Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Meaning of Pentateuch

The word Pentateuch denotes the five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The word Pentateuch has come into English from Greek via Latin. It is an uncommon yet appropriate word to use of the five books of Moses, because the etymological meaning of the word is five books.

According to Jewish tradition, the Hebrew Bible (i.e., the Christian Old Testament) is divided into three main parts: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. The Pentateuch corresponds, therefore, to the Jewish canonical division of the Law, also known as the Torah. The Law is considered in Jewish tradition to be the foundational and most important part of the Hebrew Scriptures.

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