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June 05, 2011

Comments

a

1- It is not clear that the Ketuvim were cannonized by the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah, since some later Tannaim maintain that Esther, Kohelet, and Shir HaShirim are not part of the cannon.
2 - According to your theory, why should the Oral Torah have been given and transmitted in an unorganized form in the first place, and only later organized by men? We value organization above disorganization so it would make more sense that the Original Torah given to Moshe in its pristine state and transmitted in the early generations should have been even more organized than it was in the later generations.

osoavakesh

Thank you for these improtant points.

1. You are correct that several books remained under question for a longer time, but clearly Anshei Knesews Hagedola canonized most books of Kesuvim. I also think that the beraisa in Bava Basra is in disagreement with the much earlier mishna in Yadaim.

2.Jews value organization over disorganization up to a point. Greeks and Romans were much more organized as was Rambam but the usual Judaic approach is to organize up to a point which preserves the advantage of disorganization while maximizing the advantages of organization.

3. It is possible that Moshe Rabbeinu had everything perfectly organized but 3ooo halachos were forgotten during the days of mourning for Moshe (Temura 14) and many more later, as per the Geonim (Sefer Hakabala and others).

a

What advantage is there in disorganization?

a

Also, Josephus, who lived in the time of the Beit HaMiqdash, mentions 24 books of the cannon, which would seem to indicate that the later Braitha is incorrect.

osoavakesh

What advantage is there in disorganization?

FLEXIBILITY!

As far as Josephus, he says there were 22 books, see "Against Apion" 1:8, where he mentions 5 books of Moses, 13 Prophets, and 4 Writings. He may have recognized Jer. and Lam. as
one book, and also combined Judges & Ruth etc or may be he excluded Esther or Koheles.

a

I stand corrected about Josephus' number. In any event, he writes in the same place:
"We have but 22 books, containing the history of all time, books that are believed to be divine. Of these, 5 belong to Moses, containing his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind down to the time of his death. From the death of Moses to the reign of Artaxerxes the prophets who succeeded Moses wrote the history of the events that occurred in their own time, in 13 books. The remaining 4 books comprise hymns to God and precepts for the conduct of human life. From the days of Artaxerxes to our own times every event has indeed been recorded; but these recent records have not been deemed worthy of equal credit with those which preceded them, on account of the failure of the exact succession of prophets. There is practical proof of the spirit in which we treat our Scriptures; although so great an interval of time has now passed, not a soul has ventured to add or to remove or to alter a syllable; and it is the instinct of every Jew, from the day of his birth, to consider these Scriptures as the teaching of God, and to abide by them, and, if need be, cheerfully to lay down his life in their behalf."
This clearly indicates that his time the canon was closed, down to the last syllable, regardless of how you arrange or enumerate the books. Also, bear in mind that unlike today, when the entire Tanakh is printed in one volume, in the time of Hazal, there were separate scrolls containing each book individually, and the order was not important; so it was very easy to incorporate one book into another as you point out, based on chronology or authorship.

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