Old Testament
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The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
Hebrew: ''Tān ...

Hebrew Bible
or Tanakh, a collection of ancient religious Hebrew writings by the
Israelites
Israelites
. The second division of Christian Bibles is the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
, written in the
Koine Greek Koine Greek (; Koine el, ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτος, hē koinè diálektos, the common dialect; ), also known as Hellenistic Greek, common Attic, the Alexandrian dialect, Biblical Greek or New Testament Greek, was the common supra-reg ...
language. 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: the first five books or Pentateuch (corresponds to the Jewish
Torah
Torah
); the history books telling the history of the Israelites, from their conquest of Canaan to their defeat and exile in Babylon; the poetic and " Wisdom books" dealing, in various forms, with questions of good and evil in the world; and the books of the biblical prophets, warning of the consequences of turning away from God. The books that compose the Old Testament canon and their order and names differ between various branches of Christianity. The canons of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches comprise up to 49 books; the Catholic canon comprises 46 books; and the most common Protestant canon comprises 39 books. There are 39 books common to essentially all Christian canons. They 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 ( Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra–Nehemiah, and the Twelve Minor Prophets) into separate books in Christian Bibles. The books that are part of the Christian Old Testament but that are not part of the Hebrew canon are sometimes described as deuterocanonical. In general, Catholic and Orthodox churches include these books in the Old Testament. Most Protestant Bibles do not include the deuterocanonical books in their canon, but some versions of
Anglican
Anglican
and Lutheran Bibles place such books in a separate section called
apocrypha Apocrypha are works, usually written, of unknown authorship or of doubtful origin. The word ''apocryphal'' (ἀπόκρυφος) was first applied to writings which were kept secret because they were the vehicles of esoteric knowledge considered ...
. These 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 Dead Sea Scrolls (also the Qumran Caves Scrolls) are Jewish history, ancient Jewish and Hebrew religious biblical manuscript, manuscripts discovered between 1946 and 1956 at the Qumran Caves in what was then Mandatory Palestine, near Ein ...
.


Content

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 below uses the spellings and names present in modern editions of the Christian Bible, such as the Catholic
New American Bible Revised Edition The New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) is an English-language Catholic Bible, Catholic translation of the Bible, the first major update in 20 years to the New American Bible, New American Bible (NAB), which was translated by members of th ...
and the Protestant Revised Standard Version and English Standard Version. The spelling and names in both the 1609–F10 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. 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 Ecumenism (), also spelled oecumenism, is the concept and principle that Christians who belong to different Christian denominations should work together to develop closer relationships among their churches and promote Christian unity. The adjec ...
more recent Catholic translations (e.g. the New American Bible,
Jerusalem Bible ''The Jerusalem Bible'' (JB or TJB) is an Bible translations into English, English translation of the Bible published in 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd. As a Catholic Bible, it includes 73 books: the 39 books shared with the Tanakh, Hebrew 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 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 center ...
(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 The ''Mishneh Torah'' ( he, מִשְׁנֵה תּוֹרָה, , repetition of the Torah), also known as ''Sefer Yad ha-Hazaka'' ( he, ספר יד החזקה, , book of the strong hand, label=none), is a Legal code, code of Rabbinic Judaism, Rabbi ...
Hilchot Sefer
Torah
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 most canons but not in others, are often called the
Biblical apocrypha The biblical apocrypha (from the grc, ἀπόκρυφος, translit=apókruphos, lit=hidden) denotes the collection of apocryphal ancient books thought to have been written some time between 200 BC and AD 400. The Roman Catholic, Eastern ...
, 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 Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Na ...
Bibles. Catholics, following the Canon of Trent (1546), describe these books as deuterocanonical, while Greek Orthodox Christians, following the
Synod of Jerusalem (1672) The Synod of Jerusalem is an Eastern Orthodox synod held in 1672. It is also called the Synod of Bethlehem. The synod was convoked and presided over by Dositheus II of Jerusalem, Patriarch Dositheus of Jerusalem. The synod produced a Confession ...
, use the traditional name of , meaning "that which is to be read." They are present in a few historic Protestant versions; the German
Luther Bible The Luther Bible (german: Lutherbibel) is a German language German ( ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and Official language, official or co-official langua ...
included such books, as did the English 1611 King James Version. Empty table cells indicate that a book is absent from that canon. 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.


Historicity


Early scholarship

Some of the stories of the Pentateuch may derive from older sources. American science writer Homer W. Smith points out similarities between the
Genesis creation narrative The Genesis creation narrative is the creation myth of both Judaism and Christianity. The narrative is made up of two stories, roughly equivalent to the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis. In the first, Elohim (the Hebrew generic word f ...
and that of the Sumerian ''
Epic of Gilgamesh The ''Epic of Gilgamesh'' () is an epic poetry, epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia, and is regarded as the earliest surviving notable literature and the second oldest religious text, after the Pyramid Texts. The literary history of Gilgamesh ...
'', such as the inclusion of the creation of the first man (
Adam Adam; el, Ἀδάμ, Adám; la, Adam is the name given in Book of Genesis, Genesis 1-5 to the first human. Beyond its use as the name of the first man, ''adam'' is also used in the Bible as a pronoun, individually as "a human" and in a coll ...
/
Enkidu Enkidu ( sux, ''EN.KI.DU10'') was a legendary figure in Mesopotamian mythology, ancient Mesopotamian mythology, wartime comrade and friend of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk. Their exploits were composed in Sumerian language, Sumerian poems and in t ...
) in the
Garden of Eden In Abrahamic religions, the Garden of Eden ( he, גַּן־עֵדֶן, ) or Garden of God (, and גַן־אֱלֹהִים ''gan-Elohim''), also called the Terrestrial Paradise, is the Bible, biblical paradise described in Book of Genesis, Genes ...
, a tree of knowledge, a
tree of life The tree of life is a fundamental archetype in many of the world's mythology, mythological, religion, religious, and philosophy, philosophical traditions. It is closely related to the concept of the sacred tree.Giovino, Mariana (2007). ''The ...
, and a deceptive serpent. Scholars such as Andrew R. George point out the similarity of the
Genesis flood narrative The Genesis flood narrative (chapters 6–9 of the Book of Genesis) is the Hebrew version of the universal flood myth. It tells of God's decision to return the universe to its pre- creation state of watery chaos and remake it through the micr ...
and the
Gilgamesh flood myth The Gilgamesh flood myth is a flood myth in the ''Epic of Gilgamesh''. Many scholars believe that the flood myth was added to Tablet XI in the "standard version" of the Gilgamesh Epic by an editor who used the flood story from the Atra-Hasis, Epi ...
. Similarities between the origin story of
Moses Moses hbo, מֹשֶׁה, Mōše; also known as Moshe or Moshe Rabbeinu (Mishnaic Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ, ); syr, ܡܘܫܐ, Mūše; ar, موسى, Mūsā; grc, Mωϋσῆς, Mōÿsēs () is considered the most important Prop ...
and that of
Sargon of Akkad Sargon of Akkad (; akk, ''Šarrugi''), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire, known for his conquests of the Sumerian Sumerian city-states, city-states in the 24th to 23rd centuries BC.The date of the re ...
were noted by psychoanalyst Otto Rank in 1909 and popularized by 20th century writers, such as H. G. Wells and
Joseph Campbell Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987) was an American writer. He was a professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College who worked in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work covers many aspects of the ...
. Jacob Bronowski writes that, "the Bible is ... part folklore and part record. History is ... written by the victors, and the
Israelis Israelis ( he, יִשְׂרָאֵלִים‎, translit=Yīśrāʾēlīm; ar, الإسرائيليين, translit=al-ʾIsrāʾīliyyin) are the Israeli citizenship law, citizens and nationals of the Israel, State of Israel. The country's popul ...
, when they burst through /nowiki>Jericho_().html" ;"title="Jericho.html" ;"title="/nowiki>Jericho">/nowiki>Jericho ()">Jericho.html" ;"title="/nowiki>Jericho">/nowiki>Jericho () became the carriers of history."


Recent scholarship

In 2007, a scholar of Judaism Lester L. Grabbe explained that earlier biblical scholars such as Julius Wellhausen (1844–1918) could be described as 'maximalist', accepting biblical text unless it has been disproven. Continuing in this tradition, both "the 'substantial historicity' of the patriarchs" and "the unified conquest of the land" were widely accepted in the United States until about the 1970s. Contrarily, Grabbe says that those in his field now "are all minimalistsat least, when it comes to the patriarchal period and the settlement. ... ry few are willing to operate s maximalists"


Composition

The first five books— Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
book of Numbers The book of Numbers (from Biblical Greek, Greek Ἀριθμοί, ''Arithmoi''; he, בְּמִדְבַּר, ''Bəmīḏbar'', "In the desert f) is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah. The book ...
and
Deuteronomy Deuteronomy ( grc, Δευτερονόμιον, Deuteronómion, second law) is the fifth and last book of the Torah (in Judaism), where it is called (Hebrew: hbo, , Dəḇārīm, hewords f Moses label=none) and the fifth book of the Chr ...
—reached their present form in the Persian period (538–332 BC), and their authors were the elite of exilic returnees who controlled the
Temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christianity (whose temples are typically called church (building), churches), Hindui ...
at that time. The books of
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( ''Yəhōšuaʿ'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: ''Yŏhōšuaʿ,'' Literal translation, lit. 'Yahweh is salvation') ''Yēšūaʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَع ...
, Judges,
Samuel Samuel ''Šəmūʾēl'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: ''Šămūʾēl''; ar, شموئيل or صموئيل '; el, Σαμουήλ ''Samouḗl''; la, Samūēl is a figure who, in the narratives of the Hebrew Bible, plays a key role in the transit ...
and Kings follow, forming a history of Israel from the Conquest of Canaan to the Siege of Jerusalem BC. There is a broad consensus among scholars that these originated as a single work (the so-called "
Deuteronomistic History The Deuteronomist, abbreviated as either Dtr or simply D, may refer either to the source document underlying the core chapters (12–26) of the Book of Deuteronomy, or to the broader "school" that produced all of Deuteronomy as well as the Deutero ...
") during the Babylonian exile of the 6th century BC. The two
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 The Hebrew Bible or ...
cover much the same material as the Pentateuch and Deuteronomistic history and probably date from the 4th century BC. Chronicles, and Ezra–Nehemiah, was probably finished during the 3rd century BC. Catholic and Orthodox Old Testaments contain two (Catholic Old Testament) to four (Orthodox)
Books of Maccabees The Books of the Maccabees or the Sefer HaMakabim (the ''Book of the Maccabees'') recount the history of the Maccabees, the leaders of the Jews, Jewish rebellion against the Seleucid dynasty. List of books The Books of the Maccabees refers to a se ...
, 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 Isaiah ( or ; he, , ''Yəšaʿyāhū'', "Yahweh, God is Salvation"), also known as Isaias, was the 8th-century BC Israelite Biblical prophet, prophet after whom the Book of Isaiah is named. Within the text of the Book of Isaiah, Isaiah hims ...
, Jeremiah,
Ezekiel Ezekiel (; he, יְחֶזְקֵאל ''Yəḥezqēʾl'' ; in the Septuagint written in grc-koi, Ἰεζεκιήλ ) is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Ezekiel is acknow ...
, and the twelve " minor prophets"—were written between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, with the exceptions of
Jonah Jonah or Jonas, ''Yōnā'', "dove"; gr, Ἰωνᾶς ''Iōnâs''; ar, يونس ' or '; Latin: ''Ionas'' Ben (Hebrew), son of Amittai, is a prophet in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran, from Gath-hepher of the northern Kingdom of Israel (Samaria ...
and Daniel, which were written much later. The "wisdom" books— Job,
Proverbs A proverb (from la, proverbium) is a simple and insightful, traditional saying that expresses a perceived truth based on common sense or experience. Proverbs are often metaphorical and use formulaic speech, formulaic language. A proverbial phra ...
,
Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes (; hbo, קֹהֶלֶת, Qōheleṯ, grc, Ἐκκλησιαστής, Ekklēsiastēs) is one of the Ketuvim ("Writings") of the Hebrew Bible and part of the Wisdom literature of the Christianity, Christian Old Testament. The titl ...
,
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 ...
, 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.


Themes

Throughout the Old Testament, 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 Yahweh *''Yahwe'', was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. The origins of his worship reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age if not somewhat earlier, ...
(or ) is Almighty. The Old Testament stresses the special relationship between God and his
chosen people Throughout history, various groups of people have considered themselves to be the chosen people of a deity, for a particular purpose. The phenomenon of a "chosen people" is well known among the Israelites and Jews, where the term ( he, עם ס ...
, 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 Deuteronomy ( grc, Δευτερονόμιον, Deuteronómion, second law) is the fifth and last book of the Torah (in Judaism), where it is called (Hebrew: hbo, , Dəḇārīm, hewords f Moses label=none) and the fifth book of the Chr ...
are the terms of the contract: Israel swears faithfulness to God, and God swears to be Israel's special protector and supporter. However, ''The Jewish Study Bible'' denies that the word ''covenant'' ( in Hebrew) means "contract"; in the ancient Near East, a covenant would have been sworn before the gods, who would be its enforcers. As God is part of the agreement, and not merely witnessing it, ''The Jewish Study Bible'' instead interprets the term to refer to a pledge. Further themes in the Old Testament include
salvation Salvation (from Latin: ''salvatio'', from ''salva'', 'safe, saved') is the state of being saved or protected from harm or a dire situation. In religion and theology, ''salvation'' generally refers to the deliverance of the soul from sin and its c ...
, redemption,
divine judgment Divine judgment means the judgment of God or other supreme beings within a religion. Ancient beliefs In ancient Sumerian religion, the sun-god Utu and his twin sister Inanna were believed to be the enforcers of divine justice. Utu, as th ...
, obedience and disobedience,
faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or In the context of religion, one can define faith as "belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion". Religious people often ...
and faithfulness, among others. Throughout there is a strong emphasis on
ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of morality, right and wrong action (philosophy), behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'' The field of ethics, alo ...
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 Social justice is justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, Equal opportunity, opportunities, and Social privilege, privileges within a society. In Western Civilization, Western and Culture of Asia, Asian cultures, the concept of social ...
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 misdemeanours. All morality is traced back to God, who is the source of all goodness. The
problem of evil The problem of evil is the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil Evil, in a general sense, is defined as the opposite or absence of good. It can be an extremely broad concept, although in everyday usage it is often more narro ...
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.


Formation

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 The University of Edinburgh ( sco, University o Edinburgh, gd, Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann; abbreviated as ''Edin.'' in Post-nominal letters, post-nominals) is a Public university, public research university based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Granted ...
, 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 In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...
and passed to mankind. By about the 5th century BC, Jews saw the five books of the (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.


Greek

Hebrew texts began to be translated into Greek in
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, ٱلْإِسْكَنْدَرِيَّةُ ; grc-gre, Αλεξάνδρεια, Alexándria) is the second largest city in Egypt, and the largest city on the Mediterranean coast. Founded in by Alexander the Great, Alexandria ...
in about 280 and continued until about 130 BC. These early Greek translations supposedly commissioned by Ptolemy Philadelphus were called the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Greek language, Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible. It includes several ...
() 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 The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptized members. It operates as a Communion (Christ ...
. It varies in many places from the
Masoretic Text The Masoretic Text (MT or 𝕸; he, נֻסָּח הַמָּסוֹרָה, Nūssāḥ Hammāsōrā, Literal translation, lit. 'Text of the Tradition') is the authoritative Biblical Hebrew, Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic, Aramaic text of the 24 b ...
and includes numerous books no longer considered canonical in some traditions: 1 and 2 Esdras, Judith, Tobit, 3 and 4
Maccabees The Maccabees (), also spelled Machabees ( he, מַכַּבִּים, or , ; la, Machabaei or ; grc, Μακκαβαῖοι, ), were a group of Jewish rebel warriors who took control of Judea, which at the time was part of the Seleucid Empire. ...
, the
Book of Wisdom The Book of Wisdom, or the Wisdom of Solomon, is a Jewish work written in Greek and most likely composed in Alexandria, Egypt. Generally dated to the mid-first century Common Era, BCE, the central theme of the work is "wisdom" itself, appearing ...
,
Sirach The Book of Sirach () or Ecclesiasticus (; abbreviated Ecclus.) is a Jewish work, originally in Hebrew, of ethical teachings, from approximately 200 to 175 Common Era, BC, written by the Kingdom of Judah, Judahite scribe Ben Sira of Jerusalem, ...
, and Baruch. Early modern
biblical criticism Biblical criticism is the use of critical analysis to understand and explain the Bible. During the eighteenth century, when it began as ''historical-biblical criticism,'' it was based on two distinguishing characteristics: (1) the concern to ...
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 The Masoretes ( he, בַּעֲלֵי הַמָּסוֹרָה, Baʿălēy Hammāsōrā, Literal translation, lit. 'Masters of the Tradition') were groups of Jewish scribe-scholars who worked from around the end of the 5th through 10th centuries CE, ...
in their work. The Septuagint was originally used by Hellenized Jews whose knowledge of Greek was better than Hebrew. However, 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 ''Hexapla'' ( grc, Ἑξαπλᾶ, "sixfold") is the term for a Textual criticism, critical edition of the Hebrew Bible in six versions, four of them translated into Ancient Greek, Greek, preserved only in fragments. It was an immense and comple ...
,
Origen Origen of Alexandria, ''Ōrigénēs''; Origen's Greek name ''Ōrigénēs'' () probably means "child of Horus" (from , "Horus", and , "born"). ( 185 – 253), also known as Origen Adamantius, was an Early Christianity, early Christian scholar, ...
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 Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ) is a State of Palestine, Palestinian city in the West Bank. It is located in the Jordan Valley, with the Jordan River to the east and Jerusalem to the west. It is the administrative seat ...
and Nicopolis: these were added to Origen's Octapla. In 331,
Constantine I Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor from AD 306 to 337, and the first of which to Constantine the Great and Christianity, convert to Christiani ...
commissioned
Eusebius Eusebius of Caesarea (; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος ; 260/265 – 30 May 339), also known as Eusebius Pamphilus (from the grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος τοῦ Παμφίλου), was a Greeks, Greek historian of Christianity, exegete, and C ...
to deliver fifty Bibles for the
Church of Constantinople The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople ( el, Οἰκουμενικὸν Πατριαρχεῖον Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, translit=Oikoumenikón Patriarkhíon Konstantinoupóleos, ; la, Patriarchatus Oecumenicus Constanti ...
.
Athanasius Athanasius I of Alexandria, ; cop, ⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲑⲁⲛⲁⲥⲓⲟⲩ ⲡⲓⲁⲡⲟⲥⲧⲟⲗⲓⲕⲟⲥ or Ⲡⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲑⲁⲛⲁⲥⲓⲟⲩ ⲁ̅; (c. 296–298 – 2 May 373), also called Athanasius the Great, ...
recorded Alexandrian scribes around 340 preparing Bibles for
Constans Flavius Julius Constans ( 323 – 350), sometimes called Constans I, was Roman emperor from 337 to 350. He held the imperial rank of ''Caesar (title), caesar'' from 333, and was the youngest son of Constantine the Great. After his father's dea ...
. 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 The Codex Vaticanus (Vatican Library, The Vatican, Vatican Library, Bibl. Vat., Vat. gr. 1209), designated by siglum B or 03 (in the Biblical manuscript#Gregory-Aland, Gregory-Aland numbering), δ 1 (Biblical manuscript#Von Soden, von Soden), is ...
and
Codex Sinaiticus The Codex Sinaiticus (Shelfmark: London, British Library, Add MS 43725), designated by siglum [Aleph] or 01 (in the Biblical manuscript#Gregory-Aland, Gregory-Aland numbering of New Testament manuscripts), δ 2 (in the Biblical manuscr ...
are examples of these Bibles. Together with the
Peshitta The Peshitta ( syc, ܦܫܺܝܛܬܳܐ ''or'' ') is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac Christianity, Syriac tradition, including the Maronite Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Syriac O ...
and
Codex Alexandrinus The Codex Alexandrinus (London, British Library, Royal MS 1. D. V-VIII), designated by the siglum A or 02 (in the Biblical manuscript#Gregory-Aland, Gregory-Aland numbering of New Testament manuscripts), δ 4 (in the Biblical manuscript#Von Sod ...
, 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 Jerome (; la, Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος Σωφρόνιος Ἱερώνυμος; – 30 September 420), also known as Jerome of Stridon, was a Christian presbyter, priest, Confessor of the Faith, confessor, th ...
(347–420), in his ''Prologue to Judith'', claims that the
Book of Judith The Book of Judith is a deuterocanonical book, included in the Septuagint and the Catholic Church, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Christian Old Testament of the Bible, but Development of the Hebrew Bible canon, excluded from the ...
was "found by the Nicene Council to have been counted among the number of the Sacred Scriptures".


Latin

In
Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings ...
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 Pope Damasus I (; c. 305 – 11 December 384) was the bishop of Rome from October 366 to his death. He presided over the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon or official list of sacred scripture. He spoke out against major heresies (i ...
commissioned
Jerome Jerome (; la, Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus; grc-gre, Εὐσέβιος Σωφρόνιος Ἱερώνυμος; – 30 September 420), also known as Jerome of Stridon, was a Christian presbyter, priest, Confessor of the Faith, confessor, th ...
, 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 The Vulgate (; also called (Bible in common tongue), ) is a late-4th-century Bible translations into Latin, Latin translation of the Bible. The Vulgate is largely the work of Jerome who, in 382, had been commissioned by Pope Damasus&nbs ...
, 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 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 The adjective canonical is applied in many contexts to mean "according to the canon (basic principle), canon" the standard (metrology), standard, rule or primary source that is accepted as authoritative for the body of knowledge or literature in t ...
(he called them ''
apocrypha Apocrypha are works, usually written, of unknown authorship or of doubtful origin. The word ''apocryphal'' (ἀπόκρυφος) was first applied to writings which were kept secret because they were the vehicles of esoteric knowledge considered ...
''); 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 Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
Hebrew: ''Tān ...

Hebrew Bible
; the councils were under significant influence of
Augustine of Hippo Augustine of Hippo ( , ; la, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; 13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine, was a theologian and philosopher of Berbers, Berber origin and the bishop of Hippo Regius in Numidia (Roman pr ...
, who regarded the canon as already closed.


Protestant canon

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, the order is that 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 The Council of Rome was a Synod, meeting of Catholic Church officials and theologians which took place in AD 382 under the authority of Pope Damasus I, the then-Bishop of Rome. According to the (a work written by an anonymous scholar between AD 51 ...
, and includes most, but not all, of the Septuagint ( 3 Ezra and 3 and 4
Maccabees The Maccabees (), also spelled Machabees ( he, מַכַּבִּים, or , ; la, Machabaei or ; grc, Μακκαβαῖοι, ), were a group of Jewish rebel warriors who took control of Judea, which at the time was part of the Seleucid Empire. ...
are excluded); the s after the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists led by Charles I ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of Kingdom of England, England's governanc ...
adopted a compromise position, restoring the 39 Articles and keeping the extra books that were excluded by the Westminster Confession of Faith, both for private study and for reading in churches but not for establishing any doctrine, while Lutherans kept them for private study, gathered in an appendix as
biblical apocrypha The biblical apocrypha (from the grc, ἀπόκρυφος, translit=apókruphos, lit=hidden) denotes the collection of apocryphal ancient books thought to have been written some time between 200 BC and AD 400. The Roman Catholic, Eastern ...
.


Other versions

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
Targum A targum ( arc, תרגום 'interpretation, translation, version') was an originally spoken translation of the Hebrew Bible (also called the ''Tanakh'') that a professional translator ( ''mǝturgǝmān'') would give in the common language of the ...
s, 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 The Peshitta ( syc, ܦܫܺܝܛܬܳܐ ''or'' ') is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac Christianity, Syriac tradition, including the Maronite Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Syriac O ...
, 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 Arabic (, ' ; , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...
.


Christian theology

Christianity is based on the belief that the historical Jesus is also the
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 or 33), also referred to as Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth (among other Names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament, names and titles), was ...
, as in the Confession of Peter. This belief is in turn based on Jewish understandings of the meaning of the Hebrew term
Messiah In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias (; , ; , ; ) is a salvation, saviour or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of ''Messiah in Judaism, mashiach'', Messianism#Judaism, messianism, and of a Messianic Age#Judaism, Messianic Age ...
, 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 '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 The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. Each province was ruled ...
of Judaea. Others stressed the Son of Man, a distinctly other-worldly figure who would appear as a judge at the end of time. Some expounded a synthesised view of both positions, where a messianic kingdom of this world 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 forerunner, probably
Elijah Elijah ( ; he, אֵלִיָּהוּ, ʾĒlīyyāhū, meaning "My God In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxfo ...
(as promised by the prophet Malachi, whose book now ends the Old Testament and precedes Mark's account of
John the Baptist John the Baptist or , , or , ;Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history''. New York: Henry Holt and Company. 1994. syc, ܝܘܿܚܲܢܵܢ ܡܲܥܡܕ݂ܵܢܵܐ, Yoḥanān Maʿmḏānā; he, יוחנן המטביל, Yohanān HaMatbil; la, Ioannes Bapti ...
). However, no view of the Messiah as based on the Old Testament predicted a Messiah who would suffer and die for the sins of all people. The story of Jesus' death, therefore, involved a profound shift in meaning from the Old Testament tradition. The name "Old Testament" reflects Christianity's understanding of itself as the fulfilment of Jeremiah's prophecy of a New Covenant (which is similar to "testament" and often conflated) to replace the existing
covenant Covenant may refer to: Religion * Covenant (religion), a formal alliance or agreement made by God with a religious community or with humanity in general ** Covenant (biblical), in the Hebrew Bible ** Covenant in Mormonism, a sacred agreement ...
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 pledge between God and the Jewish people, to one between God and any person of faith who is "in Christ".


See also

* Abrogation of Old Covenant laws *
Biblical and Quranic narratives The Quran, the central religious text of Islam, contains references to List of people in both the Bible and the Quran, more than fifty people and events also found in the Bible. While the stories told in each book are generally comparable, the ...
* Book of Job in Byzantine illuminated manuscripts * Criticism of the Bible * Expounding of the Law *
Law and Gospel In Protestant Christianity, the relationship between Law and Gospel—Divine Law, God's Law and the Gospel of Jesus Christ—is a major topic in Lutheran and Reformed tradition, Reformed theology. In these religious traditions, the distinc ...
* List of ancient legal codes * List of Hebrew Bible manuscripts * Marcion of Sinope * Non-canonical books referenced in the Bible * Quotations from the Hebrew Bible in the New Testament * Timeline of Genesis patriarchs


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * . * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* Anderson, Bernhard. ''Understanding the Old Testament''. * Bahnsen, Greg, et al., ''Five Views on Law and Gospel'' (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993). * . * . * * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * (hardback), (paperback). * (clothbound) and (paperback).


External links

* . Full texts of the Old (and New) Testaments including the full Roman and Orthodox Catholic canons * - Tanakh * Protestant Old Testament on a single page * . Extensive online Old Testament resources (including commentaries) * * * : Old Testament stories and commentary * – Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and the
King James Version The King James Version (KJV), also the King James Bible (KJB) and the Authorized Version, is an Bible translations into English, English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, which was commissioned in 1604 and publis ...
{{Authority control Christian terminology