Bible

Bible

The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible

The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, tà biblía, "the books") is a canonical collection of texts sacred in Judaism and Christianity. There is no single "Bible" and many Bibles with varying contents exist.[1] The term Bible is shared between Judaism and Christianity, although the contents of each of their collections of canonical texts is not the same. Different religious groups include different books within their Biblical canons, in different orders, and sometimes divide or combine books, or incorporate additional material into canonical books.

The Hebrew Bible, or Tanakh, contains twenty-four books divided into three parts: the five books of the Torah ("teaching" or "law"), the Nevi'im ("prophets"), and the Ketuvim ("writings"). Christian Bibles range from the sixty-six books of the Protestant canon to the eighty-one books of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church canon. The first part of Christian Bibles is the Old Testament, which contains, at minimum, the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible divided into thirty-nine books and ordered differently from the Hebrew Bible. The Catholic Church and Eastern Christian churches also hold certain deuterocanonical books and passages to be part of the Old Testament canon. The second part is the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books: the four Canonical gospels, Acts of the Apostles, twenty-one Epistles or didactic letters, and the Book of Revelation.

By the 2nd century BCE Jewish groups had called the Bible books the "scriptures" and referred to them as "holy," or in Hebrew כִּתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ (Kitvei hakkodesh), and Christians now commonly call the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible "The Holy Bible", in Greek (τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια, tà biblía tà ágia) or "the Holy Scriptures" (η Αγία Γραφή, e Agía Graphḗ).[2] An early 4th-century Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible is found in the Codex Vaticanus. Dating from the 8th century, the Codex Amiatinus is the earliest surviving manuscript of the complete Vulgate Bible. The oldest Tanakh manuscript in Hebrew and Aramaic dates to the 10th century CE.[3] The Bible was divided into chapters in the 13th century by Stephen Langton and into verses in the 16th century by French printer Robert Estienne[4] and is now usually cited by book, chapter, and verse.

The Bible is widely considered to be the best selling book of all time,[5] has estimated annual sales of 100 million copies,[6][7] and has been a major influence on literature and history, especially in the West where it was the first mass-printed book. The Gutenberg Bible was the first Bible ever printed using movable type.

Contents

  • Etymology 1
  • Development 2
  • Hebrew Bible 3
    • Torah 3.1
    • Nevi'im 3.2
      • Former Prophets 3.2.1
      • Latter Prophets 3.2.2
    • Ketuvim 3.3
      • The poetic books 3.3.1
      • The five scrolls (Hamesh Megillot) 3.3.2
      • Other books 3.3.3
      • Order of the books 3.3.4
      • Canonization 3.3.5
    • Original languages 3.4
  • Septuagint 4
    • Incorporations from Theodotion 4.1
    • Final form 4.2
  • Christian Bibles 5
    • Old Testament 5.1
      • Apocryphal or deuterocanonical books 5.1.1
      • Pseudepigraphal texts 5.1.2
        • Book of Enoch 5.1.2.1
        • Denominational views of Pseudepigrapha 5.1.2.2
      • Role of Old Testament in Christian theology 5.1.3
    • New Testament 5.2
      • Original language 5.2.1
      • Historic editions 5.2.2
    • Development of the Christian canons 5.3
      • Ethiopian Orthodox canon 5.3.1
  • Divine inspiration 6
  • Versions and translations 7
  • Views 8
    • Other religions 8.1
    • Biblical studies 8.2
    • Higher criticism 8.3
  • Archaeological and historical research 9
  • Criticism 10
  • Bibles 11
  • Illustrations 12
  • See also 13
  • Endnotes 14
  • References and further reading 15

Etymology

An American family Bible dating to 1859.

The English word Bible is from the Latin biblia, from the same word in Medieval Latin and Late Latin and ultimately from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία ta biblia "the books" (singular βιβλίον biblion).[8]

Medieval Latin biblia is short for biblia sacra "holy book", while biblia in Greek and Late Latin is neuter plural (gen. bibliorum). It gradually came to be regarded as a feminine singular noun (biblia, gen. bibliae) in medieval Latin, and so the word was loaned as a singular into the vernaculars of Western Europe.[9] Latin biblia sacra "holy books" translates Greek τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια ta biblia ta hagia, "the holy books".[10]

The word βιβλίον itself had the literal meaning of "paper" or "scroll" and came to be used as the ordinary word for "book". It is the diminutive of βύβλος bublos, "Egyptian papyrus", possibly so called from the name of the Phoenician sea port Byblos (also known as Gebal) from whence Egyptian papyrus was exported to Greece. The Greek ta biblia (lit. "little papyrus books")[11] was "an expression Hellenistic Jews used to describe their sacred books (the Septuagint).[12][13] Christian use of the term can be traced to c. 223 CE.[8] The biblical scholar F.F. Bruce notes that Chrysostom appears to be the first writer (in his Homilies on Matthew, delivered between 386 and 388) to use the Greek phrase ta biblia ("the books") to describe both the Old and New Testaments together.[14]

Development

The Kennicott Bible, by Benjamin Kennicott, with illustration, Jonah being swallowed by the fish, 1476

Professor John K. Riches (writing for Oxford University Press) explained that "the biblical texts themselves are the result of a creative dialogue between ancient traditions and different communities through the ages",[15] and "the biblical texts were produced over a period in which the living conditions of the writers – political, cultural, economic, and ecological – varied enormously".[16]

Timothy H. Lim, a professor of Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism at the University of Edinburgh, states that the Old Testament "was not written by one man, nor did it drop down from heaven as assumed by fundamentalists. It is not a magical book, but a collection of authoritative texts of apparently divine origin that went through a human process of writing and editing."[17] During the solidification of the Hebrew canon (c. 3rd century BCE), the Bible began to be translated into Greek, now referred to as the Septuagint.[18]

In Christian Bibles, the New Testament Gospels were derived from oral traditions (similar to the Hebrew Bible) in a period after Jesus's death:

Scholars have attempted to reconstruct something of the history of the oral traditions behind the Gospels, but the results have not been too encouraging. The period of transmission is short: less than 40 years passed between the death of Jesus and the writing of Mark's Gospel. This means that there was little time for oral traditions to assume fixed form.[19]

The Bible was later translated into Latin and other languages. John Riches states that:

The translation of the Bible into Latin marks the beginning of a parting of the ways between Western Latin-speaking Christianity and Eastern Christianity, which spoke Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, and other languages. The Bibles of the Eastern Churches vary considerably: the Ethiopic Orthodox canon includes 81 books and contains many apocalyptic texts, such as were found at Qumran and subsequently excluded from the Jewish canon. As a general rule, one can say that the Orthodox Churches generally follow the Septuagint in including more books in their Old Testaments than are in the Jewish canon.[19]

Hebrew Bible

The Nash Papyrus (2nd century BCE) contains a portion of a pre-Masoretic Text, specifically the Ten Commandments and the Shema Yisrael prayer.

The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Hebrew Bible. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and accentuation.

The oldest extant manuscripts of the Masoretic Text date from approximately the 9th century CE,[20] and the Aleppo Codex (once the oldest complete copy of the Masoretic Text, but now missing its Torah section) dates from the 10th century.

Tanakh (Hebrew: תנ"ך) reflects the threefold division of the Hebrew Scriptures, Torah ("Teaching"), Nevi'im ("Prophets") and Ketuvim ("Writings").

Torah

The Torah (תּוֹרָה) is also known as the "Five Books of Moses" or the Pentateuch, meaning "five scroll-cases".[21] The Hebrew names of the books are derived from the first words in the respective texts.

The Torah consists of the following five books:

The first eleven chapters of Genesis provide accounts of the creation (or ordering) of the world and the history of God's early relationship with humanity. The remaining thirty-nine chapters of Genesis provide an account of God's covenant with the Biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (also called Israel) and Jacob's children, the "Children of Israel", especially Joseph. It tells of how God commanded Abraham to leave his family and home in the city of Ur, eventually to settle in the land of Canaan, and how the Children of Israel later moved to Egypt. The remaining four books of the Torah tell the story of Moses, who lived hundreds of years after the patriarchs. He leads the Children of Israel from slavery in Ancient Egypt to the renewal of their covenant with God at Mount Sinai and their wanderings in the desert until a new generation was ready to enter the land of Canaan. The Torah ends with the death of Moses.[22]

The Torah contains the commandments of God, revealed at Mount Sinai (although there is some debate among traditional scholars as to whether these were all written down at one time, or over a period of time during the 40 years of the wanderings in the desert, while several modern Jewish movements reject the idea of a literal revelation, and critical scholars believe that many of these laws developed later in Jewish history).[23][24][25][26] These commandments provide the basis for Jewish religious law. Tradition states that there are 613 commandments (taryag mitzvot).

Nevi'im