Monday, December 07, 2009

Council of Jamnia never existed?

Guess I've been working off of bad data.

The idea that there was a council in Yavneh/Jamnia, where a school of Halakha (Jewish religious law) existed, was only officially formulated by German historian Heinrich Graetz in 1871 based on what he thought was clues within the Mishna and the Talmud. This idea became popular for a while, but came increasingly into question from the 1960's onwards. In particular, later scholars noted that none of Graetz's sources actually mentioned books that had been withdrawn from a canon, and questioned the whole premise that the discussions of the rabbis were about canonicity at all. So, no, Luther did not have the luxury of claiming the authority of a rabbinic council - he simply moved the Deuterocanon in another section simply because they were absent in Hebrew Bibles.

Though given that I only thought about it to explain to people why it didn't matter, I guess it's not much of a loss.

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