The New Covenant is NOT a Book!

Happily, I come out of a Christian tradition in which the Hebrew Bible carries as much authority as the New Testament. No different weight is given to one or the other. The Bible is one, Old and New, in my particular tradition. My own interest is far more in the Hebrew Bible. My religion is more personally related to the Hebrew Bible than the New Testament.

Professor Frank Moore Cross, Harvard University

Most people today think of the New Covenant, or as it is more commonly called, the New Testament, as a book–namely the 27 documents making up the tradition canon of the Christian Scriptures. In our Western Christian world this collection, bound together with what is then called the Old Testament or the Jewish Scriptures, makes up the Holy Bible.  What millions fail to realize is that this wholly new creation–at least two hundred years in the making–was unknown to Jesus, or any of the apostles–not even Paul whose letters make up over a quarter of the whole. They were all Jews and to them the “Bible” or the Holy Scriptures was the Hebrew Bible, that Jews today call the Tanakh–the Torah, Prophets, and Writings. It is this precise collection of books that Christians erroneously ended up calling the Old Testament.

Prof. James D. Tabor explains the background for this rather amazing development that has led to so much confusion in our own time. Read the rest in his full exposition with lots of links to other resource materials here: “The New Covenant is Not A Book.”

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