Hebrew Bible

Hebrew Bible

Overview


The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 to refer to the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

, a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions
Development of the Old Testament canon
The Old Testament is the first section of the two-part Christian Biblical canon, which includes the books of the Hebrew Bible or protocanon and in some Christian denominations also includes several Deuterocanonical books or Biblical apocrypha...

 of the Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

. These texts are composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, with some passages in Biblical Aramaic
Biblical Aramaic
Biblical Aramaic is the form of the Aramaic language that is used in the books of Daniel, Ezra and a few other places in the Hebrew Bible and should not be confused with the Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible known as targumim....

 (about half of the Book of Daniel
Book of Daniel
The Book of Daniel is a book in the Hebrew Bible. The book tells of how Daniel, and his Judean companions, were inducted into Babylon during Jewish exile, and how their positions elevated in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. The court tales span events that occur during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar,...

, some parts of the Book of Ezra
Book of Ezra
The Book of Ezra is a book of the Hebrew Bible. Originally combined with the Book of Nehemiah in a single book of Ezra-Nehemiah, the two became separated in the early centuries of the Christian era...

 and a few others).

The content, which closely corresponds to the Protestant Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

, does not include the deuterocanonical portions of the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 or the portions of the Eastern Orthodox Old Testaments.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Hebrew Bible'
Start a new discussion about 'Hebrew Bible'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia


The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 to refer to the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

, a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions
Development of the Old Testament canon
The Old Testament is the first section of the two-part Christian Biblical canon, which includes the books of the Hebrew Bible or protocanon and in some Christian denominations also includes several Deuterocanonical books or Biblical apocrypha...

 of the Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

. These texts are composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, with some passages in Biblical Aramaic
Biblical Aramaic
Biblical Aramaic is the form of the Aramaic language that is used in the books of Daniel, Ezra and a few other places in the Hebrew Bible and should not be confused with the Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible known as targumim....

 (about half of the Book of Daniel
Book of Daniel
The Book of Daniel is a book in the Hebrew Bible. The book tells of how Daniel, and his Judean companions, were inducted into Babylon during Jewish exile, and how their positions elevated in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. The court tales span events that occur during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar,...

, some parts of the Book of Ezra
Book of Ezra
The Book of Ezra is a book of the Hebrew Bible. Originally combined with the Book of Nehemiah in a single book of Ezra-Nehemiah, the two became separated in the early centuries of the Christian era...

 and a few others).

The content, which closely corresponds to the Protestant Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

, does not include the deuterocanonical portions of the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 or the portions of the Eastern Orthodox Old Testaments. The term does not imply naming, numbering or ordering of books, which varies with Biblical canon
Biblical canon
A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

.

The term is an attempt to provide specificity with respect to contents, while avoiding allusion to any particular interpretative tradition or theological school of thought. It is widely used in academic writing and interfaith
Interfaith
The term interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels...

 discussion in relatively neutral contexts meant to include dialogue among all religious traditions, but not widely in the inner discourse of the religions which use its text.

Usage


Hebrew Bible is a term that refers to the common/shared portions of the Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 (Jewish canon) and the Christian biblical canons
Christian biblical canons
A Christian biblical canon is the set of books that a Christian denomination regards as divinely inspired and thus constituting the Christian Bible...

. In its Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 form, Biblia Hebraica
Biblia Hebraica
Biblia Hebraica is a Latin phrase meaning Hebrew Bible. It is traditionally used as a title for printed editions of the Tanakh ....

, it traditionally serves as a title for printed editions of the Masoretic Text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

.

Many scholars advocate use of the term Hebrew Bible when discussing these books in academic writing, as a neutral substitute to terms with religious connotations (e.g., the non-neutral term "old testament"). The Society of Biblical Literature
Society of Biblical Literature
The Society of Biblical Literature, founded 1880, is a constituent society of the American Council of Learned Societies , with the stated mission to "Foster Biblical Scholarship"...

's Handbook of Style, which is the standard for major academic journals like Harvard Theological Review
Harvard Theological Review
Harvard Theological Review is a journal of theology, published by Harvard Divinity School. It was founded in 1908.-External links:* * * * at the Internet Archive...

and conservative Protestant journals like Bibliotheca Sacra
Bibliotheca Sacra
Bibliotheca Sacra is the theological journal published by Dallas Theological Seminary. First published in 1844, it is the oldest theological journal in the United States. It originally was published by Union Theological Seminary in 1843, moved to Andover Theological Seminary in 1844, to Oberlin...

and Westminster Theological Journal
Westminster Theological Journal
Westminster Theological Journal is a theological journal published by Westminster Theological Seminary....

, suggests that authors "be aware of the connotations of alternative expressions such as ... Hebrew Bible [and] Old Testament" without prescribing the use of either.

Additional difficulties include:
  • In terms of theology, Christianity has struggled with the relationship between "old" and "new" testaments from its very beginnings. Modern Christian formulations of this tension, sometimes building upon ancient and medieval ideas, include supersessionism
    Supersessionism
    Supersessionism is a term for the dominant Christian view of the Old Covenant, also called fulfillment theology and replacement theology, though the latter term is disputed...

    , covenant theology
    Covenant Theology
    Covenant theology is a conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible...

    , dispensationalism
    Dispensationalism
    Dispensationalism is a nineteenth-century evangelical development based on a futurist biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive "dispensations" or periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants.As a system,...

    , and dual-covenant theology
    Dual-covenant theology
    Dual-covenant theology is a Liberal Christian view that holds that Jews may simply keep the Law of Moses, because of the "everlasting covenant" between Abraham and God expressed in the Hebrew Bible, whereas Gentiles must convert to Christianity or alternatively accept the Seven Laws of Noah...

    . However, 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 Israel, and who therefore reject the very term "Old Testament."
  • In terms of canon
    Development of the Christian Biblical canon
    The Christian Biblical canon is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the Christian Bible. Books included in the Christian Biblical canons of both the Old and New Testament were decided at the Council of Trent , by the Thirty-Nine Articles , the Westminster...

    , Christian usage of "Old Testament" does not refer to a universally agreed upon set of books, but rather varies depending on denomination.
  • The term Old Testament is a Christian term used to identify the Hebrew Bible as a portion of the Christian scriptures and so can sometimes imply an unintended Christian frame of reference for it.



Hebrew in the term Hebrew Bible refers to the original language of the books, but it may also be taken as referring to the Jews of the Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

 era and the Diaspora
Diaspora
A diaspora is "the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location", or "people settled far from their ancestral homelands".The word has come to refer to historical mass-dispersions of...

, and their descendants, who preserved the transmission of the Masoretic Text up to the present day. The Hebrew Bible includes some small portions in Aramaic
Biblical Aramaic
Biblical Aramaic is the form of the Aramaic language that is used in the books of Daniel, Ezra and a few other places in the Hebrew Bible and should not be confused with the Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible known as targumim....

 (mostly in the books of Daniel
Book of Daniel
The Book of Daniel is a book in the Hebrew Bible. The book tells of how Daniel, and his Judean companions, were inducted into Babylon during Jewish exile, and how their positions elevated in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. The court tales span events that occur during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar,...

 and Ezra
Book of Ezra
The Book of Ezra is a book of the Hebrew Bible. Originally combined with the Book of Nehemiah in a single book of Ezra-Nehemiah, the two became separated in the early centuries of the Christian era...

), which are written and printed in the Aramaic square-script, was adopted as the Hebrew alphabet
Hebrew alphabet
The Hebrew alphabet , known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, or more historically, the Assyrian script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two...

 after the Babylonian exile. The Paleo-Hebrew alphabet
Paleo-Hebrew alphabet
The Paleo-Hebrew alphabet , is an abjad offshoot of the ancient Semitic alphabet, identical to the Phoenician alphabet. At the very least it dates to the 10th century BCE...

 was the Hebrew alphabet of the classical era of Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount , before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE....

. Some Qumran
Qumran
Qumran is an archaeological site in the West Bank. It is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalia...

 Hebrew biblical manuscripts are written using the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet
Paleo-Hebrew alphabet
The Paleo-Hebrew alphabet , is an abjad offshoot of the ancient Semitic alphabet, identical to the Phoenician alphabet. At the very least it dates to the 10th century BCE...

 of the classical era of Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount , before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE....

. The famous examples of the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet are the Siloam inscription
Siloam inscription
The Siloam inscription or Silwan inscription is a passage of inscribed text found in the Hezekiah tunnel which brings water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam, located in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. The inscription records the construction of the tunnel in the 8th century...

 (8th century BCE), the Lachish
Lachish
Lachish was an ancient Near East town located at the site of modern Tell ed-Duweir in the Shephelah, a region between Mount Hebron and the maritime plain of Philistia . The town was first mentioned in the Amarna letters as Lakisha-Lakiša...

 ostraca (6th century BCE), and the Bar Kokhba
Bar Kokhba's revolt
The Bar Kokhba revolt 132–136 CE; or mered bar kokhba) against the Roman Empire, was the third major rebellion by the Jews of Judaea Province being the last of the Jewish-Roman Wars. Simon bar Kokhba, the commander of the revolt, was acclaimed as a Messiah, a heroic figure who could restore Israel...

 coin shown above (circa 132 CE).

Biblia Hebraica


The Biblia Hebraica is edited by various German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 publishers.
  • Between 1906 and 1955 Rudolf Kittel
    Rudolf Kittel
    Rudolf Kittel was a German Old Testament scholar.Kittel studied at Tübingen University. He became Professor of Old Testament at Breslau and Leipzig...

     published 9 editions of it.
  • 1966, the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft
    Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft
    The Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft is a religious foundation regulated by public law. It is involved in publishing and in spreading the message of the Bible....

     published the renamed Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia
    Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia
    The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, or ', is an edition of the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible as preserved in the Leningrad Codex, and supplemented by masoretic and text-critical notes...

     in six editions until 1997.
  • Since 2004 the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft publishes the Biblia Hebraica Quinta
    Biblia Hebraica Quinta
    The Biblia Hebraica Quinta is the fifth edition of the Biblia Hebraica and when complete will supersede the fourth edition, the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia...

     including all variants of the Qumran
    Qumran
    Qumran is an archaeological site in the West Bank. It is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalia...

     manuscripts as well as the Masorah Magna.

See also

  • Biblical canon
    Biblical canon
    A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

  • Books of the Bible
    Books of the Bible
    The Books of the Bible are listed differently in the canons of Judaism and the Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Slavonic Orthodox, Georgian, Armenian Apostolic, Syriac and Ethiopian churches, although there is substantial overlap. A table comparing the canons of some of these traditions...

  • Christianity and Judaism
  • Development of the Jewish Bible canon
    Development of the Jewish Bible canon
    Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the 24 books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, as authoritative. Evidence suggests that the process of canonization occurred between 200 BCE and 200 CE. A popular former theory is that the Torah was canonized c. 400 BCE, the Prophets c....

  • Judeo-Christian
    Judeo-Christian
    Judeo-Christian is a term used in the United States since the 1940s to refer to standards of ethics said to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, for example the Ten Commandments...

  • Non-canonical books referenced in the Bible
    Non-canonical books referenced in the Bible
    The non-canonical books in this article include Biblical apocrypha and Deuterocanonical books , Pseudepigrapha, writings from Hellenistic and other non-Biblical cultures, and lost works of known or unknown status...

  • Torah
    Torah
    Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

  • List of major biblical figures

Further reading

  • Brueggemann, Walter. An introduction to the Old Testament: the canon and Christian imagination (Westminster John Knox Press, 1997).
  • Charlesworth, James H., ed. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. (2 vols.; Garden City: Doubleday, 1985).
  • Kugel, James. The Bible as It Was. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997).
  • Kugel, James. In Potiphar's House: The Interpretive Life of Biblical Texts. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990).
  • Kuntz, John Kenneth. The People of Ancient Israel: an introduction to Old Testament Literature, History, and Thought, Harper and Row, 1974. ISBN 0-06-043822-3
  • Leiman, Sid. The Canonization of Hebrew Scripture. (Hamden, CT: Archon, 1976).
  • Levenson, Jon. Sinai and Zion: An Entry into the Jewish Bible. (San Francisco: HarperSan Francisco, 1985).
  • Noth, Martin. A History of Pentateuchal Traditions. (1948; trans. by Bernhard Anderson; Atlanta: Scholars, 1981).
  • Vermes, Geza, ed. The Dead Sea Scrolls in English. (3d ed.; New York: Penguin, 1987).