The Jewish sacred text is the Tanakh (Tanach, Tenach), which consists of the same books as the Christian Old Testament, although in a slightly different order and with other minor differences. Tanakh assumed its final shape between the Babylonian exile and the first century AD. They are almost 39 books same as in Christian Old Testament but numbers as 24, because it counts the 12 Minor Prophets as a single book and one book each Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Ezra–Nehemiah.

The original proper title for the Jewish Bible was Mikra meaning “reading” or “that which is read.” Nowadays both Tanakh and Mikra are used to refer to the Hebrew scriptures. In modern spoken Hebrew, they are interchangeable.  Tanakh is divided into three major parts Torah (The Teachings), Nevi’im (The Prophets) and Ketuvim (The Writings). Tanakh is actually a word made up of the first Hebrew letter of each of these subdivisions: Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim hence TaNaKh. The complete list of books of Tanakh is given below with proper groups and subgroups.


For Details Of Each Book See Old Testament Section Of Bible Summary


(Chumash / Pentateuch)

The famous five Books of Moses. Also called as Chamisha Chumshei Torah  (חמישה חומשי תורה‎) meaning Five fifth-sections of the Torah.

  1. Genesis (Bereshit) (בְּרֵאשִׁית,)
  2. Exodus (Shemot)( שְׁמֹות)
  3. Leviticus (Vayikra) (וַיִּקְרָא)
  4. Numbers (Bamidbar)(בְּמִדְבַּר)
  5. Deuteronomy (Dvarim)(דְּבָרִים)

NEVIIM (Prophets)

Neviim Rishonim (Former Prophets)

  1. Joshua (Yehoshua) Yĕhôshúa‘ (יְהוֹשֻעַ)
  2. Judges (Shofetim) Shophtim (שֹׁפְטִים)
  3. Samuel 1 (Shmuel Aleph) Shmû’ēl (שְׁמוּאֵל)
  4. Samuel 2 (Shmuel Bet)
  5. Kings 1 (Melachim Aleph) M’lakhim (מְלָכִים)
  6. Kings 2 (Melachim Bet)

Neviim Aharonim (Latter Prophets)

  1. Isaiah (Yeshayah) Yĕsha‘ăyāhû (יְשַׁעְיָהוּ)
  2. Jeremiah (Yerimyah) Yirmyāhû (יִרְמְיָהוּ)
  3. Ezekiel (Yechezkel) Yĕkhezqiēl (יְחֶזְקֵאל)

Trei Asar (Twelve) 

12 Small Books Of Later Prophets

  1. Hosea (Hoshaya) Hôshēa‘ (הוֹשֵׁעַ)
  2. Joel (Yoel) Yô’ēl (יוֹאֵל)
  3. Amos (Amos) Āmôs (עָמוֹס)
  4. Obadiah (Ovadyah) ‘Ōvadhyāh (עֹבַדְיָה)
  5. Jonah (Yonah) Yônāh (יוֹנָה)
  6. Mihah (Michah) Mîkhāh (מִיכָה)
  7. Nahum (Nachum) Nakḥûm (נַחוּם)
  8. Habakkuk (Chavakkuk) Khăvhakûk (חֲבַקּוּק)
  9. Zephaniah (Tzephanyah) Tsĕphanyāh (צְפַנְיָה)
  10. Haggai (Chaggai) Khaggai (חַגַּי)
  11. Zehariah (Zecharyah) Zkharyāh (זְכַרְיָה)
  12. Malaahi (Malachi) Mal’ākhî (מַלְאָכִי)

KETUVIM (Writings)

The third part of the Tanakh is Ketuvim consists of the following three subgroups

Poetic Books (Sifrei Emet)

  1. Psalms (Tehillim) (תְהִלִּים)
  2. Proverbs (Mishlei) (מִשְׁלֵי)
  3. Job (Iyyov) Iyyôbh (אִיּוֹב)

The Five Scrolls (Hamesh Megillot)

These books are read aloud in the synagogue on particular occasions

  1. Song of Songs (Shir ha-Shirim) (שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים) ) On Passovers
  2. Ruth (Ruth) (רוּת)  On Shavuot 
  3. Lamentations (Eikhah) (אֵיכָה) On Tisha B’Av
  4. Ecclesiastes (Kohelet) Qōheleth (קֹהֶלֶת) on Sukkot
  5. Esther (Esther) (אֶסְתֵר) On Purim

Other Historical Books

  1. Daniel (Daniel) Dānî’ēl (דָּנִיֵּאל)
  2. Ezra-Nehemiah (Ezra) Ezrā (עֶזְרָא)
  3. Chronicles (Divrei ha-Yamim) Divrei ha-Yamim (דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים)


Then comes Talmud. Orthodox Jews believe that along with with Torah other verbal instructions and explanation of Torah was also revealed to Moses and preserved orally until it was written down. Thus the first 5 books of Tanakh are called as the  “Written Torah,” and The Talmud is known as the “Oral Torah.” Talmud is from the Hebrew word talmūdh which literally mean instruction. Talmud is a collection of writings of Rabbis that interpret, explain the Torah scriptures. The Talmud was written between the 2nd and 5th century AD. There are two Talmuds: the Jerusalem Talmud (Compiled around 500AD) and the Babylonian Talmud (Compiled around 600AD). However, the Babylonian Talmud had established supremacy, and today it is the one that is meant by “the Talmud.”

Talmud made up of two parts: the Mishnah and the Gemara/Gemorah.


The Mishnah is a rabbinic commentary on the Torah, and the Gemara is a commentary on the Mishnah. The Talmud thus makeup of two parts: the Mishnah – the core text; and the Gemara – analysis, and commentary. The rabbis of the Mishnah are known as Tannaim, and the rabbis of the Gemara are referred to as Amoraim. Mishnah means study by repetition from the Medieval Hebrew word mishnāh literally, teaching by oral repetition, a teaching that is repeated or “to study and review” and the word Gemara/Gemorah is actually from the Aramaic verb gamar meaning “study.” After the Mishnah was published by Judah the Prince (Judah ha-Nasi or Judah I) around 200AD, the work was studied and discussed by various rabbis of Babbel and Israel. Their discussions were penned down in a set of books that became the Gemara, which when coupled with the Mishnah made up the Talmud.

Mishnah is divided into “six orders,” or shisha sedarim in Hebrew, each of which addresses a different aspect of Jewish life. Each order containing 7–12 tractates 63 in total. Each tractate is divided further into chapters, which in turn contain various numbers of teachings:

1-Zera’im (“Seeds”) – blessings, tithes, temple offerings, agriculture (11 tractates)

2-Mo’ed (“Set Feasts”) – Sabbath laws and holiday observances (12 tractates)

3-Nashim (“Women”) – marriage and divorce (7 tractates)

4-Nezikin (“Damages”) – idolatry, matters of civil law, and the Pirke Avot (10 tractates)

5-Kodashim (“Holy Things”) – sacrificial system in the Temple, dietary laws (11 tractates)

6-Tohorot (“Purities”) – ritual purity and impurity (12 tractates)

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Tosefta means “supplement or addition. Tosefta serves as a supplement to the Mishnah and closely corresponds to the Mishnah, with the same divisions for orders “Sedarim” and tractates “masekhot.” It is mainly written in Hebrew, with some Aramaic. Tosefta offers additional aggadic and midrashic material, and it sometimes contradicts the Mishnah in the ruling of Jewish law, or in attributing in whose name a law was stated.


Alongside the Mishna and the Talmud grew a collection of texts dedicated to the explanation or interpretation of the Bible, known as the Midrash that contains interpretive traditions of the Sages from the times of the Tannaim. The word Midrash is derived from the root of the Hebrew verb darash (דָּרַשׁ), which means seek, resort to, seek with care, enquire. The Hebrew word for “sermon” is “d’rash” and Midrash actually is rabbinical material derived primarily from their sermons and compiled between  400 to 600AD but the midrashic form continues to the present day.

There are two types of Midrashi texts dedicated to both Halakhic (legal) and Aggadic (