Biblical Studies/Christianity/The Bible

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The Bible is the sacred book of Christianity. Many of the biblical accounts, especially those of the Old Testament, are believed not only by Christians, but also Jews and Muslims.

The word "Bible" originated from the Greek word, βιβλια, biblia, and means "books" or "collection of books". The origin of the Bible is very interesting, featuring multiple translations and conciliar debates leading to the canonization of the books as we know them today. The Bible consists of two parts, called "testaments" (testament refers to covenant with God, from the Latin "testamentum"): The Old Testament (OT), which contains the Torah (Law), Nevi'im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings) of the Jewish tradition, and the New Testament (NT), which contains the Gospels (good news) and the Epistles (letters), the Acts of the Apostles (accounts of the early Christian movement), and the Revelation of John (an apocalypse).

According to The Roman Catholic Canon the Bible is comprised of 73 books: the OT has 46 books and the NT has 27. Most Protestant churches reject six books from the Catholic OT, referring to them as the Apocrypha (it is obvious that Orthodox and Catholics do not call them "Apocryphal" but use the adjective "Deuterocanonical", which means "of the Second Canon" - the first being the Jewish Canon), giving the Protestant Bible 39 books in the OT and thus a total of 66 books.

The problem of defining which books belong in the Bible has received many solutions. At the time of Jesus, the Jews of the Sadducees group recognized only the Pentateuch as canonical. Today, among the major Christian denominations the largest number of books is found in the Bible of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which consists of 81 books: 46 in the Old Testament and 35 in the New Testament.

The first Catholic English Bible translation was the "Douay-Rheims Bible", 1609, followed by the Protestant (Anglican) "King James Bible" in 1611. Although before these two there were many partial translations, and some full and authorized editions (such as the Great Bible which was a predecessor to the KJV, authorized by King Henry VIII of England in 1539), the KJV, which utilized the Douay-Rheims Bible in its presentation of the NT, is often viewed as the first major English translation of the Bible due to the dominant place it held as the standard English Bible for some 400 years.

The linguistic structure of the King James Bible helped shape the English language and set most of the standards on how words should be spelled, as well as word order and grammar. Putting aside its intrinsic religious value, it is a masterpiece of English literature.

The original languages of the biblical texts were Classical Hebrew (most of the OT), Biblical (probably Imperial) Aramaic (Daniel 2-7, portions of Ezra 4-7, Genesis 31.47 and Jeremiah 10.11), and Koine Greek (the entire NT). Modern Hebrew, which is related to Biblical Hebrew, is spoken in Israel, a version of Aramaic is still spoken in Syria and surrounding by a population of almost one million people, and Greek is still spoken in its modern form in Greece.

In the final centuries BC, the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek (a translation called the Septuagint, abbreviated LXX), the universal language of the time. Then, in the very early Middle Ages the whole Bible was translated into Latin, which was, in turn, the language spoken in Europe at that time. After the Reformation many translations to the common languages (Spanish, French, English, German, etc.) began to appear.

The Bible is the most translated book of all time, the first book ever printed on a press with movable type, and the best selling book of all time.

Wikis centered around the Bible[edit | edit source]

Available Versions[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

WikiChristian - The Bible

Wikiversity has learning materials on the New Testament Biblical Studies

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