Old Testament

  • Joshua
  • Judge
  • Rut
  • 1 Samuel (1 Kings )
  • 2 Samuel (2 Kings )
  • 1 Kings ( 3 Kings)
  • 2 Kings ( 4 Kings)
  • 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah ( 2 Esdras )
  • Tobit ( Tobias )
  • Judit
  • Ester additives
  • 1 Maccabees
  • 2 Maccabees
  • Job (Job job )
  • Psalms
  • Proverbs (Proverbs )
  • Kohelet (Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiastes )
  • Canticles
  • Wisdom of Solomon (wisdom)
  • Sirach ( Ecclesiasticus )

" Great"

  • Isaiah ( Isaias )
  • Jeremiah ( Jeremiah )
  • Lamentations ( of Jeremiah ~ )
  • Baruch (including Letter of Jeremiah )
  • Ezekiel (Ezekiel )
  • Daniel ( accessories)

" Small " ( Twelve Prophets )

  • Hosea ( Hosea )
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah ( Abdias )
  • Jonah ( Jonas )
  • Micah ( Micah )
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah ( Sophonias )
  • Haggai ( Aggäus )
  • Zechariah ( Zechariah )
  • Malachi ( Malachi )

Name after the ÖVBE. Follow Bracketed names among others the Septuagint. Kursiviert: Deuterocanonical books.

As Old Testament (abbreviated AT; testamentum from Latin, translation of Hebrew or Greek בְּרִית Berit διαθήκη Diatheke "covenant"; well: First Testament ) refers to the Christian theology since about 180 the scriptures of Judaism, which has been there for about 100 are referred to BC as the Tanakh, as well as some more from the Septuagint since 250 BC incurred. It was originally written in Hebrew, to a lesser extent also in Aramaic.

Early Christianity were these writings as the Word of God, announcing Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the nations, and show in its interpretation. That is why the early church defended its validity as a revelation testimonies against Christian minorities, who rejected this application. Your choice and arrangement were 350 finalized; the Old Testament, together with the New Testament (abbreviated NT) the Christian Bible.

The canon of the Old Testament differs between the Christian denominations: While Protestantism him limited on the books of the Tanakh, Catholicism and Orthodoxy retained beyond several books from the Septuagint.

  • 3.1 Patristics
  • 3.2 Time of National Socialism
  • 3.3 reassessment since 1945


The early Christians found Torah, prophets and other Jewish holy scriptures as yet unfinished Bible. But you did not call the "Old Testament", but used the same or similar terms as the former Judaism: " font " or "Writings " (Greek gramma γράμμα, γραφή graphs ), sometimes abbreviated "law " (Greek nomos νόμος for hebr. תוֹרָה Torah ), but in most cases "the law and the prophets " or " Moses and the prophets," once as " law, Prophets and Psalms " ( Luke 24:44 ) analogous to the usual since about 100 BC threefold division of the Jewish Bible canon.

The Latin testamentum (derived from testari, " witness " ) is an inexact translation of the Greek term διαθήκη ( Diatheke ) indicating in the Septuagint the last oral or written declaration of will of a dying man in the sense of an order. In the NT the term never refers to the Jewish Scriptures as a whole. Paul of Tarsus was referring διαθήκη ( Diatheke ) in 2 Cor 3,14 EU to God's will, revelation at Sinai, their tradition ( Ex 19-24) was read in the synagogue with oral worship. He asked her God towards final reconciliation will, which have realized in the Deputy judgment of death of Jesus Christ on the cross and fulfilled as God's covenant with the people of Israel and renewed. Self-evident presupposition of the juxtaposition of the old and new covenant was for all early Christians the identity of YHWH, the God of Israel, to be with the Father, Jesus Christ, and the inviolable validity of his blessing promise to Abraham, the "father of many nations " (Gen. 12:3), have begun to meet Jesus Christ (Heb 6:13 ff.)

The translation of Diatheke with testamentum is first documented around 150 in Tertullian. Melito of Sardis called 180 the first time all written evidence from salvific will of God before the appearance of Jesus Christ in contrast to the apostolic writings as the " Old Testament".

The attribute "alt " became " obsolete " in the substitution theology of Christian anti-Judaism in the sense of " detached ", " hands" and " no longer valid " interpreted. Thus, the devaluation of Judaism was associated, often resulted in its repression and persecution in Christianized Europe. To respect the autonomy of the Jewish Scriptures, some call Christian theologians and churches AT today " First Testament" or " Hebrew Bible ". One can understand the concepts but also purely temporal, so that the term is to be regarded as " formerly ".

Development process

Oral and written sources

The oldest traditions of the Tanakh are in the " Pentateuch " collected (from the Greek pente = five, TEUCHOS = scroll ). This tells of the creation of the world and prehistory of mankind to the "election ", liberation and immigration of Israel in Canaan. This story of salvation has been in centuries from many different materials, including word wreaths, Ortsätiologien, tribal traditions and Gesetzeskorpora composed. The individual sources and traditions, but especially the exilic period ( 587 BC) were probably already in the regal period (1000 BC), literary connected to form larger units:

  • The " patriarchal" narratives ( Genesis 12-47 )
  • The story of the exodus of Israel from Egypt, his wandering in the desert and laws revelation at Sinai ( Exodus )
  • Of colonization, conquest and defense ( "Land Acquisition") of the promised land (part of the fourth book of Moses and Joshua and Judges Books )
  • The Urgeschichten ( Genesis 1-11 )
  • Collections of laws (parts of the 2nd and 4th Book of Moses and the entire 3rd and 5th book of Moses).

In addition, traditions came from the monarchy of the political history of Israel that were connected during and after the exile into larger units such as the " Deuteronomic history book ": This includes the book of Joshua, the Book of Judges, the Books of Samuel and the two Books of Kings.

Since the 9th century BC also prophetic traditions were collected and later integrated either into the histories of the monarchy ( Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Elisha ) or to own prophetic individual books together ( from Isaiah to Malachi ).

Since the reign of Solomon in the 10th century BC, but especially in exilic and post-exilic period from the 6th century BC arose liturgical, poetic and sapiential writings:

  • Prayer poetry such as the Psalms, proverbial wisdom as Proverbs or the love poems of the " Song of Songs "
  • Reflexive wisdom literature such as the books of Ecclesiastes and Job.

Many of the " writings" counted books were created following the return of part of the exiled Jews since 539 BC (Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, Ruth ). In the post-exilic period was at least the Torah to " Scripture " of Judaism; which prophets and scriptures should belong, remained controversial among different directions of Judaism. From the Date of the Maccabees ( about 170 BC) incurred apocalyptic literature only the book of Daniel was included in the canon.

Role in the New Testament

For Jesus of Nazareth and his followers a preform of the Tanakh with the Torah, Prophets, Psalms, the Book of Daniel and proverbial wisdom was the Scriptures. Jesus referred to his preaching from the beginning of his work on it, and understood it as a legal interpretation of the disclosed therein will of God (Matt. 5:17). Without listening, reading and interpreting biblical texts, which were seen as God's current word, was the early Christians - like all former Jews - their message of the coming of the kingdom of God is not possible.

Israel Bible remained even after Jesus' death the norm from the manufactures and the Christians proclaimed the come out and returning Messiah. Thus, all formulas of the early Jerusalem church creed consistently emphasize the conformity of Scripture, so consistency and predestination their faith with Israel's salvation history. Jesus' death and resurrection was the only recognizable in Scripture purpose of this story, which reaffirmed the biblical promises a final transformation of the world for them.

By the early Christians Jesus story as the fulfillment of God's covenant history retold with Israel, wrote down and taught, they created a "New Testament". The Gospels, community letters and Acts provide sourcing, death and resurrection of the Jew Jesus Christ as the ultimate fulfillment and renewal of Israel is federal, so that the message of the NT can continue to proclaim only with the AT.

The term "Old Testament " as a term for a collection of the writings of Israel does not occur in the NT. The thing it is in the NT so but the " first covenant" of God with the people of Israel (Heb. 8:7) in comparison to and in indissoluble relation to the " new covenant " of God with Israel and all nations through the self-giving of Jesus Christ ( Mk 14, 24) meant. The attribute "alt " is justified only in this Christian self- understanding: Then the ratio of the two Testaments indissoluble each other a succession, so far as the Old to the New Covenant of God is preceded by time and content.

However, this means either the NT itself nor on the later church doctrine obsolescence and replacement of Israel covenant, which testifies to the Hebrew Bible. With the coming of Jesus Christ came alongside the "old" for Christians is not a new word of God. But this "Son of God " is the " Word of God incarnate " ( John 1:14) and as such represents the election of Israel to the people of God in the eternity of the election of humanity is included.

In particular, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ after the NT God 's will fulfilled on behalf of all people. He has given Israel revelations, covenants and promises finally confirmed the pronounced in Israel Bible 's promise of a "new covenant" unsurpassable confirmed (Heb 8.8 cites Jer 31.31 to 32 ) and included all the peoples of this covenant.

Person and work of Jesus Christ for the Christians therefore embody the "new" will of God by, finally meet and reaffirm his " old" will, Ersterwählung Israel. Therefore, the continuous reference is crucial to Israel's Bible For all the early Christian proclamation. Without it, can the universal significance of Jesus Christ not testify or understand.

However, this has for Christians of a will of God, already the "Old " Testament reveals, get another, new significance: From now on, this will only apply in the interpretation that Jesus Christ him through his teaching, his death and has given his resurrection. Accordingly, all single commandment, are "stored " a commandment of Jesus Christ, namely the double commandment of God and love of neighbor, which is subordinate ( Mk 12:30-31 EU).


As part of the canonization of the Tanakh to the Christian Old Testament and its tripartite division of the Torah ( the Pentateuch ) was unchanged, but some individual books of the second and third parts were differently and arranged, others came to these two parts to it.

In most Christian canon lists the 2nd to 4th century, the Nevi'im ( prophets ) were divided and some of the Ketuvim (Writings ), between "front" and " rear " moved prophet. This former were moved away as history of the writing prophets. The books of Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles, which belong in the Tanakh to the scriptures, moved into the second main part, where they were classified roughly historically accurate: The book of Ruth is now in accordance with its opening and closing verses from the books of Judges and Samuel, his action to judge time plays Naomi's son and was a grandfather of King David. Since Ezra and Nehemiah followed the exile, their books were moved behind the Chronicle, which in turn continues the monarchy. They are followed by Tobit, Judith, Ester Books and Maccabees according to the times and topics described in them consecutive. This created a coherent description of the history of Israel from the Conquest to the restoration of a Jewish state in which the Torah and the Temple cult had validity again. This was read rather than completed and passed, not certain as of prophetic promise of unresolved and open future.

Behind the history books advanced the still remaining Ketuvim. The writings attributed to Solomon, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs have been added to the wisdom of Solomon, and Ecclesiasticus. The Book of Job advanced the psalms in the first place: For Job was because of its reminiscent of the patriarchs godly devotion as older than the King David ascribed Psalms. This prayer collection begins with action and ends with the praise of God's rule: It found the Christians the transformation of the doubt and accusation of Job in the eschatological joy of victory of Jesus Christ expressed.

The Lamentations of Jeremiah were consistent to the prophet Jeremiah, found the book of Daniel to the "large", the future of the whole world concerned prophets. It was therefore not considered as sapiential, but apocalyptic writing that continues earlier prophetic promises. By advanced the prophetic books to the conclusion that they were for the Christians the promise of Jesus Christ. Writings, which remained current for Judaism, its festivals and its worship, had for Christians since the destruction of the Temple ( AD 70 ), however, rather paradigmatic, allegorical and typological significance.


Since the separation of Christianity from Judaism, the Christian Gnostics, who regarded the Old Testament as a document of a discarded, outdated and anti-Christian religion and excluded from their own faith developed. Marcion placed the creation by the evil, materialistic, God of Israel, of salvation through the good, spiritual mind of Jesus dualistic opposite each other and stood in front of about a cleansed of all Jewish influences Bible canon.

From 150 the nascent Church gave such experiments a rejection by accepting all the writings of the Tanakh and some of the Septuagint as "Old Testament " that is fully valid word of God and their New Testaments prefaced. This followed the view of the early Christians, after which the belief in Jesus Christ, God's covenant with Israel affirmed, not replaced. Thus, it was theologically impossible to separate life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the election of Israel. The church itself thus laid down a normative authority on the interpretation of the New Testament, could rely on the later reform attempts in religion and politics. Early on there were various translations of parts of the Septuagint into Latin, which today are summed under the multiform concept Vetus Latina. Since 385, the complete translation of the Septuagint by Jerome into Latin, the Vulgate, which then replaced the old translations, and was decisive in Catholicism.

History of interpretation


Augustine of Hippo coined the re-opened by the Reformers, famous sentence:

What is meant is that Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross are indicated in the Old Testament. But not only individual passages such as Psalm 22 or Isaiah 53 are used, but also the meaning of the entire Old Testament, would like to show that that man - even if he tried it - Commandments of God can not keep ( see, eg, Romans chapter 3 and 7, Galatians ). Thus, the New Testament is seen as a continuation of the old, without which it would have no root and base.

Nevertheless, " forgot " the church in its history, the clear statement Rom 11.2 to 18 EU:

"God has not rejected his people, which he has previously chosen ... is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you!"

Where the data related to the here and hopes and promises to Israel were reinterpreted and Neoplatonic allegorical, there Christianity appropriated the new reign religion of the Roman Empire.

The continuous since the 3rd century Christian appropriation of the Old Testament and ecclesiastical and dogmatic " disinheritance " of Judaism called in times of crisis out pogroms against Jews and other minorities and " justified " this throughout the European Middle Ages until well into modern times.

Period of National Socialism

In the era of National Socialism, the "German Christians" again tried to eradicate all "Jewish " from the Christian faith and this transform to a " national religion ". The centuries- long religious anti-Judaism was one of the main prerequisites for this heresy and therefore also for the singular crimes of the Holocaust.

Revaluation since 1945

From this devastating experience conferred a Jewish- Christian dialogue since about 1960. He spurred the discussion about the AT, its relevance to the exegesis of the New Testament and the Christian faith in Christian theology.

Even the historical research of the 19th and early 20th centuries recognized the independence of Israel's traditions, especially his prophecy and his messianism. But only the highly visible effects of Christian anti-Judaism up to the Shoah moving the churches and the New Testament scholarship to deal with possible roots of anti-Judaism in the New Testament.

This led to the Catholic area since the 2nd Vatican Council, in the German Protestant area - especially since the church days of the 1960s - a reassessment of the AT and Judaism in the church dogma and practice of everyday life by itself. The Rhenish Synodalbeschluss 1980 on the relationship between Jews and Christians has led the way here. Now most of the country churches of the EKD have similar declarations adopted and partly accepted in their church constitutions.

One of his central insights was: Had the Christian majority in Europe perceived their Jewish roots and recognized the " unterminated covenant" of God with Israel (Rom 11,2 / Martin Buber), then they would have against the Jewish minority rather followed the double commandment of love and societies taught to do the same in Europe. Then the indifference to the fate of the Jewish people had in the Nazi period so can not happen.

Is attempting to Christian theology and linguistically to take into account to express the permanent validity of the Scriptures contained in the Old Testament and to prevent misunderstanding, " old " means " outdated " or " obsolete ": eg First Testament (Hebrews 8, 7:13; 9,1.15.18: as the Christian Old Testament scholar Erich Zenger ), The Hebrew Bible or the historical- neutral Hebrew - Aramaic scriptures.

The third memorandum "Jews and Christians " of the Evangelical Church in Germany from 2000 notes that the Christian devaluation of the Old Testament is permanently overcome only if both Judaism is recognized as a constant, independent living witness of the Hebrew Bible. This has far -reaching consequences for biblical scholarship, exegesis, preaching, confirmation classes and worship design.

Historical- critical study

The Old Testament scholarship is dedicated to the sub-discipline of theology of the philological- historical study of the Old Testament. It includes the following subject areas:

  • Old Testament literature ( Introduction Science )
  • Exegesis of the Old Testament texts ( interpretation )
  • Social, political and religious history of Israel
  • Theology of the Old Testament
  • Old Testament hermeneutics (the study of "understanding" )

As auxiliary sciences of Old Testament scholarship are assigned:

  • Hebrew Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Archaeology of Palestine region and surrounding areas
  • Oriental