¡@

Terms and Names in the HEBREW BIBLE (I)

 

by Lien-yueh Wei

¡@

¡@

Scripture

 

Tanakh/Miqra¡¦

The names of the Hebrew Bible in Jewish tradition. TaNakh include three major sections of the Hebrew Bible: Law, Prophets, and Writings (or Torah, Nevi¡¦im, and Ketuvim). The first letters of the names of these three sections in Hebrew made up of the term TaNakh to represent the Hebrew Bible.

Old Testament

The name of the Hebrew Bible in the Christian tradition.

Canon

The term means, ¡§rule; standard (come from Greek kanōn)¡¨. In a theological sense, a canon is a authoritative list of books regarded as holy for a particular religious community. The canon, for Jews, is the Hebrew Bible; for Christians, is the Old and New Testament.

 

Torah

The term means ¡§Teaching.¡¨ In the Jewish tradition, it is the name of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible--Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and it is the most important section of the Hebrew Bible. These five books were regarded as a single unit after its final editing during or after the exile. Both Jewish and Christian view these five books as a single unit.

 

Tetrateuch

The term means ¡§Four scrolls (Greek).¡¨ It is the name of the first four books of the Hebrew Bible--Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Martin Noth, a German scholar, regards these four books as a single unit. Then Deuteronomy was attached to these four books at the later stage of the edition of Torah.

Pentateuch

The term means ¡§Five scrolls (Greek).¡¨ It is the name of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These five books were regarded as a single unit after its final editing during or after the exile. Both Jewish and Christian view these five books as a single unit. The traditional term in Judaism for these five books is Torah.

Hexateuch

The term means ¡§Six scrolls (Greek).¡¨ It is the name of the first six books of the Hebrew Bible--Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua. Gerhard von Rad, a German scholar, regards the first six books as a single unit. He considers Joshua as the story¡¦s climax of the conquest of land of Israel.

 

Deuterocanonical Books

The term means ¡§The second set of canonical Old Testament books.¡¨ These books were written ca. 200 B.C.E to 100 C.E. for Greek-spoken Jews living outside Palestine. In Jewish Bible and most Protestant Bible, these books are not the part of the canon. For Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles, these books are the part of the canon and interspersed among other canonical books. For Protestant, since these books did not have authoritative like canonical books, they called these books Apocrypha.

Apocrypha

The term means ¡§Hidden things or writings.¡¨ These books were written ca. 200 B.C.E to 100 C.E. for Greek-spoken Jews living outside Palestine. In Jewish Bible and most Protestant Bible, these books are not the part of the canon. For Protestant, since these books did not have authoritative like canonical books, they called these books Apocrypha.

For Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles, these books are the part of the canon and interspersed among other canonical books. Hence, they called these books Deuterocanonical Books.

 

 

 

Other Language Versions

Septuagint (LXX)

3rd B.C.E.

A Greek version of and The first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. When Greek became the most popular language in Alexandria empire period, it is important to have a Greek version Hebrew Bible at that time. According to a legend, there were 72 scholars finished the work of translation in Alexandria at the order of Ptolemy II in the 3rd century B.C.E. LXX, in Roman numeral as 70, became a symbol or abbreviation to represent this Greek version. LXX became the favored translation of the Old Testament among early Christians.

Targums

3rd C.E.

The Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible. When Hebrew faded as a spoken language and Aramaic became a spoken language, it is important for Jews in Palestine, Babylon, and Near East area to have an Aramaic version of the Hebrew Bible. This version began to use about 3rd century C.E.

Vulgate

405 C.E.

The term means ¡§Common¡¨ in Latin. It is a Latin version of Bible translated by Jerome and completed in 405 C.E. The old Testament of This version was based not on a previous Latin version nor on the Greek version, but on the Hebrew. In order to translate, he studied with rabbis. This version became a commonly use in west world and an official Bible of Roman Catholic.

 

Jerome

(ca. 340-420 C.E.) A Christian theologian and the translator of Latin version of the Bible, Vulgate, completed in 405 C.E. The old Testament of This version was based not on a previous Latin version nor on the Greek version, but on the Hebrew. In order to translate, he studied with rabbis. This version became a commonly use in west world and is an official Bible of Roman Catholic.

 

 

 

Geography

Qumran

1947, 1960

A famous site near the northwest corner of the Dead Sea. Numbers of scroll jars are discovered in caves of this region in 1947 and 1960, including scrolls known as Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) and many text commentaries. .

Alexandria

Egyptian port founded by Alexander the Great; an important Jewish settlement in the Hellenistic times.

Mesopotamia

The term means ¡§between the rivers.¡¨ It indicates the area between Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This area gave rise to two powerful empires, Assyria and Babylon, of the ancient world. This area together with Palestine and Egypt is called ¡§Fertile Crescent.¡¨

Mari

18th B.C.E.

A city located on Euphrates. Its rich archives from 18th century B.C.E. are used for proofs of the historicity in the Patriarchal narratives in Genesis.

Nuzi/Nuzu

15th B.C.E.

A city located on east of Tigris. Its rich archives from 15th century B.C.E. are used for proofs of the historicity of some social and legal customs in Patriarchal narratives in Genesis.

Ugarit

An ancient region located near the Mediterranean coast in present-day Syria. It is a famous excavation site. There were many ancient Near Eastern myths with obvious similarities to some Hebrew Bible stories, such as the God Baal, were discovered in this site.

Canaan

The tern means ¡§purple dye (Akkadian).¡¨ It is one of the earliest names of the region that later called Palestine. This region roughly equivalent to the land of Israel in pre-biblical Mesopotamian and Egyptian documents. In the Bible, it refers to the pre-Israelite land and a fertile land. 

 

 

 

Peoples

Hyksos

The term means ¡§rulers of foreign land(s).¡¨ This name indicated that a group of Asiatics, mostly Semitic, who ruled over Egypt during the period 17th-16th century B.C.E.

Philistines

A subgroup of the Sea People who moved into the Mediterranean coast line (the coastal region of Canaan) in 13th-12th century B.C.E. In the Hebrew Bible, they are associated with Caphtor or Cyprus (Jer 4:7; Amos 9:7)

Canaanites

A group of peoples who made up the major part of the non-Israelite population of the land of Canaan.

Hebrews

People who spoke Hebrew language, a West-Semitic language distinct from other West-Semitic languages, such as Aramaic, Ugaritic or Edomite. It is the language in which most of the Hebrew Bible is written. The term describes the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and is used mostly to designate early Israelites.

Israelites

religious entity - exile

The name of the Hebrews from the time when they became people/ socio-religious entity and inhabited the land. (Merneptah stele) until the Babylonian exile, when they lost the state. In the narrow sense, while they were still 12 tribes, until the fall of Northern kingdom, 721 BCE.

Jews

After exile

The term Jew is derived through the Latin Judaeus and the Greek Ioudaios from the Hebrew Yehudhi. The latter term is an adjective occurring only in the later parts of the Old Testament and signifying a descendant of Yehudhah (Judah), the fourth son of Jacob, whose tribe, together with that of his half brother Benjamin, constituted the Kingdom of Judah. It designates the Biblical people after the Babylonian exile.

 

 

 

Languages in Ancient world

Egyptian

(Hiero)

A Hamitic language; Hieroglyphics and Hieratic scripts. Hieroglyphics-Hieratic-Demotic writing systems mean respectively: holy-priestly-popular. The later development of the Ancient Egyptian is Coptic, written in alphabetic script.

Sumerian (Cunei)

4000 B.C.E.

Southern Mesopotamian language about 4000 B.C.E. The Sumerians developed cuneiform writing system to write symbols or marks on wet clay tablet.

Akkadian

(Cunei)

The language of the Assyrian and Babylonia empires. It is a Semitic language related to Hebrew, and is written in cuneiform.

Ugaritic (Alpha)

A Canaanite language (West Semitic family) of the city of Ugarit; written in alphabetic script.

Aramaic

(Alpha)

A West Semitic language used widely in Mesopotamia and the land of Israel during the Persian period. About 500 B.C.E., it became the most popular language in the ancient Near Eastern world.  Parts of the Hebrew Bible written in Aramaic: Daniel 2:4-7:28, Ezra 4:8-6:18 and 7:12-26, Jeremiah 10:11. A alphabetic square script.

Hittite

(Cunei)

An Indo-European language spoken by people of Anatolia 2000 B.C.E. They had a great influence on pre-Israel; cuneiform script; These Hittites are not to be confused with the Hittites mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (There is no connection between the two).

 

 

 

Study Methods or Approaches

 

Low Criticism

Lower Criticism or

Textual Criticism

An approach of biblical study. It deals with words, languages and philology of the Hebrew Bible. It was called lower criticism for distinguishing from ¡§higher criticism¡¨ which deals with ideas of the Hebrew Bible. It is a method that establishes the rules of the corruption of the text and amends it. Its goal was to recover the original text as closely as possible.

 

Unintentional mistakes (which corrupted the texts)

Dittography (+)

The term means ¡§twice written (Greek).¡¨ A copying error in which a word or phrase is written twice that should be written only once. EX. Philology is right, but phillology is a dittography.

Haplography (-)

The term means ¡§writing once (Greek).¡¨ A copying error in which a letter word or phrase is written once that should be written twice. EX. Philology is right, but philogy is a haplography.

Homoeoarchton

(begin)

The term means ¡§having similar beginning (Greek).¡¨ Two lines begin in the same word resulting in the scribe¡¦s skipping a line.

Homoioteleuton

(end)

The term means ¡§having similar ending (Greek).¡¨ Two lines end in the same word resulting in the scribe¡¦s skipping a line.

Metathesis

Transposition of words or letters. (transposition of sounds: tax and task)

 

Letter Confusion   

Hearing Confusion

Two words or letters sound alike

Homophony

Two words with the same sound but different meanings

Word Division

Words divided incorrectly

Marginalia

Words mistakenly inserted from margin to text (or inserted in an incorrect position).

 

Guide for the Text

Masorah

A system of marking (vowel signs, marginal notes, and accent mark, etc.) that were added to the consonantal Hebrew text by Masoretes¡¦ scribes in the 7th-9th centuries C.E (early Middle ages). The text which they produced called Masoretic Text.

Masoretes

Masoretes were families of Jewish Scholars who developed a system of checks and rules for copying text to ensure the accuracy of their copies and also developed a system of marking (vowel signs, marginal notes, and accent mark, etc.) that were added to the consonantal Hebrew text in the 7th-9th centuries C.E (early Middle ages). The text which they produced called Masoretic Text.

 

Masoretic Text

A text of the Hebrew Bible was carefully produced and preserved by Masoretes¡¦s scribes who developed a system of checks and rules for copying text to ensure the accuracy of their copies and also developed a system of marking (vowel signs, marginal notes, and accent mark, etc.) that were added to the consonantal Hebrew text. All Masoretic biblical manuscripts date to the 10th century C.E. or later.

Samaritan Text

A text of the Torah in Hebrew used by the Samaritan community. This text disagrees with the Masoretic Text at many points. Some of these points not only reflect Samaritan belief and an alternate textual tradition, but also were supported by the Dead Sea scrolls.

 

Kere/qere

The term means ¡§what is read¡¨. A guide signs of reading the text appropriately. Kere we-la Ketive means ¡§Read but not written.¡¨

Ketiv

The term means ¡§what is written¡¨. A guide signs of writing the text appropriately. Ketive we-la Kere means ¡§Written but not read.¡¨

 

Urtext

Putative (theoretical) original form of the text of the Bible

Textual Witnesses

Different forms of the Biblical text in Hebrew (Samaritan, Mesoretic, Dead Sea Scrolls) and other ancient translation of the Hebrew Bible

Variants

Differences in readings of textual witnesses

Versions

The ancient translations of the Bible.

 

 

Higher Criticism

Higher Criticism

An approach of biblical study. It deals with ideas of the Hebrew Bible. It was called higher criticism for distinguishing from ¡§lower criticism¡¨ which deals with words, languages and philology of the Hebrew Bible. It includes many different biblical study methods, such as Source Criticism, Form Criticism, Redaction Criticism, etc.

Historical Criticism

It is the paradigm of scholarly biblical study until last several decades. It includes many different biblical study methods, such as Source Criticism, Form Criticism, Redaction Criticism, and Canonical Criticism, etc. It use a scientific method to understand the text. Its basic principle is that the process of exegesis is to discover about the author of the text, the circumstances under which the author wrote, and the primary audience who the text was intended.

Source Criticism

Source criticism began with the study of the Torah, observing some literary phenomena, such as duplicate stories, inconsistencies, anachronisms, different God¡¦s name, and sudden stylistic change. According to these phenomena, source criticism inferred that some different sources existed before and behind the text and was used to compose of the final form of the Torah. The goal of Source criticism was to discover the different written sources behind the text and to explore how the sources were combined into large units.

Documentary Hypothesis

The theory that the Torah is a combination of sources or documents from different eras and different geography or social groups. In classical Documentary Hypothesis or Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis statement, the Torah is composed of four documents, J, E, P, and D.  J or Yahwist source reflected the traditions of southern part of the Palestine region and can be dated in the 10th-9th century B.C.E.  E or Elohist resource reflected the northern part of Palestine region and can be dated in the 9th -8th century B.C.E.  D or Deuteronomist source reflected, by sermonic form not by narrative form, the theological formula that obedience to God brings blessing and disobedience bring curse. D source can be dated in the 7th century B.C.E.  P or priestly resource reflected the tradition of priesthood and ceremony. It maintained the detail of ritual and law.  This source can be dated in 6th-5th century B.C.E.

Supplementary Theory

This theory recognizes that there was only a single source that was gradually supplemented by the addition of other text. This basic source is most important part of the final text. Some scholars think that the final form of the first six books of the Bible based on a single and basic source.

Fragmentary Theory

The Torah is composed of many small sources, literary units, instead of few extensive narratives. The final editor plays the major role.

J, 10-9th

E, 9-8th

D, 7th

P, 6-5th

In classical  Documentary Hypothesis or Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis statement, the Torah is composed of four documents, J, E, P, and D.  J or Yahwist resource reflected the traditions of southern part of the Palestine region. The actions of God in this resource are described in a very personal or anthropomorphic manner. J resource can be dated in the 10th-9th century B.C.E.  E or Elohist resource reflected the northern part of Palestine region. This document avoids the anthropomorphic description of God. E document can be dated in the 9th -8th century B.C.E.  D or Deuteronomist resource reflected, by sermonic form not by narrative form, the theological formula that obedience to God brings blessing and disobedience bring curse. D document can be dated in the 7th century B.C.E.  P or priestly resource reflected the tradition of priesthood and ceremony. This document not only maintained the detail of ritual and law, but also offered certainty during exile. P source can be dated in 6th-5th century B.C.E.

 

Scholars and Approaches

Spinoza, Baruch

17th

A 17th Jew philosopher and one of the first biblical critics in the Enlightenment. Because his odd philosophical viewpoint was different from the tradition Jewish teaching, he was excommunicated from Judaism.

De Wette, M. L.

18th

 

A German scholar in 18th century C.E. He identified the law book discovered in the temple during the reign of the king of Judah in the 7th century B.C.E. with an early version of the present book of Deuteronomy. Thus, he concluded that the D source, not P source, is the latest source in Torah. Hence, that indicated that the order of the four sources for Torah is: P, J, E, and D.

Astruc, Jean

18th

 

proposed in 1753 that In 18th century C.E., He found that the different names for God (YHWH and Elohim)in the Book of Genesis had different style. He concluded that there were two different sources behind the text. Hence, the final form of Genesis was composed of these two resources.

Wellhausen, Julius

19th

A German Biblical scholar in the 19th C.E. His statement of documentary hypothesis that the Torah is composed of four documents or resources (J, E, D, and P) became a classic statement of the Biblical studies. His hypothesis or newer documentary hypothesis was prevailed in biblical study almost one century.

 

 

Form criticism           

Form criticism

This criticism focuses on the smaller units that made up larger texts and especially focuses on the oral stage of the text.

Form criticism thinks that people use a particular form of speaking or writing in a particular setting. Hence, they try to find different genres in a text and seek to clarify the form, function and social setting of the text. They recognize that each form of the text was related to its particular social context, circumstance and function. They believe that when they understand more about the form of the text and its social setting, they will understand more about the meaning of that text.

Gunkel, Hermann

The father of form criticism. 1901, Commentary on the Book of Genesis. He shifts the interest of biblical study from history to genres of literature.

Sitz im Leben

This German term means for ¡§Setting in life¡¨. This term was used by form criticism to refer to the sociological context of a form or genre.

genre

A class or group. For literature, there are different genres, such as prose and poetry and subtypes (story, song, hymn, saga, legend, etc.) In biblical texts, they can also be grouped in different genres by their characteristics.  

 

 

Redactor

The term means editor. A redactor is who shape the material he/she received for a particular purpose.

Redaction Criticism

This criticism focuses on the final stage in the formation of a biblical book. It tries to find that how and why many different sources can be composed a single unit. It concerns with the perspective, intention, viewpoint, and bias of the redactor, whose purpose may not conform with the author of the biblical text sometimes.

Tradition Criticism

This criticism studies the development of a text from its earliest oral stage, through the written sources, redaction into a book, to the latest canonical stage, and even to its later use in communities. It is the most comprehensive critical method and covers the entire history of biblical tradition. It recognizes that many people or groups made contribution to the process of the traditional formation of the Bible.

 

Deuteronomistic History

This term refer to the history of Israel in the Hebrew Bible that begins with Deuteronomy, through Joshua, Judges, Samuel, to Kings. In those books, they show the similarities of theology and linguistic term. Hence, some scholars think that those books are composed by a redactor, called Deuteronomistic Historian. This history describes that Israel failure to keep the covenant between God and Israel people.

Deuteronomistic Historian /Dtr

The Deuteronomistic history of Israel in the Hebrew Bible begins with Deuteronomy, through Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. In those books, they show the similarities of theology and linguistic term. Hence, some scholars think that those books are composed by a redactor, called Deuteronomistic Historian.

 

Chronological Biblical Study Methods:

  1. Philology of text: focus on words of the text

Textual Criticism

 

  2. Historical Criticism: focus behind the text

Source Criticism: sources of text

      Form Criticism: Genres of text

      Redaction Criticism: Formation of text

      Canonical Criticism: Formation of canon

      Sociological Criticism: Social circumstances of text

      Tradition Criticism: Oral form to canonical from of text

 

  3. Literary Criticism: focus in the text

Literary Criticism

 

  4. Other Criticism: focus on the reader¡¦s view

      Feminist Criticism

      Reader-Response Criticism

 

Date Abbreviation used in Scholarly Biblical Study

B.C.E. = before the Common Era = B.C.

C.E. = Common Era = A.D.

 

 

 

History and Historiography

 

Etiology

study of causes and reasons of the origins of things, such as events, customs, festivals, names of places, group of people, mountains, trees, rocks, wells¡Ketc.

Do not confuse with ¡¥etymology¡¦! Etymology is a linguistic term explaining the root of a word.

 

Theogony

The origin and birth of god(s).

Theophany

Appearance of God (Greek). A divine appear through a form that can be sensed by human.

Theomachy

Battles among the gods; wars or fights of gods.

 

Cosmogony

The origin and birth of the universe.

Cosmology

Study about the nature of the universe, such as its origin, its function, and the place of humans in it. Cosmology conceives humans as an inseparable part of the physical world.

 

Androgony

The creation of the humankind.

Enuma Elish

A Babylon creation epic. In this epic, the god Marduk becomes king of the gods after create the cosmos from the body of the goddess of the deep, Tiamat.

 

Atrahasis

A hero of the Mesopotamia epic of Atrahasis, who survives a flood that destroy humankind operated by the god Enlil. Sections are reworked in tablet 11 of Gilgamesh Epic, which also narrates a flood story.

 

Anachronism

The term means ¡§mistake of placing something in wrong historical period¡¨ or ¡§thing dated wrong.¡¨  It easy occur that an author use the material or element which did not exist in the past to describe the past event.  In the Bible, there are some anachronisms in some geographical name. For example, Gen 14 mentions the city Dan, but this name only begins to use in the Judges time. 

 

Merism

A figure of speech in which two opposing terms are combined to convey the idea of including both terms and everything in between. For example, ¡§the tree of knowledge of good and bad (Gen 2:17)¡¨ may mean ¡§the tree of knowledge of everything.¡¨

 

 

History

(The term means knowing by inquiry in Greek.) It is the study of the past events, including interpreting them. It also means the description or narrative of past events.

Historiography

The term means the art of writing about history or writing about history. It is the study of the way history is written. Study how people write their own history. The historiography of antiquity differs from today¡¦s historiography. For example the choice of roles and places, the handling of sources and materials, and author¡¦s motivation and goal are different.

Historicity

The term means a real event in real human history. Historicity of a text is a useful and historical source. Some biblical scholars always try to find whether the biblical texts are the historical documents.

Antiquarianism

Study and love of antiquity, such as collecting antiques.

 

Excavative

Approach

Focus on questions of origin, date and authorship.

 

 

Archeology

Tel/Tell

A mound whose formation is the result of repeated human occupation in the past. If a place, before the latter occupants begin their new construction, they do not sweep away too much the former occupant¡¦s construction. Hence, after many generations, this place will accumulate a mound or tell composed by every occupant¡¦s construction. Then, this tell can be a valuable archeological site.

Merneptah Stele

An Egyptian inscription text. This text has been cited to support 15th or 13th century B.C.E as the date of the Exodus. This text also includes the first extrabiblical records of Israel.

¡¥Apiru/ Habiru

A group of social bandits who make trouble for the Egyptians vassals in Palestine. In those Amarna Letters written by vassals in 15th B.C.E. repeatedly mention about this group. Some scholars noticed the name of this group is similar to the word, ¡§Hebrew.¡¨ Hence, they regard it as evidence of Israel and used it to support 15th century as the date of the Exodus.

Amarna Letters

These letters was found near the modern Egyptian village of elAmarna, near Egyptian capital. In the 15th century B.C.E. Some letter was written by Egyptian vassals in Palestine sent to the Pharaohs. Those letters have been cited to support 15th century B.C.E. as the date of the Exodus.

 

 

 

Bibliography

Sasson, Jack, Lectures of ¡§The Hebrew Bible¡¨ in Vanderbilt University Divinity School, 2004 Fall.

Frick, Frank S., A Journey through the Hebrew Scriptures, (CA: Thomson Learning, 2003).

Berlin, Adele & Brettler, Marc Zvi, The Jewish Study Bible, (NY: Oxford University Express, 2004).

 

¡@

¡@

¡@

¡@

¡@

¡@

¡@

¡@