8 Work titles in text

8.3 Sacred texts

8.3.1 The Bible

General considerations

It is the normal convention to set the title of the Bible and its constituent books in roman rather than italic type, with initial capitals. Terms for parts or versions of the Bible are usually styled in the same way (the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, the Authorized Version). Specific modern editions of the Bible (for example the New English Bible) should be given italic titles. Terms such as scripture or gospel should not be capitalized when used generically, but may be either upper or lower case when applied to a particular book of the Bible. It is not necessary to capitalize the adjective biblical, or the word bibles used of multiple copies of the Bible:

the Acts of the Apostles

the Gospel of St Luke

a commentary on one of the gospels

Formerly, biblical references to chapters and verses used lower-case Roman numerals for chapter, followed by a full point, space, and verse number in Arabic (ii. 34). Modern practice is to use Arabic numerals for both, separated by a colon and no space (Luke 2:34). Fuller forms (the second epistle of Paul to the Corinthians) are generally more appropriate to open text, and more or less abbreviated citations (2 Cor. or 2 Corinthians) to notes and parenthetical references in text, but the degree of abbreviation acceptable in running text will vary with context.

Versions of the Bible

The Bible traditionally used in Anglican worship, called the Authorized Version (AV), is an English translation of the Bible made in 1611. The Vulgate, prepared mainly by St Jerome in the late fourth century, was the standard Latin version of both the Old Testament (OT) and New Testament (NT). Two modern English versions are the English Standard Version (ESV ), an update of the 1971 Revised Standard Version, most recently revised in 2011, and the New International Version (NIV ), first published in 1973–8, and revised in 1985 and 2011. The Roman Catholic Bible was translated from the Latin Vulgate and revised in 1592 (NT) and 1609 (OT); the New Jerusalem Bible is a modern English translation (1985). Many versions are available in digital format.

The Septuagint (LXX) is the standard Greek version of the Old Testament, originally made by the Jews of Alexandria but now used (in Greek or in translation) by the Orthodox Churches. Neither Septuagint nor Vulgate recognizes the distinction between ‘Old Testament’ and ‘Apocrypha’ made by Protestants.

Books of the Bible

Names of books of the Bible are conventionally abbreviated as follows:

Old Testament

Genesis

Gen.

Exodus

Exod.

Leviticus

Lev.

Numbers

Num.

Deuteronomy

Deut.

Joshua

Josh.

Judges

Judg.

Ruth

Ruth

1 Samuel

1 Sam.

2 Samuel

2 Sam.

1 Kings

1 Kgs

2 Kings

2 Kgs

1 Chronicles

1 Chr.

2 Chronicles

2 Chr.

Ezra

Ezra

Nehemiah

Neh.

Esther

Esther

Job

Job

Psalms

Ps. (pl. Pss.)

Proverbs

Prov.

Ecclesiastes

Eccles.

Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon)

S. of S.

Isaiah

Isa.

Jeremiah

Jer.

Lamentations

Lam.

Ezekiel

Ezek.

Daniel

Dan.

Hosea

Hos.

Joel

Joel

Amos

Amos

Obadiah

Obad.

Jonah

Jonah

Micah

Mic.

Nahum

Nahum

Habakkuk

Hab.

Zephaniah

Zeph.

Haggai

Hag.

Zechariah

Zech.

Malachi

Mal.

The first five books are collectively known as the Pentateuch (Five Volumes), or the books of Moses. Joshua to Esther are the Historical books; Job and Psalms are the Didactic books. The remainder of the Old Testament contains the Prophetical books. The major prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel; the minor prophets are Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

New Testament

Matthew

Matt.

Mark

Mark

Luke

Luke

John

John

Acts of the Apostles

Acts

Romans

Rom.

1 Corinthians

1 Cor.

2 Corinthians

2 Cor.

Galatians

Gal.

Ephesians

Eph.

Philippians

Phil.

Colossians

Col.

1 Thessalonians

1 Thess.

2 Thessalonians

2 Thess.

1 Timothy

1 Tim.

2 Timothy

2 Tim.

Titus

Titus

Philemon

Philem.

Hebrews

Heb.

James

Jas.

1 Peter

1 Pet.

2 Peter

2 Pet.

1 John

1 John

2 John

2 John

3 John

3 John

Jude

Jude

Revelation

Rev.

Apocrypha

1 Esdras

1 Esdras

2 Esdras

2 Esdras

Tobit

Tobit

Judith

Judith

Rest of Esther

Rest of Esth.

Wisdom

Wisd.

Ecclesiasticus

Ecclus.

Baruch

Baruch

Song of the Three Children

S. of III Ch.

Susanna

Sus.

Bel and the Dragon

Bel & Dr.

Prayer of Manasses

Pr. of Man.

1 Maccabees

1 Macc.

2 Maccabees

2 Macc.

8.3.2 Other sacred texts

As with the Bible, the names of Jewish and Islamic scriptures, and of other non-Christian sacred texts, are cited in roman rather than italic.

In references to the texts of Judaism and Islam, as with the Bible, there are alternative conventions for naming, abbreviating, and numbering the various elements. The forms adopted will depend on the nature of the work and on authorial and editorial preference.

Jewish scriptures

The Hebrew Bible contains the same books as the Old Testament, but in a different arrangement. The Torah or Law has Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Prophets has Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Twelve; Writings or Hagiographa has Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles. Although nowadays divided as in Christian bibles, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles were (and still may be) each traditionally counted as one book; similarly Ezra-Nehemiah.

The Talmud is the body of Jewish civil and ceremonial law and legend, comprising the Mishnah and the Gemara. The Talmud exists in two versions: the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud. In most non-specialist works only the former is cited.

Islamic scriptures

The Islamic sacred book is the Koran, or Qu’ran/Quran. The Koran is divided into 114 unequal units called ‘suras’ or ‘surahs’; each sura is divided into verses. Every sura is known by an Arabic name; this is sometimes reproduced in English, sometimes translated, for example ‘the Cave’ for the eighteenth. The more normal form of reference is by number, especially if the verse follows: ‘Sura 18, v. 45’, or simply ‘18. 45’. References to suras have Arabic numbers with a full point and space before the verse number, though the older style of a Roman numeral or colon is also found.

The Sunna or Sunnah is a collection of the sayings and deeds of the Prophet; the tradition of these sayings and deeds is called Hadith.


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