Some Fundamental-Theological Notes on the Canon of Scripture, Particularly on the Old Testament Canon
The present paper is dedicated to the fundamental-theological reflection on the form and meaning of the biblical canon, especially with regard to the canon of the Old Testament. The article aims to outline the reasons why and in what form are the Hebrew sacred writings irreplaceable for Christianity, and in what sense they are the Word of God. Further there are pursued the topics of relation among revelation, inspiration and canon, and the problems associated with the fact that the Catholic Church accepts also the deuterocanonical books, which Protestants consider to be the Apocrypha. Overall, it can be said that the article deals with issues of form, meaning and sense of the Old Testament canon in view of the Revelation, its tradition and interpretation.
Tanakh between the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint
Or Is the Narrower Canon Sufficient?
The study generally suggests the direction of current professional discussions on the purpose and concepts of the Old Testament text which is presently available essentially in three basic forms. The study consists of five sections: a) firstly it defines the concept of canon and its function, and points both to the current interest in the canon and to the overestimation of events in Jabneh; b) Tanakh – the genesis and a form of the Hebrew canon; c) the Septuagint as the Greek written living textual tradition of the Diaspora; d) the Samaritan Pentateuch as an example of the narrowest possible type; e) fundamental specifics and thesis of the sufficiency of the narrower form of the Hebrew written living textual tradition, i. e. Tanakh; this is based on a normative position of the Torah in the canon and on its function of a carrier of the Word of the Lord as it is expressed in the Creation Hymn preceding all the content of the Tanakh.
The Origin of the Septuagint and so Called “Alexandrian Canon”
The article deals with questions concerning the origin of Septuagint as a Bible of the early Christian Church. It discusses various versions of the Jewish tradition concerning the translation of the Torah into Greek. It surveys opinions of present-day science about the origin of the Septuagint and shows how the use of the title “Septuagint” emerged. Thereafter, it deals with the question whether we can consider Septuagint to be a canon of the Old Testament (the so called “Alexandrian Canon”).
The Text of the Old Testament and the Evidence from Qumran
The Hebrew text of the Old Testament is anything but uniform, and for centuries the scholars used to speak of three main text types (represented by the Hebrew Masoretic text, the Greek Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch). The situation changed radically after 1947, when the Qumran Cave 1 was discovered. In his short article, the author summarizes the textual situation before and after the discoveries at Qumran and the main questions raised by the textual evidence. At the same time he presents some of the solutions so far proposed, indicating both their advantages and weaknesses. A lot of questions and doubts about the Old Testament text still remain without a satisfactory answer.
What about the Question of the Old Testament Canon Today?
Theological Implications in Biblical Textual Criticism
The study demonstrates the problem of interpretation of the Old Testament text with regard to its various editions (Masoretic and Samaritan) on the verse Dt 11:30 and offers a new answer. The words “opposite Shechem” in Deuteronomy 11:30 have created a considerable tension between this verse and the book of Joshua, so that Judean readers of books of Deuteronomy and Joshua had a good reason to omit these two words, while for the Samaritan readers, for whom the book of Joshua was not important, these words do not represent anything insuperable. On account of such differences already the early Christian readers of the Bible came to the conclusion that the text of the Old Testament is neither the only one nor uniform. The Old Testament exists concurrently in a certain number of specific Bibles which the Christian Churches have used from the time of their establishment to the present day.
The Old Testament Canon in the Ancient Christian Church
The article surveys the approach to the Old Testament canon in the ancient Christian Church. It deals mainly with two partial topics. Firstly, it deals with the use of the deuterocanonical books, both in the New Testament and in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. Secondly, it discusses the most important lists of the canonical books survived in writings of the patristic authors. The study pays attention especially to the opinion of Jerome on the Old Testament canon. The author deduces that there was a difference between the extent of the Old Testament in the Latin speaking Western Church and the Eastern Church where Jerome sojourned.
The Issue of the Biblical Canon in the Thinking of the European Reformation, Particularly in Martin Luther
The study describes the process of clarification – but in some ways also complication – of the issue of the canon, in the thinking and practice of the European Reformation, both Lutheran and Calvinist directions, from the Leipzig disputation of 1519, to the formation of the collections of Reformation doctrinal standards, let us say to the downhill of the early Protestant orthodoxy. Questions of the Old Testament canon are there considered in a close connection with analogous issues related to the New Testament, as the latter had been for the reformers more controversial, and just on this field they have creatively clarified their own principles, while towards the Old Testament deuterocanonical books they could largely persist only in varying Hieronymus’ opinion. The largest space is dedicated to Martin Luther, who created the formulas with which other reformation theologians followed up, and which were particularly deeply thought out. The Council of Trent is taken into account as an important milestone for the further development. Finally the author states that the present ecumenical age opens a new space for the exploitation of the multilateral potential of the earlier Reformation period, later rather narrowed.
Canon of Faith and Canon of Morals, or else One or Two Canons?
On the Question of Defining the Canon at the Council of Trent
The study deals with the definition of biblical canon at the Council of Trent. It discusses the relationship of the Council of Trent to the precedent councils (Council of Florence), maps the attitudes towards the definition of the Old Testament canon among humanists, early reformers, and their Catholic opponents. It also comments on the records of council meetings and council discussions over controversial issues. The study includes a translation of the conciliar document Sacrosancta.
Deuterocanonical Books in Protestant Tradition with Respect to the Kralice Bible
The contribution attempts to introduce concisely the status of deuterocanonical books in the 16th and at the beginning of the 17th centuries in the protestant milieu and its development to the 1820s. Further it focuses on the Czech biblical tradition in the 16th century with special attention paid to the Kralice Bible, and shortly mentions also the so-called Apocrypha controversy aroused in the British and Foreign Bible Society in the 1820s.
Czech Translation of the Old Testament after 1900
Contexts, Confession, Textual Basis, Canon
The beginning of modern Czech Bible translation dates from the early 20th century. The article presents above all ten complete Czech versions of the Old Testament which arose from 1900 to the present. There are also discussed two rabbinical translations of the Pentateuch, and the still incomplete Catholic liturgical translation of the Bible. For each of the translational achievements there are considered important historical and cultural connections, the issue of confession, the question of textual basis, and the form of the canon.