Outline of Bible-related topics
Page from an 11th-century Aramaic
Targum manuscript of the Hebrew
Bible or Hebrew Scriptures (Latin: Biblia Hebraica) is the term
used by biblical scholars to refer to the
Tanakh (Hebrew: תנ"ך;
Latin: Thanach), the canonical collection of Jewish texts. They are
composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, with some passages in Biblical
Aramaic (in the books of Daniel, Ezra and a few others). The Hebrew
Bible is the common textual source of several canonical editions of
Christian Old Testament. The content, to which the Protestant Old
Testament closely corresponds, does not act as a source for the
deuterocanonical portions of the Roman Catholic or to the
Anagignoskomena portions of the
Eastern Orthodox Old Testaments. The
term does not comment upon the naming, numbering or ordering of books,
which vary with later
Christian biblical canons.
The term Hebrew
Bible is an attempt to provide specificity with
respect to contents but avoid allusion to any particular
interpretative tradition or theological school of thought. It is
widely used in academic writing and interfaith discussion in
relatively neutral contexts meant to include dialogue among all
religious traditions, but not widely in the inner discourse of the
religions that use its text.
1.1 Additional difficulties
2 Origins of the Hebrew
Bible and its components
3 Scholarly editions
4 See also
6 Further reading
7 External links
Bible refers to the Jewish biblical canon. In its
Biblia Hebraica, it traditionally serves as a title for printed
editions of the Masoretic Text. Many biblical studies scholars
advocate use of the term "Hebrew Bible" (or "Hebrew Scriptures") as a
substitute for less neutral terms with Jewish or Christian
Tanakh or Old Testament). The Society of
Biblical Literature's Handbook of Style, which is the standard for
major academic journals like the
Harvard Theological Review and
conservative Protestant journals like the
Bibliotheca Sacra and the
Westminster Theological Journal, suggests that authors "be aware of
the connotations of alternative expressions such as... Hebrew Bible
[and] Old Testament" without prescribing the use of either. McGrath
points out that while the term emphasises that it is largely written
in Hebrew and "is sacred to the Hebrew people", it "fails to do
justice to the way in which Christianity sees an essential continuity
between the Old and New Testaments", arguing that there is "no
generally accepted alternative to the traditional term "Old
Testament." However, he accepts that there is no reason why
non-Christians should feel obliged to refer to these books as the Old
Testament, "apart from custom of use."
In terms of theology, Christianity has recognised the close
relationship between the Old and New Testaments from its very
beginnings, although there have sometimes been movements like
Marcionism (viewed as heretical by the early church), that have
struggled with it. Modern
Christian formulations of this
tension include Supersessionism, Covenant Theology, New Covenant
Dispensationalism and Dual-covenant theology. All of these
formulations, except some forms of Dual-covenant theology, are
objectionable to mainstream Judaism and to many Jewish scholars and
writers, for whom there is one eternal covenant between God and the
Israelites, and who therefore reject the term "Old Testament" as a
form of antinomianism.
In terms of canon,
Christian usage of "Old Testament" does not refer
to a universally agreed upon set of books but, rather, varies
depending on denomination. Lutheranism and Protestant denominations
that follow the
Westminster Confession of Faith
Westminster Confession of Faith accept the entire
Jewish canon as the
Old Testament without additions, although in
translation they sometimes give preference to the
than the Masoretic Text; for example, see Isaiah 7:14.
In terms of language, "Hebrew" refers to the original language of the
books, but it may also be taken as referring to the Jews of the Second
Temple era and Jewish diaspora, and their descendants, who preserved
the transmission of the
Masoretic Text up to the present day. The
Bible includes small portions in Aramaic (mostly in the books
of Daniel and Ezra), written and printed in Aramaic square-script,
which was adopted as the
Hebrew alphabet after the Babylonian exile.
Origins of the Hebrew
Bible and its components
Main articles: Dating the
Bible and Development of the Hebrew Bible
The books that constitute the Hebrew
Bible developed over roughly a
millennium. The oldest texts seem to come from the 11th or 10th
centuries BCE, whilst most of the other texts are somewhat later. They
are edited works, being collections of various sources intricately and
carefully woven together. 
In the late 19th century, a classical consensus emerged that the
Pentateuch (the first five books of the Hebrew Scripture) consisted of
four sources which had been woven together, known as the J (Yahwist),
D (Deuteronomist), E (Elohist) and P (Priestly writer) sources. The
classic explanation of their relationship and dating was proposed by
Julius Wellhausen. Scholars concluded that J and E were
amalgamated after the fall of
Samaria in 721 BCE, D was dated to the
time of Josiah. The
Deuteronomist source, which was credited with the
Pentateuch's book of Deuteronomy, is also said to be the source of the
books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings (the Deuteronomistic
history, or DtrH), and the book of Jeremiah. This theory, known as the
documentary hypothesis, dominated scholarship into the 20th
Today, there is no consensus about the dates of the source documents;
some scholars reject the existence of the E source and others have
suggested that four sources are inadequate.
Several editions, all titled Biblia Hebraica, have been produced by
various German publishers since 1906.
Between 1906 and 1955,
Rudolf Kittel published nine editions of it.
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft published the renamed Biblia
Hebraica Stuttgartensia in six editions until 1997.
Since 2004 the
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft has published the Biblia
Hebraica Quinta, including all variants of the
Qumran manuscripts as
well as the Masorah Magna.
Other projects include:
Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition
Books of the Bible
Early editions of the Hebrew Bible
Non-canonical books referenced in the Bible
^ Eliezer Segal, Introducing Judaism (New York, NY: Routledge, 2009).
^ Safire, William (1997-05-25). "The New Old Testament". The New York
^ Hamilton, Mark. "From Hebrew
Christian Bible: Jews,
Christians and the Word of God". Retrieved 2007-11-19. Modern scholars
often use the term 'Hebrew Bible' to avoid the confessional terms Old
Testament and Tanakh.
^ Alexander, Patrick H; et al., eds. (1999). The SBL Handbook of Style
(PDF). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. p. 17 (section 4.3).
ISBN 1-56563-487-X. Archived from the original (PDF) on
2008-04-14. See Society of Biblical Literature: Questions
Regarding Digital Editions…
^ a b McGrath, Alister,
Christian Theology, Oxford: Blackwell, 2011,
p. 120, 123. ISBN 9781444335149.
^ "Marcion", Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911 .
^ For the recorded teachings of Jesus on the subject see Antithesis of
the Law#Antitheses, for the modern debate, see
Christian views on the
^ McDermott, John J. (2002). Reading the Pentateuch : a
historical introduction. New York: Paulist Press.
^ Birch, Bruce C., Walter Brueggemann, Terence E. Fretheim and David
L. Petersen. A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, 2nd
edition. Nashville: Abingdon, 2005, p. 31.
^ Childs, Brevard S. Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testament.
Minneapolis: Fortress, 2011, p. 123
^ Hamilton, Mark (April 1998). "From Hebrew
Jews, Christians and the Word of God". Frontline. From Jesus to
Christ. WGBH Educational Foundation.
^ Drane, John. Introducing the Old Testament, 3rd edition. Oxford:
Lion, 2011, pp. 175-176.
Brueggemann, Walter (1997). An introduction to the Old Testament: the
Christian imagination. Westminster John Knox Press.
Johnson, Paul (1987). A History of the Jews (First, hardback ed.).
London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-79091-9.
Kugel, James L. (1997). The
Bible as It Was. Cambridge, Massachusetts:
Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-06940-4.
Kuntz, John Kenneth. The People of Ancient Israel: an introduction to
Old Testament Literature, History, and Thought, Harper and Row, 1974.
Leiman, Sid. The Canonization of Hebrew Scripture. (Hamden, CT:
Levenson, Jon. Sinai and Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible. (San
Francisco: HarperSan Francisco, 1985).
Minkoff, Harvey. "Searching for the Better Text". Biblical Archaeology
Review (online). Archived from the original on 14 March 2012.
Retrieved 9 June 2011.
Pritchard, James B. (1973). The Ancient Near East, Volume I.
Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
ISBN 0691035016. An abridgement of Ancient Near Eastern
Texts Relating to the Old Testament
Noth, Martin. A History of Pentateuchal Traditions. (1948; trans. by
Bernhard Anderson; Atlanta: Scholars, 1981).
Schniedewind, William M (2004). How the
Bible Became a Book.
Cambridge. ISBN 9780521536226.
Schmid, Konrad. The Old Testament: A Literary History. (Minneapolis:
Fortress Press, 2012).
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hebrew Bibles.
Hebrew-English Tanakh: the Jewish
Bible Complete, fully vocalized,
contilated, Masoretic text of the Hebrew
Bible (Leningrad Codex),
together with the classic (1917) English translation by the Jewish
929 Chapters Links to Hebrew
Bible manuscripts, ancient and modern
translations, dictionaries, related literature (e.g., Dead Sea
Scrolls, Ancient Near East, Christian, Rabbinic), and study tools such
as maps and archaeological websites.
English translation of the entire Tanach with Rashi's commentary.
Translation edited by translator and scholar, Rabbi A.J. Rosenberg.
Works by or about Hebrew
Bible at Internet Archive
Works by Hebrew
LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
(in English) (in Hebrew) Hebrew
Bible from around 1300 CE
(in English) (in Hebrew) Hebrew-English
Bible Mechon-Mamre online
edition, from 1917
Jewish Publication Society edition and the
Bible (Bodleian Library MS. Kennicott 1), a lavishly