Hey guys,
I know the Pentateuch consists of the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), but in the New American Bible, it says the Pentateuch also consists of the Books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth. I’ve searched online, but other than the Vatican website, I can’t find anything that says these three books are part of the Pentateuch. So my questions are, how come I’m not able to find any other websites that include these three books as part of the Pentateuch, and why are they part of the Pentateuch since to my knowledge the Pentateuch only has five books?


That seems odd, since ‘Pentateuch’ is Greek for ‘five books’ unless I’m mistaken. I believe the next several books after Deuteronomy (Joshua through Kings) are considered part of the Deuteronomical history, so maybe someone got confused (I know I am).

I’d have to see the page that says this (see if you can quote it here). I doubt that the editors would let a mistake that slip by.:o

I’ve posted the link here. I don’t think it’s a mistake as those three books are listed under Pentateuch in my personal copy of the New American Bible as well but it very well could be a mistake. I found this from but so far that’s the only website that supports those three books being in the Pentateuch. Thanks again!

That’s… odd…

In your link, however, if you click the hyperlink “Pentateuch” it says the Pentateuch is the standard five books and does not mention the others listed along with it.

We really, really like organization.

The Pentateuch is all quite related on issues of the law. However, Deut. is more like a bridge between the Pentateuch and the Deut. Histories (Judges, Joshua). It may almost be more appropriate to separate the Law into 4 books, and have the Deut. Histories of 3 books (Deut, Joshua, Judges).

Consider Deut. to have two sets of friends. One the rest of the Pent, the other the Deut Histories. Deut. can’t be separated from them so de facto, they’re all together.

That doesn’t explain Ruth. No idea what that’s doing there.

Or look at it from another angle. Yes, the Pentateuch specifically means those five books.
When we say “Nebuchadnezzar’s army” that means, the army of Nebuchadnezzar. Yet, when we say Nebuchadnezzar’s army was marching along, that includes women, officials, and others who have nothing to do with actual war or are even necessarily a part of the army.

So with Pentateuch, and “Pentateuch”.

On the ehow link I posted, it said, “The Catholic Church also includes Joshua, Judges and Ruth in this section, three books which bridge the time between Moses and the Jewish monarchy.” Does that sound accurate?

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

702 From the beginning until “the fullness of time,” the joint mission of the Father’s Word and Spirit remains hidden, but it is at work. God’s Spirit prepares for the time of the Messiah. Neither is fully revealed but both are already promised, to be watched for and welcomed at their manifestation. So, for this reason, when the Church reads the Old Testament, she searches there for what the Spirit, “who has spoken through the prophets,” wants to tell us about Christ.

By “prophets” the faith of the Church here understands all whom the Holy Spirit inspired in living proclamation and the composition of the sacred books, both of the Old and the New Testaments. Jewish tradition distinguishes first the Law (the five first books or Pentateuch), then the Prophets (our historical and prophetic books) and finally the Writings (especially the wisdom literature, in particular the Psalms).

Modern Catholic Dictionary:

PENTATEUCH. The first five books of the Bible taken collectively, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, written from about 1400 to 1300 B.C. The name may be traced to Origen (A.D. 254). A decision of the Biblical Commission (June 27, 1906) stated that Moses was the principal and inspired author of the Pentateuch and that the books were finally published under his name. But in 1948 the secretary- of the Pontifical Biblical Commission acknowledged that “today there is no longer anyone who questions the existence of sources used in the composition of the Pentateuch or who does not admit the progressive accretion of Mosaic laws due to the social and religious conditions of later times.”

Whoever gave that response probably checked the same Vatican website you provided, saw the Contents list, and then made the same assumption you made. Had they clicked on the “Pentateuch” link they would have discovered their error in making that assumption.

This is correct - they are included on the Contents page under the section titled “Pentateuch”. But, as SighGuy noted, if you click on “Penteteuch”, it specifies that Pentateuch refers only to the first 5 books

three books which bridge the time between Moses and the Jewish monarchy." Does that sound accurate?

Correct. Those 3 books to contain events that took place between the time of Moses and the time of the first Jewish king (Saul). The book of Ruth ends with the birth of Obed (who would become the grandfather of David, the 2nd king of Israel). cf. Ruth 4:17,21

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