There are those who flat-footedly declare the book of Jasher to be fake, claiming that the book was somehow reverse engineered, using Bible texts that appear to quote from it (and the examples are set forth herein) as just the opposite – that the writer(s) of Yashar somehow quoted the existing text from the Bible and not the other way around.
Well, this same difficulty arises with all of the New Testament, doesn’t it? Was the New Testament reverse engineered? Let the detractors provide an answer.
Further, the traditions of construction in the world of the Ivriym was by oral tradition (all scholars readily admitting that the “oral law” was transmitted this way between the generations for centuries on centuries). Could this have been the case with the Cepher Yashar? Some scholars believe this is one possibility.
One of those scholars who acknowledged the ancient origin of the cepher, according to M. M. Noah, was Yocephus (Flavius Josephus) who had written in respect of the Cepher Yashar that "by this book are to be understood certain records kept in some safe place on purpose, giving an account of what happened among the Hebrews from year to year, and called ‘Jasher’ or ‘The Upright’, on account of the fidelity of the annals."
According to Derick Coetzee, at Academia.edu, the Book of Jasher actually has a Hebrew Text, called Sefer HaYashar which was first printed in Naples in 1552, and has a traceable history from there. [A copy is available as a free download on our website via the link below]
Before that, it was claimed that its original source book came from Jerusalem in AD 70, where a Roman officer named Sidrus allegedly discovered a Hebrew scholar hiding in a hidden library which he was supposed to destroy as part of the burning of Jerusalem. This he didn’t do; and he reportedly took the scholar and all the books safely back to his estates in Hispalis (modern-day Seville). The manuscript was then transferred or sold to the Jewish college in Cordova sometime during the Islamic Period (8th Century – 1492 AD [which ended with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain at the proclamation of the Alhambra Decree]).
A Venetian Rabbi, Leon Modena denounced the book at the time of its printing because the form of the Hebrew used in the text was similar to that found in the Zohar. He claimed that the oral history of the book was merely vain imaginings. Of course, one should remember that Rabbis also denounced the New Testament for the exact same reasons, and also the Cepher Chanoch (Enoch), Baruk (Baruch), 3 and 4 Ezra (1 and 2 Esdras), Yahudith (Judith), Hadaccah (Additions to Esther), and all of the Maccabean writings found in the Septuagint and the canonized scripture.
This 1625 Hebrew version was then translated by Moses Samuel into the English language and published in 1840 under Mordecai Manuel Noah’s publication firm and name, and it is this manuscript that is known as “the Book of Jasher” today. This is the underlying text found in the Eth CEPHER, except that we have removed all editorial comment, including the comments that were added by the Neapolitan editors, to provide only the text.
This book is conspicuously different from a text called “Pseudo-Jasher” which was published in 1751 by Jacob Ilive and whose text itself reveals it to be a specious forgery. This edition was discredited and seemingly forgotten until a New Age-metaphysics research order called the “Ancient Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis” (also the “one universal Rosicrucian Order”) reprinted it in 1934. Since then, only this order and New Age Gnostics have even bothered with it, as it is filled with anti-religious views, such as: A’dam and Chuah (Eve) did not sin; ELOHIYM did not Create the Universe but was formed on the same day as Humans by natural evolutionary processes; and Noach only invented shipping. Jacob Ilive was sentenced to three years imprisonment for committing fraud and for heresy, after writing the book, and several accompanying pamphlets.
The Book of Jasher is supported by reliable texts
The Day The Sun Stood Still
Yahusha (Joshua) 10:13
And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the Cepher of Yashar? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven and hastened not to come about a whole day.
The Cepher Yashar records this thusly:
Yashar (Jasher) 88:63-64
And when they were smiting, the day was declining toward evening, and Yahusha said in the sight of all the people: Sun, stand you still upon Giv`on, and you moon in the valley of Ayalon, until the nation shall have revenged itself upon its enemies. 64 And Yahuah hearkened to the voice of Yahusha, and the sun stood still in the midst of the heavens, and it stood still six and thirty moments, and the moon also stood still and hastened not to go down a whole day.
Teach The Children of Judah The Bow
Shemu’el Sheniy (2 Samuel) 1:17-18
And David lamented with this lamentation over Sha’ul and over Yahunathan his son: 18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Yahudah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the Cepher of Yashar.)
The Cepher Yashar records this thusly:
Yashar (Jasher) 56:8-9
And Ya`aqov said unto Yahudah, I know my son that you are a mighty man for your brethren; reign over them, and your sons shall reign over their sons forever. 9 Only teach your sons the bow and all the weapons of war, in order that they may fight the battles of their brother who will rule over his enemies.
There is an ancient midrash which makes reference to the passage in Shemu’el Sheniy (2 Sam.) 1:18
Also he bade them teach the children of Yahudah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the Cepher of Yashar.
The Sefaria provides a transcript of the ancient midrash of the Rashi, who relies upon the midrash of Rav Yochonon in Avoda Zarah. In this midrash, we have a specific designation that the language found in the modern Cepher Yashar is what was known to be there at the time of his writing. Here is the midrash:
Rashi on 2 Samuel 1:18
"He said, 'To teach the Bnei Yehudah archery.' David said, 'Now that might among Yisroel have fallen, the Bnei Yehudah need to be taught how to make war and how to pull back a bow.'"
Behold it is written in the Seifer HaYoshor. This is written in Seifer Bereishis, which is the Seifer of the righteous [Rashi is citing the opinion of Rav Yochonon in Avoda Zarah, 25a] Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov. And where [In Bereishis] is it hinted at? ‘Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies.’ [Bere’shiyth 49:8] What type of warfare is it where he places his hand next to his forehead, [When pulling back the string of his bow. Rashi in Avodah Zarah, ibid writes the archer places his hand next to his eyes. This is how they sight their targets] which is opposite his neck? [This interpretation reads the verse in Bere’shiyth differently: ‘your hand will be on your neck.’ See Marsho, Avodah Zarah, ibid.] One must say: this is archery.”
https://www.sefaria.org/Rashi_on_II_Samuel.1.18.1?lang=bi&p2=Genesis.49&lang2=bi&aliyot2=0 (accessed Nov. 12, 2018, 5:38 PM).
So, this ancient midrash from Talmudic sources gives solid credence to the discussion that the teaching of the bow to the sons of Yahudah (Judah) was found in a text referred to as Sefer HaYashar - the Cepher Yashar - whether or not it had been later published by a Rabbi in Naples.
But these are not the only indicia of validity (or inspiration, should one choose that form of understanding).
Iannes and Iambres
Timotheus Sheniy (2 Timothy) 3:8
Now as Iannes and Iambres withstood Mosheh, so do these also resist the Truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. [Bold added]
The Cepher Yashar makes this record:
Yashar (Jasher) 79:27
And when they had gone Phar`oh sent for Bil`am the magician and to Iannes and Iambres his sons, and to all the magicians and conjurors and counselors which belonged to the king, and they all came and sat before the king. [Bold added]
For those who claim that this is a reconstructed forgery by the Yahudiym (Jews) who wrote the Zohar, there is a bit of an issue here. And my challenge arises in this place as follows:
- Which Yahudiy (Jew) in Spain would reconstruct a book in order to give credence to the words of Pa’al?
- Where did Pa’al get the names Iannes and Iambres (Jannes and Jambres)? Did Pa’al make them up? Is his work fiction, fake, and phony?
"My River is My Own"
Unbeknownst to the modern commentators on Yashar is an additional quote from Yashar that is also found word for word in the Cepher of the Prophet Yechezq’el:
Yechezq’el (Ezekiel) 29:3
Speak, and say: Thus says Adonai Yahuah; Behold, I am against you, Phar`oh king of Mitsrayim, the great dragon that lies in the midst of his rivers, which has said, My river is my own, and I have made it for myself.
The Cepher Yashar records it thusly:
Yashar (Jasher) 79:51
And the anger of the king was kindled at their words, and he said to them: But who amongst all the elohiym of nations can do this? My river is my own, and I have made it for myself.
If the Cepher Yashar was reverse engineered and merely copied from the text, then why not copy the whole of the verse? Why only the fragment? Why not a discussion on the dragon? Why not the use of the term Phar`oh?
And let us not forget to ask the question: How did Yechezq’el (Ezekiel) know this is what the Phar`oh had said? Which scripture did Yechezq’el rely on to make the claim that the Phar`oh had said: “My river is my own, and I have made it for myself?”
Yoceph vs. Yahuceph
For us, one of the most outstanding evidences of true inspiration is found in the following Tehillah (Psalm):
Tehilliym (Psalms) 81:5
This he ordained in Yahuceph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Mitsrayim: where I heard a language that I understood not.
Before we go any further, let’s look at the underlying Ivriyt (this verse is numbered as 81:6 in the Masoretic text):
עֵדוּת בִּיהוֹסֵף שָׂמוֹ בְּצֵאתוֹ עַל־אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם שְׂפַת לֹא־יָדַעְתִּי אֶשְׁמָע׃
The word found here is Yahuceph (בִּיהוֹסֵף) (technically b’Yahuceph with the prefix “b” meaning “in”). The name Yoceph (Joseph) is spelled throughout the entirety of the Ivriyt text as (יוֹסֵף) (Strong’s H3130); i.e., yod-vav-camek-final pey. Yet, in this passage, the name is spelled yod-hey-vav-camek-final pey. Is this a different person other than Yoceph? None of the other English Bibles believe so, as the name Joseph is used in the following English translations:
21st Century KJV, American Standard Version, Amplified Bible*, Amplified Bible - Classic Edition, BRG Bible, Christian Standard Bible, Common English Bible, Contemporary English Version, Darby Translation, Easy-to-read Version, Evangelical Heritage Version, English Standard Version, English Standard Version Anglicized, Expanded Bible, 1599 Geneva Bible, God’s Word Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, International Children’s Bible, International Standard Version, Jubilee Bible 2000, King James Version (Benjamin Blaney ed.), King James Version – Authorized Version, Lexham English Bible, The Message, Modern English Version, Names of God Bible, New American Bible (delineated as 81:6), New American Standard Bible, New Century Version, New English Translation, New International Reader’s Version, New International Version, New King James Version, New Life Version, New Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized Catholic Edition, Orthodox Jewish Bible, Revised Standard Version, Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Tree of Life Version (delineated as 81:6), The Voice, World English Bible, Wycliffe Bible, Young’s Literal Translation
* The Amplified bible has the following footnote:
Psalm 81:5 Curiously, in this one verse Joseph’s name has an extra letter, an “h.” In an example of rabbinic lore, the ancient rabbis said [where?] that because Joseph sanctified the divine name in private (by resisting Potiphar’s wife) he merited having one letter of the divine name (Yahweh) added to his. Another rabbinic explanation [No, not really. It is only found in the Cepher Yashar] is that when Pharaoh was about to elevate Joseph to power, the astrologers demanded that Joseph speak the 70 languages of the world. The angel Gabriel came to teach him, but Joseph was unable until Gabriel added to his name the extra letter from the divine name. [Not the accurate story.]
The only text which recognizes the “hey” in the word (other than the Eth CEPHER) is the Complete Jewish Bible, which sets out the text as “He placed it as a testimony in Y’hosef when he went out against the land of Egypt. I heard an unfamiliar voice say,” [delineated as 81:6].
It looks like a lot of translators consider the “hey” to be irrelevant, doesn’t it?
The Cepher Yashar makes the following record:
Yashar (Jasher) 49:13-14
And on that night Yahuah sent one of his ministering angels, and he came into the land of Mitsrayim unto Yoceph, and the angel of Yahuah stood over Yoceph, and behold Yoceph was lying in the bed at night in his adoniy’s house in the dungeon, for his adoniy had put him back into the dungeon on account of his woman. 14 And the angel roused him from his sleep, and Yoceph rose up and stood upon his legs, and behold the angel of Yahuah was standing opposite to him; and the angel of Yahuah spoke with Yoceph, and he taught him all the languages of man in that night, and he called his name Yahuceph.
Again, the detractors of the Cepher Yashar have two choices at this juncture: 1) they can make the claim that Acaph, the writer of Psalm 81, made up the spelling and the name from whole cloth; or 2) he learned of the name from a more ancient source. If the answer is that Acaph learned the name from a more ancient source, let the detractors point to it. Let them uncover a text other than this particular edition of Yashar that contains this name.
Jasher does not promote "occult" practices
It is important at this juncture to discuss the claim that Yashar is an “occult” work. Once again, we find the Cepher Yashar acting as a divine threshing tool.
Yashar (Jasher) 42:30-35
And Yoceph reached his mother's grave, and Yoceph hastened and ran to his mother's grave, and fell upon the grave and wept. 31 And Yoceph cried aloud upon his mother's grave, and he said, O my mother, my mother, O you who did give me birth, awake now, and rise and see your son, how he has been sold for a slave, and no one to pity him. 32 O rise and see your son, weep with me on account of my troubles, and see the heart of my brethren. 33 Arouse my mother, arouse, awake from your sleep for me, and direct your battles against my brethren. O how have they stripped me of my coat, and sold me already twice for a slave, and separated me from my father, and there is no one to pity me. 34 Arouse and lay your cause against them before Elohiym, and see whom Elohiym will justify in the judgment, and whom he will condemn. 35 Rise, O my mother, rise, awake from your sleep and see my father how his soul is with me this day, and comfort him and ease his heart.
Now Yoceph at this time was seventeen years old, according to this text. His brothers had just tried to kill him, and had sold him into slavery, which would result in him being in prison for many years. So he cried out to his mother.
It is the next paragraph, which offends many, claiming that it is offensive to scripture that such a text should be in place, as it appears to be violative of the mitsvoth found in the Pentateuch of Mosheh:
Devariym (Deuteronomy) 18:9-13
When you are come into the land which Yahuah Elohayka gives you, you shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, or one that practices sorcery, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto Yahuah: and because of these abominations Yahuah Elohayka drives them out from before you. 13 You shall be perfect with Yahuah Elohayka.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 19:31
Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am Yahuah Elohaykem.
So, when we review the next passage in Yashar, it appears to offend these mitsvoth:
Yashar (Jasher) 42:36-40
And Yoceph continued to speak these words, and Yoceph cried aloud and wept bitterly upon his mother's grave; and he ceased speaking, and from bitterness of heart he became still as a stone upon the grave. 37 And Yoceph heard a voice speaking to him from beneath the ground, which answered him with bitterness of heart, and with a voice of weeping and praying in these words: 38 My son, my son Yoceph, I have heard the voice of your weeping and the voice of your lamentation; I have seen your tears; I know your troubles, my son, and it grieves me for your sake, and abundant grief is added to my grief. 39 Now therefore my son, Yoceph my son, hope to Yahuah, and wait for him and do not fear, for Yahuah is with you, he will deliver you from all trouble. 40 Rise my son, go down unto Mitsrayim with your adoniym, and do not fear, for Yahuah is with you, my son. And she continued to speak like unto these words unto Yoceph, and she was still.
There are two things to consider. First, this text does not teach doctrine, but rather recites a history. There are many actions of the patriarchs that violate the mitsvoth of Mosheh. For instance, Avram marries his half-sister, Sarai (violating Vayiqra 18:9); Ya`aqov married a woman and her sister (violating Vayiqra 18:8); Salmah married Rachav the prostitute (violating Vayiqra 21:7); David committed murder and adultery; Shalomah erected idols, and so on, and so on.
Scripture records that there are none good, not one. Is there an expectation that Yoceph was without sin?
Speaking with familiar spirits was also found in the 66-book unauthorized redaction of scripture:
Shemu’el Ri’shon (1 Samuel) 28:7-14
Then said Sha’ul unto his servants: Seek me a woman that has a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him: Behold, there is a woman that has a familiar spirit at Eyn-Do’r. 8 And Sha’ul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray you, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, את whom I shall name unto you. 9 And the woman said unto him: Behold, you know את what Sha’ul has done, how he has cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then lay you a snare for my life, to cause me to die? 10 And Sha’ul swore seven oaths to her by Yahuah, saying: As Yahuah lives, there shall no punishment happen to you for this thing. 11 Then said the woman: Whom shall I bring up unto you? And he said: Bring me up Shemu’el. 12 And when the woman saw Shemu’el, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spoke to El-Sha’ul, saying: Why have you deceived me? For you are Sha’ul. 13 And the king said unto her: Be not afraid: for what saw you? And the woman said unto El-Sha’ul, I saw elohiym ascending out of the earth. 14 And he said unto her: What form is he of? And she said: An old man comes up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Sha’ul perceived that it was Shemu’el, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.
Now we see here, that unlike Sha'ul, Yoceph did not seek a person who had a familiar spirit, or who sought familiar spirits; rather, Yoceph was crying out at the grave of his mother in desperation. There is a difference.
Nonetheless, some detractors have denounced the Cepher Yashar because it is reported that Rachel answered him. Do we see anything similar in Shemu’el Ri’shon (1 Samuel)?
Shemu’el Ri’shon (1 Samuel) 28:15-19
And Shemu’el said to El-Sha’ul: Why have you disquieted me, to bring me up? And Sha’ul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Pelishtiym make war against me, and Elohiym is departed from me, and answers me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called you, that you may make known unto me what I shall do. 16 Then said Shemu’el: Wherefore then do you ask of me, seeing Yahuah is departed from you, and is become your enemy? 17 And Yahuah has done to him, as he spoke by me: for Yahuah has rent the kingdom out of your hand, and given it to your neighbor, even to David: 18 Because you obeyed not the voice of Yahuah, nor executed his fierce wrath upon Amaleq, therefore has Yahuah done this thing unto you this day. 19 Moreover Yahuah will also deliver Yashar’el with you into the hand of the Pelishtiym: and tomorrow shall you and your sons be with me: Yahuah also shall deliver the host of Yashar’el into the hand of the Pelishtiym.
Looks like it is time for the detractors to get out that penknife and cut out 1 Samuel. Some detractors are inspired to burn books with which they have disagreement, or to rip out pages and then burn them. They have a friend in scripture who did a similar thing.
Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 36:20-23
And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Eliyshama the scribe and told את all the words in the ears of the king. 21 So the king sent Yahudiy to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Eliyshama the scribe's chamber. And Yahudiy read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king. 22 Now the king sat in the winter house in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. 23 And it came to pass, that when Yahudiy had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.
Second, we must consider at this point the teaching of MASHIACH.
Marqus (Mark) 12:18-27
Then come unto him the Tsadoqiym, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying: 19 Rabbi, Mosheh wrote unto us: If a man's brother die, and leave his woman behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his woman, and raise up seed unto his brother. 20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a woman and dying left no seed. 21 And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. 22 And the seven had her and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. 23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose woman shall she be of them? For the seven had her as his woman. 24 And Yahusha answering said unto them: Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of El? 25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. 26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the cepher of Mosheh, how in the thorn bush את Elohiym spoke unto him, saying: I am the Elohiym of Avraham, and the Elohiym of Yitschaq, and the Elohiym of Ya`aqov? 27 He is not the Elohiym of the dead, but the Elohiym of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
Further, another problem arises for those who would label the Cepher Yashar as an occult work because of the record of Yoceph at the grave of his mother:
Luqas (Luke) 9:28-36
And it came to pass in about eight days after these sayings, he took Kepha and Yochanon and Ya`aqov, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. 30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Mosheh and Eliyahu: 31 Who appeared in glory, and spoke of his decease which he should accomplish at Yerushalayim. 32 But Kepha and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Kepha said unto Yahusha, Rabbi, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three cukkoth; one for you, and one for Mosheh, and one for Eliyahu: not knowing what he said. 34 While he thus spoke, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my yachiyd, the Elect One: hear him. 36 And when the voice was past, Yahusha was found alone. And they kept it close and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
This discussion does not include some of the beautiful passages found in Yashar, such as the discussion between Yitschaq and Yishma`el concerning words that would be considered by YAHUAH and the testing not only of Avraham, but also the testing of Yitschaq. It does not include the metaphor with the mother wolf who has been caught by the brothers of Yoceph in furtherance of their lies to their father [a metaphor for the later birth of Binyamiyn (Benjamin)], or the heart-rending story of the death of Sarah.
However, we now arrive at the threshing floor:
Devariym (Deuteronomy) 4:2
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may guard the commandments of Yahuah Elohaykem which I command you.
Devariym (Deuteronomy) 12:32
את What thing soever I command you, guard to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
Chizayon (Revelation) 22:18-19
For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this cepher, If any man shall add unto these things, Elohiym shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this cepher: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the cepher of this prophecy, Elohiym shall take away his part out of the cepher of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this cepher.
Should the changing canons of the past be the measuring rod?
It is believed that the Book of Jasher was first discovered during the Great Jewish Revolt (alluded to earlier), in which Roman forces led by Titus destroyed the Temple at Jerusalem around 70 AD. The book was believed to have been carried off along with other Roman spoils ultimately making its way to Spain, where the Jews had already established themselves through trade since the time of King Solomon. It was kept for centuries in the Hebrew College of Cordova, and from there was transported to Venice where it was discovered and first printed in 1613. Because the Book of Jasher had not been known to early theologians and scholars, it was never considered for entry into Church canonical listings. In other words, Church leaders did not have the opportunity to make pronouncements regarding whether or not they thought it was the inspired Word of God. As result, it remains excluded from both canonical and apocryphal listings to this day.
Let the detractors from the Cepher Yashar now justify how it is that they proclaim 66 books in the public square as the complete Bible? You can rest assured that King James did not authorize only 66 books. Nor did John Calvin in his 1560 Geneva Bible. Nor did the Catholic Church when it canonized scripture in the 1256 Council of Trent. Nor did the 72 interpreters of the Septuagint only translate 39 books of the Old Testament. Nor did the Ethiopians (who produced the first Bible in the world) reduce the word to 66 books.
Let the detractors now proclaim the divine inspiration, theological credentials, and Canonic authorization of those who decided there should be only 66 books.
In the meantime, the Cepher Yashar as a threshing tool continues its work.
Given the edicts found in Devariym (Deuteronomy) 4, by what authority do we read the writings of Yesha’yahu (Isaiah)? Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah)? The Psalms? The Proverbs? The Samaritan Pentateuch was the text relied upon by those who rejected the Prophets and the Writings. If you are clinging to this theology, you will need a sharpened penknife, as you will need to remove the Besor’oth (New Testament) as well.
Criterion for Scripture
Given the demand that scripture be proven to be the “inspired word of God,” let us now discuss the criterion upon which the Catholic Church relied in determining that which would be delineated by Roman law (i.e., a Canon) as appropriate for inclusion under a single cover.
Is a book inspired if it includes the phrase “thus saith the LORD”?
There are many texts (including Esther which is notoriously secular) which are devoid of this phrase in the 66-book collection; so this can’t be a criterion.
Is a book inspired if it contains prophecy?
Well, that would eliminate the epistles of Peter, John, James and Jude and all but two of Paul’s; so this can’t be a criterion.
Is a book inspired if it was originally found to be in Ivriyt (Hebrew) by the scholars at the time of the Council of Jamnia?
Well, maybe. But that would completely ignore the work of the Septuagint in its collection, and would exclude the book of Daniel, as it was originally written in Aramaic; so this can’t be a criterion.
Is a book inspired if it is something claimed to be written by the Talmidiym (Apostles)?
Well, what do you do with the Gospel of Luke (not a Talmidiy (Apostle)), the book of Acts (isn’t this book just “historical”), and all of the books of Pa'al (Paul) (who was an Apostle); so this can’t be a criterion.
Is a book inspired if it is claimed to be authored by the “recognized” church fathers, i.e., only James, John, Peter, Jude, Matthew, and Mark (with an exception made for Paul and Luke)?
First, you have to establish the criterion for being a church “father”. Why do we omit Barnabas? Iraneus? Clement? Justine Martyr? Origen? Tertullian? And of course, Apollos? We will need to establish this criterion first, before we can discuss whether or not mere authorship declares divine inspiration. For instance, where are the Apocalypses of Peter, Paul and James? They exist. Where is the Acts of Peter? Where is the Epistle of Barnabas? Therefore, this can’t be a criterion either.
Or, is a book inspired because it was identified by somebody a long time ago as “inspired” without identifying the criteria upon which such a decision was made?
It is of note that the followers of Judaism are now denying the criteria upon which the Council of Jamnia acted, and denying that the Council of Jamnia was responsible for redacting the books acceptable to Talmudic Judaism.
It is also noteworthy that there are claims being made that the Catholic Church was responsible for the redacting of scripture to only 66 books; but such a claim seems specious when they are currently publishing the same canon identified in 1256.
When people make the claim that books should not be included in the “canon” (which is a deleterious misnomer and an oxymoron since the Canon belongs exclusively to the Roman church) because they are merely historic, should not 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles and the Book of Acts be given the same designation? If so, then eliminating books on the basis of them being merely historical does not appear to be a criterion for canonization as well.
However, detractors from the inclusion of the texts found in the Eth CEPHER should at least be able to provide the exact process by which the 1611 KJV-AV and the 1560 Geneva Bibles were reduced, by setting forth the edicts, commands, documents, orders, or canons; the dates of such edicts, commands, documents, orders, or canons; and the authority of those who rendered such decisions. Further, the reasoning behind such decisions should also be included, as well as the pedigree of those involved (so that they might be compared with the KJV and Geneva interpreters).
Original Texts are Not The Scriptural, or even Historical, Standard
A great difficulty arises for those who are quick to claim that there is no original text of the Cepher Yashar that can establish its authenticity before its publication (notably, in Hebrew) in the modern epoch, as these same detractors cannot produce a single original text for any of the manuscripts found in the 66-book redacted Bible, or the Canonized scripture found in the 1611 KJV-AV, the 1560 Geneva, or the Catholic Canon of 1256. None exist.
All of the books of the Tanakh (with the exception of Esther) were found in 1948 (at least in part) in the Dead Sea Scrolls located in the caves of Qumran, and these scrolls have both intrinsic and extrinsic evidence of being in existence prior to the modern epoch. Before this discovery, there was very little to point to before the 3rd Century. Is it even possible to demonstrate that there was no corruption between the time of the creation of the books of the New Testament and the time of their copying? Can it be conclusively established that the New Testament was “originally” written in Greek? In Aramaic? In Hebrew? The best record, by the way, and the earliest record, favors Hebrew as the language of the Gospels.
Compare with the Gnostic collection found at Nag Hammadi, where a 1st or 2nd century date of composition circa 80 AD or earlier has been proposed for the lost Greek originals of the Gospel of Thomas, and the buried manuscripts date from the 3rd and 4th centuries.
Further, how long did the New Testament exist only in oral tradition?
Discernment is called for in the gathering of texts to be included under a single binding. We at Cepher Publishing Group did not set about to create a religion, or to gather together scripture we could use for purposes of political control; we just set out to publish a comprehensive restoration of sacred scripture in the English language. We did not set out to replace your Bible; nor did we identify the work as a “Bible”; this is discussed in our preface and in our materials. Instead, we sought to form the most accurate work we could.
We do believe there was divine inspiration behind all of our decisions, and the work of the Ruach Ha’Qodesh. It doesn’t mean we didn’t make errors, or that we have completed our task before the throne. We haven’t; however, for those of you who enjoy the Eth CEPHER as part of your study, have assurance that the Cepher Yashar is an informative book, wrapped in history, with all of the indices of credibility discussed above.
(This blog has been updated with scriptures from the Millennium Edition את Cepher.)