Hebrew Bible refers to the common portions of the Jewish and Christian canons. Its use is favored by most academic Biblical scholars as a bias-free term that is preferred to both Tanakh and Old Testament when discussing the text in academic writing. (For instance, see section 4.3 of The SBL Handbook of Style from the Society of Biblical Literature.) Hebrew here may refer to either the Hebrew language or the Hebrew people (also known as the Jews who always retained use of the Hebrew language as a spoken language in Israel, or as the language of prayer and study in the diaspora) or both.
Because it refers to the common portions of the Jewish and Christian biblical canons, it does not encompass the deuterocanonical books, largely from the Greek language Septuagint, included in the Old Testament used by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches; thus the term Hebrew Bible only corresponds to the Old Testament in use by the Protestant denominations.
Books of the Bible for the differences between these two versions of the text, or the much more detailed Biblical canon.
Old Testament for the history of the Hebrew Bible and its interpretation within the Christian tradition.
Tanakh for the history of the Hebrew Bible and its interpretation within the Jewish tradition.
Last updated: 07-31-2005 10:26:11