Religion

Introduction to the Torah


Scripture

Introduction to Scriptures in general and Hebrew Scriptures in particular

The Torah

A. Introduction to the Torah
B. Begin exploring the Torah\'s themes and content

The Torah in the New Testament and the Book of Common Prayer


Part I

Introduction Scripture In General
Doctrine of Inspiration
The Bible is: A single Divine revelation, with two Testaments, better called covenants or agreements between God and his people.
Three necessary theological constituents of inspiration:
God\'s causality:
The prime mover in inspiration is God. The Bible tells us that "no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (II Peter 1:21). In other words, God revealed and people repeated the revelation orally or in written form. See BCP, p. 236.

The Human agency:
People play an important role in the overall process of inspiration; they were the means through which God spoke. God used people to convey his propositions. In inspiration, then, God is the original cause, and the human agent is the instrumental cause.

Scriptural authority:

This is the third and final product of God\'s causality and the human agency. God not only spoke to the writers of Holy Scripture, but he continues to speak through their God-inspired writing. See BCP, p. 853.

A working definition of the doctrine of inspiration might be this:
"A process whereby God causes his Word to work through the mind and pen of a human being, without overriding their personality and style, to produce divinely authoritative writings."

The Bible has a unifying theme - Redemption:
There is a two-fold meaning of the word redemption.
it infers deliverance; and
it implies a price paid for that deliverance, the ransom. Redemption ultimately is from: the penalty of sin: from the power of Satan and evil, cf, BCP, p. 302; by the price Jesus paid on the cross.


How the Books of the Hebrew Bible are Organized
(Chart)

Part II


Introducing The Torah
The books of the Bible have not always been numbered or grouped as they are today. The earliest division of the Old Testament was a simple twofold division of Law and Prophets. The first five books were called the Law of Moses and all the other books were called the Prophets. (C.f., the Summary of the Law, BCP, p. 324)
The names given to the first five books of the Bible are several: They are called:
The Law
The Torah
The Books of Moses
or the Pentateuch.
The time covered in the Books of Moses or Torah:

Genesis - from the creation to the bondage of Israel in Egypt, about 1860 BC.
Exodus - from the sojourn of Israel in Egypt to Mt. Sinai (c. 1860-1447 BC.)
Leviticus - one month between Exodus and Numbers
Numbers - from Mount Sinai to the end of the forty-years "wandering" (c. 1447-1407 BC)
Deuteronomy - from the end of the wandering to after Moses\' funeral (about two months).
The heart of the Pentateuch is found in the book of Exodus, which deals with the exodus from Egypt and the sojourn at Mount Sinai. All Jewish tradition reaches back to these "root experiences." They constitute the basic understanding of Jewish identity and of the identity and character of God.
Covenant and Law
Two themes fundamental to the Old Testament:
covenant and
Law, are closely related.
Covenant signifies many things, including an agreement between nations or individuals, but above all it refers to the pact between Yahweh and Israel sealed at Mount Sinai. The language concerning that covenant has much in common with that of ancient Near Eastern treaties; both are sworn agreements sealed by oaths. Yahweh is seen to have taken the initiative in granting the covenant by electing a people. Perhaps the simplest formulation of the covenant is the sentence: “I will take you for my people, and I will be your God” (Exodus 6:7).
The law was understood to have been given as a part of the covenant, the means by which Israel became and remained the people of God. The law contains regulations for behavior in relation to other human beings as well as rules concerning religious practices, but by no means does it give a full set of instructions for life. Rather, it seems to set forth the limits beyond which the people could not go without breaking the covenant.
Scholars have recognized in the Hebrew laws two major types of laws,