The Tanakh


Though the word "Bible" is commonly used by non-Jews -- as are the terms "Old Testament" and "New Testament" -- the appropriate term to use for the Hebrew scriptures ("scripture" is a synonym used by both Jews and non-Jews) is Tanakh. This word is derived from the Hebrew letters of its three components:

Torah: The Books of Genesis (Bereshit), Exodus (Shemot), Leviticus (Vayikrah), Numbers (Bamidbar) and Deuteronomy (Devarim).

Nevi'im (Prophets): The Books of Joshua, Judges, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habukkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. (The last twelve are sometimes grouped together as "Trei Asar" ["Twelve"].)

Ketuvim (Writings): The Books of Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel (although not all that is included in the Christian Canon), Ezra and Nehemiah, I Chronicles, and II Chronicles.

It should be noted that the breaking of Samuel (Shmuel), Kings (Melachim) and Chronicles (Divrei hayamim) into two parts is strictly an artifact of the Christian printers who first issued the books. They were too big to be issued as single volumes. Because every one followed these de facto standards, the titles of Volume 1 and Volume 2 were attached to the names. The division of the Tanakh into chapters was also done by medieval Christians, and only later adopted by Jews.

Also, many Christian Bibles have expanded versions of several of these books (Esther, Ezra, Daniel, Jeremiah and Chronicles) including extra material that is not accepted as canonical in Judaism. This extra material was part of the ancient Greek translation of the Tanakh, but was never a part of the official Hebrew Tanakh. Jews regard the additional material as apocryphal. Among Christians, there is a difference of opinion. Catholics regard this material as canonical, while many Protestant sects regard this material as Apocrypha. What is and is not regarded as Apocrypha varies among the many Christian sects.

Click here for the complete text of the Tanakh.


Source: Shamash