The Hebrew Bible consists of the five books of Moses (the Torah or Pentateuch), a section called "Prophets" (Neviim), and a third section called "Writings" (also Ketuvim or Hagiographa). The term "Tanakh" is a Hebrew acronym formed from these three names. Though the Hebrew Bible is predominantly in Biblical Hebrew, it has some small portions in Biblical Aramaic.
The Christian Bible is divided into two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is in large part identical to the Jewish Tanakh, but with the books differently ordered. In addition, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox include several other books that have not been preserved in Hebrew, but rather only in the Greek Septuagint, a translation made by Greek-speaking Jews in Alexandria between the third and first centuries BC.
The various books of the New Testament were written in koine Greek, and there is almost no dispute about the contents of the New Testament among Christians today. Early Christian Bibles used texts of the Old Testament dependent on the Greek Septuagint, which differs in some places from the primarily Hebrew Masoretic text. Beginning with Jerome's Vulgate, most modern translations of the Old Testament in Western Christianity are based primarily on the Masoretic text; in Eastern Christianity translations based on the Septuagint prevail. Some modern editions of the Old Testament also adopt different readings found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. For more information, see the entry on Bible translations.
The Hebrew scriptures of the Bible—portions of which contain stories traditionally held to be historical accounts of much of the early history of the Hebrew Nation—teach that there is one God, whose ineffable name is represented by the tetragrammaton, YHWH. He is "creator of Heaven and Earth" who created man "in his own image", and details the relationship between Man and his Creator.
For Christians, the New Testament continues—with the birth of Jesus—the story begun in the Hebrew scriptures, and is both a primary source of religious doctrine and a foundation for their spiritual beliefs. The New Testament is divided into the four Gospels, History (Acts of the Apostles), the Letters to Christian churches by Paul and other apostles, and the Book of Revelation. Some religious groups, notably, several of the Protestant Christian groups, believe the Bible to be the ultimate and authoritative guide in all spiritual matters, following a principle called sola scriptura.
Definition of Biblical terms
The English word "Bible" means "books" (from the Greek word for "books", biblia: ß?ß??a ). A book of the Bible is an established collection of writings. For example, the book of Psalms consists of 150 songs (151 in some editions of the Septuagint), while the book of Jude is a half-page letter. Canon refers to the accepted books of the Bible differentiated from other sacred writings not accepted as inspired by God, which are not accepted as part of the Bible. The writings in the Catholic and Orthodox Bibles that are rejected by Protestants are called by the Protestants Apocrypha and by the Catholics and Orthodox deuterocanonical books. Protestants refer to other religious writings that no major Christian sect accepts as Pseudepigrapha.
The Protestant Bible consists of 66 books. The Roman Catholic version, including the Deuterocanonical books, counts altogether 76 books, while the Eastern Orthodox version includes 77 or more. (4 Maccabees is sometimes included in an appendix, sometimes not; The "Prophecies of Ezra" are sometimes present, sometimes not.)
Bible Canon - Which books are biblical?
Main articles: Biblical canon, Books of the Bible
As outlined above, the Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions have slightly different canons of the Hebrew Bible. For the Jews, the canon was decided between 200 BC and AD 200, notably at the Council of Jamnia in AD 92. The Christian canons developed separately, with the Protestant canon being decided at the time of Martin Luther's Reformation and the Catholic canon being definitively confirmed at the Council of Trent.
In addition to the diverse traditions concerning which books belong in the Canon of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible, modern scholarship proposes alternative views concerning the authenticity of books, and of texts within the books. See the entries on higher criticism and textual criticism.
Biblical versions and translations
In scholarly writing, ancient translations are frequently referred to as 'versions', with the term 'translation' being reserved for medieval or modern translations. Information about Bible versions is given below, while Bible translations can be found on a separate page.
1 -[The Bible]
2 -[The Bible : Tanakh]
3 -[The Bible : New Testament]
4 -[The Bible : Chapters and verses]
5 -[The Bible : Biblical interpretation]