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Tanakh - Hardcover - USA.jpg

A modern printing of the Tanakh in Hebrew and English.

Author Various
Type Ancient writing, Anthology
Genre Creation Myth, Origin Myth, Prophetic, Wisdom
Themes Religion
Age Group Adult

The Tanakh is a compilation of Jewish manuscripts. The word "Tanakh" is derived from three main sources used to make the compilation: the Torah, Nevi'im, and Ketuvim. While the specific books that make up the Tanakh is widely agree upon, as with all ancient manuscripts, there is no one official version of the Tanakh because various Jewish sects use different and conflicting sources for each book. Those Jews who broke from the religion and founded what would eventually become the Christian church refer to the tanakh as their old testament. All of the books in the Tanakh are in the public domain.



Growing up as an Evangelical Christian, I was under the impression that the old testament was just a portion of the bible, and I was never clearly taught that it is the Jewish scripture. From what I've learned when talking to other Christians, most of them are equally ignorant about this fact (so I try to explain it to them). While every Christian is encouraged to read the bible (including what they call the "old testament," the churches I attended almost exclusively read from the New Testament, and generally only quote-mined the Jewish books to promote their own personal political and moral agendas.

After leaving Christianity, I started to read more of the books from the Tanakh, and found most of them to be revolting. They don't just describe genocide, authoritarianism, blind obedience, rape, slavery, theft, and pretty much every other immoral act you can think of, but usually promote the acts. However, after trying to view the Tanakh as literature, and placing the writings in the context of when they were written, I have developed a least a little respect for them, not in the content of their writings, which are horrible, but because they preserve just how barbaric, superstitious, and backward our ancestors were. The Tanakh serves as a cautionary tale at just how bad humans can be, and acts as a benchmark for how far we've come.


Jews have never canonized an official order for the books of the Tanakh, but the one below is the most common:

Hebrew Title English Translation Alternate Title
Torah (תּוֹרָה) [Teaching]
Bereshit (בְּרֵאשִׁית) In the Beginning Book of Genesis
Shemot (שְׁמֹות) The Names Book of Exodus
Vayikra (וַיִּקְרָא) And He Called Book of Leviticus
Bemidbar (בְּמִדְבַּר) In the Desert Book of Numbers
Devarim (דְּבָרִים) Things Book of Deuteronomy
Nevi'im (נְבִיאִים‎) [Prophets]
Nevi'im Rishonim (נביאים ראשונים‎) [Former Prophets]
Yĕhôshúa‘ (יְהוֹשֻעַ) Joshua Book of Joshua
Shophtim (שֹׁפְטִים) Judges Book of Judges
Shmû’ēl (שְׁמוּאֵל) Samuel Books of Samuel
M'lakhim (מְלָכִים) Judges Book of Kings
Nevi'im Aharonim (נביאים אחרונים‎) [Later Prophets]
Yĕsha‘ăyāhû (יְשַׁעְיָהוּ) Isaiah Book of Isaiah
Yirmyāhû (יִרְמְיָהוּ) Jeremiah Book of Jeremiah
Yĕkhezqiēl (יְחֶזְקֵאל) Ezekiel Book of Ezekiel
Trei Asar (תרי עשר‎‎) [The Twelve] (Considered one book)
Hôshēa‘ (הוֹשֵׁעַ) Hosea Book of Hosea
Yô’ēl (יוֹאֵל) Joel Book of Joel
‘Āmôs (עָמוֹס) Amos Book of Amos
‘Ōvadhyāh (עֹבַדְיָה) Obadiah Book of Obadiah
Yônāh (יוֹנָה) Jonah Book of Jonah
Mîkhāh (מִיכָה) Micah Book of Micah
Nakḥûm (נַחוּם) Nahum Book of Nahum
Khăvhakûk (חֲבַקּוּק) Habakkuk Book of Habakkuk
Tsĕphanyāh (צְפַנְיָה) Zephaniah Book of Zephaniah
Khaggai (חַגַּי) Haggai Book of Haggai
Zkharyāh (זְכַרְיָה) Zechariah Book of Zechariah
Khaggai (חַגַּי) Haggai Book of Haggai
Mal’ākhî (מַלְאָכִי) Malachi Book of Malachi
Ketuvim (כְּתוּבִים‎) [Writings]
Sifrei Emet (סִפְרֵי אֶמֶת‎‎) [Documents of Truth]
Tehillim (תְהִלִּים) Psalms Book of Psalms
Mishlei (מִשְׁלֵי) Proverbs Book of Proverbs
Iyyôbh (אִיּוֹב) Job Book of Job
Hamesh Megillot (חמש מגילות‎‎) [Five Scrolls]
Shīr Hashīrīm (שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים) Song of Songs Song of Solomon
Rūth (רוּת) Ruth Book of Ruth
Eikhah (אֵיכָה) Lamentations Book of Lamentations
Qōheleth (קֹהֶלֶת) Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes
Estēr (אֶסְתֵר) Esther Book of Esther
Other Books (no official title)
Dānî'ēl (דָּנִיֵּאל) Daniel Book of Daniel
‘Ezrā (עֶזְרָא) Esther Book of Ezra and Book of Nehemiah
Divrei ha-Yamim (דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים) Chronicles Books of Chronicles

The alternate title is the common American title which is derived from a popular Protestant translation.


There are many other books written by Jewish authors which have not been canonized into the Jewish bible for various reasons, typically because they were written later than canonized books, were known to be or expected to be forgeries, and/or contained obviously failed prophecies. Some of these are considered canon by certain sects of Judaism or Christianity.

Related to the Torah

Related to the Nevi'im

Related to the Ketuvim

Unrelated to the Tanakh

Additional Writings


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