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Name Though it is not certain whether the word originally was an adjective, qualifying the omitted noun biblos, or a substantive, its literal meaning "five cases" appears to refer to the sheaths or boxes in which the separate rolls or volumes were kept. At what precise time the first part of the Bible was divided into five books is a question not yet finally settled. Some regard the division as antedating the Septuagint translation; others attribute it to the authors of this translation; St.
Jerome was of opinion Ep. Paul alluded to such a division into five books in 1 Corinthians However ancient may be the custom of dividing the initial portion of the Old Testament into five parts, the early Jews had no name indicating the partition.
They called this part of the Bible hattorah the law , or torah law , or sepher hattorah book of the law , from the nature of its contents Joshua 8: The word law in the foregoing expressions has been rendered by nomos, with or without the article, in the Septuagint version. The New Testament refers to the Mosaic law in various ways: Even the Talmud and the older Rabbinic writings call the first part of the Bible the book of the law , while in Aramaic it is simply termed law cf.
The Greek name pentateuchos, implying a division of the law into five parts, occurs for the first time about A. An earlier occurrence of the name was supposed to exist in a passage of Hippolytus where the Psalter is called kai auto allon pentateuchon cf. The name is used again by Origen Comment.
In Latin, Tertullian uses the masculine form Pentateuchus Adv. Isidore of Seville prefers the neuter Pentateuchum Etym. The analogous forms Octateuch, Heptateuch, and Hexateuch have been used to refer to the first, eight, seven, and six books of the Bible respectively.
The Rabbinic writers adopted the expression "the five-fifths of the law " or simply "the five-fifths" to denote the five books of the Pentateuch. Both the Palestinian and the Alexandrian Jews had distinct names for each of the five books of the Pentateuch. In Palestine, the opening words of the several books served as their titles; hence we have the names: Though these were the ordinary Hebrew titles of the successive Pentateuchal books, certain Rabbinic writers denote the last three according to their contents; they called the third book torath kohanim, or law of priests; the fourth, homesh happiqqudhim, or book of census; the fifth, mishneh thorah, or repetition of the law.
The Alexandrian Jews derived their Greek names of the five books from the contents of either the whole or the beginning of each division. Thus the first book is called Genesis kosmou or simply Genesis; the second, Exodus Aigyptou or Exodus; the third, Leueitikon; the fourth, Arithmoi; and the fifth, Deuteronomion. These names passed from the Septuagint into the Latin Vulgate , and from this into most of the translations of the Vulgate.
Arithmoi however was replaced by the Latin equivalent Numeri, while the other names retained their form. Analysis The contents of the Pentateuch are partly of an historical, partly of a legal character. They give us the history of the Chosen People from the creation of the world to the death of Moses, and acquaint us too with the civil and religious legislation of the Israelites during the life of their great lawgiver.
Deuteronomy, consisting mainly of discourses, is practically a summary repetition of the Mosaic legislation , and concludes also the history of the people under the leadership of Moses. The three intervening books consider the wanderings of Israel in the desert and the successive legal enactments. Each of these three great divisions has its own special introduction Genesis 1: Genesis The Book of Genesis prepares the reader for the Pentateuchal legislation; it tells us how God chose a particular family to keep His Revelation, and how He trained the Chosen People to fulfil its mission.
From the nature of its contents the book consists of two rather unequal parts; cc. By a literary device, each of these parts is subdivided into five sections differing in length.
The sections are introduced by the phrase elleh tholedhoth these are the generations or its variant zeh sepher toledhoth this is the book of the generations. As early Oriental history usually begins with genealogical records, and consists to a large extend of such records, one naturally interprets the above introductory formula and its variant as meaning, "this is the history" or "this is the book of the history.
Moreover, the introductory formula often refers back to some principal feature of the preceding section, thus forming a transition and connection between the successive parts. Finally, the sacred writer deals very briefly with the non-chosen families or tribes, and he always considers them before the chosen branch of the family. Bearing in mind these general outlines of the contents and the literary structure of Genesis, we shall easily understand the following analytical table.
Hence, leaving the disobedient to their own devices, God chose one special family or one individual as the depositary of His Revelation. History of Heaven and Earth 2: History of Adam 5: History of Noah 6: History of the Sons of Noah History of Sem This teaches the Israelites that carnal descent from Abraham does not suffice to make them true sons of Abraham.
History of Thare History of Ismael History of Isaac History of Esau History of Jacob What has been said shows a uniform plan in the structure of Genesis, which some scholars prefer to call "schematism". Such a definite plan of the book shows that it was written with a definite end in view and according to preconceived arrangement.
The critics attribute this to the final "redactor" of the Pentateuch who adopted, according to their views, the genealogical framework and the "schematism" from the Priestly Code.
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The value of these views will be discussed later; for the present, it suffices to know that a striking unity prevails throughout the Book of Genesis cf.
The various laws are given and promulgated as occasion required them; hence they are intimately connected with the history of the people, and the Pentateuchal books in which they are recorded are rightly numbered among the historical books of Scripture.
Only the third book of the Pentateuch exhibits rather the features of a legal code. The Book of Exodus consists of a brief introduction and three main parts: Sinai and miracles preparing the people for the Sinaitic Law. At Mara the bitter waters are made sweet; in the Desert of Sin God sent quails and manna to the children of Israel ; at Raphidim God gave them water form the rock, and defeated Amalec through the prayers of Moses.
Here Exodus assumes more the character of a legal code. The portion xx, 1-xxiii, 33, is also called the Book of the Covenant. Leviticus Leviticus, called by Rabbinic writers "Law of the Priests" or "Law of the Sacrifices", contains nearly a complete collection of laws concerning the Levitical ministry.
They are not codified in any logical order, but still we may discern certain groups of regulations touching the same subject.
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The Book of Exodus shows what God had done and was doing for His people; the Book of Leviticus prescribes what the people must do for God , and how they must render themselves worthy of His constant presence. Their story was begun in Exodus, but interrupted by the Sinaitic legislation; Numbers takes up the account from the first month of the second year, and brings it down to the eleventh month of the fortieth year. But the period of 38 years is briefly treated, only its beginning and end being touched upon; for this span of time was occupied by the generation of Israelites that had been condemned by God.
Thus he first states what remained unchanged throughout the desert life of the people, and then reverts to the account of the wanderings from the first month of the second year. Deuteronomy Deuteronomy is a partial repetition and explanation of the foregoing legislation together with an urgent exhortation to be faithful to it.
The main body of the book consists of three discourses delivered by Moses to the people in the eleventh month of the fortieth year; but the discourses are preceded by a short introduction, and they are followed by several appendices. By way of parenthesis, the sacred writer adds here i the appointment of three cities of refuge across the Jordan , iv, ; ii an historical preamble, preparing us for the second discourse, iv, It rehearses the whole economy of the covenant in two sections, the one general, the other particular.
He is to be duly worshiped, never to be abandoned; distinction of clean and unclean meats; tithes and first-fruits ; the three principal solemnities of the year.
Authenticity The contents of the Pentateuch furnish the basis for the history, the law , the worship, and the life of the Chosen People of God. Hence the authorship of the work, the time and manner of its origin, and its historicity are of paramount importance.
These are not merely literary problems, but questions belonging to the fields of history of religion and theology. The Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch is inseparably connected with the question, whether and in what sense Moses was the author or intermediary of the Old-Testament legislation, and the bearer of pre-Mosaic tradition. According to the trend of both Old and New Testament , and according to Jewish and Christian theology , the work of the great lawgiver Moses is the origin of the history of Israel and the basis of its development down to the time of Jesus Christ ; but modern criticism sees in all this only the result, or the precipitate, of a purely natural historical development.
The question of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch leads us, therefore, to the alternative, revelation or historical evolution; it touches the historical and theological foundation of both the Jewish and the Christian dispensation. We shall consider the subject first in the light of Scripture; secondly, in the light of Jewish and Christian tradition; thirdly, in the light of internal evidence, furnished by the Pentateuch; finally, in the light of ecclesiastical decisions.
Testimony of Sacred Scripture It will be found convenient to divide the Biblical evidence for the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch into three parts: Witness of the Pentateuch The Pentateuch in its present form does not present itself as a complete literary production of Moses.
On the other hand, the Pentateuch ascribes to Moses the literary authorship of at least four sections, partly historical, partly legal, partly poetical. The present pointing of the Hebrew text reads "in the book", but the Septuagint version omits the definite article. Even if we suppose that the Massoretic pointing gives the original text, we can hardly prove that the book referred to is the Pentateuch, though this is highly probable cf.
Write thee these words by which I have made a covenant both with thee and with Israel. Most probably it is given in Numbers But this view is hardly probable; for its assumption that Numbers Besides these four passages there are certain indications in Deuteronomy which point to the literary activity of Moses.
Practically the entire Book of Deuteronomy claims to be a special legislation promulgated by Moses in the land of Moab: But there is a suggestion of writing too: Moreover, xxxi, states, "and Moses wrote this law ", and xxxi, 26, adds, "take this book, and put it in the side of the ark. Finally, xxxi, 19, commands Moses to write the canticle contained in Deuteronomy As far as explicit testimony for its own, at least partial, authorship is concerned, the Pentateuch compares rather favourably with many other books of the Old Testament.
Witness of other Old Testament books a Josue. Josue himself "wrote all these things in the volume of the law of the Lord" xxiv, At any rate, Josue and his contemporaries were acquainted with a written Mosaic legislation , which was divinely revealed. The Pentateuchal history and laws are similarly presupposed in 1 Samuel To restrict the meaning of this term to Deuteronomy is an arbitrary exegesis cf. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josias was found the book of the law 2 Kings Catholic commentators are not at one whether this law-book was Deuteronomy von Hummelauer, "Deuteronomium", Paris, , p.