This article is about Hebrew and Aramaic texts that constitute Jewish scripture. For the major textual tradition, see Masoretic Text.
For their use in the Christian Bible, see Old Testament.
The content to which the Protestant Old Testament closely corresponds does not act as a source for the deuterocanonical portions of the Roman Catholic or to the portions of the Eastern Orthodox Old Testaments.
The term does not comment upon the naming, numbering or ordering of books, which varies with later Christian biblical canons.
The term Hebrew Bible is an attempt to provide specificity with respect to contents but avoid allusion to any particular interpretative tradition or theological school of thought.
It is widely used in academic writing and interfaith discussion in relatively neutral contexts meant to include dialogue among all religious traditions but not widely in the inner discourse of the religions that use its text. In its Latin form, Biblia Hebraica, it traditionally serves as a title for printed editions of the Masoretic Text.
The Hebrew Bible includes small portions in Aramaic (mostly in the books of Daniel and Ezra), written and printed in Aramaic square-script, which was adopted as the Hebrew alphabet after the Babylonian exile.
The books that constitute the Hebrew Bible developed over roughly a millennium.The oldest texts seem to come from the eleventh or tenth centuries BCE, whilst most of the other texts are somewhat later.They are edited works, being collections of various sources intricately and carefully woven together.Many biblical studies scholars advocate use of the term "Hebrew Bible" (or "Hebrew Scriptures") as a neutral substitute to terms with religious connotations (e.g., the non-neutral term "Old Testament").The Society of Biblical Literature's Handbook of Style, which is the standard for major academic journals like the Harvard Theological Review and conservative Protestant journals like the Bibliotheca Sacra and the Westminster Theological Journal, suggests that authors "be aware of the connotations of alternative expressions such as...Hebrew Bible [and] Old Testament" without prescribing the use of either.