Wednesday, November 13, 2002

No more Jewish Scriptures: why not?

It occurred to me the other day that the Jewish canon of Scripture "closed" about the same time that the Christian canon did: around the end of the first century, A.D. This thought led me to wonder how Jews understand the "closing" of what we consider the Old Testament; what was it about the first century -- from the Jewish perspective -- that meant that there would be no further sacred texts than the ones already written? What explains why God ceased inspiring sacred authors at that point? We Christians take for granted that "closed" nature of Scripture (there will be no more public revelation), but that obviously hinges on our acceptance of Jesus as the fulfillment of God's revelation to humanity. But how does the Jew explain and understand the fact that God no longer writes to them, so to speak?

The only answer that popped to mind for me was the destruction of the Temple; perhaps that had something to do with the "close" of the Jewish scriptures. But I don't know why that would be, either.

Anybody have an answer?

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