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Biblical Writings - Essay Example

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In a reflective exploration of the meaning and scope of comparative Scripture, various terms such as Tanakh, Torah, Mishnah, Gemara, Talmud, Hebrew Bible, Jewish scripture, Old Testament, and First Testament assume importance as these terms are related to one another…
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Biblical Writings
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Download file to see previous pages "Torah" is a Hebrew term meaning 'teaching' or 'instruction', which is used to refer to the Five Books of Moses, otherwise known as Pentateuch, which include Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. However, the term is also used to refer to the entire Jewish bible and to the entire Jewish law and teachings, in its broadest sense. The Talmud may be realized as one of the central texts of conventional Judaism which incorporates the rabbinic teachings concerning Jewish law, ethics, customs and history, and it has two components: Mishnah and Gemara. The Hebrew term Mishnah (or Mishna), which means 'repetition', can be comprehended as the earliest written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions and it can refer to the entire tradition of the Oral Torah. The second component of the Talmud, known as the Gemara, is a collection of rabbinical commentaries and studies of the Mishnah. The terms such as Hebrew Bible, Jewish scripture, Old Testament, and First Testament are closely connected, because all these refer to the same scripture in different traditions. Thus, the Hebrew Bible refers to the books of the Jewish Bible (also known as Tanakh), which is known as the Old Testament in Christian Biblical canon. Similarly, First Testament is another term used for the familiar term Old Testament, referring to the first section of the Christian Biblical canon. Therefore, Tanakh, Torah, Mishnah, Gemara, Talmud, Hebrew Bible, Jewish scripture, Old Testament, and First Testament are important terms used to refer to the various Scriptures, books, traditions etc in the Jewish and Christian religion.
A profound source criticism of the Bible refers to significant designations such as J (Jahwist), E (Elohist), P (Priestly), D (Deutoronomist), and Q (Quelle) and these terms denotes the major sources of the Old Testament and the New Testament. One of the major developments in source criticism of the Bible has been the "documentary hypothesis", according to which the first five books of the Old Testament ((known as the Pentateuch) were comprised of four major sources such as J (Jahwist), E (Elohist), P (Priestly), and D (Deutoronomist). The Jahwist (J), one of the four major sources of the Torah, is the oldest source according to the "documentary hypothesis" and it refers to God as Yahweh. The second source of the Torah, known as the Elohist (E), refers to God as Elohim and presents God as less anthropomorphic to Yahweh of the earlier Jahwist source. The most recent of the four chief sources of the Torah is the Priestly Source (P) emphasizes the laws of Moses and priestly duties. The fourth source of the Torah, i.e. the Deuteronomist (D), considers the texts of Scripture as products of human intellect. Therefore, the Jahwist, the Elohist, the Priestly, and the Deutoronomist are the four major sources of the Torah, according to the "documentary hypothesis". It is also important to recognize these four sources were in the long run combined into the Pentateuch to organize the first five books of the Old Testament. Source criticism of the New Testament introduces one to the term Q (Quelle), which refers to an earlier, lost source of the Gospels. Significantly, the German word 'Quelle' means 'source' and this lost textual source was central to the origin of the Gospels, especially the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke.
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