I have been poking around in your stuff for a couple of weeks and took some
time to print some of it off give it a better read this evening. Well, I
just want to say that I admire, first and formost, your honesty and
forthrightness - and your scholarship - and your sensitivity - as I see you
respond to the Jewish fellow at the verge of returning to Judahism.
I have struggled with many of these same issues that you discuss - the
process of establising the NT canon as troubled me quite a bit - was
intrigued with your interpretation of the facts.
I was thinking about what you wrote regarding the dispersion of the NT
writings in to various communities and how apparently independently they
converged on the same set of writings which they regarded as authoritative.
And that system in contrast to the more centralized, even bureaucratic
system which preserved the OT writings. I thought of a couple of reasons
why God might have adopted a different strategy for preservation of the
written record at this stage:
1. the objective now was to extend the Yahweh/Yeshua worship in to
multiple cultures - it would hardly do to establish a centralized system
like the scribes to enforce such a system across cultural boundaries, would
take a kind of cultural imperialism - a violation of your volitional violence
2. A corrollary is that by having the authorative list adopted
independently by the diverse communities they (a) "owned" their decision and
(b) the fact that they corresponded across the commmunities generated a kind
of "grass roots" consensus and unity within the emerging church
3. Given the persecution that followed, a single source for the
authoritative writings would have presented an easy target to snuff out all
the writings - a dispersed set of writings rooted in local tradition and
culture may in large measure explain how so many documents survived their
attempted destruction. (I am speculating here since I don't have the
historical grasp of these events that you have)
Anyway it was a good ride - I will keep dropping in to see what you are up to.