Chazal say the Torah was studied before Sinai. (ex. by Adam and Eve as explained here. Likewise chazal say the Patriarchs studied Torah from Shem ben Noach.)

In what form was this pre-Torah? It seems it was a different version than the one we have otherwise, they would be reading their own stories and shortcomings which does not make sense.

  • The commentaries of the Artscroll says that Jacob studied Torah at the school of Eber.
    – mil
    Sep 11, 2015 at 8:39
  • Regarding the claim that Adam studied Torah, that is probably just homiletics which should not be confused with history. See judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/53349/belief-in-midrashim/… and judaism.stackexchange.com/q/4037/8775.
    – mevaqesh
    Jun 26, 2016 at 17:13
  • "Likewise chazal say the Patriarchs studied Torah from Shem ben Noach" Where do they say this?
    – mevaqesh
    Jun 26, 2016 at 17:13
  • Incidentally, the link says nothing about Eve studying Torah; unsurprising give n the Sages generally negative attitude towards female study.
    – mevaqesh
    Jun 26, 2016 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


Shemos Rabbah 5:18 says that Bnei Yisroel had scrolls from which they studied Torah in Egypt. Rav Zev Wolf of Horadno (Maharzu) there, says that the scrolls were the entire Bereishis: the stories of Adam, Noah, the Flood, Babel, the Patriarchs and all the prophecies and assurances that were prophesied.

So I guess before Sinai, each generation studied what they inherited from the previous generation.

  • This seems unlikely. After all Moshe seems to need to teach them from scratch; they seem to be unfamiliar with God in general; strange for those who had studied the Torah. This is not a shortcoming with your answer, but with the Midrash; or rather with acceptance of it as history rather than homiletics.
    – mevaqesh
    Jun 26, 2016 at 17:16
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    I do not recognize these problems.
    – Y K
    Jun 26, 2016 at 17:22

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