Tanakh: The Jewish Bible

Fast Facts: Tanakh: The Jewish Bible
Faith(s) Judaism

The primary Jewish sacred text is the Tanakh, whose name is an acronym of Torah, Nebi'im and Ketuvim (Law, Prophets and Writings). Other names for the Tanakh include the Jewish Bible , Written Torah, or Hebrew Scriptures.

The Tanakh consists of the same books as the Christian Old Testament, although in a slightly different order and with other minor differences. The Tanakh should not be referred to as the "Old Testament" in the context of Judaism, however, as the term implies acceptance of a "New Testament."


The Torah (Law) contains five books, which is why it is also known as the Pentateuch. The books of the Torah are named for their first words in Hebrew:

  1. Bereishith ("In the beginning") (Genesis)
  2. Shemoth ("The names") (Exodus)
  3. Vayiqra ("And He called") (Leviticus)
  4. Bamidbar ("In the wilderness") (Numbers)
  5. Devarim ("The words") (Deuteronomy)

Nebi'im (The Prophets)

The Prophets consist of eight books if the Twelve Minor Prophets are counted together, as they usually are, or 21 if they are counted separately.

  1. Yehoshua (Joshua)
  2. Shoftim (Judges)
  3. Shmuel (I &II Samuel)
  4. Melakhim (I & II Kings)
  5. Yeshayah (Isaiah)
  6. Yirmyah (Jeremiah)
  7. Yechezqel (Ezekiel)
  8. The Twelve
    • Hoshea (Hosea)
    • Yoel (Joel)
    • Amos
    • Ovadyah (Obadiah)
    • Yonah (Jonah)
    • Mikhah (Micah)
    • Nachum
    • Chavaqquq (Habbakkuk)
    • Tzefanyah (Zephaniah)
    • Chaggai
    • Zekharyah (Zechariah)
    • Malakhi

Ketuvim (The Writings)

  1. Tehillim (Psalms)
  2. Mishlei (Proverbs)
  3. Iyov (Job)
  4. Shir Ha-Shirim (Song of Songs)
  5. Ruth
  6. Eikhah (Lamentations)
  7. Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes)
  8. Esther
  9. Daniel
  10. Ezra & Nechemyah (Nehemiah) (treated as one book)
  11. Divrei Ha-Yamim ("The words of the days") (Chronicles)


  1. Robinson, George, Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs & Rituals (Atria Books, 2001).
  2. “Torah, Torah, Torah: The Unfolding of a Tradition.” Falcon, Rabbi Ted; David Blatner, Judaism For Dummies (For Dummies).
  3. Rich, Tracey R. Judaism 101.

Article Info

Title Tanakh: The Jewish Bible
Last UpdatedFebruary 24, 2021
URL religionfacts.com/tanakh
Short URLrlft.co/521
MLA Citation “Tanakh: The Jewish Bible.” ReligionFacts.com. 24 Feb. 2021. Web. Accessed 29 Jan. 2022. <religionfacts.com/tanakh>