Old Testament


Old Testament
Term used by Christians for the first part of the Bible, though many scholars prefer to use the term ‘Hebrew Bible’ as a more neutral description. It is always regarded as authoritative (except by certain heretics, e.g. Marcion), though the precise contents of the OT have been disputed. In NT times the Samaritans accepted only the first five books of the OT, and at the Reformation Catholics accepted all the books contained in the LXX, while Protestants accepted the Hebrew canon and relegated the inter-testamental books contained only in the Greek LXX to the Apocrypha.
The Hebrew Bible is divided into the Law, the Prophets [[➝ prophets]], and the Writings [[➝ Writings, the]]:
The Law (Torah) reached its final form about 400 BCE and is the Pentateuch: Genesis to Deuteronomy.
The (Former) Prophets consist of the historical books which record activities of prophets—Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings.
The (Latter) Prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve Minor Prophets (Hosea to Malachi).
The Writings comprise the Psalms, Job, Proverbs, and five Rolls (Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Esther), Daniel, Ezra–Nehemiah, and Chronicles.
The Greek OT, the Septuagint (LXX) included additional books and compiled them in a different order. The historical books are grouped together, so that after the Pentateuch, the order is: Joshua, Judges and Ruth; the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles; 1 Esdras (not in Hebrew OT),
2 Esdras (Ezra–Nehemiah in Hebrew); Esther; followed by Judith, Tobit, and 1 and 2 Maccabees (not in Hebrew); then 3 and 4 Maccabees. The next section consists of the poetical books: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Job, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (Ben Sirach), Psalms of Solomon. The Prophetic Books consist of: the twelve Minor Prophets, followed by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Lamentations, Letter of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Susanna, Daniel (including the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Children), and Bel and the Dragon.
The OT is more of an anthology than a unified document with a single theological outlook. The great insight of modern critical scholarship has been the recognition of different strands in the historical books and the overall theological stamp which has been imposed upon them at a date far later than that of the events described. The OT was compiled over a period of more than a thousand years. A few pieces of poetry, such as Judg. 5, may have originated before 1000 BCE, while Daniel is as late as 165 BCE. It is one task of critical study to reconstruct the course of the history of Israel, and the records of neighbouring peoples and other discoveries of archaeologists have been important; and a few clues are provided by the books themselves about the time and place of their composition.

Dictionary of the Bible.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Old Testament — • The Apostle St. Paul declares himself (II Cor., iii, 6) a minister of the new testament , and calls (iii, 14) the covenant entered into on Mount Sinai the old testament Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Old Testament      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Old Testament — Old Old, a. [Compar. {Older}; superl. {Oldest}.] [OE. old, ald, AS. ald, eald; akin to D. oud, OS. ald, OFries. ald, old, G. alt, Goth. alpeis, and also to Goth. alan to grow up, Icel. ala to bear, produce, bring up, L. alere to nourish. Cf.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Old Testament — n the Old Testament the first part of the Christian Bible containing ancient Hebrew writings about the time before the birth of Christ →↑New Testament …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Old Testament — ► NOUN ▪ the first part of the Christian Bible, comprising thirty nine books and corresponding approximately to the Hebrew Bible …   English terms dictionary

  • Old Testament — n. Christian designation for the Holy Scriptures of Judaism, the first of the two general divisions of the Christian Bible: cf. BIBLE …   English World dictionary

  • Old Testament — Note: Judaism uses the term Tanakh to refer to its canon of the Masoretic Text. In academic circles, the more neutral term, Hebrew Bible, is commonly used to refer to these common Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. Part of a series on… …   Wikipedia

  • Old Testament — 1. the first of the two main divisions of the Christian Bible, comprising the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa. In the Vulgate translation all but two books of the Apocrypha are included in the Old Testament. See table under Bible. 2. this… …   Universalium

  • Old Testament — noun the collection of books comprising the sacred scripture of the Hebrews and recording their history as the chosen people; the first half of the Christian Bible (Freq. 5) • Members of this Topic: ↑golden calf, ↑laver, ↑Dead Sea scrolls,… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Old Testament —    This term is the Christian name for those biblical writings that record God s Revelation to the Chosen People. Christians believe that the Old Testament anticipates and prepares for the New Testament, which is accordingly the culmination and… …   Glossary of theological terms

  • Old Testament — noun the Old Testament the first part of the Christian Bible containing ancient Hebrew writings about the time before the birth of Christ compare New Testament …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • Old Testament — noun Old Testament is used before these nouns: ↑prophecy, ↑prophet …   Collocations dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.