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Tanakh (Hebrew: תנ״ך) is an acronym referring to the Scriptures in Judaism, also known as the Hebrew Bible, formed from the names of its three parts:

  • Torah (Instruction)
  • Nevi'im (Prophets)
  • K'tuvim (Sacred Writings)

It is considered the compendium of the teachings of God to human beings in document form, using direct communication with Moshe; communicating through the Prophets and Prophetesses of the Jewish people; and through works inspired by "Ruach HaKodesh," the Holy Spirit, in the Sacred Writings.

The composition of the Tanakh was determined by the Anshei K'nesset HaGedolah (Men of the Great Assembly), under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It consists of twenty-four Books, where first and second volumes of one work are counted as one, and where all the twelve Books of the Shneim-'Asar, (Twelve Prophets) are also considered as one.

The twenty-four Books are:

I Torah

II Nevi'im/נביאים

  • 6-9: Nevi'im Rishonim/נביאים ראשונים (Early Prophets):
    • Y'hoshua/יהושע (Joshua)
    • Shoftim/שופטים (Judges)
    • Sh'mu'el I and II/שמואל (Samuel 1 and 2)
    • M'lakhim/מלכים Kings 1 and 2)
  • 10-13: Nevi'im Acharonim/נביאים אחרונים (Later Prophets):

III K'tuvim/כתובים

  • 14-16: Sifrei Emet (Books of Truth):
  • 22-24: Other Writings:

The Tanakh serves as the textual basis of the Christian Old Testament, though the Old Testament is broken up into more books and ends in the Book of Malachi since Christians believe that it predicts the arrival of Jesus, and it leads into the New Testament. In contrast, the Tanakh ends at 2 Chronicles with the Israelites in the Holy Land.

The Jewish community of Alexandria Egypt translated the Tanakh for Greek-speaking Jews of the diaspora. The resulting development of the Greek Tanakh is the Septuagint, which was the first century Bible of Jesus and the Apostles, who quoted from it as authoritative scripture. It contains books of scripture later rejected by the Palestinian rabbis in the second century in their determination and definition of the Tanakh of Israel. African Jews who used the Septuagint according to ancient tradition did not accept their decision as authoritative. The Beta Israel Ethiopian Jews are the only Jewish community today who still accept the Septuagint (minus Ecclesiasticus). The forty-six books of the Septuagint (including Ecclesiasticus) have been retained as the Old Testament of the Bible by the Orthodox and Catholic churches as part of Apostolic Tradition. The leaders of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century chose to accept the discernment of Palestinian Judaism as authoritative for determining the biblical canon of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, although Palestinian rabbinical authority utterly rejected Christianity, and by their definition of what constituted the inspired canon of the Tanakh automatically excluded all of the writings of the New Testament as false and uninspired.

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