Books of the Hebrew Bible

 Torah, Prophets, Writings

By the grace of G-d
Copyright  2015 Nathaniel Segal

 Tanakh -- Torah, Nevi'im, Ketuvim

Torah - The Five Books of Moses - Pentateuch

  1. Genesis -- Breisheet (b'ray SHEET)
  2. Exodus -- Shemot (sh'MOHT)
  3. Leviticus -- Vayikra (va yee KRAH)
  4. Numbers -- Bamidbar (bah mid BAR)
  5. Deuteronomy -- Devarim (d'var EEM)

This is G-d's revelation to humanity.  The essential Torah is written by hand in one scroll. This is the Torah that Jews read from in their congregations. For study, each of the Five Books of Moses is often printed as five separate study volumes.

The next two parts of the Bible are amplifications of these first five books.  The authors of these next books did not ever contradict anything in the Torah.

Nevi'im (n'vee EEM) - Prophets

  1. Joshua
  2. Judges
  3. Samuel
  4. Kings
  5. Jeremiah
  6. Ezekiel
  7. Isaiah
  8. The Twelve -
    the later prophets
    (one book)
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi
Men of the Great Assembly
King Hezekiah
Men of the Great Assembly

Ketuvim (k'too VEEM) - Literature - Writings

  1. Ruth
  2. Psalms
  3. Job
  4. Proverbs
  5. Ecclesiastes
  6. Song of Songs
  7. Lamentations
  8. Daniel
  9. Esther
  10. Ezra-Nehemiah
  11. Chronicles
King Hezekiah
King Hezekiah
King Hezekiah
Men of the Great Assembly
Men of the Great Assembly
Ezra and Nehemiah

The number of each book refers to levels of diminished holiness. Books of lesser holiness may not be placed on top of a book of greater holiness. When the Pentateuch  the Five Books of Moses  are published as separate volumes, they all have the same level of holiness. On the other hand, a Torah Scroll has the greatest holiness. Even a printed copy of the Torah may not be placed on top of a Torah Scroll.

Books Outside the Hebrew Canon

First and Second Maccabees
Some historians use information from these books for recreating the history of the period.
Assuming that these books were written in Hebrew, they may have been translated into the Greek language for public consumption among assimilated Jews and Greek-speaking non-Jews.  If so, these books were then retranslated into Hebrew for traditional Jews.
The New Testament text is in Greek.
Sirach - Ecclesiasticus
The Jewish tradition respected a book of wisdom composed by Ben Sirach (son of Sirach).  He wrote it shortly after the end of the period of prophecy.  Ben Sirach was a disciple of the Prophet Jeremiah.
The grandson of the first Ben Sirach, also bearing this name Ben Sirach, also wrote a book.  The Christian canon contains either the text of the younger Ben Sirach or a fusion of both books.  Regardless, the book was translated into Greek for the New Testament.
The Jewish Sages did not consider the grandson's book to be holy.  This Ben Sirach lived at a remove from the age of prophecy.  At that time heretics among the Jewish people were establishing themselves.  From the standpoint of the Sages, the younger Ben Sirach may have begun embracing heretical ideas.
Sages of the Talmud quote lessons from the authentic Ben Sirach.  Otherwise, Rabbis have not endorsed a text that is external to the Talmud's quotes of the authentic Ben Sirach.


The Roman Church translated the New Testament from Greek into the commonly understood Latin speech of the time.  It is believed that churchmen consulted the Hebrew texts of the Jews when these churchmen made their new translation.