This work reflects the study of the Judeo-Christian Bible and related texts. For Christianity, the Bible traditionally comprises the New Testament and Old Testament, which together are sometimes called the "Scriptures." Judaism recognizes as scripture only the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Tanakh, an acronym for the Hebrew names of its divisions: Torah (Law), Nevi'im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (writings). Other texts often examined by biblical scholars include the Jewish apocrypha, the Jewish pseudepigrapha, the Christian apocrypha, the many varieties of ante-Nicene early Christian literature, and early Jewish literature.
There are several approaches to study of, and commentary on, the Judeo-Christian texts. The distinctions are found in the understanding of the Origins for the text and the basis of Truth found in the texts.
Orthodox Religious Study
In the Jewish community, the classical approach is Orthodox religious study of the Bible, where it is assumed that the Bible has a Divine origin and the human writers were inspired directly by the Spirit of God when writing. This is also true in the conservative Christian communities that hold to a Biblical Worldview and those who hold to the historically traditional Church view.
In both cases, Biblical writings are considered to be absolute truth coming directly from God and form the basis for all moral, ethical and social practices of believers.
Progressive or Mainstream Religious Study
It is common in both Judaic and Christian contemporary religious communities, often called Mainstream, to study the Bible as a human creation, where the writings were originated by people inspired by God as well as being inspired by Religious Study.
Such an approach yields scripture that is considered to be truthful only in some respects, which necessitates the addition of other writings or rational thinking in order to reach truthful and applicable practices of moral, ethical and social thought. In such cases, studies include high consideration for texts that are part of a tradition. These include Apochryphal writings and rabbinical commentaries. Also, science and other contemporary knowledge from the academic community is often used to augment the understanding of Biblical text.
Secular Study of the Bible
Secular practitioners of Biblical Studies view the Bible as literature and not Sacred text. Most do not have any faith commitment to the texts they study. Biblical criticism seems to reject the idea that the Bible was written by prophets or teachers inspired by God. Indeed, this practice, when applied to the Torah, is generally considered heresy by the entire Orthodox Jewish community. As such, much modern day Bible commentary written by non-Orthodox Judaic authors is considered treif (forbidden) by rabbis teaching in Orthodox yeshivas.
Some classical rabbinic commentators, such as Abraham Ibn Ezra, Gersonides and Maimonides, used many elements of modern day biblical criticism, including their then-current knowledge of history, science and philology. Their use of historical and scientific analysis of the Bible was considered kosher by historic Judaism due to the author's faith commitment to the idea that God revealed the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai.
The Modern Orthodox Jewish community allows for a wider array of biblical criticism to be used for biblical books outside of the Torah, and a few Orthodox commentaries now incorporate many of the techniques previously found in the academic world, e.g. the Da'at Miqra series.
Non-Orthodox Jews, including those affiliated with Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism, accept the validity of both traditional and secular approaches to Bible studies. See the article on Revelation for details of how members of these groups understand this concept.
The Wikipedia article on Jewish commentaries on the Bible discusses Jewish Tanakh commentaries from the Targums to classical rabbinic literature, the midrash literature, the classical medieval commentators, and modern day commentaries.
The Judeo-Christian Texts
The Tanakh and The Christian Bible
Christian Bible Revisions
- Old Testament Commentaries
- New Testament Commentaries
- Bible Topics
- 1599 Geneva Study Bible Study Bible of the version that Shakespeare studied
- WikiChristian - A Wiki for Christians to discuss the Bible, current issues in the church, church history, Christian music and movies, and Christian doctrine and theology
- EasyEnglish project from Wycliffe Associates UK - Bible Books in simple English, with Bible Commentaries and various Bible Study books online. All books can be downloaded free.
- World English Bible project - Modern English public domain translation of the Bible (an update of the American Standard Version of 1901, which is also in the Public Domain)
- King James version of the Bible
- World English version of the Bible