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.