Portal:Bible

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The Bible Portal

The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible

The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, tà biblía, 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthology – a compilation of texts of a variety of forms – originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek. These texts include instructions, stories, poetry, and prophecies, among other genres. The collection of materials that are accepted as part of the Bible by a particular religious tradition or community is called a biblical canon. Believers in the Bible generally consider it to be a product of divine inspiration, but the way they understand what that means and interpret the text can vary.

The religious texts were compiled by different religious communities into various official collections. The earliest contained the first five books of the Bible. It is called the Torah in Hebrew and the Pentateuch (meaning five books) in Greek; the second oldest part was a collection of narrative histories and prophecies (the Nevi'im); the third collection (the Ketuvim) contains psalms, proverbs, and narrative histories. "Tanakh" is an alternate term for the Hebrew Bible composed of the first letters of those three parts of the Hebrew scriptures: the Torah ("Teaching"), the Nevi'im ("Prophets"), and the Ketuvim ("Writings"). The Masoretic Text is the medieval version of the Tanakh, in Hebrew and Aramaic, that is considered the authoritative text of the Hebrew Bible by modern Rabbinic Judaism. The Septuagint (meaning the Translation of the Seventy) is a Koine Greek translation of the Tanakh from the third and second centuries BCE (Before Common Era); it largely overlaps with the Hebrew Bible.

Christianity began as an outgrowth of Judaism, using the Septuagint as the basis of the Old Testament. The early Church continued the Jewish tradition of writing and incorporating what it saw as inspired, authoritative religious books. The gospels, Pauline epistles and other texts quickly coalesced into the New Testament.

With estimated total sales of over five billion copies, the Bible is the best-selling publication of all time. It has had a profound influence both on Western culture and history and on cultures around the globe. The study of it through biblical criticism has indirectly impacted culture and history as well. The Bible is currently translated or being translated into about half of the world's languages. (Full article...)

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Delilah (c. 1896) by Gustave Moreau

Delilah (/dɪˈllə/ dil-EYE-lə; Hebrew: דְּלִילָה, romanizedDəlīlā, meaning "delicate"; Arabic: دليلة, romanizedDalīlah; Greek: Δαλιδά, romanizedDalidá) is a woman mentioned in the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible. She is loved by Samson, a Nazirite who possesses great strength and serves as the final Judge of Israel. Delilah is bribed by the lords of the Philistines to discover the source of his strength. After three failed attempts at doing so, she finally goads Samson into telling her that his vigor is derived from his hair. As he sleeps, Delilah orders a servant to cut Samson's hair, thereby enabling her to turn him over to the Philistines.

Delilah has been the subject of both rabbinic and Christian commentary; rabbinic literature identifies her with Micah's mother in the biblical narrative of Micah's Idol, while some Christians have compared her to Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus. Scholars have noted similarities between Delilah and other women in the Bible, such as Jael and Judith, and have discussed the question of whether the story of Samson's relationship with Delilah displays a negative attitude towards foreigners. Notable depictions of Delilah include John Milton's closet drama Samson Agonistes and Cecil B. DeMille's 1949 Hollywood film Samson and Delilah. Her name has become associated with treacherous and voluptuous women. (Full article...)
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