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ow We Got the ible. A Time Line of Key Events in the History of the Bible. AD 500 . The Masoretes. Special Jewish scribes (Masoretes) are entrusted with the sacred task of making copies of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Approximately AD 500-900.

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ow We Got the ible

A Time Line of Key Events in the

History of the Bible


AD 500

The Masoretes

  • Special Jewish scribes (Masoretes) are entrusted with the sacred task of making copies of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament).
  • Approximately AD 500-900

1500 BC 500 BC AD 1 AD 500 AD 1000 AD 1500 AD 1900 AD 2000

1500 BC 500 BCAD1 AD 500 AD 1000 AD 1500 AD 1900 AD 2000


AD 500

The Masoretes

  • The Masoretes developed a meticulous
  • system of counting the number of
  • words in each book of the Bible to
  • make sure it was copied accurately.
  • Any scroll found to have an error is
  • buried according to Jewish law.

1500 BC 500 BC AD 1 AD 500 AD 1000 AD 1500 AD 1900 AD 2000

1500 BC 500 BCAD1 AD 500 AD 1000 AD 1500 AD 1900 AD 2000

1500 BC 500 BCAD1 AD 500 AD 1000 AD 1500 AD 1900 AD 2000

1500 BC 500 BCAD1 AD 500 AD 1000 AD 1500 AD 1900 AD 2000


Gen. 1:9 And God said, "Let the waters be collected".Letters in black, vowel points and dageshim (letter doublings) in red, cantillation signs in blue

Cantillation is the ritual chanting of readings from the Bible in synagogue services.

the masoretes circa 700 c e

The Masoretescirca 700 C.E

The Masoretes were the ones who made these copies. They had to follow certain rules when making a copy of the Synagogue Rolls of the Hebrew Scriptures. 1. The parchment must be made from the skin of clean animals; must be prepared by a Jew only, and the skins must be fastened together by strings taken from clean animals.

2. Each column must have no less than 48 nor more than 60 lines.

3. The ink must be of no other color than black, and it must be prepared according to a special recipe.

the masoretes
The Masoretes

4. No word nor letter could be written from memory; the scribe must have an authentic copy before him, and he must read and pronounce aloud each word before writing it.

5. He must reverently wipe his pen each time before writing the word for "God" [which is Elohim] and he must wash his whole body before writing the name "Jehovah" [which is translated "LORD" in the King James English Bible] lest the Holy Name be contaminated.

6. Strict rules were given concerning forms of the letters, spaces between letters, words, and sections, the use of the pen, the color of the parchment, etc.

the masoretes7
The Masoretes

7. The revision of a roll must be made within 30 days after the work was finished; otherwise it was worthless. One mistake on a sheet condemned the sheet; if three mistakes were found on any page, the entire manuscript was condemned.8. Every word and every letter was counted, and if a letter were omitted, an extra letter inserted, or if one letter touched another, the manuscript was condemned and destroyed at once. [From General Biblical Introduction by H.S. Miller, 1960, p. 184-5]

the tanakh
The Tanakh
  • The Tanakh (also spelt Tanach) is the Hebrew acronym for the Jewish Bible, based upon the initial letters of its three parts:
  • Torah (Teaching, Law)
  • Nevi'im (Prophets)
  • Ketuvim (Writings, Hagiographa)
lxx vs masoretic
LXX vs. Masoretic
  • The text of the LXX is usually very close to that of the Masoretic, differing in one verse or another.
  • Several factors led Jews to eventually abandon the LXX, including the fact that Greek scribes were not subject to the same rigid rules imposed on Hebrew scribes; that Christians favored the LXX; the gradual decline of the Greek language among Jews.
  • The oldest witnesses to the LXX include 2nd century BC fragments of Leviticus and Deuteronomy (Rahlfs nos. 801, 819, and 957), and 1st century BC fragments of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and the Minor Prophets (Rahlfs nos. 802, 803, 805, 848, 942, and 943).
  • Textual criticism based on comparisons of existing copies of the Septuagint, Masoretic Text, the Samaritan text, and the Dead Sea scrolls suggests that the Septuagint was not translated directly from what is today the Masoretic Text, but rather from an earlier Hebrew text no longer available to scholars.
dead sea scrolls
Dead Sea Scrolls
  • The Scrolls have revolutionized textual criticism of the Old Testament. Interestingly, now with manuscripts predating the medieval period, we find these texts in substantial agreement with the Masoretic text as well as widely variant forms.
dead sea scrolls12
Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Only Caves 1 and 11 have produced relatively intact manuscripts. Discovered in 1952, Cave 4 produced the largest find. About 15,000 fragments from more than 500 manuscripts were found.
  • In all, scholars have identified the remains of about 825 to 870 separate scrolls.
dead sea scrolls13
Dead Sea Scrolls
  • There are now identified among the scrolls, 19 copies of the Book of Isaiah, 25 copies of Deuteronomy and 30 copies of the Psalms .
  • The Isaiah Scroll, found relatively intact, is 1000 years older than any previously known copy of Isaiah. In fact, the scrolls are the oldest group of Old Testament manuscripts ever found.
dead sea scrolls14
Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Prophecies by Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel not found in the Bible are written in the Scrolls.
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls enhance our knowledge of both Judaism and Christianity. They provide a wealth of comparative material for New Testament scholars. They show Christianity to be rooted in Judaism and have been called the evolutionary link between the two.

AD 400

Bible Copies

  • Two of the oldest vellum
  • copies (AD 325-350) that
  • exist today are the:
    • Vatican Codex
    • Sinaitic Codex

1500 BC 500 BC AD 1 AD 500 AD 1000 AD 1500 AD 1900 AD 2000

  • Relatively complete manuscripts of the LXX include Codex Vaticanus
  • Codex Sinaiticus of the 4th century CE
  • Codex Alexandrinus of the 5th century.
codex sinaiticus
Codex Sinaiticus
  • Codex Sinaiticus(London, Brit. Libr., Add. 43725; Gregory-Aland no. א or 01) is a complete, 4th century uncial manuscript of the New Testament. It also contains a substantial portion of the Septuagint.
  • Along with Codex Vaticanuss.
  • Codex Sinaiticus that was found by Constantin von Tischendorf on his third visit to the convent of Saint Catherine, on Mount Sinai in Egypt, in 1859.
  • The entire codex consists of 346 1/2 folios, written in four columns.
codex sinaiticus18
Codex Sinaiticus
  • Codex Sinaticus is one of the most valuable manuscripts of the Greek New Testament.
  • The Codex Leningrad is one of the surviving Masoretic texts.
  • Of these 199 belong to the Old Testament and 147 1/2 to the New, along with two other books, the Epistle of Barnabas and part of The Shepherd of Hermas.
the codex vaticanus
The Codex Vaticanus
  • The Codex Vaticanus, so called because it is the most famous manuscript in the possession of the Vatican library, is generally believed to be from the fourth century, and is thought to be the oldest (nearly) complete copy of the Greek Bible in existence.
the codex vaticanus20
The Codex Vaticanus
  • Lacking from it are most of the book of Genesis, Hebrews 9:14 to the end, the Pastoral Epistles, and the book of Revelation; these parts were lost by damage to the front and back of the volume, which is common in ancient manuscripts.
a sample of the text
A Sample of the Text

Codex Vaticanus, Matthew 11:8b-10a

codex alexandrinus
Codex Alexandrinus
  • Codex Alexandrinus received its name from the circumstance that its earliest known location was the Egyptian city of Alexandria. It is believed to be from the fifth century
  • This codex consists of 773 parchment leaves measuring 12.6 by 10.4 inches. Virtually all of the OT (630 leaves) and NT (143) are preserved in the codex.
codex alexandrinus23
Codex Alexandrinus
  • Normally the quires are made up 8 leaves. The text is written in two columns per page with 46 - 52 lines each and 20 - 25 letters per line. The letters are written in a plain uncial script with the beginning lines of books in red ink. Letters at the ends of lines are often smaller and crowded
witness josephus
Witness - Josephus
  • One of the most important pieces of evidence in favor of the forming and closing of the canon at a time prior to Christ may be found in the writings of Josephus, the Jewish historian.
  • He writes (at about 100 AD) "It is true our history has been written since Artaxerxes very particularly but has not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there has not been an exact succession of the prophets since that time."
the council of jamnia
The Council of Jamnia
  • The next major piece of evidence to be noted is the Council of Jamnia, which seems to have taken place around 90 AD.
  • This council established and closed the canon authoritatively for nearly all Jews. It has been their canon ever since.
  • Yet it should be noted that the council did not speak for all Jews, there were Jews living in Ethiopia who either did not hear of it or did not accept the decision of Jamnia. To this day they use a different canon than their Palestinian brethren [Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol 6, p 1147].
witness philo philo of alexandria c 20 bc c ad 50
Witness – PhiloPhilo of Alexandria(c.20 BC - c. AD 50)

Of some interest are the writings of Philo, a prolific Alexandrian Jew who lived in roughly the time of Christ. Though he gives us no canon, it is worthy of note that he does not use the books under dispute between Protestants and Catholics.

witness philo philo of alexandria c 20 bc c ad 5027
Witness – PhiloPhilo of Alexandria(c.20 BC - c. AD 50)
  • While it is true, on the other hand, that there are many books accepted by both that he does not quote -- the fact that he does not quote Wisdom seems to require explanation since its contents appear consistent with his thought.
  • It may be that he simply wanted to convince the widest audience possible with his writings and therefore chose to stick with the universally accepted portion of the canon for his support.
witness philo philo of alexandria c 20 bc c ad 5028
Witness – PhiloPhilo of Alexandria(c.20 BC - c. AD 50)
  • We can only speculate about why he did not quote the disputed books. Finally, consider that Philo (while prolific) is not the only rabbi of the period to leave us writings. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that a few Palestinian and Babylonian rabbis quoted the deuterocanonical books, apparently as Scripture
witness jerome
Witness - Jerome
  • One of the primary witnesses, not in order of time but certainly in stature against canonicity of the disputed books comes from a late period, the 4th century -- St. Jerome.
  • Jerome produced the standard Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate, and he felt that it was important for this purpose that he learn Hebrew. He discovered the opinion of the Jews in the matter of the canon, the falsity of the legend of the translation of the LXX, and as a result made many disparaging remarks about the disputed books, "calling them apocrypha" [this seems to have occurred about 390 AD, see "The Cambridge History of the Bible" Volume 2, 92].
witness jerome31
Witness - Jerome
  • Moreover, he seems to attach a certain importance to the idea that there should be 22 books in the Old Testament -- to accord with the number of Hebrew letters.
  • This seems to have also been a motivating factor in his rejection of the deuterocanonical books. In line with the Protestant view, he also disparages the additions to Daniel and Esther, in the prefaces to those books.
  • These remarks were to color the opinion of Christians in the West from that time forward and most explicit lists of the books given by the writers after him follow his thinking.
witness origen origen adamantius ca 185 ca 254
Witness – OrigenOrigen Adamantius, ca. 185–ca. 254
  • Origen, was a theologian and as a prolific Biblical scholar. According to Eusebius, Origen was born of Christian parents in Egypt, probably about 185, and spent most of his life in Alexandria
  • Origen learned Hebrew and labored carefully to produce the best texts. He notices many differences between the Hebrew passages used by the Jews and the passages in use by Christians. Not just in the disputed books, but in Job, Exodus, etc.
witness origen
Witness - Origen
  • He makes this remark "And, forsooth, when we notice such things, we are forthwith to reject as spurious the copies in use in our Churches, and enjoin the brotherhood to put away the sacred books current among them, and to coax the Jews, and persuade them to give us copies which shall be un tampered with, and free from forgery! Are we to suppose that that Providence which in the sacred Scriptures has ministered to the edification of all the Churches of Christ, had no thought for those bought with a price, for whom Christ died; whom, although His Son, God who is love spared not, but gave Him up for us all, that with Him He might freely give us all things?" [A letter from Origen to Africanus, Volume 4 of the Early Church Fathers CD Rom]
witness origen34
Witness - Origen
  • A letter from Origen to Africanus" [Early Church Fathers CD Rom, Vol 4] we get the following quote: "... Where you get your 'lost and won at play, and thrown out unburied on the streets,' I know not, unless it is from Tobias; and Tobias (as also Judith), we ought to notice, the Jews do not use. They are not even found in the Hebrew Apocrypha, as I learned from the Jews themselves. However, since the Churches use Tobias,..." demonstrating that the Church uses Tobias and Judith despite the fact that the Hebrews refuse to recognize it.
witness origen35
Witness - Origen
  • The letter to Africanus, which I've already quoted twice, is essentially a defense of the story of Susannah as being rightfully part of Scripture, and Origen's use of it in discussion with a certain Bassus. He seems, however, to regard the LXX as superior to the Hebrew text in every way -- too extreme a position based on the total evidence at hand.
origen and the hexapla
Origen and the Hexapla
  • Origen did extensive work on the Septuagint, producing several variations of a similar study. The most complete, however, was the Hexapla in which he compared the Septuagint with three parallel Greek translations of the Hebrew Scriptures. The work was organized in six columns.[1] (The name Hexapla is derived from hex- meaning six.)
origen and the hexapla37
Origen and the Hexapla
  • Note that each row represents a word-by-word transcription of the entire Hebrew Scripture text. The original Hexapla is thought to have consisted of nearly fifty volumes, with each volume in the form of a scroll equivalent in length to a Gospel or the book of Acts.
witness athanasius
Witness - Athanasius
  • Born ~293 CE, Alexandria -- died May 2 373 CE, Alexandria)
  • Council of Nicaea ( Ad 325)
  • Fixing the date of Easter issue = Bishop of Alexandria should have authority year by year and advise by “festal Letters”
  • Athanasius was bishop 328 to 373
  • 39th Letter deal with canon of OT & NT
  • Nicene Creed can refer to the original version adopted at the council
witness athanasius39
Witness - Athanasius
  • ‘Forasmuch as some have taken in handto reduce into order for themselves the books termed apocryphal, and to mix them up with the divinely inspired Scripture, concerning which we have been fully persuaded, as they who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, delivered to the fathers; it seemed good to me also, having been urged thereto by true brethren, and having learned from the beginning, to set before you the books included in the Canon, and handed down, and accredited as Divine; From Letter XXXIX.—(For 367.)
athanasius old testament canon has twenty two books
Athanasius' Old Testament canon has twenty-two books
  • The PentateuchGenesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
  • The Historical BooksJoshua, Judges, Ruth Samuel (1 and 2 Samuel are one book), Kings (1 and 2 Kings are one book), Chronicles (1 and 2 Chronicles are one book), and Ezra (Ezra and Nehemiah are one book).
  • The Poetical BooksPsalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and Job.
athanasius old testament canon has twenty two books41
Athanasius' Old Testament canon has twenty-two books
  • The Prophetical Books(1) The Minor ProphetsThe Twelve Minor prophets are one book.(2) The Major ProphetsIsaiah, Jeremiah (including Baruch, Lamentations, and the Letter of Jeremiah as one book), Ezekiel, and Daniel.
  • Esther is not included in the list of canonical books.
  • Baruch included in Letter of Jeremiah
witness athanasius42
Witness - Athanasius
  • Books appointed by the Fathers to be read for instructionWisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, the Teaching of the Apostles (Didache), and the Shepherd of Hermas.
  • Athanasius strongly emphasized the difference between the canonical books and the apocrypha.
  • The Athanasian Creed was ascribed to St. Athanasius - most likely from Gaul circa 500
old testament canon
Old Testament Canon
  • Canon was an historical process which took place over the centuries in three steps that came to form the Hebrew canon of Law, Prophets and Writings.
  • The first collection to be canonized consisted of the first five books of the Bible and was variously called: the Law (Hebrew, Torah), the Pentateuch, the Books of Moses. This collection was canonized about 400 B.C.E.
old testament canon44
Old Testament Canon
  • The second collection canonized was the Prophets (Hebrew, Nabim), which was canonized about 200 B.C.E.
  • Writings (Kethûbim, Greek, Hagiographa) were canonized about 90 C.E. This last canonization was understood as ratifying a commonly used, complete collection since the second or first century B.C.E.
  • Several local councils of the Church were to endorse the books later to be endorsed by Trent. (AD 1545)
  • The Council of Rome (AD 382)
  • Hippo (AD 393)
  • Carthage (AD 397 and 419).
  • The Council of Nicea II (AD 797) approved everything said by Carthage (AD 419).