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For other uses, see Bible (disambiguation). Bible_sentence_0

"Biblical" redirects here. Bible_sentence_1

For the song by Biffy Clyro, see Biblical (song). Bible_sentence_2

For the song cycle by Antonín Dvořák, see Biblical Songs. Bible_sentence_3

For Christian scriptures used in addition to or instead of the Bible, see Religious text § Additional and alternate scriptures. Bible_sentence_4

The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, tà biblía, "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. Bible_sentence_5

It appears in the form of an anthology, a compilation of texts of a variety of forms that are all linked by the belief that they are collectively revelations of God. Bible_sentence_6

These texts include theologically-focused historical accounts, hymns, prayers, proverbs, parables, didactic letters, erotica, poetry, and prophecies. Bible_sentence_7

Believers also generally consider the Bible to be a product of divine inspiration. Bible_sentence_8

Those books included in the Bible by a tradition or group are called canonical, indicating that the tradition/group views the collection as the true representation of God's word and will. Bible_sentence_9

A number of Biblical canons have evolved, with overlapping and diverging contents from denomination to denomination. Bible_sentence_10

The Hebrew Bible overlaps with the Greek Septuagint and the Christian Old Testament. Bible_sentence_11

The Christian New Testament is a collection of writings by early Christians, believed to be mostly Jewish disciples of Christ, written in first-century Koine Greek. Bible_sentence_12

Among Christian denominations there is some disagreement about what should be included in the canon, primarily about the biblical apocrypha, a list of works that are regarded with varying levels of respect. Bible_sentence_13

Attitudes towards the Bible also differ among Christian groups. Bible_sentence_14

Roman Catholics, high church Anglicans, Methodists and Eastern Orthodox Christians stress the harmony and importance of both the Bible and sacred tradition, while many Protestant churches focus on the idea of sola scriptura, or scripture alone. Bible_sentence_15

This concept rose to prominence during the Reformation, and many denominations today support the use of the Bible as the only infallible source of Christian teaching. Bible_sentence_16

Others though, advance the concept of prima scriptura in contrast. Bible_sentence_17

The Bible has had a massive influence on literature and history, especially in the Western world, where the Gutenberg Bible was the first book printed using movable type. Bible_sentence_18

According to the March 2007 edition of Time, the Bible "has done more to shape literature, history, entertainment, and culture than any book ever written. Bible_sentence_19

Its influence on world history is unparalleled, and shows no signs of abating." Bible_sentence_20

With estimated total sales of over 5 billion copies, it is widely considered to be the best-selling book of all time. Bible_sentence_21

As of the 2000s, it sells approximately 100 million copies annually. Bible_sentence_22

Etymology Bible_section_0

The word βιβλίον itself had the literal meaning of "paper" or "scroll" and came to be used as the ordinary word for "book". Bible_sentence_23

It is the diminutive of βύβλος byblos, "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. Bible_sentence_24

The Greek ta biblia (lit. Bible_sentence_25

"little papyrus books") was "an expression Hellenistic Jews used to describe their sacred books" (the Septuagint). Bible_sentence_26

Christian use of the term can be traced to c. 223 CE. Bible_sentence_27

The biblical scholar F.F. Bible_sentence_28 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. Bible_sentence_29

Medieval Latin biblia is short for biblia sacra "holy book", while biblia in Greek and Late Latin is neuter plural (gen. bibliorum). Bible_sentence_30

It gradually came to be regarded as a feminine singular noun (biblia, gen. bibliae) in medieval Latin, and so the word was loaned as singular into the vernaculars of Western Europe. Bible_sentence_31

Latin biblia sacra "holy books" translates Greek τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια tà biblía tà hágia, "the holy books". Bible_sentence_32

The English word is from the Latin biblia, from the same word in Medieval Latin and Late Latin and ultimately from Koinē Greek: τὰ βιβλία, romanized: ta biblia "the books" (singular βιβλίον, biblion). Bible_sentence_33

Textual history Bible_section_1

By the 2nd century BCE, Jewish groups began calling the books of the Bible the "scriptures" and they 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). Bible_sentence_34

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 and is now usually cited by book, chapter, and verse. Bible_sentence_35

The division of the Hebrew Bible into verses is based on the sof passuk cantillation mark used by the 10th-century Masoretes to record the verse divisions used in earlier oral traditions. Bible_sentence_36

The oldest extant copy of a complete Bible is an early 4th-century parchment book preserved in the Vatican Library, and it is known as the Codex Vaticanus. Bible_sentence_37

The oldest copy of the Tanakh in Hebrew and Aramaic dates from the 10th century CE. Bible_sentence_38

The oldest copy of a complete Latin (Vulgate) Bible is the Codex Amiatinus, dating from the 8th century. Bible_sentence_39

Development Bible_section_2

See also: Authorship of the Bible Bible_sentence_40

Professor John K. Riches, Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow, says that "the biblical texts themselves are the result of a creative dialogue between ancient traditions and different communities through the ages", and "the biblical texts were produced over a period in which the living conditions of the writers – political, cultural, economic, and ecological – varied enormously". Bible_sentence_41

Timothy H. Lim, a professor of Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism at the University of Edinburgh, says that the Old Testament is "a collection of authoritative texts of apparently divine origin that went through a human process of writing and editing." Bible_sentence_42

He states that it is not a magical book, nor was it literally written by God and passed to mankind. Bible_sentence_43

Parallel to the solidification of the Hebrew canon (c. 3rd century BCE), only the Torah first and then the Tanakh began to be translated into Greek and expanded, now referred to as the Septuagint or the Greek Old Testament. Bible_sentence_44

In Christian Bibles, the New Testament Gospels were derived from oral traditions in the second half of the first century. Bible_sentence_45

Riches says that: Bible_sentence_46

The Bible was later translated into Latin and other languages. Bible_sentence_47

John Riches states that: Bible_sentence_48

Hebrew Bible Bible_section_3

Main article: Development of the Hebrew Bible canon Bible_sentence_49

The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Hebrew Bible. Bible_sentence_50

It defines the books of the Jewish canon, and also the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and accentuation. Bible_sentence_51

The oldest extant manuscripts of the Masoretic Text date from approximately the 9th century CE, and the Aleppo Codex (once the oldest complete copy of the Masoretic Text, but now missing its Torah section) dates from the 10th century. Bible_sentence_52

The term "Keter" (crown, from the Arabic, taj) originally referred to this particular manuscript, Over the years, the term Keter came to refer to any full text of the Hebrew Bible, or significant portion of it, bound as a codex (not a scroll) and including vowel points, cantillation marks, and Masoretic notes. Bible_sentence_53

Medieval handwritten manuscripts were considered extremely precise, the most authoritative documents from which to copy other texts. Bible_sentence_54

The name Tanakh (Hebrew: תנ"ך‎) reflects the threefold division of the Hebrew Scriptures, Torah ("Teaching"), Nevi'im ("Prophets") and Ketuvim ("Writings"). Bible_sentence_55

Torah Bible_section_4

Main article: Torah Bible_sentence_56

See also: Oral Torah Bible_sentence_57

The Torah (תּוֹרָה) is also known as the "Five Books of Moses" or the Pentateuch, meaning "five scroll-cases". Bible_sentence_58

Traditionally these books were considered to have been written almost entirely by Moses himself. Bible_sentence_59

In the 19th century, Julius Wellhausen and other scholars proposed that the Torah had been compiled from earlier written documents dating from the 9th to the 5th century BCE, the "documentary hypothesis". Bible_sentence_60

Scholars Hermann Gunkel and Martin Noth, building on the form criticism of Gerhard von Rad, refined this hypothesis, while other scholars have proposed other ways that the Torah might have developed over the centuries. Bible_sentence_61

The Hebrew names of the books are derived from the first words in the respective texts. Bible_sentence_62

The Torah consists of the following five books: Bible_sentence_63


  • Genesis, Beresheeth (בראשית)Bible_item_0_0
  • Exodus, Shemot (שמות)Bible_item_0_1
  • Leviticus, Vayikra (ויקרא)Bible_item_0_2
  • Numbers, Bamidbar (במדבר)Bible_item_0_3
  • Deuteronomy, Devarim (דברים)Bible_item_0_4

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. Bible_sentence_64

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. Bible_sentence_65

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. Bible_sentence_66

The remaining four books of the Torah tell the story of Moses, who lived hundreds of years after the patriarchs. Bible_sentence_67

He leads the Children of Israel from slavery in ancient Egypt to the renewal of their covenant with God at biblical Mount Sinai and their wanderings in the desert until a new generation was ready to enter the land of Canaan. Bible_sentence_68

The Torah ends with the death of Moses. Bible_sentence_69

The commandments in the Torah provide the basis for Jewish religious law. Bible_sentence_70

Tradition states that there are 613 commandments (taryag mitzvot). Bible_sentence_71

Nevi'im Bible_section_5

Main article: Nevi'im Bible_sentence_72

Nevi'im (Hebrew: נְבִיאִים‎, romanized: Nəḇî'îm, "Prophets") is the second main division of the Tanakh, between the Torah and Ketuvim. Bible_sentence_73

It contains two sub-groups, the Former Prophets (Nevi'im Rishonim נביאים ראשונים‎, the narrative books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings) and the Latter Prophets (Nevi'im Aharonim נביאים אחרונים‎, the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel and the Twelve Minor Prophets). Bible_sentence_74

The Nevi'im tell the story of the rise of the Hebrew monarchy and its division into two kingdoms, ancient Israel and Judah, focusing on conflicts between the Israelites and other nations, and conflicts among Israelites, specifically, struggles between believers in "the LORD God" (Yahweh) and believers in foreign gods, and the criticism of unethical and unjust behaviour of Israelite elites and rulers; in which prophets played a crucial and leading role. Bible_sentence_75

It ends with the conquest of the Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians followed by the conquest of the Kingdom of Judah by the Babylonians and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Bible_sentence_76

Former Prophets Bible_section_6

The Former Prophets are the books Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings. Bible_sentence_77

They contain narratives that begin immediately after the death of Moses with the divine appointment of Joshua as his successor, who then leads the people of Israel into the Promised Land, and end with the release from imprisonment of the last king of Judah. Bible_sentence_78

Treating Samuel and Kings as single books, they cover: Bible_sentence_79


  • Joshua's conquest of the land of Canaan (in the Book of Joshua),Bible_item_1_5
  • the struggle of the people to possess the land (in the Book of Judges),Bible_item_1_6
  • the people's request to God to give them a king so that they can occupy the land in the face of their enemies (in the Books of Samuel)Bible_item_1_7
  • the possession of the land under the divinely appointed kings of the House of David, ending in conquest and foreign exile (Books of Kings)Bible_item_1_8

Latter Prophets Bible_section_7

The Latter Prophets are divided into two groups, the "major" prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets, collected into a single book. Bible_sentence_80

The collection is broken up to form twelve individual books in the Christian Old Testament, one for each of the prophets: Bible_sentence_81


  • Hosea, Hoshea (הושע)Bible_item_2_9
  • Joel, Yoel (יואל)Bible_item_2_10
  • Amos, Amos (עמוס)Bible_item_2_11
  • Obadiah, Ovadyah (עבדיה)Bible_item_2_12
  • Jonah, Yonah (יונה)Bible_item_2_13
  • Micah, Mikhah (מיכה)Bible_item_2_14
  • Nahum, Nahum (נחום)Bible_item_2_15
  • Habakkuk, Havakuk (חבקוק)Bible_item_2_16
  • Zephaniah, Tsefanya (צפניה)Bible_item_2_17
  • Haggai, Khagay (חגי)Bible_item_2_18
  • Zechariah, Zekharyah (זכריה)Bible_item_2_19
  • Malachi, Malakhi (מלאכי)Bible_item_2_20

Ketuvim Bible_section_8

Main article: Ketuvim Bible_sentence_82

Ketuvim or Kəṯûḇîm (in Biblical Hebrew: כְּתוּבִים‎ "writings") is the third and final section of the Tanakh. Bible_sentence_83

The Ketuvim are believed to have been written under the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) but with one level less authority than that of prophecy. Bible_sentence_84

The poetic books Bible_section_9

In Masoretic manuscripts (and some printed editions), Psalms, Proverbs and Job are presented in a special two-column form emphasizing the parallel stichs in the verses, which are a function of their poetry. Bible_sentence_85

Collectively, these three books are known as Sifrei Emet (an acronym of the titles in Hebrew, איוב, משלי, תהלים yields Emet אמ"ת, which is also the Hebrew for "truth"). Bible_sentence_86

These three books are also the only ones in Tanakh with a special system of cantillation notes that are designed to emphasize parallel stichs within verses. Bible_sentence_87

However, the beginning and end of the book of Job are in the normal prose system. Bible_sentence_88

The five scrolls (Hamesh Megillot) Bible_section_10

The five relatively short books of Song of Songs, Book of Ruth, the Book of Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Book of Esther are collectively known as the Hamesh Megillot (Five Megillot). Bible_sentence_89

These are the latest books collected and designated as "authoritative" in the Jewish canon even though they were not complete until the 2nd century CE. Bible_sentence_90

Other books Bible_section_11

Besides the three poetic books and the five scrolls, the remaining books in Ketuvim are Daniel, Ezra–Nehemiah and Chronicles. Bible_sentence_91

Although there is no formal grouping for these books in the Jewish tradition, they nevertheless share a number of distinguishing characteristics: Bible_sentence_92


  • Their narratives all openly describe relatively late events (i.e., the Babylonian captivity and the subsequent restoration of Zion).Bible_item_3_21
  • The Talmudic tradition ascribes late authorship to all of them.Bible_item_3_22
  • Two of them (Daniel and Ezra) are the only books in the Tanakh with significant portions in Aramaic.Bible_item_3_23

Order of the books Bible_section_12

The following list presents the books of Ketuvim in the order they appear in most printed editions. Bible_sentence_93

It also divides them into three subgroups based on the distinctiveness of Sifrei Emet and Hamesh Megillot. Bible_sentence_94

The Three Poetic Books (Sifrei Emet) Bible_sentence_95


The Five Megillot (Hamesh Megillot) Bible_sentence_96


Other books Bible_sentence_97


The Jewish textual tradition never finalized the order of the books in Ketuvim. Bible_sentence_98

The Babylonian Talmud (Bava Batra 14b–15a) gives their order as Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Daniel, Scroll of Esther, Ezra, Chronicles. Bible_sentence_99

In Tiberian Masoretic codices, including the Aleppo Codex and the Leningrad Codex, and often in old Spanish manuscripts as well, the order is Chronicles, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ruth, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Esther, Daniel, Ezra. Bible_sentence_100

Canonization Bible_section_13

The Ketuvim is the last of the three portions of the Tanakh to have been accepted as biblical canon. Bible_sentence_101

While the Torah may have been considered canon by Israel as early as the 5th century BCE and the Former and Latter Prophets were canonized by the 2nd century BCE, the Ketuvim was not a fixed canon until the 2nd century of the Common Era. Bible_sentence_102

Evidence suggests, however, that the people of Israel were adding what would become the Ketuvim to their holy literature shortly after the canonization of the prophets. Bible_sentence_103

As early as 132 BCE references suggest that the Ketuvim was starting to take shape, although it lacked a formal title. Bible_sentence_104

References in the four Gospels as well as other books of the New Testament indicate that many of these texts were both commonly known and counted as having some degree of religious authority early in the 1st century CE. Bible_sentence_105

Many scholars believe that the limits of the Ketuvim as canonized scripture were determined by the Council of Jamnia c. 90 CE. Bible_sentence_106

Against Apion, the writing of Josephus in 95 CE, treated the text of the Hebrew Bible as a closed canon to which "... no one has ventured either to add, or to remove, or to alter a syllable..." For a long time following this date the divine inspiration of Esther, the Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes was often under scrutiny. Bible_sentence_107

Original languages Bible_section_14

The Tanakh was mainly written in biblical Hebrew, with some small portions ( and , , ) written in biblical Aramaic, a sister language which became the lingua franca for much of the Semitic world. Bible_sentence_108

Samaritan Pentateuch Bible_section_15

Main article: Samaritan Pentateuch Bible_sentence_109

Samaritans include only the Pentateuch in their biblical canon. Bible_sentence_110

They do not recognize divine authorship or inspiration in any other book in the Jewish Tanakh. Bible_sentence_111

A Samaritan Book of Joshua partly based upon the Tanakh's Book of Joshua exists, but Samaritans regard it as a non-canonical secular historical chronicle. Bible_sentence_112

Septuagint Bible_section_16

Main article: Septuagint Bible_sentence_113

The Septuagint, or the LXX, is a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures and some related texts into Koine Greek, begun in the late 3rd century BCE and completed by 132 BCE, initially in Alexandria, but in time it was completed elsewhere as well. Bible_sentence_114

It is not altogether clear which was translated when, or where; some may even have been translated twice, into different versions, and then revised. Bible_sentence_115

As the work of translation progressed, the canon of the Septuagint expanded. Bible_sentence_116

The Torah always maintained its pre-eminence as the basis of the canon but the collection of prophetic writings, based on the Nevi'im, had various hagiographical works incorporated into it. Bible_sentence_117

In addition, some newer books were included in the Septuagint, among these are the Maccabees and the Wisdom of Sirach. Bible_sentence_118

However, the book of Sirach, is now known to have existed in a Hebrew version, since ancient Hebrew manuscripts of it were rediscovered in modern times. Bible_sentence_119

The Septuagint version of some Biblical books, like Daniel and Esther, are longer than those in the Jewish canon. Bible_sentence_120

Some of these deuterocanonical books (e.g. the Wisdom of Solomon, and the second book of Maccabees) were not translated, but composed directly in Greek. Bible_sentence_121

Since Late Antiquity, once attributed to a hypothetical late 1st-century Council of Jamnia, mainstream Rabbinic Judaism rejected the Septuagint as valid Jewish scriptural texts. Bible_sentence_122

Several reasons have been given for this. Bible_sentence_123

First, some mistranslations were claimed. Bible_sentence_124

Second, the Hebrew source texts used for the Septuagint differed from the Masoretic tradition of Hebrew texts, which was chosen as canonical by the Jewish rabbis. Bible_sentence_125

Third, the rabbis wanted to distinguish their tradition from the newly emerging tradition of Christianity. Bible_sentence_126

Finally, the rabbis claimed a divine authority for the Hebrew language, in contrast to Aramaic or Greek – even though these languages were the lingua franca of Jews during this period (and Aramaic would eventually be given a holy language status comparable to Hebrew). Bible_sentence_127

The Septuagint is the basis for the Old Latin, Slavonic, Syriac, Old Armenian, Old Georgian and Coptic versions of the Christian Old Testament. Bible_sentence_128

The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches use most of the books of the Septuagint, while Protestant churches usually do not. Bible_sentence_129

After the Protestant Reformation, many Protestant Bibles began to follow the Jewish canon and exclude the additional texts, which came to be called biblical apocrypha. Bible_sentence_130

The Apocrypha are included under a separate heading in the King James Version of the Bible, the basis for the Revised Standard Version. Bible_sentence_131

Incorporations from Theodotion Bible_section_17

In most ancient copies of the Bible which contain the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, the Book of Daniel is not the original Septuagint version, but instead is a copy of Theodotion's translation from the Hebrew, which more closely resembles the Masoretic Text. Bible_sentence_132

The original Septuagint version was discarded in favour of Theodotion's version in the 2nd to 3rd centuries CE. Bible_sentence_133

In Greek-speaking areas, this happened near the end of the 2nd century, and in Latin-speaking areas (at least in North Africa), it occurred in the middle of the 3rd century. Bible_sentence_134

History does not record the reason for this, and St. Jerome reports, in the preface to the Vulgate version of Daniel, "This thing 'just' happened." Bible_sentence_135

One of two Old Greek texts of the Book of Daniel has been recently rediscovered and work is ongoing in reconstructing the original form of the book. Bible_sentence_136

The canonical Ezra–Nehemiah is known in the Septuagint as "Esdras B", and 1 Esdras is "Esdras A". Bible_sentence_137

1 Esdras is a very similar text to the books of Ezra–Nehemiah, and the two are widely thought by scholars to be derived from the same original text. Bible_sentence_138

It has been proposed, and is thought highly likely by scholars, that "Esdras B" – the canonical Ezra–Nehemiah – is Theodotion's version of this material, and "Esdras A" is the version which was previously in the Septuagint on its own. Bible_sentence_139

Final form Bible_section_18

Some texts are found in the Septuagint but are not present in the Hebrew. Bible_sentence_140

These additional books are Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah (which later became chapter 6 of Baruch in the Vulgate), additions to Daniel (The Prayer of Azarias, the Song of the Three Children, Susanna and Bel and the Dragon), additions to Esther, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, 1 Esdras, Odes, including the Prayer of Manasseh, the Psalms of Solomon, and Psalm 151. Bible_sentence_141

Some books that are set apart in the Masoretic Text are grouped together. Bible_sentence_142

For example, the Books of Samuel and the Books of Kings are in the LXX one book in four parts called Βασιλειῶν ("Of Reigns"). Bible_sentence_143

In LXX, the Books of Chronicles supplement Reigns and it is called Paralipomenon (Παραλειπομένων – things left out). Bible_sentence_144

The Septuagint organizes the minor prophets as twelve parts of one Book of Twelve. Bible_sentence_145

Christian Bibles Bible_section_19

Main articles: Biblical canon and List of English Bible translations Bible_sentence_146

A Christian Bible is a set of books that a Christian denomination regards as divinely inspired and thus constituting scripture. Bible_sentence_147

Although the Early Church primarily used the Septuagint or the Targums among Aramaic speakers, the apostles did not leave a defined set of new scriptures; instead the canon of the New Testament developed over time. Bible_sentence_148

Groups within Christianity include differing books as part of their sacred writings, most prominent among which are the biblical apocrypha or deuterocanonical books. Bible_sentence_149

Significant versions of the Christian Bible in English include the Douay-Rheims Bible, the Authorized King James Version, the Revised Version, the American Standard Version, the Revised Standard Version, the New American Standard Version, the New King James Version, the New International Version, the New American Bible, and the English Standard Version. Bible_sentence_150

Old Testament Bible_section_20

Main article: Old Testament Bible_sentence_151

The books which make up the Christian Old Testament differ between the Catholic (see Catholic Bible), Orthodox, and Protestant (see Protestant Bible) churches, with the Protestant movement accepting only those books contained in the Hebrew Bible, while Catholic and Orthodox traditions have wider canons. Bible_sentence_152

A few groups consider particular translations to be divinely inspired, notably the Greek Septuagint and the Aramaic Peshitta. Bible_sentence_153

The Old Testament consists of many distinct books produced over a period of centuries: The first five books – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, book of Numbers and Deuteronomy – reached their present form in the Persian period (538–332 BC), and their authors were the elite of exilic returnees who controlled the Temple at that time. Bible_sentence_154

The books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings follow, forming a history of Israel from the Conquest of Canaan to the Siege of Jerusalem c. 587 BC. Bible_sentence_155

These history books make up around half the total content of the Old Testament. Bible_sentence_156

Of the remainder, the books of the various prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve "minor prophets" – were written between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, with the exceptions of Jonah and Daniel, which were written much later. Bible_sentence_157

The "wisdom" books – Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Psalms, Song of Solomon – have various dates: Proverbs possibly was completed by the Hellenistic time (332–198 BC), though containing much older material as well; Job completed by the 6th century BC; Ecclesiastes by the 3rd century BC. Bible_sentence_158

Apocryphal or deuterocanonical books Bible_section_21

In Eastern Christianity, translations based on the Septuagint still prevail. Bible_sentence_159

The Septuagint was generally abandoned in favour of the 10th-century Masoretic Text as the basis for translations of the Old Testament into Western languages. Bible_sentence_160

Some modern Western translations since the 14th century make use of the Septuagint to clarify passages in the Masoretic Text, where the Septuagint may preserve a variant reading of the Hebrew text. Bible_sentence_161

They also sometimes adopt variants that appear in other texts, e.g., those discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Bible_sentence_162

A number of books which are part of the Peshitta or the Greek Septuagint but are not found in the Hebrew Bible (i.e., among the protocanonical books) are often referred to as deuterocanonical books by Roman Catholics referring to a later secondary (i.e., deutero) canon, that canon as fixed definitively by the Council of Trent 1545–1563. Bible_sentence_163

It includes 46 books for the Old Testament (45 if Jeremiah and Lamentations are counted as one) and 27 for the New. Bible_sentence_164

Most Protestants term these books as apocrypha. Bible_sentence_165

Modern Protestant traditions do not accept the deuterocanonical books as canonical, although Protestant Bibles included them in Apocrypha sections until the 1820s. Bible_sentence_166

However, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches include these books as part of their Old Testament. Bible_sentence_167

The Roman Catholic Church recognizes: Bible_sentence_168


In addition to those, the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches recognize the following: Bible_sentence_169


Russian and Georgian Orthodox Churches include: Bible_sentence_170


  • 2 Esdras i.e., Latin Esdras in the Russian and Georgian BiblesBible_item_9_51

There is also 4 Maccabees which is only accepted as canonical in the Georgian Church, but was included by St. Bible_sentence_171 Jerome in an appendix to the Vulgate, and is an appendix to the Greek Orthodox Bible, and it is therefore sometimes included in collections of the Apocrypha. Bible_sentence_172

The Syriac Orthodox tradition includes: Bible_sentence_173


The Ethiopian Biblical canon includes: Bible_sentence_174


and some other books. Bible_sentence_175

The Anglican Church uses some of the Apocryphal books liturgically, though rarely and with alternative reading available. Bible_sentence_176

Therefore, editions of the Bible intended for use in the Anglican Church may include the Deuterocanonical books accepted by the Catholic Church, plus 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh, which were in the Vulgate appendix. Bible_sentence_177

Pseudepigraphal books Bible_section_22

Main article: Pseudepigrapha Bible_sentence_178

The term pseudepigrapha commonly describes numerous works of Jewish religious literature written from about 300 BCE to 300 CE. Bible_sentence_179

Not all of these works are actually pseudepigraphical. Bible_sentence_180

It also refers to books of the New Testament canon whose authorship is misrepresented. Bible_sentence_181

The Old Testament pseudepigraphal works include the following: Bible_sentence_182


Book of Enoch Bible_section_23

Notable pseudepigraphal works include the Books of Enoch (such as 1 Enoch, 2 Enoch, surviving only in Old Slavonic, and 3 Enoch, surviving in Hebrew, c. 5th to 6th century CE). Bible_sentence_183

These are ancient Jewish religious works, traditionally ascribed to the prophet Enoch, the great-grandfather of the patriarch Noah. Bible_sentence_184

They are not part of the biblical canon used by Jews, apart from Beta Israel. Bible_sentence_185

Most Christian denominations and traditions may accept the Books of Enoch as having some historical or theological interest or significance. Bible_sentence_186

It has been observed that part of the Book of Enoch is quoted in the Epistle of Jude (part of the New Testament) but Christian denominations generally regard the Books of Enoch as non-canonical or non-inspired. Bible_sentence_187

However, the Enoch books are treated as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Bible_sentence_188

The older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) are estimated to date from about 300 BCE, and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably was composed at the end of the 1st century BCE. Bible_sentence_189

Denominational views of pseudepigrapha Bible_section_24

There arose in some Protestant biblical scholarship an extended use of the term pseudepigrapha for works that appeared as though they ought to be part of the biblical canon, because of the authorship ascribed to them, but which stood outside both the biblical canons recognized by Protestants and Catholics. Bible_sentence_190

These works were also outside the particular set of books that Roman Catholics called deuterocanonical and to which Protestants had generally applied the term Apocryphal. Bible_sentence_191

Accordingly, the term pseudepigraphical, as now used often among both Protestants and Roman Catholics (allegedly for the clarity it brings to the discussion), may make it difficult to discuss questions of pseudepigraphical authorship of canonical books dispassionately with a lay audience. Bible_sentence_192

To confuse the matter further, Eastern Orthodox Christians accept books as canonical that Roman Catholics and most Protestant denominations consider pseudepigraphical or at best of much less authority. Bible_sentence_193

There exist also churches that reject some of the books that Roman Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants accept. Bible_sentence_194

The same is true of some Jewish sects. Bible_sentence_195

Many works that are apocryphal are otherwise considered genuine. Bible_sentence_196

Role of the Old Testament in Christian theology Bible_section_25

Further information: Sola scriptura and Christian theology Bible_sentence_197

The Old Testament has always been central to the life of the Christian church. Bible_sentence_198

Bible scholar N.T. Bible_sentence_199 Wright says "Jesus himself was profoundly shaped by the scriptures." Bible_sentence_200

He adds that the earliest Christians also searched those same Hebrew scriptures in their effort to understand the earthly life of Jesus. Bible_sentence_201

They regarded the "holy writings" of the Israelites as necessary and instructive for the Christian, as seen from Paul's words to Timothy (2 Timothy 3:15), and as pointing to the Messiah, and as having reached a climactic fulfilment in Jesus himself, generating the "new covenant" prophesied by Jeremiah. Bible_sentence_202

New Testament Bible_section_26

Main article: Development of the New Testament canon Bible_sentence_203

The New Testament is the name given to the second and final portion of the Christian Bible. Bible_sentence_204

Jesus is its central figure. Bible_sentence_205

The term "New Testament" came into use in the second century during a controversy among Christians over whether the Hebrew Bible should be included with the Christian writings as sacred scripture. Bible_sentence_206

The New Testament presupposes the inspiration of the Old Testament. Bible_sentence_207

Some other works which were widely read by early churches were excluded from the New Testament and relegated to the collections known as the Apostolic Fathers (generally considered orthodox) and the New Testament Apocrypha (including both orthodox and heretical works). Bible_sentence_208

The New Testament is a collection of 27 books of 4 different genres of Christian literature (Gospels, one account of the Acts of the Apostles, Epistles and an Apocalypse). Bible_sentence_209

These books can be grouped into: Bible_sentence_210

The New Testament books are ordered differently in the Catholic/Orthodox/Protestant tradition, the Slavonic tradition, the Syriac tradition and the Ethiopian tradition. Bible_sentence_211

Original language Bible_section_27

See also: Language of the New Testament Bible_sentence_212

The mainstream consensus is that the New Testament was written in a form of Koine Greek, which was the common language of the Eastern Mediterranean from the Conquests of Alexander the Great (335–323 BCE) until the evolution of Byzantine Greek (c. 600). Bible_sentence_213

Historic editions Bible_section_28

See also: Biblical manuscript and Textual criticism Bible_sentence_214

The original autographs, that is, the original Greek writings and manuscripts written by the original authors of the New Testament, have not survived. Bible_sentence_215

But historically copies exist of those original autographs, transmitted and preserved in a number of manuscript traditions. Bible_sentence_216

There have been some minor variations, additions or omissions, in some of the texts. Bible_sentence_217

When ancient scribes copied earlier books, they sometimes wrote notes on the margins of the page (marginal glosses) to correct their text – especially if a scribe accidentally omitted a word or line – and to comment about the text. Bible_sentence_218

When later scribes were copying the copy, they were sometimes uncertain if a note was intended to be included as part of the text. Bible_sentence_219

The three main textual traditions of the Greek New Testament are sometimes called the Alexandrian text-type (generally minimalist), the Byzantine text-type (generally maximalist), and the Western text-type (occasionally wild). Bible_sentence_220

Together they comprise most of the ancient manuscripts. Bible_sentence_221

Development of the Christian canons Bible_section_29

Main articles: Development of the Old Testament canon and Development of the New Testament canon Bible_sentence_222

The Old Testament canon entered into Christian use in the Greek Septuagint translations and original books, and their differing lists of texts. Bible_sentence_223

In addition to the Septuagint, Christianity subsequently added various writings that would become the New Testament. Bible_sentence_224

Somewhat different lists of accepted works continued to develop in antiquity. Bible_sentence_225

In the 4th century a series of synods produced a list of texts equal to the 39, 46, 51, or 54-book canon of the Old Testament and to the 27-book canon of the New Testament that would be subsequently used to today, most notably the Synod of Hippo in 393 CE. Bible_sentence_226

Also c. 400, Jerome produced a definitive Latin edition of the Bible (see Vulgate), the canon of which, at the insistence of the Pope, was in accord with the earlier Synods. Bible_sentence_227

With the benefit of hindsight it can be said that this process effectively set the New Testament canon, although there are examples of other canonical lists in use after this time. Bible_sentence_228

The Protestant Old Testament of today has a 39-book canon – the number of books (though not the content) varies from the Jewish Tanakh only because of a different method of division – while the Roman Catholic Church recognizes 46 books (51 books with some books combined into 46 books) as the canonical Old Testament. Bible_sentence_229

The Eastern Orthodox Churches recognize 3 Maccabees, 1 Esdras, Prayer of Manasseh and Psalm 151 in addition to the Catholic canon. Bible_sentence_230

Some include 2 Esdras. Bible_sentence_231

The Anglican Church also recognizes a longer canon. Bible_sentence_232

The term "Hebrew Scriptures" is often used as being synonymous with the Protestant Old Testament, since the surviving scriptures in Hebrew include only those books, while Catholics and Orthodox include additional texts that have not survived in Hebrew. Bible_sentence_233

Both Catholics and Protestants (as well as Greek Orthodox) have the same 27-book New Testament Canon. Bible_sentence_234

The New Testament writers assumed the inspiration of the Old Testament, probably earliest stated in , "All scripture is given by inspiration of God". Bible_sentence_235

Some denominations have additional canonical holy scriptures beyond the Bible, including the standard works of the Latter Day Saints movement and Divine Principle in the Unification Church. Bible_sentence_236

Ethiopian Orthodox canon Bible_section_30

Main article: Ethiopian Biblical canon Bible_sentence_237

The Canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is wider than the canons used by most other Christian churches. Bible_sentence_238

There are 81 books in the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible. Bible_sentence_239

The Ethiopian Old Testament Canon includes the books found in the Septuagint accepted by other Orthodox Christians, in addition to Enoch and Jubilees which are ancient Jewish books that only survived in Ge'ez but are quoted in the New Testament, also Greek Ezra First and the Apocalypse of Ezra, 3 books of Meqabyan, and Psalm 151 at the end of the Psalter. Bible_sentence_240

The three books of Meqabyan are not to be confused with the books of Maccabees. Bible_sentence_241

The order of the other books is somewhat different from other groups', as well. Bible_sentence_242

The Old Testament follows the Septuagint order for the Minor Prophets rather than the Jewish order. Bible_sentence_243

Peshitta Bible_section_31

Main article: Peshitta Bible_sentence_244

The Peshitta (Classical Syriac: ܦܫܺܝܛܬܳܐ‎ or ܦܫܝܼܛܬܵܐ pšīṭtā) is the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition. Bible_sentence_245

The consensus within biblical scholarship, although not universal, is that the Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from biblical Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD, and that the New Testament of the Peshitta was translated from the Greek. Bible_sentence_246

This New Testament, originally excluding certain disputed books (2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation), had become a standard by the early 5th century. Bible_sentence_247

The five excluded books were added in the Harklean Version (616 AD) of Thomas of Harqel. Bible_sentence_248

Divine inspiration Bible_section_32

Main articles: Biblical inspiration, Biblical literalism, Biblical infallibility, and Biblical inerrancy Bible_sentence_249

The Second Epistle to Timothy says that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". Bible_sentence_250

() Various related but distinguishable views on divine inspiration include: Bible_sentence_251


  • the view of the Bible as the inspired word of God: the belief that God, through the Holy Spirit, intervened and influenced the words, message, and collation of the BibleBible_item_13_73
  • the view that the Bible is also infallible, and incapable of error in matters of faith and practice, but not necessarily in historic or scientific mattersBible_item_13_74
  • the view that the Bible represents the inerrant word of God, without error in any aspect, spoken by God and written down in its perfect form by humansBible_item_13_75

Within these broad beliefs many schools of hermeneutics operate. Bible_sentence_252

"Bible scholars claim that discussions about the Bible must be put into its context within church history and then into the context of contemporary culture." Bible_sentence_253

Fundamentalist Christians are associated with the doctrine of biblical literalism, where the Bible is not only inerrant, but the meaning of the text is clear to the average reader. Bible_sentence_254

Jewish antiquity attests to belief in sacred texts, and a similar belief emerges in the earliest of Christian writings. Bible_sentence_255

Various texts of the Bible mention divine agency in relation to its writings. Bible_sentence_256

In their book A General Introduction to the Bible, Norman Geisler and William Nix write: "The process of inspiration is a mystery of the providence of God, but the result of this process is a verbal, plenary, inerrant, and authoritative record." Bible_sentence_257

Most evangelical biblical scholars associate inspiration with only the original text; for example some American Protestants adhere to the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy which asserted that inspiration applied only to the autographic text of Scripture. Bible_sentence_258

Among adherents of Biblical literalism, a minority, such as followers of the King-James-Only Movement, extend the claim of inerrancy only to a particular version. Bible_sentence_259

Versions and translations Bible_section_33

Further information: Bible translations and List of Bible translations by language Bible_sentence_260

The original texts of the Tanakh were almost entirely written in Hebrew; about one per cent is written in Aramaic. Bible_sentence_261

In addition to the authoritative Masoretic Text, Jews still refer to the Septuagint, the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, and the Targum Onkelos, an Aramaic version of the Bible. Bible_sentence_262

There are several different ancient versions of the Tanakh in Hebrew, mostly differing by spelling, and the traditional Jewish version is based on the version known as Aleppo Codex. Bible_sentence_263

Even in this version there are words which are traditionally read differently from written, because the oral tradition is considered more fundamental than the written one, and presumably mistakes had been made in copying the text over the generations. Bible_sentence_264

The primary biblical text for early Christians was the Septuagint. Bible_sentence_265

In addition, they translated the Hebrew Bible into several other languages. Bible_sentence_266

Translations were made into Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, and Latin, among other languages. Bible_sentence_267

The Latin translations were historically the most important for the Church in the West, while the Greek-speaking East continued to use the Septuagint translations of the Old Testament and had no need to translate the New Testament. Bible_sentence_268

The earliest Latin translation was the Old Latin text, or Vetus Latina, which, from internal evidence, seems to have been made by several authors over a period of time. Bible_sentence_269

It was based on the Septuagint, and thus included books not in the Hebrew Bible. Bible_sentence_270

According to the Latin Decretum Gelasianum (also known as the Gelasian Decree), thought to be of a 6th-century document of uncertain authorship and of pseudepigraphal papal authority (variously ascribed to Pope Gelasius I, Pope Damasus I, or Pope Hormisdas) but reflecting the views of the Roman Church by that period, the Council of Rome in 382 AD under Pope Damasus I (366–383) assembled a list of books of the Bible. Bible_sentence_271

Damasus commissioned Saint Jerome to produce a reliable and consistent text by translating the original Greek and Hebrew texts into Latin. Bible_sentence_272

This translation became known as the Latin Vulgate Bible, in the fourth century AD (although Jerome expressed in his prologues to most deuterocanonical books that they were non-canonical). Bible_sentence_273

In 1546, at the Council of Trent, Jerome's Vulgate translation was declared by the Roman Catholic Church to be the only authentic and official Bible in the Latin Church. Bible_sentence_274

Since the Protestant Reformation, Bible translations for many languages have been made. Bible_sentence_275

The Bible continues to be translated to new languages, largely by Christian organizations such as Wycliffe Bible Translators, New Tribes Mission and Bible societies. Bible_sentence_276


Bible translations, worldwide (as of October 2020)Bible_table_caption_0
NumberBible_header_cell_0_0_0 StatisticBible_header_cell_0_0_1
7,360Bible_cell_0_1_0 Approximate number of languages spoken in the world todayBible_cell_0_1_1
2,731Bible_cell_0_2_0 Number of translations into new languages in progressBible_cell_0_2_1
1,551Bible_cell_0_3_0 Number of languages with a translation of the New TestamentBible_cell_0_3_1
704Bible_cell_0_4_0 Number of languages with a translation of the Bible (Protestant Canon)Bible_cell_0_4_1

Views Bible_section_34

John Riches, professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow, provides the following view of the diverse historical influences of the Bible: Bible_sentence_277

Other religions Bible_section_35

Main article: Islamic view of the Christian Bible Bible_sentence_278

In Islam, the Bible is held to reflect true unfolding revelation from God; but revelation which had been corrupted or distorted (in Arabic: tahrif); which necessitated the giving of the Qur'an to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, to correct this deviation. Bible_sentence_279

Members of other religions may also seek inspiration from the Bible. Bible_sentence_280

For example, Rastafaris view the Bible as essential to their religion and Unitarian Universalists view it as "one of many important religious texts". Bible_sentence_281

Biblical studies Bible_section_36

Main articles: Biblical studies and Biblical criticism Bible_sentence_282

Biblical criticism refers to the investigation of the Bible as a text, and addresses questions such as authorship, dates of composition, and authorial intention. Bible_sentence_283

It is not the same as criticism of the Bible, which is an assertion against the Bible being a source of information or ethical guidance, or observations that the Bible may have translation errors. Bible_sentence_284

Higher criticism Bible_section_37

Main articles: Higher criticism and Lower criticism Bible_sentence_285

In the 17th century, Thomas Hobbes collected the current evidence to conclude outright that Moses could not have written the bulk of the Torah. Bible_sentence_286

Shortly afterwards the philosopher Baruch Spinoza published a unified critical analysis, arguing that the problematic passages were not isolated cases that could be explained away one by one, but pervasive throughout the five books, concluding that it was "clearer than the sun at noon that the Pentateuch was not written by Moses ..." Bible_sentence_287

Archaeological and historical research Bible_section_38

Main articles: Biblical archaeology school, Historicity of the Bible, and Religiously motivated pseudoarchaeology Bible_sentence_288

Biblical archaeology is the archaeology that relates to and sheds light upon the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Greek Scriptures (or the New Testament). Bible_sentence_289

It is used to help determine the lifestyle and practices of people living in biblical times. Bible_sentence_290

There are a wide range of interpretations in the field of biblical archaeology. Bible_sentence_291

One broad division includes biblical maximalism which generally takes the view that most of the Old Testament or the Hebrew Bible is based on history although it is presented through the religious viewpoint of its time. Bible_sentence_292

It is considered to be the opposite of biblical minimalism which considers the Bible to be a purely post-exilic (5th century BCE and later) composition. Bible_sentence_293

Even among those scholars who adhere to biblical minimalism, the Bible is a historical document containing first-hand information on the Hellenistic and Roman eras, and there is universal scholarly consensus that the events of the 6th century BCE Babylonian captivity have a basis in history. Bible_sentence_294

The historicity of the biblical account of the history of ancient Israel and Judah of the 10th to 7th centuries BCE is disputed in scholarship. Bible_sentence_295

The biblical account of the 8th to 7th centuries BCE is widely, but not universally, accepted as historical, while the verdict on the earliest period of the United Monarchy (10th century BCE) and the historicity of David is unclear. Bible_sentence_296

Archaeological evidence providing information on this period, such as the Tel Dan Stele, can potentially be decisive. Bible_sentence_297

The biblical account of events of the Exodus from Egypt in the Torah, and the migration to the Promised Land and the period of Judges are not considered historical in scholarship. Bible_sentence_298

Bible museums Bible_section_39


Image gallery Bible_section_40


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Illustrations Bible_section_41

Most old Bibles were illuminated, they were manuscripts in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders (marginalia) and miniature illustrations. Bible_sentence_299

Up to the twelfth century, most manuscripts were produced in monasteries in order to add to the library or after receiving a commission from a wealthy patron. Bible_sentence_300

Larger monasteries often contained separate areas for the monks who specialized in the production of manuscripts called a scriptorium, where "separate little rooms were assigned to book copying; they were situated in such a way that each scribe had to himself a window open to the cloister walk." Bible_sentence_301

By the fourteenth century, the cloisters of monks writing in the scriptorium started to employ laybrothers from the urban scriptoria, especially in Paris, Rome and the Netherlands. Bible_sentence_302

Demand for manuscripts grew to an extent that the Monastic libraries were unable to meet with the demand, and began employing secular scribes and illuminators. Bible_sentence_303

These individuals often lived close to the monastery and, in certain instances, dressed as monks whenever they entered the monastery, but were allowed to leave at the end of the day. Bible_sentence_304

The manuscript was "sent to the rubricator, who added (in red or other colours) the titles, headlines, the initials of chapters and sections, the notes and so on; and then – if the book was to be illustrated – it was sent to the illuminator." Bible_sentence_305

In the case of manuscripts that were sold commercially, the writing would "undoubtedly have been discussed initially between the patron and the scribe (or the scribe's agent,) but by the time that the written gathering were sent off to the illuminator there was no longer any scope for innovation." Bible_sentence_306


  • Bible illustrationsBible_item_16_92
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See also Bible_section_42


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