Acceptance Of The Hebrew Writings As Scripture

As just indicated in the case of the prophets, it is not easy to say at exactly which point in their development the writings that now form the Hebrew Bible became 'Scripture'. Canonization, in the technical sense of inclusion in a fixed list with absolute boundaries, can hardly be spoken of before the first century BCE, perhaps not even then (Barr 1983; Sanders 1992). But already by the early post-exilic age all the types of literature discussed above were acquiring a high status and authority—greater than any newly written work could claim—as the literary deposit of a revered past. Once this has happened, it makes sense to speak of the existence of 'Scripture'. Again this can be illustrated in detail by concentrating on different genres of literature.

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