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Formation of the Hebrew Bible

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Chapter Summary

The Books of the Hebrew Bible are arranged in three sections: the Law, the Prophets and the Hagiographa. This mode of arrangement is frequently mentioned in the Talmud, but goes back to a much earlier period. According to the conventional theory, championed by Ryle, the Pentateuch and the other two divisions of the canon were recognized one at a time, each as a complete whole, at three different eras. It is noteworthy that all three divisions of the canon include narrative books, covering successive periods of history. Those in the Law cover the period from the creation to the death of Moses, those in the Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings) cover the period from the entry into the promised land to Babylonian exile, and those in the Hagiographa (Daniel, Esther, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles) cover the period of the Exile and Return.

Keywords: Chronicles; Daniel; Ezra-Nehemiah; Hebrew Bible; Ryle; Talmud

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