Hagiographa

HAGIOGRAPHA (hăg'ĭ-ŏg'ra-fa, holy writings). A name applied to the third division of the OT by the Jews, the other two being the Law and the Prophets. Sometimes they were called the “Writings.” They are presented in the following order: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 and 2 Chronicles.


HAGIOGRAPHA hăg’ ĭ ŏg’ rə fə, hā’ jĭn. The text of the Heb. Bible is traditionally divided in three parts:

a) The Law (תּוֹרָה, H9368) comprises the Pentateuch, or the five books (of Moses).

b) The Prophets (נְבִיאִ֔ים) section is subdivided in two: the prophetae priores—beginning with Joshua and ending with 1 and 2 Kings; and the prophetae posteriores—beginning with Isaiah and ending with Malachi.

c) The Writings (כְּתוּבִ֗ים) which is usually referred to as the Hagiographa (ἁγιογραφα, holy writings), is arranged in the following order: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 and 2 Chronicles. In the Talmud, the Book of Ruth is put in the first place, prob. to provide the prehistory of David and to serve as an introduction to the Psalter of David, which follows.

This threefold division was already adopted about the middle of the 2nd cent. b.c., as appears from the prologue of Ecclesiasticus: “the law, the prophets, and the other books of our fathers.” Josephus, at the end of the 1st cent. a.d., knew of a similar division, though in the last section he places only four books (Jos., Apion, I, 38-41). It will be noted that according to the Jewish tradition, the Book of Daniel is not counted among the prophetic writings. Some argue from this fact that for Josephus the third division consisted of “hymns to God and precepts for the conduct of human life.” It is suggested that the four books were Psalms, nodetitle, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes (cf. Josephus, H. St. J. Thackeray [Loeb Classical Lib.] I, n.d., 179); that the missing books were distributed differently from the present order. In this case, Daniel may have been among the Prophets.


Bibliography

A. Bentzen, Introduction to the OT, I (1948), 25f.; G. L. Archer, A Survey of OT Introduction (1964), 60f.; KWNT, I, 750-752.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

hag-i-og’-ra-fa.

See Bible; Canon of the Old Testament.