The First Bible of the Church is Mogens Müller’s research into the shape of the Hebrew Bible at the time of the New Testament, with a special focus on the significance of the Greek translation, the Septuagint. He argues that the Septuagint and its reception in the early Church should give it a level of authority on par with the Hebrew Bible. This fact is especially important because the Septuagint is extensively used in the New Testament writings, whereby it—and not the Hebrew Bible—is the most obvious candidate for the title of the first Bible of the Church.
Mogens Müller’s fascinating book is a critical exploration into the history of the Septuagint, as well as being a significant addition to the debate over its importance to the formation of the New Testament. With Logos Bible Software, this book is completely searchable, with passages of scripture appearing on mouse-over, as well as being linked to Greek and Hebrew texts and English translations in your library.
“Physically, the invention of the codex encouraged the formation of a canon, because it had to be decided which books should go inside the binding as well as the order in which they needed to be placed. While the Christian church ‘adopted’ the codex very early, Judaism adhered to scrolls.” (Page 32)
“In respect to the ‘original’ text of the Old Testament, already the use made of the Jewish Bible by New Testament authors poses an immediate problem. Apparently they use not only the Hebrew Bible text, but, to an even greater extent, the translation of it into Greek, which had been created in the third and second centuries bce.” (Page 19)
“In Philo, it is expressly stated that the project was in accordance with God’s will, and that the result was inspired. This means that the Greek Bible is not a daughter version, but a ‘sister’ enjoying equal rights.” (Page 63)
“Today it is an open question whether the Septuagint should be reinstalled as the Old Testament of the Church.” (Page 7)
“If, as stated above, canonization is defined not only as the recognition of a writing as sacred but also as the final fixing of its wording, it is then hardly possible to speak of a Jewish canon until the third or fourth century ce.” (Pages 31–32)
All in all, this work adds to the growing awareness of the importance of Septuagintal studies not only for studying the early church but also for modern-day interpreters of the Bible, as new translations of the Septuagint into English are being prepared for publication by the turn of the millennium.
—Society of Biblical Literature - Emerson B. Powery