We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Select Bible Use this Lookup to open a specific Bible and passage. Start here to select a Bible.
Make selected Bible the default for Lookup tool.
Book: Ch.V. Select book from A-Z list, enter chapter and verse number, and click "Go."
:
OR
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result

The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

- Introduction to the Pentateuch

The Pentateuch (literally, the “five scrolls”; popularly, the Five Books of Moses) is the final edition of traditions about Israel's early history which the community considered important for its self-identity. Beginning with creation and stories of primeval times, the story narrows in focus to Abraham and the stories of Israel's own ancestors (Genesis). The narrative continues with the story of Israel's deliverance from Egyptian slavery and acceptance of God's covenant offered at Sinai (Exodus and Leviticus). The subsequent period of wandering in the wilderness, punctuated by various acts of unfaithfulness, and military victory east of the Jordan (Numbers) comes to an end with the people poised across the river from Jericho to hear the farewell speeches of Moses (Deuteronomy).

Since it was Moses who relayed God's word to Israel at Sinai, much later generations (probably in the post-exilic era more than eight hundred years after the time of Moses) began to speak of “the law of Moses” in a sense that included not only the material revealed at Sinai but also the totality of the Pentateuch. This view that Moses authored the entire Pentateuch appears to have been well established by the time of Jesus. Christian and Jewish scholars raised questions about this tradition, however, beginning in the early centuries of the Common Era. They wondered, for instance, how Moses could have written about the details of his own death (Deut. 34 ) or why there were different commands to Noah about how many animals to take into the ark (two of every kind [Gen. 6.19 ] or one pair of some kinds and seven pairs of others [ 7.2–3 ]).

Today there is a wide consensus among biblical scholars that the Pentateuch is a composite work. This consensus has arisen out of observations of many differences in literary style, vocabulary, and theological themes that characterize various blocks of material in the Pentateuch. Scholars have also noticed that sometimes more than one version of a story seems to be included in the text (for example, two versions of the creation in Gen. 1 and 2 ; or three versions of a husband pretending to a king that his wife is really his sister, Gen. 12, 20, 26 ).

Various hypotheses have been proposed to account for these features of the text. The following paragraphs outline one widely accepted hypothesis, namely that three major sources, composed during different periods of Israel's history, are interwoven in the first four books (usually referred to as the “Tetrateuch,” four scrolls). The Pentateuch was then formed by the addition of Deuteronomy, which represents another major tradition.

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2018. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice