The Old Testament (abbreviated OT) is the first part of Christian Bibles, based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible (or Tanakh), a collection of ancient religious writings by the Israelites believed by most Christians and religious Jews to be the sacred Word of God. The second part of the Christian Bible is the New Testament.
The books that comprise the Old Testament canon, as well as their order and names, differ between Christian denominations. The Catholic canon comprises 46 books, and the canons of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches comprise up to 51 books and the most common Protestant canon comprises 39 books. The 39 books in common to all the Christian canons correspond to the 24 books of the Tanakh, with some differences of order, and there are some differences in text. The additional number reflects the splitting of several texts (Kings, Samuel and Chronicles, Ezra–Nehemiah and the minor prophets) into separate books in Christian bibles. The books which are part of a Christian Old Testament but which are not part of the Hebrew canon are sometimes described as deuterocanonical. In general, Protestant Bibles do not include the deuterocanonical books in their canon, but some versions of Anglican and Lutheran bibles place such books in a separate section called Apocrypha. These extra books are ultimately derived from the earlier Greek Septuagint collection of the Hebrew scriptures and are also Jewish in origin. Some are also contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Old Testament consists of many distinct books by various authors produced over a period of centuries. Christians traditionally divide the Old Testament into four sections: (1) the first five books or Pentateuch (Torah); (2) the history books telling the history of the Israelites, from their conquest of Canaan to their defeat and exile in Babylon; (3) the poetic and "Wisdom books" dealing, in various forms, with questions of good and evil in the world; and (4) the books of the biblical prophets, warning of the consequences of turning away from God.
The Old Testament contains 39 (Protestant), 46 (Catholic), or more (Orthodox and other) books, divided, very broadly, into the Pentateuch (Torah), the historical books, the "wisdom" books and the prophets.
The table uses the spellings and names present in modern editions of the Christian Bible, such as the Catholic New American Bible Revised Edition and the Protestant Revised Standard Version and English Standard Version. The spelling and names in both the 1609–10 Douay Old Testament (and in the 1582 Rheims New Testament) and the 1749 revision by Bishop Challoner (the edition currently in print used by many Catholics, and the source of traditional Catholic spellings in English) and in the Septuagint differ from those spellings and names used in modern editions which are derived from the Hebrew Masoretic text.[a]
For the Orthodox canon, Septuagint titles are provided in parentheses when these differ from those editions. For the Catholic canon, the Douaic titles are provided in parentheses when these differ from those editions. Likewise, the King James Version references some of these books by the traditional spelling when referring to them in the New Testament, such as "Esaias" (for Isaiah).
In the spirit of ecumenism more recent Catholic translations (e.g. the New American Bible, Jerusalem Bible, and ecumenical translations used by Catholics, such as the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition) use the same "standardized" (King James Version) spellings and names as Protestant Bibles (e.g. 1 Chronicles as opposed to the Douaic 1 Paralipomenon, 1–2 Samuel and 1–2 Kings instead of 1–4 Kings) in those books which are universally considered canonical, the protocanonicals.
The Talmud (the Jewish commentary on the scriptures) in Bava Batra 14b gives a different order for the books in Nevi'im and Ketuvim. This order is also cited in Mishneh Torah Hilchot Sefer Torah 7:15. The order of the books of the Torah is universal through all denominations of Judaism and Christianity.
The disputed books, included in one canon but not in others, are often called the Biblical apocrypha, a term that is sometimes used specifically to describe the books in the Catholic and Orthodox canons that are absent from the Jewish Masoretic Text and most modern Protestant Bibles. Catholics, following the Canon of Trent (1546), describe these books as deuterocanonical, while Greek Orthodox Christians, following the Synod of Jerusalem (1672), use the traditional name of anagignoskomena, meaning "that which is to be read." They are present in a few historic Protestant versions; the German Luther Bible included such books, as did the English 1611 King James Version.[b]
Empty table cells indicate that a book is absent from that canon. Books in bold in the Hebrew Bible are part of the Ketuvim.
Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses
|Yehoshua||Joshua||Joshua (Josue)||Joshua (Iesous)||Hebrew|
|Shemuel||1 Samuel||1 Samuel (1 Kings)[e]||1 Samuel (1 Kingdoms)[f]||Hebrew|
|2 Samuel||2 Samuel (2 Kings)[e]||2 Samuel (2 Kingdoms)[f]||Hebrew|
|Melakhim||1 Kings||1 Kings (3 Kings)[e]||1 Kings (3 Kingdoms)[f]||Hebrew|
|2 Kings||2 Kings (4 Kings)[e]||2 Kings (4 Kingdoms)[f]||Hebrew|
|Divrei Hayamim (Chronicles)[d]||1 Chronicles||1 Chronicles (1 Paralipomenon)||1 Chronicles (1 Paralipomenon)||Hebrew|
|2 Chronicles||2 Chronicles (2 Paraleipomenon)||2 Chronicles (2 Paraleipomenon)||Hebrew|
|Ezra–Nehemiah[d]||Ezra||Ezra (1 Esdras)||Ezra (2 Esdras)[f][i][j]||Hebrew and Aramaic|
|Nehemiah||Nehemiah (2 Esdras)||Nehemiah (2 Esdras)[f][i]||Hebrew|
|Tobit (Tobias)||Tobit[g]||Aramaic (and Hebrew?)|
|1 Maccabees (1 Machabees)[l]||1 Maccabees[g]||Hebrew|
|2 Maccabees (2 Machabees)[l]||2 Maccabees[g]||Greek|
|Ketuvim (Writings)||Wisdom books|
|Prayer of Manasseh[o]||Greek|
|Shir Hashirim (Song of Songs)[d]||Song of Solomon||Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles)||Song of Songs (Aisma Aismaton)||Hebrew|
|Nevi'im (Latter Prophets)||Major prophets|
|Letter of Jeremiah[q][g]||Greek (majority view)[r]|
|Daniel[d]||Daniel||Daniel[s]||Daniel[s]||Hebrew and Aramaic|
|Twelve Minor Prophets|
Several of the books in the Eastern Orthodox canon are also found in the appendix to the Latin Vulgate, formerly the official bible of the Roman Catholic Church.
Books in the Appendix to the Vulgate Bible
|Name in Vulgate
||Name in Eastern Orthodox use|
|3 Esdras||1 Esdras|
|Prayer of Manasseh||Prayer of Manasseh|
|Psalm of David when he slew Goliath (Psalm 151)||Psalm 151|
The first five books – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, book of Numbers and Deuteronomy – reached their present form in the Persian period (538–332 BC), and their authors were the elite of exilic returnees who controlled the Temple at that time. The books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings follow, forming a history of Israel from the Conquest of Canaan to the Siege of Jerusalem c. 587 BC. There is a broad consensus among scholars that these originated as a single work (the so-called "Deuteronomistic history") during the Babylonian exile of the 6th century BC. The two Books of Chronicles cover much the same material as the Pentateuch and Deuteronomistic history and probably date from the 4th century BC. Chronicles, and Ezra–Nehemiah, were probably finished during the 3rd century BC. Catholic and Orthodox Old Testaments contain two (Catholic Old Testament) to four (Orthodox) Books of Maccabees, written in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC.
These history books make up around half the total content of the Old Testament. Of the remainder, the books of the various prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve "minor prophets" – were written between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, with the exceptions of Jonah and Daniel, which were written much later. The "wisdom" books – Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Psalms, Song of Solomon – have various dates: Proverbs possibly was completed by the Hellenistic time (332-198 BC), though containing much older material as well; Job completed by the 6th century BC; Ecclesiastes by the 3rd century BC.
God is consistently depicted as the one who created the world. Although the God of the Old Testament is not consistently presented as the only God who exists, he is always depicted as the only God whom Israel is to worship, or the one "true God", that only Yahweh is Almighty, and both Jews and Christians have always interpreted the Bible (both the "Old" and "New" Testaments) as an affirmation of the oneness of Almighty God.
The Old Testament stresses the special relationship between God and his chosen people, Israel, but includes instructions for proselytes as well. This relationship is expressed in the biblical covenant (contract) between the two, received by Moses. The law codes in books such as Exodus and especially Deuteronomy are the terms of the contract: Israel swears faithfulness to God, and God swears to be Israel's special protector and supporter.
Further themes in the Old Testament include salvation, redemption, divine judgment, obedience and disobedience, faith and faithfulness, among others. Throughout there is a strong emphasis on ethics and ritual purity, both of which God demands, although some of the prophets and wisdom writers seem to question this, arguing that God demands social justice above purity, and perhaps does not even care about purity at all. The Old Testament's moral code enjoins fairness, intervention on behalf of the vulnerable, and the duty of those in power to administer justice righteously. It forbids murder, bribery and corruption, deceitful trading, and many sexual misdemeanors. All morality is traced back to God, who is the source of all goodness.
The problem of evil plays a large part in the Old Testament. The problem the Old Testament authors faced was that a good God must have had just reason for bringing disaster (meaning notably, but not only, the Babylonian exile) upon his people. The theme is played out, with many variations, in books as different as the histories of Kings and Chronicles, the prophets like Ezekiel and Jeremiah, and in the wisdom books like Job and Ecclesiastes.
The process by which scriptures became canons and Bibles was a long one, and its complexities account for the many different Old Testaments which exist today. Timothy H. Lim, a professor of Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism at the University of Edinburgh, identifies the Old Testament as "a collection of authoritative texts of apparently divine origin that went through a human process of writing and editing." He states that it is not a magical book, nor was it literally written by God and passed to mankind. By about the 5th century BC Jews saw the five books of the Torah (the Old Testament Pentateuch) as having authoritative status; by the 2nd century BC the Prophets had a similar status, although without quite the same level of respect as the Torah; beyond that, the Jewish scriptures were fluid, with different groups seeing authority in different books.
Hebrew texts commenced to be translated into Greek in Alexandria in about 280 and continued until about 130 BC. These early Greek translations – supposedly commissioned by Ptolemy Philadelphus – were called the Septuagint (Latin: "Seventy") from the supposed number of translators involved (hence its abbreviation "LXX"). This Septuagint remains the basis of the Old Testament in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
It varies in many places from the Masoretic Text and includes numerous books no longer considered canonical in some traditions: 1 and 2 Esdras, Judith, Tobit, 3 and 4 Maccabees, the Book of Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch. Early modern Biblical criticism typically explained these variations as intentional or ignorant corruptions by the Alexandrian scholars, but most recent scholarship holds it is simply based on early source texts differing from those later used by the Masoretes in their work.
The Septuagint was originally used by Hellenized Jews whose knowledge of Greek was better than Hebrew. But the texts came to be used predominantly by gentile converts to Christianity and by the early Church as its scripture, Greek being the lingua franca of the early Church. The three most acclaimed early interpreters were Aquila of Sinope, Symmachus the Ebionite, and Theodotion; in his Hexapla, Origen placed his edition of the Hebrew text beside its transcription in Greek letters and four parallel translations: Aquila's, Symmachus's, the Septuagint's, and Theodotion's. The so-called "fifth" and "sixth editions" were two other Greek translations supposedly miraculously discovered by students outside the towns of Jericho and Nicopolis: these were added to Origen's Octapla.
In 331, Constantine I commissioned Eusebius to deliver fifty Bibles for the Church of Constantinople. Athanasius recorded Alexandrian scribes around 340 preparing Bibles for Constans. Little else is known, though there is plenty of speculation. For example, it is speculated that this may have provided motivation for canon lists, and that Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus are examples of these Bibles. Together with the Peshitta and Codex Alexandrinus, these are the earliest extant Christian Bibles. There is no evidence among the canons of the First Council of Nicaea of any determination on the canon, however, Jerome (347–420), in his Prologue to Judith, makes the claim that the Book of Judith was "found by the Nicene Council to have been counted among the number of the Sacred Scriptures".
In Western Christianity or Christianity in the Western half of the Roman Empire, Latin had displaced Greek as the common language of the early Christians, and in 382 AD Pope Damasus I commissioned Jerome, the leading scholar of the day, to produce an updated Latin bible to replace the Vetus Latina, which was a Latin translation of the Septuagint. Jerome's work, called the Vulgate, was a direct translation from Hebrew, since he argued for the superiority of the Hebrew texts in correcting the Septuagint on both philological and theological grounds. His Vulgate Old Testament became the standard bible used in the Western Church, specifically as the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate, while the Churches in the East continued, and still continue, to use the Septuagint.
Jerome, however, in the Vulgate's prologues describes some portions of books in the Septuagint not found in the Hebrew Bible as being non-canonical (he called them apocrypha); for Baruch, he mentions by name in his Prologue to Jeremiah and notes that it is neither read nor held among the Hebrews, but does not explicitly call it apocryphal or "not in the canon". The Synod of Hippo (in 393), followed by the Council of Carthage (397) and the Council of Carthage (419), may be the first council that explicitly accepted the first canon which includes the books that did not appear in the Hebrew Bible; the councils were under significant influence of Augustine of Hippo, who regarded the canon as already closed.
In the 16th century, the Protestant reformers sided with Jerome; yet although most Protestant Bibles now have only those books that appear in the Hebrew Bible, they have them in the order of the Greek Bible.
Rome then officially adopted a canon, the Canon of Trent, which is seen as following Augustine's Carthaginian Councils or the Council of Rome, and includes most, but not all, of the Septuagint (3 Ezra and 3 and 4 Maccabees are excluded); the Anglicans after the English Civil War adopted a compromise position, restoring the 39 Articles and keeping the extra books that were excluded by the Westminster Confession of Faith, but only for private study and for reading in churches, while Lutherans kept them for private study, gathered in an appendix as Biblical Apocrypha.
While the Hebrew, Greek and Latin versions of the Hebrew Bible are the best known Old Testaments, there were others. At much the same time as the Septuagint was being produced, translations were being made into Aramaic, the language of Jews living in Palestine and the Near East and likely the language of Jesus: these are called the Aramaic Targums, from a word meaning "translation", and were used to help Jewish congregations understand their scriptures.
For Aramaic Christians there was a Syriac translation of the Hebrew Bible called the Peshitta, as well as versions in Coptic (the everyday language of Egypt in the first Christian centuries, descended from ancient Egyptian), Ethiopic (for use in the Ethiopian church, one of the oldest Christian churches), Armenian (Armenia was the first to adopt Christianity as its official religion), and Arabic.
Christianity is based on the belief that the historical Jesus is also the Christ, as in the Confession of Peter. This belief is in turn based on Jewish understandings of the meaning of the Hebrew term messiah, which, like the Greek "Christ", means "anointed". In the Hebrew Scriptures it describes a king anointed with oil on his accession to the throne: he becomes "The LORD's anointed" or Yahweh's Anointed. By the time of Jesus, some Jews expected that a flesh and blood descendant of David (the "Son of David") would come to establish a real Jewish kingdom in Jerusalem, instead of the Roman province.
Others stressed the Son of Man, a distinctly other-worldly figure who would appear as a judge at the end of time; and some harmonised the two by expecting a this-worldly messianic kingdom which would last for a set period and be followed by the other-worldly age or World to Come. Some thought the Messiah was already present, but unrecognised due to Israel's sins; some thought that the Messiah would be announced by a fore-runner, probably Elijah (as promised by the prophet Malachi, whose book now ends the Old Testament and precedes Mark's account of John the Baptist). None predicted a Messiah who suffers and dies for the sins of all the people. The story of Jesus' death therefore involved a profound shift in meaning from the tradition of the Old Testament.
The name "Old Testament" reflects Christianity's understanding of itself as the fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy of a New Covenant (which is similar to "testament" and often conflated) to replace the existing covenant between God and Israel (Jeremiah 31:31). The emphasis, however, has shifted from Judaism's understanding of the covenant as a racially or tribally-based contract between God and Jews to one between God and any person of faith who is "in Christ".
Two of the hymns used in the American Prayer Book office of Morning Prayer, the Benedictus es and Benedicite, are taken from the Apocrypha. One of the offertory sentences in Holy Communion comes from an apocryphal book (Tob. 4: 8–9). Lessons from the Apocrypha are regularly appointed to be read in the daily, Sunday, and special services of Morning and Evening Prayer. There are altogether 111 such lessons in the latest revised American Prayer Book Lectionary [Books used are: II Esdras, Tobit, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Three Holy Children, and I Maccabees.]
|url=(help), New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-684-86912-8, ISBN 0-684-86913-6 (paperback).
|url=(help), Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, ISBN 0-7618-3371-4 and ISBN 0-7618-3372-2 (paperback).
Adam (Hebrew: אָדָם, Modern: ʼAdam, Tiberian: ʼĀḏām; Arabic: آدَم, translit. ʾĀdam; Greek: Αδάμ, translit. Adám; Latin: Adam) is the name used in the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis and in the Quran for the first man created by God, but it is also used in a collective sense as "mankind" and individually as "a human". Biblical Adam (man, mankind) is created from adamah (earth), and Genesis 1–8 makes considerable play of the bond between them, for Adam is estranged from the earth through his disobedience.Bible
The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, tà biblía, "the books") is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Varying parts of the Bible are considered to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans by Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Rastafarians.
What is regarded as canonical text differs depending on traditions and groups; a number of Bible canons have evolved, with overlapping and diverging contents. The Hebrew Bible overlaps with the Greek Septuagint and the Christian Old Testament. The Christian New Testament is a collection of writings by early Christians, believed to be mostly Jewish disciples of Christ, written in first-century Koine Greek. Among Christian denominations there is some disagreement about what should be included in the canon, primarily about the Apocrypha, a list of works that are regarded with varying levels of respect.
Attitudes towards the Bible also differ among Christian groups. Roman Catholics, high church Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox Christians stress the harmony and importance of the Bible and sacred tradition, while Protestant churches, including Evangelical Anglicans, focus on the idea of sola scriptura, or scripture alone. This concept arose during the Protestant Reformation, and many denominations today support the use of the Bible as the only infallible source of Christian teaching.
The Bible has been a massive influence on literature and history, especially in the Western World, where the Gutenberg Bible was the first book printed using movable type. According to the March 2007 edition of Time, the Bible "has done more to shape literature, history, entertainment, and culture than any book ever written. Its influence on world history is unparalleled, and shows no signs of abating." With estimated total sales of over 5 billion copies, it is widely considered to be the most influential and best-selling book of all time. As of the 2000s, it sells approximately 100 million copies annually.Biblical apocrypha
The biblical apocrypha (from the Ancient Greek: ἀπόκρυφος, translit. apókruphos, lit. 'hidden') denotes the collection of apocryphal ancient books found in some editions of Christian Bibles in a separate section between the Old and New Testaments or as an appendix after the New Testament. Some Christian Churches include some or all of the same texts within the body of their version of the Old Testament.
Although the term apocryphal had been in use since the 5th century, it was in Luther's Bible of 1534 that the Apocrypha was first published as a separate intertestamental section. To this date, the Apocrypha is "included in the lectionaries of Anglican and Lutheran Churches." Moreover, the Revised Common Lectionary, in use by most mainline Protestants including Methodists and Moravians, lists readings from the Apocrypha in the liturgical kalendar, although alternate Old Testament scripture lessons are provided.The preface to the Apocrypha in the Geneva Bible explained that while these books "were not received by a common consent to be read and expounded publicly in the Church," and did not serve "to prove any point of Christian religion save in so much as they had the consent of the other scriptures called canonical to confirm the same," nonetheless, "as books proceeding from godly men they were received to be read for the advancement and furtherance of the knowledge of history and for the instruction of godly manners." Later, during the English Civil War, the Westminster Confession of 1647 excluded the Apocrypha from the canon and made no recommendation of the Apocrypha above "other human writings", and this attitude towards the Apocrypha is represented by the decision of the British and Foreign Bible Society in the early 19th century not to print it (see below). Today, "English Bibles with the Apocrypha are becoming more popular again" and they are often printed as intertestamental books.The seven books which comprise the Protestant Apocrypha, first published as such in Luther’s Bible (1534) are considered canonical Old Testament books by the Catholic Church, affirmed by the Council of Rome (AD 382) and later reaffirmed by the Council of Trent; they are also considered canonical by the Eastern Orthodox Church and are referred to as anagignoskomena per the Synod of Jerusalem. The Anglican Communion accepts "the Apocrypha for instruction in life and manners, but not for the establishment of doctrine (Article VI in the Thirty-Nine Articles)", and many "lectionary readings in The Book of Common Prayer are taken from the Apocrypha", with these lessons being "read in the same ways as those from the Old Testament". The first Methodist liturgical book, The Sunday Service of the Methodists, employs verses from the Apocrypha, such as in the Eucharistic liturgy. The Protestant Apocrypha contains three books (3 Esdras, 4 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh) that are accepted by many Eastern Orthodox Churches and Oriental Orthodox Churches as canonical, but are regarded as non-canonical by the Catholic Church and are therefore not included in modern Catholic Bibles.Biblical canon
A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular religious community regards as authoritative scripture. The English word "canon" comes from the Greek κανών, meaning "rule" or "measuring stick". Christians became the first to use the term in reference to scripture, but Eugene Ulrich regards the idea as Jewish.Most of the canons listed below are considered by adherents "closed" (i.e., books cannot be added or removed), reflecting a belief that public revelation has ended and thus some person or persons can gather approved inspired texts into a complete and authoritative canon, which scholar Bruce Metzger defines as "an authoritative collection of books".
In contrast, an "open canon", which permits the addition of books through the process of continuous revelation, Metzger defines as "a collection of authoritative books".
These canons have developed through debate and agreement on the part of the religious authorities of their respective faiths and denominations. Believers consider canonical books as inspired by God or as expressive of the authoritative history of the relationship between God and his people. Some books, such as the Jewish-Christian gospels, have been excluded from various canons altogether, but many disputed books—considered non-canonical or even apocryphal by some—are considered to be Biblical apocrypha or deuterocanonical or fully canonical by others. Differences exist between the Jewish Tanakh and Christian biblical canons, although the Jewish Tanakh did form the basis for the Christian Old Testament, and between the canons of different Christian denominations. In some cases where varying strata of scriptural inspiration have accumulated, it becomes prudent to discuss texts that only have an elevated status within a particular tradition. This becomes even more complex when considering the open canons of the various Latter Day Saint sects—which are usually viewed as divergent from biblical Christianity (and moreover, Judaism)—and the scriptural revelations purportedly given to several leaders over the years within that movement.Biblical poetry
The ancient Hebrews perceived that there were poetical portions in their sacred texts, as shown by their entitling as songs or chants passages such as Exodus 15:1-19 and Numbers 21:17-20; a song or chant (shir) is, according to the primary meaning of the term, poetry. The question as to whether the poetical passages of the Old Testament show signs of regular rhythm or meter is yet unsolved.Biblical studies
Biblical studies is the academic application of a set of diverse disciplines to the study of the Bible (the Tanakh and the New Testament). For its theory and methods, the field draws on disciplines ranging from archaeology, ancient history, cultural backgrounds, textual criticism, literary criticism, historical backgrounds, philology, and social science.Many secular as well as religious universities and colleges offer courses in biblical studies, usually in departments of religious studies, theology, Judaic studies, history, or comparative literature. Biblical scholars do not necessarily have a faith commitment to the texts they study, but many do.Book of Genesis
The Book of Genesis (from the Latin Vulgate, in turn borrowed or transliterated from Greek "γένεσις", meaning "Origin"; Hebrew: בְּרֵאשִׁית, "Bərēšīṯ", "In [the] beginning") is the first book of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) and the Old Testament. It is divisible into two parts, the Primeval history (chapters 1–11) and the Ancestral history (chapters 12–50). The primeval history sets out the author's (or authors') concepts of the nature of the deity and of humankind's relationship with its maker: God creates a world which is good and fit for mankind, but when man corrupts it with sin God decides to destroy his creation, saving only the righteous Noah to reestablish the relationship between man and God. The Ancestral History (chapters 12–50) tells of the prehistory of Israel, God's chosen people. At God's command Noah's descendant Abraham journeys from his home into the God-given land of Canaan, where he dwells as a sojourner, as does his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Jacob's name is changed to Israel, and through the agency of his son Joseph, the children of Israel descend into Egypt, 70 people in all with their households, and God promises them a future of greatness. Genesis ends with Israel in Egypt, ready for the coming of Moses and the Exodus. The narrative is punctuated by a series of covenants with God, successively narrowing in scope from all mankind (the covenant with Noah) to a special relationship with one people alone (Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob).In Judaism, the theological importance of Genesis centers on the covenants linking God to his chosen people and the people to the Promised Land. Christianity has interpreted Genesis as the prefiguration of certain cardinal Christian beliefs, primarily the need for salvation (the hope or assurance of all Christians) and the redemptive act of Christ on the Cross as the fulfillment of covenant promises as the Son of God.
Tradition credits Moses as the author of Genesis, as well as the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and most of Deuteronomy, but modern scholars increasingly see them as a product of the 6th and 5th centuries BC.Books of the Bible
Different religious groups include different books in their biblical canons, in varying orders, and sometimes divide or combine books. The Jewish Tanakh (sometimes called the Hebrew Bible) contains 24 books divided into three parts: the five books of the Torah ("teaching"); the eight books of the Nevi'im ("prophets"); and the eleven books of Ketuvim ("writings"). It is composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, and its Masoretic Text is the main textual source for the Christian Greek Old Testament.Christian Bibles range from the 73 books of the Catholic Church canon, the 66 books of the canon of some denominations or the 80 books of the canon of other denominations of the Protestant Church, to the 81 books of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church canon. The first part of Christian Bibles is the Greek Old Testament, which contains, at minimum, the above 24 books of the Tanakh but divided into 39 books and ordered differently. The second part is the Greek New Testament, containing 27 books; the four Canonical gospels, Acts of the Apostles, 21 Epistles or letters and the Book of Revelation.
The Catholic Church and Eastern Christian churches hold that certain deuterocanonical books and passages are part of the Old Testament canon. The Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Christian churches may have minor differences in their lists of accepted books. The list given here for these churches is the most inclusive: if at least one Eastern church accepts the book it is included here. The King James Bible—which has been called "the most influential version of the most influential book in the world, in what is now its most influential language" and which in the United States is the most used translation, being still considered a standard among Protestant churches and being used liturgically in the Orthodox Church in America—contains 80 books: 39 in its Old Testament, 14 in its Apocrypha, and 27 in its New Testament.Catholic Bible
Within Catholicism, the Bible comprises the whole 73-book canon recognized by the Catholic Church, including the deuterocanonical books. It is sometimes referred to as the Catholic Bible.Deuterocanonical books
The deuterocanonical books (from the Greek meaning "belonging to the second canon") are books and passages considered by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church to be canonical books of the Old Testament but which are considered non-canonical by Protestant denominations. They are books from the Septuagint, the standard translation of the Hebrew Bible in the Hellenistic period, written during the reign of Ptolemy II (283–246 BCE) and referenced extensively in the New Testament, particularly in the Pauline Epistles. With the rise of Rabbinic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple Period, the Hebrew Canon was in flux, until the Masoretic Text, compiled between the 7th and 10th centuries, became the authoritative text of the mainstream Rabbinic Judaism. The Masoretic Text excluded the seven deuterocanonical books and formed the basis for their exclusion in the Protestant Old Testament. The term distinguished these texts both from those that were termed protocanonical books, which were the books of the Hebrew canon; and from the apocryphal books, which were those books of Jewish origin that were known sometimes to have been read in church as scripture but which were considered not to be canonical.
The deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament are:
Canonical by the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church:Tobit
Wisdom of Solomon
Wisdom of Sirach (also called Ecclesiasticus)
Baruch including the Letter of Jeremiah
Additions to Esther
Additions to Daniel:
Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children (Septuagint Daniel 3:24–90)
Susanna (Septuagint prologue, Vulgate Daniel 13)
Bel and the Dragon (Septuagint epilogue, Vulgate Daniel 14)Canonical only by the Orthodox Church:
The Prayer of Manasseh
Psalm 151This 16th-century debate drew on traditions witnessing a counterpart debate in the 4th and 5th centuries; occasioned then by the awareness that the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which the early church used as its Old Testament, included several books not recognised in the Jewish canon of the Bible as it had since been defined in Rabbinic Judaism. In this debate, which had preceded the dissemination of Jerome's Vulgate version, the books in the Hebrew Bible had been termed "canonical"; the additional books that were recognised by the Christian churches had been termed "ecclesiastical", and those that were considered not to be in the Bible were termed "apocryphal".Forms of the term "deuterocanonical" were adopted after the 16th century by the Eastern Orthodox Church to denote canonical books of the Septuagint not in the Hebrew Bible (a wider selection than that adopted by the Council of Trent), and also by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church to apply to works believed to be of Jewish origin translated in the Old Testament of the Ethiopic Bible; a wider selection still.Since the 16th century, most Protestant Churches have accepted only works in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible as canonical books of the Old Testament, and hence classify all deuterocanonical texts (of whichever definition) with the Apocrypha.Development of the Christian biblical canon
The Christian biblical canons are the books Christians regard as divinely inspired and which constitute a Christian Bible. Which books constituted the Christian biblical canons of both the Old and New Testament was generally established by the 5th century, despite some scholarly disagreements, for the ancient undivided Church (the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, before the East–West Schism).
In the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic canon was reaffirmed by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent (1546), which provided "the first infallible and effectually promulgated pronouncement on the Canon" by the Roman Catholic Church. The canons of the Church of England and English Presbyterians were decided definitively by the Thirty-Nine Articles (1563) and the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), respectively. The Synod of Jerusalem (1672) established additional canons that are widely accepted throughout the Orthodox Church.
The Old and New Testament canons did not develop independently of each other and most primary sources for the canon specify both Old and New Testament books. For the biblical scripture for both Testaments, canonically accepted in major traditions of Christendom, see Biblical canon § Canons of various Christian traditions.Development of the Old Testament canon
The Old Testament is the first section of the two-part Christian Biblical canon; the second section is the New Testament. The Old Testament includes the books of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) or protocanon, and in various Christian denominations also includes deuterocanonical books. Orthodox Christians, Catholics and Protestants use different canons, which differ with respect to the texts that are included in the Old Testament.
Martin Luther, holding to Jewish and other ancient precedent, excluded the deuterocanonical books from the Old Testament of his translation of the Bible, placing them in a section he labeled "Apocrypha" ("hidden"). To counter Luther's "heresy", the fourth session of the Catholic Council of Trent in 1546 confirmed that the deuterocanonical books were equally authoritative as the protocanonical in the Canon of Trent in the year Luther died, reconfirming the inclusion of the deuterocanonical books made almost a century earlier at the Council of Florence. Following Jerome's Veritas Hebraica (truth of the Hebrew) principle, the Protestant Old Testament consists of the same books as the Hebrew Bible, but the order and division of the books are different. Protestants number the Old Testament books at 39, while the Hebrew Bible numbers the same books as 24. The Hebrew Bible counts Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles as one book each, and the 12 minor prophets are one book, and also Ezra and Nehemiah form a single book.
The differences between the Hebrew Bible and other versions of the Old Testament such as the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac Peshitta, the Latin Vulgate, the Greek Septuagint, the Ethiopian Bible and other canons, are more substantial. Many of these canons include books and sections of books that the others do not. For a more comprehensive discussion of these differences, see Books of the Bible.Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible, also called the Tanakh (; תַּנַ״ךְ, pronounced [taˈnaχ] or [təˈnax]; also Tenakh, Tenak, Tanach) or Mikra, is the canonical collection of Jewish texts, which is also the textual source for the Christian Old Testament. These texts are composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, with some passages in Biblical Aramaic (in the books of Daniel, Ezra and a few others). The form of this text that is authoritative for Rabbinic Judaism is known as the Masoretic Text (MT), and is divided into 24 books, while the Protestant Bible translations divide the same material into 39 books.
Modern scholars seeking to understand the history of the Hebrew Bible use a range of sources, in addition to the Masoretic Text. These sources include early Greek (Septuagint) and Syriac (Peshitta) translations, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Dead Sea Scrolls and quotations from rabbinic manuscripts. Many of these sources may be older than the Masoretic Text and often differ from it. These differences have given rise to the theory that yet another text, an Urtext of the Hebrew Bible, once existed and is the source of the versions extant today. However, such an Urtext has never been found, and which of the three commonly known versions (Septuagint, Masoretic Text, Samaritan Pentateuch) is closest to the Urtext is not fully determined.Joseph (Genesis)
Joseph (; Hebrew: יוֹסֵף meaning "Increase", Standard Yosef Tiberian Yôsēp̄; Arabic: يوسف Yūsuf or Yūsif; Ancient Greek: Ἰωσήφ Iōsēph) is an important figure in the Bible's Book of Genesis. Sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, he rose to become vizier, the second most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh, where his presence and office caused Israel to leave Canaan and settle in Egypt. The composition of the story can be dated to the period between the 7th century BCE and the third quarter of the 5th century BCE, which is roughly the period to which scholars date the Book of Genesis.In Rabbinic tradition, Joseph is considered the ancestor of another Messiah called, "Mashiach ben Yosef", according to which he will wage war against the evil forces alongside Mashiach ben David and die in combat with the enemies of God and Israel.List of Old Testament pseudepigrapha
Pseudepigrapha are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed author is not the true author, or a work whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past. Some of these works may have originated among Jewish Hellenizers, others may have Christian authorship in character and origin.Nevi'im
Nevi'im (; Hebrew: נְבִיאִים Nəḇî'îm, lit. "spokespersons", "Prophets") is the second main division of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh), between the Torah (instruction) and Ketuvim (writings). The Nevi'im are divided into two groups. The Former Prophets (Hebrew: נביאים ראשונים Nevi'im Rishonim) consists of the narrative books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings; while the Latter Prophets (Hebrew: נביאים אחרונים Nevi'im Aharonim) include the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and The Twelve minor prophets.Peshitta
The Peshitta (Classical Syriac: ܦܫܝܛܬܐ pšîṭtâ) is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition.
The consensus within biblical scholarship, though not universal, is that the Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD, and that the New Testament of the Peshitta was translated from the Greek. This New Testament, originally excluding certain disputed books (2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation), had become a standard by the early 5th century. The five excluded books were added in the Harklean Version (616 AD) of Thomas of Harqel. However, the 1905 United Bible Society Peshitta used new editions prepared by the Irish Syriacist John Gwynn for the missing books.Septuagint
The Septuagint (from the Latin: septuāgintā literally "seventy", often abbreviated as LXX and sometimes called the Greek Old Testament) is the earliest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures from the original Hebrew. It is estimated that the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or Pentateuch, were translated in the mid-3rd century BCE and the remaining texts were translated in the 2nd century BCE. Considered the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is quoted a number of times in the New Testament, particularly in the Pauline epistles, by the Apostolic Fathers, and later by the Greek Church Fathers.
The Greek translation was in circulation among the Alexandrian Jews who were not fluent in Hebrew, but in lingua franca Greek. Separated from the Hebrew canon in Rabbinic Judaism, translations of the Torah into Greek by early Jewish scribes have survived as rare fragments only.
The full title in Ancient Greek: Ἡ τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα μετάφρασις, literally "The Translation of the Seventy", derives from the traditional story recorded in the Letter of Aristeas that the Septuagint was translated at the request of Ptolemy II Philadelphus by 70 or 72 Jewish scholars (6 of the most prominent from each of the 12 tribes of Israel) who were forced under threat of death to them and their families, all while being locked in quarters and we’re told they were not allowed to leave until the translation was completed translated all different versions of the entire Hebrew canon. For the and in the name of saving there lives they came to a very loose consensus on the appropriate translation. The date this was executed and handing in to Ptolemy is a date of annul fast (Known as the Tenth of Tevet fast) and mourning for the Jewish people as it is widely regarded as the first known and circulated deprivation and distortion of the Tenach. The Septuagint should not be confused with other Greek versions of the Old Testament, most of which did not survive except as fragments (some parts of these being known from Origen's Hexapla, a comparison of six translations in adjacent columns, now almost wholly lost). Of these, the most important are those by Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion.
Modern critical editions of the Septuagint are based on the Codices Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Alexandrinus.Tetragrammaton
The tetragrammaton (; from Greek Τετραγράμματον, meaning "[consisting of] four letters"), יהוה in Hebrew and YHWH in Latin script, is the four-letter biblical name of the God of Israel. The books of the Torah and the rest of the Hebrew Bible (with the exception of Esther and Song of Songs) contain this Hebrew name. Religiously observant Jews and those who follow Talmudic Jewish traditions do not pronounce יהוה, nor do they read aloud transliterated forms such as Yahweh; instead the word is substituted with a different term, whether used to address or to refer to the God of Israel. Common substitutions for Hebrew forms are hakadosh baruch hu ("The Holy One, Blessed Be He"), Adonai or HaShem ("The Name").