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Bible = Book

The Hebrew Bible

Joab Eichenberg-Eilon, PhD Georgia State University 2009

Definition: Bible (n.): 1) Christian holy book; 2) Jewish holy book; 3) any religions holy book; 4) a copy of the Bible; 5) essential book. Etymology: Bible: from old French bible; late Latin biblia (nu.pl.); Greek ta biblia, the little books, pl. of biblion, dimunitive of biblos [inner rind of] papyrus; hence: book; from the Phoenician town Bublos (Byblos), whence papyrus was exported (Webster)

Names of the Bible


English: Bible, Holy Bible, Scriptures Christian: Old/New Testament; Gospels Arabic: kitab al mukaddas = Holy Book Hebrew/Jewish:
Torah: teaching, law, instruction, direction Tanakh: acronym of Torah Neviim Ketuvim Kitvei hakodesh: Scriptures of Holiness Mikra [kodesh]: [sacred] reading

What do you mean, Bible?


For Muslims: Hebrew & Christian Bible are sacred as prophecies preceding the Koran For Christians:
Hebrew Bible is the Old Testament Christian Scriptures are the New Testament Apocryphal writings have place in Scriptures

For Jews:
No New Testament or Apocryphal writings Hebrew Bible is Torah and two more parts

Tanakh "
The Hebrew Bible consists of three parts: Torah, Neviim, Ketuvim TNK = " The acronym TNK is pronounced Tanakh They stand for:
Torah : the law & early historical narrative Neviim : prophets & later historical texts Ketuvim : writings wisdom and poetry

The Teaching
Historical and pseudo-historical writings
Genesis (from Creation to Joseph) Exodus (from Egypt to the desert) Numbers (from the desert to Moses death)

Priestly Practices
Leviticus +

Moral & Theological Code


Deuteronomy +

Code of Law
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

Example of a Historical/PseudoHistorical Narrative


Exodus, chapter 16:1: They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2: And the whole congregation of the people of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, 3: and said to them, "Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."

Example of a Priestly Code


Leviticus, chapter 7: 1: "This is the law of the guilt offering. It is most holy; 2: in the place where they kill the burnt offering they shall kill the guilt offering, and its blood shall be thrown on the altar round about. 3: And all its fat shall be offered, the fat tail, the fat that covers the entrails, 4: the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins, and the appendage of the liver which he shall take away with the kidneys; 5: the priest shall burn them on the altar as an offering by fire to the LORD; it is a guilt offering. 6: Every male among the priests may eat of it; it shall be eaten in a holy place; it is most holy.

Example of a Moral Code


Deuteronomy Chapter 20 1: "When you go forth to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 2: And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people, 3: and shall say to them, `Hear, O Israel, you draw near this day to battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint; do not fear, or tremble, or be in dread of them; 4: for the LORD your God is he that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.' 5: Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, `What man is there that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it. 6: And what man is there that has planted a vineyard and has not enjoyed its fruit? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man enjoy its fruit. 7: And what man is there that has betrothed a wife and has not taken her? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man take her.'

The Prophets
Historical Narratives
Joshua (the conquest of Canaan) Judges (loose tribal confederation) I & II Samuel (consolidation under religion) I & II Kings (centralization of polity & religion)

Prophetic Writings
In dedicated books (Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.) Within historical narratives

Example of Prophetic Writings


Isaiah Chapter 2 1: The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2: It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, 3: and many peoples shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4: He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

The Writings
Poetic texts:
Song of Songs, Psalms

Wisdom texts:
Ecclesiastes, Proverbs

Historical & pseudo-historical narratives:


Ruth Esther

Example of a Poetic Text


Shir ha Shirim: The Song of Songs or Song of Solomon 1:1: The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's. 2: O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth! For your love is better than wine, 3: your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is oil poured out; therefore the maidens love you. 4: Draw me after you, let us make haste. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you. 5: I am very dark, but comely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.

Example of a Wisdom Text


The Books of Proverbs, chapter 1 1: The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: 2: That men may know wisdom and instruction, understand words of insight, 3: receive instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity; 4: that prudence may be given to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth -5: the wise man also may hear and increase in learning, and the man of understanding acquire skill, 6: to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles.

Example of Pseudo-Historical Narratives


Esther Chapter 1 1: In the days of Ahasu-e'rus, the Ahasu-e'rus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, 2: in those days when King Ahasu-e'rus sat on his royal throne in Susa the capital, 3: in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his princes and servants, the army chiefs of Persia and Media and the nobles and governors of the provinces being before him, 4: while he showed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his majesty for many days, a hundred and eighty days. 5: And when these days were completed, the king gave for all the people present in Susa the capital, both great and small, a banquet lasting for seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace.