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Deuteronomy'—in the reign of Josiah (cire. B.C. 624). The High Priest Hilkiah found it in the Temple, and said to Shaphan the scribe, 'I have found the Book of the Law in the House of the Lord.' 'Hilkiah the Priest hath "delivered me a book,"' said the cautious scribe. When the scribe read the book to Josiah, the king was astonished and horrified to find himself unacquainted with the most essential and elementary rules which Moses was there said to have ordained. So completely had they fallen into desuetude that the people knew nothing about them, and seem never to have heard of them. Neither the Passover nor the Sabbatical year had been kept, and there is not an allusion in the whole Old Testament—after the Pentateuch —not even in the Levitic ideal of Ezekiel, not even in Zech. v. or viii., not even in Nehem. viii.-x., nor until Ecclus. 1. 1-5—to the Day of Atonement. There is no evidence that' the Book of the Law' was co-extensive with the Pentateuch, nor is there any proof of the existence of a collected Pentateuch earlier than the days of Ezra (b.c. 444). 'The Bible and the reading of the Bible as an instrument of instruction,' says Dean Stanley, 'may be said to have begun on the sunrise of that day when Ezra unrolled the parchment scroll of the Law.'2 From that era till the days of John the Baptist prophecy ceased. Scribes and Pharisees more and more substituted the dead letter for the living voice of God, and soon they elevated the dead letter upon an idol-pedestal, and paid to it a new and no less perilous idolatry.
The sacred writings were not referred to as ' the Book'
1 As even some of the Fathers thought: Jer. Ado. Jovin. i. 5; Chrys. Horn, in Matt. p. 9.
1 October, B.C. 444. Nehem. viii.-x.; Deut. xxxi. 11. See Cornill, Einleit. in d. A. T. pp. 62-67; Kuenen, Hexateuch, $ 15.
'A DIVINE LIBRARY'
till a late epoch. The particular name 'Bible' dates from the fourth century. St. Jerome (d. 420) called the Scriptures ' a Divine Library.' St. Chrysostom called them 'the Books/ The neuter plural' biblia' was mistaken in the West em Church, in the thirteenth century, for a feminine singular, and from it is derived our familiar name 'the Bible.'1
2. The multiform elements of which the Bible is composed will appear if we glance at the history of the Canon.
The Canon of the Old Testament—that is, the list of those books which were finally accepted by the Jewish Church as authoritative—was arrived at by slow and uncertain degrees. It had, however, been agreed upon in its general outline before the time of Christ. The books of the Old Testament which we now receive are in great measure the same as those which were regarded as canonical by Philo (a.d. 30)2 and Josephus (a.d. 93).3 Both
1 See Bishop Westcott, The Bible in the Church, p. 5.
2 In a treatise attributed to Philo, On the Contemplative Life, there is a general classification' of Old Testament writings. The book is regarded as a forgery of the third century (Kuenen, Bel. of Israel, ii. 204), but Mr. F. Conybeare has urged strong reasons for holding it to be genuine. Philo quotes all the books of the Old Testament except Nehemiah, Ruth, Esther, Chronicles, Ezekiel, Lamentations, Daniel, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles. On the other hand he quotes from the Pentateuch ten times more frequently than from the other books, and seems to attach to it an immeasurably higher importance and authority. The Sadducees did the same. The Samaritans accepted no Scriptures except the Pentateuch.
3 Josephus (c. Ap. i. 7, 9) says that his Canon consisted of twentytwo books (the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet). It is not possible to assert with certainty how he arranged the books. He refers to all the books except Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, and Job. On the other hand the Essenes extended the Canon, including many books which are not regarded as canonical. See Bishop Westcott, The Bible in the Church, pp. 25-30.
i teachers objected to' i h: scepticism of the Bo
ates; tat the practical piety of its elf its final ikiMi ( TmUayim. eh. iii ; Eduyoth v» n the Book of was not admitted *
*t-&tion, beeaan Mm ■'■Wiii looked upon vario
. » v%at I heard.' Edersheim, Life of Jer
FORMATION OF THE CANON 33
or the New Testament.1 It is in direct opposition to the fact (1) that the MSS. of the Greek translators (the Seventy, B.c. 270 and onwards) make no distinction between apocryphal and other writings; and (2) that the Canon of the Old Testament was still a subject of discussion after the Christian era. For the Old Testament Canon was not regarded as settled before A.d. 70. In that year the Jews at Jamnia (Jabneh) decided in favour of our present thirty-nine books, which they called twenty-four: namely, (1) the five books of the Law; (2) eight books of the Prophets—by which they meant Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and twelve minor prophets; (3) eleven writings, called by the Jews Kethubim, and in Greek Hagiographa—Huth, Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Lamentations, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles.2 The gathering at Jamnia3 was a tumul
1 Our Lord refers to the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Luke xxiv. 44), but this is not more definite than the reference of Ecclesiasticus (B.C. 120) to the Law, the Prophets, and other books transmitted to the Fathers. Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Canticles, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah are not quoted in the New Testament, and Ezekiel and Chronicles are only referred to distantly. On the whole subject see Cornill, Grundriss, $ 48; Wildeboer, pp. 58-62. A Baraitha of the Babylonian Talmud (Saba Bathra, 1. 14. 6,15. a) gives the views of the Jews in Babylon.
2 Just as the Prophets were divided into Nebiim Rishonim (or 'earlier'), viz.—Joshua, Judges, 1, 2 Samuel, 1, 2 Kings, and the Nebiim Acharonim (or 'later'), so the Kethubim were divided into Rishonim, and Acharonim which contain the latest books, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles. The five Megilloth (rolls) are placed in the middle, viz.—Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther.
* At this meeting the celebrated 'eighteen rules' were adopted. Another assembly was held at Jamnia about A.d. 101 under Rabban Gamaliel IL, in which Ecclesiastes was admitted (Eduyoth, v. 3; Gratz, Gesch. d. Juden, iii. 355, 494-502; Wellhausen, Einleit. 550; Derenbourg, p. 295).
were competent witnesses; both (perhaps) were of priestly descent; one represented the cultivation of Alexandria, the other the traditions of Palestine. Analogous proof is furnished by the Jews of Babylon in a passage of the Talmud, which gives additional testimony to the late editing of many of the books.1
The writings which we call 'the Apocrypha' were not placed by the Jewish Church on the same footing as the rest; and although the New Testament has quotations from every book of the Old Testament except twelve, it has no direct quotation from, nor many certain references to, any book of the Apocrypha.2 It recognises the classification of the Old Testament into three broad divisions —the Law, the Prophets, and Psalms.3
3. The Canon of the New Testament was formed in the same gradual and tentative manner, by the exercise of the enlightened reason. In the first two centuries many Gospels, Epistles, and Apocalypses were current, to some of
1 In the Gemara Baba Bathra, 14. b. In 2 Esdr. xiv. 44 we read of ninety-four books, but seventy of these are reserved for ' the wise' fver. 46). The Talmudic passages which bear on the Canon are collected by Wildeboer, p. 63.
1 St. Jude, however, quotes the Book of Enoch (which is not in our Apocrypha), and there are traces in the Epistle of St. James of some use of the Book of Wisdom. Rom. i. 20-32, ix, 21; Eph. vi. 13-17; Heb. i. 3; 1 Pet. i. 6, 7; Jas. v. 6, are thought to be suggested by the Book of Wisdom; and 1 Cor. vi. 13, Jas. i. 6, 19, by Ecclesiasticus. Some suspect allusions to lost books in 2 Tim. iii. 8; Heb. xi. 37; Jude 9. In Heb. xi. 34, 35, 37 are references to 2 Mace. vi. 18, 7, 42. See, for an account of apocryphal Jewish literature, Schttrer, Hist, of the Jewish People, Div. iii. 1-155. Wildeboer (p. 51) says 'that the New Testament writers quote from apocryphal books can only be denied by dogmatic prejudice.' But see also Bishop Westcott, The Bible in the Church, pp. 46-49.
I Luke xxiv. 44.