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Who Decides? Unraveling the Mystery of the Old Testament Canon August 5, 2011

Posted by The Prodigal Son in Christianity, Orthodox Christianity.
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by Daniel Lieuwen

When the Church began, there were no New Testament books. Old Testament texts alone were used as Scripture. The Old Testament used in the early Church throughout the Roman world was not the Hebrew Old Testament, but a translation of the Old Testament into Greek called the Septuagint (LXX). The LXX was translated in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus in the middle of the third century B.C., and was the standard Old Testament in the synagogues throughout the Hellenistic world (including Palestine) at the time of Christ.

In addition to the books included in a Protestant Old Testament, the LXX contained a number of other books now commonly referred to as Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical. Some of these books are Tobit, Judith, Maccabees, and a longer version of Daniel.

The LXX is based on a very different text of the Old Testament from the Masoretic text, on which modern English translations are based. For instance, in many places the wording is quite different, and the content of the books also differs—generally the LXX text is longer, but there are also interesting additions to the Masoretic text that are not found in the LXX. The text on which the LXX is based is as ancient as the Masoretic text, as testified by the Dead Sea scrolls and many other ancient witnesses.

A ‘Standardized’ Judaic Text

Judaism was quite fluid (fragmented; lost) at the time of Christ. There were seven distinct sects of the Jews in the early first century, according to Eusebius. The different sects accepted the authority of different collections of books (e.g., the Sadducees and Samaritans accepted only the five books of the Prophet Moses, the Torah), and there were often significant differences in the composition of the books they accepted in common. Sometimes the same sect might even make use of multiple text bases, or as scholars call them, text traditions. For example, the Dead Sea scrolls, (likely) containing the sacred texts of the Essene sect of Judaism, show evidence of the Masoretic, Samaritan, and LXX text bases.

However, with the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, an intense standardization process began. Only the Pharisaic and the Samaritan sects of Judaism survived this process. The collection of Old Testament books into what eventually became the Masoretic text was begun by the Pharisees at the Council of Jamnia, somewhere between AD 80 and 100 (more…)

Attempting To Answer “Irrefutable” Questions… November 18, 2010

Posted by The Prodigal Son in Uncategorized.
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(A Capture of) The Main Page of the Site in Question

 

I was referred to this website a while ago: Bible.ca

Apparently, it’s operated by the so-called ‘Churches of Christ’ (19th century Restorationist movement of Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone). They are basically just another sect of ‘Sola Scriptura’ Protestants who claim to follow the Bible only… Any other extra-Biblical traditions (aside from their own of course) are derided, and the authority of the Church from whence the Bible came is expressly denied.
Anyhow, there’s a page on that site: … Irrefutable Questions That Roman Catholics and Orthodox Can’t Answer… On that page there are 29 questions.­­
Some of them are (to me at least) virtually unintelligible… but here for your perusal are the questions followed by  my answers (to most of them anyway)…

(more…)