TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
 

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Western Literature
 
 
  The Beginnings of Literature. Myths and Legends

Classical Myth

Myth and Mystery

Bible. Hebrew literature

Ancient Greek literature

Ancient Greek literature. Greek theatre

Ancient Greek literature. Philosophical prose

Latin (Roman) literature

Latin (Roman) Literature. The Silver Age

Latin (Roman) Literature. Renaissance

Modern Italian Literature
The Middle Ages Literature

The Middle Ages. Elizabethan England

The Restoration

The Rise of the Novel

Cervantes and Spanish literature

The Enlightenment

Romanticism

Classicism and Naturalism

The 19th century - Prose

The 20th century - Modernism

The 20th century - The Political Novel
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Michelangelo
Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Plants

Bible


The sacred scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. The Christian Bible consists of the Old Testament and the New Testament, with the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox versions of the Old Testament being slightly larger because of their acceptance of certain books and parts of books considered apocryphal by Protestants. The Jewish Bible includes only the books known to Christians as the Old Testament. The arrangements of the Jewish and Christian canons differ considerably. The Protestant and Roman Catholic arrangements more nearly match one another.

Traditionally the Jews have divided their scriptures (i.e., the Old Testament) into three parts: the Torah (the “Law”), or Pentateuch; the Nevi'im (the “Prophets”); and the Ketuvim (the “Writings”), or Hagiographa. The Pentateuch, together with the book of Joshua (hence the name Hexateuch) can be seen as the account of how Israel became a nation and of how it possessed the Promised Land. The division designated as the “Prophets” continues the story of Israel in the Promised Land, describing the establishment and development of the monarchy and presenting the messages of the prophets to the people. The “Writings” include speculation on the place of evil and death in the scheme of things (Job and Ecclesiastes), the poetical works, and some additional historical books.

In the Apocrypha of the Old Testament, various types of literature are represented; the purpose of the Apocrypha seems to have been to fill in some of the gaps left by the indisputably canonical books and to carry the history of Israel to the 2nd century BC.

The New Testament is by far the shorter portion of the Christian Bible, but, through its associations with the spread of Christianity, it has wielded an influence far out of proportion to its modest size. Like the Old Testament, the New Testament is a collection of books, including a variety of early Christian literature. The four Gospels deal with the life, the person, and the teachings of Jesus, as he was remembered by the Christian community. The book of Acts carries the story of Christianity from the Resurrection of Jesus to the end of the career of Paul. The Letters, or Epistles, are correspondence by various leaders of the early Christian church, chief among them the Apostle Paul, applying the message of the church to the sundry needs and problems of early Christian congregations. The Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse) is the only canonical representative of a large genre of apocalyptic literature that appeared in the early Christian movement.

Hebrew Bible


also called Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament, or Tanakh, collection of writings that was first compiled and preserved as the sacred books of the Jewish people. It constitutes a large portion of the Christian Bible.

A brief treatment of the Hebrew Bible follows. For full treatment, see biblical literature.

In its general framework, the Hebrew Bible is the account of God’s dealing with the Jews as his chosen people, who collectively called themselves Israel. After an account of the world’s creation by God and the emergence of human civilization, the first six books narrate not only the history but the genealogy of the people of Israel to the conquest and settlement of the Promised Land under the terms of God’s covenant with Abraham, whom God promised to make the progenitor of a great nation. This covenant was subsequently renewed by Abraham’s son Isaac and grandson Jacob (whose byname Israel became the collective name of his descendants and whose sons, according to legend, fathered the 13 Israelite tribes) and centuries later by Moses (from the Israelite tribe of Levi). The following seven books continue their story in the Promised Land, describing the people’s constant apostasy and breaking of the covenant; the establishment and development of the monarchy in order to counter this; and the warnings by the prophets both of impending divine punishment and exile and of Israel’s need to repent. The last 11 books contain poetry, theology, and some additional history.

The Hebrew Bible’s profoundly monotheistic interpretation of human life and the universe as creations of God provides the basic structure of ideas that gave rise not only to Judaism and Christianity but also to Islam, which emerged from Jewish and Christian tradition and which views Abraham as a patriarch (see also Judaism: The ancient Middle Eastern setting). Except for a few passages in Aramaic, appearing mainly in the apocalyptic Book of Daniel, these scriptures were written originally in Hebrew during the period from 1200 to 100 bce. The Hebrew Bible probably reached its current form about the 2nd century ce.

The Hebrew canon contains 24 books, one for each of the scrolls on which these works were written in ancient times. The Hebrew Bible is organized into three main sections: the Torah, or “Teaching,” also called the Pentateuch or the “Five Books of Moses”; the Neviʾim, or Prophets; and the Ketuvim, or Writings. It is often referred to as the Tanakh, a word combining the first letter from the names of each of the three main divisions. Each of the three main groupings of texts is further subdivided. The Torah contains narratives combined with rules and instructions in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The books of the Neviʾim are categorized among either the Former Prophets—which contain anecdotes about major Hebrew persons and include Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings—or the Latter Prophets—which exhort Israel to return to God and are named (because they are either attributed to or contain stories about them) for Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and (together in one book known as “The Book of the Twelve”) the 12 Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi). The last of the three divisions, the Ketuvim, contains poetry (devotional and erotic), theology, and drama in Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs (attributed to King Solomon), Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles.

Many Christians refer to the Hebrew Bible as the Old Testament, the prophecy foretelling the advent of Jesus Christ as God’s appointed Messiah. The name Old Testament was devised by a Christian, Melito of Sardis, about 170 ce to distinguish this part of the Bible from the New Testament, which recounts the ministry and gospel of Jesus and presents the history of the early Christian church. The Hebrew Bible as adopted by Christianity features more than 24 books for several reasons. First, Christians divided some of the original Hebrew texts into two or more parts: Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles into two parts each; Ezra-Nehemiah into two separate books; and the Minor Prophets into 12 separate books. Further, the Bibles used in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and some Protestant churches were derived initially from the Septuagint, the Greek-language translation of the Hebrew Bible produced in the 3rd and 2nd centuries bce. This included some books deemed noncanonical by Orthodox Judaism and most Protestant churches, slightly longer versions of Daniel and Esther, and one additional psalm. Moreover, the Ethiopian Tewahdo Orthodox Church, one of the Oriental Orthodox churches, also includes within its Old Testament two works considered by other Christian churches to be pseudepigraphical (both noncanonical and dubiously attributed to a biblical figure): the apocalyptic First Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees.


Old Testament

In its general framework, the Old Testament is the account of God's dealing with the Jews as his chosen people. The first six books of the Old Testament narrate how the Israelites became a people and settled in the Promised Land. The following seven books continue their story in the Promised Land, describing the establishment and development of the monarchy and the messages of the prophets. The last 11 books contain poetry, theology, and some additional historical works. Throughout the Old Testament, the Jews' historical relation to God is conceived in reference to the ultimate redemption of all humanity. The Old Testament's profoundly monotheistic interpretation of human life and the universe as creations of God provides the basic structure of ideas in which both Judaism and Christianity exist. The term Old Testament was devised by a Christian, Melito of Sardis, about AD 170 to distinguish this part of the Bible from the New Testament. Except for a few passages in Aramaic, the Old Testament was written originally in Hebrew during the period from 1200 to 100 BC.

The Hebrew canon recognizes the following subdivisions of its three main divisions:

(1) the Torah (q.v.), or Pentateuch, contains narratives combined with rules and instructions in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy;

(2) the Nevi'im (q.v.), or Prophets, is subdivided into the Former Prophets, with anecdotes about major Hebrew persons in the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, and stories of the Latter Prophets exhorting Israel to return to God in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets; and

(3) the Ketuvim (q.v.), or Writings, with poetry—devotional and erotic—and theology and drama to be found in Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles.

The total number of books in the Hebrew canon is 24, the number of scrolls on which these works were written in ancient times. The Old Testament as adopted by Christianity numbers more works for the following reasons. The Roman Catholic canon, derived initially from the Greek-language Septuagint (q.v.) translation of the Hebrew Bible, absorbed a number of books that Jews and Protestants later determined were not canonical; and Christians divided some of the original Hebrew works into two or more parts, specifically, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles (two parts each), Ezra-Nehemiah (two separate books), and the Minor Prophets (12 separate books).
Torah

Torah ("The Law")

Genesis Genesis; or, The First Book of Moses The Book of Genesis
Exodus Exodus; or, The Second Book of Moses The Book of Exodus
Leviticus Leviticus; or, The Third Book of Moses The Book of Leviticus
Numbers Numbers; or, The Fourth Book of Moses The Book of Numbers
Deuteronomy Deuteronomy; or, The Fifth Book of Moses The Book of Deuteronomy
The Book of Joshua The Book of Josue

in Judaism, in the broadest sense the substance of divine revelation to Israel, the Jewish people: God's revealed teaching or guidance for mankind. The meaning of “Torah” is often restricted to signify the first five books of the Old Testament, also called the Law or the Pentateuch. These are the books traditionally ascribed to Moses, the recipient of the original revelation from God on Mt. Sinai. Jewish, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant canons all agree on their order: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

The written Torah, in the restricted sense of the Pentateuch, is preserved in all Jewish synagogues on handwritten parchment scrolls that reside inside the ark of the Law. They are removed and returned to their place with special reverence. Readings from the Torah (Pentateuch) form an important part of Jewish liturgical services.

The term Torah is also used to designate the entire Hebrew Bible. Since for some Jews the laws and customs passed down through oral traditions are part and parcel of God's revelation to Moses and constitute the “oral Torah,” Torah is also understood to include both the Oral Law and the Written Law.

Rabbinic commentaries on and interpretations of both Oral and Written Law have been viewed by some as extensions of sacred oral tradition, thus broadening still further the meaning of Torah to designate the entire body of Jewish laws, customs, and ceremonies.
 

Nevi'im


Nevi'im ("The Prophets")

The Book of Judges The Book of Judges
The Book of Ruth The Book of Ruth
Joshua The First Book of Samuel The First Book of Kings
Judges The Second Book of Samuel The Second Book of Kings
First Samuel The First Book of Kings The Third Book of Kings
Second Samuel The Second Book of Kings The Fourth Book of Kings
First Kings The First Book of Chronicles The First Book of Paralipomenon
Second Kings The Second Book of Chronicles The Second Book of Paralipomenon
Isaiah The Book of Ezra The First Book of Esdras
Jeremiah The Book of Nehemiah The Second Book of Esdras
Ezekiel The Book of Tobias (apocryphal Tobit in RSV)
Hosea The Book of Judith (apocryphal Judith in RSV)
Joel The Book of Esther (includes The Additions to The Book of Esther, apocryphal in RSV)
Amos The Book of Esther The Book of Job
Obadiah The Book of Job The Book of Psalms
Jonah The Psalms The Book of Proverbs
Micah The Proverbs Ecclesiastes
Nahum Ecclesiastes; or, The Preacher Solomon's Canticle of Canticles
Habakkuk The Song of Solomon The Book of Wisdom (apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon in RSV)
Zephaniah Ecclesiasticus (apocryphal Ecclesiasticus in RSV)
Haggai The Prophecy of Isaias
Zechariah The Prophecy of Jeremias
Malachi The Book of Isaiah The Lamentations of Jeremias
The Book of Jeremiah The Prophecy of Baruch (apocryphal Baruch and The Letter of Jeremiah in RSV)


(Hebrew), English The Prophets the second division of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, the other two being the Torah (the Law) and the Ketuvim (the Writings, or the Hagiographa). In the Hebrew canon the Prophets are divided into

(1) the Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings) and

(2) the Latter Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve, or Minor, Prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi).

This canon, though somewhat fluid up to the early 2nd century BC, was finally fixed by a council of rabbis at Jabneh (Jamnia), now in Israel, c. AD 100.

The Protestant canon follows the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament. It calls the Former Prophets the Historical Books, and subdivides two of them into I and II Samuel and I and II Kings. Some Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox versions further divide Kings into four books. I and II Maccabees are also included in the Roman and Eastern canons as historical books.

The Prophets in the Protestant canon include Isaiah (which appears in two books in some Catholic versions), Jeremiah, and Ezekiel from the Hebrew Latter Prophets. The Minor Prophets (The Twelve) are treated as 12 separate books; thus the Protestant canon has 17 prophetic books. The Roman Catholics accept the book of Baruch, including as its 6th chapter the Letter of Jeremiah, both considered apocryphal by Jews and Protestants.
 

Ketuvim

Ketuvim ("The Writings")

The Lamentations of Jeremiah
The Prophecy of Ezechiel
The Prophecy of Daniel (includes The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the
Psalms The Book of Ezekiel Three Young Men, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon, apocryphal in RSV)
Proverbs The Book of Daniel The Prophecy of Osee
Job The Prophecy of Joel
The Song of Songs The Book of Hosea The Prophecy of Amos
Ruth The Book of Joel The Prophecy of Abdias
Lamentations The Book of Amos The Prophecy of Jonas
Ecclesiastes The Book of Obadiah The Prophecy of Micheas
Esther The Book of Jonah The Prophecy of Nahum
Daniel The Book of Micah The Prophecy of Habacuc
Ezra The Book of Nahum The Prophecy of Sophonias
Nehemiah The Book of Habakkuk The Prophecy of Aggeus
First Chronicles The Book of Zephaniah The Prophecy of Zacharias
Second Chronicles The Book of Haggai The Prophecy of Malachias
The Book of Zechariah The First Book of Machabees (apocryphal The First Book of the Maccabees in RSV)
The Book of Malachi The Second Book of Machabees (apocryphal The Second Book of the Maccabees in RSV)



(Hebrew), English Writings , Greek Hagiographa the third division of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament. Divided into four sections, the Ketuvim include:

poetical books (Psalms, Proverbs, and Job),

the Megillot, or Scrolls (Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Ecclesiastes, and Esther),

prophecy (Daniel), and

history (Ezra, Nehemiah, and I and II Chronicles).

Thus the Ketuvim are a miscellaneous collection of liturgical poetry, secular love poetry, wisdom literature, history, apocalyptic literature, a short story, and a romantic tale. They were composed over a long period of time—from before the Babylonian Exile in the early 6th century BC to the middle of the 2nd century BC—and were not entirely accepted as canonical until the 2nd century AD. Unlike the Torah and the Nevi'im (Prophets), which were canonized as groups, each book of the Ketuvim was canonized separately, often on the basis of its popularity.

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

 
 
 
 
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