Jewish Literature in New Testament Times

The Text of the Old Testament


How was the Text of the Old Testament Transmitted?

Jerusalem Temple CoinIt is believed that the Old Testament books were written originally on skins They were copied meticulously by the hand of scribes, letter by letter, word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter, book by book, and the entire composition. everything was also numbered each letter each word etc. when a copy of a manuscript of the Hebrew Torah was made after the numbers matched the original was disregarded. Hebrew was in square characters, from right to left with small dots or accent signs, were written above and below the consonants for vowels (the vowel system was not introduced till the 6th century A.D.). Until the Captivity of Judah official copies were kept in the Temple. Afterward many copies were made for Synagogues. The invention of printing later removed danger of errors in the manual transmission of the text; and now, as a result of the work of scholars in comparing the various manuscripts, there is a recognized Hebrew text known as Massoretic. The Dead Sea Scrolls revealed how accurate the method of copying and numbering actually was. The most prophetic book of the Old Testament relating to the activities of the Messiah was the book of Isaiah, and the Dead Sea Scrolls unveiled a perfect scroll of Isaiah.

Dead Sea Isaiah Scroll  Qumran Cave

Also see The Septuagint


Jewish Literature

Esther Scroll

John 10:34 "Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law.."

Rabbinical Literature and Second Temple Judaism

Jerusalem Temple CoinThe Rabbinic Writings, The Mishnah, and the Talmud. During the first century A.D. the Pharisaic rabbis created many commentaries on the Torah. When Jesus began his ministry He attacked the Pharisees for putting their traditions above the word of God. All the writings and commentaries of the first two centuries A.D. were compiled and organized into a collection by a man named Judah Hanasi around 200 A.D. forming a collection called the Mishnah. The Pharisaic rabbis were known as the "Tannaim" which in Hebrew is translated teachers, and these men were the teachers who regulated the law. There was another collection of their commentary which was much smaller, it was known as the Tosefta which in Hebrew means "enlargement". The later commentaries on the Mishnah were made by "expositors".

Brief Historical Background

The Jews and Torah
The Holy Scriptures
The Apocrypha
The Apocryphal Literature
The Oral Law
The Mishnah
The Gemara
The Halakah
The Haggadah
The Midrash
The Zugoth
The Tannaim
The Amoraim
The Tosefta
The Baraitha
The Talmud
The Tractates of the Mishnah
The Palestinian Talmud
The Babylonian Talmud

The Purpose and Heart of the Law - A Heart Message
Rabbinical Writings Chart

Historical Timeline

The Persian Period 430-332 B.C.
The Greek Period 331-167 B.C.
The Period of Independence 167-63 B.C.
The Roman Period 63 B.C. to the time of Christ
The Old Testament Canon
The Apocrypha
Other Writings
The Septuagint
The Text of the Old Testament
The Aramaic Language
The Targums
The Talmud
The Great Synagogue
The Sanhedrin
The Dispersion
Preparation for Christ




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