Timothy Michael Law writes in anticipation of Ed Gallagher’s upcoming Hebrew Scripture in Patristic Biblical Theory: Canon, Language, Text, due to be published next month.
Here’s an excerpt where Law describes his current thinking, pending reading of Gallagher’s book:
Canon lists drawn up by a few early Christian writers are no sure guide to establishing what was universally held as ‘scripture ‘in the early Church. There are only a few such lists to begin with, and they are not in any way representative of any kind of authoritative tradition. The stark reality is this: there was no universally recognized Old Testament canon in the early Church, and indeed the diversity persists well into the medieval period. To be sure, there was a core. I like how Michael Holmes says it: there was a ‘central core, a variable fringe, and differences in arrangement.’