Francis Borchardt deposited What Can 2Macc 2:13-15 Tell Us about the Biblical Canon? on Humanities Commons 6 years, 5 months ago
Many scholars have used two verses from an epistle appended to the main body of 2 Maccabees to suggest a canon, proto-canon, or body of scripture is present already during the Hasmonean era and even before. We question such conclusions by investigating the background and contents of the epistle, using both historical-critical and rhetorical methods. This investigation concludes that it is more likely that the collections of books gathered by both Nehemiah and Judas Maccabeus are nationally edifying proof- texts for the customs argued for in the epistle. It is clear from the statements in 2 Maccabees 2:13-15 that the collection assembled by Nehemiah and Judas would be vastly different from any later notions of canon in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. These texts are not being offered to the addressees as the official word (whether of God, or of the temple authorities in Jerusalem), but as evidence of practices for which the epistle is advocating on the basis of their antiquity.