The Bible is the most important Jewish document. It contains 39 books and in Hebrew is called the Tanakh because it is formed from 3 parts – the Torah (teaching), the Neviim and the Ketuvim.
Within the Tanakh, the Torah has the highest place. It is written on a scroll (although it has also been published in book form) and contains set readings for each week of public worship, so that it is read out over an entire year. Each Torah reading is followed by a reading from a book, either the Neviim or the Ketuvim.
The Neviim is a section of the Bible, which includes the histories of the earliest settlements of the Jewish people and their leaders in Israel (about 1200 BCE). It also contains the sayings and writings of prophets from about 800 BCE onwards.
The Ketuvim is a collection of various writings, mostly from later. It includes the Psalms – probably the best-known and most-loved part of the Bible – and also the 5 special books: Ecclesiastes, Esther, Song of Songs, Ruth and Lamentations. Each of these is linked to a Jewish festival, when the book is read out and studied.
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