Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saint Jerome on the Bible Canon

"Therefore as the church indeed reads Judith, Tobit and the books of Maccabees, but does not receive them among the canonical books, so let it also read these two volumes [Sirach and Parables] for the edification of the people but not for establishing the authority of ecclesiastical dogma" (Prologue to the books of Wisdom).


Duncan said...

The general evidence from the DSS corpus of writings is that there was no official canon of OT Hebrew writings other than the 50 or so times where one witness makes reference to another.

This is noted in the "The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (7th Edition)" introductory notes by Vermes.

Duncan said...

Tobit is among the Hebrew fragments of the DSS with estimated material dating range of about 100 BC to 25 AD.

JimSpace said...

Hi Edgar,
In "Sirach and Parables," what is the later? Also what is included in the "books of Wisdom"?

Thank you.

Edgar Foster said...

Hi Jim,

Sirach usually is dated from 190-ca. 175 BCE. But the Parables are likely 2nd century CE.

It's more difficult to date the Parables [Wisdom of Solomon]. Some give it a 2nd century BCE date whereas others say first century CE.

All the best.

Duncan said...

Vermes in "christian beginnings" gives an estimate of 50BCE for Wisdom of Solomon but does not explicitly state his authority.

Edgar Foster said...

The Dictionary of the Old Testament (edited by Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns dates the work ca. 100 BC-50 AD (second century BC-first century AD). This date would be within the range assigned by Vermes.

Edgar Foster said...

See pages 885ff of the work edited by Longman and Enns.