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On Canonicity: The Synod of Jamnia – Part 3

Author Stephen Pidgeon - Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 6:00 AM


The canonized version of the Old Testament used by Catholics is based on the "Septuagint" (also called "LXX" or "The Seventy") which came into being around 280 B.C. as a translation of then existing texts from Hebrew into Greek by 70 Jewish scribes (the Torah was translated first, around 300 B.C., and the rest of the books were translated afterward).

This Septuagint was the text overwhelmingly relied upon by the writers of the New Testament when they cited scripture.  The references found in the New Testament of Old Testament teachings refer overwhelmingly to the Septuagint over 300 times. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul all make reference to the Septuagint in their New Testament writings.  It is this Septuagint which includes seven books and parts of Esther and Daniel which were removed from Protestant Bibles some 1,500 years after the birth of HAMASHIACH.

The Septuagint is the Old Testament referred to in the Didache or "Doctrine of the Apostles" (first century Christian writings) and by Origen, Irenaeus of Lyons, Hippolytus, Tertullian, Cyprian of Carthage, Justin Martyr, St. Augustine as well as the vast majority of early Christians who referenced Scripture in their writings. The Epistle of Pope Clement, written in the first century, makes reference to the Books Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom, analyzes the book of Judith, and quotes sections of the book of Esther that were removed from Protestant Bibles.

It was the Septuagint that was the version of the Old Testament accepted by the very earliest followers of the faith.  The additional seven books which later came to be called apocrypha writings were also found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

However, a different view of which books should be considered proper sacred Jewish writings emerged following the destruction of the Second Temple and the diaspora of the Jews.  Around A.D. 90-100, a rabbinical school was formed by Yochanan ben Zakkai. The "Council of Jamnia" (also called "Jabneh" or "Javneh") is the name that was given to the decisions made by this Pharisaic school. Zakkai convened the Jamnian Council with the goals of safeguarding Hillel's Oral Law, deciding the Jewish canon (which had always been, and possibly even afterward remained, an open canon), and attempting to prevent the disappearance of Talmudic Judaism into the Diaspora of the Christian and Roman worlds.

A brief aside: The tradition of the oral law actually began before the Torah was given to Moshe.  This is described in Shemot (Exodus) 18, when Mosheh’s father in law advises him to teach and appoint judges:

Shemot (Exodus) 18:17-25

And Mosheh’s father in law said unto him, The thing that you do is not good. 18 You will surely wear away, both you, and this people that is with you: for this thing is too heavy for you; you are not able to perform it yourself alone. 19 Hearken now unto my voice, I will give you counsel, and ELOHIYM shall be with you: Be for the people to ELOHIYM-ward, that you may bring את eth-the causes unto ELOHIYM: 20 And you shall teach them את eth-ordinances and את eth-Torah, and shall show them את eth-the way wherein they must walk, and את eth-the work that they must do. 21 Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men, such as fear ELOHIYM, men of Truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: 22 And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto you, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for yourself, and they shall bear the burden with you. 23 If you shall do את eth-this thing, and ELOHIYM command you so, then you shall be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. 24 So Mosheh hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said. 25 And Mosheh chose able men out of all Yisra’el, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 26 And they judged את eth-the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Mosheh, but every small matter they judged themselves.

So the oral law – the smaller matters judged by the people themselves – began at Ciynay, and continued within the traditions of the house of Yisra’el, until it began to be written, during the time of Hillel the Elder.  This first construct became known as the Yerushalmi Talmud, and is also referred to as the mishneh (which means, the duplicate).  This mishneh was then asserted by the Parashiym (Pharisees) as an alternative law to the Torah, and the Pharisees began to teach that the era of the Torah was over, and that the era of the Mishneh had begun. Mattithyahu 23 is just one discourse concerning HAMASHIACH’S opinion of these oral laws and the crafted Mishneh.  It is in this passage where he pronounces seven woes over the Pharisees. 

The Council of Jamnia was a reaction to the rise of the Nazarene faith, who were mostly Jews using the Septuagint to establish the truth concerning HAMASHIACH to proselytize other Jews.  This faith of the Nazarenes became an identifiable threat to the doctrine of the Pharisees which would eventually land on the redacted Talmud and the expanded Mishneh of the Babylonian era, at the expense of the Septuagint upon which these same Pharisees had relied for almost 400 years. The Pharisees meeting at the Council of Jamnia were the same who had denied that the New Testament was true, had accused the Nazarenes of stealing the body of YAHUSHA from the tomb and lying about his resurrection.  It was the infamous Gamaliel whom the Pauline world lauds as the exalted Parashiym More (Pharisee Teacher) that instructed Sha’ul before he eventually stopped persecuting Nazarenes to death and himself converted, who made it the obligation of the Jews in praying the Amidah (the standing prayer) and its 18 petitions to pray the 12th petition called the birkat, which prays that “for apostates may there be no hope, and may the Nazarenes and heretics suddenly perish.”  Gamaliel is also the Pharisee who forced the Nazarenes out of the synagogues.

To make matters more interesting, the Council of Jamnia – who wrestled with whether the book of Daniy’el should be included, and eventually conceded (but only as a writing and not prophecy!), also eliminated the Cepher Makkabiym (the Maccabees).  This occurred at the request of the Falvian Roman Emperors, who were sponsoring the Council.  These emperors decided that the Cepher Makkabim might be inflammatory and incite rebellion by the Jews.

As we suspected: the Council of Jamnia was a reaction to the rise of the Nazarene faith, and the redaction of the sacred scriptures began with the intent to disguise the Torah and the Prophets, all of which give testimony to the coming Lamb of ELOHIYM. 

The Protestant Bibles whose editors have seen fit to eliminate the Cepheriym Makkabiym (books I – IV are found in the Eth Cepher) are in accord with the Council of Jamnia – an express antichrist Synod, and have yielded (once again, I might add) to the demands of Rome and its emperors who feared the words of these scriptures. The Cepheriym Makkabiym were eliminated for the first time at the Council of Jamnia as Jews in other parts of the world, such as the Ethiopian Jews who didn't get the news of the Council of Jamnia's decisions, still use those "extra" seven books to this very day.

Jamnia did however reduce the ordinary order from those books found in the Septuagint to the books now commonly found in the Tanakh, including the following:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

Joshua, Judges, Samuel (I & II), Kings (I & II), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel,

Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Chavaquq, Ts'phanyah, Haggai, Z'kharyah, Malakhi

Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Ester, Daniyel, Ezra-N'chemyah, Chronicles (I & II)

These books are those that now constitute the canonical writings of Judaism, as established in direct reaction to the rise of the Messianic order of the Nazarenes in the First Century. 

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