Dead Sea Scrolls

Dead Sea scrollTanakh at QumranQumran Scrolls
Albright has said, "We may rest assured that the consonantal text of the Hebrew Bible, though not infallible has been preserved with an accuracy perhaps unparalleled in any other Near Eastern literature." There are 225 Biblical texts included in the Dead Sea Scroll documents, or around 22% of the total, and with deuterocanonical books the number increases to 235. The Dead Sea Scrolls contain parts of all but one of the books of the Tanakh of the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament protocanon. They also include four of the deuterocanonical books included in Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles: Tobit, Ben Sirach, Baruch 6 (also known as the Letter or Epistle of Jeremiah), and Psalm 151.


MesopotamianMesopotamiansAncient Iraq
Thus, only a limited number of individuals were hired as scribes to be trained in its use. It was not until the widespread use of a syllabic script was adopted under Sargon's rule that significant portions of the Mesopotamian population became literate. Massive archives of texts were recovered from the archaeological contexts of Old Babylonian scribal schools, through which literacy was disseminated. During the third millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerian and the Akkadian language users, which included widespread bilingualism.

Ancient Egyptian literature

literatureancient EgyptianAncient Egyptian texts
Coptic became the standard in the 4th century AD when Christianity became the state religion throughout the Roman Empire; hieroglyphs were discarded as idolatrous images of a pagan tradition, unfit for writing the Biblical canon. Egyptian literature was produced on a variety of media. Along with the chisel, necessary for making inscriptions on stone, the chief writing tool of ancient Egypt was the reed pen, a reed fashioned into a stem with a bruised, brush-like end.


The Masoretes (Hebrew: Ba'alei ha-Masora) were groups of Jewish scribe-scholars who worked between the 6th and 10th centuries CE, based primarily in early medieval Palestine in the cities of Tiberias and Jerusalem, as well as in Iraq (Babylonia). Each group compiled a system of pronunciation and grammatical guides in the form of diacritical notes (niqqud) on the external form of the biblical text in an attempt to standardize the pronunciation, paragraph and verse divisions and cantillation of the Jewish Bible, the Tanakh, for the worldwide Jewish community.

Book of Deuteronomy

Hebrew Bible. Kashrut. Mosaic authorship. Old Deuteronomy. Papyrus Rylands 458 – the oldest Greek manuscript of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy in NIV. Deuteronomy in Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). Plaut, W. Gunther (1981). The Torah: A Modern Commentary. ISBN: 0-8074-0055-6. Plaut, W. Gunther (1981). The Torah: A Modern Commentary. ISBN: 0-8074-0055-6. Plaut, W. Gunther (1981). The Torah: A Modern Commentary. ISBN: 0-8074-0055-6. Plaut, W. Gunther (1981). The Torah: A Modern Commentary. ISBN: 0-8074-0055-6. Ausloos, Hans, The Deuteronomist’s History: The Role of the Deuteronomist in Historical-Critical Research into Genesis–Numbers (Old Testament Studies, 67), Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2015.


In the same period, the council of sages known as the Sanhedrin may have codified and canonized the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), from which, following the return from Babylon, the Torah was read publicly on market-days. The Temple was no longer the only institution for Jewish religious life. After the building of the Second Temple in the time of Ezra the Scribe, the houses of study and worship remained important secondary institutions in Jewish life. Outside Judea, the synagogue was often called a house of prayer. While most Jews could not regularly attend the Temple service, they could meet at the synagogue for morning, afternoon and evening prayers.


first wordopening wordsfirst distinctive word
The catalog was meant to be used by the very limited number of official scribes who had access to the archives, and the width of a clay tablet and its resolution did not permit long entries. This is a Sumerian example from Lerner: Many books in the Hebrew Bible are named in Hebrew using incipits. For instance, the first book (Genesis) is called Bereshit ("In the beginning ...") and Lamentations, which begins "How lonely sits the city...", is called Eykha ("How"). A readily recognized one is the "Shema" or Shema Yisrael in the Torah: "Hear O Israel..." – the first words of the proclamation encapsulating Judaism's monotheism (see beginning Deuteronomy 6:4 and elsewhere).

New Testament

NewThe New TestamentNew Testaments
The Epistle to the Hebrews addresses a Jewish audience who had come to believe that Jesus was the anointed one (Hebrew: מָשִׁיחַ—transliterated in English as "Moshiach", or "Messiah"; Greek: Χριστός—transliterated in English as "Christos", for "Christ") who was predicted in the writings of the Hebrew Scriptures. The author discusses the superiority of the new covenant and the ministry of Jesus, to the Mosaic covenant and urges the readers in the practical implications of this conviction through the end of the epistle.


Ezra the ScribeArtaxerxes(the Scribe)
Ezra, known as "Ezra the scribe" in Chazalic literature, is a highly respected figure in Judaism. The canonical Book of Ezra and Book of Nehemiah are the oldest sources for the activity of Ezra, whereas many of the other books ascribed to Ezra (First Esdras, 3–6 Ezra) are later literary works dependent on the canonical books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The book of Ezra–Nehemiah was always written as one scroll. In late medieval Christian bibles, the single book was divided in two, as First and Second Ezra; and this division became Jewish practice in the first printed Hebrew bibles. Modern Hebrew Bibles call the two books Ezra and Nehemiah, as do other modern Bible translations.

History of ancient Israel and Judah

ancient IsraelIsraelbiblical times
The fall of the city and the end of Davidic kingship forced the leaders of the exile community – kings, priests, scribes and prophets – to reformulate the concepts of community, faith and politics. The exile community in Babylon thus became the source of significant portions of the Hebrew Bible: Isaiah 40–55; Ezekiel; the final version of Jeremiah; the work of the hypothesized priestly source in the Pentateuch; and the final form of the history of Israel from Deuteronomy to 2 Kings.


hieratic scriptEgyptian hieraticEgyptian scripts
It was primarily written in ink with a reed pen on papyrus. In the second century, the term hieratic was first used by Clement of Alexandria. It derives from the Greek for "priestly writing", as at that time, hieratic was used only for religious texts and literature, as had been the case for the previous eight and a half centuries. Hieratic can also be an adjective meaning "[o]f or associated with sacred persons or offices; sacerdotal." Hieratic developed as a cursive form of hieroglyphic script in the Naqada III period, roughly 3200–3000 BCE.


He concludes that there is no certainty about whether it was a Jew or a Christian who transcribed the Cairo Genizah manuscripts of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible by Aquila (not the LXX), in which the Tetragrammaton is generally given in paleo-Hebrew letters but in one instance, where there was insufficient space at the end of a line, by, the nomen sacrum rendering of the genitive case of Κύριος. E. Gallagher also "has argued convincingly that Christian scribes might have produced paleo-Hebrew Tetragrammata within their biblical manuscripts, in addition to the attested use of the forms יהוה and πιπι."

Sefer Torah

Torah scrollTorah scrollsSifrei Torah
Five Megillot (the "Five Scrolls"), parts of the Hebrew Bible traditionally grouped together. Hakhel, biblical commandment to assemble for a Torah reading. Ktav Stam, rules for writing ritual scrolls. List of Hebrew Bible manuscripts - list of ancient scrolls and codices. Tikkun (book), used to prepare for the reading of Torah scroll in synagogue. Torah scroll (Yemenite), the specific Yemenite (as opposed to Ashkenazi or Sephardic) tradition of writing the Torah scroll. Universal Torah Registry, an initiative to prevent Torah scroll theft. Three complete kosher Torah scrolls for study online (Congregation Beth Emeth of Northern Virginia).


genizagenizotGenizah Collection
In Shabbat 30b, there is a reference to those rabbis who sought to categorize the books of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs as heretical; this occurred before the canonization of the Hebrew Bible, when disputes flared over which books should be considered Biblical. The same thing occurs in Shabbat 13b in regard to the Book of Ezekiel, and in Pesachim 62 in regard to the Book of Genealogies. In medieval times, Hebrew scraps and papers that were relegated to the genizah were known as shemot "names," because their sanctity and consequent claim to preservation were held to depend on their containing the "names" of God.


biblicalThe BibleChristian Bible
Against Apion, the writing of Josephus in 95 CE, treated the text of the Hebrew Bible as a closed canon to which "... no one has ventured either to add, or to remove, or to alter a syllable..." For a long time following this date the divine inspiration of Esther, the Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes was often under scrutiny. The Tanakh was mainly written in biblical Hebrew, with some small portions ( and,, ) written in biblical Aramaic, a sister language which became the lingua franca for much of the Semitic world. Samaritans include only the Pentateuch in their biblical canon. They do not recognize divine authorship or inspiration in any other book in the Jewish Tanakh.


According to the Hebrew Bible, he was saved and subsequently adopted by an Egyptian princess, and later in life became the leader of the Israelites and lawgiver, to whom the authorship of the Torah, or acquisition of the Torah from Heaven, is traditionally attributed. Also called Moshe Rabbenu in Hebrew (מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ, lit. "Moses our Teacher"), he is the most important prophet in Judaism. He is also an important prophet in Christianity, Islam, the Bahá'í Faith, and a number of other Abrahamic religions.


Kohen or cohen (or kohein; kohen, "priest", pl. kohanim, "priests") is the Hebrew word for "priest", used in reference to the Aaronic priesthood. Levitical priests or kohanim are traditionally believed and halakhically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the biblical Aaron (also Aharon), brother of Moses. During the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, kohanim performed the daily and holiday (Yom Tov) duties of sacrificial offerings. Today, kohanim retain a lesser though distinct status within Rabbinic and Karaite Judaism, and are bound by additional restrictions according to Orthodox Judaism.

Bo (parsha)

BoExodus 11Exodus 12
In the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible (, Tanakh), Parashat Bo has seven "open portion" (, petuchah) divisions (roughly equivalent to paragraphs, often abbreviated with the Hebrew letter (peh)). Parashat Bo has seven further subdivisions, called "closed portion" (, setumah) divisions (abbreviated with the Hebrew letter (samekh)) within the open portion (, petuchah) divisions. The first open portion (, petuchah) contains the first and part of the second readings (, aliyot). The second open portion (, petuchah) covers the balance of the second and part of the third readings (, aliyot).


Deuteronomy 31Parashat Vayelekh
In the Masoretic Text of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), Parashah Vayelech has two "open portion" (, petuchah) divisions (roughly equivalent to paragraphs, often abbreviated with the Hebrew letter (peh)). The first open portion (, petuchah) spans the first four readings (, aliyot). The second open portion (, petuchah) spans the remaining three readings (, aliyot). Within the first open portion (, petuchah), a further subdivision, called a "closed portion" (, setumah) (abbreviated with the Hebrew letter (samekh)), spans the first two readings (, aliyot).


Yom HaAliyah (Aliyah Day) is an Israeli national holiday celebrated annually according to the Jewish calendar on the tenth of the Hebrew month of Nisan to commemorate the Jewish people entering the Land of Israel as written in the Hebrew Bible, which happened on the tenth of the Hebrew month of Nisan . The holiday was also established to acknowledge Aliyah, immigration to the Jewish state, as a core value of the State of Israel, and honor the ongoing contributions of Olim, Jewish immigrants, to Israeli society. Yom HaAliyah is also observed in Israeli schools on the seventh of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan.


Similar words can be found in Sanskrit (कलम kalama, meaning "reed" and "pen" as well as a type of rice), Hebrew (kulmus, meaning quill) and Latin (calamus) as well as the ancient Greek Κάλαμος (Kalamos). The Arabic word قلم qalam (meaning "pen" or "reed pen") is likely to have been borrowed from one of these languages in antiquity. The Swahili word kalamu ("pen") comes from the Arabic qalam.


Prophet JeremiahJeremiasIeremias
Jeremiah (probably after 650 - c. 570 BC), also called the "weeping prophet", was one of the major prophets of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament of Christian Bible). According to Jewish tradition, Jeremiah authored the Book of Jeremiah, the Books of Kings and the Book of Lamentations, with the assistance and under the editorship of Baruch ben Neriah, his scribe and disciple.

The Book of Giants

Book of GiantsOgiasOgias the Giant
The Book of Giants is an apocryphal Jewish book which expands the Urzeit to Endzeit ('primeval creation' to 'end of time') narrative of the Hebrew Bible and, by its multifaceted elaborations on divine decrees of warning and doom, ties the ancient prophet Enoch (ḥanôk) closer to his generally recognized 'storyline' (as collectively put forth in various Enochic traditions) than does even the story's principal treatise of 1 Enoch. Together with 1 Enoch's Book of Watchers, as Enochian scholar James C.


Canaanite movementCanaanistCanaanites
They argued that the people of the Land of Israel in the days of the biblical monarchs had not been Jewish but Hebrew, and had shared a cultural context with other peoples of the region. Citing contemporary biblical criticism, the Canaanites argued that the Tanakh reflected this ancient history, but only partly, since it had been compiled in the period of the Second Temple by Jewish scribes who had rewritten the history of the region to suit their world-view. Much of the Canaanite effort was dedicated to researching the history of the Middle East and its peoples. The Canaanites cited approvingly the work of Umberto Cassuto, who translated Ugaritic poetry into Hebrew.

Sefer (Hebrew)

Sefer in biblical Hebrew means any kind of "book" or written document (plural s'farim). It is derived from the same Hebrew root as sofer ("scribe"), sifriyah ("library") and safrut ("literature"). Among Orthodox Jews the word is used for books both of the Tanakh, the oral law (Mishnah and Talmud) or any work of Rabbinic literature. Works unrelated to Torah study are rarely called sefer by English-speaking Orthodox Jews. Among Hebrew-speaking Ashkenazi Jews, the differentiation between books related to Torah study and other books is made by referring to the former with traditional Ashkenazi pronunciation (SEY-fur) and to the latter with Modern Hebrew pronunciation (SEF-fer).