Ministry of the Word
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(SECTION I) 1 (a) SECTION OF THE BOOK The Bible consists of 2 Sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Christian Bible has in the Old Testament 46 books and in the New Testament 27 books. Thus in all in the Christian Bible we have 73 books. The book of Sirach is in the Old Testament (b) STRUCTURE OF THE CHRISTIAN OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURE: The Christian Old Testament Scripture is divided into 4 Sections namely; a. The PENTATEUCH (consisting of 5 books) Pentateuch is a Greek word and it means “five scrolls”. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy b. The HISTORICAL Books (consisting of 16 books) i) Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings (Deuteronomistic History) ii) 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah (Chroniclers History) Chronicles means “things left our” (from the parallel books Samuel and Kings) iii) Tobit, Judith, Esther. iv) 1 & 2 Maccabees (Maccabean History) c. The WISDOM Books (consisting 7 books) Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Wisdom, Sirach. d. The PROPHETS (consisting of 18 books) i) MAJOR (6) Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel ii) MAJOR (12) Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. (c) STRUCTURE OF THE HEBREW SCRIPTURE: The Hebrew Scripture consists of 39 books and it is divided into 3 Major Sections namely; a. The TORAH: The Law (law of Moses) (consisting of 5 books) Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy b. The NEBIIM: The Prophets – (‘Nabi’ in Hindi) (consisting of 21 books) i) The Former Prophets (6) Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings ii) The Latter Prophets (3 + 12) (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi) iii) The KETUBIM: The Writings (‘Kitab’ – book in Hindi) (consisting of 13 books) Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Qoheleth(Ecclesiastes), 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations, Esther, Ruth, Song of Solomon, Daniel. The three major sections i.e Torah + Nebiim + Ketubim in Hebrew is known as “TANAK”. The SEPTUAGINT Version LXX CONSISTS OF THE ADDITIONAL 7 BOOKS i.e. TOBIT, JUDITH, 1-2 MACCABEES, WISDOM, SIRACH, BARUCH. d) WHERE IS THE BOOK OF SIRACH PLACED From the above, we see that the book of Sirach belongs to the Old Testament and it is placed in the Wisdom Section or Wisdom Literature. It is also called as the Deutro-Canonical Book. (SECTION II) What do Wisdom Literature and Deutro-Canonical Book mean? 1. DEUTRO-CANONICAL To understand the word Deutro Canonical we have to first understand the Word Canon. CANON: The word Canon means Rule. In Greek it is called KANON (in Hindi it is Kanoon) A Canonical book is one which the Church acknowledges as: a) Belonging to its list of Sacred Books b) As Inspired by God and c) As having a Regulating Value for Faith and Morals. The Palestinian Jews recognized only those 39 books which were preserved in Hebrew or Aramaic, whereas the Jewish Diaspora who had their main centre in Alexandria and who did not know Hebrew, for them the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek in the 3rd Century BC by 70 Jewish Scholars living in Alexandria called the Septuagint (LXX). They included an additional 7 books which were written only in Greek or preserved in Greek and not in Hebrew i.e. TOBIT, JUDITH, 1-2 MACCABEES, WISDOM, SIRACH, BARUCH. The Rabbis of Jamnia were considered the most important authorities in Judaism. Some time towards the end of the 1st Century AD, these Rabbis recognised the Palestinian List as Canonical. The Canon of the Catholic Scriptures was closed by the Council of Trent (1545 – 1563) containing the 46 books and this teaching are binding on all Catholics. The Catholics call the 1st list consisting of 39 books as PROTO CANONICAL whereas the 2nd list consisting of the 7 books as DEURO CANONICAL.
 
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