Testament documents. Driver, Introduction to Old Testament Lit., xxxi ? ?For the opinion, often met with in modern books, that the Canon of the Old Testament was closed by Ezra, or in Ezra?s time, there is no foundation in antiquity whatever? All that can reasonably be treated as historical in the accounts of Ezra?s literary labors is limited to the Law,?
(d) From indications that soon after the exile, and so early as the times of Ezra and Nehemiah ( 500-450 BC), the Pentateuch together with the book of Joshua was not only in existence but was regarded as authoritative.
2 Mac. 2:13-15 intimates that Nehemiah founded a library, and there is a tradition that a ?Great Synagogue? was gathered in his time to determine the Canon. But Hastings? Dictionary, 4:644, asserts that ?the Great Synagogue was originally a meeting, and not an institution. It met once for all, and all that is told about it, except what we read in Nehemiah, is pure fable of the later Jews.? In like manner no dependence is to be placed upon the tradition that Ezra miraculously restored the ancient Scriptures that had been lost during the exile. Clement of Alexandria says: ?Since the Scriptures perished in the Captivity of Nebuchadnezzar, Esdras (the Greek form of Ezra) the Levite, the priest, in the time of Artaxerxes, King of the Persians, having become inspired in the exercise of prophecy, restored again the whole of the ancient Scriptures.? But the work now divided into I and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, mentions Darius Codomannus (Neh.12:22), whose date is 336 BC The utmost the tradition proves is that about 300 BC the Pentateuch was in some sense attributed to Moses; see Bacon, Genesis of Genesis, 35; Bibliotheca Sacra, 1863:381, 660, 799; Smith, Bible Dictionary, art., Pentateuch; Theological Eclectic, 6:215; Bissell, Hist. Origin of the Bible, 398-403. On the Men of the Great Synagogue, see Wright, Ecclesiastes, 5-12, 475477.
(e) From the testimony of the Samaritan Pentateuch, dating from the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (500-450 BC).
The Samaritans had been brought by the king of Assyria from ?Babylon, and from Cuthah and from Avva, and from Hamath and Sepharvaim?
( <121706>2 Kings 17:6, 24, 26), to take the place of the people of Israel whom the king had carried away captive to his own land. The colonists had brought their heathen gods with them, and the incursions of wild beasts, which the intermission of tillage occasioned gave rise to the belief that the God of Israel was against them. One of the captive Jewish priests was therefore sent to teach them ?the law of the god of the land? and he ?taught them how they should fear Jehovah? ( <121727>2 Kings 17:27, 28). The
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