[b-hebrew] Tanach book order - different in Christian Bibles

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Fri Sep 1 08:10:32 EDT 2006

Dear Steven,

>  The Reformation Bibles we know have a different book order and  
>combination of books than the Hebrew Bible, and its tri-partite division. 
>   Where did this Christian book-order arise ?  It is said sometimes that 
>it arose from the Greek Tanach (socalled LXX) translations, but those 
>manuscripts are quite inconsistent, so I am skeptical of that claim, at 
>least it needs more detail about who, where, when. 
>  Is there a study of the process that gave us the current Christian Bible
>book order in Tanach ?  Is this discussed in early days, like with Jerome ?
>How did he order his Latin Vulgate, translated from the Hebrew-Aramaic ?
>Do we know ? 

HH: F. F. Bruce's book _The Canon of Scripture_ shows the order of the 
biblical books through time. It is pretty interesting. In Augustine's 
time the deuterocanonical books were still mixed in with the canonical 
ones, as in the Greek OT, and some books still had no particular order. 
Augustine writes:

There are other books which appear to follow no regular order, being 
connected neither with the order of the preceding books nor with one 
another, such as Job, Tobias, Esther, and Judith, the two books of 
Maccabees and the two of Esdras [i.e. Ezra and Nehemiah].

HH: Augustine includes Psalms and Solomon's books among the Prophets, 
considered Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus authoritative and to be numbered 
among the prophetical books, put the Twelve in the modern order, and put 
Daniel before Ezekiel.

Jerome's order in the Vulgate was important but not exactly like the 
modern order, it seems, for he had Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Esther 
after the Poetic books.

I can't find where the first occurrence of a list like the modern one 
appears, but it is included in the Elizabethan Thirty-Nine Articles of 

Harold Holmyard

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