According to statistics, the Bible is one of the most published and best-selling books in the world. It combines many written monuments from various regions and times. One of the most important sections of the Bible is the Old Testament. In the tradition of Judaism, it is called Tanah. We will talk about what it is, what are the composition and content of the Tanakh, in this article.
It is known that there are two Bibles - Christian and Jewish. The first, in addition to the Old Testament, includes a body of texts, which is called the New Testament. But the Jewish Bible is limited only to the Old. Of course, the very definition of "decrepit", that is, outdated, the Jews do not recognize and consider it somewhat offensive to their scriptures. Jews call their canon the word "Tanah." This is actually an abbreviation that comes from the words "Torah", "Neviim", "Ketuvim" - the components of the Bible of the Jews. We will talk more about them in more detail, but for now let's turn to history.
The origin of the Tanakh, language and historical development
As mentioned above, Tanah is a collection of texts that had different authors who lived at different times and in different places. The most ancient layers of Scripture have an approximate age of 3000 years. The youngest were written just over two thousand years ago. One way or another, the age is quite impressive and respectable. According to the most common version, the formation of the Old Testament began in the 13th century BC. e. in the Middle East and ended by the 1st century BC. e. The language of writing is Hebrew. Some parts are also written in a later Aramaic dialect. In the 3rd century BC e. in Alexandria, a Greek translation was made for the Jews of the diaspora, called the Septuagint. He was in the midst of Greek-speaking Jews until a new Christian religion entered the world stage, the followers of which began to actively translate sacred texts into all languages of the world, considering all of them equally sacred. Supporters of Judaism, although they use translations, canonical only recognize the authentic Jewish text.
The contents of the books of the Old Testament are very diverse. But first of all, Tanah is a story about the history of the Israeli people and their relationship with the Creator God, who bears the name Yahweh. In addition, the Hebrew Bible contains cosmogonic myths, religious teachings, hymnographic material, and prophecies aimed at the future. Believers believe that the entire Tanah is an inspired, holistic text in which no letter can be changed.
Components of Tanakh
Jewish Scripture has 24 books. In fact, they are almost identical to the Christian canon, but differ in the nature of the classification. In addition, some books considered by Christians as different texts in the Tanakh are combined into one. Therefore, the total number of books among the Jews is 24 (sometimes they are even reduced to 22 to justify the correspondence of the Tanakh books with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, of which, as you know, there are 22), while among Christians there is a minimum of 39.
As already mentioned, all the books of the Tanakh are divided into three classes: Torah, Neviim, Ketuvim. The first of these is the Torah, the most important. This part is also called the Pentateuch, because it consists of five books, the authorship of which is attributed to the prophet Moses. However, this is a religious attribution, which is questionable from a scientific point of view.
The word "Torah" means a law that must be known and followed exactly. These books tell about the creation of the world, people, their fall, the history of ancient mankind, the birth and election by God of the Jewish people, the conclusion of a covenant with him and the path to the promised land - Israel.
The Neviim section literally means "prophets." But, in addition to the prophetic books, it includes some historical narratives. Inside, Neviim is divided into two parts: the early prophets and the late prophets. The early category includes works attributed to Joshua, the Prophet Samuel and others. In general, they are more historical than prophetic. Later prophets include books of three so-called great prophets - Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel - and twelve small ones. Unlike the Christian tradition, the latter are combined in one book. In total, there are 8 books in Neviim.
Ketuwim is the section that concludes the Tanah. In Russian, it means "scripture." It includes prayer and hymnographic texts, as well as literature of wisdom - religious and moral instructions, the authorship of which is attributed to the sages of Israel, for example, King Solomon. There are 11 books in total in this section.
Tanah in Christianity
The entire Tanah is recognized as Scripture in the Christian world, with the exception of certain heterodox movements, such as the Gnostics. However, if the followers of Judaism included in the canon only texts having a Jewish original, then Christians recognize as sacred and some other scriptures, the original in Hebrew which either did not survive or did not exist at all. All such texts date back to the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Tanakh. As rights of the sacred text, they are included in the Orthodox Bibles. In Catholicism they are conditionally recognized and are called deuterocanonical. And in Protestantism they are completely rejected. In this sense, the Protestant canon is more similar to the Jewish one than the other Christian versions of the Tanakh. In fact, the Protestant version of the Old Testament is simply a translation of the late Jewish canon. In all three Christian traditions, the classification of books has been changed. So, the three-part structure was replaced by the four-part, borrowed from the same Septuagint. It includes the Pentateuch, historical, educational, and prophetic books.