Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tobit and the Restoration of Israel

I've been re-familiarizing myself with Tobit lately, and on a read-through I found the northern Israelite diaspora context of the story intriguing and noticed some passages that predict the return of those northern Israelites from captivity (esp. Tob. 13:5). And so I was excited to read Richard Bauckham's essay "Tobit as a Parable for the Exiles of Northern Israel" in Studies in the Book of Tobit: A Multidisciplinary Approach, ed. Mark Bredin (New York: T&T Clark, 2006), 140-64.

Bauckham has done good work in this essay comparing the misfortunes of Tobit and Sarah to those of northern Israel, so that the Book of Tobit is in some sense a "parable" of Israel. He also is able to establish the book's strong anticipation of the return from exile of the northern tribes. This is all in the first half of the essay (pp. 140-54).

However, Bauckham then shifts his focus to the intended audience of the the book, and argues at length that the audience is these exiled northern tribes. Actually, the problem I see is that he does not argue this precisely, he merely assumes it, but rather he argues for the existence of the northern tribes as a distinct people in exile so that they can then serve as the audience for Tobit.

I suppose he has done an adequate job at the task he set for himself. Whereas almost all scholars assume that the ten northern tribes, not long after their exile by the Assyrians, assimilated into the cultures of those among whom they now lived, thus ceasing to be a distinct people, Bauckham argues that this was not necessarily the case. He can cite some evidence:
  1. The Israelite exile involved numbers of exiles large enough to maintain distinctiveness in a foreign culture.
  2. A hope for returned Israel is expressed in some of the biblical prophets (Jeremiah, Ezekiel, later parts of Isaiah, Zechariah, deutero-Zechariah). 
  3. There are some theophoric names referring to YHWH in Assyrian texts continuing until around 600 BCE. 
  4. Josephus and others locate the northern Israelites still in Media and thereabouts (Ant. 11.131-33). 
  5. In Rabbinic times there were still Jews in this area, and they were probably actually descendants of the northern tribes. 
Okay, obviously I haven't done justice to Bauckham's argument or the evidence he cites (of which there is a couple more pieces in his essay). But that's because I have a problem with the prior assumption. Why should it be the case that a document expressing hope in the return of the northern Israelites should be written specifically for those northern Israelites?

The only texts that Bauckham is able to cite that do express hope for the return of the northern tribes are Judean texts (the aforementioned prophets), as Bauckham recognizes (pp. 156-57). Doesn't this prove that (some) Judeans harbored the hope for the return of those northern tribes as fellow-worshipers once again of their shared God in a shared Temple in Jerusalem? After all, the Judean prophets predicted precisely this, and the disappearance or, at least, non-return of the northern tribes would surely have presented to the Second Temple Jews--who had experienced their own exile and return--a grave theological problem regarding the justice and faithfulness of their God.

It seems to me that Tobit would work well as a text composed for Second Temple Jews in Judah who wondered about the faithfulness of their God because their own return from exile had not been nearly so glorious as the prophets had advertised, partially because the northern tribes had not returned at all. In this perspective, Tobit would have been written to assure Judeans (not exiled northern Israelites) that God would be faithful to his promises to restore the Israelite exiles and thus re-unite all the tribes, presumably under one leader and in one kingdom.

The Temptation of Jesus in Isaiah 14

My three-year-old son receives a nice packet of songs and a memory verse each month from his Sunday School teachers. For April, the packet begins with these words:
During the month of April, we will be studying about the Temptations of Jesus. The lessons are in Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; and Luke 4:1-13.
Upon first reading this I was quite surprised by that first listed passage. Should I be bothered that my son's Sunday School teachers somehow are able to get a lesson about the "Temptation of Jesus" from Isaiah 14?

Well, I think I actually like it. I assume they're talking about the origins of Satan, and while I think there is nothing of Satan in Isaiah 14, much Christian tradition says there is. So, at the very least, they're relying on Christian tradition and grounding my son in it. But, also, they've found how to make a little-read section of the Bible relevant (sort of) to a three-year-old. Even if I would disagree with the interpretation, at least they're exposing him to a variety of scripture. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On the Samaritans

There's a recent article in Der Spiegel on the Samaritans. I read a good bit of the article last week and found it informative in regard to some features of the modern Samaritans and their history within the last century. I thought of linking to it here, but there are so many weird bits in it--the article takes the Samaritan view of history as correct in opposition to the Jewish view reported in the Hebrew Bible. Just read the article and you'll see what I mean.

Anyway, I didn't want to link to the article without providing some commentary, which I was not prepared to write at the time. But now Jim Davila has done the hard work. He has provided extensive commentary to the article, noting all the dubious points and correcting them. So, now I feel good about telling you to read the original article for its information about modern Samaritans, and read Davila's notes to the article to learn more about the ancient Samaritans.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How I Chose a Topic for My Book

I mentioned last week that my book is now officially published. Amazon still has it available for pre-order only, but you can go ahead and order it from Brill. I'm sure you'll want your own copy, and at only $171, what a steal! At least I know that someone is looking forward to reading it.

So, where did the idea for the book come from? That's the subject of this and the following posts. I plan on giving a general introduction here, and then doing individual posts on the three words in the subtitle of the book (canon, language, text), exploring how my thoughts on these three topics developed in the course of my research, and what contribution I think my book makes in these areas. And then I might have a final post with some concluding reflections on the publication process.

The first thing to know is that the book was originally my dissertation completed in 2010 at Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati) under Adam Kamesar and Richard Sarason. So, the original thought was geared toward completing a PhD and not really for publication. Here's how my experience went.

At HUC, the doctoral program requires three years of course work, then comprehensive exams, then dissertation proposal, then dissertation. Students usually take a year to study for the exams, so there's usually four years in which the student must be in residence. Also, that's how long the graduate stipend lasts. At the end of four years in Cincinnati (in 2006), I had completed my comps and had a job offer from Heritage Christian University, so I brought my wife and 2-year-old daughter to Florence, Alabama, so I could begin teaching. At that point, I really had no clue what to write a dissertation on, though I knew it would be something in the "Kamesar" area--Greco-Latin biblical interpretation.

I decided during the Fall of 2006 (while I was beginning my teaching duties) that I would pick a Greek text and start reading and see if something occurred to me. And it worked! The first text I chose was the correspondence between Julius Africanus and Origen (text of Africanus' letter and of Origen's reply). Why did I choose this text? Because I owned a copy--I had bought the Source chrétienne edition (by Nicholas de Lange) in 2003 when I took a class on Origen under Dr. Kamesar. As soon as I got to the tenth paragraph (according to de Lange's divisions; the sixth paragraph in the link above) of Origen's letter, something struck me as interesting. Origen seemed to be agreeing with Africanus that composition in the Hebrew language was a valid criterion by which to judge the canonicity of an OT document. I had not expected Origen to say that. Moreover, I saw that de Lange was interpreting Origen's comments differently from the way I read them, and I was pretty sure I was right. That was the spark.

I outlined some thoughts for Dr. Kamesar in an email, and we talked on the phone about them. I went through several drafts of a dissertation proposal, which was finally accepted in April 2008. By that time I had already written probably 70 pages of the text. I was more-or-less finished with the whole thing by early Fall 2009, but final tweaks took me into Spring 2010, when I graduated.

In the next post, I'll talk about the issue of the OT canon in the early church, the approach my book takes to the issue, and what contribution it makes to the discussion.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Noah Webster and American Spelling

Today Garrison Keillor (Writer's Almanac) reminds us of what an impact Noah Webster had on the spelling of American English. Excerpt:
So in 1783, he published the first part of his three-part A Grammatical Institute, of the English Language; the first section was eventually retitled The American Spelling Book, but usually called by the nickname "Blue-Backed Speller." The Blue-Backed Speller taught American children the rules of spelling, and it simplified words — it was Webster who took the letter "u" out of English words like colour and honour; he took a "g" out of waggon, a "k" off the end of musick, and switched the order of the "r" and "e" in theatre and centre.
Keillor is talking about Webster because it was on April 14, 1828, that the first edition of An American Dictionary of the English Language was published. Of course, he also mentions that on this date in 1865 Lincoln was assassinated and in 1912 the Titanic struck the iceberg. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Book Is Out!

As I returned from lunch and picked up my mail at school, my six copies of Hebrew Scripture in Patristic Biblical Theory: Canon, Language, Text (Brill, 2012) were waiting for me. The Brill webpage has now changed its status from "forthcoming" to "new title", so it is officially out! (Amazon still says "May 2012".)

The six copies are the total amount that I receive from Brill, other than that I now get an author discount on Brill books, which is a pretty nice benefit. Now I've got to figure out who should receive one of my copies as a gift.

I think later on--later in the week, perhaps, or next week--I'll do a post or two about my book, how I got the idea to work on this topic, and where my research led me. It was originally a dissertation done at Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati) under Adam Kamesar and Richard Sarason. They both get copies. :)

New Septuagint Books

Today, T.M. Law announces the commencement of a new project--The Oxford Handbook to the Septuagint, to be edited by himself and Alison Salvesen. He says the book will include nearly 50 chapters by different specialists and will take a thematic approach. The completion date is 2015/6. I'm sure it will be a great resource both for myself and my students.

Law compares this book to another one being edited by James K. Aitken--The T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint. This one takes a look at the Septuagint translations book-by-book, with different scholars writing on each biblical book. You can look at the T&T Clark webpage for a list of authors. (I'm glad to see that Amazon is giving a steep discount.) I first heard about this book a few years ago, and apparently we'll just have to wait a few more months for its appearance. The projected publication date is Sept. 13 of this year. This will be a really useful book, I'm sure, so I'm excited that the time of its appearing is at hand!

One more forthcoming book on the LXX I'll mention: Salvesen and Law have also co-edited a volume called Greek Scripture and the Rabbis (Peeters). I'm familiar with a couple of the contributions to this volume, as their authors have graciously allowed me to read pre-published versions of their papers, and they are excellent. I even cite one of them--by Willem Smelik on Justinian's Nov. 146--in my own forthcoming book, though apparently I have given the book the wrong title. I call it Greek Scriptures rather than Scripture. Anyway, I see the cover of the book on the right side of Law's blog, but I cannot find it yet on Amazon or Peeters' website. One of the fascinating aspects of LXX study is its reception in rabbinic literature (cf. esp. b. Meg. 9a). I have not encountered a truly satisfying account of how the Rabbis felt about the LXX, so I look forward with great anticipation to seeing the entire contents of this volume.

Each of these books will be extremely helpful, and I can hardly wait to get my hands on them.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Upcoming Projects

Whew, glad to be done with the order of the Hagiographa. (I bet you are, too!) Well, I'm not really done with it, but no need to post anything else on it for a while. I got what I needed out of the series. Time to turn to other things. Here's what I'll be working on over the next several months.

(1) I'll continue to give consideration to Chronicles' position within the canon. I haven't quite polished my paper on that to a point where I'm happy with it.

(2) Jerome's translation of Tobit and Judith will occupy my attention over the next several weeks as I prepare a paper for the NAPS conference upcoming at the end of May.

(3) I'll also be doing some research on Jerome's translations of both Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah for a small role that I'll be playing in an exciting project about which I'll probably have more to say later in the year.

(4) One of the papers I'll present at this year's SBL meeting in November concerns the term 'apocrypha' in Latin writers of the fourth and fifth centuries (abstract). I'm looking forward to doing more research on that.

(5) The other paper I'll present at the SBL covers patristic interpretation of Matt. 23:35 // Lk. 11:51 (abstract). This arises from my interest in the position of Chronicles within the canon, or rather, perhaps the reverse is the case. At any rate, the Fathers never related Matt. 23:35 to the contours of the Hebrew Bible, for several reasons, one of which is that many of them did not see the name "Zechariah" in 2Chron. 24:20-22. They instead saw the name "Azariah" in their LXX.

(6) I need to do start putting together some notes on the early Christian canon lists. I've mentioned a desire to blog through the canon lists of the first four centuries CE. This would help me with a project that I've had in mind for some time.

(7) The last chapter of my forthcoming book deals with the way ancient Jewish and Christians thought about the text of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. I would like to continue to research this.

That's all I can think of right now. Should be fun!

The Sequence of the Hagiographa (Part 3)

The first post in this series (part 1 and part 2) presented the three dominant arrangements for the Hagiographa attested in Jewish/Hebrew sources: (1) the "Traditionally Printed Sequence," (2) the "Aleppo-Leningrad Sequence," and (3) the "Talmudic Sequence." The main differences among these orders are:
The Traditionally Printed Sequence arranges the Five Megilloth according to the calendrical order of the festivals to which they are attached, and it ends with Chronicles.

The Aleppo-Leningrad Sequence arranges the Five Megilloth in chronological order and begins with Chronicles.

The Talmudic Sequence does not group the Five Megilloth together at all, but rather begins with Ruth and ends with Chronicles.
I have discussed previously the views of some scholars that the Talmudic Sequence is the "original" and "true" order of the Hagiographa (see esp. here, here, and here). In this post I simply want to point out what I regard as some of the faulty reasoning behind this view, especially in regard to its presentation by Roger Beckwith.

(1) Beckwith rules out the Aleppo-Leningrad Sequence as being early mainly because it groups the Five Megilloth together (see his book, pp. 202-3, 210). He says this would not have happened before the tenth century, when these five books were each attached to particular festivals (see here). Now, we have evidence for the attachment of four of the Megilloth to festivals by the eighth century in tractate Sopherim (Beckwith, p. 202), but our earliest evidence for the attachment of Qoheleth to Sukkot, according to Beckwith, are the Tiberian manuscripts that group the Megilloth together. But, can we actually consider the grouping of these books together to be evidence for the liturgical use of them at Festivals?

Well, not everyone thinks so. A few years ago I met Timothy J. Stone (PhD 2011, St. Andrews) at a conference and heard him present part of his dissertation (which, apparently, will be published by Mohr Siebeck; see here for a summary), in which he argued, in part, that the grouping of the Megilloth in manuscripts precedes their attachment to five festivals. This is from the summary of Stone's dissertation:
The grouping of the Megilloth in the Masoretic tradition is probably not the result of liturgical practices within Judaism, as is commonly thought, which leaves room to re-examine the antiquity of this order.
Indeed, I recall his saying that the grouping in manuscripts of these five books may have led to their joint liturgical use at festivals, rather than the reverse. I have noted before that the link between Qoheleth and Sukkot, especially, is tenuous without any definite explanation. It may be the case that Qoheleth needed to find a festival to accompany since it was already grouped with four other books that themselves had found festivals for their liturgical use.

This would mean that Beckwith too easily dismisses the Aleppo-Leningrad Sequence based on its being 'liturgical' and thus late, evidenced by the grouping of the Five Megilloth. Beckwith says:
The earliest known manuscripts to reflect this development are the influential manuscripts produced at Tiberias in the tenth century [...]. (p. 210)
Ah, well, that is late--tenth century. Wow. Please, Prof. Beckwith, tell us about all the many manuscripts before this time that do not group the Five Megilloth.
If one discounts the Dead Sea Scrolls (which largely antedate the combination of different biblical books in a single manuscript [...]), extant Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible begin in the tenth century AD [...]. (p. 198)
Wait a second! So, what Beckwith should have said on p. 210 is that "the earliest known manuscripts reflect this development [i.e., the grouping of the Five Megilloth]." We have no relevant manuscript evidence before the tenth century. So of course that is the earliest manuscript evidence for the grouping of the Megilloth. 

(2) I mentioned in an earlier post in this series that Beckwith catalogs 70 different orders for the Hagiographa in his second appendix (pp. 452-64). By thus eliminating all "liturgical" orders (those that group the Five Megilloth) from being considered "early" or "original", he eliminates 39 of these orders. He also wisely eliminates what he calls "anomalous" orders, numbering seven, and ten "literary" orders that "seem only to occur in a single manuscript of relatively late date (fourteenth or fifteenth century)" (p. 210). We are thus left with 15 orders that are possibly "early", which Beckwith defines as prior to our earliest complete biblical manuscripts (tenth century; p. 211).

These possibly early orders for the Hagiographa include:

(a) The Talmudic Sequence, attested in b. B. Bathra 14b, and a few other sources, detailed in the first post in this series. The earliest is, of course, the Talmud, and one of the other sources is perhaps as early as the eleventh century, according to Beckwith.

(b) Five other orders listed on p. 452, and orders XIII, XIV, and XVII on p. 454, all of which, similarly to the Talmudic Sequence, begin with Ruth and end with Chronicles. The earliest source here is twelfth century. Most are thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

(c) Order XIX on p. 455, which runs: Daniel, Ezra-Neh., Chron., Ruth, Esther, Psalms, Job, Prov., Qoh., Song, Lam. The source is a thirteenth-century Italian manuscript.

(d) Order XXI on p. 455, beginning with Ruth and ending with Chronicles. The source is thirteenth century.

(e) Order XXII on p. 455, beginning with Chronicles and ending with Ezra-Neh. The sources are twelfth and thirteenth century manuscripts.

(f) The orders of Jerome and Josephus on p. 457.

The point is all of the manuscript evidence for these orders deemed early by Beckwith is at least a century later than our manuscript evidence for the supposedly late "liturgical" orders contained in the Aleppo and Leningrad codices.

(3) The statement by Jesus (Matt. 23:35 // Lk. 11:51) that all righteous blood from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah--perhaps the Zechariah of 2 Chron. 24:20-22--would be required of his own generation of Jews is interpreted by Beckwith and many others as indicating that in Jesus' day the canon ended with Chronicles. Thus, Jesus would be saying that all the righteous blood in the whole Bible, from Genesis (Abel) to Chronicles (Zechariah), would be required of his generation. The most significant argument against this view is this article by H.G.L. Peels in ZAW 2001.

(4) I don't see that Beckwith ever addresses the reason that Chronicles is put at the head of the Hagiographa in some sequences that group the Megilloth. Is there supposedly some relationship to the grouped Megilloth and the opening position of Chronicles? At any rate, it seems to me that Chronicles makes a fine introduction to the third section of the Hebrew Bible, just as it also makes a fine conclusion. I don't see that either one of these options can claim originality or correctness. 

Finally, at the end of the day, I just don't see that the order of books is really very important. I intimated some of my views on this here. The variety of orders do show that people wanted to find a suitable arrangement for the Hagiographa, but they also show that apparently no single arrangement commended itself as the authoritative sequence. Beckwith cites some twelfth century Jewish authors (Mishael ben Uzziel and Joseph of Constantinople; p. 201) as indicating that the Aleppo-Leningrad sequence was the proper one, but apparently a lot of scribes copying Masoretic manuscripts felt free to alter this order. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

SBL 2012 Apocrypha Paper Accepted

I just received the notification of the acceptance of my paper proposal for the section Function of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha in Early Judaism and Early Christianity. Previously I noted a paper I'll present in the Greek Bible section. Here's the abstract for this second paper.

Writings Labelled “Apocrypha” in Latin Sources of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries
Modern scholars speak regularly of the canonical books and the apocrypha, and sometimes trace the modern (Catholic and Protestant) distinctions between these classifications to the fourth century. This paper will examine the use of the term apocrypha in the crucial fourth century among Latin writers, also carrying the investigation into the early-fifth century. Our first finding will be that few Latin writers of this period use the term apocrypha very frequently. It appears rarely or never in the works of Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose of Milan, Ambrosiaster, Rufinus of Aquileia, Priscillian, and Pelagius. On the other hand, Jerome (39x) and Augustine (21x) use the word much more often. We will investigate the reception of the works labelled apocrypha by all of these Latin writers. Which works receive this designation? Does this term carry positive or negative connotations for each Latin author? Even when an author uses the term pejoratively, does he still allow for some useful material in the work so labelled? Do these Latin authors agree with each other concerning which works should be considered apocrypha, and do they agree with their Greek and Latin predecessors in this judgment? Our examination will reveal a variety of possible nuances in the word and a variety of works branded by the designation. We will especially seek to clarify why some authors choose the term apocrypha to categorize certain works that would not be classified in the same way by other authors.
This research continues some of the themes from my paper on Jerome's view of the apocrypha, to be published in the next issue of JECS

The Sequence of the Hagiographa (Part 2)

Last time I looked at the three major sequences for the Hagiographa attested in Hebrew/Jewish sources--the "Traditionally Printed Sequence," the "Aleppo-Leningrad Sequence," and the "Talmudic Sequence." In this post I will look briefly at the order of books attested in Greek/Christian sources and how Roger Beckwith eliminates them from consideration in his discussion of what order of books was 'original' (see here for more on all that).

Actually, there has been somewhat of a change of plans about how this post will go. I originally intended to provide some detailed information about some of the Greek lists (especially those of Melito and Origen; see Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 4.26.12-14 and 6.25.1-2, respectively). But that ended up taking too long, so I've decided to finish up this series on the Hagiographa first, and then blog my way through each of the Greek and Latin canon lists from the first four centuries CE (and include maybe one or two from the early fifth century). If I actually follow through with this plan, it will take quite a while, but it will also be a good exercise for me.

So, now back to the Hagiographa in the Greek sources. Actually, there isn't really a category of "Hagiographa" in Greek sources--the OT canon is arranged differently from the tripartite Jewish canon. A few years ago, I surveyed the Christian canon lists from the first four centuries CE in this post, and I especially drew attention to those that numbered the OT books as 22. I didn't really talk about the order of books then, though. But, the order in these Christian sources is similar to what we are familiar with in the English Bible. That's because the order in these lists apparently set the agenda for the way to order books in Greek codices (LXX), which set the agenda for Latin codices, which set the agenda for English Bibles. Of course, the sequence of books presented by any two Fathers will almost invariably diverge somewhat, sometimes quite a lot, but in the first post in this series I noted that Beckwith surveys 70 different orders for the Hagiographa in Jewish sources, so we should not exaggerate the significance of this variation in Christian sources. The fact is that the Christian sources are fairly consistent in the 'big picture' on the order of books.

But, do these Christian lists reflect Jewish sources? Well, some of them say they do. For instance, Melito of Sardis says that he has traveled 'to the east' (i.e., Palestine) to obtain his list (Beckwith, 184-85, thinks he has consulted Christians), and he explicitly says that he is concerned with the 'order' (τάξις) of books, though there are definitely some problems with the order he presents (like putting Numbers before Leviticus). Origen explicitly says that he is presenting the 22 books "according to the Hebrews" (see Sundberg, pp. 134-38). There is also the "Bryennios List" of books from Codex Hierosolymitanus 54 that probably derives from a Jewish source.

If we are to believe this account, then we would have, on the one hand, ancient attestation for a tripartite canon of scripture known as the Tanak, but, on the other hand, other ancient attestation for a completely different Jewish order of the OT books. I think this is exactly the way it was, and I'm certainly not the only one. Even someone like Brevard Childs--who thinks that OT scholars ought to use the tripartite structure of the Hebrew canon in their canonical approaches to the Hebrew Bible (see pp. 666-67 of his Introduction)--even he recognizes that the tripartite structure was not universal among Jews in the centuries surrounding the turn of the era (same reference, but see also p. 53). A position similar to that of Childs is reflected in Steinberg (this book, p. 87) and Steins (this book, pp. 516-17) and others. One should also consult ch. 5 of the new book by David Carr.

However, Beckwith will have none of this. He will not allow that any Greek Christian list of OT books authentically reflects Jewish sources. Why? Because none of them (save for Jerome's list) divides the books into the three categories of the Tanak. Seriously, that's the reason. I have previously noted that Beckwith attributes this threefold arrangement and sequence to Judas Maccabeus in 164 BCE. Now, before 164 BCE, Beckwith thinks there were two categories called the Law and the Prophets (see, e.g., p. 163), but apparently from that time on every Jew throughout the world gave up the bipartite structure and immediately adopted Judas' new tripartite structure.

And so Beckwith can say things like this:
Up to the first century AD, the desire to adopt such arrangements of the books [i.e., mingling the Prophets and Hagiographa together, as in the Greek lists] seems to have been restrained by the force of Jewish tradition: only Josephus [...] gives cautious expression to it. (p. 182)
One may wonder who besides Josephus attests anything like an order of books "up to the first century AD." I can't think of anyone. But Beckwith is convinced that all Jews between Judas and Josephus would have unequivocally adhered to the tripartite canon of Baba Bathra.

Or again:
Melito's regrouping of the Prophets and Hagiographa in four categories is alone sufficient to defeat his purpose of reproducing the authentic 'order' [...]. (p. 184)
[...] there is one respect in which Origen's list resembles Melito's, that it regroups the Prophets and Hagiographa in four categories [...]. This is a characteristically Christian arrangement, which Origen does not claim to have found among the Jews, and which in all probability had a different source. Hence, whatever we may learn about the Jewish canon from Origen's list, we learn nothing from it about the Jewish structure or about the Jewish order of books. (pp. 186-87)
Epiphanius and his sources pursue chronology without regard to the distinction between the Prophets and Hagiographa, and each of his lists intermingles them, thus demonstrating that his orders are not Jewish. (p. 188)
J. P. Audet, who first published the Bryennios text [JTS 1.2 (1950): 135-54], claimed that it was a Jewish list of the first or second century. However, since it mixes the Prophets and Hagiographa indiscriminately together, it must be of Christian rather than Jewish authorship [...]. (p. 188)

So, for Beckwith, unless the order corresponds to the tripartite arrangement of the Tanak, it cannot be Jewish. If it mixes the Prophets and Hagiographa, it cannot be Jewish. No Jew would do that!

Maccabees in Hebrew Manuscripts?

As I'm working on Beckwith's views concerning the sequence of the Hagiographa (see here and follow the links back), I have come across a strange statement, which I find that I underlined once upon a time. In the context of discussing Origen's canon list (in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 6.25.1-2), which includes a statement at the end about how Maccabees is outside of the books (ἔξω δὲ τούτων ἐστὶ τὰ Μακκαβαϊκά), Beckwith says the following:
[...] Origen is not including Maccabees among the 22 books, which one would not expect him to do, since there is no evidence that Maccabees was ever reckoned canonical by the Jews (though it sometimes appears as an appendix at the end of Hebrew biblical manuscripts, much as it does at the end of Origen's list) [...]
The statement I find strange is the one in parentheses. Surely Beckwith is not familiar with Hebrew biblical manuscripts that include Maccabees (any of them) as an appendix. Though 1Maccabees was originally written in Hebrew, nothing of this original Hebrew survives. Even Wikipedia knows that. Beckwith gives no endnote to substantiate his claim, which in itself is sort of odd, because he's pretty free with the endnotes in his book.

Is Beckwith perhaps thinking about Jerome's comment in his Preface to Samuel and Kings (the Prologus Galeatus), where he says Macchabeorum primum librum hebraicum repperi (p. 365, lines 55-56 in the Stuttgart Vulgate, ed. Weber and Gryson)? Jerome does not say where he has found 1Maccabees in Hebrew, but perhaps Beckwith surmised that it must have been at the end of a Hebrew biblical manuscript.

What else might he have been thinking?

UPDATE: I should have given the page number to Beckwith's book. It's p. 186.

The Sequence of the Hagiographa (Part 1)

This post starts a series, but it also continues a theme on this blog. I have recently been posting on the sequence of the Hagiographa (a.k.a., the Ketuvim, a.k.a., the Writings = third section of Hebrew Bible) in printed Hebrew Bibles (here and here), and before that I looked at how Roger Beckwith argues that the order of the Hagiographa in b. B. Bathra 14b derives from Judas Maccabeus in 164 BCE. Before that I did a couple posts on whether there is any hermeneutical significance to the order of the Hagiographa (1 and 2).

In this post and the next couple, I'm going to look at ch. 5 in Beckwith's book, which chapter is titled "The Order of the Canonical Books" (pp. 181-222, with notes on pp. 222-34). What I am really interested in is how Beckwith knows that the order of b. B. Bathra 14b is the original order, when so many other orders are attested in ancient Jewish and Christian sources. In this post I'll survey the primary sequences attested in Hebrew sources that deserve discussion. In the next post I'll give some consideration to how Beckwith rules out all the Greek evidence for the sequence of books, and after that I'll look at how Beckwith eliminates all the Hebrew orders other than the one in Baba Bathra.

[I will mention here several times the columns in Beckwith's second appendix (pp. 450-64) where he has collected seventy different orders for the Hagiographa in manuscripts and other sources (and nine different orders for the Latter Prophets).]

As for Jewish sources, my posts on printed Hebrew Bibles have highlighted two major sequences for the Hagiographa, neither of which is the one mentioned in the Talmudic baraita. I'll call the order printed in early Hebrew Bibles and still today in the Jewish Study Bible and other places the "Traditionally Printed Sequence." I put spaces before and after the Five Megilloth just for convenience, to see them easily.

The Traditionally Printed Sequence (col. LIX of Beckwith's app. 2, p. 462)

Song of Songs

Beckwith says this sequence is found in a "defective" German manuscript of the thirteenth century (De-Rossi 379) and five early printed editions. Presumably he omits from consideration here those printed editions that actually do follow this sequence but extract the the Five Megilloth as a unit and place them after the Pentateuch (i.e., the first four editions of the Hebrew Bible, noted here). So, it doesn't have a whole lot of ancient authority, despite its popularity since printing. 

The other major order highlighted in that other post is the one familiar from BHK-3 and BHS, but it is not one I'll include in the three sequences I discuss here because it is not actually found in the Leningrad Codex, the base text for both BHK-3 and BHS. The order of these two editions of Biblica Hebraica is, to be sure, found in some Masoretic manuscripts (see col. LIV in Beckwith's app. 2, p. 461, where he notes that this sequence is found in, inter alia, some twelfth century Spanish manuscripts). But it is too similar to the "Traditionally Printed Sequence" to merit independent inclusion, so I'll discuss instead the actual order of the Leningrad Codex itself, which is the same as that found in the Aleppo Codex. I'll call this the "Aleppo-Leningrad Sequence". This will be reflected in the new BHQ, as I mentioned last time.

The Aleppo-Leningrad Sequence (col. XXXII of Beckwith's app. 2, p. 458)

Song of Songs

Beckwith says this sequence is found in:
Many MSS of C.10-15 [i.e., tenth-fifteenth centuries], esp. Spanish, but also Italian etc., including the following very early MSS: Aleppo Codex (defective, C.10? Tiberian?), Cairo Codex of Prophets (C.10? Tiberian?), Sassoon 1053 (C.10), Leningrad B 19a (C.11 Egyptian), 2 Firkovich 34 and 94 (both defective, C.11 Egyptian); and the following C.12 or 13 MSS: Harley 5710f., Earl of Leicester's Codex, Kennicott 31 and 682, Schiller Szinessy 13, Taschereau 105 (defective), Cassuto 9, Copenhagen 1; Ben Uzziel, Kitab al-Khilaf (C.12? Egyptian/Palestinian); Joseph of Constantinople, Adath Deborim (C.12?). (p. 458)
I find the question marks very interesting especially in relation to the Aleppo Codex. Is there a serious question about whether this manuscript is tenth century? I have consistently seen the date of about 925 CE given for this manuscript. The Aleppo Codex website gives the date "about 930". And is there really a question about whether it was produced in Tiberias?

The third order I'll note in this post is the one in the baraita of b. B. Bathra 14b. I have previously given the passage in full on this blog. Now I'll just list the books. I'll call this the "Talmudic Sequence".

The Talmudic Sequence (col. I of Beckwith's app. 2, p. 452)
Song of Songs
According to Beckwith, this sequence is found in the following sources:
Bab. Baba Bathra 14b (C.5-6 Babylonian); Anonymous Chronicle (Neubauer's no. 6, C.11? Italian?); Babylonian MSS Ec1 (or or. qu. 680, defective), Ec 19 (or Or. 2373, defective, C.13-14?); many MSS of C.12-15, Italian, German, Franco-German, Spanish, Yemenite, including the following C.12 MSS: Add. 21161, Kennicott 201 and 224, Schwarz 4, Modona 5b; Ben Uzziel, Kitab al-Khilaf (C.12? Egyptian/Palestinian); Joseph of Constantinople, Adath Deborim (C.12?). (p. 452)
So, now we have listed all three of the major orders for the Hagiographa attested in Jewish sources (leaving out of consideration, for now, Josephus, Against Apion, 1.37-43). Once again I'll note that Beckwith actually lists 70 different orders, so these three are in one sense just a drop in the bucket. On the other hand, these three sequences seem to be the most significant today, so I'm somewhat justified in limiting the discussion to just these.

But, of course, even the 70 different orders listed by Beckwith in his second appendix does not exhaust the arrangements for the OT books in antiquity. We haven't even touched on the arrangement reflected in Greek sources. We'll look at them next time.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Χριστός in the Old Testament

The Greek translations (LXX) of the (proto-)canonical Hebrew scriptures use the word χριστός 41 times. For your convenience, I list them here. Beware that the verse numbering will be that of the LXX, which will come into play especially in the psalms, where most of the psalms in the LXX are numbered one less than their counterparts in English Bibles.
Lev. 4:14, 16; 6:15; 21:10, 12
1Sam. 2:10, 35; 12:3, 5; 16:6; 24:7 (2x), 11; 26:9, 11, 16, 23
2Sam. 1:14, 16; 2:5; 19:22; 22:51; 23:1
1Chron. 16:22
2Chron. 6:42; 22:7
Psa. 2:2; 17:51; 19:7; 27:8; 83:10; 88:39, 52; 104:15; 131:10, 17
Amos 4:13
Hab. 3:13
Isa. 45:1
Lam. 4:20
Dan. 9:26
How many of these are quoted in the NT?

Psa 2:2 in Acts 4:25-26
(24) When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, "Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, (25) it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant: 'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? (26) The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers have gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.' (NRSV)
And that's it.

[This is according to the index of quotations in the UBS GNT (4th ed.). I have not checked for allusions.]

I don't know about you, but I find it somewhat surprising that for all the christological interpretations in the NT, only one NT passage quotes an OT passage that actually uses the term 'Christ'. I would have assumed there would be a little more of this, especially quotations of some of the psalms that use the word.

For an earlier post on a similar theme, see here.