Old Testament

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

Old Testament First and older section of the Bible, originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic, and accepted as religiously inspired and sacred by both Jews and Christians. Among Jews it is known as the Hebrew Bible. It begins with the creation, but the main theme of the Old Testament is the history of the Hebrews. In addition, there are many examples of prophetic writing, poetry, and short narrative tales. It comprises the Pentateuch or Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy); the Historical Books (Joshua to I and II Kings); the Wisdom Books (Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes); the Major Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel); the 12 Minor Prophets (Hosea to Malachi); and the miscellaneous collection known as the Writings (including Psalms and the Song of Songs). Sometimes included is a collection of books written in the final three centuries bc, known as the Apocrypha. The number, order, and names of the books of the Old Testament vary between the Jewish and Christian traditions; texts for both are based mainly on the Septuagint. Parts of the ancient Hebrew text were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. See also Law and the Prophets

views updated

Old Tes·ta·ment • n. the first part of the Christian Bible, comprising thirty-nine books and corresponding approximately to the Hebrew Bible. Most of the books were originally written in Hebrew, some in Aramaic, between about 1200 and 100 bc. They comprise the chief texts of the law, history, prophecy, and wisdom literature of the ancient people of Israel.

views updated

Old Testament. Christian name for the Jewish scriptures (see TANACH) which form the first part of the Bible. In Roman Catholic usage the deuterocanonical books are included.