How then do you explain the LXX & MT versions of Daniel & the story of Bel
& the Dragon?


God used the Jewish teachers/rabbis as the arbiters of what is to be
considered an approved text. They said no to the additions to Daniel. I
agree with their assessment by looking at these additional texts. If one
were to ask my opinion, these texts to do not appear inspired. Of course,
God did not consult me in this decision. The Jews, by consensus, accepted
Gen-Deut, Josh, Jud,?..,Ecclesiastes,?. But they did not accept 2
Macabees, Jubilee, 3 Enoch, addns to Daniel, etc into their canon. Now, I
will admit that I accept this by faith (that God influenced the final
canon of the OT as selected by the consensus of the Jews), which may not
be a very useful instrument to one who dies not have faith. MT does not
include these texts. The LXX did not either, although it is true that
when Jerome translated the OT he was forced (against his will, I might
add) to include the “Apocrypha” in the Vulgate translation. The
Masoretic text is clear on this. What is to be included in the LXX is not
clear. Some say anything which was translated into Greek BC which
eventually made it into the Vulgate is, by definition, part of the LXX. I
do not agree at all. This is proof by definition, which is not a good
form of proof. The parts of the Greek/Jewish literature which are to be
accepted are the parts of the Greek Bible (and therefore the LXX) which
were accepted by the Jews, for example, at the Council of Jamnia. Now, I
will admit that it is not simple. There is no absolutely clear cut list
that all Jews accepted, but the consensus of the first centuries AD is
that Ecclesiasticus, Bel and the Dragon etc. are not inspired. That is
good enough for me. Of course, you seek reasons to NOT believe, so you
accept any possible doubt as useful information. Therefore, it is
predictable that you will conclude that there is no way to know what is in
the canon. What can I say? Neither Jesus not the NT writers ever
quoted even a single time from Ecclesiasticus, 1 Macabees, Tobit, Bel and
the Dragon, yet they quoted extensively from virtually every OT book.
This tells me something. The only exception is a possible quote or at
least a direct reference to Enoch in Jude. That is it. There is a lot
less doubt about the OT canon than folks like you like to pretend there
is. Is there SOME doubt? I will admit that there is, but the level of
doubt is relatively quite small.

John Oakes, PhD

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