I certainly confirm that Israel's faith was grounded in anterior reality. First in oral tradition and subsequently in written form Israel bore testimony to God's redemptive intervention on its behalf. These events of divine deliverance were not simply recorded, but continually re-interpreted throughout history. Israel actively shaped its traditions while at the same time being formed by the very material being transmitted.
Because of of the peculiar nature of Israel's tradition which is reflected in the multi-layered testimony of the canonical text to this sacred history, there is no direct access to the fullness of that extrinsic reality on which the faith was grounded apart from Israel's own testimony. One important purpose of establishing a normative canon was to mark the special relationship of the community to these witnesses.
... The central point to be made is that the nature of Israel's testimony to historical events varies greatly and that extrinsic reality can be represented in innumerable ways ... . [*]The key word here is fullness. Mark it well.
Does anyone else's heart "burn within them" when they read this?
[*]Childs, "Response to reviewers of Introduction to the OT as Scripture," Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 16 (1980), 52-60; here, 57 [ATLAS has a free pdf of the responses and Childs' response]