I know that basically, the first
6 5 books in Christian's Bible forms the Torah. However are there any subtle difference between torah and those books?
closed as off topic by msh210♦ Feb 29 '12 at 16:52
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The first five books of the Bible -- Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy -- form the "Torah" (like would be in a Torah scroll). The text of these is, as far as I know, identical between Jewish and Christian Bibles (though there will certainly be differences in translation; studying the original Hebrew is extremely common for Jews, but rare for most Christians).
It's the next set of books of the Bible that are a bit different between the Jewish Tanach and Christian "Old Testament." See Wikipedia for more. Some books are ordered differently (such as what comes after Judges?); some are in one canon but not the other (such as Ecclesiasticus); and some are counted as single/multiple books differently (e.g. The Jewish Bible counts Samuel I & II as one book, and Ezra & Nechemiah as one book).
Okay I need to organize the answer.
So we have
Torah itself (the theoretical master copy). We got how it's preserved We got how it's translated We got how it's presented We got how it's interpreted (I think this one doesn't count so I'll just do this briefly)
Torah itself (the theoretical master copy).
There is one big difference between Torah and first 5(not 6) books in Christian Bible. Wikipedia said that Torah actually have an oral counter part, at least for jews. Christians do not have oral Torah. The first 5 books in christian bible is only the written torah. Oral torah does not have influence on christianity.
As for the difference between first 5 books of christian bible and the torah, in theory, there is none. It's like asking if creationists live on the same planet. Yes they do. They just perceive our world differently.
Even when the ancient scrolls are slightly different septuagint/masoretic/and dead sea scrolls, christians would claim that the their torah is the same, namely one of those version is "the right" version and that's the original one (whatever that is) and that the hebrew version (original) is the correct one. Christians would claim that they did their best to translate the torah to be as close as the original as possible and that "their" torah is the exact same thing with jewish torah.
How it's preserved
Christians used many ancient scrolls. The main ones are similar to the one Jewish used. Masoretic. Chritians also used Samaritan, Septuagint, and a lot of other ancient scrolls. Experts then decide which copies are the most likely correct. When their opinion differs, Christians have a lot of different "version" or translations.
Some actual differences in the torah due to actual different sources. This is more of a difference between what people think is the original rather than differences between Jewish and Christian tradition. Sample is Deuteronomy 32:8-9 where christians translation sometimes use the dead sea scroll and septuagint that use children of God rather than children of Israel. It's a very important verse because it decide whether YHWH is the God of all universe or a mere God of a small nomadic (not to mention genocidal) tribe. More info about that is http://www.thedivinecouncil.com/DT32BibSac.pdf
How it's translated
Most christians learn Torah through their native language translation instead of hebrew. English speaking christians only have 2 words to describe God. YHWH (I don't know the vowel, I don't want to know), Adonai is translated as Lord. El and Elohim is translated as God. Lord in english is not even a word for God. Landlords, for example, are typically not divine. In south east Asia the word God is translated as Allah and the word Lord becomes Tuhan, which is cognate with non divine lord, "Tuan". While aware of Jewish' tradition of hiding God's only personal name from ever being uttered out of respect, christians are not familiar with the "extra mile" approach Jews go through. Jehovah witness are christians' sects that want to make YHWH name famous again.
Actual vagueness in the Torah itself give a certain leeway in translation and interpretation. The word elohim, for example, is a homonym that can be (correctly?) translated as God or angels or power. Okay, maybe I am wrong here. But that as far as most christians go when it comes to understanding torah given our language limitation. English translation tend to hide the controversy. Christians, are more "open" to the idea of anthropomorphic God. In fact, the idea that God incarnates at least once is the central theme of christianity. You can see discussion here: https://sites.google.com/site/yahwehelohiym/the-messengers/jacob-wrestles-with-a-man and http://www.mayfieldsalisbury.org/files/SermonSunday17thOctober.pdf.
Jewish translation translate Elohym as either God or power depending on either context inherent in the language or their own theological filter that God is spirit and can't take human form. I don't know which one. The translation is actually quite difference. I'll research more on this.
Curiously both christian translation and jewish translation translate Israel to mean wrestle with God (rather than wrestle with power)
http://bible.cc/genesis/32-28.htm compare that to http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0132.htm (it turns out jewish translation also use translate El as God). Hmm... I think somewhere it translates differently. Got to update this section.
We got how it's presented 1. Verses and number differs but the verses are not part of the original right? 2. I've heard the title is different. Christians name those first 5 books based on the theme, namely genesis, exodus, levitichus, numbers, and deuteronomy. Wikipedia said that jews name the books based on the first words on the book. Can anyone please correct me on this.
How it's interpreted
I'll add this latter. There are some major notable differences and a bunch of others.
See more about http://www.annomundi.com/bible/should_christians_observe_torah.htm . In short, the idea that gentiles should circumcised their penis and stop eating pork, for a bunch of different reasons, simply doesn't sell.
There are sometimes also differences in chapter/verse numeration. For example, Gen. 31:55 in the KJV is 32:1 in (most if not all) printed Hebrew Tanachs, so the numbering of all of the verses in ch. 32 is one off. Similarly, in Ex. 20 (the Ten Commandments) the KJV divides and numbers each of Commandments 6-9 as a separate verse (paralleling the way it's done in the public Torah reading, called Taam Elyon), whereas printed Tanachs follow the verse structure used for private reading (Taam Tachton) and combine all of them into one verse.
(Note that this doesn't apply to Torah scrolls; those don't have chapter or verse markings at all, since they are a medieval invention.)