Questions regarding the Biblical Canon (Specifically regarding the LXX)

Panoramicromantic's picture

This subject has come up before and I (as Erick M) contributed to it a couple of years ago. This ties in with the authority of the apocrypha thread. I was hoping to add further examples of problems with the Masoretic text. There's a little history just for those who need it; otherwise scroll to my questions at the bottom.

Not many Christians realize that the canon as we know it has gone through a number of changes since the early Christian centuries.

This is by no means an exhaustive history. I'm trying to keep it somewhat short. I think it's a worthwhile study and I am open to any improvements/criticisms as to the information I am presenting. Questions will follow.
In the centuries prior to the first Nicene councils, most of the books that now make up the Bible were considered authoritative but there were divisions on a number of books.
Regarding the NT:
The Revelation of John was controversial. Some churches used it some didn't. Some theologians, such as Dionysius Of Alexandria, did not believe it was written by the Beloved Disciple. It seems that there were a number of Apostolic figures named John in the first century.
2 & 3 John and 2 Peter were largely rejected before the first Nicene councils. They did not have the support of the earliest apostolic witnesses.
Hebrews was not used universally. There was a lot of mystery in regards to authorship as there still is. The Muratonian canon, which predates the first councils, is missing 3 John, Hebrews and James.
A book called the Apocalypse of Peter was used by some churches. So was the Shepherd of Hermas.

The council of Laodicea, Hippo and Carthage accepted all the 27 books that now make up the New Testament.
The Old Testament is the really tricky aspect of the canon.
The earliest councils accepted all the books that now make up the OT but...
It is the Septuagint (abbreviated LXX), the Greek version of the Old Testament. It included books that are now called "the apocrypha" by Protestants and "deutero-canonical" by Catholics. Most of the quotations of the OT in the NT are from the LXX. The LXX was translated from Hebrew and Aramaic sources in the first couple of centuries before Christ; some books in the apocrypha were composed originally in Greek. The LXX was used by most of the Diaspora or Hellenistic Jews. It later came into disuse among Hellenized Jews and Targumic/Aramaic translations and a Greek translation by a Jewish Proselyte named Aquila were commonly used instead.
Supposedly, a council of Pharisees met around 100 AD and decidedly rejected the books that make up the Apocrypha.
Around the time Jerome translated the Vulgate there was a renewed Christian interest in using the Hebrew version of the OT. Origen had translated a Hebrew text previously.
The version that eventually came to be the standard canonical text used by Jews was the Masoretic text. It was compiled by Rabbis between the 7th and 10th centuries. These Rabbis compiled versions of scripture that were largely chosen from a bias that was spurred on by their theological run-ins with Christians.
Since Luther's decision to use the Masoretic text in his canon, almost all Christian Bibles in the West use it. The only church that uses the LXX is the Eastern Orthodox church. They still consider the apocrypha authoritative/inspired as well.
Other than a few messianic readings from the LXX, our OT is largely the work of Rabbis that had it out for Christian interpretations.

How is it that this is the OT that has become standard for Christians?

What do we ultimately respond to as authoritative canon in theological discussions?

Keep it civil

First, if you say something, back it up. Support your statement so everyone else can see where it comes from. Remember you cant "correct" me if I dont believe you know what you are talking about.

Second, watch throwing that term racism around everytime someone hears the jews brought up in discussion. Frankly the NT doesnt always place that group in a favorable light either. This group's place in the kingdom of God, and scripture, is a real hot topic right now because, for one, there is a lot of jewish terminology being thrown around right now. An example are terms like Yeshua and G'd which I am not opposing. I am just bringing up one reason so much discussion is going this direction. Everytime someone hears sopmething that places Israel in less of a light than another person thinks is ok, that isnt racism. There is an awful lot of fear of racism going on in the threads right now. One way to stop that is to disallow the topic of the Jews, as distinct from Christianity, from being brought up at all. If person X presents a very semitic approach to most topics most of the time, then person Y may say something person X vehmently opposes and feels cut to the core about. If person X cant take that without all of an opposing opinion being classed as racist, then consider how much overtly semitic messaging is being propogated.

Third, before you get your feelings hurt that you have been charged with racism or something else, look closely and be sure that is the case. I looked here and didnt actually see a charge of racism against anyone. I saw some rather preachy and unsupported statements questionioning the motives behind someone else's post, and that was unwarranted I thought. Now, I may have missed a few points reading everything because to be honest, I am checking daily but rather busy right now. If you feel you have been wrongly slandered or that people are wasting our time by just posting ill thought out negative posts, let me know. If I agree the person slandering will apologize or be banned. I take charges like this serious and wont allow people to be slandered of racism just for fear of it. I dont care about the past church history...we are not going to slander people as racist because we FEAR that is their position. At the same time, think through your posts so other people's time isnt wasted by ill supported items.

If anyone has any questions, please dont hesititate to let me know.