Monday, 6 June 2016

Ketuvim, Writings, Hagiographa, Five Megillot and Messianic Scriptures

The Aleppo Codex is a medieval manuscript of t...
The Aleppo Codex is a medieval manuscript of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), associated with Rabbi Aaron Ben Asher. The Masoretic scholars wrote it in the early 10th century, probably in Tiberias, Israel. It is in book form and contains the vowel points and grammar points (nikkudot) that specify the pronunciation of the ancient Hebrew letters to preserve the chanting tradition. It is perhaps the most historically important Hebrew manuscript in existence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In the Tanakh we do find the first session or Torah containing five books: Genesis (Bereshith), Exodus (Shemoth), Leviticus (Wayyiqra), Numbers (Bemidvar), and Deuteronomy (Devarim).
As second session we get the Neviʾim (or Prophets) comprising eight books subdivided into the Former Prophets, containing the four historical works, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, and the Latter Prophets, the oracular discourses of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve (Minor—i.e., smaller) Prophets — Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. the Twelve (minor prophets) were all formerly written on a single scroll and thus reckoned as one book.

Though the acronym Tanakh is derived from the names of the three divisions of the Hebrew Bible: Torah (Instruction, or Law, also called the Pentateuch), Neviʾim (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings), the third part of the Tanakh, or the Ketuvim, was long not considered part of the Holy or Set-apart Scriptures. Those books were referred to “the other books of our fathers,” “the rest of the books” by Ben Sira. Philo speaks simply of “other writings” and Josephus of “the remaining books.”

A widespread practice of entitling the entire Scriptures “the Torah and the Prophets” indicates a considerable hiatus between the canonization of the Prophets and the Ketuvim.  they were composed over a long period of time - from before the Babylonian Exile in the early 6th century b.c.e. to the middle of the 2nd century c.e.. Unlike the Torah and the Neviʾim (Prophets), which were canonized as groups, depending on their popularity the books of the Ketuvim became canonised seperately at different times until seen as one big unit in the 2nd century c.e..
Some scholars argue that the Ketuvim was fixed by the Hasmonean dynasty, while others argue it was not fixed until the second century CE or even later. { Philip R. Davies in The Canon Debate, page 50: "With many other scholars, I conclude that the fixing of a canonical list was almost certainly the achievement of the Hasmonean dynasty." + McDonald & Sanders, The Canon Debate, 2002, page 5, cited are Neusner's Judaism and Christianity in the Age of Constantine, pages 128–145, and Midrash in Context: Exegesis in Formative Judaism, pages 1–22.}

The First Ketuvim, or Ketuvim (Ketuvim Aleph) (Hebrew), Writings (English), Hagiographa (Greek), the third division of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament is divided into four sections.

The Ketuvim includes:

poetical books Sifrei Emet (an acronym of the titles in Hebrew, איוב, משלי, תהלים yields Emet אמ"ת, which is also the Hebrew for "truth") with Psalms (Tehillim), Proverbs (Mishlei), and Job (Iyyôbh);

the Five Megillot, or Scrolls which have been grouped together according to the annual cycle of their public reading in the synagogue; with Song of Solomon, Shīr Hashīrīm  also known as Song of Songs (Passover), Ruth  (Shābhû‘ôth), Lamentations of Jeremiah or Eikhah (Ninth of Av) [Also called Kinnot in Hebrew], Ecclesiastes Qōheleth (Sukkôth), and Esther (Pûrîm);

and the books of prophecy (Daniel), (like Ezra, significant portions in Aramaic);

and history ( Ezra, Nehemiah, and I and II Chronicles or Divrei ha-Yamim, frequently referring to the “Torah of Moses” and exhibiting a familiarity with all the five books of the Pentateuch.).

The Babylonian Talmud (Bava Batra 14b–15a) gives their order as Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Daniel, Scroll of Esther, Ezra, Chronicles.

In Tiberian Masoretic codices, including the Aleppo Codex and the Leningrad Codex, and often in old Spanish manuscripts as well, the order is Chronicles, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ruth, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Esther, Daniel, Ezra.

In later years "hidden writings" or "hidden books" were by some also taken as sacred biblical literature under the name Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical but found non-canonical in Judaism and Protestantism.

The1st Ketuvim or Kethuvim Aleph being a miscellaneous collection of liturgical poetry, secular love poetry, wisdom literature, history, apocalyptic literature, a short story, and a romantic tale, received in later years some additional literature of some good and bad revelations and some letters, which became called the 2nd Ketuvim (2nd Writings) or Messianic Scriptures, the New testament.

Some Jewish sects, inclusive Messianic Jews, found some letters by the disciples of the Jewish rabbi Jeshua (Jesus Christ) very interesting to be part of writings (Ketuvim) for exhortation.
Jesus came from an Essene background and his pupils or followers wrote those books and created also a tightly nit organisation with an historically based Messiah which became the base for the Christian groups of Christendom. the Essenes probably were killed or forced to flee from their wilderness community c. 68 c.e., yet some of their ideas can still be traced in the ministry of the Essene John the baptist and in the thought worldliterature of the New Testament which became considered the 2nd Ketuvim or Ketuvim Bet, having the "good story" (Good News) or "gospels" (an authoritative proclamation), letters of Paul (Pauline letters), the so-caled Catholic Letters (i.e. James, Peter, John and Jude) were also added seperately until the 4rd century.
The Revelation (i.e. Apocalypse) to John is an answer in apocalyptic terms to the needs of the church in time of persecution, as it awaits the end-time expected in the near future. As in the rest of the 2nd Writings or New Testament, the starting point of eschatological hope is the saving act of God in Jesus, a historical centre pointing towards historical developments that will bring about the establishment of Gods Kingdom and vindication of his people, ransomed by the blood of Christ, the Lamb who was slain.

Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: Ketoeviem, Ketuvim, Geschriften, Hagiographa, Megillot en Messiaanse Geschriften


Please do find following articles to read:

  1. How to look for and how to handle the Truth
  2. Are there certain books essential to come to faith
  3. The Bible: God’s Word or pious myth?
  4. Written down in God’s Name for righteousness 
  5. No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation
  6. Words of God to stand and to be followed and to believe
  7. Why believing the Bible 
  8. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  9. Appointed to be read 
  10. Power in the life of certain
  11. Life and an assembly of books
  12. Backbone book
  13. Collection of books
  14. Hidden books
  15. A collection of holy writings to show God and His Works
  16. Reliability of message appears from honesty writers
  17. Reliability of message appears from honesty writers
  18. Life and an assembly of books
  19. One not without the other
  20. Recommended articles about the Book of books the Bible

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