© 2014, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.

Old Testament Terms
A.D. Anno Domini (Latin: ―In the year of our
Lord‖), an abbreviation used to refer to dates after
the birth of Jesus. Some scholars prefer C.E.
(―Common Era‖) to avoid religious-related
terminology. See B.C.
ANCIENT NEAR EAST (ANE). A term referring to
the ancient regions of western Asia, including
modern Iran, Turkey, Syria, Israel, and Egypt. Today
this area is called the Middle East.
APOCRYPHA. A GREEK word meaning ―hidden‖
that refers to books some Jewish or Christian groups
regarded as scripture, but that did not receive wide
acceptance. Fourteen specific Old Testament
apocryphal books, originally written in GREEK, are
referred to as ―the Apocrypha,‖ and are found in
some Protestant BIBLES. (See also PSEUDEPIGRAPHA.)
ARAMAIC. An ancient language, similar to
HEBREW, spoken by Assyrians and Babylonians.
Aramaic became the daily conversational language
of JEWS during their exile in Babylon (587–538 B.C.).
Aramaic was the language spoken by Jesus and his
disciples.
AUTHORIZED VERSION. See KING JAMES VERSION.
B.C. ―Before Christ,‖ an abbreviation used to refer
to dates before the birth of Jesus. Some scholars
prefer B.C.E. (―Before the Common Era‖) to avoid
religious-related terminology. See A.D.
BIBLE. See CHRISTIAN BIBLE; HEBREW BIBLE.
CANON. A Latin word meaning ―measuring rod,‖
referring to a list of books considered to be
authoritative scripture by a particular religious
community. For JEWS the HEBREW BIBLE is canon;
Christians accept the OLD and NEW TESTAMENTS as
their canon. Latter-day Saints also include in their
canon the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and
Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
CHRISTIAN BIBLE. The collection of 66 books that
have been bound into a single volume and
considered to be scripture by Christians. See
APOCRYPHA; CANON; HEBREW BIBLE; NEW
TESTAMENT; OLD TESTAMENT.
DEAD SEA SCROLLS (DSS). A collection of 972
complete and fragmentary texts, written on
PARCHMENT, PAPYRUS, and bronze between the 3rd
century B.C. and the 1st century A.D. The materials
were written by a group of separatist Jews, who hid
the materials in caves near the Dead Sea at the end
of the 1st century A.D. They were discovered in the
late 1940s. The collection contains many texts from
and related to the HEBREW BIBLE.
DEUTERO-ISAIAH. Beginning in the 18th century,
Biblical scholars proposed that the Book of Isaiah
was written by several independent authors and
later compiled into a single work. This theory was
developed in response to differences in message,
tone, and word usage between chapters 1–39 (called
―Proto-Isaiah‖), 40–55 (―Deutero-Isaiah‖), and 56–
66 (―Trito-Isaiah‖). This theory continues today as
the primary (though not undisputed) explanation for
the origin of the book of Isaiah.
DOCUMENTARY HYPOTHESIS (DH): The theory
that the TORAH was originally written as several
independent sources and later combined into its
current form by a series of redactors (editors). The
hypothesis was developed in the 18th and 19th
centuries, based on attempts to reconcile
inconsistencies in the biblical text. This theory
continues today as the primary (though not
undisputed) explanation for the origin of the Torah.
DSS. See DEAD SEA SCROLLS.
DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCE. A method of translating
scripture by rendering the meanings of phrases or
whole sentences. It favors translating texts ―thought
for thought,‖ rather than ―word for word,‖ with the
goal of making the text more understandable for
modern-English readers. Compare FORMAL
EQUIVALENCE.
FORMAL EQUIVALENCE. A method of translating
scripture by rendering the meanings of individual
words as close as possible to their sequence in the
original languages. It favors translating texts ―word
for word,‖ rather than ―thought for thought,‖ with
the goal of transmitting the text as faithfully as
possible from the original. Compare DYNAMIC
EQUIVALENCE.
GREEK. The language of the Greeks spread
throughout the ANCIENT NEAR EAST after Alexander
the Great conquered the region in 332 B.C. JEWS
began to adopt Greek language and scholarship, and
the HEBREW BIBLE was translated into Greek in the
3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. (see SEPTUAGINT). The
NEW TESTAMENT was written in Greek.
HEBREW. The Canaanite language spoken by
ancient Israel from the 10th to 7th centuries B.C.,
(after which they spoke ARAMAIC). The earliest
Hebrew alphabet (Paleo-Hebrew) had 22
consonants; a 27-consonant alphabet was developed
from Aramaic after the 6th century B.C. Jewish
scholars continued to write the HEBREW BIBLE in
Hebrew after it was no longer spoken on a day-to-
day basis (see MASORETIC TEXT).
HEBREW BIBLE. The books of scripture accepted
by JEWS, called the OLD TESTAMENT by Christians.
Also known as the TANAKH.
JEW. Strictly speaking, an Israelite from the tribe
of Judah. After the Assyrians removed the ten
northern tribes in 722 B.C., only the tribes of Judah
and Benjamin remained, and Jewish eventually
became synonymous for anyone of Israelite descent.
JOSEPH SMITH TRANSLATION (JST). Joseph
Smith was commanded by the Lord to produce an
inspired revision to the KING JAMES VERSION of the
Bible. Portions of the JST have been included in the
Pearl of Great Price (see CANON) as the Book of
Moses and Joseph Smith—Matthew; other
© 2014, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
significant JST passages are included in the LDS
edition of the Bible in footnotes and an appendix.
KING JAMES VERSION (KJV). An early-modern-
English translation of the CHRISTIAN BIBLE
completed in 1611 and revised in 1769. The KJV is a
literal and (by modern standards) conservative
translation. It is the official Bible of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is also known as
the Authorized Version (AV).
LORD. See TETRAGRAMMATON.
LXX. See SEPTUAGINT.
MASORETIC TEXT (MT). Between the 6th and 9th
centuries A.D., a group of Jewish scribes called the
Masoretes preserved and improved the text of the
HEBREW BIBLE. Their translation of the OLD
TESTAMENT is the basis for virtually all modern
English Bibles, including the KING JAMES VERSION.
MESSIAH. A HEBREW word meaning ―anointed
one‖ (equivalent of the GREEK ―Christ‖). In ancient
Israel, kings, priests, and prophets were anointed by
the high priest, and so the word is usually translated
―anointed‖ in the KING JAMES VERSION of the Bible.
The term was also used to refer to a future king who
was descendant of David who would save his people;
Christians believe that messiah to be Jesus Christ.
NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE (NASB). A
modern-English translation of the CHRISTIAN BIBLE
completed in 1971 and revised in 1995. The NASB is
a conservative translation based on FORMAL
EQUIVALENCE.
NEW ENGLISH TRANSLATION (NET). A modern-
English translation of the CHRISTIAN BIBLE
completed in 2005. The NET is a balanced
translation based on DYNAMIC EQUIVALENCE. It is
known for its extensive footnotes.
NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV). A
modern-English translation of the CHRISTIAN BIBLE
completed in 1978 and revised in 1984 and 2011. The
NIV is a conservative translation based on DYNAMIC
EQUIVALENCE. It is the best-selling English Bible in
the world.
NEW REVISED STANDARD VERSION (NRSV). A
modern-English translation of the CHRISTIAN BIBLE
completed in 1989. The NRSV strikes a balance
between FORMAL EQUIVALENCE and DYNAMIC
EQUIVALENCE in its translation approach. It is widely
accepted and used in the scholarly and academic
fields.
NEW TESTAMENT (NT). Twenty-seven books of
scripture, written in GREEK and published as part of
the CHRISTIAN BIBLE.
OLD TESTAMENT (OT). Thirty-nine books of
scripture, written mostly in HEBREW (with portions
in ARAMAIC). Published alone, it is called the
HEBREW BIBLE or TANAKH; published with the NEW
TESTAMENT, it is known as the Christian BIBLE.
PAPYRUS (pl. papyri). An Egyptian plant and the
thick paper-like material created by mashing and
drying its stem. Many ancient documents were
written on papyrus, including the DEAD SEA SCROLLS
and the Egyptian materials connected with Joseph
Smith’s translation of the Book of Abraham. (See
PARCHMENT; SCROLL.)
PARCHMENT. A thin paper-like material made
from scraped and dried animal hide. Parchment
replaced PAPYRUS as the preferred writing material
after the time of Christ. Parchment made from
calfskin is called vellum. (See SCROLL.)
PENTATEUCH: A GREEK word meaning ―five
[scroll] cases‖ that refers to the first five books of the
OLD TESTAMENT. Called the TORAH in Hebrew.
PSEUDEPIGRAPHA. A GREEK word meaning ―false
inscription‖ that refers to books attributed to famous
authors that were actually written by later,
anonymous authors. Many Jewish pseudepigraphal
books were written between 300 B.C. and A.D. 200.
Some of these books (like 1 Enoch) were accepted by
the authors of the NEW TESTAMENT as authentic
scripture. (See also APOCRYPHA.)
SCRIPTURE. See CANON.
SCROLL. A series of sheets made of PAPYRUS or
PARCHMENT, glued or pasted together, on which
scripture and other ancient documents were written.
The entire length of this would generally be wound
around two sticks, which could be turned to move
the document for reading.
SEPTUAGINT (LXX): The GREEK translation of the
HEBREW BIBLE, completed by Jewish scribes in
Egypt in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. The name for
the work comes from the Latin septuaginta
(―seventy‖), which is a reference to the (inaccurate)
legend that the translation was completed by 70
Jewish scholars in 70 days. The Septuagint was the
version of the scriptures read and quoted by the
authors of the NEW TESTAMENT.
TALMUD. A lengthy collection of Jewish tradition
that interprets the TORAH. It was written by Jewish
rabbis in the centuries following the destruction of
the Jerusalem Temple in A.D. 70.
TANAKH. The Jewish acronym for the HEBREW
BIBLE, derived from its three sections: Torah
(―Teaching‖), Nevi’im (―Prophets‖) and Kethuvim
(―Writings‖)—hence, TaNaKh.
TANAKH TRANSLATION (JPS). A modern-English
translation of the HEBREW BIBLE by Jewish scholars,
completed in 1917 and revised in 1985.
TETRAGRAMMATON. A GREEK word meaning
―[having] four letters,‖ referring to the name of God
in the HEBREW BIBLE. In HEBREW the four letters are
YHWH, which was probably pronounced ―Yahwey‖
anciently, but came through Greek and Latin to be
pronounced and spelled ―Jehovah.‖ The name of
God was too holy to be spoken aloud, so Jewish
readers, when encountering it in the scriptures,
substituted the Hebrew word adonai (―lord‖). The
KING JAMES VERSION and many other Bibles follow
that tradition by rendering YHWH as ―LORD,‖ in all
capitals.
TORAH: A HEBREW word meaning ―the Law,‖ and
the collective name of the first five books of the Old
Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,
and Deuteronomy). See also PENTATEUCH.

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