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Old Testament

1. Old Testament Composition and Development: – The Old Testament contains 39 (Protestant), 46 (Catholic), or more (Orthodox and other) books. – It is broadly […]

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1. Old Testament Composition and Development:
– The Old Testament contains 39 (Protestant), 46 (Catholic), or more (Orthodox and other) books.
– It is broadly divided into the Pentateuch (Torah), historical books, wisdom books, and prophets.
– The first five books reached their final form in the Persian period by elite exilic returnees.
– Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings form a history of Israel during the Babylonian exile.
– The Books of Chronicles likely date from the 4th century BC.
– Christians traditionally divide the Old Testament into four sections.
– Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches may include up to 49 books in their Old Testament canon.
– Various branches of Christianity have different books in their Old Testament canons.
– The Old Testament has influenced various fields, including literature, psychology, and history.

2. Old Testament Influence and Themes:
– Similarities exist between Old Testament narratives and other ancient myths.
– Themes include God as the creator, the only one to be worshipped by Israel, and the special relationship between God and Israel.
– Emphasis on biblical covenant received by Moses.
– Themes of salvation, redemption, divine judgment, obedience, and faith.
– The Old Testament is a blend of folklore and historical records according to scholars like Jacob Bronowski.

3. Old Testament Translations and Versions:
– Hebrew texts were translated into Greek in Alexandria around 280 BC.
– The Septuagint is the basis of the Old Testament in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
– The Septuagint differs from the Masoretic Text and includes additional books.
– Latin replaced Greek as the common language in Western Christianity.
– Jerome’s Vulgate, based on a direct translation from Hebrew, became the standard Bible in the Western Church.
– Protestant Bibles include only books from the Hebrew Bible, excluding deuterocanonical books.

4. Old Testament Canon and Book Order:
– The Hebrew Bible and Protestant Old Testament have the same books but in different orders.
– Christian Bibles divide certain books differently than Jewish Bibles.
– Some books have additional verses in Catholic and Orthodox versions compared to Protestant versions.
– Various translations and interpretations have led to differences in book organization.
– The order and inclusion of books vary among different Christian denominations.

5. Old Testament Scholarship and Citations:
– Various academic works provide insights into the Old Testament and related topics.
– Scholars like Jones, Lim, Barton, and Boadt have contributed to understanding the Old Testament.
– The Apocrypha plays a role in certain Christian liturgical practices.
– Hymns and lessons from the Apocrypha are used in American Prayer Book services.
– Books like I Maccabees have been studied extensively in biblical scholarship.

Old Testament (Wikipedia)

The Old Testament (OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible, or Tanakh, a collection of ancient religious Hebrew and occasionally Aramaic writings by the Israelites. The second division of Christian Bibles is the New Testament, written in Koine Greek.

Old Testament
Part of the Bible
LanguageHebrew, Aramaic

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 (which corresponds to the Jewish 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 books. 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 and Lutheran Bibles place such books in a separate section called apocrypha. 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.

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