Old Testament

Old Testament

Overview
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 term for the religious writings of ancient Israel
History of ancient Israel and Judah
Israel and Judah were related Iron Age kingdoms of ancient Palestine. The earliest known reference to the name Israel in archaeological records is in the Merneptah stele, an Egyptian record of c. 1209 BCE. By the 9th century BCE the Kingdom of Israel had emerged as an important local power before...

 held sacred and inspired
Biblical inspiration
Biblical inspiration is the doctrine in Christian theology that the authors and editors of the Bible were led or influenced by God with the result that their writings many be designated in some sense the word of God.- Etymology :...

 by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon 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...

 of Judaism. The number of these writings varies markedly between denominations, Protestants accepting only the Rabbinic 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....

 but dividing it into 39 books, while Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, Coptic and Ethiopian churches recognise a considerably larger collection derived from the ancient Septuagint.

The books can be broadly divided into the Pentateuch, which lists the Mosaic Law and tells how God selected Israel to be his chosen people
Chosen people
Throughout history and even today various groups of people have considered themselves as chosen by a deity for some purpose such as to act as the deity's agent on earth. In monotheistic faiths, like Abrahamic religions, references to God are used in constructs such as "God's Chosen People"...

, the history books telling the history of the Israelite
Israelite
According to the Bible the Israelites were a Hebrew-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited the Land of Canaan during the monarchic period .The word "Israelite" derives from the Biblical Hebrew ישראל...

s 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
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

, and the books of the biblical prophets
Nevi'im
Nevi'im is the second of the three major sections in the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh. It falls between the Torah and Ketuvim .Nevi'im is traditionally divided into two parts:...

, warning of the consequences of turning away from God.
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Encyclopedia
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 term for the religious writings of ancient Israel
History of ancient Israel and Judah
Israel and Judah were related Iron Age kingdoms of ancient Palestine. The earliest known reference to the name Israel in archaeological records is in the Merneptah stele, an Egyptian record of c. 1209 BCE. By the 9th century BCE the Kingdom of Israel had emerged as an important local power before...

 held sacred and inspired
Biblical inspiration
Biblical inspiration is the doctrine in Christian theology that the authors and editors of the Bible were led or influenced by God with the result that their writings many be designated in some sense the word of God.- Etymology :...

 by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon 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...

 of Judaism. The number of these writings varies markedly between denominations, Protestants accepting only the Rabbinic 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....

 but dividing it into 39 books, while Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, Coptic and Ethiopian churches recognise a considerably larger collection derived from the ancient Septuagint.

The books can be broadly divided into the Pentateuch, which lists the Mosaic Law and tells how God selected Israel to be his chosen people
Chosen people
Throughout history and even today various groups of people have considered themselves as chosen by a deity for some purpose such as to act as the deity's agent on earth. In monotheistic faiths, like Abrahamic religions, references to God are used in constructs such as "God's Chosen People"...

, the history books telling the history of the Israelite
Israelite
According to the Bible the Israelites were a Hebrew-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited the Land of Canaan during the monarchic period .The word "Israelite" derives from the Biblical Hebrew ישראל...

s 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
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

, and the books of the biblical prophets
Nevi'im
Nevi'im is the second of the three major sections in the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh. It falls between the Torah and Ketuvim .Nevi'im is traditionally divided into two parts:...

, warning of the consequences of turning away from God. For the Israelites who were its original authors and readers these books told of their own unique relationship with God and their relationship with Proselytes, but the over-arching Messianic
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

 nature of Christianity has led Christians from the very beginning of the faith
Early Christianity
Early Christianity is generally considered as Christianity before 325. The New Testament's Book of Acts and Epistle to the Galatians records that the first Christian community was centered in Jerusalem and its leaders included James, Peter and John....

 to see the Old Testament as a preparation
Typology (theology)
Typology in Christian theology and Biblical exegesis is a doctrine or theory concerning the relationship between the Old and New Testaments...

 for the New Covenant
New Covenant
The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

 and New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

.

Content


The Old Testament contains 39 (Protestant) or 46 (Catholic) or more (Orthodox and other) books, divided, very broadly, into the Pentateuch (meaning "five books"), the historical books, the "wisdom" books and the prophets. The difference of seven books between the Catholic and Protestant canons stems from the fact that the early Christians used a Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures which differed from the one which came to be accepted by the Jews; the Protestant churches later dropped those books which were not accepted by the Jews. The following table shows the arrangement of books in the Hebrew and Greek bibles: (Books additional to the Hebrew Bible in italics)
Hebrew Bible
Greek bible
Notes
Torah (Law)
Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy

Prophets
Joshua
Judges
Samuel
Kings
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Ezekiel
Minor Prophets (single book)

Writings
Psalms
Job
Proverbs
Ruth
Song of Songs
Ecclesiastes
Lamentations
Esther
Daniel
Ezra-Nehemiah
Chronicles
Pentateuch
Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy

History of Israel
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
1 Esdras
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther (with additions)
Judith
Tobit
1-4 Maccabees

Wisdom
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Song of Songs
Job
Wisdom of Solomon
Ecclesiasticus

Prophetic books
Minor prophets (12 books)
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Baruch
Lamentations
Letter of Jeremiah
Ezekiel
Susannah
Daniel (with additions)

Jewish bibles count 24 books, as shown here, but Christian bibles divide Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah and the Minor Prophets, bringing the total to 39.





The Prophets collection in the Hebrew Bible get its name because the books were attributed to prophets, not because they all contain prophesy. Ruth, Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, of which only Ruth is by a prophet (Samuel), have been moved from the Writings collection in the Hebrew Bible to the History collection in the Old Testament, as the organising principle is subject matter rather than authorship.





Chronicles is the last book in the Hebrew canon, showing Israel restored to Jerusalem and history at an end; in the Old Testament it is part of the ongoing history which will end in the New Testament.














"Minor prophets" means short, not unimportant.
The order of the prophets has been reversed in modern Old Testaments so the last words are those of the minor prophet Malachi, predicting the return of the prophet Elijah and "the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD" (Malachi 4:5).

Themes of the Hebrew scriptures


God is consistently depicted as the one who created the world and guides its history. He is not, however, consistently presented as the only god who exists - monotheism apparently only developed around the time of the Babylonian exile of the 6th century BC. Nevertheless, he is always depicted as the only God whom Israel is to worship, and much of the historical portion of the Old Testament is about the ongoing struggle between the God of Israel and the gods of Canaan for the loyalty of the Israelites. Despite this, both Jews and Christians have always interpreted the bible as an affirmation of the oneness of God.

The Old Testament also stresses the special relationship between God and his chosen people
Chosen people
Throughout history and even today various groups of people have considered themselves as chosen by a deity for some purpose such as to act as the deity's agent on earth. In monotheistic faiths, like Abrahamic religions, references to God are used in constructs such as "God's Chosen People"...

, Israel. This relationship is expressed in the biblical covenant (contract) between the two, mediated by Moses. The law codes in books such as Exodus and especially Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

 are the terms of the contract on Israel's side; on God's side, he swears to be Israel's special protector and supporter.

Further themes in the Old Testament include salvation, redemption, judgement, 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 misdemeanours. All morality is traced back to God, who is the source of all goodness.

The question 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 Ecclesiates.

Composition of the Hebrew scriptures


The first five books - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus
Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

, book of Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 and Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

 - make up the Pentateuch, the story of Israel from the Creation
Creation according to Genesis
The Genesis creation narrative describes the divine creation of the world including the first man and woman...

 to the death of Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

. Few scholars today doubt that it reached its present form in the Persian period (538-332 BC), and that its authors were the elite of exilic returnees who controlled the Temple at that time. The books of Joshua
Book of Joshua
The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. Its 24 chapters tell of the entry of the Israelites into Canaan, their conquest and division of the land under the leadership of Joshua, and of serving God in the land....

, Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

, Samuel
Books of Samuel
The Books of Samuel in the Jewish bible are part of the Former Prophets, , a theological history of the Israelites affirming and explaining the Torah under the guidance of the prophets.Samuel begins by telling how the prophet Samuel is chosen by...

 and Kings
Books of Kings
The Book of Kings presents a narrative history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years...

 follow, forming a history of Israel from the conquest of Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 to the fall of Jerusalem: there is a broad consensus among scholars that these originated as a single work (the so-called "Deuteronomistic history") during the 6th century Babylonian exile. The two Books of Chronicles
Books of Chronicles
The Books of Chronicles are part of the Hebrew Bible. In the Masoretic Text, it appears as the first or last book of the Ketuvim . Chronicles largely parallels the Davidic narratives in the Books of Samuel and the Books of Kings...

 cover much the same material as the Pentateuch and Deuteronomistic history and probably date from the 4th century BC. Chronicles links with the books of Ezra and Nehemiah
Ezra-Nehemiah
Ezra-Nehemiah is the combined biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah - the two were originally one, but were divided by Christians in the 3rd century CE, and in Jewish circles in the 15th century...

, which 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.

The history books make up around half the total content of the Old Testament. Of the remainder, the books of the various prophets - Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

, Jeremiah
Book of Jeremiah
The Book of Jeremiah is the second of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the book of Isaiah and preceding Ezekiel and the Book of the Twelve....

, Ezekiel
Book of Ezekiel
The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah and preceding the Book of the Twelve....

, 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 the twelve "minor prophets" - were written between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, with the exception of Jonah
Book of Jonah
The Book of Jonah is a book in the Hebrew Bible. It tells the story of a Hebrew prophet named Jonah ben Amittai who is sent by God to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh but tries to escape the divine mission...

 and Daniel which are much later, and the "wisdom" and other books - Job
Job (Biblical figure)
Job is the central character of the Book of Job in the Hebrew Bible. Job is listed as a prophet of God in the Qur'an.- Book of Job :The Book of Job begins with an introduction to Job's character — he is described as a blessed man who lives righteously...

, Proverbs
Proverbs
Proverbs may refer to:*The plural of the word proverb*The Book of Proverbs, one of the books of the Hebrew Bible*Roy Proverbs, English footballer...

 and similar books - date from the 5th century BC to the 2nd or 1st, with the exception of some of the psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

.

From scripture to canon: formation of the Old Testament


Greek, Latin and Protestant Old Testaments


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. By about the 5th century BC Jews saw the five books of the 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...

 (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.

The scriptures were translated into Greek between about 280-130 BC. The Greek scriptures, called the Septuagint, contains several books not found in the modern Hebrew Bible (1-2 Esdras
Esdras
Esdras is a Greco-Latin variation of the name of the scribe Ezra. It is found in the titles of several books, associated with the scribe, that are in or related to the Bible.-Differences in names:...

, Judith, Tobit
Tobit
Tobit may refer to* Book of Tobit, a book of scripture that is part of the Catholic and Orthodox biblical canon* Tobit model, an econometric model for censored endogenous variables proposed by James Tobin...

, 1-4 Maccabees
Books of the Maccabees
The Books of the Maccabees are books concerned with the Maccabees, the leaders of the Jewish rebellion against the Seleucid dynasty, or related subjects.The term mostly refers to two deuterocanonical books contained in some canons of the Bible:...

, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirah, Baruch
Baruch
Baruch has been a given name among Jews from Biblical times up to the present, on some occasions also used as surname. It is also found, though more rarely, among Christians—particularly among Protestants who use Old Testament names....

, and numerous additions to other books), based loosely on chronology and "literary typology" (i.e. subject matter). It continues in use to this day as the Old Testament of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

In 331, Constantine I
Constantine I and Christianity
During the reign of the Emperor Constantine the Great, Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine, also known as Constantine I, had a significant religious experience following his victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312...

 commissioned Eusebius to deliver fifty Bibles
Fifty Bibles of Constantine
The Fifty Bibles of Constantine were fifty Bibles commissioned in 331 by Constantine I and prepared by Eusebius of Caesarea. They were made for the use of the Bishop of Constantinople in the growing number of orthodox churches. It was described by Eusebius in his Life of Constantine and his account...

 for the Church of Constantinople. Athanasius recorded Alexandrian scribes around 340 preparing Bibles for Constans
Constans
Constans , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 350. He defeated his brother Constantine II in 340, but anger in the army over his personal life and preference for his barbarian bodyguards saw the general Magnentius rebel, resulting in Constans’ assassination in 350.-Career:Constans was the third and...

. 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
Codex Vaticanus
The Codex Vaticanus , is one of the oldest extant manuscripts of the Greek Bible , one of the four great uncial codices. The Codex is named for the residence in the Vatican Library, where it has been stored since at least the 15th century...

 and Codex Sinaiticus
Codex Sinaiticus
Codex Sinaiticus is one of the four great uncial codices, an ancient, handwritten copy of the Greek Bible. It is an Alexandrian text-type manuscript written in the 4th century in uncial letters on parchment. Current scholarship considers the Codex Sinaiticus to be one of the best Greek texts of...

 are examples of these Bibles. Together with the Peshitta
Peshitta
The Peshitta is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition.The Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from the Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD...

 and Codex Alexandrinus
Codex Alexandrinus
The Codex Alexandrinus is a 5th century manuscript of the Greek Bible,The Greek Bible in this context refers to the Bible used by Greek-speaking Christians who lived in Egypt and elsewhere during the early history of Christianity...

, 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
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

 (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
Western Christianity
Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

 or Christianity in the Western half of the Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

, Latin had displaced Greek as the common language of the early Christians, and about 400 AD Pope Damasus I commissioned Jerome
Jerome
Saint Jerome was a Roman Christian priest, confessor, theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius, of the city of Stridon, which was on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia...

, the leading scholar of the day, to produce an updated Latin bible to replace the Vetus Latina
Vetus Latina
Vetus Latina is a collective name given to the Biblical texts in Latin that were translated before St Jerome's Vulgate Bible became the standard Bible for Latin-speaking Western Christians. The phrase Vetus Latina is Latin for Old Latin, and the Vetus Latina is sometimes known as the Old Latin Bible...

. Sometime in the centuries after the Septuagint (exactly when is disputed) the Rabbis (Jewish religious scholars and teachers) defined the Jewish 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....

, which is a much shorter canon of only 24 books, and Jerome used it (commonly called the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

) instead of the Greek Old Testament as the basis for his translation, citing "Hebraica Veritas" (Latin: Truth of the Hebrew). His Vulgate
Vulgate
The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

 (i.e. common language) Old Testament became the standard bible used in the Western Church
Western Christianity
Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

, specifically as the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate
Sixto-Clementine Vulgate
Vulgata Sixto-Clementina, is the edition of Latin Vulgate from 1592, prepared by Pope Clement VIII. It was the second edition of the Vulgate authorised by this Pope, and it was used until the 20th century.- Clementine edition :...

, while the Churches in the East
Eastern Christianity
Eastern Christianity comprises the Christian traditions and churches that developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa, India and parts of the Far East over several centuries of religious antiquity. The term is generally used in Western Christianity to...

 continued, and still continue, to use the Septuagint.

Jerome had wanted to drop all the books that did not appear in the Hebrew Bible, but St Augustine, a bishop and another great scholar of the day, opposed him and won the argument, notably at the Council of Carthage on 28 August 397. In the 16th century the Protestant reformers reopened the debate, and sided with Jerome, but only for their own congregations: yet although Protestant Bibles now have only those books that appear in the Jewish Bible, they have them in the order of the Greek Bible. The Catholic Church, largely in reaction to this attack on tradition, officially adopted a canon, the Canon of Trent
Canon of Trent
Though many canons or canon laws were formulated as a result of the 16th century Ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church known as the Council of Trent, the phrase Canon of Trent usually refers to the list of biblical books that were from then on to be considered canonical...

, which can be seen as following Augustine's Carthaginian Councils or the Council of Rome
Council of Rome
The Council of Rome was a meeting of Christian Church officials and theologians which took place in 382 under the authority of the bishop of Rome, Damasus I. The previous year, the Emperor Theodosius I had appointed the "dark horse" candidate Nectarius Archbishop of Constantinople...

, and includes most, but not all, of the Septuagint (3 Ezra and 3 and 4 Maccabees
Maccabees
The Maccabees were a Jewish rebel army who took control of Judea, which had been a client state of the Seleucid Empire. They founded the Hasmonean dynasty, which ruled from 164 BCE to 63 BCE, reasserting the Jewish religion, expanding the boundaries of the Land of Israel and reducing the influence...

 are excluded); the Anglicans after the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

 adopted a compromise position, restoring the 39 Articles and keeping the extra books that were excluded by the Westminster Confession of Faith
Westminster Confession of Faith
The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith, in the Calvinist theological tradition. Although drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly, largely of the Church of England, it became and remains the 'subordinate standard' of doctrine in the Church of Scotland, and has been...

, but only for private study and for reading in churches, while Lutherans kept them for private study, gathered in an appendix as Biblical Apocrypha
Biblical apocrypha
The word "apocrypha" is today often used to refer to the collection of ancient books printed in some editions of the Bible in a separate section between the Old and New Testaments...

.

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
Aramaic of Jesus
It is generally agreed that the historical Jesus primarily spoke Aramaic, perhaps along with some Hebrew and Greek . The towns of Nazareth and Capernaum, where Jesus lived, were primarily Aramaic-speaking communities, although Greek was widely spoken in the major cities of the Eastern Mediterranean...

: these are called the Aramaic Targum
Targum
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon means "to strike or break with fist"; and do means "way", "method", or "path"...

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
Peshitta
The Peshitta is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition.The Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from the Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD...

, as well as versions in Coptic
Coptic
Coptic may refer to:*The Copts: were a major ethnic group in Egypt. This term described all the people living in Egypt under Roman rule during the 4th to 6th centuries A.D., and until the Muslims took over....

 (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, a former kingdom, now part of modern northeast Turkey, was the first to adopt Christianity as its official religion), and Arabic.

Christian theology and the Old Testament


Christianity is based on the claim that the historical Jesus of Nazareth was also the supernatural Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

, the Saviour. This claim is in turn based on Jewish understandings of the meaning of the Hebrew term Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

, 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". 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
Iudaea Province
Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

; others stressed the Son of Man
Son of man
The phrase son of man is a primarily Semitic idiom that originated in Ancient Mesopotamia, used to denote humanity or self. The phrase is also used in Judaism and Christianity. The phrase used in the Greek, translated as Son of man is ὁ υἱὸς τοὺ ἀνθρώπου...

, a distinctly other-worldly figure who would appear as a judge at the end of time
Last Judgment
The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, or The Day of the Lord in Christian theology, is the final and eternal judgment by God of every nation. The concept is found in all the Canonical gospels, particularly the Gospel of Matthew. It will purportedly take place after the...

; 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
World to Come
The World to Come is an eschatological phrase reflecting the belief that the "current world" is flawed or cursed and will be replaced in the future by a better world or a paradise. The concept is similar to the concepts of Heaven and the afterlife, but Heaven is another place generally seen as...

. 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
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

's account of John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

). 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
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...

 of Jeremiah's prophesy of a New Covenant
New Covenant
The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

 (which is similar to "testament" and often conflated) to replace the existing covenant
Covenant (biblical)
A biblical covenant is an agreement found in the Bible between God and His people in which God makes specific promises and demands. It is the customary word used to translate the Hebrew word berith. It it is used in the Tanakh 286 times . All Abrahamic religions consider the Biblical covenant...

 between God and Israel (Jeremiah 31:31). The emphasis, however, has shifted from Judaism's understanding of the covenant as an eternal contract between God and Israel to one between God and those who are "in Christ".

In Hebrew, God has a name, YHWH. As Hebrew was originally written without vowels it is generally pronounced in English as Yahweh
Yahweh
Yahweh is the name of God in the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jews and Christians.The word Yahweh is a modern scholarly convention for the Hebrew , transcribed into Roman letters as YHWH and known as the Tetragrammaton, for which the original pronunciation is unknown...


or Jehovah
Jehovah
Jehovah is an anglicized representation of Hebrew , a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton , the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible....

. The Hellenised Jews
Hellenistic Judaism
Hellenistic Judaism was a movement which existed in the Jewish diaspora that sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism...

 who produced the Septuagint consistently translated this as kyrios, meaning "Lord". This is seen as a crucial change of meaning: Yahweh, the national god of the Israelites, became the universal Lord.

See also

  • Abrogation of Old Covenant laws
    Abrogation of Old Covenant laws
    While many Christian theology systems reflect the view that at least some Mosaic laws have been set aside under the New Covenant, there are some theology systems that view the entire Mosaic or Old Covenant as abrogated in that all of the Mosaic laws are set aside for the Law of Christ...

  • Covenant (biblical)
    Covenant (biblical)
    A biblical covenant is an agreement found in the Bible between God and His people in which God makes specific promises and demands. It is the customary word used to translate the Hebrew word berith. It it is used in the Tanakh 286 times . All Abrahamic religions consider the Biblical covenant...

  • Expounding of the Law
    Expounding of the Law
    The Expounding of the Law is a highly structured part of the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament...

  • Law and Gospel
    Law and Gospel
    In Christianity the relationship between God's Law and the Gospel is a major topic in Lutheran and Reformed theology. In these traditions, the distinction between the doctrines of Law, which demands obedience to God's ethical will, and Gospel, which promises the forgiveness of sins in light of the...

  • List of ancient legal codes
  • Lost books of the Old Testament
  • Old Testament: Timeline
    Old Testament: Timeline
    The timeline of the Old Testament can be calculated using the ages given in Genesis. Starting with the creation of Adam and adding the information when his son was born, the age of his son, etc...

  • Quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament
    Quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament
    Numerous quotations of the Hebrew Bible are made in the New Testament. In general, the New Testament writers quote from the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible, as it was then in common use among Gentiles, both Roman and Greek, while Jews of the time spoke mainly Aramaic and Hebrew, and would...

  • 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...

  • List of Hebrew Bible manuscripts
  • Table of books of Judeo-Christian Scripture
  • Book of Job in Byzantine illuminated manuscripts
    Book of Job in Byzantine illuminated manuscripts
    There are fourteen known Byzantine manuscripts of the Book of Job dating from the 9th to 14th centuries- as well as a post-byzantine codex illuminated with cycle of miniatures...


Further reading

  • Anderson, Bernhard
    Bernhard Anderson
    Bernhard Word Anderson was an American United Methodist pastor and Old Testament scholar.Born in Dover, Missouri, Anderson earned degrees from the College of the Pacific and Pacific School of Religion. In 1939, he was ordained to the ministry of the Methodist Church...

    . Understanding the Old Testament. (ISBN 0-13-948399-3 )
  • Bahnsen, Greg, et al., Five Views on Law and Gospel. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993).
  • Berkowitz, Ariel and D'vorah. Torah Rediscovered. 4th ed. Shoreshim Publishing, 2004. ISBN 0-9752914-0-8
  • Dever, William G. Who Were the Early Israelites? William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 2003. ISBN 0-8028-0975-8
  • Gerhard von Rad
    Gerhard von Rad
    Gerhard von Rad was a German Lutheran pastor, University professor and an Old Testament scholar.With the experience of two World Wars, the German-speaking world began to turn "anti-Old Testament"...

    : Theologie des Alten Testaments. Band 1–2, München, 8. Auflage 1982/1984, ISBN
  • Hill, Andrew and John Walton. A Survey of the Old Testament. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000. ISBN 0-310-22903-0 .
  • 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
  • Lancaster, D. Thomas. Restoration: Returning the Torah of God to the Disciples of Jesus. Littleton: First Fruits of Zion, 2005.
  • Rouvière, Jean-Marc. Brèves méditations sur la Création du monde Ed. L'Harmattan, Paris, 2006
  • Salibi, Kamal. The Bible Came from Arabia, London, Jonathan Cape, 1985 ISBN 0-224-02830-8
  • Silberman, Neil A., et al. The Bible Unearthed. Simon and Schuster, New York, 2003. ISBN 0-684-86913-6 (paperback) and ISBN 0-684-86912-8 (hardback)
  • Sprinkle, Joe M. Biblical Law and Its Relevance: A Christian Understanding and Ethical Application for Today of the Mosaic Regulations. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2006. ISBN 0-7618-3371-4 (clothbound) and ISBN 0-7618-3372-2 (paperback)
  • Papadaki-Oekland, Stella. Byzantine Illuminated Manuscripts of the Book of Job. ISBN 2503532322 & ISBN 9782503532325

External links