Canons of the Old Testament

J. Barton

in Text in Context

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780198263913
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601187 | DOI:
 Canons of the Old Testament

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This is the third of five chapters on the text of the Old Testament. It aims to trace the development of a canon (or several slightly different canons) of the Old Testament, and to examine some ways in which the canonization of the Bible made a difference to the perceived meaning and significance of its component parts. The first section, ‘The Old Testament canon today’ discusses the Hebrew canon, the Greek Bible, the Latin Bible, and the Ethiopic Bible. The second section, ‘The origins of diversity in the canons of the Old Testament’ presents the three major hypotheses that have been put forward to account for the complicated development of the Old Testament canon: the Alexandrian canon hypothesis—Sundberg's theory, which sets completion of the Greek canon as a work of the early Christian era; the Greek Bible as Christian canon; and more recent (traditional) attempts to go back behind the Alexandrian canon hypothesis to something more like the consensus that prevailed in the nineteenth century, which have been spearheaded by an alliance of Jewish and evangelical scholars (Leiman and Beckwith), who put the completion of the canon well before the end of the Second Temple period. The third section, ‘The origins and interpretation of ‘canonical’ Scripture’ looks at the growth and canonization of the Old Testament Scriptures.

Keywords: Alexandrian canon hypothesis; canonical Scripture; canonization; canons of the Old Testament; development; diversity; Ethiopic Bible; Greek Bible; Greek Bible as Christian canon; Hebrew canon; interpretation; Latin Bible; Old Testament; Old Testament canon; origins

Chapter.  11148 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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