Monday, February 13, 2012


A draft program for the SECSOR 2012 meeting in Atlanta next month is now available. I see that my paper is scheduled for the very first session, Friday, March 2, 6-8pm.

I'm presenting the paper in the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament section of the SBL part of SECSOR, and the paper's title is: "The End of the Bible? The Position of Chronicles in the Canon." It's related to my on-going research on the saying of Jesus in Matt. 23:35 (// Luke 11:51) regarding the blood of Zechariah and its relation to the canonical shape of the Tanakh in the first century. Last year at SECSOR (in Louisville) I read a paper to the NT section on that topic.

(Once upon a time, I started a series on this topic, but, of course, I never finished it, or even continued it. The series consists of one post.)

Here's the abstract for my paper this year.

"The End of the Bible? The Position of Chronicles in the Canon"

Scholars have argued for the ‘originality’ of the position of Chronicles at the end of the canon based on both external and internal considerations. The internal considerations entail identification of various ‘closure phenomena’ that allegedly indicate that Chronicles either was written for the purpose of concluding the scriptural canon or was redacted for that purpose (cf. Georg Steins, Stephen Dempster, etc.). The external evidence (most comprehensively presented by Roger Beckwith) includes the Talmudic order of books (b. B. Bathra 14b), various Masoretic manuscripts, and a particular dominical statement preserved in the double tradition of the Synoptic Gospels (Matt. 23:35 // Lk. 11:51). This paper argues that none of this evidence can be considered compelling. The external evidence—especially Patristic lists of Old Testament books, including many that have an explicit concern for the Jewish number and order; and the best Masoretic manuscripts, including the Aleppo Codex and the Leningrad Codex—weighs decidedly against an ‘original’ location of Chronicles at the end. The internal indications for the concluding position of Chronicles too closely resemble many other types of biblical intertextuality perceptible in other books to warrant the conclusion that for Chronicles they require a place at the end of the Bible. The paper also explores the meaning of canonical ‘order’ in a pre-codex society, as well as the origins and reception of various canonical arrangements.

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