History in the Bible Podcast

Canons of the Old Testament: A Comparison

Podcast Episodes: 1.1 to 2.15.

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This page shows two charts comparing the different canons of the Old Testament.

The Tanakh Compared to the Protestant Old Testament Canon

The Tanakh is the Jewish Bible, the collection of books that Christians call the Old Testamant. This table shows the books listed in the Tanakh compared to those found in most Protestant Old Testament (OT) canons. You will see that each canon has the same books, although sometimes in a different order or divided differently.

Tanakh Protestant OT
Torah (Teachings) Bere'shit (In the Beginning) Genesis
Shemot (Now these are the Names) Exodus
Vayikra (Now He called) Leviticus
Bemidbar (In the wilderness) Numbers
Devarim (These are the Words) Deuteronomy
Nevi'im (Prophets) Nevi'im Rishonim (Former Prophets) Yehoshua Joshua
Shofetim (Judges) Judges
Shmu'el 1 Samuel
2 Samuel
Melakhim (Kings) 1 Kings
2 Kings
Nevi'im Aharonim (Latter Prophets) Yeshayahu Isaiah
Yirmeyahu Jeremiah
Yehezkel Ezekiel
Tre-Assar (The Twelve) Hosea
Kethuvim (Writings) Tehilim (Songs of Praise) Psalms
Mishlei (Proverbs) Proverbs
Iyyov Job
Hamish Megillot (Five Scrolls) Shir HasShirim (Song of Songs) Song of Solomon
Rut Ruth
'Ekhah (Alas) Lamentations
Koheleth (Sage) Ecclesiastes
'Ester Esther
Daniyyel Daniel
Ezra Ezra
Divrei Hayamim (Annals) 1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles

Old Testament Christian Canons Compared: Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox

This table provides a comparison between the Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox Old Testament canons. I have used two columns for the Catholic. The Vulgate was the standard Latin text used in the Catholic church until the 20th century. I have used the New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE) as the exemplar of the modern Catholic English-language text. The canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo church diverges considerably from other Christian churches.

The shortest canon is that of the Protestants, which accords precisely with the Jewish canon. Protestants refer to the extra books used by Catholics and Orthodox as the apocrypha, a denigratory term meaning anything from hidden or obscure to spurious. They can be used for instruction, but not to establish doctrine. In the Catholic church they are known as the Deuterocanon, a neutral term meaning second canon, so given because their canonicity was defined much later than the other books.

Division Traditional Catholic [Vulgate] Modern Catholic [New American Bible (Revised Edition)] Greek Orthodox Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Protestant OT
Pentateuch Genesis Genesis Genesis Genesis Genesis
Exodus Exodus Exodus Exodus Exodus
Leviticus Leviticus Leviticus Leviticus Leviticus
Numeri Numbers Numbers Numbers Numbers
Deutero­nomium Deuteronomy Deuteronomy Deuteronomy Deuteronomy
Histories Josue Joshua Joshua Joshua Joshua
Judices Judges Judges Judges Judges
Ruth Ruth Ruth Ruth Ruth
1 Kings 1 Samuel 1 Kingdoms Samuel 1 Samuel
2 Kings 2 Samuel 2 Kingdoms 2 Samuel
3 Kings 1 Kings 3 Kingdoms Kings 1 Kings
4 Kings 2 Kings 4 Kingdoms 2 Kings
1 Para­lipomenon 1 Chronicles 1 Para­lipomenon 1 Chronicles 1 Chronicles
2 Para­lipomenon 2 Chronicles 2 Para­lipomenon (with the Prayer of Manasseh) 2 Chronicles (with the Prayer of Manasseh) 2 Chronicles
1 Esdras
1 Esdras Ezra 2 Esdras Ezra-Nehemiah Ezra
2 Esdras Nehemiah Nehemiah
2 Ezra and Ezra Setuel (Ezra Apocalypse)
Tobias Tobit Tobit Tobit
Judith Judith Judith Judith
Esther Esther Esther Esther Esther
Wisdom and Poetry
Job Job Job Job Job
Psalms Psalms Psalms (with Psalm 151)
Psalms (with Psalm 151)
Proverbia Proverbs Proverbs Messale (Proverbs 1-24) Proverbs
Taagsas (Proverbs 25-31)
Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes
Canticles Song of Songs Song of Solomon Song of Solomon Song of Solomon
Wisdom Wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon) Wisdom of Solomon Wisdom of Solomon
Ecclesiasticus Ben Sira (Sirach, Ecclesiasticus) Sirach Sirach
Prophets Isaias Isaiah Isaiah Isaiah Isaiah
Jeremias Jeremiah Jeremiah Jeremiah Jeremiah
Lamentations Lamentations Lamentations Lamentations Lamentations
Baruch Baruch (with the Letter of Jeremiah as ch. 6) Prophecy of Baruch Baruch (with the Letter of Jeremiah as ch. 6)
Letter of Jeremiah
Ezechiel Ezekiel Ezekiel Ezekiel Ezekiel
Daniel Daniel (with Susanna as ch 13, and Bell and the Dragon as ch 14) Daniel Daniel Daniel
Osee Hosea Hosea Hosea Hosea
Joel Joel Joel Joel Joel
Amos Amos Amos Amos Amos
Abdias Obadiah Obadiah Obadiah Obadiah
Jonas Jonah Jonah Jonah Jonah
Micheas Micah Micah Micah Micah
Nahum Nahum Nahum Nahum Nahum
Habacuc Habakkuk Habakkuk Habakkuk Habakkuk
Sophonias Zephaniah Zephaniah Zephaniah Zephaniah
Aggeus Haggai Haggai Haggai Haggai
Zacaharias Zechariah Zechariah Zechariah Zechariah
Malachias Malachi Malachi Malachi Malachi
Further Histories 1 Maccabees 1 Maccabees 1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees 2 Maccabees 2 Maccabees
3 Maccabees
4 Maccabees (as an appendix)
1 Maqabeyan
2 and 3 Maqabeyan

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