Tracing the Old Testament Canon Through Time: The Necessity of a Diachronic Approach to Compilational Criticism
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This dissertation argues that multiple arrangements are needed to account for all of the compilational features within the Old Testament. Therefore, compilational criticism must examine multiple, historical arrangements of the Old Testament books. A compilational feature is any instance in which the composition of an Old Testament book (the words of the final form of the text) has been influenced by its compilation (how that book has been arranged with other Old Testament books). Examining multiple arrangements acknowledges that several arrangements are needed to fully study how the Old Testament’s compilation has influenced its message and does not prioritize one arrangement over all others regardless of whether that arrangement is shown to be earlier or contains more compilations judged to be more favorable (such as literary compilations) than other arrangements. In order to argue that multiple arrangements are needed to account for all of the compilational features within the Old Testament, this dissertation studied compilations related to three books (Nahum, Ruth, Chronicles) which were compiled in different positions within ancient compilations of the Old Testament. It was argued that the compilations studied showed signs of having influenced the composition of the books involved. Since the composition of the Old Testament books was influenced by multiple arrangements of the Old Testament, multiple arrangements are needed to provide a complete explanation of how the compilation of the Old Testament has influenced its composition. Since multiple arrangements are needed to provide a complete explanation of the Old Testament’s compilational features, compilational critics should expect there to be multiple ancient arrangements of the Old Testament books and be willing to investigate the significance of these arrangements at both the micro (arrangements involving only some of the Old Testament books) and macro (arrangements involving all of the Old Testament books) levels of the Old Testament’s production.