What is the Torah?

What is the difference between the Torah and the Old Testament in the Catholic Bible?

Torah comes from the Hebrew for “law” and refers to the first five books of the Old Testament. The first five books of the Old Testament are also collectively referred to as the Pentateuch. The word torah is also used to refer to the scroll of parchment on which the Pentateuch is written. The scroll is considered a sacred liturgical object in synagogues and is often richly decorated and given other marks of respect. In Orthodox Judaism, the Torah can also refer to the entirety of the law, both in written form (Scripture and other sacred writings) and in oral tradition.

The Catholic Old Testament contains 46 books, seven more than the modern Jewish canon of the Hebrew Scripture (called the Tanakh), with additional passages in Daniel and Esther. The “extra” books are Judith, Tobit, Baruch, Sirach, Wisdom, and 1 and 2 Maccabees. The modern Jewish canon of Hebrew Scripture corresponds to the modern Protestant canon of the Old Testament because the Protestant Reformers chose to base their accepted canon on the Jewish canon chosen by the rabbis of the post-Christian era.

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