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Subject Religion » Judaism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xxii ] Literally, ‘teaching’; the most general term in J udaism for the divine teaching. In its narrow sense it refers to the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Hebrew B ible : Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Torah is also used to refer to the whole of the Hebrew Bible, to the oral teachings of Judaism, or – in its widest sense – to the whole of traditional Jewish law and lore. The common English translation of Torah as ‘Law’ misrepresents the concept, giving a narrow legal connotation to the much broader Jewish idea of revelation. Torah is part of an open-ended system; as such it requires study, and new insights into the world of God must be sought so that it can be applied to a variety of differing circumstances. The Torah is seen by Judaism as the product of the C ovenant by God with Israel, God who, as one of the benedictions of the liturgy puts it, ‘has chosen us from amongst all the nations and given us His Torah’ [64:5]. It was revealed to the Israelites during their wanderings in the wilderness through the agency of M oses. It is of a twofold nature: the written Torah of the Hebrew Bible and the oral Torah [72: iv ], which was eventually written down in rabbinical literature ( see R abbi ) [46: iii ]. The scroll of the Pentateuch read publicly in the S ynagogue is called a sefer Torah , or Book of the Torah. Orthodox Judaism, while ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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