It is not that its commands and doctrines come from the mouths of great prophets and priests, like Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. Its seat of authority is more fundamental. What is the collective name for the first 5 books... What stories do the Dead Sea Scrolls tell? From many vantage-points reached by prophets and priests and psalmists, we are able to catch new and glorious visions of God's character and purpose for mankind. The Real Nature and Purpose of the Old Testament, The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament. The ultimate basis of that authority, however, is not their presence in the canon of the Old Testament. Students of the rediscovered Old Testament also recognize, in the light of a broader and more careful study, the fact, so often and so fatally overlooked in the past, that its authority lies not in the field of natural science, nor even of history in the limited sense. vi.5, and Lev. In the light of this truth the Jewish and medieval dogma that every word, and even every letter of Scripture, was directly dictated by God himself, seems sadly mechanical and bears the marks of the narrow schools of thought in which it took form. Through the law, God actually intensifies our need to get life in order to break us from the illusion that we can ever get life from the law. Fortunately he also aroused certain men of old, not by word and act only, but by the pen as well, to record the revelation that was being perfected in the life of their nation and in their own minds and hearts. The ultimate authority of the Old Testament, therefore, is not dependent upon devoted canon-makers, nor the weighty testimony of the Church, nor upon its own claims, nor the reputation of the inspired men who have written it, nor the estimate of any age. Thus through life, and in the concrete terms of life, God reveals himself to the life of humanity. God gives the Jewish people a set of laws and rules in which to live. Recognizing the real nature and purpose of these ancient records, the true student neither denies nor is disturbed by the marks of their human authorship. The early narratives preserve the traditions of its origin; the lawgivers endeavored to define its terms and the obligations that rested upon the people; the prophets interpreted them in the life of the nation, and the sages into the life of the individual; and the historical books recorded its practical working. It was natural, therefore, that in the Greek a little book should be designated as a biblion. It is not the calm assumption, of authority that appears at every point throughout the Old Testament, although this is richly suggestive; the sacred writings of other religions make even more pretentious claims. The purpose of the Old Testament writings may be surveyed under several headings. History and the character and consciousness of the human race are its imperishable records. The teaching of the Old Testament is authoritative only in the far more important realm of ethics and religion. By the end of the Law … [Sidenote: Its different books of very different values]. The Old Covenant or Testament, therefore, is primarily the written record of the origin, terms, and history of the solemn agreement which existed between the Israelitish nation and Jehovah. All rights reserved. The Old Testament is also known as the Jewish Bible. The beatitude of those who hunger and thirst after righteousness was as true in the days of Moses as it was when Jesus proclaimed it. God gives the Jewish people a set of laws and rules in which to live. The first conclusion is that it is a library containing a large and complex literature, recording the varied experiences, political, social, ethical, and religious, of the Israelitish race. Unhesitatingly he abrogated certain time-honored Old Testament laws with the words, Ye have heard that it was said ... but I say to you.
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