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The Bible is the religious foundation of Judaism and is referred to in Hebrew as the Kitei Kodesh, the Holy Scripture. In the Jewish tradition it is divided into three sections containing a total of 24 books.1. The Torah, the Five Books of Moses (or Pentateuch);2. The Books of the Prophets:
the Books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings;
the actual prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and
the Book of the 12 Minor Prophets;3. The other Scriptures (ketuvim):
the three poetic scriptures: Psalms, Proverbs, and Job;
the five scrolls: Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther;
three historical scriptures: Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah Chronicles.For Jews the New Testament is not part of the Holy Scriptures, and the term
"Old Testament" is a purely Christian designation. The Jewish Bible differs from the Christian Old Testament, since the third Section is divided up in a different way. The language of the Bible is Hebrew.
The name of the Five Books of Moses or Torah ("advice" or "teaching"), is also used to refer to the Bible as a whole. It is the most important component in Judaism and the source of its teachings. Written teachings are supplemented by socalled oral teachings, the Talmud, which contains interpretations by scriptural scholars of the commandments and proscriptions of the Torah.
Within orthodox Jewry, scriptural scholars are regarded as the legitimate successors to the prophets. Their sole task is to interpret the Bible by understanding biblical directives and applying them. Rabbinical literature seeks to be an interpretation and continuation of the Bible.
Jewish Biblical criticism emerged very late in the 19th century, since previous Biblical criticism was permeated by a Christian bias which saw the Old Testament purely as a forerunner of the New Testament. The Frankfurt rabbi Abraham Geiger ranks among the founders of Jewish Biblical criticism.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources