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📙 The Cambridge History of the Bible: Volume 1, From the Beginnings to Jerome by P. R. Ackroyd, C. F. Evans — pdf free


Ironically, Volume 1 of this Cambridge History was written after the first two volumes (see The Cambridge History of the Bible: Volume 2, The West from the Fathers to the Reformation and The Cambridge History of the Bible: Volume 3, The West from the Reformation to the Present Day)), but that need not affect the modern reader of this comprehensive and magnificent historical source, produced by a fine team of scholars. Chapters include: "The Biblical Languages," "The Old Testament in the Making," "Canonical and Non-Canonical," "The Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New," "Biblical Exegesis in the Early Chrurch," etc. Here are some representative quotations from the first volume: "Though the teacher himself need not be a writer of books any more than Jesus himself was, yet his activity implied that books were readily available. Christianity grew up with the idea, quite alien to the pagan world, that books were an essential part of religion. The growth of Christian literature and teaching and in due course of the Canon can only be understood in the light of practices inherited from Judaism." (Pg. 51) "A single inspired book, or group of books, was not in the first two generations felt to be necessary for the 'instruction in Christ' provided by the living tradition handed on from mouth to mouth, reinforced by circular letters from the leaders of the Church." (Pg. 55) "(H)aving been handed down by human agents for more than two millennia, the text of the scriptures suffered from the shortcomings of man. It became faulty to a greater of less degree and even at times distorted. It must therefore be subjected to scholarly critical analysis like any other ancient literary document." (Pg. 161) ""(V)ariation as such in the textual transmission cannot be laid exclusively at the door of careless scribes, or of sometimes unscrupulous, and sometimes well-meaning, emendators and revisers. One has to consider the possibility ... that individual variants ... may derive from divergent pristine textual traditions." (Pg. 162) "The Canon of the New Testament was the result of a long and gradual process in the course of which the books regarded as authoritative, inspired, and apostolic were selected out of a much larger body of literature." (PG. 284) "Towards the end of the second century we find the beginnings of a distinctive exegesis of the New Testament comparable to that which Christians were already practising on the Old Testament. The New Testament had by this time almost won its way to recognition as a document possessing equal authority with the Old." (Pg. 416)

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