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The Bible
The word bible is derived from the Greek biblia meaning books. The
usual Greek word for the Jewish sacred writings, however, was sriptures. Now
Holy Scriptures means the whole collection of the Biblical books.
The Jewish Scriptures
The Jews classified their Scriptures in three groups:
1. the Law (Torah), 2. the Prophets, and 3. other Books, known collectively as
The Law has the Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), regarded as on a higher level than all the
The Prophets consist of the „Former Prophets“ and the „Latter Prophets“.
The writings have all the remaining books of the present Christian Old
Testament, as well as some others, which the Jews later rejected.
The Greek Old Testament
Before the Christian era the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek for
the use of the Greek-speaking Jews. When Christianity won in the Hellenistic
world, the Greek Bible was the first Christain bible. It was only at a later date
that the Church became conscious of its difference from Judaism and decided
which books belonged to the Canon.
The New Testament
At an early date the Christian Church began to regard some of its own writings
as of equal authority and inspiration from Judaism. The Canon of NT was first
based on the four Gospels and Epistles of St Paul. The Christian OT Canon was
formally defined at Rome in 382.
The Latin bible
St Jerome, encouraged by the Pope, to end the confusion by a variety of
translations, revised the Gospels and made a fresh translation of the OT,
wherever possible from the Hebrew original. St Jerome´s version (the Vulgate)
recieved formal recognition at the Council of Trent (1546-63) and became the
authoritative Bible of the Roman Catholic Church.