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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Torah and Halachic Authority (3/12)
Section - Question 3.2: What are the books of the Jewish Bible (Tanakh)?

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                                  Answer:
   
   First, note that the Bible isn't the entire corpus of what we call
   "Torah"; in fact, it's the smaller piece. In traditional Jewish
   thought, the Torah (in the limited sense) is "merely" lecture notes --
   the minimum needed to remember or rebuild the larger body of
   knowledge. The non-written part we call Oral Torah (Torah shebi'al
   peh). The word Torah in the narrower sense refers to the five books of
   Moses, or to a scroll that contains those books. However, this is only
   because we believe that the entire Torah -- using the word in its
   broadest sense -- is implied by the words of its text. That includes
   not only the ideas in the Oral Torah, but also the ideas in the
   prophetic and inspired works that compose the rest of the Jewish
   Bible. The prophets wrote down their words to increase their impact,
   not because these were innovative ideas. Tradition has it that the
   text of the Torah can be simultaneously understood on 4 levels: the
   simple meaning (p'shat), as mnemonics based on extra or missing
   letters, gematria, acrostics, etc... (remez), through scriptural
   hermeneutics (d'rash), and on a philosophical and kabbalistic level
   (sowd). The acronym of these four levels is "pardeis" (orchard) and is
   associated with the concept of Paradise.
   
   Also, note that the word "Bible" is more commonly used by non-Jews, as
   are the terms "old testament" and "new testament", although
   "scripture" is a synonym used by both Jews and non-Jews. The
   appropriate term to use is Tanakh. This word is derived from the
   Hebrew letters of the three parts that make it up:
   
   Torah:
          Books of Genesis (B'reishis), Exodus (Sh'mos), Leviticus
          (Vayikra), Numbers(Bamidbar), and Deuteronomy (D'varim).
          
   N'viim (Prophets):
          Books of Joshua, Judges, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II
          Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah,
          Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habukkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah,
          and Malachi. (The last twelve are sometimes grouped together as
          "Trei Asar." ["Twelve"])
          
   K'Tuvim (Writings):
          Books of Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth,
          Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel (although not all
          that is included in the Christian Canon), Ezra and Nehemiah, I
          Chronicles, and II Chronicles.
          
   It should be noted that the breaking of Samuel (Shmuel), Kings
   (Melachim), and Chronicles (Divrei hayamim) into two parts is strictly
   an artifact of the Christian printers who first issued the books. They
   were too big to be issued as single volumes. Because every one
   followed these de facto standards, the titles of Volume 1 and Volume 2
   were attached to the names. The division of the Tanach into chapters
   was also done by medieval Christians, and only later adopted by Jews.
   
   Many Christian Bibles have expanded versions of several of these books
   (Esther, Ezra, Daniel, Jeremiah and Chronicles) including extra
   material that is not accepted as canonical in Judaism. This extra
   material was part of the ancient Greek translation of the Tanakh, but
   was never a part of the official Hebrew Tanakh. Jews regard this extra
   material as apocryphal. Among Christians, there is a difference of
   opinion. Catholics regard this material as canonical, while many
   Protestant sects regard this material as Apocrypha. What is and is not
   regarded as Apocrypha varies among the many Christian sects. Some of
   the most famous Apocryphal stories are closely associated with the
   book of Daniel, and indeed are printed as part of that book in some
   Christian Bibles. These stories include: Susan and the Elders, The
   Song of the Three Children, and Bel and the Dragon.
   
   There are other books mentioned in Torah. For example, Joshua 10:13
   refers to a book of "Jasher". Are such books part of the Jewish canon?
   No. Do they exist? There are many books on the web that claim to be
   such lost books. However, there are many sites (such as
   [5]http://answers.org/Bible/jasher-book-of.html that points out that
   many of them are hoaxes.

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Torah and Halachic Authority (3/12)
Previous Document: Question 3.1: What is the Written Law?
Next Document: Question 3.3: Why, in the Tanakh, does G-d have so many Names?

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