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The Old Testament is divided into a number of books, most of them originally written in Hebrew, all of them now considered by Jews to have been inspired by God.Some parts of some books were originally written in Aramaic, some apparently in Syriac or other Middle Eastern languages, but all such texts were rendered into Hebrew.

Failing this, we might expect that various copies would at least agree with each other.

We certainly would not expect to find evidence of tampering and later editing.

When early Christians addressed the problem of what to regard as canonical, there was a distinct lack of agreement.

No one knows what Jesus would have regarded as canonical.

We would not for example expect to find stories that have been plagiarised from neighbouring cultures or other religions.

If the claims made for the Bible were true, then in view of their importance we might expect that the original manuscripts would have been carefully preserved.

Those without learning generally held that the text was to be interpreted literally, but biblical scholars have always used a certain amount of interpretation (they call it exegesis) to help understand the more opaque passages.

Traditionally, Jews believed that the Hebrew text of the Old Testament was the infallible word of God.

Not only was the text internally consistent and free from error, but it also contained nothing that was superfluous.

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