I may post more from John Hobbins’ third installment later. I’ll keep it here to this one extended excerpt. I think you’ll find what John is angling toward interesting:
Sooner or later the pluriformity of the tradition that eventually came to be included in a variety of canons must be evaluated on the theological plane. The attested variety is problematic if and only if one is troubled by the fact that the God whom believers invoke in worship at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets (Heb 1:1). To this day, one might observe, God speaks by the prophets in diverse fashion. God speaks to Jews through the scriptures vouchsafed to them, to the Ethiopian Orthodox through those inherited by them, to Roman Catholics through those held in honor by them, and so on.
To suggest otherwise involves a failure to come to grips with the persistence of divine election to the thousandth generation of those of who love him and keep his commandments (Deut 7:9). Pauls language is unequivocable: the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (Rom 11:29). He affirmed this with respect to himself and all other Jews whether or not they believed on the name of Jesus the Messiah. Either way according to Paul, Gods calling remains in force.
A fortiori, the same applies to Christians of all persuasions. No matter how far they stray from the gospel, Paul keeps at them (exhibit A: Galatians). Paul assumes that God continues to speak to Jews and Christians of whatever persuasion through the scriptures he appeals to in teaching and diatribe.
On the basis of scripture, Paul is convinced that God will not abandon the heirs of the promises. This leads him to an open-ended view of Gods work among his fellow Jews . . .
The history of the canon reflects this relationship. For Christians, the scriptures of the Old Testament, irrespective of how the outer boundaries of the collection are defined, are inherited gifts. The text forms in which they read it, in Hebrew or in translation, are products of a traditioning process that arcs across two millennia. The Masoretic Text is a gift from the very end of that process, the Septuagint , a gift from its beginning; the Hebrew truth of the Vulgate , a gift in mid-trajectory. The bearers of the gifts in every case were Jews, or depended on Jews. The Jewishness of the New Testament is also undeniable, its components written, perhaps without exception, by Jewish Christians. Yet resignifications of the old by the new in rabbinic Judaism on the one hand and Christianity on the other are clearly and purposely at loggerheads with one another.
John is arguing for a pluriform canon, and that this pluriformity is not only fine with God, but also a witness to his promise to all believers through his original chosen people and ongoing kingdom program. Thoughts? Is this a coherent way to handle the feeling of an “open-boundaried” canon? I think this approach is really worth thinking about.
After doing a search for pluriform cannon, I found a blog (hebrewscripturesandmore.com by David Hymes) in which the author posts what seems a dissertation on “An Introduction & Experiment in Pluriform Textual Studies: Numbers 10.1-10ff.” I give the link for the interested as it goes into much scholarly detail:
At the crux of it seems to be that academics should start embracing the idea that one should sidestep the Urtext as the ultimate goal of OT textual-criticism and that the way has been paved to do just that (thanks to men such as: Koester, Ehrman, Parker, and Epps) followed by an example out of Number 10 (see footnote 27 on page 5–Bénédict Lemmelijn, “What are we looking for in doing Old Testament Text-critical Research?” Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages, 23/2 (1997), 69-80.
Now, I’m no expert, but it seems Hobbins take on the cannon balances with Hyme’s nicely. Though I offer my complete apologies for not knowing of the authors listed (save Ehrman whose work has been weighed in this blog before–I’m not a fan, per se); Dr. David Hyme’s blog should make a nice addition to your blogroll, Dr. Heiser. I am now a fan of his (as I remain yours), having found someone in my tradition (my church has roots in the Pentecostal movement) who is a multiple degree holder and teacher of biblical languages with experience n textual-criticism who is also down-to-earth about the C-P movement’s deficiency in theological knowledge..yay!
Oh, and one more thing: the information provided is with consent of the blog’s author as he said, he offers it Copyleft so long as you tell where the information was found 🙂 !
@Jonnathan Molina: among those who do textual criticism, it is axiomatic that the point is not the Urtext. One would have to be omniscient to “know” (or even suspect) that one can work back to the original text and recognize it when one sees it. The point is rather making sense of the manuscript data that we have with the goal of producing an accurate text (guessing that it reflects the original in large degree, but not to the level of the Urtext).
Thank you for bearing with me as I get a grasp of all these things, you’re very kind; I wrote that because the paper seemed to emphasize that as if people weren’t doing that…now I know why (lol). Thanks again!