Collection of religious texts, called books, in Judaism (here only referred to as "Bible") and Christianity, but the expression "Old Testament" is is only used for the Christian versions of the collection.
Pentateuch (In Judaism this is often referred to as the Torah)
- 1. Samuel
- 2. Samuel
- 1. Kings
- 2. Kings
- 1. Chronicles
- 2. Chronicles
* 1. Maccabees
* 2. Maccabees
Poetical/ Wisdom Books
- Song of Solomon
* Books that sometimes are included, in Roman Catholic Bible as deuterocanonical, in the Protestant Bible in appendixes.
These texts, of which there are 39, were mostly written down in Hebrew Ezra and Daniel had elements in Aramaic. The oldest texts have oral traditions running back in time as far as 1000 BCE. the youngest book, Daniel, was written down 165 BCE.
The selection of texts was decided upon at the Synod in Jamnia in 90 CE, but this was more the final stage of a process that had been going on for a couple of centuries among Jewish scholars.
There are many ideas and theories imbedded in the Old Testament. Narratives are widely used, both to sustain arguments and to explain the origins of regulations and traditions.
The central themes of the Old Testament are the uniqueness and glory of God; the Law; God's influence on world history and nature; corporate and individual sin and the remedy; and the proper way to worship God. The Old Testament also tells that the Jews were God's chosen people, which is the main reason for their special protection and their special punishment when they did wrong.
It has been, with some success, argued that the Old Testament is not Christianity, since Christianity involves a new relationship between man and God, and also because the Old Testament is clearly written only for Jews. The Old Testament is however, understood as the foundations on which the New Testament rests.
The God of the Old Testament is a god of justice, but no sin is accepted. He is the god of warfare and revenge, as it is seen in Book of Joshua.
The Canonical Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, is made up of 24 books, but a number of prophetical books are added to the collection. The organizing of the books are slightly different from the Hebrew Bible to the Christian Old Testament.