through the inspiration which they owed to God
, and committing to writing
a clear account of the events of their time just as they occurred
. . . It follows, I say, that we do not possess myriads of inconsistent books, conflicting with each other. .. For although such long ages have now passed, no
one has ventured either to add, or to remove, or to alter a syllable
; andit is an instinct with
, from the day of his birth, to regard them
as the decrees of God
, to abide by them, and, if need be, cheerfully to die for them. (Josephus,
No Agreement on the “Canon” in Jesus’ Day
Pharisees: 20 books: 2 missing books, i.e., Esther? (Josephus)“
Our books, those which are justly accredited, are but two and twenty, and contain the record of all time.
are the books of Moses, comprising the laws and the traditional history from the birth of man down to thedeath of the lawgiver. . . [T]he prophets subsequent to Moses wrote the history of the events of their own timesin
books. The remaining
books contain hymns to God and precepts for the conduct of human life.(Josephus,
Sadducees: Only the five books of Moses (Josephus, Origen)
“But the doctrine of the Sadducees is this: That souls die with the bodies
; nor do they regard the observation of anything besides what the law enjoins them
the Samaritans and Sadducees, who receive the books of Moses alone
, would say that there were containedin them predictions regarding the Messiah, yet certainly not in Jerusalem, which is not even mentioned in the timesof Moses. . .” (Origen,
The Dead Sea Scrolls:a.
Found in 1947b.
350–931 scrolls found in 11 cavesc.
Biblical books, other Jewish works and sectarian writings alongside each otherd.
No copies of New Testament bookse.
Many non-biblical texts apparently read alongside what became “canonical”4.
: 24 Public books
70 “secret books” (other Jewish writings)
[God] answered me [Ezra] and said, “Go and gather the people, and tell them not to seek you for forty days. But prepare for yourself many writing tablets, and take with you Sarea, Dabria, Selemia, Ethanus, and Asiel—thesefive, who are trained to write rapidly; and you shall come here, and I will light in your heart the lamp of understanding...
So during the forty days
ninety-four books were written
. And when the forty days were ended, theMost High spoke to me, saying, “
Make public the twenty-four books that you wrote first,
and let the worthy andthe unworthy read them,
but keep the seventy that were written last, in order to give them to the wise among your people. For in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom, and the river of knowledge.
” And I didso. (
“Apocrypha”: “hidden writings”b.
Pseudepigraphical books: “false writings”
Legend of the “Council of Jamnia”
Heinrich Graetz (1871): Theorized that rabbis solved the question in
. 90 at “Council of Jamnia”2.
Jamnia theory made popular by H. E. Ryle3.
Ryle stated as fact4.
Only evidence cited: Passage in Mishna relating controversy over Ecclesiastes (
Yet passage reveals Rabbis still debating canon in
Babylonian Talmud (finished 5
cent.!) cites Sirach
b. B. Qam.
No official Jewish Bible in Jesus’ day!