Re: Tit for Tat (Richard's challenge)?

Date: Fri Sep 12 2003 - 21:26:11 EDT

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    Don wrote:

    > I already knew what Gordon has just written, and I should
    > have made this clear in my message. But my intention was to respond to
    > on his own ground. I know for example that 1 & 2 Kings is really one book,
    > that it is forcing things to regard Ruth and Esther as history and
    > Lamentations as part of the major prophets, instead of as part the Hebrew
    > Writings. But what Richard is doing is making deductions from the the
    > form of the canon, so I have started from there myself.
    > Don

    Hi Don,

    I too already knew what Gordon had just written. I've known it for many
    years. I'm sure you would agree that such elementary knowledge is an obvious
    prerequiste for intelligent discussion of this issue. I have articles
    discussing it published on my site. The best for your review would probably
    be "A Great Cloud of Witnesses" found here:

    You are free to assert that I & 2 Kings are "really" one book, just as I am
    free to call them two books. But History and the Christian Church seem to be
    on my side, since both present us with two books, namely, I & 2 Kings. If
    this weren't the case, you wouldn't be forced to assert otherwise, now would
    you? It is hard to see how this kind of argument could impact the study of
    the Bible Wheel at all, which involves the 2D representation of an object -
    the traditional 66 book Christian Canon - that will exist unchanged
    regardless of such disputes.

    I would be interested in your reasons for denying Ruth and Esther the status
    of History. They both appear to be explicitly Historical works. To refer to
    their inclusion in the OT Historical section of the Christian Canon as
    "forcing" seems itself to be a forced argument because there is no canonical
    division known as "Hebrew Writings" in the Christian Canon (the topic under
    discussion), which is where you contend they were forced from. It appears
    that you take the modern Jewish structure of the Canon as a priori superior
    to the ancient Christian Canon. You are free to do this, and there are some
    arguments for such a position, but there are also arguments for the
    Septuagintal order as represenative of an ancient Jewish tradition as old
    as, or older than the modern tripartite structure. We have *explicit*
    witnesses of the Septuagintal order from the 3rd and 4th centuries in Canon
    lists and Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus. Is there anything like that
    for the tripartite Jewish canon? The strongest argument is biblical, where
    Jesus refers to the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, the latter being the
    most prominent part of the Writings. But this is not definitive, and even if
    it is a witness to the antiquity of the modern Jewish order, it does not
    *exclude* the antiquity of the Septuagintal order which the Church has
    *ALWAYS* followed (at least since the 4th century). As an aside, note the
    reference to the Law and the Prophets. This phrase is used eleven times in
    the NT to refer to the OT. Now look at Spoke 1 of the Wheel, which consists

    Genesis....First Book of the Law
    Isaiah.......First Book of the Prophets
    Romans...First Book of the NT Epistles.

    Is this not a striking structure? I contend it is absolutely and
    incontrovertibly OPTIMAL. I would be delighted to see someone offer a
    suggestion of three books that would form a superior primary Spoke of the
    Wheel. This, and ten thousand other extremely obvious wonders would be lost
    if we followed the structure of the modern Jewish Tanach. But that is a mute
    point anyway, since as far as I know, there never has been a Christian Bible
    publish that follows such an order. (There may be one published for
    evangelism amongst the Jews, but I have never seen one. In any case, it
    would be the exception that proves the rule.)

    And this leads naturally into your assertion that I am making deductions
    from the "modern" form of the Canon. Can you name a single Christian Bible
    that follows a different *order* of books? (Note that the Catholic follows
    the same order of the protocanonical books, just with others interspersed,
    which is a different issue.) I searched far and wide, and I finally found
    *one* Christian Bible with a different order.

    This is the great mystery. In nearly every interaction I have had with
    professional scholars of the Old Testament, I encounter this same old
    argument. They typically bring up an imagined "original order" that
    supposedly invalidates the primary structure of the Bible that the Christian
    Church has always known. Let me repeat. The *order* of the (proto) canonical
    books found in *ALL* Christian Bibles on the planet (sans one that I know
    of) follow the order seen in the so-called "modern" Canon. And not one
    follows the order of the modern Jewish Tanach. This seems to be a *very*
    small pebble over which one could be caused to stumble, especially in light
    of the fact that even if there were two or three dominant competing orders,
    it still would not in any way, shape, or form, detract from the intrinsic
    beauty and supernatural wonder that leaps out of the Bible Wheel, which is,
    in fact, based on the dominant text form of the Bible found on planet Earth
    today (thanks largely to the Protestant missionaries).

    In service of the Everlasting Word of God,

    Richard Amiel McGough
    Discover the sevenfold symmetric perfection of the Holy Bible at

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