Bible

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The English word bible is from the Latin biblia, traced from the same word through Medieval Latin and Late Latin, ultimately from Greek τὰ βιβλία ta biblia "the books" (singular βιβλίον biblion).[5]

Middle Latin biblia is short for biblia sacra "holy book"; while biblia in Greek and Late Latin is neuter plural (gen. bibliorum), it gradually came to be regarded as a feminine singular noun (biblia, gen. bibliae) in medieval Latin, and so the word was loaned as a singular into the vernaculars of Western Europe.[6] Latin biblia sacra "holy books" translates Greek τὰ βιβλία τὰ ἅγια ta biblia ta hagia, "the holy books".[7]

The word βιβλίον itself had the literal meaning of "paper" or "scroll," the and came to be used as the ordinary word for "book" It is the diminutive of βύβλος bublos, "Egyptian papyrus", possibly so called from the name of the Phoenician port Byblos (also known as Gebal) from whence Egyptian papyrus was exported to Greece. The Greek ta biblia (lit. "little papyrus books")[8] was "an expression Hellenistic Jews used to describe their sacred books (the Septuagint).[9][10] Christian use of the term can be traced to ca. AD 223.[5]

Jewish canon

The Tanakh (Hebrew: תנ"ך) consists of 24 books.

Development of the Jewish canon

Tanakh refers to the threefold division of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings). This division is alluded to in the New testament: Luke 24:44 refers to the "law of Moses" (Pentateuch), the "prophets" which include certain historical books in addition to the books now called "prophets," and the psalms (the "writings" designated by its most prominent collection). The Hebrew Bible probably was canonized in these three stages: the law canonized before the Exile, the prophets by the time of the Syrian persecution of the Jews, and the writings shortly after AD 70 (the fall of Jerusalem). About that time, early Christian writings began being accepted by Christians as "scripture." These events, taken together, may have caused the Jews to close their "canon." They listed their own recognized Scriptures and also excluded both Christian and Jewish writings considered by them to be "apocryphal." In this canon the thirty-nine books found in the Old Testament of today's Christian Bibles were grouped together as twenty-two books, equaling the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. This canon of Jewish scripture is attested to by Philo, Josephus, the New Testament,[11] and the Talmud.[8]

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