The Hebrew Bible (also Hebrew Scriptures, Jewish Bible (Judaica Bible); Latin: Biblia Hebraica) is a term used by biblical scholars to refer to the Tanakh (Hebrew: תנ"ך), the canonical collection of Jewish texts, which is the common textual source of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament. These texts are composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, with some passages in Biblical Aramaic (in the books of Daniel, Ezra and a few others).
The content, to which the Protestant Old Testament closely corresponds, does not act as source to the deuterocanonical portions of the Roman Catholic, nor to the Anagignoskomena portions of the Eastern Orthodox Old Testaments. The term does not comment upon the naming, numbering or ordering of books, which varies with later Christian biblical canons.
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 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.
Hebrew Bible is a term that refers to the Tanakh (Jewish canon) in relation to the many Christian biblical canons. In its Latin form, Biblia Hebraica, it traditionally serves as a title for printed editions of the Masoretic Text.
Many biblical studies scholars advocate use of the term "Hebrew Bible" (or "Hebrew Scriptures") 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's Handbook of Style, which is the standard for major academic journals like the Harvard Theological Review and conservative Protestant journals like the Bibliotheca Sacra and the Westminster Theological Journal, 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 include Supersessionism, Covenant Theology, New Covenant Theology, Dispensationalism and Dual-covenant theology. 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, the Israelites, and Bnei Noah, and who therefore reject the term "Old Testament" as a form of antinomianism.
- In terms of canon, Christian usage of "Old Testament" does not refer to a universally agreed upon set of books, but rather varies depending on denomination. Lutheranism and Protestant denominations that follow the Westminster Confession of Faith accept the entire Jewish canon as the Old Testament without additions, however in translation they sometimes give preference to the Septuagint rather than the Masoretic Text, for example see Isaiah 7:14.
- In terms of language, "Hebrew" refers to the original language of the books, but it may also be taken as referring to the Jews of the Second Temple era and Jewish diaspora, and their descendants, who preserved the transmission of the Masoretic Text up to the present day. The Hebrew Bible includes small portions in Aramaic (mostly in the books of Daniel and Ezra), written and printed in Aramaic square-script, which was adopted as the Hebrew alphabet after the Babylonian exile.
The Biblia Hebraica is edited by various German publishers.
- Between 1906 and 1955, Rudolf Kittel published nine editions of it.
- 1966, the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft published the renamed Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia in six editions until 1997.
- Since 2004, the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft publishes the Biblia Hebraica Quinta including all variants of the Qumran manuscripts as well as the Masorah Magna.
- Biblical canon
- Books of the Bible
- Christianity and Judaism
- Development of the Hebrew Bible canon
- List of major biblical figures
- Non-canonical books referenced in the Bible
11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Aramaic Targum
Exodus Pharaoh - Illustrated Polish Torah - 1932.jpg
Page from a 1932 illustrated Torah from Poland
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- For a prominent discussion of the term's usage and the motivations for it, see "The New Old Testament" by William Safire, New York Times, 1997-25-5. Also see: Mark Hamilton. "From Hebrew Bible to Christian Bible: Jews, Christians and the Word of God". Retrieved 2007-11-19. "Modern scholars often use the term 'Hebrew Bible' to avoid the confessional terms Old Testament and Tanakh."
- Patrick H. Alexander et al., Eds. (1999). The SBL Handbook of Style. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 17 (section 4.3). ISBN 1-56563-487-X.
- 'Marcion', in Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911.
- For the recorded teachings of Jesus on the subject see Antithesis of the Law#Antitheses, for the modern debate, see Christian views on the old covenant
- 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).
- Hamilton, Mark (April 1998). "From Hebrew Bible to Christian Bible: Jews, Christians and the Word of God". From Jesus to Christ. PBS.org/Frontline. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- Johnson, Paul (1987). A History of the Jews (First, hardback ed.). London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-79091-9.
- 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).
- Minkoff, Harvey. "Searching for the Better Text". Biblical Archaeology Review (online). Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- Noth, Martin. A History of Pentateuchal Traditions. (1948; trans. by Bernhard Anderson; Atlanta: Scholars, 1981).
- Schniedewind, William M (2004). How the Bible Became a Book. Cambridge. ISBN 9780521536226.
- Schmid, Konrad. The Old Testament: A Literary History. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012).
- Vermes, Geza, ed. The Dead Sea Scrolls in English. (3d ed.; New York: Penguin, 1987).
- (English) (Hebrew) Hebrew Bible from around 1300 CE
- (English) (Hebrew) Hebrew-English Bible Mechon-Mamre online edition, from 1917 Jewish Publication Society edition and the Masoretic Text.