Prophetic Books of the Old Testament

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Biblical writings composed by or attributed to the Prophets of the Old Testament. In all Bibles, except Jewish ones, it is customary to distinguish between the socalled four Major Prophets and the 12 minor prophets. The distinction, which goes back to St. Augustine (Civ. 18.29; Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum 40.2.306), is merely one of relative length, not one of relative importance. Following the Septuagint (LXX), the Vulgate (Vulg) and all other Christian versions of the Old Testament consider the Book of daniel to be the fourth of the Major Prophets, the first three being the Books of isaiah, jeremiah, and ezekiel. In the LXX, Jeremiah is followed by the Book of baruch and lamentations; in the Vulg and Catholic vernacular versions, by Lamentations and Baruch; in Protestant versions, by Lamentations alone, since these versions place Baruch among the socalled apocrypha. Only in the LXX are the Minor Prophets (in a somewhat different order among themselves) put before the Major Prophets.

All the books of the Hebrew Bible and of Jewish versions derived from it are divided into three main groups: the Torah (Pentateuch), the Prophets (n ebî'îm ), and the Writings (k e tûbîm ). The Prophets are divided into the First Prophets (n ebî'îm rīsônîm ) including Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, which were believed to have been written by Prophets, and the Later Prophets (n ebî'îm aărônîm ) including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the 12 Minor Prophets (reckoned as a single book). The Hebrew Bible puts Lamentations and Daniel among the Writings, and it does not have Baruch at all.

See Also: bible.

[l. f. hartman]