful to list and describe the various
              > criteria in order that I'm using to determine whether ancient Jewish
              > groups considered the set of "holy writings" a closed set (there are
              > no absolutes here, though some authors come close, so I will not be
              > using absolutes such as "immutable" to describe this phenomenon) or
              > whether it was open. Along the way, we will be able to determine if
              > the author of II Tim indeed meant two different classes of writing
              > by "hiera grammata" and "pasa grafh" or whether these terms are
              > synonymous. This is in no way exhaustive, but it will hopefully do a
              > lot to clear up some confusion that my chatty style produced.

              Let me say at the outset, that I missed the discussion of 2 Tim, and thus
              will simply ignore that aspect of the context.

              > I. The easiest and best way to start is with the usage of the terms
              > themselves. There are several related terms that authors
              > use. "hiera grammata" hagia grammata, hierai graphai, hagiai
              > graphai, and hagia graphH are the most common, although words for
              > books are also used, H BIBLIOTHECA and even H BIBLOS. All of these
              > terms are used in middle to late Second Temple Judaism. The question
              > then becomes twofold: to what are they referring when the term is
              > used. I will restrict myself to a brief examination.

              My approach on this criterion would be to attempt to collect all formulaic
              references and to determine to what they refer -- they are generally of
              two types, references to written materials (singularly or in groupings),
              and citation of written materials.

              > Josephus uses the terms frequently. In the prologue to the
              > Antiquities he says that he is basing his work on the "holy
              > writings": throughout the work we see that he is essentially
              > retelling Genesis-II Kings, Ezra-Nehemiah and Esther. He cites or
              > refers several of the prophets. In Contra Apionem he describes the
              > 24 books of the Jews as "hiera grammata", to which we'll return
              > later. He does not ever use any of the above terms to refer to
              > something outside of what we now know of as the Hebrew Bible.

              > Philo also uses the terms frequently. His citations or of what he
              > speaks in those contexts are most often the books of Moses although
              > somewhere in his works he cites every book in the "hebrew bible" at
              > least once. He never refers to anything else as "holy writings" nor
              > does he cite any other works as authoritative anywhere in the corpus
              > of his surviving works.

              Larry admits that this is overstated. Philo has been interpreted as
              "alluding" to every book in what became the classical Jewish canon. He
              does not formally cite every such book.

              > In the New Testament likewise we have statements and citations
              > of "hiera grammata" and the like. Likewise here, when an allusion or
              > citation accompanies this phrase it too comes from one of the texts
              > in the Hebrew Bible and not elsewhere.

              This becomes complicated when individual formula of citation are included,
              which is one reason I would want to start with the more general "net."

              > Rabbinic literature demonstrates what we have already found: "holy
              > writings" refers to a set of texts, that set of texts when there is
              > an allusion, citation, or information about a text described as "holy
              > writing", it matches a text found in the Hebrew bible, and no
              > examples are found of this descriptor being applied to a work outside
              > of this collection.

              I would not use rabbinic evidence in this discussion without a great deal
              of care and caution since in general it it both later and seems to operate
              with clearer vision of a "canonical" goal in view.

              > The nagative evidence is that these appellations and terms are
              > nowhere in our surviving literature of the period applied to any
              > other works. While it is true that an author such as Philo for
              > example will refer to X being found in the sacred scriptures (such as
              > a certain class of man being described in the sacred writings), there
              > is nothing that rules out another work such as Enoch being included
              > in the "holy writings", but likewise there is nothing to suggest it
              > either.

              I think this is plainly wrong. Citations that can no longer be located in
              extant texts are not rare, whether the explanation is textcritical
              (differences in transmitted editions) or otherwise, and there are apparent
              attempts to refer to "prophetic" materials, or to works/authors such as
              "Enoch" on the same level as works that became "canoncial."

              > The result then of this suggests that the "holy writings" while a
              > somewhat elastic phrase, applying to the Torah, to a specific cited
              > text, or to the whole collection whatever that collection may
              > contain, suggests that certain things are not included in the
              > collection since they are never cited, referred to, or in any way
              > indicated in the context in which these terms occur by any group
              > within the period in question.

              I would reject such an argument from silence.

              > II. The enumeration of books.
              >
              > A few of our authors give a specific number of books. Regrettably
              > they do not also give us a list of what those books are, but they do
              > tell us where they are kept.
              > Josephus--In the above mentioned Contra Apionem, Josephus contrasts
              > the Greeks who have many copies of Homer that contradict each other
              > with the books of his own people. He states specifically that there
              > are 22 books, believed to be divine, 5 of Moses, 13 prophets covering
              > the time from Moses to Artaxerxes, and 4 books containing hymns and
              > precepts for the conduct of human life. He goes on to make other
              > points: that these books collected together are ancient, that though
              > other books have been written, particularly of history since
              > Artaxerxes, they are not considered to have the same degree of
              > holines, that these books form the basis of Jewish education, and a
              > good Jew would give his life willingly for these books.
              >
              > Josephus here gives us not only the number of books, but their
              > division into sections. One must ask how do we assess Josephus in
              > this regard? Is he representing Judaisms as he knows them, or is he
              > making it up? He states specifically that no one adds or substracts
              > to the number of these books. I see no reason to doubt him,
              > especially as his information here is confirmed by other sources. In
              > any case, the fact that he claims that there are 22 books, and only
              > 22 books and that the information such as he gives it matches the
              > Hebrew Bible is suggestive. BTW, in specific reference to Enoch for
              > example, Josephus rules it out, not explicitly, but by referring to
              > the 4 books of Moses, and then in the 13 and the 4 are written by
              > those prophets who came after him.

              Steve Mason's study of this material from Josephus (in the "Canon Debate"
              volume) reads it somewhat differently, and needs to be considered
              carefully.

              > IV Ezra-this work also gives the numbe of books, but a slightly
              > higher one, 24. All commentators agree that the difference between
              > the usual 22 count and the 24 count is simply how one counts: there
              > are 22 scrolls since Ruth and Lamentations are included on other
              > scrolls with other books, and 24 books--i. e. counting Ruth and
              > Lamentations as seperate. In any case, it also matches the legend
              > elsewhere that it is Ezra who when the Temple was redeicated copied
              > out and resotred all teh books to the Temple. Later, Nehemiah is
              > also credited with establishing a library for these texts. In
              > these legends and interpretations of Ezra-Nehemiah, the number of
              > books is given as 22 or 24. So IV Ezra here seems to be referring to
              > this tradition and appears to have in mind, and so match the question
              > and issue of number.

              As already pointed out, 4 Ezra has a larger colletion in view, 24 of them
              "public," and the others for the elite insiders.

              > barita B. 13b is an early-mid second century list of works included
              > in the H3ebrew Bible. We will return to this list moementarilly.
              > But it purports to be a list generated by the Tannaim (the earliest
              > layer of rabbinic tradition dating to the late first century), it
              > counts the books as 22 and gives them a lsting.

              This is a generous assessment of the date and composition of this
              material; the "tannaim" take us into late 2nd century, for example, and
              the baraita was almost certainly edited later. Still, I'm not sure how to
              assess the rabbinic listing, in relation to my own concern to distinguish
              between "scriptural" consciousness (which is what the early evidence
              indicates to me) and later "canonical" consciousness (exclusive
              collection) -- see my article in the "Canon Debate" volume.

              > Other Midrashic material dating to the third century given 22 books.
              >
              > Second century Christian works give 22. Melito of Sardis, Epiphanius
              > who is recording a second century list, Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem,
              > Jerome, and the Byrennios list all give 22 books.

              True. How representative are they?

              > The value of these later works is that though they are late, they do
              > witness to an early tradition. It is interesting that there is NO
              > OTHER TRADITION either mentioned in other authors, nor referred to in
              > these authors who are busily arguing against other groups. Nor does
              > any source record than any group (until Marcion and Irenaeus) held a
              > different set of texts.

              Not true. At least 4 Ezra is an exception of some sort.

              > Josephus then is the earliest witness we have to the number of books,
              > but his memory and witness brings us to the middle of the first
              > century. There is no reason to suppose that this system was invented
              > in his life time, though it can not be said just how long in the past
              > it existed either. In any case, such a list found in Josephus, the
              > rabbis, the author of IV Ezra does speak of a restricted number of
              > texts in a broad spectrum of Judaism before Jude or II Timothy were
              > written.

              To be continued. Sorry, but time has run out tonight!

              Bob
            • Robert Kraft
              ... There is no way to be sure how old the early rabbinic list(s) may be, and in any event, the question of the extent to which they might represent early
              Message 6 of 17 , Aug 23, 2003
                To continue the comments on Larry Swain's list of criteria:

                > III. Canon lists.
                >
                > The above mention of enumerated texts brings what in other contexts
                > is the best and absolute evidence for a closed set of texts.
                > Canonical lists of epic poets or of historians circulated in the
                > ancient world, the most famous and influential of which is
                > Callimachus' Pinakes, penned c. 250 BCE. For Judaism regrettably we
                > do not have any lists until the above mentioned baraita in the mid
                > second century. While we can make informed guesses based on what
                > writers such as Josephus or Philo or others who are attempting to
                > systematize Judaism for a Greek audience used, a list would be
                > convenient. On the other hand, there is no evidence that the Tannaim
                > concocted the list that appears in b. B. 13b and are not themselves
                > reporting tradition that they received. That after all was the
                > primary purpose of the Tannaim: to preserve that which was
                > preservable in Judaism. I do not think it would be untoward to
                > suggest then that by the fall of the Temple, a "canon list" existed
                > and our early second century document is simply a witness to that
                > earlier document and collection. So this brings us to the last third
                > of the first century.

                There is no way to be sure how old the early rabbinic list(s) may be, and
                in any event, the question of the extent to which they might represent
                early Judaism in general in the pre-rabbinic period would need to be
                explored. I doubt that the rabbinic tradition represented Sadducean
                outlooks, or Samaritan, not to mention Essenes or lesser known groups
                scattered throughout the Greco-Roman world or elsewhere.

                > IV. Tripartite division-
                >
                > I do not think anyone would disagree that some sort of canon exists.

                I would disagree, if that is meant as a general statement about all "early
                Judaism." There may have been "canons" of some sort in some subgroups, but
                we have limited access to them.

                > The theoretical questions is whether the division of the canon into
                > specific categories can happen when the canon is considered to be
                > open or loose or fuzzy. There is no clear example of this that I
                > know of. One could point to the canonization of English literature
                > for example and that no one would claim that when the first Oxford
                > Book of English Poetry was done that they thought that no new poetry
                > would be penned to include it. ANd that would be true. But they
                > considered it closed and finished for their time. And the situation
                > is not quite the same in Judaism. For Judaism, particularly for the
                > Diaspora and post-70, the canon of their books were tools of self-
                > definition, and as such, their canonization and crystallization in a
                > closed form is an important step, Thus, the division of the canon
                > into types of literature, similar to the Library's list, is witness
                > to the process of crystallization at the least, if not evidence of
                > the actual closure of the collection of "holy writings." Further, it
                > is unknown in literature societies to have a canon of literature
                > developed that was considered "open"--the entire purpose of the
                > canonical process is to set a standard and so close off works for
                > consideration. The next generation or two may reopen the question
                > and add new works, but then they too close it off. The thing is, in
                > Judaism of the period we have no discussion of reopening the
                > question, or of even asking the question, we simply see the
                > assumptions by the authors that it was there and complete. Thus, the
                > following tripartite division indicates that the authors thought of
                > the canon as closed.

                All this is assumption, combined with a specific definition of "canon" as
                involving both inclusion and exclusion.

                > As mentioned previously, it is Ben Sira who provides for us the first
                > evidence of the division in the prologue, written c. 200 BCE. In the

                Larry has already corrected this date to about 70 years later, for the
                Greek translation of Sirach by the author's grandson, in Egypt.

                > prologue he mentions "the Law, the Prophets, and the other
                > writings...." That there is no terminus technicus shouldn't be taken
                > as a surprise...it is difficult to have a word that accurately
                > describes the collection in the third part. It should also be noted
                > that Callimachus' canon also had a large "other" section that seems
                > to me to be analagous. In any case, he mentions the 3 fold division.

                It certainly has been read that way, which involves projecting a later
                division (Torah, Neviim, Kethubim = TaNaKh) back to this very general
                wording. But it can be read without requiring such precision!

                > Philo also mentions this division into three groups. In his
                > discussion of the Therapeutae in De Vita Contempliva Philo calls them
                > the law, prophets, hymns and other writings. The context makes clear
                > that Philo shares the same division, as do the Therapeutae he
                > describes, so there are two groups that have it.

                Why not read Philo to have four divisions? And the context is much more
                complex, including mention of respected (authoritative?) writings special
                to the group itself (in de vita contemplativa). How big is the category
                "other writings"!

                > In the above mentioned Contra Apionem by Josephus, he details not
                > only the 22 books, and only 22 books, but also the division of the
                > 22 books in the Law, books from Moses, the books of the prophets from
                > Moses to Artaxerxes, numbering 13, and four books of hymns and
                > precepts for moral behavior. This is obviously our clearest
                > statement on the question: a clear cut statement that there is a
                > canon, it is closed, and is divided into 3 parts and how many books
                > it consists of. The only thing that could improve this is if he also
                > included a list of the books!

                See Steve Mason's article on this in the "Canon Debate" volume, with
                special attention to Josephus' attempt to address Greco-Roman interest in
                "historical" records of a certain sort.

                > Lk 24 also includes the division: the law, the prophets, and the
                > hymns, the latter, PSALMOI, has been shown to refer to the whole of
                > the section called the writings by Roger Beckwith, looking at both
                > Greek sources and Hebrew. I'm satisfied with his analysis and accept
                > that this is probably what Luke is doing here.

                I have not looked at Beckwith's arguments, but suspect that he does not
                give such a simple analysis.

                > The Rabbis and Early Christians also have this same division.

                Later rabbinic tradition introduces considerable complexity at various
                points ("former" and "latter" prophets; megillot within the "writings").
                Christian divisions can also be complex, depending on who is consulted
                (see, e.g. the lists in Swete, Intro to the Greek OT). In our attempts to
                generalize, we visualize three divisions, but this tells us little, in
                itself, about the actual contents or the actual order for any given
                manuscript or lister in historical context.

                > In addition to this tripartite structure, often the collection goes
                > by "Law and Prophets" or Law and Writings" or less often, "Prophets
                > and Writings". Likewise the whole can be called "Torah", "Writings"
                > and "Prophets". This displays some concepts that should be taken
                > into account here. When we add the fact again that the whole can be
                > described as "H GRAFH", or even HO BIBLOS in this period, it is seen
                > that we are beginning to have a conceptual shift. 1) It is known
                > that the whole collection is considered to be divine in origin,
                > several authors make this statement 2) that the collection is no
                > longer being considered merely a collection of texts, even a
                > collection of divinely given texts, but are coming to be considered a
                > whole, single, seamless unit 3) that nomenclature shifts--in the same
                > author, such as Josephus, one can read the tripartite structure and
                > then a few pages later read a quotation of Moses as from the Prophets
                > and a then turn around and have a citation of the Psalms cited as
                > Torah, and then have the Psalms cited as a prophet as well. The
                > confusion is modern. Moses is a prophet, as are all the authors of
                > the collection, it is all teaching, hence torah, and it is all
                > written, hence the short form "Writings". This should not be taken
                > as indicative of fuzziness in a tripartite division.

                The terminology is ambiguous, and develops over time. The above attempts
                to create homogeneity rest on assumptions and evidence easily interpreted
                otherwise.

                > What this division shows is the crystallization of the canon
                > collection. Our first evidence for it is Sirach, c. 200 BCE, and
                > continues into the Rabbinic and Christian period. Witness to it
                > includes early Chrisitianity, early Rabbis, Josephus, Philo, Sirach
                > (himself writing in Palestine)--a broad cross section of Jewish
                > writers. It should be noted also that this is consistent over nearly
                > four centuries, from 200 BCE to 200 CE and beyond.

                The prologue to Sirach seems to represent Egypt (Alexandria?), not
                Palestine, although the material being translated by the grandson
                apparently comes from Palestine, from around 200 BCE. Limiting the
                "Christian lists" to 200 CE means including only Melito as reported by
                Eusebius, which conveniently avoids the issue of the "deutero-canonical"
                materials ("the Apocrypha" in Protestant jargon). Going beyond 200 CE
                leads to numerous such complications.

                > V. Global Works:
                >
                > Here I include those works in the mileau which attempt to give an
                > account for whatever reason of Judaism as the author knows it. In
                > this effort the author then represents the collected texts of Judaism
                > and recasts them for his audience. In this period we have two such
                > works: Ecclesiasticus where Sirach's grandfather gives a synopsis of
                > the "holy writings" that the sage studies and Josephus' Antiquities
                > in which he recasts the "sacred texts" into historical narrative for
                > his Greek reading audience. Since both of these texts provide other
                > evidence of the closed canon of "holy writings", it is important to
                > see just what books they represent in their works.

                > Sirach-in the later part of the book, the author gives a heroic roll
                > call of the faith. In doing so he draws directly on the canonical
                > texts for not only citations, but for the names and their deeds. In
                > this list, he follows the canonical order. The only exceptions are
                > that there is no mention of Daniel. All the other books are
                > repesented or cited.

                Sirach is not an author who gives formal citations, although he does
                allude to names and events that are found in the collection later
                designated TaNakh (Protestant OT). He mentions various laws and traditions
                as part of his pedagogy, but without explicit identifications with Mosaic
                legislation or even with proverbial lore associated with Solomon and
                earlier sages. In the "Praise of Famous Persons" section, he summarizes
                some of the early traditions found in our "Bible," and takes the subject
                up to close to his own time, well beyond the chronological frame of
                TaNaKh. He also gives Enoch a special mention. How is this evidence for a
                "closed canon"?

                > Josephus-he too is consistent. In his Antiquities he never refers to
                > extra canonical books or material, but rather reproduces what we now
                > know as the Hebrew Bible.

                Well, he does know about the Maccabees, and repeats traditions that can
                be found in 1-2 Maccabees. What does that prove?

                > Both men are conservative in approach, but one writes in Alexandria,
                > the other in Rome after living in Palestine and Jerusalem. But their
                > use of only a select collection of books in their grand overviews is
                > illustrative of the point--it indicates that for both the collection
                > is closed.

                The contents of Sirach to which you appeal represents Palestine ca 200
                BCE, while the grandson's prologue represents Egypt (Alexandria?) two
                generations later. Josephus claims to have been brought up in priestly
                circles in Jerusalem, but to have opted for the Pharisaic approach at
                least as a political expediency, and probably reflects that position in
                his discussions of Jewish "scriptures" arond the end of the first century
                CE. Philo, in Alexandria around the middle of the first century CE, cannot
                be milked for the same sort of coverge. Again, it is wishful thinking to
                draw precise conclusions/generalizations from these data.

                > VI. "Discussion of Collection"
                >
                > Regrettably there is no discussion in our literature that talks
                > specifically the collection or closure of the canon. But there are
                > some clues and discussions of what one would call canonical activity.

                > -Sirach, once again, seems to assume the collection. In his catalog
                > as mentioned he follows canonical order, cites the "Twelve" as a
                > group or scroll, and cites every work in the Hagiographa section, and
                > even cites Malachi 3:23 (4:4). The Psalms he ascribes to David, calls
                > Ezra-Nehemiah "holy writing"

                He also talks of Enoch (very briefly) and the idealized high priest of his
                own memory. Where does that take us?

                > -More important than Sirach though is II Maccabbees. Before turning
                > to this verse in particular, it should be mentioned that it was
                > customary to place the important books in temples. This was done
                > throughout the Near East and the Mediterranean worlds. Writing after
                > all was originally a divine perogative. Judaism was no different.
                > Nor were the Greeks, who of course built the MUSEum, a temple
                > dedicated to the Muses, and the great library was attached to it. So
                > that Judaism then also placed the important books into the Temple is
                > not only not surprising, but expected. II Macc 2.13-15 says that
                > Judas Maccabeus collected together the holy books and deposited them
                > in the Temple.

                > Now we know that such a collection existed in the Temple before
                > this. For example the Letter of Aristeas tells us that when Ptolemy
                > wanted a copy of the holy books of the Jews to read, that the High
                > Priest not only sent the 70 to translate it for him, but specifically
                > sent one of the scrolls from the Temple. This point will become
                > important later.

                > It should also be noted is that after this point, we find NO
                > DISCUSSION or mention of any books being added to that collection.
                > Given the attitude and actions of the ancient world in this regard of
                > placing canonical and important texts in temples, it is unlikely that
                > if Jewish communities thought of adding a book to the canon list
                > of "holy writings" that they should bypass the Temple and the Temple
                > collection altogether.

                As was mentioned earlier, the attitude of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls to
                temple authority is probably relevant here, as is the question of the
                role of the Heliopolis/Leontopolis "Temple in Exile" within Greek-speaking
                Judaism. The close association of Sadducees with Temple administration is
                also of interest, and later rabbinic and Christian claims about Sadducean
                "canon" preferences.

                > -Josephus again mentions the temple collection in his discussion of
                > the 22 books

                > -The early Rabbis frequently mention the Temple scroll(s) in their
                > discussions

                > IT should be further noted here that the internecine conflicts that
                > began to occur some 20 years after the success of the revolt would
                > make the formation of a canon of "holy books" difficult and unlikely
                > to be accepted across the broad spectrum of Judaism that we see
                > testifying to it. But 164/3 when most Jews were somewhat united
                > behind Judas Maccabbeus at the rededication of a purified Temple (and
                > the miracle of Hanukah made quick rounds) would be the most likely
                > moment of the closure of the canon. It should also be kept in mind
                > that the librarians in the Mediterranean world were doing similar
                > things: producing canons of literature, some for religious purposes.
                > No fuzziness.

                The Maccabees were hardly universally accepted and respected in Judaism in
                that period and later. See the above comments about Temple and Temples.

                > These are the most solid indicators of a closed canon. The
                > circulation of the number of books, location in the temple, divided
                > into 3 parts, fairly early lists etc all are hallmarks of a closed
                > canon, a closure that is perfectly inline with the mileau of Greco-
                > Roman Hellenism at the time AS WELL AS the religoius and ethnic need
                > for a closed canon as self-definition as well as finding parallels in
                > non-Hellenistic, Near Eastern societies.

                I'll stop this installment here. Obviously I'm unconvinced that this even
                comes close to adding up to a "closed canon" in pre-Christian Judaism.
                Lots of things about Judaism in this period are "fuzzy," including the
                question of collections of writings that were considered authoritative.
                Yes, there was great respect for Moses and his legislation, and for the
                tales transmitted in his name; yes, there was great respect for
                "prophets" and "prophecy," however defined and represented; yes, a
                tradition of "psalms" and of proverbial wisdom was present and under
                further development. There was also a popular development of apocalyptic
                traditions and writings, and probably other materials (e.g. "testaments").
                It was from this sea of material that decisions about "scriptures" and
                later about "canonical scriptures" were made. But not by the turn of the
                era in any general sense, on my reading.

                Bob Kraft

                --
                Robert A. Kraft, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
                227 Logan Hall (Philadelphia PA 19104-6304); tel. 215 898-5827
                kraft@...
                http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rs/rak/kraft.html
              • James Miller
                ... Let me cite from Sundberg s The Old Testament of the Early Curch concerning these lists (except Byrennios), following that up with some questions and
                Message 7 of 17 , Aug 24, 2003
                  On Sat, 23 Aug 2003, Robert Kraft wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Second century Christian works give 22. Melito of Sardis, Epiphanius
                  > > who is recording a second century list, Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem,
                  > > Jerome, and the Byrennios list all give 22 books.
                  >
                  > True. How representative are they?
                  >
                  Let me cite from Sundberg's "The Old Testament of the Early Curch"
                  concerning these lists (except Byrennios), following that up with some
                  questions and comments. This rather dated work (1962) might still offer
                  some further grounds for discussion of the issues. Sundberg writes
                  (56-57):

                  "The earliest Christian Old Testament list of certain date is that of
                  Melito, bishop of Sardis (ca. A.D. 170), preserved in Eusebius. His list
                  parallels the Hebrew canon, except that Esther and Lamentations are
                  missing; possibly Lamentations was counted with Jeremiah. Origen's (ca.
                  A.D. 185-253) list is, also, preserved in Eusebius and expressly intends
                  to reproduce the Jewish canon. Yet, it includes I Esdras and the Epistle
                  of Jeremy. Athanasius (A.D. 293-373) included Baruch and the Epistle of
                  Jeremy under Jeremiah in his list and places Esther among the outside
                  books. Cyril of Jerusalem (A.D. 315-86) lists the same books except that
                  he includes Esther. Epiphanius (A.D. 315-402) gives three Old Testament
                  lists in his writings. One parallels the Hebrew canon, except that he
                  includes the Epistle and Baruch with Jeremiah (Adv. Haer. I.i.5).
                  However, his new Testament list includes the Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach
                  at the end! (sic) Two other lists are found in his De Mensuris et
                  Ponderibus (iv and xxiii). Lamentations is wanting in the first, and both
                  differ in order from each other and from the Adv. Haer. list. All three
                  lists include two books of Esdras. Gregory of Nazinazus (A.D. 329-89)
                  lists the books of the Hebrew canon excpet Esther. Amphilocius of Iconium
                  (ca. A.D. 339-94/408) notes that some omit Esther. However, his list
                  includes Esther and parallels the Hebrew canon, except that it includes
                  two books of Esdras . . ."

                  I will start off by commenting that the English translation of Origen's
                  list to which I have access at the moment includes the books of Maccabees.
                  I don't know if there are varying editions of the list, if Sundberg
                  thought it irrelevant or if maybe he just overlooked this additional way
                  in which Origen's list differs. It seems that these canon lists did not
                  contain a completely static set of contents: they vary, even if in minor
                  ways, from one another (sort of what I had in mind earlier when I used the
                  word "fuzziness"). To me, this raises the question of what we are to
                  make of them: are they reflective of variant traditions indigenous to the
                  locales of each writer? What, then, can be said of the "canon" we would
                  like to draw from them? Are there competing canons comprised of 22 items?
                  In order to speak of a canon as Larry seems to envision it, it seems to me
                  we'd have to take the contents common to all the lists (e.g., the books of
                  the Pentateuch, Prophets, Wisdom) and say that these books are really what
                  constitute the canon of the early Christians - and they do share most
                  items (Esther, the books of Esdras and some Jeremiahic writings, maybe
                  Wis and Sir and the books of Maccabees being items on which they differ).
                  But in doing that, it seems to me we'd be interpreting the evidence in a
                  most superficial way: we'd be allowing it so that we could pose the issue
                  of canon, but discounting it where it does not uphold a certain notion of
                  canon.

                  My own perception of the canon lists is that they are essentially mnemonic
                  devices: their most salient feature is the number 22. Within certain
                  limits, the items comprising the list appear to be flexible (as is the way
                  they are totalled) - so long as they total 22. Further input on this,
                  anyone?

                  Also, none of the contents of any of the Great Uncials (GU), some of which
                  are contemporaneous with some of the lists, match precisely any of these
                  lists. Larry seems to want to argue that these works were sort of laundry
                  lists of various works stuck together for the sake of convenience. I find
                  that they have an internal order, though, and are in no way haphazard. I
                  can expand further on this later if needed, but I'll just offer it as an
                  observation for now. So, what do we do with the Great Uncials in
                  relation to these canon lists - if one questions Larry's "utilitarian"
                  explanation of the scope of the GU's?

                  James
                • Robert Kraft
                  This is the third installment of comments on Larry Swain s list of criteria -- with apologies to the weary readers! ... I would make this the first criterion
                  Message 8 of 17 , Aug 24, 2003
                    This is the third installment of comments on Larry Swain's list of
                    criteria -- with apologies to the weary readers!

                    > VII. Citations and Citation Formulae
                    >
                    > Citations of literature in contexts where the citation proves some
                    > point is a clear indication a texts importance and especially in the
                    > ancient world witness to its canonical status. Citation formulae
                    > are a catalog of how these texts are cited. Regrettably, no one
                    > informed our Second Temple writers that they should only cite the
                    > canonical texts in a certain way, so the best we can do is describe
                    > practice as best we can. But even here there are indications that
                    > bear on the question.

                    I would make this the first criterion under a discussion of actual usage
                    of respected literature (as compared with the category of lists and
                    divisions, as discussed earlier). Here we would attempt to understand what
                    earlier authorities are considered "authoritative," and in what contexts,
                    and with what forms of reference.

                    > Generally, the formulae used are variations of: it is written, or it
                    > is said. The vast majority of such citations are from the works we
                    > now know of as the Hebrew Bible. There are some that can not be
                    > placed, but sound or look somewhat similar to those works, and a few
                    > discussed elsewhere that are citations of outside tradition. This in
                    > itself is rather telling. But it should be noted that NEVER is I
                    > Enoch, Jubilees or another such work cited with the forumla "As the
                    > Lord has spoken/written in X", and even where such a citation does
                    > seem to exist, the formula is sufficiently different as to cast doubt
                    > that the work is being cited in the same way as was customary for
                    > citing the canonical texts.

                    Such a generalization is difficult to defend, once one abandons the
                    assumption that what we know of as Jewish scriptures (plural) would be the
                    only possible sources for what is quoted with such formulae. Indeed, if I
                    remember correctly (still being away from the office), specific formulae
                    such as "the Lord has spoken/written" are rare in the extant literature,
                    where we are much more likely to encounter more simple claims such as
                    "the scripture says" or "he/it says" or the like. Those formulae are used
                    in a wide variety of applications (as Larry acknowledges), including
                    unidentified sources and known sources not included in what became
                    canonical Jewish scriptures.

                    > VIII. Imitation
                    >
                    > Imitation is useless if it is not imitating a canonical text. That
                    > is to say, what makes Vergil's Aeneid so important at the time is
                    > that it has coopted and completed that tale. It was a self-concious
                    > attempt to become canonical, and thanks to Augustus, succeeded. But
                    > it illustrates teh importance of mimesis for determining what is and
                    > what is not canonical.

                    > In the Jewish world of the period, we find plenty of imitation
                    > of "biblical" materials: new law codes, retellings of Torah material,
                    > putting words into the mouths of Biblical characters etc. We do not
                    > find Testament of Jesus ben Sirach" for example-there is not attempt
                    > to produce literature that is not dependent on the canonical texts.
                    > And when we examine these texts we find, say Enoch for example, that
                    > not only do they choose a "biblical" character, but they weave
                    > throughout the text citations and allusions to other "biblical"
                    > texts, the more the text resonated with the received canonical list,
                    > the more popular it seemed to ahve been. Take Enoch as an example.
                    > In spite of the book's apparent popularity, at least 2 works from
                    > antiquity cite it by name--Jude and T. Naphtali (though neither with
                    > a formula matching other scriptural citaitions), there is no
                    > imitation of Enoch anywhere, nor does anyone ascribe to the words,
                    > neither Jude nor Naphtali, or to the text "holiness". As an
                    > imitation in the technical sense then, Enoch shows the importance of
                    > the canonical texts, but there is no evidence that at this period
                    > anyone considered it as part of the collection. Lack of imitation
                    > itself demonstrates that.

                    I don't understand Larry's use of this category. "Imitation" in the sense
                    of using similar forms (psalms, proverbs, prophecy, etc.) abounds within
                    the "canonical" anthology as well as outside. There are law codes older
                    than what is attributed to Moses, there are creation stories older than
                    the extant edition of Hebrew Genesis, there are poetic formulations that
                    predate biblical Psalms, etc. I don't see that any of this is relevant for
                    discussion of "canonical" or even "scriptural" status.

                    > [IX] "VIII" Commentary
                    >
                    > As with imitation, so with commentary. Societies generally do not
                    > produce commentaries on works that are not important and not
                    > canonical. In Judaism of the Second Temple we find no commentary's
                    > on books outside the canonical ones. It must be admitted that not
                    > all books in the canon are subject to commentaries either, so the
                    > value of this indicator is in its negative value: it tells us which
                    > books are not in the list.

                    Huh? I'd say it has the positive value of identifying books that seem to
                    merit comment. And the only commentaries of which I'm aware from this
                    early period are from Qumran ("pesharim") or Philo's "Questions" (on Gen
                    and Exod). Would that we had more, from a wider representation of early
                    Judaism!

                    > [X] "IX". Allusion
                    >
                    > See above comments on imitation and commentary. Here too, allusions
                    > to the canonical text are a huge task to catalog, possible allusions
                    > to other material are so few as to stand out significantly and are
                    > usually not merley alluded to, but are sourced and explained.

                    See the older postings that got us to this more extensive commentary!
                    Allusion is, for me, one of the most misued categories of supposed
                    "evidence."

                    > X. Textual Stability
                    >
                    > When the Pinakes was published, we see an increased activity in
                    > Alexandria to establish the actual text of the playwrites and Homer
                    > among others, the beginnings of modern textual criticism. Parallel
                    > to this we have in the Temple in Jerusalem scribes, some of who went
                    > to Alexandria as translators, but a whole class of scribal
                    > authorities, whose purpose was to correct the texts. Rabbinic
                    > literature mentions these scribes often, but the papyri at Nahal
                    > Haver and other places bears witness to their work, attempts to
                    > seemingly standardize even the Greek translations to a Hebrew
                    > original. We do not find similar work on Enoch or other kinds of
                    > literature, but we do find it of almost all the biblical texts in the
                    > first century, in Hebrew and Greek.

                    The evidence from Qumran shows textual variety and editorial annotation in
                    a number of "non-biblical" (from our perspective) as well as "biblical"
                    texts. Emanuel Tov has a book on such "scribal activity" in galleys, but
                    it probably won't appear until next year. He also claims that the
                    "scribal" evidence from Qumran includes not only tendencies to fix and
                    standardize scriptural texts, but also other tendencies to adjust, adapt,
                    and update those texts (e.g. modernize orthography/spelling and
                    vocalization, disambiguate, etc.). Otherwise, our evidence from the early
                    period on this matter is quite skimpy.

                    > To conclude, when we apply these critieria to second Temple Judaism,
                    > we find emerging a consistent picture of a collection of texts that
                    > is closed, not one in which other candidates would be considered.
                    > Further, a closed canon would necessitate that the development of
                    > future "holy writings" be considered as a second set, not included
                    > with the first set. And this is precisely what we see forming in
                    > Qumran, Pharisees/Rabbis, and nascent Christianity: the formation of
                    > a second set of "holy writings", not to be included in the first
                    > set. If the first set were yet open, we would not observe this
                    > phenomenon. When we apply these criteria to other literature
                    > produced in Judaism at this time, we find that nothing fits the
                    > bill.

                    I'm not sure I understand the details and significance of Larry's "second
                    level" development. I guess that Christianity's formulation of the "new
                    testament" anthology is in view, and perhaps the codification of "oral
                    law" by rabbinic Judaism, but how does Qumran illustrate this point? And
                    when one looks below the surface, how accurate is it to argue that the
                    early Christians agreed on a closed Jewish canon before they moved on to
                    their own second collection? Where do "the Apocrypha" come in? Etc. There
                    seems to be widescale agreement in early Judaism and early Christianity on
                    the authoritativeness of the books of Moses, a selection of "prophets" (a
                    somewhat moving target), and Psalms (in various forms?). Beyond that,
                    consensus is difficult to find -- indeed, evidence is scarce.

                    > One can not be dogmatic. But the indicators are that there was a
                    > closed canon, shared by a broad spectrum of Judaism out of which
                    > Christianity came. No one in the ancient world seems to have
                    > questioned it.

                    I'd say, it ("canon" as a category in Larry's sense) wasn't there to raise
                    any questions! It's an unwarranted assumption at this point.

                    Enough. "The devil [variant, God] is in the details!"

                    Bob

                    --
                    Robert A. Kraft, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
                    227 Logan Hall (Philadelphia PA 19104-6304); tel. 215 898-5827
                    kraft@...
                    http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rs/rak/kraft.html
                  • Sigrid Peterson
                    A very short post. Origen, in Exhortation to Martyrdom, calls 2 Maccabees (or 2 Maccabees 6 and 7, the martyr accounts) scripture, so not only does he *list*
                    Message 9 of 17 , Aug 25, 2003
                      A very short post. Origen, in Exhortation to Martyrdom, calls 2 Maccabees
                      (or 2 Maccabees 6 and 7, the martyr accounts) scripture, so not only does
                      he *list* one or two books of the Maccabees, he writes a paraphrase of part
                      of one *as* scripture.

                      I think what we have with the number 22 is not so much canon as
                      "canon-consciousness." The association is to the number of letters in the
                      Hebrew alphabet. This is just to add to the stew, not to start a new dish.

                      Best,
                      Sigrid Peterson petersig@...

                      >
                      > On Sat, 23 Aug 2003, Robert Kraft wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > > Second century Christian works give 22. Melito of Sardis, Epiphanius
                      > > > who is recording a second century list, Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem,
                      > > > Jerome, and the Byrennios list all give 22 books.
                      > >
                      > > True. How representative are they?
                      > >
                      > Let me cite from Sundberg's "The Old Testament of the Early Curch"
                      > concerning these lists (except Byrennios), following that up with some
                      > questions and comments. This rather dated work (1962) might still offer
                      > some further grounds for discussion of the issues. Sundberg writes
                      > (56-57):
                      >
                      > "The earliest Christian Old Testament list of certain date is that of
                      > Melito, bishop of Sardis (ca. A.D. 170), preserved in Eusebius. His list
                      > parallels the Hebrew canon, except that Esther and Lamentations are
                      > missing; possibly Lamentations was counted with Jeremiah. Origen's (ca.
                      > A.D. 185-253) list is, also, preserved in Eusebius and expressly intends
                      > to reproduce the Jewish canon. Yet, it includes I Esdras and the Epistle
                      > of Jeremy. Athanasius (A.D. 293-373) included Baruch and the Epistle of
                      > Jeremy under Jeremiah in his list and places Esther among the outside
                      > books. Cyril of Jerusalem (A.D. 315-86) lists the same books except that
                      > he includes Esther. Epiphanius (A.D. 315-402) gives three Old Testament
                      > lists in his writings. One parallels the Hebrew canon, except that he
                      > includes the Epistle and Baruch with Jeremiah (Adv. Haer. I.i.5).
                      > However, his new Testament list includes the Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach
                      > at the end! (sic) Two other lists are found in his De Mensuris et
                      > Ponderibus (iv and xxiii). Lamentations is wanting in the first, and both
                      > differ in order from each other and from the Adv. Haer. list. All three
                      > lists include two books of Esdras. Gregory of Nazinazus (A.D. 329-89)
                      > lists the books of the Hebrew canon excpet Esther. Amphilocius of Iconium
                      > (ca. A.D. 339-94/408) notes that some omit Esther. However, his list
                      > includes Esther and parallels the Hebrew canon, except that it includes
                      > two books of Esdras . . ."
                      >
                      > I will start off by commenting that the English translation of Origen's
                      > list to which I have access at the moment includes the books of Maccabees.
                      > I don't know if there are varying editions of the list, if Sundberg
                      > thought it irrelevant or if maybe he just overlooked this additional way
                      > in which Origen's list differs. It seems that these canon lists did not
                      > contain a completely static set of contents: they vary, even if in minor
                      > ways, from one another (sort of what I had in mind earlier when I used the
                      > word "fuzziness"). To me, this raises the question of what we are to
                      > make of them: are they reflective of variant traditions indigenous to the
                      > locales of each writer? What, then, can be said of the "canon" we would
                      > like to draw from them? Are there competing canons comprised of 22 items?
                      > In order to speak of a canon as Larry seems to envision it, it seems to me
                      > we'd have to take the contents common to all the lists (e.g., the books of
                      > the Pentateuch, Prophets, Wisdom) and say that these books are really what
                      > constitute the canon of the early Christians - and they do share most
                      > items (Esther, the books of Esdras and some Jeremiahic writings, maybe
                      > Wis and Sir and the books of Maccabees being items on which they differ).
                      > But in doing that, it seems to me we'd be interpreting the evidence in a
                      > most superficial way: we'd be allowing it so that we could pose the issue
                      > of canon, but discounting it where it does not uphold a certain notion of
                      > canon.
                      >
                      > My own perception of the canon lists is that they are essentially mnemonic
                      > devices: their most salient feature is the number 22. Within certain
                      > limits, the items comprising the list appear to be flexible (as is the way
                      > they are totalled) - so long as they total 22. Further input on this,
                      > anyone?
                      >
                      > Also, none of the contents of any of the Great Uncials (GU), some of which
                      > are contemporaneous with some of the lists, match precisely any of these
                      > lists. Larry seems to want to argue that these works were sort of laundry
                      > lists of various works stuck together for the sake of convenience. I find
                      > that they have an internal order, though, and are in no way haphazard. I
                      > can expand further on this later if needed, but I'll just offer it as an
                      > observation for now. So, what do we do with the Great Uncials in
                      > relation to these canon lists - if one questions Larry's "utilitarian"
                      > explanation of the scope of the GU's?
                      >
                      > James
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                      >
                      >
                    • James Miller
                      Larry: what relation do you see between the phenomenon of canon and that of religious authority? Is there a necessary connection? Can/should the two be
                      Message 10 of 17 , Aug 25, 2003
                        Larry: what relation do you see between the phenomenon of canon and that
                        of religious authority? Is there a necessary connection? Can/should the
                        two be treated in isolation from one another?

                        Thanks, James
                      • Larry J. Swain
                        ... On the question of 22 books in Christian works: Before turning to your statements about Origen here James, let me say something about Melito: It is true
                        Message 11 of 17 , Aug 25, 2003
                          --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, James Miller <jamtat@m...> wrote:

                          On the question of 22 books in Christian works:

                          Before turning to your statements about Origen here James, let me say
                          something about Melito: It is true that ol' Melito leaves out Esther.
                          Various people from different perspectives have tried to explain that
                          absence: a) scribal error--Melito just made a mistake in copying or
                          Eusebius did b) Esther doesn't mention God and so rejected by the
                          community Melito visited c) Esther wasn't in the Hebrew canon d)
                          I myself prefer a fourth way: Esther is missing. What significance
                          can we attach to it? We have no evidence to attach significance. The
                          first option has some support in that by the time of Eusebius the
                          Christian Old Testement was well fixed, and he does not comment on
                          Esther's absence from the list. But that's it. I don't think we can
                          attach any significance to it one way or another, simply no evidence.

                          > I will start off by commenting that the English translation of Origen's
                          > list to which I have access at the moment includes the books of
                          Maccabees.

                          Ah, but note how Origen sets off teh books of Maccabees: Outside
                          (excluded?) of these is Maccabbees..... So he sets them apart from
                          the list he has just made. Note also that his list does not add up to
                          22, even though that is what he mentions in the preamble.

                          > It seems that these canon lists did not
                          > contain a completely static set of contents: they vary, even if in
                          minor> ways, from one another (sort of what I had in mind earlier when
                          I used the word "fuzziness").<<

                          First though we have to determine how much of it is scribal error and
                          how much of it in these cases may be put down to Christian ignorance,
                          and how much to actual differing lists in communities. Note that this
                          list does not include the 12 Prophets either.

                          Ok, if this is what you had in mind by fuzziness, I'm a little clearer
                          on your take. But this is of course Christian evidence looking
                          backward, not the other way round. In my response to Bob I'll talk
                          about why I'm interested in these lists.

                          > To me, this raises the question of what we are to
                          > make of them: are they reflective of variant traditions indigenous
                          to the
                          > locales of each writer? What, then, can be said of the "canon" we would
                          > like to draw from them? Are there competing canons comprised of 22
                          items?

                          It doesn't stop there.....differences in order not only of the lists
                          but of contents of biblical manuscripts continues throughout the
                          antique and medieval periods. I can show you a twelfth century Bible
                          that has a very different order, for example, in both Old and New
                          Testements....and that's just one example, there are earlier and later
                          ones.


                          > In order to speak of a canon as Larry seems to envision it, it seems
                          to me
                          > we'd have to take the contents common to all the lists (e.g., the
                          books of
                          > the Pentateuch, Prophets, Wisdom) and say that these books are
                          really what
                          > constitute the canon of the early Christians - and they do share most
                          > items (Esther, the books of Esdras and some Jeremiahic writings, maybe
                          > Wis and Sir and the books of Maccabees being items on which they
                          differ).
                          > But in doing that, it seems to me we'd be interpreting the evidence in a
                          > most superficial way: we'd be allowing it so that we could pose the
                          issue
                          > of canon, but discounting it where it does not uphold a certain
                          notion of
                          > canon.

                          Not at all. For one thing, I haven't really been talking about the
                          Christian canon of the Old Testement at all, what I'm interested in is
                          the places where we can trace back Christian lists to an least second
                          century Jewish source. And granted there are differences in the
                          details, but that's all we have: that is to say, are the differences
                          mistakes and errors in transmission, are the differences reflective of
                          differing lists and differing canons....both are real possibilities,
                          and again our evidence is scanty, only your own predisposition will
                          help you choose. Me? I plead ignorance, I don't know. But I do know
                          that there is an effort to make it conform to 22--I'll explain why
                          that's interesting in reply to Bob.



                          > My own perception of the canon lists is that they are essentially
                          mnemonic
                          > devices: their most salient feature is the number 22. Within certain
                          > limits, the items comprising the list appear to be flexible (as is
                          the way
                          > they are totalled) - so long as they total 22. Further input on this,
                          > anyone?

                          I should have read farther, sorry. We're on the same page here.

                          > Also, none of the contents of any of the Great Uncials (GU), some of
                          which
                          > are contemporaneous with some of the lists, match precisely any of these
                          > lists.

                          Not a new problem there, plenty of mss have this problem MUCH later in
                          the game. In fact, one very famous Latin manuscript not only contains
                          several lists in its front matter (Origen, 2 by Jerome, Ambrose,
                          Augustine), but has its own table of contents, WHICH THE CONTENTS
                          DON"T MATCH!! And this centuries after the Christian canon is
                          supposedly settled in teh West, and centuries after codex technology
                          has created "canon" according to Bob. So the problem you note here is
                          a not uncommon feature. The answer to that puzzle I think lies more
                          in importing a modern view of what a codex should contain, especially
                          a codex of the Bible, rather than recognizing that certain elements
                          didn't matter to them as much as they matter to us.



                          >Larry seems to want to argue that these works were sort of laundry
                          > lists of various works stuck together for the sake of convenience.
                          I find
                          > that they have an internal order, though, and are in no way haphazard.

                          Oh no, you've misunderstood. I never claimed they were haphazard,
                          what I suggested was that because early and pietistic texts like I
                          Clement were included in a pandect destined for a monastery is not
                          shocking to me---using the example of a later mss in which Biblical
                          material and other Christian material exist side by side because the
                          monastery desired those texts. Neither a shopping list nor haphazard.
                          Let me take another example: there's a manuscript I think in the
                          Bodmer collection that contains Psalms, Daniel, and Thucydides. Would
                          you say that because Thucydides is here in the same mss with biblical
                          material that the community using it/producing it thought that
                          Thucydides was canonical and "holy writing"? I wouldn't say so,
                          there's no evidence of it, except its inclusion in this manuscript.
                          It seems to me that we either have to claim its canonical and on a par
                          with Daniel and Psalms in ninth century or we have to say that
                          manuscript contents are not indicators of "canonical" material.


                          Larry Swain
                        • Larry J. Swain
                          ... Maccabees ... does ... of part ... Which has no bearing on the list that he claims to represent is from the Hebrews . I m not discussing the Christian
                          Message 12 of 17 , Aug 25, 2003
                            --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, Sigrid Peterson <petersig@c...> wrote:
                            > A very short post. Origen, in Exhortation to Martyrdom, calls 2
                            Maccabees
                            > (or 2 Maccabees 6 and 7, the martyr accounts) scripture, so not only
                            does
                            > he *list* one or two books of the Maccabees, he writes a paraphrase
                            of part
                            > of one *as* scripture.

                            Which has no bearing on the list that he claims to represent is from
                            "the Hebrews". I'm not discussing the Christian canon at all here.

                            > I think what we have with the number 22 is not so much canon as
                            > "canon-consciousness." The association is to the number of letters
                            in the
                            > Hebrew alphabet. This is just to add to the stew, not to start a new
                            dish.

                            I'm not sure what you mean by differentiating "canon" and
                            "canon-consciousness"

                            BUT, I will say that we have no evidence of the assocaition of the
                            Hebrew alphabet with the number of books in the "canon" this early.
                            ALl the evidence from both Christianity and Judaism is fourth
                            century--admittedly the amoraim collection of statements in this
                            regard do record some statements from rabbi's who lived in the early
                            third, but it is the amoraim who collected and preserved those
                            sayings, not the tannaim.



                            Best,

                            Larry Swain
                          • Larry J. Swain
                            ... Can/should the ... James, What light through yonder window breaks? I see no inherent connection. The phenomenon of canon is independent of religion and
                            Message 13 of 17 , Aug 25, 2003
                              --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, James Miller <jamtat@m...> wrote:
                              > Larry: what relation do you see between the phenomenon of canon and that
                              > of religious authority? Is there a necessary connection?
                              Can/should the
                              > two be treated in isolation from one another?
                              >
                              > Thanks, James

                              James,

                              "What light through yonder window breaks?"

                              I see no inherent connection. The phenomenon of canon is independent
                              of religion and religious authority.

                              Having said that it should be noted that in certain societies the
                              promulgators of canon are the religious authorities. In 2T Judaism, I
                              would argue that the development of canon of holy writings is in part
                              the "triumph" of one religious group over another--of the scribes
                              wresting control from the priests. But that's another matter.

                              As for imbuing the books with authority or some of religious
                              authority, some communities do that. Certainly in 2T Judaism it is so
                              done. However, it seems to me that some of the books it is very
                              difficult to ascribe religious authority to--take the Megilloth for
                              example. WHy use them or cite them? Granted, the Rabbis and
                              seemingly Josephus are interested in ascribing prophetic authority to
                              them, but I would say that the difficulty they have in being
                              convincing and the fact that they don't quite fit the "prophecy" genre
                              or the history genre. THus, the different listing and order of the
                              Rabbis. I'd like to suggest that the reason for their inclusion back
                              before Josephus, before the Pharisees, was something far more mundane
                              and not religious at all.

                              To address your final question: the two are seperate, but in 2T
                              Judaism and Christianity they intersect which makes it more difficult
                              to keep the idea of religious authority seperate from that of canon,
                              particularly for those who consider canon of Scriptures a religious
                              icon of some sort.

                              I hope that helps some. I'm preparing replies to Bob, but it may take
                              some time. The academic year began today for me in earnest.

                              Best Regards,

                              Larry Swain
                            • Sigrid Peterson
                              ... I took him to mean the LXX/OG collection as scripture--I m lacking the Greek, so I can t tell you what his Greek is, that is translated scripture. ... By
                              Message 14 of 17 , Aug 25, 2003
                                >
                                > --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, Sigrid Peterson <petersig@c...> wrote:
                                > > A very short post. Origen, in Exhortation to Martyrdom, calls 2
                                > Maccabees
                                > > (or 2 Maccabees 6 and 7, the martyr accounts) scripture, so not only
                                > does
                                > > he *list* one or two books of the Maccabees, he writes a paraphrase
                                > of part
                                > > of one *as* scripture.
                                >
                                > Which has no bearing on the list that he claims to represent is from
                                > "the Hebrews". I'm not discussing the Christian canon at all here.

                                I took him to mean the LXX/OG collection as scripture--I'm lacking the
                                Greek, so I can't tell you what his Greek is, that is translated
                                "scripture."

                                >
                                > > I think what we have with the number 22 is not so much canon as
                                > > "canon-consciousness." The association is to the number of letters
                                > in the
                                > > Hebrew alphabet. This is just to add to the stew, not to start a new
                                > dish.
                                >
                                > I'm not sure what you mean by differentiating "canon" and
                                > "canon-consciousness.

                                By "canon" I mean a fixed list of books comprised of various apparently
                                unrelated works that are deemed useful as a collection, useful for a
                                specific purpose. The purpose may be worship, historical study, study of
                                law, spiritual enlightenment, becoming generally educated, and so forth.

                                > BUT, I will say that we have no evidence of the assocaition of the
                                > Hebrew alphabet with the number of books in the "canon" this early.

                                Not Josephus, not Sirach?

                                There is a a "little canon" of less than 22 books in 4 Maccabees, where the
                                mother (after she has died, in the narrative) tells her sons how they
                                studied books with their father, and something of the content of the books.
                                If Bob and Martin Jaffee are right about the oral transmission of
                                knowledge, this passage is an illustration of a witness to its
                                transmission, who recalls at least some of the content.

                                A student, on the other hand, might well be expected to memorize the names
                                and order of the books. I was not expected to do so, but I found it very
                                useful to memorize Hebrew names and the order of books in TaNaKh (as
                                currently found, e.g. in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia). So the lack of
                                uniformity in 4th c. lists would suggest to me that the sources are aware
                                there is a group of collected works, they are conscious of a canon,
                                perhaps, but they do not quite get, or remember, what it is. OR, they
                                figure that their variants are of the same sort of literature, so it can
                                fill in for whatever they have forgotten. Collectively these listers of
                                collections of 22 books are aware, or conscious, of a collection, but not
                                that it is fixed (or at least, give no evidence of awareness that 'fixed'
                                is part of canon, which isn't necessarily their word for it anyway). We
                                import so-o-o much into the discussion. "Canon consciousness" is a term to
                                blur the fixity of the current definition of canon, and to indicate that we
                                need to tread lightly here, although by our 21st century lights, what we
                                think is our topic is canon, or canon formation.

                                > ALl the evidence from both Christianity and Judaism is fourth
                                > century--admittedly the amoraim collection of statements in this
                                > regard do record some statements from rabbi's who lived in the early
                                > third, but it is the amoraim who collected and preserved those
                                > sayings, not the tannaim.

                                If it was tannaim who said the statements attributed to them, then perhaps
                                it was, at first, other tannaim who collected and preserved them and passed
                                them on as masorah to the rabbis we designate as amoraim. If it was amoraim
                                who said the statements mistakenly attributed to the earlier tannaim, then
                                perhaps "it is the amoraim who collected and preserved those sayings, not
                                the tannaim," as you say. They would have archaized the Mishnah language,
                                confused it with tosefta at points--the opening of BT Xullin comes to
                                mind--and written it all down in approximately the 6-7th centuries CE. If Q
                                can have three layers, as traditions get passed on from one man, imagine
                                how many layers might exist in early rabbinic literature!

                                >
                                > Best,
                                >
                                > Larry Swain
                                >

                                Best,
                                Sigrid Peterson petersig"ccat.sas.upenn.edu

                                (My computer keyboard is recognizing z and y as the reverse of each other,
                                with many changes in the punctuation marks. I cannot find the "at" sign at
                                all. The quotation marks, "", are in the usual place for the "at" sign. Of
                                course, if you've been wondering why there are all these strange typos,
                                that means that what I see on my screen, after correcting for a crazy
                                keyboard, is not what you are getting.) rueful facial expression here.
                              • James Miller
                                ... Can you point to instances in known history demonstrative of this assertion? Thanks, James
                                Message 15 of 17 , Aug 26, 2003
                                  On Tue, 26 Aug 2003, Larry J. Swain wrote:
                                  >
                                  > I see no inherent connection. The phenomenon of canon is independent
                                  > of religion and religious authority.
                                  >
                                  Can you point to instances in known history demonstrative of this
                                  assertion?

                                  Thanks, James
                                • Larry J. Swain
                                  So for the delay in response, it has been a very busy first week of the year. Re: Origen s list of the canon of the Hebrews, I wrote about ... from the
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Aug 31, 2003
                                    So for the delay in response, it has been a very busy first week of
                                    the year.

                                    Re: Origen's list of the "canon" of the Hebrews, I wrote about
                                    Origen's use of Maccabbees:

                                    > > Which has no bearing on the list that he claims to represent is
                                    from> > "the Hebrews". I'm not discussing the Christian canon at all
                                    here.

                                    Sigrid replies:
                                    > I took him to mean the LXX/OG collection as scripture--I'm lacking
                                    the
                                    > Greek, so I can't tell you what his Greek is, that is translated
                                    > "scripture."

                                    I don't believe that the Christian LXX/OG collection is coterminus
                                    with the Jewish LXX/OG, even Justin Martyr a half century earlier
                                    accuses the Jews to Trypho of cutting out passages, and Melito would
                                    have had no need to go to a Jewish community to investigate the
                                    matter if what Second Century Christianity was using was simply the
                                    same as that used by Judaisms of the first century. What is of
                                    interest to me in discussing Origen's list is the report that among
                                    the Hebrews there are 22 books, and those 22 books are listed and
                                    named. He sets Maccabbees apart, though he himself accepts them
                                    as "scripture" and part of his canon. Thus, his view of Maccabbees
                                    has not bearing on his report of what is current among the Hebrews.



                                    Sigrid, addressing my query regarding usage of canon/canon
                                    consciousness wrote:
                                    > By "canon" I mean a fixed list of books comprised of various
                                    apparently
                                    > unrelated works that are deemed useful as a collection, useful for a
                                    > specific purpose. The purpose may be worship, historical study,
                                    study of
                                    > law, spiritual enlightenment, becoming generally educated, and so
                                    forth.

                                    We have much in common, though I would stay away from the
                                    word "fixed"--there is to my mind no such thing as a fixed list or a
                                    fixed canon. Canons are never frozen, always organic. But by
                                    definition a canon is a closed list, meaning that someone has
                                    said "this and no more", and although sometimes it may take centuries
                                    for that issue or question to be revisited, it eventually always is
                                    reexamined. Thus, never fixed, always closed; never frozen, elastic
                                    yet unyielding. Tradition of course has a lot to do with that.



                                    Re: the equation of 22 books of scripture equalling the 22 letters of
                                    the alphabet, Sigrid asked:

                                    > Not Josephus, not Sirach?

                                    I don't know of a passage in either author or of anything written
                                    before the fourth century that suggests this identification. Do you
                                    have a passage in mind?

                                    Sigrid mentions:
                                    > There is a a "little canon" of less than 22 books in 4 Maccabees,
                                    where the
                                    > mother (after she has died, in the narrative) tells her sons how
                                    they
                                    > studied books with their father, and something of the content of
                                    the books.
                                    > If Bob and Martin Jaffee are right about the oral transmission of
                                    > knowledge, this passage is an illustration of a witness to its
                                    > transmission, who recalls at least some of the content.

                                    If we're reading the same passage, she mentions few books at all.
                                    She mentions characters in the first part of her speech and stories
                                    associated with them, she then turns to certain phrases from certain
                                    books and names the authors, "David...Ezekiel" etc. Her purpose is
                                    not to discuss "canon" or even the nature of scripture but to provide
                                    exemplum for her sons in the face of tribulation.

                                    The oral transmission of these stories and phrases is immaterial.
                                    Until the modern age of print and of widespread literacy, oral
                                    transmission was common and a common way of learning and teaching.
                                    Homer is no less canonical for Callimachus for example because the
                                    method of teaching was for large tracts of Homer to be recited that
                                    school boys then learned by rote (oral tradition) to be repeated back
                                    and written down at various points in their school career. SO oral
                                    transmission here, while important to note, while interesting to
                                    discuss the interplay and role of text in a largely oral culture, has
                                    no bearing on canon, whether we speak of canons of texts (as we are
                                    here) or oral canons (and yes, there are some).

                                    Sigrid continues:
                                    >So the lack of > uniformity in 4th c. lists would suggest to me that
                                    the sources are aware
                                    > there is a group of collected works, they are conscious of a canon,
                                    > perhaps, but they do not quite get, or remember, what it is.

                                    I place no real emphasis on order. Differences in order occur all
                                    through the period, as I've said before, and only become finally
                                    fixed and frozen in the print period. So one either has to adjust
                                    one's definition of canon as James' originally had done as a "post-
                                    print" idea, or better yet, to recognize that the issue of order is
                                    not a concern of pre-print cultures.


                                    >OR, they
                                    > figure that their variants are of the same sort of literature, so
                                    it can
                                    > fill in for whatever they have forgotten.

                                    Well, usually the differences in these lists are leaving out things
                                    rather than adding things, whether they leave them out by accident,
                                    by memory burp, by scribal error, or deliberately is all debatable.


                                    Re: the 22 letters of the alphabet = 22 books of the canon of "holy
                                    writings":
                                    I wrote on that question:
                                    > > ALl the evidence from both Christianity and Judaism is fourth
                                    > > century--admittedly the amoraim collection of statements in this
                                    > > regard do record some statements from rabbi's who lived in the
                                    early
                                    > > third, but it is the amoraim who collected and preserved those
                                    > > sayings, not the tannaim.

                                    Sigrid responds:
                                    > If it was tannaim who said the statements attributed to them, then
                                    perhaps
                                    > it was, at first, other tannaim who collected and preserved them
                                    and passed
                                    > them on as masorah to the rabbis we designate as amoraim. If it was
                                    amoraim
                                    > who said the statements mistakenly attributed to the earlier
                                    tannaim, then
                                    > perhaps "it is the amoraim who collected and preserved those
                                    sayings, not
                                    > the tannaim," as you say. They would have archaized the Mishnah
                                    language,
                                    > confused it with tosefta at points--the opening of BT Xullin comes
                                    to
                                    > mind--and written it all down in approximately the 6-7th centuries
                                    CE. If Q
                                    > can have three layers, as traditions get passed on from one man,
                                    imagine
                                    > how many layers might exist in early rabbinic literature!

                                    First, let me deal with what I think an extraneous issue to this
                                    discussion--I don't accept Kloppenborg's analysis (or Mack's!) of the
                                    multi-layered Q, I'm not convinced (though I have not rejected
                                    either) that Q exists. Goulder and Mark Goodacre and others put
                                    forward some very good arguments for the nonexistance of Q. But that
                                    isn't what we're really discussing here.

                                    I apparently did not make my point clearly. If we take the late
                                    amoraim at their word and the first equation of the 22 book canon
                                    with the 22 letters of the alphabet was done in the early 200s by a
                                    rabbi in Babylon, how likely is it that such a tradition influenced
                                    Origen in Alexandria and Melito in Sardis? Only if we posit that
                                    this equation predates that rabbi and was widespread, but on what
                                    evidence do we base that? Further, neither Melito nor Origen make
                                    that equation or statement themselves, so there is no reason to
                                    believe that they made it. Epiphanius and Jerome, both fourth
                                    century, are undoubtedly influenced by this tradition that by their
                                    time has been conflated with earlier material.

                                    Regards,

                                    Larry Swain
                                  • Larry J. Swain
                                    ... independent ... Sure James, I ve already mentioned several times Callimachus Pinakes, and following him Telephus On Knowing Books (What to Read) from
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Aug 31, 2003
                                      --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, James Miller <jamtat@m...> wrote:
                                      > On Tue, 26 Aug 2003, Larry J. Swain wrote:
                                      > >
                                      > > I see no inherent connection. The phenomenon of canon is
                                      independent
                                      > > of religion and religious authority.
                                      > >
                                      > Can you point to instances in known history demonstrative of this
                                      > assertion?
                                      >
                                      > Thanks, James

                                      Sure James, I've already mentioned several times Callimachus'
                                      Pinakes, and following him Telephus' "On Knowing Books" (What to
                                      Read) from Pergamum to name two Hellenistic era canons that had
                                      nothing to do with religious authority. TO name a famous modern one,
                                      there is Harold Bloom's _The Canon of Western Literature_ or a my
                                      personal favorite is the editor of the Norton Anthology of African
                                      literature which came out in the midnineties claiming in print: "We
                                      are canon makers."

                                      Just a few examples off the top of my head, if I think a little more
                                      I can come up with others.

                                      Larry
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