The Law and the Prophets: A Study in Old Testament Canon Formation
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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Altieri appendices argued authoritative authority BARTON Ben Sira Bible biblical canon biblical text BLENKINSOPP book of Deuteronomy book of Jeremiah book of Joshua book of Malachi books of Chronicles canon formation canon-conscious century B. C. Childs Christian Chronicles cites Clements collection conclusion covenant criticism Davies Deut Deut 32 Deuteronomistic History evidence existence Ezek Ezra Ezra-Nehemiah final form Former Prophets formula function God's Haggai Hebrew Hebrew Bible hermeneutical Ibid idem interpretation Introduction Israel Jeremiah Jewish Joshua Judaism judgment Kanon later Latter Prophets Law and Prophets literary Malachi mosaic Moses narrative Old Testament canon onomistic Oracles Pentateuch period phetic post-exilic Press priestly proph prophecy prophetic books prophetic corpus Qumran reconstruction redaction reference religious Ryle Samaritans Sanders scholars scripture shape SMEND Song standard theory subcollections suggests Sundberg textual theological tion Torah tradents Wellhausen words writings Zech Zechariah