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Canonization of Scripture (How the Bible Was Compiled?)

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Canonization of Scripture (How the Bible Was Compiled?)

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  • April 2008
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I chose this topic because it is one of the hardest things for me to accept concerning “religion” in general. The mere fact that the individual writings are written by human men “under the inspiration of God” just bothers me to no end. Knowing the imperfections of man, and how things always get twisted, embellished, misinterpreted, and/or generally made more grandiose than originally told has always made me wonder: What were God’s original thoughts and meanings on any particular subject? What has been lost in translation? What has been twisted to suit a particular situation? Why has God allowed his words to be so misconstrued for so many years? The Hebrew canon, known to us as the Old Testament, is a collection of 24 “books” accepted by the Jewish scholars as being authentic. These are divided into three (3) parts. The Law (Torah), also called the Pentateuch, consists of the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The second part is called the Prophets (Nevi im), which is further divided into three parts, consists of the early prophets: Joshua, Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel, and 1st and 2nd Kings; the later prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel; and the twelve books of the “minor” prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The third part is called the Writings (Ketuvim) which consists of three poetic books: Psalms, Proverbs and Job; the five scrolls: Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther; the apocalyptic book of Daniel; and the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1st and 2nd Chronicles. 2 The order in which these books are arranged varies depending on whether you’re looking at a Jewish (Hebrew) text or a more modern, Christian text. It is thought that the actual process of collecting and combining all these books into the Hebrew bible took hundreds of years. “The anthology we know as the Old Testament was a thousand years and more in...