We are told in the Talmud that an assembly of priests were about to reject the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Ezekiel because those writings were contradictory to the Law but a certain Rabbi had tried to reconcile them and they were preserved as “canonical”. Those three books are confessedly presented to us as ALTERED/MUTILATED by an impudent Jewish Rabbi. What will be your response to this?


There is a grain of truth, but just a small grain of truth in what you were told.  I wonder who told you, and I wonder what their motivation was for telling you.  I strongly suspect that this is coming from Muslim enemies of Christ. What was the source of your information, I wonder?  In any case, the question deserves an answer, so here it is, including the small grain of truth.
The fact is that there is evidence that the Jews in the late first century did consider the canonicity of Ezekiel.  There is a single passage in Ezekiel, somewhere in the long set of specifications for building the new temple in Ch 40-46, in which a sacrifice is described which seems to give instructions at variance with the instructions for the same sacrifice in Leviticus.  The details of this sacrifice are of very small significance to Christians, but the Jews LOVE to argue over the tiniest point of the law, including this one passage.  The legend is that one important Rabbi spent his entire career trying to justify the two passages in Ezekiel and Leviticus to explain how they are not inconsistent.  He finally succeeded and presented his findings at the meeting you heard about.  Whether this story is true or perhaps an exaggerated version of what happened is hard to say.  But, the bottom line is that the Jews in the assembly accepted the explanation of the venerable Rabbi and confirmed what had already been confirmed many times by previous Jews, which is that Ezekiel is inspired by God and is part of the Hebrew canon.
This same assembly and this story has nothing to do with Proverbs or with Ecclesiastes.  Perhaps some uncareful critic is conflating another story with the more famous one.  Who knows.  Either way, the story that they are using in an attempt to get you to doubt the inspired canon of Scripture only applies to Ezekiel, so the reference to Proverbs and Ecclesiastes is deceiving.  The Jews argued all the time and in many ways about their Scripture, but in the end, God determined what would enter into his inspired Scripture.  This is what the evidence tells us.  And we owe it to careful Jews who examined the Scripture carefully, as God used them for his purposes.
The claim is the writer you quote is that these books are altered/mutilated.  This is a heinous charge.  It is patently false.  It is a lie.  And it is not supported whatsoever by the example that they are using in which the Jews confirmed what they already knew, which is that Ezekiel is this inspired word of God.  There is NO EVIDENCE that any of these books were ever “mutilated.” by an impudent Jewish Rabbi.  Shame on the one making this unsubstantiated and disrespectful charge.
John Oakes

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