Tanach Judaic Bible Old Testament Tanach is the canonical collection of Jewish texts, which is also the textual source for the Christian Old Testament. These texts are composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, with some passages in Biblical Aramaic (in the books of Daniel, Ezra and a few others). The form of this text that is authoritative for Rabbinic Judaism is known as the Masoretic Text but this text is not the Urtext of the Hebrew Bible which is lost.
Though the terms “Bible” and “Old Testament” are commonly used by non-Jews to describe Judaism’s scriptures, the appropriate term is “Tanach,” which is derived as an acronym from the Hebrew letters of its three components: Torah, Nevi’im and Ketuvim. Tanach Judaic Bible Old Testament
Modern scholars seeking to understand the history of the Hebrew Bible use a range of sources not only the Masoretic Text. These sources include early Greek (Septuagint) and Syriac (Peshitta) translations, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Dead Sea Scrolls and quotations from rabbinic manuscripts. Most of these sources are older than the Masoretic text and often contradict it. Which of the three commonly known versions (Septuagint, Masoretic Text, Samaritan Pentateuch) is closest to the original text is not fully determined. The Masoretic Text is divided into twenty-four books. Protestant Bible translations which consist basically of the same text as the Masoretic Text divide it into 39 books.
Tanakh is an acronym of the first Hebrew letter of each of the Masoretic Text’s three traditional subdivisions: Torah (“Teaching”, also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi’im (“Prophets”) and Ketuvim (“Writings”)—hence TaNaKh. The name Mikra (מקרא), meaning “that which is read”, is another Hebrew word for the Tanakh. The books of the Tanakh were passed on by each generation and, according to rabbinic tradition, were accompanied by an oral tradition, called the Oral Torah. The three-part division reflected in the acronym “Tanakh” is well attested in the literature of the Rabbinic period. During that period, however, “Tanakh” was not used. Instead, the proper title was Mikra (or Miqra, מקרא, meaning “reading” or “that which is read”) because the biblical texts were read publicly. Mikra continues to be used in Hebrew to this day, alongside Tanakh, to refer to the Hebrew scriptures. In modern spoken Hebrew, they are interchangeable.