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The Torah (Hebrew: תּוֹרָה, meaning "Instruction", "Teaching", or "Law") is an ancient Hebrew text. It is a compilation of five semi-related books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (using their English titles) and the first main section of the Jewish bible, the Tanakh.


Diagram of the Torah's formation according to the documentary hypothesis.

The Torah ascribes the books to Moses, one of the characters mentioned in some of the books, and historians raised in cultures dominated by the Abrahamic faith accepted this without question. However, most historians today no longer ascribe the books to Moses and use an evidence-based approach to history which points to the books of the Torah having been written by multiple authors over a large span of time, and having been modified heavily throughout the process. The oldest portions are estimated to have been written around 900 BCE, with the last large modifications written around 500 BCE. The documentary hypothesis suggests four primary authors, the Jahwist source (J), Elohist source (E), Priestly source (P) and the Deuteronomist source (D), with redactors (R) making changes throughout the process.


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