By Trevor Ling (auth.)
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I. p. 112. 4 Ibid. I 2 22 SCRIBAL RELIGION subordinated to the Torah. 1 Certainly, so far as the present age was concerned, there was no need of further prophecy. The Torah was perfect; what was required was only the spirit of obedience to this full and perfect revelation. z The Torah was the rallying point of the nation. 'To attack the Torah was to attack Judaism itself; to defend the Torah was to defend the faith of their fathers. The Maccabean revolt began, continued and ended ... '3 Of the three main sects of Judaism, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes, the first-named were, it is true, not so exclusively bound to the written Torah, since they accepted also the oral traditions which they had received 'from their fathers', as Josephus puts it.
The prophets who had succeeded Moses had, in days of apostasy, recalled men to this Mosaic revelation, explaining it and amplifying it, but adding to it nothing new. 3 'The idea of historical development in religion', wrote G. F. •• so dominates us that it is hard to understand a religion to which it is a contradiction in terms. 4 It is for this kind of reason that we find that far from the canonical prophets being regarded as the bearers of a further and fuller revelation than was given to Moses, there was a tendency in postexilic Judaism for the canonical prophets to be For rabbinic references see C.
2 THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH: PROPHETIC AND CATHOLIC T interest of the New Testament writers in what is prophetic shows itself not only in respect of Jesus but equally in respect of the Church's own life. The community in which the Spirit of Jesus was alive and active was essentially a prophetic community, and it is this which distinguishes it from the scribally-dominated life of Judaism in the midst of which it at first existed. We shall in this chapter be concerned to observe first the extent to which the New Testament Church shows itself to be prophetic in nature, in terms of the analysis of prophetic religion which we have already made, and second how this essentially prophetic nature is also the basis of the New Testament Church's catholicity.