It now seems more probable that at the time of Christianity’s birth, closed collections of the Law and the Prophets existed in a textual form substantially identical with the Old Testament. Towards the end of the first century A.D., it seems that 2422 books were generally accepted by Jews as sacred, 32 but it is only much later that the list became exclusive. 33 When the limits of the Hebrew canon were fixed, the deuterocanonical books were not included.
Many of the books belonging to the third group of religious texts, not yet fixed, were regularly read in Jewish communities during the first century A.D. They were translated into Greek and circulated among Hellenistic Jews, both in Palestine and in the diaspora.
The collection of “Writings”, on the other hand, was not as well defined either in Palestine or in the Jewish diaspora, with regard to the number of books and their textual form
17. Since the first Christians were for the most part Palestinian Jews, either “Hebrew” or “Hellenistic” (cf. …