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Reconsidering the Process of Making the Old Testament Canon: Focusing on its Standard Theory

Samuel Cheon 1

1한남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to reconsider the process of forming the Old Testament. To do so, it critically reviews the so-called ‘the standard theory of the Old Testament canonization,’ which was suggested by H. E. Ryle in the late 19th century, considering the recent scholarly views of the Hebrew Bible's formation. Ryle's theory of its canonization, which is still being taught in theological schools, was very influential in the field of the theological education until the 1960s. However, having studied the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in the 1947-1956, scholars seriously challenged the theory as well as the insistence which the formation of the Hebrew canon was completed in Jamnia Council in which Jewish rabbis met in 90 C.E. This study firstly considers the theory of Jewish Jamnia Council, which was suggested by the Jewish scholar H. Graetz in the 19th century, and suggests that the Old Testament which we have as the present form was not completed at best until the first century. We cannot find any evidence of the argument in any Jewish and Christian literature. Secondly, there is no evidence that the canonization of the Torah and the Prophets were completed in the second century B.C.E. The Dead Sea Scrolls shows that the Jewish sects had different opinions among them about the concept and limit of the Prophetic Books. Thirdly, there is no evidence that the early Christianity did receive the completed Hebrew canon from the Jewish community. Rather it used the Septuagint as their Scripture, without having strict concept of canon.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.