Did Jews ever have a 'sola scriptura' theology


Sometimes some Protestants try to defend their pillars of faith, mainly Sola Scriptura by saying that Jews have always done that. How true is that? I’m pretty sure it’s a crock, but some get emotional about it. This is especially a kind of thing that many Messianics I’ve talked to defend, thought I’m sure it’s not mainstream in their theology.


In Pax Christi


I’m no expert, but all those prophets and revelations made ancient Judaism a fluid, changing faith. Sola Scriptura can only be plausible (even if still false) in a faith where the revelation has ceased. So it seems that in the period leading up to the coming of the Messiah, Judaism was the furthest thing from sola Scriptura possible.


I thought the same thing, considering the fact they didn’t even have a solid canon until after Christ’s ascension.

In Pax Christi


Note that the Saducees used Deuteronomy 4:2

You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it; that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

as the reason to use only the first five books as Scripture. I think they rejected all development from that.

This seems to parallel those who use Revelation 22:18-19

I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,

19] and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

to reject Tradition.



I am not a jew, but yes i believe the ‘’ Karaite ‘’ Jews believe in the Torah alone without the Talmud .


Best regards



I would tend to agree with this statement. I would also add that the oral Torah, especially prior to being committed to writing, made Judaism even more flueant and evolving. Judaism is a long conversation between sages of different centuries that really does not end. Scripture is the springboard, not the wall.


I don’t think the Saducees rejected other books, such as prophets, psalms, etc., although they only considered the five books of moses as being authorative and they rejected (I think) the oral Torah. But other than the Karites, I don’t know of any tradition in Judaism that did not rely on the Tanakh and the Oral Torah.


We see in the Old Testament the pattern of the hierarchical authority.( As actually in the New Testament too.)
The appointed by God leaders had to lead the ‘‘Old Testament Church’’ ( if it can be described by this term) in moral and spiritual unity.
God never ordains anyone to start the reformed movement , under the banner of Sola Torah.


Hi Andrew, I am both protestant and have a Jewish background. One need only read about “wisdom of the rabbis” to know that Bible Alone is an unknown concept in Judaism. One can make a case for Torah as primary authority, but that case would recognize the concept of wisdom among the rabis.

The Wisdom of the Rabbis

Hillel said, “What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbor – that is the whole Torah, while the rest is the commentary thereof. Now, go and study it.”



The World and Wisdom of the Rabbis of the Talmud: The Sages by Ephraim E. Urbach
Author(s) of Review: L. E. Goodman
Philosophy East and West, Vol. 39, No. 2 (Apr., 1989), pp. 225-226



I think there were those in ancient Judaism that came close to, if not actually adhering to an idea that can be described as Sola Scriptura. And Jesus condemned them for it.

And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent. You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:37-40)


Here is an excerpt to support my thinking on this matter; although I am not a scholar nor a professor of theology, I have studied: From evidence in the New Testament, it is obvious that the Jews had a canon—a group of accepted scriptures—that included the Law and the Prophets (see Matthew 5:17-18; 7:12; 11:13; 22:40; Luke 16:16-17; John 1:45; Acts 13:15; 24:14; 28:23; Romans 3:21). In one passage, Jesus mentioned the Law, the Prophets, and Psalms (part of the Writings) together (Luke 24:44), showing that at some point before the time of Christ, the Jews had codified a group of literature into Scripture. History supports this view. Flavius Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, wrote (c. A.D. 90) of twenty-two books “which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine….” Five of these were written by Moses (the Torah), thirteen books were written between Moses and Artaxerxes, King of Persia (the Prophets and part of the Writings using a different order and enumeration), and four books contained hymns and moral precepts (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon) [Against Apion, 1:38-40]" apologeticspress.org/articles/1972

Just a christian…devoted in brotherly love…

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