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|Title: ||The compilational history of the 'Megilloth' : canon, contoured intertextuality and meaning in the writings|
|Authors: ||Stone, Timothy J.|
|Supervisors: ||Elliott, Mark|
|Issue Date: ||2011|
|Abstract: ||It is widely agreed among scholars that the third part of the Hebrew canon, the
Writings, is a miscellaneous collection of materials, as its name would seem to suggest. My
thesis re-examines this assumption.
The introduction sets out the critical issues, outlines the thesis and charts the larger
picture from which the thesis makes a limited contribution.
Chapter one explains my approach. In critical conversation with Brevard Childs and
his adherents, I examine the need for contours within the canonical context that respect the
discrete voice of each book, while understanding it in relationship to the larger collection in
which it is located. The canon is not like a street map, rather, it is more like a topographical
map providing contour and depth to the canonical terrain. Taking Childs’ approach one step
further; I examine the formation of the Twelve Minor prophets and the Psalter in order to
develop a redaction critical grammar for the compilation of texts into collections that serves
as a methodological check for the project. This grammar includes the use of catchwords or
phrases to bind adjacent books near their seams, the juxtaposition of similar or contrasting
themes, framing devices, and superscriptions to provide an overall structure.
Chapter two analyzes the formation of the Writings in antiquity. There were a
number of different conceptions of sacred literature within Judaism, but probably within
temple circles the canon of the Jews was closed prior to the end of the first century C.E. The
Prologue to Ben Sira testifies to a tripartite arrangement of the Jewish canon, and 4 Ezra,
which provides solid evidence that the canon was closed sometime prior to the end of the first
century C.E., confirms the antiquity of a tripartite arrangement.
Chapter three explores the various orders for the Writings. Within the conceptual
world of Judaism, the concern with the order of the books is not the result of the invention of
the codex or long scroll, but rather arises from the holiness attributed to these books in
association with their strong connection to the temple and its sacred space. Despite the
consensus that there are a vast number of orders for the collection, in fact there is only
evidence that the Masoretic (Leningrad Codex) and the Talmudic (Baba Batra 14b) orders
existed prior to the twelfth century C.E. The grouping of the Megilloth in the Masoretic
tradition is probably not the result of liturgical practices within Judaism, as is commonly
thought, which leaves room to re-examine the antiquity of this order. Both arrangements
reveal a similar logic of association among the books of the Writings with the possible
exception of Ruth.
Chapter four explores the location of Ruth in the Former Prophets between Judges
and Samuel and in the Writings after Proverbs and before the Psalter. Ruth has been
purposefully figured into the Former Prophets and then later was integrated into the Writings
after Proverbs as a wisdom book. In this case, different orders bear witness to the search for
meaningful associations within the canon.
Chapter five probes Esther’s position as part of the sub-collection of Lamentations,
Esther, Daniel and Ezra-Nehemiah, in which it always follows Lamentations and is
juxtaposed to Daniel. Within this canonical frame I explore Esther’s links to Daniel 1-6 and
Lamentations 5 and the way this sets in relief Esther’s theology.
Chapter six briefly observes some compilational phenomena in Song of Songs,
Ecclesiastes and Lamentations. I also examine the structure of the Megilloth as a whole and
the forces at work in this sub-collection.
The thesis concludes, due to historical and exegetical reasons, that the codification of
the Megilloth into a collection is an integral part of the canonical process rather than a formal
feature that is the result of some supposed effort to close the canon.|
|Publisher: ||University of St Andrews|
|Appears in Collections:||Divinity Theses|
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