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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

- Terminology and Content

ACCORDING TO JEWISH TRADITION, the second canonical division, Nevi'im or Prophets, is comprised of the eight books Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor (in the sense of short) Prophets. Samuel and Kings, which are now each divided into two books, are each considered as a single book in Jewish tradition, though the NJPS translation follows the practice, first found in the Septuagint, of dividing these two long books in half. In the classical rabbinic period, these eight books were seen as a single unit; in the medieval period, these books were divided in half thematically, with Joshua through Kings called the former prophets (nevi'im rishonim), and Isaiah through the Twelve called the latter prophets (nevi'im'ạͨaronim). The terms “former” and “latter” refer to the placement of these collections within Nevi'im rather than their chronological order since, for example, some of the events narrated in Kings, the fourth book of Nevi'im, transpire later than the events in some of the Twelve Minor Prophets.

It is likely that these eight books were canonized after the Torah, and that at some point the canon was comprised of Torah plus Nevi'im (see “Canonization,” pp. 2072–77). It is less certain why the first four books were called “prophets” and how they became part of a larger collection called Nevi'im. Perhaps the collection is named after its last four books, which were seen as the more significant part of the collection. Alternatively, the name Nevi'im reflects an awareness that prophets and prophetic activity play important roles in each of the first four books as well: In the book of Joshua, Joshua is depicted as the prophetic successor to Moses (see esp. ch 1 ); in Judges oracles are often consulted (e.g., 1.1; 20.18 ); Samuel the prophet is a central figure of the book that bears his name; and Elijah, Elisha, and several other named and unnamed prophets figure prominently in Kings. Thus, even though Joshua through Kings might be categorized as historical books according to their genre, and are so placed in non‐Jewish Bibles, which follow the order of the Septuagint (see the chart on p. 2076), their inclusion in Nevi'im reflects an ancient tradition that reflects the history of canonization rather than a thematic or generic arrangement of the books. Nevertheless, due to their different content and nature, they will be treated separately in this introduction.

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