Tag Archives: canon

Book of Jasher, Chronicles of Gad the Seer

I am frequently asked for my opinion on the Book of Jasher and the Book of Gad the Seer (more properly called the Chronicles of Gad the Seer, per 1 Chron 29:29). There are books by both titles floating around (typically on the internet) that purport to be these ancient source texts from the biblical (OT) time period. They aren’t. Books you might see online or buy in some form are not the authentic source texts referred to in the Bible. They are not books that belong in the Bible. They aren’t even ancient.

I have blogged before about the so-called book of Jasher. The link includes a short peer-reviewed article on the recent book purporting to be the ancient source text.

For this post, I want to add something about the Chronicles of Gad the Seer. Most scholars

Fortunately, there is a fine peer-reviewed article on the literary work that purports to be the Chronicle of Gad the Seer: Meir Bar-Ilan, “The Date of The Words of Gad the Seer.” Journal of Biblical Literature 109.3 (1990): 475-492. It’s available on academia.edu so I have posted it here:

Bar-IlanChroniclesGadSeer

The introduction to the article reads in part:

The purpose of this paper is to discuss a “new” book by the name of The Words of Gad the Seer. This is an apocryphal Hebrew book known only from a unique manuscript that was copied at Cochin, India, in the middle of the eighteenth century. At the beginning of the nineteenth century it was purchased by the University of Cambridge, England, and since then it has been there. The name of the book, together with other extra-biblical books that were in the possession of the Jews of Cochin, has appeared in print in German, Hebrew, and English during the last two centuries. Nevertheless, this book is almost unknown to the scholarly world. The aim of this article is not only to draw attention to this book but also to demonstrate its significance by evaluating its date.

Bar-Ilan concludes the book is very old, but not the book referred to in the OT:

The Words of Gad the Seer treated here is not the book that was in existence in biblical times and was apparently lost. The book discussed here was composed in one of the early centuries of this era, but was noticed only at the end of the eighteenth century. When the book was discovered, it was thought to be a medieval work and was assumed to be of little value. Contemplating the different proofs of its date of composition shows that the arguments for its lateness are outweighed by evidence of its early date. Nevertheless, even if one believes that the book is late, its importance is unquestionable. Its value lies in showing the modern scholar some of the techniques of the editors of the biblical narrative. It presents apocalyptic visions and perhaps supplies the missing verse in Psalm 145. Of further importance is the contribution of this book to the knowledge of the Hebrew language in the first centuries of this era: Biblical Hebrew on the one hand and philosophical Hebrew on the other. Above all, this book might enhance our understanding of the book of Revelation and the literature of that period in general; and the history of the Jews of Cochin would not be the lesser for it.

In short, the book has value, but isn’t to be regarded as a lost book of the canon.

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Important New Article on the Septuagint

I’m happy to announce and recommend this article by Ed Glenny: “The Septuagint and Biblical Theology.” I’m even happier that it’s freely accessible to all of you.

Ed was my first Bible teacher way back in the day at Bible college. Listeners to the Naked Bible Podcast may recall his name, as I chatted with him on the podcast during last November’s ETS/SBL meetings.

Here’s a portion of the Glenny article, drawn from this link (which contains notifications of some other new Septuagint [LXX] work, but those aren’t freely accessible):

This article addresses the question: How does the LXX relate to the Christian Old Testament, and more specifically, what role does the LXX play in Christian biblical theology? The first part of the article is a brief overview of five different approaches to the role of the LXX in a whole-Bible biblical theology. The five approaches are: (1) LXX Priority and Canon, (2) LXX Priority, Hebrew Canon, (3) Hebrew Priority and Canon, LXX Bridge, (4) Hebrew and Greek Are Sanctified by the Spirit, and finally (5) Hebrew Priority and Canon, LXX Commentary. Building on the different perspectives surveyed in this study, it is suggested that that the importance and function of the LXX in Christian biblical theology is at least fourfold: (1) The LXX can function as the source of Christian biblical theology; (2) The LXX is valuable for biblical theology in its role as a commentary on the biblical text; (3) The LXX is a bridge or link between the Christian OT and NT; and (4) The LXX complements the Hebrew Scriptures.

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