I read James Sanders’ Torah and Canon during my first year of PhD work, but I don’t think I really appreciated it in the manner which it deserves. Recently, I reread it in my research on canon, and I’m very glad I did. Sanders demonstrates various ways in which Israel’s scriptures functioned in the lives of its historic communities in a variety of periods. Put differently, we explore in this book the ways in which scripture formed a people, sustained them in exile, called them to repentance, and gave them a story by which to live. Sanders’ control of the material is impressive, to say the least. There are, by the way, many ways in which Sanders’ arguments apply to the life of the church today.
This book was originally published in 1972, and so some of the source-critical ideas he works with may be a bit dated. The style is accessible, not bogged down with jargon or encumbered with technical issues.
A classic in the field of canonical criticism, this work will benefit any who wish to think through the ways in which the Bible can function within our communities of faith, or those who simply wish to learn more about Israel’s scriptures, which of course Christians later adopted.