July 3, 2020

The Council

A modern day council!

The Law, Prophets, and Writings

We classify our books differently than the ancient Jews of Jesus’ time. In canon debates, some Catholic or Orthodox proponents will challenge a Protestant to show where Jesus or the Apostles referred to Esther as scripture. While Esther is a separate work, it was classified differently than it is today. So, in fact, the Protestant canon has been affirmed in contradistinction to that of the Catholics and Orthodox:

By the time of Jesus, the Jewish community accepted twenty-four books as inspired scripture. Today we count these as thirty-nine books by dividing some books in two or more parts (such as I and 2 Kings, I and 2 Chronicles). These books, the Hebrew Scriptures, were divided into three sections: the Law (Torah), the Prophets (Neviim), and the Writings (Khetuvim).

• The Torah The first five books of the Hebrew Bible contain narratives about Israel’s beginnings combined with collections of laws that regulated the life of ancient Israel. Modern scholars recognize that these laws were collected over a long period of time. Jews, however, believed that Yahweh had revealed them to Moses on Mount Sinai. They referred to this legal material as the Torah, a Hebrew term literally meaning “instruction” or “teaching,” but translated into Greek as “law.” The term was also used to refer to the five books which contained the Torah. These five books probably assumed their final form around 500–400 BCE.
• The Prophets The second section of the Hebrew Scriptures includes (1) stories about ancient Israel, which the Jews believed were written by prophets (the Former Prophets), and (2) collections of messages delivered by prophets (the Latter Prophets).
• The Writings The third section of the Hebrew Scriptures includes whatever did not fit in either of the first two sections. The last book to be added was the Book of Daniel, written about 164 BCE.

An introduction to the New Testament and the origins of Christianity / Delbert Burkett (Page 46).

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