Earliest complete manuscript of Hebrew Bible from 1008 AD Earlier Greek manuscript from 4th c. AD Formation of canonical text in 1st-2nd c. AD
Structure of the Hebrew Bible Torah (Law, a.k.a. Pentateuch, from Gk. he pentateuchos biblos [book of five scrolls]) Nebi’im/Nevi’im (Prophets) Ketubim/Kethuvim (Writings)
Structure of the Hebrew Bible Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy Nebi’im: Joshua, Judges, Samuel (1+2), Kings (1+2), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, 12 Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi) Ketubim: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Scrolls (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther), Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles (1+2)
Jews in exile in Babylon from 587-39 BC. Babylonians overthrown by Persians in 539 BC. Jews restored to Judea First efforts to collect Jewish scriptures in period after 539 BC, as now Jews in Judea, Babylon and Egypt (since 7th c.)
Contributors to the Torah Yahwist (J, c. 950 BC): Uses “Yahweh” for God. Major source for Genesis to Numbers. Colourful, non-judgmental writer Deuteronomist(s) (D, c. 650-550 BC): Major source for Deuteronomy to Kings. Emphases on piety and unified Israel Elohist (E, c. 750 BC): Uses “Elohim” for God. Morally aware. Possibly non-existent?
Contributors to the Torah Subsequent writers combining these with work of Priestly Source (P, c. 550 BC), who has particular interest in priestly matters and ritual By late 4th c. Torah has special status in Jewish eyes, enjoying precedence over rest of Hebrew Bible
The Books of the Nebi’im (Prophets) Covering the period leading up to, during and after the Babylonian exile, but gradually giving way to interpretation of written word practiced by rabbis and other scholars Prophecy regarded as ending with Ezra (c. 458 BC) Books of Prophets prob. compiled by 180 BC, certainly by 132 BC
The Books of the Ketubim (Writings) Two canonical traditions in Judaism up to end of 1st c. AD Mid 3rd c. BC Jewish community of Alexandria produces Septuagint (Greek version of Hebrew Bible) Debate over authority of various Writings in 1st or 2nd c. AD in wake of Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, in face of diaspora, Christianity, apocalypticism
The Books of the Ketubim (Writings) Disputed texts: Song of Songs/Solomon: Romantic love poems: allegorical? Ecclesiastes: Unusually skeptical Esther: Retained because of associations with Purim
The Books of the Ketubim (Writings) Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes and Proverbs ascribed to Solomon. Probably did not write them. They only attained final form in 4th c. BC No works perceived as later than Ezra (c. 458 BC) approved, but Daniel written c. 165 BC
Christian Old Testament New Testament authors, writing in 1st-2nd c. AD, used Septuagint and other texts Christian Old Testament debated for centuries after recording of NT. In 1519 Martin Luther denies Catholic concept of Purgatory (based on 2 Maccabees 12: 46). Declares disputed books non-canonical “apocrypha.” Over next two centuries various churches formalise canons of OT
Questions God: Depiction? Characteristics? Relations with humankind? Major characters: Roles in the text? Are they models? Interactions with God and fellow humans? Laws and teachings: Major foci? Rationalisations? What is unstated?
Questions History: What do readers learn about origins? What is important? What defines one’s identity? Piety and holiness: What do these mean? How are they to be expressed?