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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Scriptural Status.

This has never been a matter of dispute. This short work is found with four others (Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Ruth, and Esther) comprising the Megillot (‘little scrolls’), which occur among the Writings of the HB. In the order found in the English Bibles used by Christians (deriving from LXX, which was followed by the Latin Vulgate), the book is placed among the Prophets, after Jeremiah, in recognition of its traditional association with him. That supposed link may well have played its part in securing scriptural status. The primary factor, however, appears to have been its liturgical use, particularly in the annual commemoration of the fall of the first temple, on the 9th day of Ab, in the late summer. The profound impact of the fall of the second temple to the Romans in 70 CE would have consolidated the book's place in a period when the process towards closure of a scriptural canon was under way in Judaism. Mintz (1984 ) has explored the ongoing role of the book in the long story of Jewish response to catastrophe, and this is mirrored in the important role played by the book in Christian liturgy down the centuries.

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Oxford University Press

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