Saturday, May 09, 2020

Moffatt: the closing of the canon

Saturday, May 9, 2020
    In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
    —Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV)
    The Old Testament [is] a reflection of national life in sharply defined phases: the Hebrews, Israel, and the Jews successively appear as its bearers. But there is a religious unity through the complicated story, a unity which carries with it a continuity of purpose. The people themselves were not always conscious of that purpose; even when they were, they frequently did their best to thwart it. Nevertheless, the purpose prevailed. The religious mind calls it a revelation of God, and the more we pass through a study of the literature into a conception of the people among whom it arose, the more we compare their faith and fortunes with those of their neighbours, the more impossible it seems to explain the rise and career of these particular Semitic clans within the ancient world, a part from a Divine choice. Those who called the literature the “Old Testament” believed that this Divine choice and purpose was fulfilled in the “New Testament,” in the religious movement within Judaism which, during the first century A.D., named itself after Jesus Christ. The members of this movement held that the Old Testament was unintelligible apart from the New, and the New unintelligible apart from the Old. The Church believes that the divine purpose revealed in the Old Testament is not to be fulfilled in any national future for Judaism, within Palestine or elsewhere, but in a catholic community for the world. Hence its Bible adds the New Testament to the Old as the one and only sequel.
    ... James Moffatt (1870-1944), A New Translation of the Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1935, New York: Harper, 1935, Introduction, p. xv-xvi (see the book)
    See also Heb. 1:1-2; Ps. 18:2; 67:1,2; Acts 2:16-18,36; Rom. 8:1,2; Heb. 12:1-2
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You have placed the history of Your salvation before us.
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