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1. What is the Hebrew Bible? AKA Tanakh AKA The Old Testament.

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1 1. What is the Hebrew Bible? AKA Tanakh AKA The Old Testament

2 The Holy Book of Judaism The Tanakh is the chief holy book of Judaism Judaism’s other holy book is called the Talmud. The Talmud is largely composed of an oral tradition of interpretation of the the Tanakh that was eventually written down.

3 Who are the Jews? AKA Hebrews, AKA Israelites (One of the) first monotheistic religions. Worship of one God. Their history, beliefs and laws are recorded in the Tanakh and the Talmud.

4 Judaism is an ethnicity as well as a religion Hence, there are ‘secular Jews’ – people who are ethnically Jewish but who do not subscribe to Jewish religious beliefs.

5 A very brief history of the Jews Babylonian exile 587 – 539 BCE Destruction of the Second Temple 70 CE by Titus, son of the Roman emperor, Vespasian Diaspora Anti-semitism: religious in origin/ then racial, culminating in the holocaust. 1948: Establishment of the modern state of Israel

6 The Hebrew Bible is also part of the Christian Bible The Hebrew Bible is the first part of the Christian Bible – what is called the Old Testament. Jesus was as a Jew, as were the first Christians. At first Christianity was a new development within Judaism, only after time did it become a separate religion.

7 Stories of the Hebrew Bible also part of Islam’s holy book – the Quran

8 Composition of the Hebrew Bible

9 TaNaK (Tanakh) An acronym for the three parts of the text A total of 24 books (39 by the Christian system of counting)

10 Torah (also called Books of Moses or Pentateuch) Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy

11 The Torah as a Collection First part of the canon established It was pulled together after the fall of Jerusalem in 587/86 BCE. Regarded as fixed by the 4 th century BCE Most authoritative

12 Prophets (Nebi’im or Nevi’im) Former Prophets – Joshua – Judges – Samuel – Kings Latter Prophets – Major Prophets Isaiah Jeremiah Ezekiel – Minor Prophets (Book of the 12) Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

13 The Prophets as a Collection “Prophecy” does not mean telling the future; it is about the action of God in history This collection is far more diverse. It was closed by the 2 nd century BCE. We know that because Daniel (c. 164 BCE) was not included.

14 Writings (Kethub’im or Kethuv’im) Psalms Proverbs Job Song of Songs Ruth Lamentations Ecclesiastes Esther Daniel Ezra-Nehemiah Chronicles

15 The Writings as a Collection Different formulations existed over time (compare Mt 7:12 to Lk 24:44) Following the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem (70 CE), the pressure rose to close the canon Some hold the final form was declared at Jamnia at 90 CE

16 The Tanakh The Tanakh is written primarily in Hebrew We do not have any original manuscripts; we only have copies of copies Codex Leningradensis is the oldest complete Hebrew manuscript we have. It dates to 1008 CE

17 Why study the Hebrew Bible? Interesting connections with Mesopotamia Intrinsically fascinating narratives Some validity concerning the history of the Israelites The Bible is central to our culture from the great Renaissance painters to Shakespeare to Bob Dylan The Bible is perhaps the most substantial common reference point we have with peoples who have lived over the last few thousand years ago.

18 How to study the Hebrew Bible With respect and tolerance By bracketing metaphysical questions Four dimensions: 1) History of the Israelites according to the Bible 2) The historical reality (as best we can discern it) 3) The origins and authorship of the Bible 4) The historically varying interpretations of the biblical stories

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