Methods in biblical scholarship

Moshe Shulman mshulman at
Sun Dec 26 21:23:23 EST 1999

At 11:18 PM 12/26/1999 +0100, Niels Peter Lemche wrote:
>> > >and also how a recently written book
>> > >could become accepted as ancient scripture. (Yes, I know that there
>> > >are demonstrably pseudonymous books from Hellenistic times e.g. Enoch, 
>> > >but they were never taken as canonical.)
>>         [Niels Peter Lemche]
>>         The is blatantly wrong...
>> PK: Yes, but not for the reason you think. My meaning was "they were 
>> never taken as canonical in the Jewish tradition", sorry for not 
>> making that clear. So I am more asia-centrist than eurocentrist. 
>> Meanwhile, is there evidence that Enoch was ever treated by Jews on 
>> the same level as the bulk of the Hebrew scriptures?
>	[Niels Peter Lemche]  
>	Jewish tradition. I think--my memory is fading--that even my old
>nestle of the NT included a reference to Henoch as scripture, so if this is
>the case, then certainl not only canonical books were considered scripture
>when that piece was composed. Again, the old argument. The way the
>manuscripts of the DSS collection were stored does not show any indication
>that any of the biblical books were in special regard in comparison to say
>Jubilees. Although Abg, Flint and Ulrich has been able to publish their
>first Bible' the DSS manuscripts do not point in the direction of a
>canonical biblical collection, so we are back to the rabbis.

Niels I think you are fudge=ing here. Jubelees is the only work where there
is apossibility of a claim to 'canon' status as it is the only non-Biblical
work quoted in sectarian works. But this is not a proof. The reason being
that there are commentaries on Biblical works from the Torah, prophets and
Psalms, but NONE on Jubelees. This means that at best a claim of 'special'
status can be made for Jubilees, below that of the Bible. (BTW certainly in
later Jewish tradition it is clear that non-canon works are considered in a
special status. I would consider the mishnah as an example.)

moshe shulman mshulman at    718-436-7705
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