The Hebrew Canon was "closed around 349 bce. and not other books were added."

Title quote by Tanakhanswers :slight_smile:

Hello,
This statement rises a couple of questions.

  1. Who knows more about the famous “Men of the Great Assembly” (Anshei Knesset HaGedolah)?
    Apparently, they canonized books and closed the canon long Before Jamnia did (if ever).

  2. So, what about Jamnia, knowing this?

Thanks :thumbsup:

Then why do they celebrate Chanakuh?

There is no scholarly consensus as to when the Hebrew Bible canon was fixed: some scholars argue that it was fixed by the Hasmonean dynasty, (Philip R. Davies in The Canon Debate, page 50: “With many other scholars, I conclude that the fixing of a canonical list was almost certainly the achievement of the Hasmonean dynasty.”) while others argue it was not fixed until the second century CE or even later. (McDonald & Sanders, The Canon Debate, 2002, page 5, cited are Neusner’s Judaism and Christianity in the Age of Constantine, pages 128–145, and Midrash in Context: Exegesis in Formative Judaism, pages 1–22.)

The only thing I know is that Tanakhanswers was talking about rabbinical/traditional/orthodox Judaism as authoritative.

The Midrash Kohelet lists the books as well, and it is supposedly right after the Second Temple’s construction was completed. It seems so, but this was only the Palestinian canon. Was it intended to bind every jewish believer?

BC not bce.

Hello Nelka,
No, no, Tanakhanswers said “after the construction of the Second Temple”. Which is right if you take the account in the Talmud and the tradition about this Great Assembly. However, I don’t see how it would apply to every Jew.

If the canon of the inspired scriptures (the written Word of God) were authoritatively set before Christ. Wouldn’t that mean there could be no futher inspired scriptures or revelation after that point?

I don’t kow for sure, because as we saw, a new and eternal covenant was given to us, sooo :smiley:
But from a jewish point of view, yes, i guess, every other book would be rejected.

If you read the Ecclesiastes Rabbah (or Midrasch Kohelet in my german version :o) you read

[12.12] “…because whoever brings into his house, more than the 24 books of the Bible, [he] brings confusion into his house, such as the book of Ben Sira and the book of Ben Tagla.”

Again, thess are rabbinical commentaries. I don’t think the Great Assembly could be understood as the Magisterium of their time.

You’re assuming Jamnia was a historical council. I am not certain there is enough evidence to establish such a council taking place. Someone raised the question that if the canon was already established wouldn’t that imply that Revelation from God had stopped?

Realize that Orthodox Jews do not accept Jesus to be the Messiah. That means the last major prophet would have ended with Malachi. I personally have found many of the answers of the Rabbi’s to only confuse me and my understanding of what my Christian faith teaches. So many of these things in our quest for Truth should never be divorced from prayer, Scripture, Holy Tradition and the sacraments. Allowing ourselves to become open to grace from Above. And then if God wills for that answer to be known, you will find it. If not that’s okay too. I am speaking quite a lot from my own personal experience and opinion here.

Do as I do and point out that BCE stands Before Christ Era.

I am not. Was my “(if ever)” unclear in post number 1? Maybe.
I am saying if it is an argument from the Jews, well why do we need Jamnia, if the canon was already closed.

That is true, and that’s what Tanakhanswers said,before Christ. You don’t seem to be aware of the “Great Assembly”.

The real problem is, Jews say they worked on the definition of the Canon BEFORE CHRIST, where the Jewish Encyclopedia itself says :

" According to traditional Jewish historiography, the Great Assembly (Anshe Knesset HaGedolah) was an assembly of 120 rabbis that ruled in the period after the time of the prophets up to the time of the development of rabbinic Judaism in 70 CE. They bridge a period of about two centuries. "

and also:

“Historically, the Great Assembly described in Nehemiah 8*:10 was a public assembly of Jews who returned to Israel after the exile in Babylonia. In this gathering the leaders and people of Israel rededicated themselves to the Torah as their inheritance and code of law.”

Therefore, we seem to talk about two different groups of people, even being the same “institution”.

I glad someone picked that one up.

No, it means “before the Christian Era”, a sneaky way of denying Christ.

Nelka: Jewish people and secular people use Before Common Era BCE because they are not Christians. That Jewish site obviously would not use BC and AD as Christians do.

I am making no moral or theological judgement here just telling you the facts.

NO. BCE means before Common Era.

Exactly what is common to that era

NO. BCE means before Common Era.

I think he was being facetious and knows very well what it is suppose to mean.

I have no idea at all about what was common. Perhaps Secularists and Jewish people just grow tired of Christian domination? I am Orthodox Catholic myself, a Christian, but maybe fair is fair?

I made it clear that the jewish Person said BCE, and in fact, there is this tradition that a Great Assembly closed the canon BCE.

What CE, BCE, BC and AD mean is clear now. :smiley: Could you please give your thoughts about this Great Assembly? Thank you :slight_smile:

A few points:

  1. The “Common” in Common Era refers to the ‘commonly used’ dating scheme, which counts years before and after the purported birth of Jesus in… 0? 1? Whatever. I think most Christian scholars agree that wasn’t the real date anyhow. That would be as opposed to the Jewish year of 5775 AM (Anno Mundi = since Creation) or the Islamic or Mayan or Chinese date or what have you. It should be rather obvious why Jews would avoid the term AD = Anno Domini = Year of our Lord.
  2. FYI, Ben Sirah is what Catholics call “Sirach”

So, what exactly is your question about the Great Assembly, anyway? We believe they decided which books would be canonized within the first century after the construction of the Second Temple and their decision was binding on all Jews, and the record of their rulings is faithfully preserved by rabbinic Jews. However, note that it would seem that the Sadducees, Karaites and several other breakaway sects have the same or very similar canon. Whether or not the canon was officially “closed” so early is open to debate. At some point before the destruction of the Temple, it was decided that there are 24 books and no more. Chanukah is a non sequitur as its celebration was instituted by the Rabbis and we admit it is not rooted in Scripture. It is referenced and explained in Tractate Shabbat of the Babylonian Talmud. The Book of Maccabees is non canonical.

The Great Assembly was a historical phenomenon after the return of the Jews to the land of Israel after the Babylonian exile. It is a special instance of the Sanhedrin, which is usually composed of 71 of the greatest sages and whose existence lasted until the Romans dispersed it during the 4th century CE (no offense, guys).

Jamnia, which is a city in Israel known to Jews as Yavneh, was the purported site of a council that canonized the bible. This is a theory propounded by a non-orthodox Jewish historian in the 19th century, not a traditional Jewish belief. Wikipedia:

“The Council of Jamnia, presumably held in Yavneh, was a hypothetical late 1st-century council at which the canon of the Hebrew Bible was alleged to have been finalized. First proposed by Heinrich Graetz in 1871, this theory was popular for much of the twentieth century. However, it was increasingly questioned from the 1960s onward and the theory has been largely discredited.”

Thank you Moses,
I willl try to reformulate m question then: Since The Great Assembly already had defined the books, why would there be a need to reject what we call the New Testament? It would have been automatically rejected, as well as any other which wasn´t part of these 24. Why would such a thing be of any use, historical or not?

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