Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Torah Definition:

A primary source of Jewish law including the Old Testament of the Bible and subsequent interpretations thereof.

To some jurists, the Torah, as a sacred source of Jewish law, refers only the Five Books of Moses within the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy; a set of Jewish law also known as Mosaic law.

Elman writes that "in the classical Jewish sources the word (Torah) is used in three senses": the Ten Commandments, the whole of the Hebrew Bible and:

"... as embracing the sum total of Jewish learning through the ages."

Thus, generally, the prevailing accepted definition is the entire Jewish or Hebrew Bible. In fact, to Jewish people, the word Torah is used to refer to that document that Christians refer to as the Old Testament.

The premise of the Torah is similar to that of the Koran of Islam, and Islamic law; both groups believe that their law is perfect - divinely inspired; taken directly from the word of God. This, too, was the theme of Hammurabi's Code of 1,700 BC; Hammurabi says he received his laws from a God called Shamash.


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