By Stephen Harris
This best-selling nonsectarian advisor is designed for college kids project their first systematic research of the Bible. putting each one publication of the previous testomony, Apocrypha, and the recent testomony totally in its historic and cultural context, figuring out the Bible acquaints readers with the content material in addition to the most important topics of every biblical ebook, and familiarizes them with the targets and techniques of significant scholarship.
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The Process of Canonization The Hebrew Bible Canon Scholars emphasize that the formation of the biblical canon—the list of books ofﬁcially recognized as Scripture—was a slow and gradual process. At no time during the period of the Bible’s formation did a religious council, either Jewish or Christian, explicitly determine its contents. The Hebrew Bible grew by degrees, adding new documents as Israel’s writers, over many generations, recorded and interpreted the covenant community’s political and spiritual experiences.
Because scrolls that eventually became part of the Hebrew Bible canon were probably kept under priestly control (Deut. 31:9) and made available exclusively to the king (Deut. 17:18 –20) and to authorized scribes who copied them, most ancient Israelites learned their contents only through public readings and recitations. Rather than privately perusing a written text, the covenant people in general had only oral exposure to works that would eventually become their nation’s Scriptures (cf. 2 Kings 23:1–3; Neh.
Of particular value is the Codex Sinaiticus, a mid-fourth-century manuscript discovered during the 1800s in the monastery of Saint Catherine at the foot of Mount Sinai. Besides the entire New Testament (including books not now in the canon), the Sinaiticus also contains much of the Greek Old Testament. 2 Copyists’ Modiﬁcations of New Testament Manuscripts No two ancient Greek manuscripts of New Testament books are precisely alike. Although most differences in the texts were probably caused by unintentional errors in copying, some textual variations seem to result from deliberate changes, many of which may have been motivated by theological considerations.
Understanding the Bible by Stephen Harris