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Hebrew Bible

1. Content and Structure of the Hebrew Bible: – The Hebrew Bible includes narratives, legal material, hymns, wisdom literature, and prophecy. – Central themes include […]

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1. Content and Structure of the Hebrew Bible:
– The Hebrew Bible includes narratives, legal material, hymns, wisdom literature, and prophecy.
– Central themes include monotheism, denouncing evil, predicting future events, and interpreting visions.
– YHWH is consistently portrayed as the creator and sole focus of Israel’s worship.
– The Hebrew Bible comprises Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim, with variations in canons among different branches of Judaism and Samaritanism.
– Various sources like Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls inform modern biblical scholarship on the Hebrew Bible’s history.
– The Hebrew Bible canonization process was completed by the 2nd century CE.

2. Language, Textual Variants, and Academic Terminology:
– The Masoretic Text is primarily in Biblical Hebrew, with some passages in Biblical Aramaic.
– Different versions like Septuagint and Samaritan Pentateuch differ from the Masoretic Text.
– Terminology like Hebrew Bible, Old Testament, Mikra, and Tanakh are used interchangeably.
– Hebrew text has Aramaic passages and adopted Aramaic square-script post-Babylonian exile.
– The search for the original text of the Hebrew Bible continues.

3. Development and Codification of the Hebrew Bible:
– The Torah is traditionally attributed to Moses and achieved canonical status early.
– Neviim gained canonical status by the 2nd century BCE, while Ketuvim was the last part to achieve it.
– The Hebrew Bible was composed and edited over several hundred years, with the canonization process completed by the 2nd century CE.
– The number of books in the Hebrew Bible is traditionally counted as 24, with different branches of Judaism having variations in their canons.

4. Textual Features and Translation of the Hebrew Bible:
– The Hebrew Bible contains 8,679 distinct words, with 1,480 hapax legomena.
– It consists of 24 books, with the Twelve Minor Prophets counted as one book.
– Various Jewish English Bible translations have been published, and a modern Hebrew translation called Tanakh Ram is ongoing.
– Jewish commentaries like Rashi and Metzudot are important for studying the Hebrew Bible.

5. Influence and Comparison with Other Religious Texts:
– Christianity sees a close relationship between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
– Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Bibles differ in their inclusion of Deuterocanonical books.
– Islam identifies Tawrat with the Hebrew Bible’s Pentateuch, Neviim, and Ketuvim.
– The Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament share similarities but differ in book order.
– The Hebrew Bible has had an impact on the development of Judaism and Christianity.

Hebrew Bible (Wikipedia)

The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (/tɑːˈnɑːx/; Hebrew: תַּנַ״ךְTānāḵ), also known in Hebrew as Miqra (/mˈkrɑː/; Hebrew: מִקְרָאMīqrāʾ), is the canonical collection of Hebrew scriptures, comprising the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. Different branches of Judaism and Samaritanism have maintained different versions of the canon, including the 3rd-century BCE Septuagint text used in Second Temple Judaism, the Syriac Peshitta, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and most recently the 10th-century medieval Masoretic Text compiled by the Masoretes, currently used in Rabbinic Judaism. The terms "Hebrew Bible" or "Hebrew Canon" are frequently confused with the Masoretic Text; however, this is a medieval version and one of several texts considered authoritative by different types of Judaism throughout history. The current edition of the Masoretic Text is mostly in Biblical Hebrew, with a few passages in Biblical Aramaic (in the books of Daniel and Ezra, and the verse Jeremiah 10:11).

Hebrew Bible
תַּנַ״ךְ‎, Tanakh
Complete set of scrolls, constituting the Tanakh
Period8th/7th centuries BCE – 2nd/1st centuries BCE
Hebrew Bible at Hebrew Wikisource

The authoritative form of the modern Hebrew Bible used in Rabbinic Judaism is the Masoretic Text (7th to 10th century CE), which consists of 24 books, divided into chapters and pesuqim (verses). The Hebrew Bible developed during the Second Temple Period, as the Jews decided which religious texts were of divine origin; the Masoretic Text, compiled by the Jewish scribes and scholars of the Early Middle Ages, comprises the Hebrew and Aramaic 24 books that they considered authoritative. The Hellenized Greek-speaking Jews of Alexandria produced a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible called "the Septuagint", that included books later identified as the Apocrypha, while the Samaritans produced their own edition of the Torah, the Samaritan Pentateuch. According to the Dutch–Israeli biblical scholar and linguist Emanuel Tov, professor of Bible Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, both of these ancient editions of the Hebrew Bible differ significantly from the medieval Masoretic Text.

In addition to the Masoretic Text, modern biblical scholars seeking to understand the history of the Hebrew Bible use a range of sources. These include the Septuagint, the Syriac language Peshitta translation, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Dead Sea Scrolls collection, the Targum Onkelos, and quotations from rabbinic manuscripts. These sources may be older than the Masoretic Text in some cases and often differ from it. These differences have given rise to the theory that yet another text, an Urtext of the Hebrew Bible, once existed and is the source of the versions extant today. However, such an Urtext has never been found, and which of the three commonly known versions (Septuagint, Masoretic Text, Samaritan Pentateuch) is closest to the Urtext is debated.

There are many similarities between the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. The Protestant Old Testament has the same books as the Hebrew Bible, but the books are arranged in different orders. The Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches include the Deuterocanonical books, which are not included in the Hebrew Bible. In Islam, the Tawrat (Arabic: توراة‎) is identified not only with the Pentateuch (the five books of Moses), but also with the other books of the Hebrew Bible.

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