The Pentateuch

The first five books of the Bible.

The word “Pentateuch” comes from a Greek term meaning "the five (penta) books." The Pentateuch includes the first five books of the Bible—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books are often called “the Law,” but in addition to legal materials they include poems, songs, and epic narratives about the people of God. The Hebrew term used for these books is “Torah,” which means “instruction.” These books have sometimes been called the five books of Moses, although most modern scholars think that the Pentateuch includes materials that were written down by various people over a period of centuries. The Pentateuch tells a story that extends from the Creation (Genesis 1) to the time when the people of Israel are encamped on the edge of the promised land (Deuteronomy 34).


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