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Physical Scroll Contents[edit]

The physical object of the Torah scroll only contains the five books of Moses. It does not contain a single word from the writings, prophets, Talmud or Mishna. People reading the introduction may be confused on the facts that the Torah is a physical document (as opposed to concept), and that it only contains the five books of Moses. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:23, 25 February 2013 (UTC)


It seems to me to be quite arguable that "Torah" is a sectarian term, and that Pentateuch is the proper generic term for these five books. While a great deal of this article deals with the specifically Jewish context of Torah, other parts of it more generally refer to the five books as books, rather than as the basis for Jewish law. It might make sense to split the article, so that details on the books as such go in Pentateuch, and details on their place in Judaism stay here. What do people think? john k (talk) 02:35, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Torah is the first name, and the proper name. Pentateuch is just a Greek term for the Torah that is used by non-Jews. Serendipodous 10:47, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely correct, almost. The "five books" are called Chumash", which means "five" [the ch is a soft gutteral]. When compiled into a single work, they are referred to as "Torah", or teachings/Instructions. Actually, more correctly, it is "Sefer Torah", which means Book of teachings/instructions. To explain, at the time there were no books, only scrolls and tablets of stone or clay. The Torah is written by hand on a scroll of parchment. The person who does this is often called a "Sefer Schreiber", which is Yiddish [not Hebrew] for "Book Writer" [scriber = writer or scribe], where "book" means THE book [Torah].It takes about 1 year, and must be devoid of any errors, omissions,corrections or blemishes, as they are the words of God. The Torah is reproduced in book form for usage in prayer by the public. These books are always referred to as Chumash, and never as Torah. In a Synagogue, the congregation uses the book form, the ministers use a Torah. Historygypsy (talk) 21:57, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
We seem to revisit this about once a month. The consensus has been that making a distinction between "Torah" and "Pentateuch" is misleading and invites sectarian misstatements. Also, it has inevitably come to the fore that the distinction between the distinction between the books and "law" as a general subject (and yes, I realize that "law" is in some ways a defective translation) is not as sharp as some people would like to make it. Mangoe (talk) 14:56, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Well next time you revisit this add me to the Pentateuch camp. That's the term of choice in the scholarly and secular literature. (That's something of an understatement, I virtually never see Torah, even in scholarly literature written by Jews.) Plus, "Torah" has several meanings in Jewish parlance, as the article notes. This is not an issue I want to take up at this point, but here's comes my two cents:
Reading some previous discussion of this point it seems the problem is that we want 1) to have an article on the Jewish "Torah" concept given how enormously influential that text in its Jewish context is to Judaism, 2) to have generic information about the text, the Pentateuch, and 3) to have only ONE article. I trust we all see the tension :) I think we should have one article, very similar to the one that exists, but with the title as Pentateuch and the intro framing the subject in a generic way. One (large) section would be on Jewish use and the larger "Torah" context. So in summary what I think we should 1) change the article's title, 2) dramatically thin the two enormous paragraphs in the introduction reflecting Jewish use of the Pentateuch and move it to the Judaism section, and 3) move the Torah terminology/scroll stuff of the first paragraph to the terminology section. The new introduction should be along the lines of ". . . an ancient Near Eastern document written in Hebrew . . . "Carneadiiz (talk) 03:39, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
That's pushing it. Call it the Torah or the Pentateuch, it still is a purely Jewish document written by Jews for Jews. How other religions subsequently interpreted it has no bearing on how and why it was originally written. Serendipodous 05:21, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree it should primarily be presented in the way it was written. But I feel you are conflating later forms of Judaism with earlier Israelite religions. Usage of the term "Torah" in the Bible, particularly in the Pentateuch is different than in Talmudic/medieval Judaism. So in a sense I agree that the article should be framed in what the histories say about ancient Israelite religion contemporary to the authorship, but stuff like the number of commandments, the terms "Chumash", its writing on a ritually prepared scroll, oral tradition, midrash, etc. wouldn't make the cut. Those are later Jewish developments. So framing it as an ancient Israelite Near Eastern document I think would result in a very different intro than framing it in Judaism as we have it today. There is quite a bit of scholarship on ancient views of the Pentateuch, and that should be followed for the introduction. THAT is what I have in mind by generic and neutral, as that's the common source from which other views spring. Carneadiiz (talk) 12:44, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

"earlier Israelite religions"????? ROFL. Those were JEWS. It's amazing to what lengths some people will go to deny the continuity of Jewish experience over 3000 years.

I don't know what you mean by "earlier Israelite religions". The 70 rabbis who translated the Septuagint were not members of "earlier Israelite religions"; they were Jews. As was Jesus. The Torah already had a significant place in Judaism before Christianity was invented, let alone Islam. Serendipodous 12:57, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes I can see you don't know what I mean. And I'm surprised you would cite the legendary Letter of Aristeas concerning the Septuagint that contradicts all modern research, which in any event post-dates the period I'm referring to. The talk page isn't the place for a historical argument, in any event. I hope other editors will weigh in.Carneadiiz (talk) 13:09, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
The original language in which these five books were written in was Middle Paleo-Hebrew, not Greek nor Latin, as these two languages did not exist at the time in which it was created; therefore, the name of that five book collection would be pronounced Tōrâḥ(תּוֹרָה), according the Ancient Hebrew Research Center.AurumSpiral1235813 (talk) 17:54, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Flame writing[edit]

The article incorrectly states that the Hebrew alphabet is called "the flame alphabet" because of a Kabbalistic idea (or maybe folk etymology?) about the torah being written in fire.

The Biblical Hebrew language is sometimes referred to as "the flame alphabet" because many devout Jews believe that the Torah is the literal word of God written in fire.

Only the k'tav ashuri / k'tivah tammah is called "flame writing," and that is because of the "flare" on the top corner of each letter, which is diminished or absent in the cursive script. "Instead of the little ornaments at the upper ends of the stems, [in the cursive script] a more or less weak flourish of the line appears." (Jewish Encyclopedia). In fact, a Kabbalah site even states: "The 22 letters are called flame letters because they are each drawn with a flame coming out the top." ([1]). Please remove the incorrect sentence from the article. Thanks. (talk) 02:15, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Bump... (talk) 21:29, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I have no idea who is right in this, but since that line is uncited and contentious, it can go. Serendipodous 12:56, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Tawrat and Torah[edit]

The Tawrat and Torah are not one and same thing that is why should be written seperately.Tawrat of Quran is an attribute of Al-kitab like Quran and meaning of this word is Law. This law is written in وَكَتَبْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِيهَا أَنَّ النَّفْسَ بِالنَّفْسِ وَالْعَيْنَ بِالْعَيْنِ وَالأَنفَ بِالأَنفِ وَالأُذُنَ بِالأُذُنِ وَالسِّنَّ بِالسِّنِّ وَالْجُرُوحَ قِصَاصٌ فَمَن تَصَدَّقَ بِهِ فَهُوَ كَفَّارَةٌ لَّهُ وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أنزَلَ اللّهُ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

[5:45] And We prescribed to them in it that life is for life, and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth, and (that there is) reprisal in wounds; but he who foregoes it, it shall be an expiation for him; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unjust.

.At-tawrat of of Al-Quran is given to all prophets , including prophet Mohammad saw إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَا التَّوْرَاةَ فِيهَا هُدًى وَنُورٌ يَحْكُمُ بِهَا النَّبِيُّونَ الَّذِينَ أَسْلَمُواْ لِلَّذِينَ هَادُواْ وَالرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالأَحْبَارُ بِمَا اسْتُحْفِظُواْ مِن كِتَابِ اللّهِ وَكَانُواْ عَلَيْهِ شُهَدَاء فَلاَ تَخْشَوُاْ النَّاسَ وَاخْشَوْنِ وَلاَ تَشْتَرُواْ بِآيَاتِي ثَمَناً قَلِيلاً وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ

[5:44] Surely We revealed the Taurat in which was guidance and light; with it the prophets who submitted themselves (to Allah) judged (matters) .... 5:44 where as Torah is refered to Moses pbuh. Tawrat of Al-kitab is the ayats having order of Allah 5:43 and the order of Allah is in ayats of alkitab called mother of the Book.هُوَ الَّذِيَ أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ في قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاء الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاء تَأْوِيلِهِ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلاَّ اللّهُ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلاَّ أُوْلُواْ الألْبَابِ

[3:7] He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the mother of the Book, ..... Please read and think this word is different from the word Torah meaning instructions/teaching...thanks--Farrukh38 (talk) 15:54, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Footnotes and Citations??[edit]

Sorry, but where did all the footnotes go? Clicking on any of the footnote links does nothing, and there is nothing at the bottom of the article in the way of notes or citations. (talk) 01:13, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for pointing that out. I have put it back. shirulashem (talk) 01:39, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Bias from the start![edit]

How is it that a Wikipedia page about the Torah begins it's description with the word Islam? It is totally outrageous an an example of the pervasiveness of Islamic disinformation. If I look up Jesus, is the description of the page going to be from the viewpoint of Islam? Gimme a break.9lilmonkeys (talk) 23:39, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Not sure what you're on about here, mate.... RavShimon (talk) 00:29, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Duh, whaddya talkin' about. Uhhh, Islam is da greatest, i'n't it? 'Specially since 9/11. Yup. Yup.Lestrade (talk) 15:53, 6 April 2010 (UTC)Lestrade

References to stars and planets discovered in Torah[edit]

Hi there, please take note that new discoveries were made that show where and how the Old Testament / Torah contains direct references to stars and astronomic cycles. There are those stars all over the Torah which we can find using four different approaches: comparing the life spans and ages at childbirth of patriarchs to risings and settings of stars; comparing the sum of the total ages of patriarchs to known astronomical cycles; calculating planetary visibility cycles by the total verse count when taking a verse as a day; arranging the verses of Genesis and Leviticus in concentric circles and then looking for gematric word values. The last approach yields reproducible star maps, 10 in number. Not nine, not twelve, not 26. Ten like ten Sephiroth. Note that those four approaches are not necessarily connected and can be applied independently. Three of them are introduced at length in the post linked below. Please go to I believe that this data should be part of the article. If you have a different opinion, please post it here. --Herrengedeck (talk) 12:29, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

This seems like it's still fairly new. Needs to gestate a while and get commonly accepted before it gets included here. Serendipodous 12:32, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Would you like to make a Wikinews entry then? I'm not so good with HTML. --Herrengedeck (talk) 12:53, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
It sounds like a fairly fringe theory at the moment. It's not like a new archaeological discovery; the words of the Torah have been known verbatim for thousands of years. This is just someone's specific interpretation of these words, which, I assume, have been interpreted many other ways in the past. This idea will need to gain academic acceptance before it ends up here. Serendipodous 13:09, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

the Torah has central significance to Christians[edit]

"However, in both religions they lack the central significance that they have in Judaism." that's wrong. it is much more significant to Christians than to muslims (who Israel belongs to, the characteristics of the messiah, the inneracy of the word of God, even the existence of the Jewish temples and their locations, show real love and respect to the Jews). if the messiah of the Torah (accepted by Judaism) came tomorrow Jews would treat the Torah the exact same way Christian do now. the purpose of the messiah is to give us a better covenant, priest (dealing with our sin before God). orthodox Jews would worship the messiah.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:09, 9 August 2009 (UTC) Orthodox Jews would worship the Messiah? Absolutely not. Orthodox Jews declare every morning and evening "Listen, Israel: the Lord is G-d; the Lord is One". This fundamental statement of belief declares that G-d is indivisible and all-encompassing. Messiah (literally the annointed one) will be a human being, a descendant of the line of David, who will lead the Jewish people out of their 2000 year exile. The divine concept of Messiah is a strictly Christian one and quite alien to Jewish thought. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Apsidal (talkcontribs) 19:22, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

I think you're getting the Torah confused with the Old Testament. The Messiah isn't in the Torah.Serendipodous 02:25, 10 August 2009 (UTC)


"The word "Torah" in Hebrew "is derived from the root ירה which in the hifil conjugation means "to teach" (cf. Lev. 10:11). The meaning of the word is therefore "teaching," "doctrine," or "instruction"; the commonly accepted "law" gives a wrong impression."[12] Other translational contexts in the English language include custom, theory, guidance,[13] or system.[14] The term "Torah" is therefore also used in the general sense to include both Judaism's written law and oral law, serving to encompass the entire spectrum of authoritative Jewish religious teachings throughout history..."

I see your point, but in this article it means just the Five Books. The definition needs to be restricted a bit. PiCo (talk) 12:56, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
"Torah" includes "written" and "oral" Torah. That is, "Torah Shebichtav" and "Torah Shebe'al Peh." In fact the article already says this. Another sense in which Torah is used is to refer to a physical object. You are probably just referring to the physical object, often existing in a scroll form, though also bound into books (codices), which contain the "five books." Bus stop (talk) 13:28, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
It might not be a bad idea to add a "see also" line at the top of the article for some of the other uses. John Carter (talk) 13:35, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

'Indefinite article'[edit]

I believe the talk of 'indefinite article' in the following is misguided for a number of reasons. 1. This page is on the Torah, so quirks of English language usage are non appropriate. 2. This is true of most words in English. Without an article, a noun generally refers to an ideal, with an article it refers to a specific example of it. This same comment could be said of cat, carrot, beer or any other concrete noun in English. 3. It is non even entirely accurate, as definite articles can also be used to refer to Sefer Torah.

When used with an indefinite article, "a Torah" usually refers to a "Sefer Torah" (סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, "book of Torah") or Torah scroll, written on parchment in a formal, traditional manner by a specially trained scribe under very strict requirements.

Ashmoo (talk) 19:31, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

You've got the issue the wrong way round. The sentence refers to the Torah, not the indefinite article, and the important distinction between the Torah and a seifer Torah. A seifer Torah is not merely a copy of the Torah, but a very specifically prepared version of it. I think the line is informative and should stay in. Serendipodous 20:32, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
I definitely believe the explanation of sefer torah should stay. I'm just questioning the focus on the mention of 'indefinite article'. Ashmoo (talk) 12:50, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
What else are you going to call it? an "a"? Serendipodous 07:20, 13 September 2009 (UTC)


Would people please comment here? I may overstate the case or oversimplify in saying that there is no idea of salvation in Judaism. My real point is that whatever Jews mean by salvation is so different from Christianity they are not well-served by being in one article. Perhaps Wikipedia could use a good article going into the long history of the concept of salvation in Judaism, but right now the current Salvation aricle is NOT "it" and I think the differences between Christianity and Judaism here are so great that it makes the intro an NPOV nightmare. Slrubenstein | Talk 21:06, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

There is no concept of salvation in Judaism. There is no original sin to need salvation from, and there is no concept of a savior through which one may have salvation. It simply doesn't exist. (talk) 15:14, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

Changes to the "authorship" section[edit]

I've made a large edit to the authorship section to bring it into line with modern biblical scholarship. The major changes are: 1. Mosaic authorship. I've deleted this entirely and replaced it with a single sentence noting its existence. It has no following at all among modern scholars - this can be checked from authoritative sources such as the Anchor Bible Dictionary - and due weight means that it shouldn't be treated as if it does. I've kept a link to the article on the subject, since it does have some historical interest. 2. Modern scholarship. This was as much out of date as the subsection on Mosaic authorship - the description given was of the Wellhausen version of the documentary model, which has been abandoned since the 1970s. There was nothing at all about contemporary theories, which tend to belong to the supplementary model (fragmentary models aren't actually very influential). PiCo (talk) 00:35, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

First you have no references, second the other does so either supply them or I will revert it back. As the other version is referenced. Enlil Ninlil (talk) 01:01, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
The lack of references for such a major change is a big problem. I'd expect citations specifically documenting the change of opinion within the field. There's also some regional bias in that there's no particular reason to prefer a European theory over an American one. Mangoe (talk) 01:26, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

The changes aren't really so major. The last para of the subsection on Mosaic authorship already says this: "Mosaic authorship was accepted with very little discussion by both Jews and Christians until the 17th century, when the rise of secular scholarship and the associated willingness to subject even the Bible to the test of reason led to its rejection by mainstream biblical scholars. The majority of modern scholars believe that the Torah is the product of many hands, stretching over many centuries, reaching its final form only around the 6th and 5th centuries BCE." In other words, Mosaic authorship isn't accepted by mainstream modern scholarship. Giving it this large section, as if it were still important, is therefore misleading our readers. I have no quarrel with mentioning it in a single sentence with a link to the separate article on the subject. (Material from this subsection mi9ght usefully be moved into that article, which is a little thin in some regards).

The section on modern scholarship is simply wrong. The documentary hypothesis it describes is that of Wellhausen, and is now over a century old - the modern documentary hypothesis is somewhat different, as the Wiki article on the subject makes clear. Things have moved on. In my first post in this thread I mentioned the Anchor Bible Dictionary. Please have a look at that. PiCo (talk) 07:21, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Well, if you were Bruce Metzger all these words would have some weight. As it is, we're still at the "no citations" stage. Quite beyond the (in my opinion) excessive reduction of the material, you've given no proof that this change of opinion has taken place. Mangoe (talk) 12:01, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
Pico, we have no arguement with what you are saying, it is the fact that you have not supplied evidence for your case, when the other version had some. Please discuss this further with references for your argument. Enlil Ninlil (talk) 03:16, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, but I'm trying to give up Wikipedia :). I'll let it go. PiCo (talk) 08:35, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Don't be like that, the fact is anyone can write crap, I learn't the hard way about referencing my work, and no mostly do not write anything without a reference. 09:20, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Pentateuch and Torah[edit]

Have I missed something? Pentateuch redirects here, but the Pentateuch isn't identical with the Torah - one's in Greek, the other's in Hebrew, there are differences of content, and they have different textual histories. Should there not be separate articles?PiCo (talk) 01:51, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

If you're willing to create an article that draws those distinctions and draws on proper academic sources, then yes. Serendipodous 04:12, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

I think maybe you are confusing it with Septaguint Octologue (talk) 17:03, 25 March 2011 (UTC)Octologue

Names of the Books in Hebrew[edit]

it is written here that the fourth book of the Torah is 'Bamidbar.' This is the common pronunciation. However, correct pronunciation of the Hebrew is actually B'midbar or Bemidbar. Shall I change it or does someone else want to? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

On 18 December 2009, user did make that proposed edit, which was made in good faith, but has some problems in terms of WP standards. It changed only one instance of the word, creating an undesirable spelling inconsistency. Also, I believe that: (a) the stated intent would have called for "Bemidbar", rather than "B'midbar", per WP:Naming conventions (Hebrew); and (b) the whole concept of that edit also failed the "Conventional spelling is preferred" guideline of WP:Romanization, which I think supports "Bamidbar". I've reversed that edit and would like to see a consensus on the romanized spelling of the Hebrew name for the Book of Numbers. It occurs to me, for example, that there may be a consensus already in scholarly publications that we could reference. We should focus on the Hebrew word that represents the book title, which may well be "Bamidbar" even though the word that appears in the first sentence of that book is "Bemidbar". (P.S.: Perhaps the talk page of the Book of Numbers or Bamidbar (parsha) article would be a better page for this discussion, but we can always move the discussion later, if that is desired.) --Rich Janis (talk) 09:50, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Years of Talmud, precision, When?[edit]

Let's have something more precise, declarative. Early in the article, it says that God handed Moses the Torah in 1312 BCE; later it says that Moses received it in 1280 CE. Which is the most authoritative figure?Dogru144 (talk) 19:33, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

I've tried to make that clearer, consistent, & with refs for both dates, but w/o claim as to which is more authoritative. --Rich Janis (talk) 08:23, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Subjective treatment of Authorship[edit]

I would assume that most college students, like myself, are bombarded with the JEDP hypothesis and its apologetic concessions. Too often, apparent contradictions are portrayed as absolute, and the documentary hypothesis is portrayed as "What all modern scholars accept". Thus, I would like to point out the subjective treatment of authorship.

This article has a clear preference toward the JEDP hypothesis. While the 'academic analysis' only supports the JEDP hypothesis, the 'Mosaic authorship' is diluted extensively.

Within the 'Mosaic authorship' category, there's a very weak argument that I would like to remove- or at least qualify. The argument begins with a passage that, according to one source, best represents the Torah's argument for Mosaic authorship. Using that single passage, the author begins with an unsubstantiated claim that there exists an anachronism.

"Further", states the author, the word "Torah" is used in Numbers to refer to an individual section of the Pentateuch; thus, it "seems forced" for the passage to refer to Moses writing the Pentateuch. I consider this part of the argument faulty because:

    1) The earlier uses of "Torah" are in a different context in a different portion of the 
    2) The argument suggests that this individual passage may only 
       refer to a portion of the Pentateuch- but it provides no evidence 
       of the broader point.
    3) The combination of this passage and others is what points toward 'Torah' meaning Pentateuch

The third of three points is very cryptic.

My main problem with the argument is that it attempts to belittle a single passage about Mosaic authorship, and in doing so, it attempts to generalize the criticism to every passage about Mosaic authorship.

Like all attempts to disprove Mosaic authorship, this argument is subjective. I hope that my changes will be be maintained.

I apologize for the bluntness- I just dislike the notion that every scholar supports the documentary hypothesis. This notion is false. Most 'Old Testament' classes favorably treat the JEDP hypothesis simply because academic institutions generally require secular treatment of religious topics. Most academic articles on the Torah explore the JEDP hypothesis because source criticism opens up the playing ground for a vast amount of journal articles. The religious scholars who believe in Mosaic authorship typically choose Yeshiva or Divinity school over academic institutions. I believe that our rabbis, preachers, and imams are just as scholarly as the JEDP article-publishing guys.

--After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end, he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD : "Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you. (Deuteronomy 24-26)

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Zachariah62 (talkcontribs) 23:34, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

The authorship section is obviously biased toward modern scholarship[edit]

From the Mosaic Authors subsection: "Still, there are sufficient ways to explain apparent 'anachronisms' and there is much evidence to support Mosaic authorship."

In light of the fact that there is little or no evidence beyond that found in religious texts to support the notion that Moses authored the Torah, the preceding statement is absolutely horrendous. Furthermore, it is linked to three weak references, all three of which appear to be from a conservative religious viewpoint and are not peer-reviewed. The first reference is a discussion from a Bible study website; the second reference is an article in a monthly Christian journal written by a minister and another individual with no formal academic degree; and the third reference apparently is an undergraduate paper that provides support for Mosaic authorship based solely on biblical references. Due to its lack of evidence, I think that the preceding statement should be removed.

Toward the end of the Academic Analysis subsection: "The documentary hypothesis has been increasingly challenged since the 1970s, and alternative views now see the Torah as having been compiled from a multitude of small fragments rather than a handful of large coherent source texts,[31] or as having gradually accreted over many centuries and through many hands."

The preceding statement is confusing and makes it seem as if modern scholarship is more contradictory than it is consistent with the documentary hypothesis. Although it is true the documenatary hypothesis in its original form "has been increasingly challenged," the "alternative views" that are subsequently mentioned both agree that the Torah was written by multiple authors. Thus, according to the large majority of modern scholars, the only matter of debate concerns the process in which multiple authors wrote the Torah, not if the Torah was written by multiple authors or not. Due to its lack of clarity, I think that the preceding statement should be modified to make it clear that modern scholarship is largely in support of the notion that multiple individuals authored the Torah, although this general viewpoint has continued to be refined over time. (talk) 00:20, 29 August 2010 (UTC)AntiReligiousBias

I definitely agree with you on the first point. john k (talk) 02:35, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
If you don't think it's accurate and balanced, change it. PiCo (talk) 08:15, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Present multiple views, not just two[edit]

This article should present multiple views of the subject, not just two. Earlier versions of this article described the breadth of religious views on the authorship of, and textual development of the Torah. However, acouple of years ago this entire section was removed without comment, and replaced with a few bland lines leading the reader to believe that only two views existed: the right-wing Orthodox point of view, or a secular point of view. As such, this article has misled people as to the true variety of views of the Jewish community. These views were not monolithic, and it unfortunate that the views of major, important Torah commentators were removed.

I have thus restored this section - especially the brief discussion of a book which is written solely by Orthodox rabbis, and shows that even in Orthodoxy they admit that this diversity of viewpoints did exist, and continues to exist, because, in accord with Wikipedia's NPOV policy, editors can not wipe out entire points of view. RK (talk) 17:55, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

I assume you're talking about the section dealing with authorship. It was rather inadequate, so I've replaced it with something based on modern sources. PiCo (talk) 09:37, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

Confusing section on "Mosaic Authorship"[edit]

The following text, as it now appears in the article, is confusing for a few reasons:

'Modern biblical scholars see no signs of Mosaic authorship, but indications of much later writing:[10]"Here and there in the Pentateuch Moses is said to have written certain things ... but nowhere is it affirmed that the Pentateuch was authored by Moses ... One would therefore think that what calls for an explanation is not why most people stopped believing in the dogma of Mosaic authorship, but rather why anyone believed it in the first place."[11]'

This paragraph does not clearly explain what "Mosaic Authorship" means, exactly. Jews, throughout most of the history of Judaism, and many to this day, have never claimed that Moses was the author of the Torah, but rather that he copied it down the way it was dictated to him - some opinions even including the parts relating to Moses' own death. So the "dogma" of "Mosaic Authorship" mentioned in the above paragraph cannot be traditional Jewish religious dogma - does "dogma" refer to a dogma of secular academic scholarship, or perhaps a religious but non-Jewish dogma? Perhaps by "Mosaic Authorship" the writer means "Mosaic Transcription"? This is confusing and unclear, and may be the product of editing without complete reworking of the idea structure of the article, or of placing an outside quotation within the article without giving adequate background. Additionally, the end of the paragraph seems to be ridiculing whoever believes in "Mosaic Authorship". Is a ridiculing tone appropriate for Wikipedia? Also, is it an academic or a religious position which is being ridiculed? Are Jews being called fools? It just feels wrong. Thanks. (talk) 20:33, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Exodus 34[edit]

We could use fresh views at this discussion. I hope people who watch this page will be able to share well-informed views. Thanks, Slrubenstein | Talk 14:55, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Five Books vs. Seven[edit]

The article states that the Pentateuch is a misnomer because the book of Bemidbar (Numbers)is in fact divided into three parts, and cites a source in Shabbat 115-116 to this effect. I changed it back to five for the following reasons:

1) Individual books of the Pentateuch are called Chumashim/Fifths in the Talmud itself. For example, Megillah 26b, 5th wide line of the standard Vilna edition.

2) At the end of each book, there are four blank lines in the Torah scroll. The Torah is thus demarcated into 5 books. (See Mishneh Torah, Ahavah, Hilchot Mezuzah 7:7).

3) The source in Shabbat discusses a law completely unrelated to the actual structure of a Torah scroll. Rather, the question is how much of a scroll needs to be intact in order to rescue it on the Sabbath. There is a disagreement as why that particular portion of Numbers has signs (either because it is misplaced or because it is in fact its own book), but no conclusion is drawn and it is never directly related to the question of how much of a Torah must be intact to save it. The Mishneh Torah in Shabbat 23:28 does not give a reason for the 85-letter requirement. Octologue (talk) 17:04, 25 March 2011 (UTC) Octologue

Merger proposal[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of this discussion was NO CONSENSUS Ignocrates (talk) 04:48, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

I am proposing that the recently created Law of Moses article be merged into this much older and well-sourced article. The new article appears to be little more than a POV fork. Comments please. Ignocrates (talk) 15:24, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Hi Ovadyah,
I did not recognise your new user name. I would have thought that this is a clear case ofWikipedia:Content forking, see also Talk:Law of Moses history:
Creating article
Surprising, to say the least, that this only existed as a REDIRECT to a badly sourced short paragraph in Moses' bio article. The intention here is to umbrella-tree and wikilink this out to all the various Jewish sacrifice/purity/feast articles. The material from the Moses article has been copied over, but this isn't a merge/move. Those are placeholders to be replaced with better WP:IRS. In ictu oculi (talk) 02:40, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Oppose merge - Sorry, but Torah Moshe and Torah are not identical (as the original source of this content in the Moses bio indicates, and please also see Google Scholar). For those that are actually looking for Torah the article clearly and explicitly links to it. The problem is that this article here, "Torah" is about the Pentateuch, which the lede and image of a Pentateuch show. Pentateuch REDIRECTs here, and the lede and content make it clear that this article is about the Pentateuch, the Five Books, including Genesis.
On the other hand the Law of Moses, what Joshua calls Torah Moshe, is the specific Law given to an individual Moses, it does not include Genesis. In fact it barely covers more than 10-15% of the Pentateuch. This existing Pentateuch ->REDIRECT-> Torah article also has nothing about the comparative Law in the Ancient Near East, it seems almost entirely focussed on the 21st Century rather than the 15thC BCE, and maybe that's as it should be. My problem is that if you merge the actual ancient Law of Moses into this article it will be cramped to a paragraph in among general description of the five books Genesis-to-Deuteronomy and modern application. Wheras it should be the other way round, that someone who is actually looking for information on the Law of Moses itself, not the Pentateuch, should be directed from a summary paragraph and wikilink from here to there. In ictu oculi (talk) 01:30, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
Also, Ovadyah, sorry Ignocrates, per Wikipedia:Content forking, the 3 paragraphs from Moses which were broken out to Law of Moses may not have been well sourced (which is why when I broke out I tagged them with [citation needed], but the actual historical-critical issues are legitimate. I somehow don't think most editors on the Torah article would want those paragraphs/sources, or even the Akkadian, Babylonian stuff, gracing the Torah article. But that is mainstream ancient Near East / ancient Israel scholarship. In ictu oculi (talk) 02:39, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to explain the difference. I flagged the Law of Moses article for a proposed merge because an editor on the Gospel of the Ebionites article changed the link from Torah to this new article. Given your explanation above, that change makes no sense in the context of the GE article. Therefore, the editor was probably as confused as I am about what this new article is about. I'll leave it to others more knowledgeable than me to decide if the distinction between Torah and Torah Moshe is significant enough to merit a separate article on the subject. Ignocrates (talk) 04:11, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
Hi, well, yes. The lexical distinction Torah and Torah Moshe are probably not a good starting pointed anyway, as per WP:EN we should be using English terms. I used Law of Moses since it was redirecting to Moses, and those 2 paragraphs, that's all. Was following what was already there. If I'd been choosing my own title I would have taken Law in Ancient Israel as the start, given that many ANE scholarly sources treat Moses as semi-mythical anyway, and regard "Joshua's" name Torah Moshe as a redaction from 100s of years later. In ictu oculi (talk) 04:33, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Delete: This article should be deleted. If there's any sourced content that isn't already in Torah, I suppose that could be merged, but an artificial distinction between the Torah and the Law of Moses is kind of silly. It's certainly no more than a theory about where part of the Torah came from. To have an article treating it as a separate thing is a clear POV violation. I suggest the article simply be turned into a redirect to Torah. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 17:01, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Lisa, with respect, have you looked carefully at the Law of Moses article? Do you really want these sources such as GOD AS 'JUDGE' IN UGARITIC AND HEBREW THOUGHT added to this article here on the Pentateuch? For example from John H. Walton Ancient Israelite Literature in Its Cultural Context 1994 p233 "The ancient Near Eastern collections do not include cultic law; rather, their focus is on civil law. As a generalization, in the ancient Near East violation of law is an offense against society. In Israel a violation of law is an ..." Do you really want this here in this article? This article appears to be about the Torah in living Judaism? In ictu oculi (talk) 04:33, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
There is no Torah of Moses other than the Torah in living Judaism. Okay, and the version the Samaritans have. The idea that there's a Torah of Moses distinct from that is a theory held by a very small number of people. Having an entire article presenting it as fact is a violation of WP:NPOV and WP:FRINGE. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 12:04, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Lisa, well its a view taken by academics in ANE studies, who are indeed "few" compared to people who are not academics in ANE studies, I'm sure. Unfortunately the article has sources distinguishing the concept of law in Ancient Israel from Torah in modern Judaism, plus also sources stating that Pentateuch and Law in Judaism are not equivalent, so the article reflects the sources. But anyway, your voice/vote is heard, thank you ;). In ictu oculi (talk) 02:33, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Let's put closure on this discussion. It seems that we have no consensus, or at least there is no consensus to merge. I can't support a deletion of article content. As I see it, the problem, is the name of the article rather than the content. The average reader will look at Law of Moses and see Law of Moses = Torah = Pentateuch. However, while they may be nuanced, the differences are meaningful to an expert-level reader. Therefore, I propose that the article title be changed to Law in Ancient Israel or something similar to avoid this confusion. Ignocrates (talk) 19:17, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Should Pentateuch be redirecting here?[edit]

Talk:Pentateuch per e.g. The Torah: theology and social history of Old Testament law Frank Crüsemann, Allan W. Mahnke - 1996 p331 "As nearly as I can tell, there is only clear evidence for the use of the term Torah to describe the Pentateuch as a whole, including narrative portions, from the second century BCE." how well grounded is this redirect? I haven't looked in detail, I'm just flagging it. In ictu oculi (talk) 05:17, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

A separate article on Pentateuch would create the risk of a content and/or pov fork. If Pentateuch differs at all from Torah, it's that Pentateuch is used in biblical scholarship because it lacks the religious overtones of the word Torah - nevertheless, Torah is used very commonly in scholarly works. PiCo (talk) 22:22, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Hi PiCo, Yes, it certainly would create the risk of a POVfork - as bad as the Hebrew Bible and Tanakh POVforks (can anyone explain those?). But in fact the way Google Scholar uses the two terms is sometimes the same when both are mentioned together, but more often distinct pentateuch, cf also Samaritan Pentateuch. In ictu oculi (talk) 23:51, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Suggestions for the shape of the article[edit]

There's a danger of preoccupying with the origins of the "written Torah", the five books. Fascinating though this subject is, it's just the beginning of what Torah means in Judaism. Discussion of origins can be dealt with in a sentence or two, and then move on to more important matters - how Torah is central to Jewish community life, for example. PiCo (talk) 02:23, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

This goes back to a fairly frequent theme on these Ancient Israel vs Modern Judaism talk pages,Shabbat vs Sabbath, Tanakh vs Hebrew Bible etc, whether any given article term should be (a) what the term means to dead scholarship - typically ANE scholarship, or (b) what the term means in living Judaism. In theory you'd have thought it would/should be possible to accomodate both in the same article as the Jewish Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Judaica do. But evidently "what Torah means in Judaism" is more than "Five Books"... I would have thought the best way to do it would be as the JE does it; but here the JE tries to handle Torah with a hatnote in the first line of lede disamb. back to Pentateuch.
  • PENTATEUCH - "Ancient Jewish tradition attributed the authorship of the Pentateuch (with the exception of thelast eight verses describing Moses' death) to Moses himself."
  • TORAH - "Name applied to the five books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The contents of the Torah as a whole are discussed, from the point of view of modern Biblical criticism, under Pentateuch , where a table gives the various..
etc. In ictu oculi (talk) 02:39, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree with PiCo. Please note also that the section on Documentary_hypothesis covers a lot of the arguments, and these can then be summarised and the detail can removed from this article. Some indication of the range of opinions would be helpful. --Muchado (talk) 11:57, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

Please be consistent and change "Torah" (w/ H) to "Tora" (w/o H)[edit]

On the Wikipedia pages for Torah and Halakha, why is תורה transliterated as Torah (with the letter H at the end), but הלכה is transliterated as Halakha (without the letter H at the end)? They both end in the Hebrew letter Hei, it's not like one of them ends in Alef or something else that would not deserve a H. The English letter H, although it is derived from the Hebrew letter Chet, nowadays it is pronounced like Hei. Therefore, for consistency's sake, I propose that either Torah should become Tora, or Halakha should become Halakhah - you shouldn't be able to have it both ways! (talk) 01:10, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

"Torah" is the usual form in English sources and a quick check of "halakha" seems to show that that is the usual rendition of that word. Therefore, changing either of them would be going against the common usage. English can be and often is contradictory. --Khajidha (talk) 16:37, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
Torah: First five books of the Tanakh. Tora: a "light brown hartebeest" (Oxford English Dictionary), a "large reddish hartebeest" (Merriam-Webster's Unabridged Dictionary). (talk)Demian —Preceding undated comment added 16:55, 28 April 2012 (UTC).

Edits by Learned69 in August 2012[edit]

I am a visitor to this page, but it seems that Learned69 has made some significant edits to the page without explaining why they were made and why they were necessary. The following section seems unclear:

"A most crucial issue that these theories do not address is whether the Torah is true or whether its a work of fiction. If it is true what was the source material that those authors used that recorded all of the dialogue, including the exact statutory language of the laws and commandments, that is the bulk of the Torah. The Torah also has many precise and obscure details, such as the exact number of each of the 12 tribes in the two census' that the Torah tells of, the lengthy family trees of Adam's grandchildren, the exact names of the presidents of each of the tribes, to name a few, that could not have been known thousands of years later without some written record. If it is a work of fiction how did a nation, dating at least to 100 BC, confuse this book, written a mere couple of hundred years earlier, with God's word and subject itself to its commandments. It also fails to account for the existence of the oral law (Section 5 of this article) (ref). "

This paragraph seems out of step with the other ones - both in style and content. It is not clear whether Learned69 is presenting one or two points of view. Please clarify --Muchado (talk) 11:41, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

The point is that the theories do not address crucial issues so that they can provide an adequate and satisfactory explanation for the existence of the Torah.Learned69 (talk) 08:21, 5 September 2012 (UTC)


I have changed this in two ways: "According to religious Jews" into "According to tradition"; "with the exception" into "with the possible exception". As to the first, not all religious Jews, and not only religious Jews (this is also part of Christian tradition), believe in Mosaic authorship. As to the second, not all people who believe in Mosaic authorship accept that Moses did not (or, indeed, could not) write (under divine guidance) about his own death. BTW, this is somewhat a duplication of earlier remarks, but I'm leaving those unchanged. TomS TDotO (talk) 17:51, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Can we please discuss the changes which I mentioned above, rather than getting into an edit war? In particular, I stand by my addition of the word "possible". I understand that there are legitimate sources for the opinion that Moses also wrote the final verses of Deuteronomy: that God dictated the words, and that Moses wrote them in tears. (Do a Google search for "Moses Deuteronomy tears" or some such, for references.) TomS TDotO (talk) 11:43, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Can you please cite at least on source that says that Moses wrote of his own death. There is a discussion in the talmud about this and all are in agreement that he did not write it. The Talmud says that writing it would be a lie. So who are these people that maintain that he wrote those 8 verses and what do they base it on. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Learned69 (talkcontribs) 01:41, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

I will defer to your learning, but I have, from time to time, come across the idea that it is possible that Moses wrote those final verses. I have recently looked that up on the web (and I freely admit that I have no idea of the reliability of these sources). From this online source [2]
"'So Moses, God's servant, died there' (Deuteronomy 34:5). But is it possible that Moses wrote 'So Moses died' while he was still alive?!' Rather, Moses wrote up to this point, and from here on, Joshua the son of Nun wrote—these are the words of R. Judah…[R. Shimon raises an alternative:] Up to this point, God spoke and Moses repeated and wrote; after this point, God spoke and Moses wrote in tears" (Menachot 30a).
See also[3] TomS TDotO (talk) 14:31, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

That link to kabbalaonline gives the proper definition of the term used in the Talmud, dema, which it defines as mixture, as in mixed up letters, and not tears. The Talmud has two questions, if Moses wrote it it would be a lie, and if he didn't write it then the book of the Torah that Moses gave to the Levites would be missing several verses and therefore invalid. The Vilna Gaon asks that the answer of Moses writing it in tears doesn't answer either of the questions as writing in tears is still a lie and also the book of the Torah would still be invalid, as a Torah must be written in ink and not in tears. He too reached the same conclusion as that article, that the term dema does not mean tears, but a mixture of letters, the letters that the Torah was orignially written in before is was converted into the words as we now have them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Learned69 (talkcontribs) 00:20, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

I'm not arguing whether or not Moses wrote the verses in question. All I'm suggesting is that there is an opinion worth mentioning to the small extent of saying "(possibly)" in this Wikipedia article. I gather that you are saying is that those who quote the opinion as saying that Moses wrote "in tears" are mistaken, so no one worth mentioning has ever asserted that. Would it be appropriate to note that the reportage about "in tears" is mistaken? TomS TDotO (talk) 11:07, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
this claim should be removed.....The Hebrew [26]Torah in Deuteronomy 31:24–26, .... states that Moses wrote the Torah on the grounds that if Moses wrote the Torah, then it is a Primary Source for the claim that he wrote it.Robot wagner (talk) 18:44, 8 October 2012 (UTC) blocked sock of user:Dalai lama ding dong
; this claim It is also based on the Hebrew Torah[15] that states in Deuteronomy 31:24–26; after Moses finished writing the words of this Torah in a book from beginning to end. He gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord: "Take this Book of the Torah and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. There it will remain as a witness upon you". The Torah refers to this book of the Torah that was entrusted to the Levites in regard to rules pertaining to a king. Deuteronomy 17:18 states; When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this Torah, taken from that of the Levitical priests.[16 Also needs to go as the Torah is a Primary Source for any claim that Moses wrote it, if he is the author.Robot wagner (talk) 18:53, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

blocked sock of user:Dalai lama ding dong

In the Loeb edition of Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, IV.326 (page 633): "But he [Moses] has written of himself in the sacred books that he died ...". Footnote c to this reads: "Rabbis were divided on the question whether the last eight verses of Deut. were written by Moses or by Joshua (see Weill's note). The view of Josephus has the support of R. Simon." Josephus (1930). Jewish Antiquities. Loeb Classical Library 4. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-99267-9.  TomS TDotO (talk) 15:58, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Edits by Learned69 in Oct 2012[edit]

Orthodox , Sephardic, a majority of Israeli Jews[25] and other Jews, including many whom are not observant[25], reject critical Bible scholarship and the documentary hypothesis, holding to the opinion that it is against what they accept as the historical narrative, and is contradicted by the Torah in Deuteronomy 31:24,25 and 26, and the Talmud (Gittin 60a, Bava Basra 15b), which state that Moses wrote the Torah, as well as by the Mishnah[26], which asserts the divine origin of the Torah as one of the essential tenets of Judaism. L69 keeps restoring this section. Here is the source for these claims. This source does not substantiate the claims above, and makes no reference to biblical scholarship or the doc hypothesis. This is misrepresentation of sources, and i ask that these claims be removed, and be re written to those substantiated by the source only. (talk) 06:20, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

That source says that they accept the tradition, people accept a tradition according to the basis of that tradition, distinguishing between an old wive's tale and a tradition with a basis that convinces them to accept it. So by accepting a tradition they are "in general holding to the opinion" of the basis of that tradition. That source is not the basis for the tradition. Another source is cited for that. is only a source for who accepts the tradition and rejects the DH.Learned69 (talk) 00:50, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

I have rewritten it208.84.53.129 (talk) 07:37, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

L69. Your comments above do not change the fact that the present wording misrepresents the source. I have re written the para to reflect only what the source says. If you restore claims which are not directly in the source, then i will take this to dispute resolution.Robot wagner (talk) 18:27, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Robot wagner, you summarized your edit "Following dispute resolution it has been accepted that this should be the version that is used. See talk." I see that you are very new to editing Wikipedia. Welcome! Please be aware the discussion on your and another user's talk pages is not "dispute resolution" as the term is understood at Wikipedia, and that discussion does not establish what "should be the version that is used".
I removed "The Hebrew word for law is din" because Hebrew has at least five words for law: משפט, דין, תורה, כלל, חק. I removed the sentence about the opinion poll among Israeli Jews because this article is about the Torah, not the beliefs of Israeli Jews. I removed the paragraph about the beliefs of American Jews because it is largely not on topic. —Anomalocaris (talk) 09:38, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
I removed the reference to because this source is completely unreliable, frequently basing its answers on Wikipedia, so using as a reference in Wikipedia results in ungrounded circular reference. —Anomalocaris (talk) 09:46, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
I added back in the sentence about American Jews because it is as relevant as the claim about religious Jews, and it is at least sourced whereas the other is not.Robot wagner (talk) 12:10, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

Mishnah and tradition. POV[edit]

L69 i suggest that you consider this section of the NPOV policy. 'Avoid stating opinions as facts. Usually, articles will contain information about the significant opinions that have been expressed about their subjects. However, these opinions should not be stated in Wikipedia's voice. Rather, they should be attributed in the text to particular sources, or where justified, described as widespread views, etc. For example, an article should not state that "genocide is an evil action", but it may state that "genocide has been described........etc I will accept This belief is based on a historical narrative, first recorded in the Mishnah[1] (100 BCE – 100 CE), and a belief that this narrative was previously transmitted orally from the time of Moses.[2] It is also based on the Hebrew TorahCite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). (100 BCE – 100 CE), the Mishnah being the first time that traditions that were transmitted orally from the time of Moses were put in writing.[3]

It is not a "belief". The origins of the Mishnah are not disputed as historical fact. You are clearly not knowledgeable about this issue. Sit down and do some research before creating a whole issue over this. Start with actually reading the source before you form opinions about what he sets forth as a historical account with names and dates See if it is disputed, and it is not, and then you can note it. The source is not expressing an opinion, but stating a historical fact. And he is only one of many sources that say this, as i said it is not disputed by anyone. refers to opinions and the origins of the Mishnah are not opinion, they are an issue of fact. You are very new to WP and should familiarize yourself with understanding the rules.Learned69 (talk) 04:30, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Sock edits[edit]

Robert Wagner has been blocked as a notorius sock of Dalai lama ding dong. Unfortunately, he made a huge amount of controversial edits that were often reverted, some were not. I'd suggest going through them and seeing if anything is there that should not be, and reverting if required. --

Many small details but what is Torah?[edit]

5 years ago I asked the same question. This article is full of technical details about the text and its origins (some of them rather trivial in comparison to what is left out...), but doesn't give me any hint as to why the Torah is important. Since the title of this article is 'Torah' and not 'Bible' or "Old Testament' or 'Pentateuch' (as some mention is the term used in scholarly literature), I would assume the article might at least touch upon what is the Torah's significance in the Jewish tradition (major significance). But it doesn't. All there is in the section relating to Judaism is a discussion of whether Moses got it all from god, that it's read ritually ever year, and a tiny segment that doesn't really go anywhere:

            Biblical law
            See also: Biblical law
            The Torah contains narratives, statements of law, and statements of ethics.
            Collectively these laws, usually called biblical law or commandments, 
            are sometimes referred to as the Law of Moses (Torat Moshe תּוֹרַת־מֹשֶׁה), 
            Mosaic Law, or Sinaitic Law.

So maybe from this article I'm prepared to go look up more academic technical details, but I'm still clueless on what's the significance of an ancient text that millions have thought to preserve for thousands of years.

If we are going to have an article named 'Torah' and not 'Pentateuch' or 'old testament' and have a section on 'Torah and Judaism' then we should at least state what Torah means in a Jewish context. The primary meaning of 'Torah' in Jewish context is not a specific text studied by academics, but the entirety of teachings as to a way of life. I.e. it is the source of the Jewish way of life, a set of teachings about how to construct and carry out the Jewish civilization. This includes the mitzvoth ('laws') as well as narratives.

Furthermore a major mention should be made that is is noteworthy that narrative and halakha are interwoven. this makes Torah different than a primarily narrative document like like Homer's Odyssey or a primarily legal document like the U.S. constitution.

And this fact is important in understanding the meaning of the word Torah, for it is not only in the halakhic sections ('laws') that the tradition looks to for its teachings, but just as importantly, the narrative sections. The narrative is about the forming of a family and that is one of the primary ways Jews see themselves, as a single family, that also happens to strive to follow the Torah way.

The article mentions that Torah means teachings not law, yet the article then goes on to discuss 'law'. Because of this wider meaning of the word Torah in Jewish tradition, and the fact that the narratives, the actual and perceived history of the Jewish people is considered as teachings also, the rest of the Tanakh (Jewish Bible, prophets, kings, psalms, Ruth, etc..) is also considered Torah. Certainly an important part of the narrative is repeated exile and return (from gan eden to the return under the Persian empire, and then in context of Talmud, Roman exile and hope for eventual return.)

The article mentions Jewish rituals and the only one it mentions is periodic readings. But reading is merely the first step, it is then discussed, argued about, interpreted, (and those are also important Jewish rituals) and finally put into practice: every act of Jewish life is a ritual which involves Torah, every aspect of life is related to Torah by the rabbis from Talmud times on to the present. This is what Torah means in a Jewish context (as opposed to a text studied by academia or used for other purposes in Christianity or Islam)

So I open the can of worms again about separate articles for a concept of 'Torah' vs concept of 'Pentateuch' I don't know if I have the gumption to start a 'Torah' article, (and fill in references for all my suggestions) but we'll see.

Even as a description of the actual text aside from the context of the Jewish tradition, the article is missing some interesting points.

Nowhere does it even come out and say: the text is written in Biblical Hebrew, that the earliest copies we have of it (Dead Sea Scrolls ~200BCE) are written in Biblical Hebrew and the consensus is that this was the language of the composition in the form we have by that time.

Nowhere does it discuss the form of the text - primarily prose as opposed to poetry (as is the form of many ancient documents), and where there is poetic diction, it is not in strict meter or rhyme.

Furthermore a major mention should be made that it is noteworthy that narrative and halakha (the specific mitzvoth) are interwoven. This makes Torah different than a primarily narrative document like Homer's Odyssey or a primarily legal document like the U.S. constitution.

There is no mention of the fact that the stories in the narrative are linked together by a system of resonating word roots that can only be appreciated in the original Hebrew. In many places these words form puns that make the text dance alive. Example: Adam and eve were 'arum (naked..but also..) in the garden when they were created, and in the very next line "the snake was 'arum (sly, slick? naked?) of all the animals of the field' (and even later, god to the snake: " 'arur (cursed) you will be of all the animals in the field" This kind of play opens up doorways of interpretive depth to the narrative. Hence to many in the tradition, a translation is not a Torah, because to 'do Torah' in the Jewish tradition is to engage with the text in its rawest most playful state. (Did I mention that the tradition teaches that the text is to play with, not to be treated as a static literal document?) Perhaps in the Jewish ritual section mention should be made that the Jews dance with their Torah (literally, in the streets, during the celebration of Simchat Torah).

Mention can be made about the terseness of so much of text. And then the boneheaded drawn out repetitiveness of some parts of the text.

Mention can be made of the way in which the tradition plays with the repetitions and inconsistencies and gaps that are formed by the redaction of multiple strands of the stories. The very aspects that the 19th century scholarship had used to belittle the Jewish text is actually one of its strengths to the Jewish people.

Mention can be made of how the text functions as an exercise in holding multiple perspectives as possibilities and learning not to desire a single definitive literal meaning or answer to the way human life is.

Along with this can be made mention of some of the things that the narratives are about. I.e. the entire book of Bereishit is about sibling strife, how this has consequences from generation to generation and is finally put to rest by Joseph's act of forgiveness, or t'shuva (which also means return). In fact one can see the whole narrative of the Tanakh as being about t'shuva, a central concept in Judaism.

Also since this is one of the most familiar documents and at the same time the most alien of documents to most English speakers, I would mention that while we don't have a firm handle on when and where and by whom in what context these texts came together, at least we have some clues from cognate languages and cultures: Ugaritic myths and epics, and Akkadian/Babylonian myths and epics. It can also be mentioned that what remains of these in no way compares to the breadth and richness of the Torah. All the more frustrating to scholarship.

Also on the topic of form, we should mention that the Talmud, does not follow the form of a narrative, as in the first five books, or even the gospels which formed at the same time, but are in the form of a complicated web of snippets of rabbinic discussions and arguments and tales, arranged by hallakhic topic. There is no contiguous narrative of any rabbi, no narrative of history. Curious. This form of discussion and argument is carried out to the present day and is an important part of Jewish practice.

Or maybe I don't quite understand the purpose of an encyclopedia entry...

I'll wait for some comments and then perhaps find references and begin to edit some of this in?Wikiskimmer (talk) 09:27, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

27Nov2012 I have begun, in a small way. I was about to begin a few edits on the section Torah and Judaism, but realized that there is almost nothing there. Simply three trivial items: another discussion of how it was written, how it's read in the synagogue, one sentence on law. Nothing substantive about what it means to the Jewish people and how it functions. I'd have to start from scratch. I'll have to get my reference materials in order. Wikiskimmer (talk) 16:48, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

B.C. vs. BCE[edit]

The Torah article is "semi-protected", so I can't make this change myself, but it seems to me that it shouldn't be controversial. The "In other religions" section says, "This ... version ... dates from the 3rd century B.C.," and it seems to me that, even if only to be consistent with the rest of the article, this really should be written as "3rd century BCE".

(Also, and again I can't edit because it's semi-protected and I'm not a "confirmed" user -- the second paragraph of the "Production and use of a Torah scroll" section says, "... a sefer Torah ... is a copy of the formal Hebrew text of hand-written on gevil or qlaf ..." and that second "of" makes no sense to me. Shouldn't that read, "... a copy of the formal Hebrew text, handwritten on ..."? I would replace the word "of" with a comma.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jjules (talkcontribs) 01:50, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Thanks! Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 03:41, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

the terms 'yaweh' and 'national god' do not belong in the intro paragraphs[edit]

Hello Editor2020

I explained my reasoning for my recent edits in the history page, would you explain the reasoning for your reversions? If you want to take this to the torah wiki talk page, fine. The intro paragraph begins stating that it is about a central concept in judaism, and 'Yaweh' is not a jewish god.

one day i will get my resources together and fill the article in. i'm trying to keep it focussed, because as it stands the article is a loose bag of mostly irrelevant information about this central concept!


Wikiskimmer (talk) 23:14, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

i looked at the pages for Yahweh and national god neither of them seem to pertain to the modern concept of torah in judaism. I don't think they belong in an intro paragraph. They are fine topics of discussion for the body of the article if you want to do that. If you don't explain why they belong in the lead of the article, i'll remove them again. Wikiskimmer (talk) 01:49, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

That would be WP:edit warring. Wikipedia is built on the basis of WP:Consensus and WP:Compromise. The version which existed before a new edit is considered to be the existing consensus version. If your edit is accepted by other editors, it is considered that the consensus has changed. If the edit is rejected by any of the other editors, the article reverts to the earlier consensus version. If you feel that your edit has compelling reasons, you should discuss it on the talk page and attempt to convince the other editors that your new version is an improvement.
you are the one to change the reference for 'god' from god in judaism which seems to be a fair handed description of the concept to yahweh, which i think is a slanted point of view for an article on a jewish concept (torah). further, you put in the reference to national god which speaks to bronze age and christian stuff, not normative judaism. these are your recent edits. just explain why you think they belong.Wikiskimmer (talk) 03:51, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
The WP:Lead section is supposed to be a summary of the article. If you are unhappy with the existing version of the article, great, change it (while providing references). After you have changed the article, and others have evaluated/contributed/reached consensus on the new version, you can change the WP:Lead to reflect the new article contents. Editor2020 (talk) 02:42, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

Ok, I just saw your most recent edit. I think the tetragramaton would be confusing to most people in the lead paragraph without explanations. saying "the call into being by their god" i would think makes plain sense to most people. (on the surface. of course the concept of god is anything but plain). 'god' is the most straightforward english term for this concept.

I will find citations for the more general usages of the term torah in judaism.Wikiskimmer (talk) 02:02, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

got oneWikiskimmer (talk) 03:51, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

Before our recent edits the article read

Torah consists of the foundational narrative of the Jewish people: their call into being by Yahweh (euphemistically called HaShem by Jews and denoted in English translations of the Bible as the LORD), their trials and tribulations, and their covenant with their God, which involves following a way of life embodied in a set of religious obligations and civil laws (halakha).

On June 15, 2013 you changed it to:

Torah consists of the foundational narrative of the Jewish people: their call into being by their God, their trials and tribulations, and their covenant with their God, which involves following a way of life embodied in a set of religious obligations and civil laws (halakha).

As you can see, I did not change the article to Yahweh, it was already there and you removed it. "Their god", wikilinked to National god, was also already there and you removed it.
On June 16, 2013 I restored Yahweh and National god:

Torah consists of the foundational narrative of the Jewish people: their call into being by their God (Yahweh), their trials and tribulations, and their covenant with their God, which involves following a way of life embodied in a set of religious obligations and civil laws (halakha).

Editor2020 (talk) 23:03, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

it was you who added the link to national god
which discusses bronze age topics and modern christian topics. there is no evidence that tells us torah is a bronze age document, and the whole point of judaism is that God is NOT just a national god. I'm explaining why i think these additions do not pertain. you are not explaining why you think they do.Wikiskimmer (talk) 02:23, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
it was also you who added the link to yahweh,
which is not the jewish god. sorry. and again you are not explaining why you think these belong in the basic summary of what torah is. Torah is not primarily an archelogical document, it is an all encompassing concept that has operated in the jewish tradition for many many generations and continues to do so. My rewrite of the summary stood since last november and you are the only one to change it, it's not consensus. so quit playing these petty administrative games and help me deal with the substance of an article that doesn't even come out and really say what's important about the concept of torah. This is partly why i probably wouldn't invest the effort it would take to really add into this thing what it needs.Wikiskimmer (talk) 02:23, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
I just added a section in content, where the concepts of god in torah can be discussed.Wikiskimmer (talk) 02:23, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

Edits I made in March with no response or objection until now? I'd appreciate a more timely response. But OK, I'll give it to ya. I withdraw my undo of your changes. Editor2020 (talk) 14:39, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Editor2020 is correct that he does not see my summary topics in the main article: for a good reason[edit]

Because no one has written them yet. But I put them there because they surely should be written as i explain in my talk topic a few headings up. This topic is a major one for the Jewish tradition (and the rest of the western world inasmuch as Judaism has affected it), yet the article is mostly a random grab bag of periferal topics to what is important about Torah. When I get the time and my sources together I will write more in the body of the article. Wikiskimmer (talk) 02:35, 17 June 2013 (UTC)


Currently Pentateuch redirects here. I'm thinking about making that article about the Five Books of Moses, while this article would be about "the totality of Jewish teaching and practice" (to quote the lead). As of now, the article is a mix of both meanings, which is confusing and misleading.

The current lead:

Torah is a central concept in the Jewish tradition. It has a range of meanings: it can most specifically mean the first five books of the Tanakh, it can mean this plus the rabbinic commentaries on it, it can mean the continued narrative from Genesis to the end of the Tanakh, it can even mean the totality of Jewish teaching and practice.

demonstrates the problem with the combination.

Thoughts? -- Ypnypn (talk) 02:25, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

I've checked and this is a good start. My source suggested rather:
"The Torah comprises the first five books of the Tanakh. It is a central concept in the Jewish tradition."
"It can also have a range of meanings. It can mean the first five books plus the rabbinic commentaries on it. It can mean the continued narrative from Genesis to the end of the Tanakh. It can even mean the totality of Jewish teaching and practice."
In other words, freeze a single definition right off. Then digress into the others. Drop the rest of the lead/summary. Student7 (talk) 19:43, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Just to clarify, do you agree that both meanings should have a separate article, or do you think that they should stay combined in this one? -- Ypnypn (talk) 22:51, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
IMO, leave combined. Student7 (talk) 23:31, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Agree, splitting is the right thing to do. Debresser (talk) 07:50, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Ypnypn: this article is about a central concept of Judaism. it also sucks as it is a hodge podge of rather trivial topics, and doesn't get to the core of the concept as I outlined in my talk entry above. I have not been able to write that yet, but at least I tried to add some beef to it with my entries about form and content. What I added was a begining to what makes it a uniquely jewish document as oppposed to a peice of the christian old testement or an archelogical relic discussed by academics. What I added was a begining of how it functions in the Jewish tradition.
Why did you pull that out into your pentatuch article leaving this one even more anemic than it already is? I had thought that further up there was a concensus to have the torah article be from a jewish perspective as the old testement article can be from a christian perspective (after all, old testement IS a christian concept) and the pentateuch article can be from an academic perspective.
You state that it is confusing and misleading that the article is a mix of both meanings (5books vs totality of teachings). It is not misleading at all and is only confusing if you don't understand the Jewish tradition. This ambiguity and the many other ambiguities about Torah are CENTRAL to the Jewish tradition. That is why I wrote the lead the way I did.
Perhaps the solution is that Torah is a bigger and more complex topic than pentateuch and thus the Torah article should be more comprehensive and Pentateuch can can be a synonym.

what do you think?Wikiskimmer (talk) 10:12, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

If you don't think it's a problem to have two meanings mixed into one article, then I can undo my changes. But I think you may be overemphasizing how important the ambiguity is. As an observant Jew, I don't find people conflating the meanings. You're right that the concepts themselves aren't confusing, but when saying, for example, "Jews maintain that every letter of the Torah is divinely authored," we have to be clear which meaning we're referring to.
So if you think that we can discuss them together, and still be clear about which one we're talking about at each point, I'll be glad to revert my split. -- Ypnypn (talk) 14:18, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
well... see... right there that statememt is is ambiguous poetry! Thanks for responding. I find in my jewish interactions that when we use the word torah we are being flexible. i guess to be specific we'd say chumash or torah scroll. Though for me that's problematic too beause in some ways from genesis to kings is also a cohesive narrative sweep.
here are the passages that i thought got gutted out that i thought are part of an essential article an torah in judaism. starting with:
The form of Torah is that of a narrative, from the beginning of God's creating the world,
up to:
These linkages play a role in the traditional interpretation of Torah.[20]
also the section god in torah.
i think these passages help explain how torah works in the jewish tradition. re: ambiguity... see, the resonances i'm talking about continue all the way up to the book of samuel.. which is not chumash, but the fact that that whole narative sweep is tied together... the fact that exile and return play out over and over again through the whole tanakh/jewish history... that's all torah.
what did you think about my talkpost further up, that this article is a collection of almost trivial bits and doesn't come out and say what torah actually is in judaism?Wikiskimmer (talk) 17:59, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Unchanged copies.[edit]

In Production and use of a Torah scroll it says, in the voice of Wikipedia:"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". Some people might believe this, but we need to know who they are. What is the evidence and how can it possibly be true? Against this view, I have been reading this [4] Myrvin (talk) 10:36, 15 December 2013 (UTC) Levy (p. 6) writes: "Though many medieval rabbis were haunted by the fear of having “two toroṯ,” by which they sometimes meant inconsistent wording or spelling of the Torah texts, and they did everything in their power to ensure that all copies of their scrolls were as nearly identical as possible, others were convinced that such agreement was unattainable."Myrvin (talk) 10:45, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

There being no response here, I have included Levy's views in the text. Myrvin (talk) 11:09, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Yes. Both. I recall The Promise (Potok novel) where the protagonist, struggling to become an Orthodox rabbi, is tested as he is about to graduate. He emends a translation, absolutely forbidden by fundamental Orthodoxy, in one of the climaxes of the novel. The emendation resulting from the passage making absolutely no sense otherwise (from his pov, obviously, not from the pov of the rabbinical school!) Student7 (talk) 23:46, 19 January 2014 (UTC)


The only mention of the Septuagint seems to imply that it is/was only used by Christians. This was not the case, as Christ wasn't born when it was being read. I think there should be a section on this. Perhaps there could be a larger section on Torah translations. Myrvin (talk) 14:33, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Agree. See. Septuagint#Jewish_use. Jewish rituals changed in response to Christian usage and practice IMO. Septuagint abandoned when Christians essentially adopted it. Student7 (talk) 23:36, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

technical issue[edit]

This article has hyperlinks to Pentateuch. Pentateuch automatically redirects back here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:52, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Mishnah, Sanhedrin 11:1
  2. ^ Maimonides, Introduction to Mishnah Torah
  3. ^ Maimonides, Introduction to Mishnah Torah