Ketuvim
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The Ketuvim (; hbo, , Modern: ''Kəṯūvīm'', Tiberian: ''Kăṯūḇīm'' "writings") is the third and final section of the
Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
'' Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
'' Torah The Torah (; hbo, ''Tōrā'', "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") is the compilation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, namely the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. In that sense, Torah means t ...
(instruction) and Nevi'im (prophets). In English translations of the Hebrew Bible, this section is usually titled "Writings" or "Hagiographa". In the Ketuvim, I and II Chronicles form one book, along with
Ezra Ezra (; he, עֶזְרָא, '; fl. 480–440 BCE), also called Ezra the Scribe (, ') and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra The Book of Ezra is a book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;
and Nehemiah which form a single unit entitled "
Ezra–Nehemiah Ezra–Nehemiah ( he, עזרא נחמיה , ) is a book in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach" ...
". (In citations by chapter and verse numbers, however, the Hebrew equivalents of "Nehemiah", "I Chronicles" and "II Chronicles" are used, as the system of chapter division was imported from Christian usage.) Collectively, eleven books are included in the Ketuvim.


Groups of books


''Sifrei Emet''

In Masoretic manuscripts (and some printed editions),
Psalms The Book of Psalms ( or ; he, תְּהִלִּים, , lit. "praises"), also known as the Psalms, or the Psalter, is the first book of the ("Writings"), the third section of the Tanakh, and a book of the Old Testament. The title is derived ...
, Proverbs and Job are presented in a special two-column form emphasizing the parallel stichs in the verses, which are a function of their
poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek '' poiesis'', "making"), also called verse, is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language − such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre − to evoke mean ...
. Collectively, these three books are known as Sifrei Emet ( hbo, סִפְרֵי אֶמֶת ''sip̄rēi ʾemeṯ'' "documents of truth" - an acronym of the titles of the three books in Hebrew, איוב, משלי, תהלים yields ''Emet'', which is also the Hebrew for " truth"). These three books are also the only ones in the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
'' cantillation notes that are designed to emphasize parallel stichs within verses. However, the beginning and end of the book of Job are in the normal prose system.


Five Megillot

The five relatively short books of Song of Songs,
Book of Ruth The Book of Ruth ( he, מגילת רות, ''Megilath Ruth'', "the Scroll of Ruth", one of the Five Megillot) is included in the third division, or the Writings (Ketuvim), of the Hebrew Bible. In most Old Testament, Christian canons it is treated ...
, the
Book of Lamentations The Book of Lamentations ( he, אֵיכָה, , from its incipit meaning "how") is a collection of poetic laments for the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE. In the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;
, Ecclesiastes and
Book of Esther The Book of Esther ( he, מְגִלַּת אֶסְתֵּר, Megillat Esther), also known in Hebrew Hebrew (; ; ) is a Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is one of the spoken languages of th ...
are collectively known as the Five Megillot (''Hamesh Megillot''/ Five Scrolls). These are the latest books collected and designated as "authoritative" in the Jewish canon. These scrolls are traditionally read over the course of the year in many Jewish communities. The list below presents them in the order they are read in the synagogue on holidays, beginning with the Song of Songs on
Passover Passover, also called Pesach (; ), is a major Jewish holiday that celebrates the Biblical story of the Israelites The Israelites (; , , ) were a group of Semitic-speaking tribes in the ancient Near East The ancient Near East was t ...
.


Other books

The remaining books in the Ketuvim are the Book of Daniel,
Ezra–Nehemiah Ezra–Nehemiah ( he, עזרא נחמיה , ) is a book in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach" ...
and the
Books of Chronicles The Book of Chronicles ( he, דִּבְרֵי־הַיָּמִים ) is a book in the Hebrew Bible, found as two books (1–2 Chronicles) in the Christian Old Testament. Chronicles is the final book of the Hebrew Bible, concluding the third se ...
. These books share a number of distinguishing characteristics: * The
Talmud The Talmud (; he, , Talmūḏ) is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law ('' halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the Talmud was the ce ...
ic tradition ascribes late authorship to all of them. * Daniel and Ezra are the only books in the Hebrew Bible with significant portions in Biblical Aramaic. * These two also describe relatively late events (i.e., the Babylonian captivity and the subsequent restoration of Zion).


Order of the books

The following list presents the books of the Ketuvim in the order they appear in most printed editions. It also divides them into three subgroups based on the distinctiveness of ''Sifrei Emet'' and ''Hamesh Megillot''. The ''Sifrei Emet'': * ''Tehillim'' (
Psalms The Book of Psalms ( or ; he, תְּהִלִּים, , lit. "praises"), also known as the Psalms, or the Psalter, is the first book of the ("Writings"), the third section of the Tanakh, and a book of the Old Testament. The title is derived ...
) תְהִלִּים * ''Mishlei'' (
Book of Proverbs The Book of Proverbs ( he, מִשְלֵי, , "Proverbs (of Solomon Solomon (; , ),, ; ar, سُلَيْمَان, ', , ; el, Σολομών, ; la, Salomon also called Jedidiah ( Hebrew: , Modern: , Tiberian: ''Yăḏīḏăyāh'', "be ...
) מִשְלֵי * ''Iyyôbh'' (
Book of Job The Book of Job (; hbo, אִיּוֹב, ʾIyyōḇ), or simply Job, is a book found in the Ketuvim ("Writings") section of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;
) אִיּוֹב The Five ''Megillot'' * ''Shīr Hashīrīm'' ( Song of Songs) שִׁיר הַשִׁירִים (
Passover Passover, also called Pesach (; ), is a major Jewish holiday that celebrates the Biblical story of the Israelites The Israelites (; , , ) were a group of Semitic-speaking tribes in the ancient Near East The ancient Near East was t ...
) * ''Rūth'' (
Book of Ruth The Book of Ruth ( he, מגילת רות, ''Megilath Ruth'', "the Scroll of Ruth", one of the Five Megillot) is included in the third division, or the Writings (Ketuvim), of the Hebrew Bible. In most Old Testament, Christian canons it is treated ...
) רוּת ( Feast of Weeks) * ''Eikhah'' ( Lamentations) איכה ( Ninth of Av or the Day of Atonement) lso called ''Kinnot'' in Hebrew* ''Qōheleth'' ( Ecclesiastes) קהלת ( Feast of Tabernacles) * ''Estēr'' (
Book of Esther The Book of Esther ( he, מְגִלַּת אֶסְתֵּר, Megillat Esther), also known in Hebrew Hebrew (; ; ) is a Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is one of the spoken languages of th ...
) אֶסְתֵר ( Feast of Lots) Other books * ''Dānî’ēl'' ( Book of Daniel) דָּנִיֵּאל * ''‘Ezrā'' (
Book of Ezra The Book of Ezra is a book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
'' Book of Nehemiah The Book of Nehemiah in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
''
) עזרא * ''Divrei ha-Yamim'' ( Chronicles) דברי הימים The Jewish textual tradition never finalized the order of the books in the Ketuvim. The
Babylonian Talmud The Talmud (; he, , Talmūḏ) is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also transliterated as ''halacha'', ''halakhah'', and ''halocho'' ( ) ...
( Bava Batra 14b–15a) gives their order as Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, and Chronicles. In Tiberian Masoretic codices, including the Aleppo Codex and the Leningrad Codex, and often in old Spanish manuscripts as well, the order is Chronicles, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, and Ezra.


Canonization

The Ketuvim is the last of the three portions of the Tanakh to have been accepted as
Biblical canon A biblical canon is a set of texts (also called "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as part of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (; Koine el, ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτ ...
. There is no scholarly consensus as to when the Hebrew Bible canon was fixed: some scholars argue that it was fixed by the Hasmonean dynasty,Philip R. Davies in ''The Canon Debate'', page 50: "With many other scholars, I conclude that the fixing of a canonical list was almost certainly the achievement of the Hasmonean dynasty." while others argue it was not fixed until the second century CE or even later. While the Torah may have been considered canon by Israel as early as the 5th century BCE and the Former and Latter Prophets were canonized by the 2nd century BCE, Michael Coogan says that the Ketuvim was not a fixed canon until the 2nd century CE. Coogan, Michael. ''A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament: The Hebrew Bible in Its Context''. Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 5 According to T. Henshaw, as early as 132 BCE some references suggesting that the Ketuvim was starting to take shape, though it lacked a formal title. Jacob Neusner argues that the notion of a biblical canon was not prominent in 2nd-century
Rabbinic Judaism Rabbinic Judaism ( he, יהדות רבנית, Yahadut Rabanit), also called Rabbinism, Rabbinicism, or Judaism espoused by the Rabbanites, has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Babylonia ...
or even later.McDonald & Sanders, ''The Canon Debate'', 2002, page 5, cited are Neusner's ''Judaism and Christianity in the Age of Constantine'', pages 128–145, and ''Midrash in Context: Exegesis in Formative Judaism'', pages 1–22. '' Against Apion'', the writing of
Josephus Flavius Josephus (; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος, ; 37 – 100) was a first-century Romano-Jewish historian A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with t ...
in 95 CE, treated the text of the Hebrew Bible as a closed canon to which "no one has ventured either to add, or to remove, or to alter a syllable"; Michael Barber, however, avers that Josephus' canon is "not identical to that of the modern Hebrew Bible". For a long time, following this date, the divine inspiration of Esther, the Song of Songs, and Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) was often under scrutiny. In the 20th century, many scholars seemed to believe that the limits of the Ketuvim as canonized scripture were determined by the Council of Jamnia ( 90 CE). But the theory of the Council of Jamnia is largely discredited today.McDonald & Sanders, editors, ''The Canon Debate'', 2002, chapter 9: "Jamnia Revisited" by Jack P. Lewis.


Liturgical use

There is no formal system of synagogal reading of Ketuvim equivalent to the Torah portion and ''
haftarah The ''haftara'' or (in Ashkenazic pronunciation) ''haftorah'' (alt. ''haftarah, haphtara'', he, הפטרה) "parting," "taking leave", (plural form: ''haftarot'' or ''haftoros'') is a series of selections from the books of '' Nevi'im'' ("Pr ...
''. It is thought that there was once a cycle for reading the Psalms, parallel to the triennial cycle for Torah reading, as the number of psalms (150) is similar to the number of Torah portions in that cycle, and remnants of this tradition exist in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, s ...
. All Jewish liturgies contain copious extracts from the Psalms, but these are normally sung to a regular recitative or rhythmic tune rather than read or chanted. Some communities also have a custom of reading Proverbs in the weeks following Pesach, and Job on the Ninth of Ab. The five megillot are read on the festivals, as mentioned above, though Sephardim have no custom of public reading of Song of Songs on Passover or Ecclesiastes on Sukkot. There are traces of an early custom of reading a ''haftarah'' from Ketuvim on Shabbat afternoons, but this does not survive in any community. Some Reform communities that operate a triennial cycle choose ''haftarot'' on Shabbat morning from Ketuvim as well as Neviim.


Extraliturgical public reading

In some Near and Middle Eastern Jewish traditions, the whole of Ketuvim (as well as the rest of the Tanakh and the
Mishnah The Mishnah or the Mishna (; he, מִשְׁנָה, "study by repetition", from the verb ''shanah'' , or "to study and review", also "secondary") is the first major written collection of the Jewish oral tradition Oral tradition, or oral lore ...
) is read each year on a weekly rota, usually on Shabbat afternoons. These reading sessions are not considered to be synagogue services, and often took place in the synagogue courtyard.


Cantillation

Medieval sources speak of three cantillation melodies, for Torah, Nevi'im and Ketuvim respectively. Today the position is more complicated. Oriental Sephardic communities preserve cantillation systems for the three poetic books, namely Psalms, Proverbs and the main part of Job (usually a different melody for each of the three books). No such systems exist in the Ashkenazi or Spanish and Portuguese traditions. However, the Ashkenazic
yeshiva A yeshiva (; he, ישיבה, , sitting; pl. , or ) is a traditional Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation A nation is a community of people formed on the bas ...
known as Aderet Eliyahu, in the Old City of Jerusalem, uses an adaptation of the Syrian cantillation-melody for these books, and this is becoming more popular among other Ashkenazim as well. In all communities there are special cantillation melodies for Lamentations and Esther, and in some communities for the Song of Songs. Otherwise, the melody for the book of Ruth is considered the "default" melody for books of the Ketuvim not otherwise provided for. The "prose" passages at the beginning and end of the book of Job, as read on Tisha B'Av, may be read either to the tune of Ruth or to one resembling that for the Song of Songs.


Targum to Ketuvim

Western targumim exist on ''Sifrei Emet'', on the Five Megillot and on Chronicles, i.e. on all the books of Ketuvim besides Daniel and Ezra (which contain large portions in Aramaic anyway). There are several complementary targumim to Esther. There is, however, no "official" eastern (Babylonian) targum to Ketuvim, equivalent to Targum Onkelos on the Torah and Targum Jonathan on Nevi'im. In fact, the Babylonian
Talmud The Talmud (; he, , Talmūḏ) is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law ('' halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the Talmud was the ce ...
explicitly notes the lack of a Targum to Ketuvim, explaining that Jonathan ben Uzziel was divinely prevented from completing his translation of the Bible. A more prosaic explanation may consist in the lack of regular formal readings of Ketuvim in the synagogue (except the five Megillot), making it unnecessary to have an official system for line-by-line translation.


See also

*
Books of the Bible A biblical canon is a set of texts (also called "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as part of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (; Koine el, ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτ ...


References


External links


David Betesh and the Sephardic Pizmonim Project
(Syrian melodies).
Tehillim ''(Psalms)'' on CD-Rom
(Syrian tradition, Rabbi Shimon Alouf).
Leining Master
Ashkenazi melodies for the five megillot.

melodies for Megillat Ester in various traditional styles. {{Authority control 1st-millennium BC books Hebrew Bible words and phrases Hebrew words and phrases in Jewish law Hebrew words and phrases in the Hebrew Bible Sifrei Kodesh