Sunday, February 17, 2008

biblical studies

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of CongressFocused on the interpretation and exegesis of the bible.

Biblical studies is the academic study of the Judeo-Christian Bible. Christianity traditionally includes the New Testament and Old Testament, sometimes called the "Scriptures."

Judaism includes only the Hebrew Bible (the first five books of which are called the Torah or Tanakh in Hebrew). Biblical studies is a branch of theology, but also draws on the disciplines of history, literary criticism, philology, and increasingly the social sciences. Practitioners of Biblical Studies do not necessarily have faith commitment to the texts they study.

In Judaism

Biblical studies among Jews in a secular academic setting is fairly new. Historically, and for those Jews maintaining Jewish traditions (particularly the Haredi Jews and Hasidic Jews), the term "Bible Study" is not used, rather the term of choice was, and remains, "Torah Study", which included the study of Torah, Tanakh, Mishnah, Talmud, or Jewish law, Midrashic commentators and rabbinic literature. Jews have traditionally done their religious studies at home with their parents, or institutionally in a local yeshiva (larger Talmudic school), beth midrash (a smaller school), a kollel (post-graduate school) and even in synagogue on a daily basis.

Modern academic-type institutions where Bible studies are conducted in non-traditional fashion, meaning in modern academic style, for Jewish students are the Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative), some classes at Yeshiva University (Modern Orthodox) in the United States, and in Israel at all its major universities such as Hebrew University (secular), Tel Aviv University (secular) and some courses at Bar Ilan University (Religious Zionism).


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