Torah

Torah

Overview

Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the Bible
The Torah (ˈtɔːrə; , "Instruction"), is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis (in Hebrew, Bereshit, בראשית, "In the beginning"), Exodus (Shmot , שמות, "These are the names"), Leviticus
Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

 (Vayikra ויקרא, "And he called"), Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 (Bamidbar, במדב, "In the wilderness") and Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

 (Dvarim, דברים, "These are the words").
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Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the Bible
The Torah (ˈtɔːrə; , "Instruction"), is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis (in Hebrew, Bereshit, בראשית, "In the beginning"), Exodus (Shmot , שמות, "These are the names"), Leviticus
Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

 (Vayikra ויקרא, "And he called"), Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 (Bamidbar, במדב, "In the wilderness") and Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

 (Dvarim, דברים, "These are the words"). In rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

 the word Torah denotes both these five books, "Torah Shebichtav" (תורה שבכתב, "Torah that is written"), and an oral tradition
Oral Torah
The Oral Torah comprises the legal and interpretative traditions that, according to tradition, were transmitted orally from Mount Sinai, and were not written in the Torah...

, "Torah Shebe'al Peh" (תורה שבעל פה, "Torah that is spoken"). The oral portion consists of the traditional interpretations and amplifications handed down by word of mouth from generation to generation and now embodied in the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 and Midrash
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

.

According to Jewish tradition the entire Torah, both written and oral, was revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai
Biblical Mount Sinai
The Biblical Mount Sinai is the mountain at which the Book of Exodus states that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God...

; According to medieval Jewish mysticism the Torah was created prior to the creation of the world, and was used as the blueprint
Blueprint
A blueprint is a type of paper-based reproduction usually of a technical drawing, documenting an architecture or an engineering design. More generally, the term "blueprint" has come to be used to refer to any detailed plan....

 for Creation. Modern biblical scholars have concluded that the written books were a product of the Babylonian exilic period (c.600 BCE) and that it was completed by the Persian period
Yehud Medinata
Yehud Medinata or simply Yehud, was an Achaeminid autonomous province covering Judea and parts of Samaria, located south to Eber-Nari...

 (c.400 BCE).

Meaning and names


The word "Torah" in Hebrew "is derived from the root ירה which in the hifil conjugation
Grammatical conjugation
In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection . Conjugation may be affected by person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, voice, or other grammatical categories...

 means "to teach" (cf. Lev
Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

. 10:11). The meaning of the word is therefore "teaching," "doctrine," or "instruction"; the commonly accepted "law" gives a wrong impression." Other translational contexts in the English language include custom
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

, theory
Theory
The English word theory was derived from a technical term in Ancient Greek philosophy. The word theoria, , meant "a looking at, viewing, beholding", and referring to contemplation or speculation, as opposed to action...

, guidance
Guidance
Guidance may refer to:*Guidance *Guidance system*Guidance Solutions, an eCommerce development company*"Guidance", an episode of Death Note...

, or system
System
System is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole....

.. The Hebrew word for law is din. The term "Torah" is therefore also used in the general sense to include both Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

's written law and oral law
Oral Torah
The Oral Torah comprises the legal and interpretative traditions that, according to tradition, were transmitted orally from Mount Sinai, and were not written in the Torah...

, serving to encompass the entire spectrum of authoritative Jewish religious teachings throughout history, including the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

, the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, the Midrash
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

 and more, and the inaccurate rendering of "Torah" as "Law" may be an obstacle to "understanding the ideal that is summed up in the term talmud torah (תלמוד תורה, "study of Torah,"), characterized in Jewish tradition as excelling all things."
The Torah is not the only book in its class, however. Tanakh
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 is, in Hebrew, an abbreviation alluding to its three parts; the Torah, Nevi'im ("Prophets," a narrative of what happened after the Torah which picks up exactly where it left off as well as the writings viewed as prophetically inspired by Israelite prophets after Moses), and Ketuvim (the "Writings"). Together, these books comprise the Hebrew Bible, known in Christendom as "The Old Testament", the first part of the Christian Bible.

Within the Hebrew Bible,
The earliest name for the first part of the Bible seems to have been "The Torah of Moses." This title, however, is found neither in the Torah itself, nor in the works of the pre-Exilic literary prophets. It appears in Joshua
Book of Joshua
The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. Its 24 chapters tell of the entry of the Israelites into Canaan, their conquest and division of the land under the leadership of Joshua, and of serving God in the land....

 (8:31–32; 23:6) and Kings
Books of Kings
The Book of Kings presents a narrative history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years...

 (I Kings 2:3; II Kings 14:6; 23:25), but it cannot be said to refer there to the entire corpus. In contrast, there is every likelihood that its use in the post-Exilic works (Mal. 3:22; Dan. 9:11, 13; Ezra 3:2; 7:6; Neh. 8:1; II Chron. 23:18; 30:16) was intended to be comprehensive. Other early titles were "The Book of Moses" (Ezra 6:18; Neh. 13:1; II Chron. 35:12; 25:4; cf. II Kings 14:6) and "The Book of the Torah" (Neh. 8:3) which seems to be a contraction of a fuller name, "The Book of the Torah of God" (Neh. 8:8, 18; 10:29–30; cf. 9:3).


Scholars usually refer to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 as the Pentateuch, a term first used in the Hellenistic Judaism
Hellenistic Judaism
Hellenistic Judaism was a movement which existed in the Jewish diaspora that sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism...

 of Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, meaning five books, or as the Law, or Law of Moses. Muslims refers to the Torah as "Tawrat
Tawrat
Tawrat is the Arabic word for the Torah. Muslims believe it was a holy book of Islam given by Allah to Musa . The Hebrew word for their scripture, the Torah means instructions, that is why Tawrat does not refer to the entire Tanakh or Old Testament...

" , an Arabic word for the revelations given to the Islamic prophet
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

 "Musa
Islamic view of Moses
Musa , known as Moses in the Old Testament, is considered an Islamic prophet, messenger, lawgiver and leader in Islam. Moses is mentioned more in the Quran than any other individual, and his life is narrated and recounted more than that any other prophet...

" .

Composition



According to Jewish tradition the Torah was dictated to Moses by God, with the exception of the last eight verses of Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

 which describe his death. Today, the majority of scholars agree that the Torah does not have a single author, and that its composition took place over centuries. From the late 19th century there was a general consensus around the documentary hypothesis
Documentary hypothesis
The documentary hypothesis , holds that the Pentateuch was derived from originally independent, parallel and complete narratives, which were subsequently combined into the current form by a series of redactors...

, which suggests that the five books were created c.450 BCE by combining four originally independent sources, known as the Jahwist
Jahwist
The Jahwist, also referred to as the Jehovist, Yahwist, or simply as J, is one of the sources of the Torah. It gets its name from the fact that it characteristically uses the term Yahweh for God in the book of Genesis...

, or J (about 900 BCE), the Elohist
Elohist
The Elohist is one of four sources of the Torah described by the Documentary Hypothesis. Its name comes from the term it uses for God: Elohim; it is characterised by, among other things, an abstract view of God, using "Horeb" instead of "Sinai" for the mountain where Moses received the laws of...

, or E (about 800 BCE), the Deuteronomist
Deuteronomist
The Deuteronomist, or simply D, is one of the sources underlying the Hebrew bible . It is found in the book of Deuteronomy, in the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings and also in the book of Jeremiah...

, or D, (about 600 BCE), and the Priestly source
Priestly source
The Priestly Source is one of the sources of the Torah/Pentateuch in the bible. Primarily a product of the post-Exilic period when Judah was a province of the Persian empire , P was written to show that even when all seemed lost, God remained present with Israel...

, or P (about 500 BCE). This general agreement began to break down in the late 1970s, and today there are many theories but no consensus, or even majority viewpoint. Variations of the documentary hypothesis
Documentary hypothesis
The documentary hypothesis , holds that the Pentateuch was derived from originally independent, parallel and complete narratives, which were subsequently combined into the current form by a series of redactors...

 remain popular especially in America and Israel, and the identification of distinctive Deuteronomistic and Priestly theologies and vocabularies remains widespread, but they are used to form new approaches suggesting that the books were combined gradually over time by the slow accumulation of "fragments" of text, or that a basic text was "supplemented" by later authors/editors. At the same time there has been a tendency to bring the origins of the Pentateuch further forward in time, and the most recent proposals place it in 5th century Judah under the Persian empire
Yehud Medinata
Yehud Medinata or simply Yehud, was an Achaeminid autonomous province covering Judea and parts of Samaria, located south to Eber-Nari...

.

Deuteronomy is often treated separately from Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus. The process of its formation probably took several hundred years, from the 8th century to the 6th, and its authors have been variously identified as prophetic circles (because the concerns of Deuteronomy mirror those of the prophets, especially Hosea
Hosea
Hosea was the son of Beeri and a prophet in Israel in the 8th century BC. He is one of the Twelve Prophets of the Jewish Hebrew Bible, also known as the Minor Prophets of the Christian Old Testament. Hosea is often seen as a "prophet of doom", but underneath his message of destruction is a promise...

), Levitical priestly circles (because it stresses the role of the Levites), and wisdom and scribal circles (because it esteems wisdom, and because the treaty-form in which it is written would be best known to scribes
Scribes
Scribes is a minimalist and extensible text editor for GNOME that combines simplicity with power. Scribes focuses on ways workflow and productivity can be intelligently automated and radically improved...

). According to the theory of the Deuteronomistic history proposed by Martin Noth
Martin Noth
Martin Noth was a German scholar of the Hebrew Bible who specialized in the pre-Exilic history of the Hebrews. With Gerhard von Rad he pioneered the traditional-historical approach to biblical studies, emphasising the role of oral traditions in the formation of the biblical texts.-Life:Noth was...

 and widely accepted, Deuteronomy was a product of the court of Josiah
Josiah
Josiah or Yoshiyahu or Joshua was a king of Judah who instituted major reforms. Josiah is credited by most historians with having established or compiled important Jewish scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule.Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after...

 (late 7th century) before being used as the introduction to a comprehensive history of Israel written in the early part of the 6th century; later still it was detached from the history and used to round off the Pentateuch.

Structure


The Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 names of the five books of the Torah are known by their incipit
Incipit
Incipit is a Latin word meaning "it begins". The incipit of a text, such as a poem, song, or book, is the first few words of its opening line. In music, it can also refer to the opening notes of a composition. Before the development of titles, texts were often referred to by their incipits...

, taken from initial words of the first verse of each book. For example, the Hebrew name of the first book, Bereshit, is the first word of Genesis 1:1
Genesis 1:1
' is the first Bible verse of the first chapter in the Book of Genesis. In transliteration, the Hebrew reads: Bereishit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'aretz.. Its translation and interpretation are of major theological significance....

:
  1. Bereshit
  2. Shemot
  3. Vayikra
  4. Bamidbar
  5. Devarim


The Anglicized names are derived from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 and reflect the essential theme of each book:
  1. Genesis: "creation"
  2. Exodus: "departure"
  3. Leviticus
    Leviticus
    The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

    : refers to the Levites and the regulations that apply to their presence and service in the Temple
    Temple
    A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

    , which form the bulk of the third book.
  4. Numbers
    Book of Numbers
    The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

     (Arithmoi): contains a record of the numbering of the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai and later on the plain of Moab
    Moab
    Moab is the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in Jordan. The land lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over...

    .
  5. Deuteronomy
    Deuteronomy
    The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

    : "second law," refers to the fifth book's recapitulation of the commandments reviewed by Moses before his death.


According to the Oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

, the prose in the Torah is not always in chronological order. Sometimes it is ordered by concept according to the rule: "There is not 'earlier' and 'later' in the Torah" (אין מוקדם ומאוחר בתורה, Ein mukdam u'meuchar baTorah). This position is accepted by Orthodox Judaism. Non-Orthodox Jews generally understand the same texts as signs that the current text of the Torah was redacted from earlier sources (see documentary hypothesis
Documentary hypothesis
The documentary hypothesis , holds that the Pentateuch was derived from originally independent, parallel and complete narratives, which were subsequently combined into the current form by a series of redactors...

.)

Contents


Bereshit (Genesis) begins with the so-called "primeval history" (Genesis 1–11), the story of the world's beginnings and the descent of Abraham. This is followed by the story of the three patriarchs
Patriarchs (Bible)
The Patriarchs of the Bible, when narrowly defined, are Abraham, the ancestor of all the Abrahamic nations; his son Isaac, the ancestor of the nations surrounding Israel/Judah; and Isaac's son Jacob, also named Israel, the ancestor of the Israelites...

, Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

, Isaac
Isaac
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

, and Jacob
Jacob
Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament and the Qur'an was the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.In the...

, and Joseph
Joseph (Hebrew Bible)
Joseph is an important character in the Hebrew bible, where he connects the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Canaan to the subsequent story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt....

 (Genesis 12–50) and the four matriarchs, Sarah
Sarah
Sarah or Sara was the wife of Abraham and the mother of Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran. Her name was originally Sarai...

, Rebekah
Rebecca
Rebecca a biblical matriarch from the Book of Genesis and a common first name. In this book Rebecca was said to be a beautiful girl. As a name it is often shortened to Becky, Becki or Becca; see Rebecca ....

, Leah
Leah
Leah , as described in the Hebrew Bible, is the first of the two concurrent wives of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob and mother of six of sons whose descendants became the Twelve Tribes of Israel, along with at least one daughter, Dinah. She is the daughter of Laban and the older sister of Rachel, whom...

 and Rachel
Rachel
Rachel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, is a prophet and the favorite wife of Jacob, one of the three Biblical Patriarchs, and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. She was the daughter of Laban and the younger sister of Leah, Jacob's first wife...

. God gives to the patriarchs a promise of the land of Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

, but at the end of Genesis the sons of Jacob end up leaving Canaan for Egypt.

Shemot (Exodus) begins the story of God's revelation to his people Israel through Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

, who leads them out of Egypt (Exodus 1–18) to Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai , also known as Mount Horeb, Mount Musa, Gabal Musa , Jabal Musa meaning "Moses' Mountain", is a mountain near Saint Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. A mountain called Mount Sinai is mentioned many times in the Book of Exodus in the Torah and the Bible as well as the Quran...

. There the people accept a covenant with God, agreeing to be his people in return for agreeing to abide by his Law. Moses receives the Torah from God, and mediates His laws and Covenant (Exodus 19–24) to the people of Israel. Exodus also deals with the first violation of the covenant when the Golden Calf
Golden calf
According to the Hebrew Bible, the golden calf was an idol made by Aaron to satisfy the Israelites during Moses' absence, when he went up to Mount Sinai...

 was constructed (Exodus 32–34). Exodus concludes with the instructions on building the Tabernacle (Exodus 25–31; 35–40).

Vayikra
Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus is the third book of the Hebrew Bible, and the third of five books of the Torah ....

 (Leviticus) begins with instructions to the Israelites on how to use the Tabernacle
Tabernacle
The Tabernacle , according to the Hebrew Torah/Old Testament, was the portable dwelling place for the divine presence from the time of the Exodus from Egypt through the conquering of the land of Canaan. Built to specifications revealed by God to Moses at Mount Sinai, it accompanied the Israelites...

, which they had just built (Leviticus 1–10). This is followed by rules of clean and unclean (Leviticus 11–15), which includes the laws of slaughter and animals permissible to eat (see also: Kashrut
Kashrut
Kashrut is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha is termed kosher in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér , meaning "fit" Kashrut (also kashruth or kashrus) is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha (Jewish law) is termed...

), the Day of Atonement
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

 (Leviticus 16), and various moral and ritual laws sometimes called the Holiness Code
Holiness code
The Holiness Code is a term used in biblical criticism to refer to Leviticus 17-26, and is so called due to its highly repeated use of the word Holy. It has no special traditional religious significance and traditional Jews and Christians do not regard it as having any distinction from any other...

 (Leviticus 17–26).

Bamidbar
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 (Numbers) tells how Israel consolidated itself as a community at Sinai (Numbers 1–9), set out from Sinai to move towards Canaan and spied out the land (Numbers 10–13). Because of unbelief at various points, but especially at Kadesh Barnea (Numbers 14), the Israelites were condemned to wander for forty years in the desert in the vicinity of Kadesh instead of immediately entering the land of promise. Even Moses sins and is told he would not live to enter the land (Numbers 20). At the end of Numbers (Numbers 26–35) Israel moves from Kadesh to the plains of Moab opposite Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

, ready to enter the Promised Land.

Devarim
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

 (Deuteronomy) is a series of speeches by Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 on the plains of Moab opposite Jericho. Moses proclaims the Law (Deuteronomy 12–26), gives instruction concerning covenant renewal at Shechem (Deuteronomy 27–28) and gives Israel new laws (the "Deuteronomic Code
Deuteronomic Code
The Deuteronomic Code is the name given by academics to the law code within the Book of Deuteronomy. It contains "a variety of topics including religious ceremonies and ritual purity, civil and criminal law, and the conduct of war"...

)". At the end of the book (Deuteronomy 34) Moses is allowed to see the promised land from a mountain, but it is not known what happened to Moses on the mountain. He was never seen again. Knowing that he is nearing the end of his life, Moses appoints Joshua
Joshua
Joshua , is a minor figure in the Torah, being one of the spies for Israel and in few passages as Moses's assistant. He turns to be the central character in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Joshua...

 his successor, bequeathing to him the mantle of leadership. Soon afterwards Israel begins the conquest of Canaan.

Torah and Judaism



The Torah is the primary holy scripture of Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

.

Rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

nic writings offer various ideas on when the Torah was composed. The revelation to Moses at Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai , also known as Mount Horeb, Mount Musa, Gabal Musa , Jabal Musa meaning "Moses' Mountain", is a mountain near Saint Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. A mountain called Mount Sinai is mentioned many times in the Book of Exodus in the Torah and the Bible as well as the Quran...

 is considered by most to be the revelatory event. According to dating of the text by Orthodox rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

s, this occurred in 1312 BCE; another date given for this event is 1280 BCE.

Some rabbinic sources state that the entire Torah was given all at once at this event. In the maximalist belief, this dictation included not only the quotations that appear in the text, but every word of the text itself, including phrases such as "And God spoke to Moses ...", and included God telling Moses about Moses' own death and subsequent events. Other classical rabbinic sources hold that the Torah was revealed to Moses over many years, and finished only at his death.

Another rabbinic school of thought holds that although Moses wrote the vast majority of the Torah, the last four verses of the Torah must have been written after his death by Joshua. Abraham ibn Ezra
Abraham ibn Ezra
Rabbi Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra was born at Tudela, Navarre in 1089, and died c. 1167, apparently in Calahorra....

 and Joseph Bonfils observed that some phrases in the Torah present information that people should only have known after the time of Moses. Ibn Ezra hinted, and Bonfils explicitly stated, that Joshua (or perhaps some later prophet) wrote these sections of the Torah. Other rabbis would not accept this belief.

The Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 (tractate Sabb. 115b) states that a peculiar section in the Book of Numbers (10:35 — 36, surrounded by inverted
Inverted nun
Inverted nun is a rare glyph used in Classical Hebrew. Its function in the ancient texts is disputed. It takes the form of the letter nun in mirror image, and appears in the Masoretic text of the Tanakh in nine different places:...

 Hebrew letter nuns) in fact forms a separate book. On this verse a midrash on the book of Mishle (English Proverbs
Book of Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs , commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is a book of the Hebrew Bible.The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is "Míshlê Shlomoh" . When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint the title became "paroimai paroimiae"...

) states that "These two verses stem from an independent book which existed, but was suppressed!" Another (possibly earlier) midrash, Ta'ame Haserot Viyterot, states that this section actually comes from the book of prophecy of Eldad and Medad
Eldad and Medad
Eldad and Medad are mentioned in the Book of Numbers, and are described as having prophesied among the Israelites, despite the fact that they had remained in the camp, while 70 elders had gone to the tabernacle outside the camp to receive the ability to prophecy from God...

. The Talmud says that God dictated four books of the Torah, but that Moses wrote Deuteronomy in his own words (Talmud Bavli, Meg. 31b).

All classical rabbinic views hold that the Torah was entirely or almost entirely Mosaic and of divine origin.

Ritual use



Torah reading is a Jewish religious ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

 that involves the public reading of a set of passages from a Torah scroll
Sefer Torah
A Sefer Torah of Torah” or “Torah scroll”) is a handwritten copy of the Torah or Pentateuch, the holiest book within Judaism. It must meet extremely strict standards of production. The Torah scroll is mainly used in the ritual of Torah reading during Jewish services...

. The term often refers to the entire ceremony of removing the Torah scroll (or scrolls) from the ark
Ark (synagogue)
The Torah ark or ark in a synagogue is known in Hebrew as the Aron Kodesh by the Ashkenazim and as the Hekhál amongst most Sefardim. It is generally a receptacle, or ornamental closet, which contains each synagogue's Torah scrolls...

, chanting the appropriate excerpt with special cantillation
Cantillation
Cantillation is the ritual chanting of readings from the Hebrew Bible in synagogue services. The chants are written and notated in accordance with the special signs or marks printed in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible to complement the letters and vowel points...

, and returning the scroll(s) to the ark. It is distinct from academic Torah study
Torah study
Torah study is the study by Jewish people of the Torah, Hebrew Bible, Talmud, responsa, rabbinic literature and similar works, all of which are Judaism's religious texts...

.

Regular public reading of the Torah was introduced by Ezra
Ezra
Ezra , also called Ezra the Scribe and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra. According to the Hebrew Bible he returned from the Babylonian exile and reintroduced the Torah in Jerusalem...

 the Scribe after the return of the Jewish people from the Babylonian captivity
Babylonian captivity
The Babylonian captivity was the period in Jewish history during which the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylon—conventionally 587–538 BCE....

 (c. 537 BCE), as described in the Book of Nehemiah
Book of Nehemiah
The Book of Nehemiah is a book of the Hebrew Bible. Told largely in the form of a first-person memoir, it concerns the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, a Jew who is a high official at the Persian court, and the dedication of the city and its people to God's laws...

. In the modern era, adherents of Orthodox Judaism practice Torah reading according to a set procedure they believe has remained unchanged in the two thousand years since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

 (70 CE). In the 19th and 20th centuries CE, new movements such as Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 and Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

 have made adaptations to the practice of Torah reading, but the basic pattern of Torah reading has usually remained the same:

As a part of the morning or afternoon prayer services on certain days of the week or holidays, a section of the Pentateuch is read from a Torah scroll. On Shabbat
Shabbat
Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact times, therefore, differ from...

 (Saturday) mornings, a weekly section ("parasha") is read, selected so that the entire Pentateuch is read consecutively each year. On Saturday afternoons, Mondays, and Thursdays, the beginning of the following Saturday's portion is read. On Jewish holiday
Jewish holiday
Jewish holidays are days observed by Jews as holy or secular commemorations of important events in Jewish history. In Hebrew, Jewish holidays and festivals, depending on their nature, may be called yom tov or chag or ta'anit...

s and fast days
Ta'anit
A ta'anit or taanis or taʿanith in Classical Hebrew is a fast in Judaism in which one abstains from all food and drink, including water...

, special sections connected to the day are read.

Jews observe an annual holiday, Simchat Torah
Simchat Torah
Simchat Torah or Simḥath Torah is a celebration marking the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle...

, to celebrate the completion of the year's cycle of readings.

Torah scrolls are often dressed with a sash, a special Torah cover
Jeanette Kuvin Oren
Jeanette Kuvin Oren is a Jewish American contemporary artist specializing in Judaic art, fiber art, mosaics, stained glass, calligraphy, papercutting and painting....

, various ornaments and a Keter (crown), although such customs vary among synagogues.
Congregants traditionally stand when the Torah is brought out of the ark to be read (although they sit during the reading itself.)

Biblical law


The Torah contains narratives, statements of law, and statements of ethics. Collectively these laws, usually called biblical law
Biblical law
Biblical law refers to the legal aspects of the Bible, the holy scriptures of Judaism and Christianity.-Judaism:* 613 Mitzvot, the 613 commandments contained in the Torah* Mitzvah, divine commandment, act of human kindness, a good deed...

 or commandments, are sometimes referred to as the Law of Moses (Torat Moshe ), or Mosaic Law. Moses received all the laws of God on Mount Sinai. These laws were the first part of the Torah.

The Torah and Judaism's oral law


Rabbinic tradition holds that the written Torah was transmitted in parallel with the oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

. Where the Torah leaves words and concepts undefined, and mentions procedures without explanation or instructions, the reader is required to seek out the missing details from supplemental sources known as the oral law or oral Torah. Some of the Torah's most prominent commandments needing further explanation are:
  • Tefillin
    Tefillin
    Tefillin also called phylacteries are a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, which are worn by observant Jews during weekday morning prayers. Although "tefillin" is technically the plural form , it is loosely used as a singular as...

    : As indicated in Deuteronomy 6:8 among other places, tefillin are to be placed on the arm and on the head between the eyes. However, there are no details provided regarding what tefillin are or how they are to be constructed.
  • Kashrut
    Kashrut
    Kashrut is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha is termed kosher in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér , meaning "fit" Kashrut (also kashruth or kashrus) is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha (Jewish law) is termed...

    : As indicated in Exodus 23:19 among other places, a kid may not be boiled in its mother's milk. [A kid being a young goat.] In addition to numerous other problems with understanding the ambiguous nature of this law, there are no vowelization characters in the Torah; they are provided by the oral tradition. This is particularly relevant to this law, as the Hebrew word for milk (חלב) is identical to the word for animal fat when vowels are absent. Without the oral tradition, it is not known whether the violation is in mixing meat with milk or with fat.
  • Shabbat
    Shabbat
    Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact times, therefore, differ from...

     laws: With the severity of Sabbath violation, namely the death penalty, one would assume that direction would be provided as to how exactly such a serious and core commandment should be upheld. However, there is little to no information as to what can and cannot be performed on the Sabbath. Without the oral tradition, keeping this law would be impossible.


According to classical rabbinic texts this parallel set of material was originally transmitted to Moses at Sinai, and then from Moses to Israel. At that time it was forbidden to write and publish the oral law, as any writing would be incomplete and subject to misinterpretation and abuse.

However, after exile, dispersion and persecution, this tradition was lifted when it became apparent that in writing was the only way to ensure that the Oral Law could be preserved. After many years of effort by a great number of tannaim
Tannaim
The Tannaim were the Rabbinic sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 70-200 CE. The period of the Tannaim, also referred to as the Mishnaic period, lasted about 130 years...

, the oral tradition was written down around 200 CE by Rabbi Judah haNasi
Judah haNasi
Judah the Prince, or Judah I, also known as Rebbi or Rabbeinu HaKadosh , was a 2nd-century CE rabbi and chief redactor and editor of the Mishnah. He was a key leader of the Jewish community during the Roman occupation of Judea . He was of the Davidic line, the royal line of King David, hence the...

 who took up the compilation of a nominally written version of the Oral Law, the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

. Other oral traditions from the same time period not entered into the Mishnah were recorded as "Baraitot" (external teaching), and the Tosefta
Tosefta
The Tosefta is a compilation of the Jewish oral law from the period of the Mishnah.-Overview:...

. Other traditions were written down as Midrashim.

After continued persecution more of the oral law was committed to writing. A great many more lessons, lectures and traditions only alluded to in the few hundred pages of Mishnah, became the thousands of pages now called the Gemara
Gemara
The Gemara is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra; from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by...

. Gemara is Aramaic, having been compiled in Babylon. The Mishnah and Gemara together are called the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

. The Rabbis in Israel also collected their traditions and compiled them into the Jerusalem Talmud
Jerusalem Talmud
The Jerusalem Talmud, talmud meaning "instruction", "learning", , is a collection of Rabbinic notes on the 2nd-century Mishnah which was compiled in the Land of Israel during the 4th-5th century. The voluminous text is also known as the Palestinian Talmud or Talmud de-Eretz Yisrael...

. Since the greater number of Rabbis lived in Babylon, the Babylonian Talmud has precedence should the two be in conflict.

Orthodox Jews and Conservative Jews accept these texts as the basis for all subsequent halakha and codes of Jewish law, which are held to be normative. Reform and Reconstructionist Jews deny that these texts may be used for determining normative law (laws accepted as binding) but accept them as the authentic and only Jewish version for understanding the Torah and its development throughout history.

Divine significance of letters, Jewish mysticism



Kabbalists hold that not only are the words giving a Divine message, but indicate a far greater message that extends beyond them. Thus they hold that even as small a mark as a kotzo shel yod (קוצו של יוד), the serif
Serif
In typography, serifs are semi-structural details on the ends of some of the strokes that make up letters and symbols. A typeface with serifs is called a serif typeface . A typeface without serifs is called sans serif or sans-serif, from the French sans, meaning “without”...

 of the Hebrew letter yod
Yodh
Yodh is the tenth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew Yud , Syriac and Arabic...

 (י), the smallest letter, or decorative markings, or repeated words, were put there by God to teach scores of lessons. This is regardless of whether that yod appears in the phrase "I am the Lord thy God" or whether it appears in "And God spoke unto Moses saying" ( Exodus 6:2). In a similar vein, Rabbi Akiva
Rabbi Akiva
Akiva ben Joseph simply known as Rabbi Akiva , was a tanna of the latter part of the 1st century and the beginning of the 2nd century . He was a great authority in the matter of Jewish tradition, and one of the most central and essential contributors to the Mishnah and Midrash Halakha...

 (ca.50–ca.135CE), is said to have learned a new law from every et (את) in the Torah (Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, tractate Pesachim 22b); the word et is meaningless by itself, and serves only to mark the direct object
Object (grammar)
An object in grammar is part of a sentence, and often part of the predicate. It denotes somebody or something involved in the subject's "performance" of the verb. Basically, it is what or whom the verb is acting upon...

. In other words, the Orthodox
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 belief is that even apparently contextual text "And God spoke unto Moses saying ..." is no less important than the actual statement.

One kabbalistic
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 interpretation is that the Torah constitutes one long name of God, and that it was broken up into words so that human minds can understand it. While this is effective since it accords with our human reason, it is not the only way that the text can be broken up.

Production and use of a Torah scroll


Manuscript
Manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

 Torah scroll
Scroll
A scroll is a roll of parchment, papyrus, or paper, which has been drawn or written upon.Scroll may also refer to:*Scroll , the decoratively curved end of the pegbox of string instruments such as violins...

s are still used, and still scribed, for ritual purposes (i.e., religious services
Jewish services
Jewish prayer are the prayer recitations that form part of the observance of Judaism. These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, are found in the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book....

); this is called a Sefer Torah
Sefer Torah
A Sefer Torah of Torah” or “Torah scroll”) is a handwritten copy of the Torah or Pentateuch, the holiest book within Judaism. It must meet extremely strict standards of production. The Torah scroll is mainly used in the ritual of Torah reading during Jewish services...

 ("Book [of] Torah"). They are written using a painstakingly careful methodology by highly qualified scribes. This has resulted in modern copies of the text that are unchanged from millennia-old copies. It is believed that every word, or marking, has divine meaning, and that not one part may be inadvertently changed lest it lead to error. The fidelity of the Hebrew text of the Tanakh, and the Torah in particular, is considered paramount, down to the last letter: translations or transcriptions are frowned upon for formal service use, and transcribing is done with painstaking care. An error of a single letter, ornamentation, or symbol of the 304,805 stylized letters which make up the Hebrew Torah text renders a Torah scroll unfit for use, hence a special skill is required and a scroll takes considerable time to write and check.

According to Jewish law, a sefer Torah (plural: Sifrei Torah) is a copy of the formal Hebrew text of hand-written on gevil
Gevil
Gevil is animal hide that has been prepared as a writing material in Jewish scribal documents, in particular a Sefer Torah .-Definition of gevil:...

 or qlaf (forms of parchment
Parchment
Parchment is a thin material made from calfskin, sheepskin or goatskin, often split. Its most common use was as a material for writing on, for documents, notes, or the pages of a book, codex or manuscript. It is distinct from leather in that parchment is limed but not tanned; therefore, it is very...

) by using a quill
Quill
A quill pen is a writing implement made from a flight feather of a large bird. Quills were used for writing with ink before the invention of the dip pen, metal-nibbed pens, the fountain pen, and, eventually, the ballpoint pen...

 (or other permitted writing utensil) dipped in ink. Written entirely in Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, a sefer Torah contains 304,805 letters, all of which must be duplicated precisely by a trained sofer
Sofer (scribe)
A Sofer, Sopher Sofer SeTaM, or Sofer ST"M is a Jewish scribe who can transcribe Torah scrolls and other religious writings such as those used in Tefillin and Mezuzot.By simple definition, a sofer is a copyist, but in their religious role in Judaism they...

 (“scribe”), an effort which may take as long as approximately one and a half years. Most modern Sifrei Torah are written with forty-two lines of text per column (Yemenite Jews use fifty), and very strict rules about the position and appearance of the Hebrew letters
Hebrew alphabet
The Hebrew alphabet , known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, or more historically, the Assyrian script, is used in the writing of the Hebrew language, as well as other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. There have been two...

 are observed. See for example the Mishna Berura on the subject. Any of several Hebrew scripts may be used, most of which are fairly ornate and exacting.

The completion of the sefer Torah is a cause for great celebration, and it is a Mitzvah
Mitzvah
The primary meaning of the Hebrew word refers to precepts and commandments as commanded by God...

 for every Jew to either write or have written for him a Sefer Torah. Torah scrolls are stored in the holiest part of the synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 in the Ark
Ark (synagogue)
The Torah ark or ark in a synagogue is known in Hebrew as the Aron Kodesh by the Ashkenazim and as the Hekhál amongst most Sefardim. It is generally a receptacle, or ornamental closet, which contains each synagogue's Torah scrolls...

 known as the "Holy Ark" ( aron hakodesh in Hebrew.) Aron in Hebrew means "cupboard" or "closet", and kodesh is derived from "kadosh", or "holy".

In other religions


While Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 includes the five books of Moses (the Pentateuch) among their sacred texts, in its Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 believes that only the original Torah was sent by the One true God. In both religions they lack the religious legal significance that they have in Orthodox Judaism.

Among early centers of Christianity
Early centers of Christianity
Early Christianity spread from Western Asia, throughout the Roman Empire, and beyond into East Africa and South Asia, reaching as far as India. At first, this development was closely connected to centers of Hebrew faith, in the Holy Land and the Jewish diaspora...

 a Koine Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

 version of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 was used by Greek speakers (Aramaic
Aramaic of Jesus
It is generally agreed that the historical Jesus primarily spoke Aramaic, perhaps along with some Hebrew and Greek . The towns of Nazareth and Capernaum, where Jesus lived, were primarily Aramaic-speaking communities, although Greek was widely spoken in the major cities of the Eastern Mediterranean...

 Targums were used by Aramaic speakers such as the Syriac Orthodox Church
Syriac Orthodox Church
The Syriac Orthodox Church; is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church based in the Eastern Mediterranean, with members spread throughout the world. The Syriac Orthodox Church claims to derive its origin from one of the first Christian communities, established in Antioch by the Apostle St....

). The Greek version's name in Latin is the Septuagint: L. septem meaning seven, plus -gintā meaning "times ten". It was named Septuagint from the traditional number of its translators. This Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures dates from the 3rd century B.C., originally associated with Hellenistic Judaism
Hellenistic Judaism
Hellenistic Judaism was a movement which existed in the Jewish diaspora that sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism...

. It contains both a translation of the Hebrew and additional and variant material. It was regarded as the standard form of the Old Testament in the early Greek Christian Church and is still considered canonical in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Though different Christian denominations have slightly different versions
Development of the Old Testament canon
The Old Testament is the first section of the two-part Christian Biblical canon, which includes the books of the Hebrew Bible or protocanon and in some Christian denominations also includes several Deuterocanonical books or Biblical apocrypha...

 of the Old Testament in their Bibles, the Torah as the "Five Books of Moses" (or "the Mosaic Law") is common among them all.

The Quran refers heavily to Moses to outline the truth of his existence and the religious guidelines that God (Most Exalted) had revealed to the Children of Israel. God (Most Exalted) says in the Qur'an, "It is He Who has sent down the Book (the Qur'an) to you with truth, confirming what came before it. And He sent down the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)." [3:1]

Muslims call the Torah the Tawrat
Tawrat
Tawrat is the Arabic word for the Torah. Muslims believe it was a holy book of Islam given by Allah to Musa . The Hebrew word for their scripture, the Torah means instructions, that is why Tawrat does not refer to the entire Tanakh or Old Testament...

 and consider it the word of God given to Moses. However, Muslims also believe that this original revelation was corrupted (tahrif
Tahrif
Taḥrīf is an Arabic term used by Muslims with regard to irreparable alterations Islamic tradition claims Jews and Christians have made to Biblical manuscripts, specifically those that make up the Tawrat , Zabur and Injil .Traditional Muslim scholars, based on Qur'anic and other traditions, maintain...

) over time by Jewish scribes and hence do not revere the present Jewish version Torah as much. The Torah in the Qur'an is always mentioned with respect in Islam. The Muslims' belief in the Torah, as well as the prophethood of Moses, is one of the fundamental tenets of Islam.

See also



  • Christianity and Judaism
  • Forbidden relationships in Judaism
    Forbidden relationships in Judaism
    Forbidden relationships in Judaism are those intimate relationships which are forbidden by prohibitions in the Torah and also by rabbinical injunctions. Some of these prohibitions - those listed in Leviticus 18, known as - are considered such a serious transgression of Jewish law that one must...

  • Heptateuch
    Heptateuch
    The Heptateuch is a name sometimes given to the first seven books of the Hebrew Bible. The first five of these are commonly known as "the five books of Moses", the Torah or the Pentateuch; the first six as the Hexateuch. With the addition of the Book of Ruth, it becomes the Octateuch...

  • Hexapla
    Hexapla
    Hexapla is the term for an edition of the Bible in six versions. Especially it applies to the edition of the Old Testament compiled by Origen of Alexandria, which placed side by side:#Hebrew...

  • Islamic view of Moses
    Islamic view of Moses
    Musa , known as Moses in the Old Testament, is considered an Islamic prophet, messenger, lawgiver and leader in Islam. Moses is mentioned more in the Quran than any other individual, and his life is narrated and recounted more than that any other prophet...

  • Jewish Publication Society (JPS)
  • JPS Tanakh
  • Judeo-Christian tradition

  • List of burial places of biblical figures
  • Moses in rabbinic literature
    Moses in rabbinic literature
    Allusions in rabbinic literature to the Biblical character Moses, who led the people of Israel out of Egypt and through their wanderings in the wilderness, contain various expansions, elaborations and inferences beyond what is presented in the text of the Bible itself.- Overview :Of all Biblical...

  • Samaritan Pentateuch
    Samaritan Pentateuch
    The Samaritan Pentateuch, sometimes called Samaritan Torah, , is a version of the Hebrew language Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, used by the Samaritans....

  • Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses
    Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses
    The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses is an 18th- or 19th-century magical text allegedly written by Moses, and passed down as hidden books of the Five Books of Moses or Pentateuch. A grimoire, a text of magical incantations and seals, it purports to instruct the reader in the spells used to create...

  • Tawrat
    Tawrat
    Tawrat is the Arabic word for the Torah. Muslims believe it was a holy book of Islam given by Allah to Musa . The Hebrew word for their scripture, the Torah means instructions, that is why Tawrat does not refer to the entire Tanakh or Old Testament...

  • Ten Commandments
    Ten Commandments
    The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

  • Torah reading
    Torah reading
    Torah reading is a Jewish religious ritual that involves the public reading of a set of passages from a Torah scroll. The term often refers to the entire ceremony of removing the Torah scroll from the ark, chanting the appropriate excerpt with special cantillation, and returning the scroll to...

  • Torah study
    Torah study
    Torah study is the study by Jewish people of the Torah, Hebrew Bible, Talmud, responsa, rabbinic literature and similar works, all of which are Judaism's religious texts...



Additional resources

  • Friedman, Richard Elliott, Who Wrote the Bible?, HarperSanFrancisco, 1997
  • Welhausen, Julius, Prolegomena to the History of Israel, Scholars Press, 1994 (reprint of 1885)
  • Kantor, Mattis, The Jewish time line encyclopedia: A year-by-year history from Creation to the present, Jason Aronson Inc., London, 1992
  • Wheeler, Brannon M., Moses in the Quran and Islamic Exegesis, Routledge, 2002
  • DeSilva, David Arthur, An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry, InterVarsity Press, 2004
  • Alcalay, Reuben., The Complete Hebrew – English dictionary, vol 2, Hemed Books, New York, 1996 ISBN 978-9654481793
  • Scherman, Nosson, (ed.), Tanakh, Vol.I, The Torah, (Stone edition), Mesorah Publications, Ltd., New York, 2001
  • Heschel, Abraham Joshua, Tucker, Gordon & Levin, Leonard, Heavenly Torah: As Refracted Through the Generations, London, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005
  • Hubbard, David “The Literary Sources of the Kebra Nagast” Ph.D. dissertation St Andrews University, Scotland, 1956

External links