Formation of canonical Hebrew
Bible in 1st-2nd c. AD
Structure of the Hebrew Bible
Torah (Law, a.k.a. Pentateuch, from Gk.
he pentateuchos biblos [book of five
Nevi’im/Nebi’im (Prophets)
Ketuvim/Ketubim (Writings)
Structure of the Hebrew Bible
Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,
Nevi’im: Joshua, Judges, Samuel (1+2), Kings
(1+2), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, 12 Minor
Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah,
Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk,
Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi)
Ketuvim: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Scrolls
(Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations,
Ecclesiastes, Esther), Daniel, Ezra,
Nehemiah, Chronicles (1+2)
Jews in exile in Babylon from 587-39 BC.
Babylonians overthrown by Persians
in 539 BC. Jews restored to Judea
First efforts to collect Jewish scriptures in
period after 539 BC, as now Jews in Judea,
Babylon and Egypt (since 7th c.)
The Books of the Nevi’im (Prophets)
Covering the period leading up to, during and
after the Babylonian exile, but gradually
giving way to interpretation of written
word practiced by rabbis and other
Prophecy regarded as ending with Ezra
(c. 458 BC)
Books of Prophets prob. compiled by 180 BC,
certainly by 132 BC
The Books of the Ketuvim (Writings)
Mid 3rd c. BC Jewish community of Alexandria
produces Septuagint (Greek version of
Hebrew Bible)
Debate over authority of various Writings in
1st or 2nd c. AD in wake of Roman
destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, in face
of diaspora, Christianity
Classical Rabbinic Period (1st-11th c. AD)
After 70 AD, rabbis become primary religious
authorities in community
Major works of period:
Topical works: Mishnah, Talmud
“With-Text” Commentaries: Midrash
Compilation of records of oral discussions
of various laws
mishnah = “oral instruction”
Believed to have been compiled into final
form by R. Judah ha-Nasi (“the
Patriarch”) c. 200 AD
Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud,
370 AD)
Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud,
6th c. AD)
Gemara “learning”
Midrash (commentaries)
Best-known is Midrash Rabbah (“Great
Commentary,” covering Torah and
Five Scrolls)
halakhah - legal commentary
aggadah - non-legal commentary: theology,
lore, legends, sayings, prayer and praise
Abraham, progenitor of chosen people
Promised Land/Canaan
Leading Israelites to Holy Land
Saul (r. c. 1020-1000 BC)
David (r. 1000-965 or 961 BC)
Solomon (r. 965 or 961-931 BC)
Israel and Judah
722 BC Conquest of Israel by Assyrians
587 BC Conquest of Judah by Babylonians,
destruction of First Temple
539 BC Restoration of Jews to Holy Land
by Persians
331 BC Alexander the Great conquers
Holy Land
Philo of Alexandria (20 BC-50 AD)
63 BC Romans conquer Holy Land
70 AD Romans destroy Jerusalem and Second
Temple, leading to diaspora
Ashkenazi Jews in France, Germany, Italy
Sephardi Jews in Spain and Middle East
Balancing act between authorities and
Variable treatment and self-separation
18th c. Appearance of Hasidism and opponents
Opening up of European society to Jews
Late 19th c. Development of Zionism
1939-45 World War II, death of six million
Jews in Holocaust
1948 Foundation of state of Israel
1967 Six-Day War in Middle East