Portal:Bible

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The Bible Portal

The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible

The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, tà biblía, 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthology—a compilation of texts of a variety of forms—originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek. These texts include instructions, stories, poetry, and prophecies, among other genres. The collection of materials that are accepted as part of the Bible by a particular religious tradition or community is called a biblical canon. Believers in the Bible generally consider it to be a product of divine inspiration, while understanding what that means in different ways.

The religious texts were compiled by different religious communities into various official collections. The earliest contained the first five books of the Bible. It is called the Torah in Hebrew and the Pentateuch in Greek (meaning five books in Greek); the second oldest part was a collection of narrative histories and prophecies (the Nevi'im); the third collection (the Ketuvim) contains psalms, proverbs, and narrative histories. Tanakh is an alternate term for the Hebrew Bible composed of the first letters of those three parts of the Hebrew scriptures: the Torah ("Teaching"), the Nevi'im ("Prophets"), and the Ketuvim ("Writings"). The Masoretic Text is the medieval version of the Tanakh, in Hebrew and Aramaic, that is considered the authoritative text by modern Rabbinic Judaism. The Septuagint is a Koine Greek translation of the Tanakh from the third and second centuries BCE; it largely overlaps with the Hebrew Bible.

Christianity began as an outgrowth of Judaism, using the Septuagint as the basis of the Old Testament. The early Church continued the Jewish tradition of writing and incorporating what it saw as inspired, authoritative religious books. The gospels, Pauline epistles and other texts quickly coalesced into the New Testament. The concept of a closed canon emerged in response to heretical writings in the second century. The canon was officially established in the fourth century.

With estimated total sales of over five billion copies, the Bible is widely considered to be the best-selling publication of all time. It has had a profound influence both on Western culture and history and on cultures around the globe. "Simply put, the Bible is the most influential book of all-time." The study of the Bible through biblical criticism has indirectly impacted culture and history as well. The Bible is currently translated or being translated into about half of the world's languages. (Full article...)

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Torah scroll at old Glockengasse Synagogue (reconstruction), Cologne

The Torah (/ˈtɔːrə, ˈtrə/; Biblical Hebrew: תּוֹרָה Tōrā, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") is the compilation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, namely the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. In that sense, Torah means the same as Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses. It is also known in the Jewish tradition as the Written Torah (תורה שבכתב, Torah She’bichtav). If meant for liturgic purposes, it takes the form of a Torah scroll (Sefer Torah). If in bound book form, it is called Chumash, and is usually printed with the rabbinic commentaries (perushim).

At times, however, the word Torah can also be used as a synonym for the whole of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, in which sense it includes not only the first five, but all 24 books of the Hebrew Bible. Finally, Torah can even mean the totality of Jewish teaching, culture, and practice, whether derived from biblical texts or later rabbinic writings. The latter is often known as the Oral Torah. Representing the core of the Jewish spiritual and religious tradition, the Torah is a term and a set of teachings that are explicitly self-positioned as encompassing as many as 70 or potentially infinite faces and interpretations, making an unequivocal definition of Torah impossible. (Full article...)
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