The Law and the Prophets: A Study in Old Testament Canon Formation

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Mohr Siebeck, 2000 - Bible - 356 pages
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The standard theory of Old Testament canon formation describes a literary process of linear development in three successive stages. In spite of intermittent criticism, the theory has continued to find its place in textbooks and introductions. Here Stephen B. Chapman marshals all of the important counter-arguments to the theory and proposes a fresh way to conceive of the canonical process, based upon evidence internal and external to the biblical text.He argues against the standard theory by exposing its internal inconsistencies and critiquing its methodological presuppositions, especially its assumptions about human agency and the nature of 'canonization.' Using Charles Altieri's literary application of Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor's theory of the self, the author redescribes the canonization of the Old Testament as a process of 'strong evaluation', whose goal was to provide a religious framework for the evaluation of personal and communal alternatives, rather than the imposition of ideology. He redefines the Old Testament 'canon' as the theological 'grammar' formed by the coordination of discrete scriptures into a coherent collection, but retaining their plurality as integral to canonicity.Stephen B. Chapman also demonstrates that the status of the prophetic writings prior to their canonization has remained an intractable problem for the standard theory. He shows how nomistic assumptions about canonization have sustained the view that the prophetic corpus was always subordinate to the Pentateuch, even though this view is at odds with the exegetical evidence. By detailed analysis of 'canon-conscious' editing within the Pentateuch and the prophetic corpus, he illustrates how collections of Law and Prophets developed simultaneously and mutually influenced each other.
 

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Contents

The Question of the Law and the Prophets
1
Canon and Higher Criticism
7
MidCentury Views and New Findings
15
Recent Proposals
53
Conclusions
70
A Canonical Approach?
86
Canons Power and Selfinterest
93
Canon versus Scripture
106
Joshua
166
The Law and the Words
188
and 78
210
Chronicles
218
EzraNehemiah
231
Daniel
239
The Twin Authority of Law and Prophets
276
Bibliography
293

Introduction
113
2224 446
131
Summary
146

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