Enoch and the Canon; was: Re: Nachmanides - Scapegoat

Jonathan D. Safren yonsaf at beitberl.ac.il
Wed Jun 13 03:45:31 EDT 2001

I doubt it.  Ramban woul have adhered to the Rabbinical dictum as set forth inTalmud Bavli, Bava Batra 14b-15a.
Jonathan D. Safren
Dept. of Biblical Studies
Beit Berl College
44905 Israel 
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Bearpecs at aol.com 
  To: Biblical Hebrew 
  Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2001 12:29 AM
  Subject: Enoch and the Canon; was: Re: Nachmanides - Scapegoat

  In a message dated 6/12/01 10:00:51 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
  info at valediction.com writes: 

    So, long story short, I wouldn't be surprised if the Ramban considered Enoch 
    part of the Holy Writ as well.

  It is inconceivable that Ramban (Nachmanides) considered Enoch to be part of 
  the canon in opposition to mainstream rabbinic practice.  Why should anyone 
  think that because he quotes from a book there is an implication of 
  canonicity?  He quotes Rashi also, and no one suggests that he considered 
  Rashi to be part of the canon. 
  But of course, by "Holy Writ" you may not be referring to the canon as such 
  but simply as writings inspired by G-d, in which case I can agree that it's 
  possible he considered Enoch to have some degree of divine inspiration.  But 
  it is equally possible that he considered Enoch to be secular but reliable.   
  Just as The Book of the Wars of Y-HWH etc. were quoted in the Torah but were 
  not considered holy. 

  This quotation is from _Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their True Meaning 
  for Judaism and Christianity_ by Lawrence H. Schiffman (p. 162): 
  Although it is widely held that soon after the destruction of the Temple the 
  Rabbis held a canonical convention at the rabbinical academy at Yavneh 
  (Jamnia), on the coast south of what is today Tel Aviv, the textual evidence 
  does not support that claim.  In fact, the final catalog of the biblical 
  collection was fixed except for those few books of the Writings, the late 
  date of which left them in question.  Thus, the Rabbis debated only about a 
  few books, namely, Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes, and perhaps Esther.   
  Because mishnaic Judaism had already inherited a tradition, predating the 
  Yavnean period and ordaining which books were part of the biblical canon, the 
  Rabbis at Yavneh had only to makes a few final rulings to complete the 
  corpus.  And even for this rather limited agenda there is no evidence that 
  any such meeting ever took place at Yavneh. 
  /end quotation 

  From the same book (pp. 167-168) regarding Qumran specifically: 
  We can also attack the issue of canonicity from another direction.  Much 
  ancient and medieval Jewish literature was composed by the reuse of materials 
  found in the canonical Scriptures. ...  Only texts accorded such canonical 
  status served as the raw material for new sacred compositions. ...  At Qumran 
  all the biblical books, that is, those in our canon of the Hebrew Bibles, are 
  used in this way, but such is not the case with any other books.  Therefore, 
  it is highly probable that the biblical canon at Qumran was the same as that 
  of the later Rabbis." 
  /end quotation 
  Schiffman discusses Enoch texts from Qumran at length on pages 182-185. 
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