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A modern printing of the Tanakh in Hebrew and English.

The Tanakh is a compilation of Jewish scriptures that would later be used as the source for the various Christian old testaments. 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.

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 was and still is Jewish scripture. From what I've learned when talking to other Christians, most of them are equally ignorant about this fact. 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 quote-mined the Jewish books to promote their own political and moral agendas.

After leaving Christianity, I started to read more of the books from the Tanakh, and found them to be rather revolting. They mostly promote genocide, authoritarianism, blind obedience, rape, slavery, theft, and pretty much every other immoral act you can think of. However, after trying to view the Tanakh as literature, and placing the writings in the context of when they were written, I have developed more of a respect for them. Not in the content of their writings, they're 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 human can be, and also as a proof of just how far we've advanced morally.


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

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


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