Some Basic Bible Resources


What is a lectionary?
A schedule of daily Bible readings; several are here.

Some basic terms

CE the Common Era, i.e., the dating system that used to be called AD, Anno Domini
BCE before the Common Era
LXX The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament, circa 200 BCE
MT the Masoretic Text, the canonical Hebrew text of the Hebrew Bible
King James, the Authorized Version: 1611 English translation
Textus Receptus a fourth-century text collated from all the then-available manuscripts when Christianity was legalized under Constantine
The King James / Authorized Version is a fair reflection of the Textus Receptus.
halakah legal matter in the Bible and Jewish law
aggadah narrative in the Bible and Jewish law
haggadah the Narrative, i.e., the story of the Exodus from Egypt, recited at Passover
Deuteronmistic History ####

Some of the oldest manuscripts of the Bible:

Sinaiticus a fourth-century manuscript found by #### Tischendorf in the 1890s
Vaticanus fourth-century, in the Vatican Library
neither Sinaiticus nor Vaticanus were available to the King James translators
all the other uncial manuscripts are fifth-century or later
p46 papyrus, second or third-century, of the New Testament

The Parts of the Bible, the Mishnah, and the Talmuds

The Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
sometimes call the books of Moses; for Judaism, the Terah

The Prophets, the Neviim in Hebrew:
The Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings)
The Later Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel; and the minor prophets)
The Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Johan Micah, Nahum, Habbakuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi)

The Writings (Kethuvim, in Hebrew)
Psalms, Proverbs, Job, the Five Festal Scrolls (the Megilloth), the Chronicler's History
The Five Festal Scrolls: Ruth, Lamentations, Esther, Song of Songs, Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes)
The Chronicler's History: Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles

Together, the Torah-Neviim-Kethuvim are acronized as TaNaK, the canon of rabbinic Judaism

The Christian additions:
Wisdom of Solomon
Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)
possibly 3 and 4 Ezra
Greek additions to Daniel and Esther,
including the Benidicite Omnia Opera,
canticle for the Office of Matins, Sundays in Week I
The Christian additions (the "Apocrypha") are in the LXX,
but not in the canon of the rabbis at Javneh, circa 90 CE

The parts of the New Testament:
Epistles of Paul
Catholic Epistles

The Mishnah was published around 200 CE,
a little younger than the New Testament,
and several generations of rabbis later.

There are six Orders of the Mishnah
(Strack-Stemberger, pp. 126-133):

1 Zeraim, Seeds: laws, especially about agriculture
2 Mo`ed, Festivals
3 Nashim, Women
4 Nezikim, Damages
5 Qodashim, Holy Things
6 Tohart, Purities

There are two Talmuds, the Yerushalmi or Jerusalem Talmud (fourth-fifth century) and the Babylonian Talmud (a century or two later).
In each, a section of the Mishnah is accompanied by commentary, the Gemarah.
See H. L. Strack and G. Stemberger, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash.

The History of Israel and beyond

The first reliable history in the Bible begins with the time of David and Solomon: eleventh or tenth-century BCE, in 1 and 2 Samuel. David and Solomon each reigned for about 40 years, Solomon built the first Temple, and the kingdom was divided into Israel (in the North) and Judah (in the South) after Solomon. See 1 Kings 1-3 for the scandalous details.

The divided kingdoms
ending in 722 (Israel falls to the Assyrians)
and 586 (Judah falls to the Babylonians)
40 years of exile,
ending in about 540 BCE when the Persians conquer the Babylonians
#### Isaiah 40

The History of the texts

The New Testament and the Mishnah both build on the Exodus, but in different ways: the New Testament builds on the narrative in the Torah (the aggadah), and the Mishnah on the law (the halakah).

Jews and Christians have somewhat inverted attitudes toward halakah and aggadah: for Jews, the halakah is sacred, and you can have fun with the aggadic material; for Christians, the narrative is sacred, and you can change canon law several times a century.

Biblical religion in the history of religions

Some bibliography