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?


See this summary on Wikipedia.

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).

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    Some of those translation differences are pretty important. The Christian version passed through Greek and Latin on the way to English, and as you noted, most Christians don't study the Hebrew. – Monica Cellio Jun 14 '11 at 13:01
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    @Monica Most Christian translations were done by people who knew Hebrew. In fact, the KJV was based on the same Masoretic text we use. (The particular edition was the Bomberg Bible, from the same publisher who did the first shas with "tzuras Hadaf" – Yitzchak Jun 14 '11 at 13:40
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    Ecclesiasticus is a deuterocanonical book ("second cannon"), not accepted as canonical by many branches of Christianity. The Roman Catholics and, I think, the Eastern Orthadox accept it. Most Protestants wouldn't accept it, calling it part of the Apocrypha. There are other important differences: most Christians would count Daniel among the Prophets (and, again, the Catholics accept certain "additions to Daniel" as part of their deuterocanon), whereas Jews number Daniel among the Writings. – TRiG Jun 14 '11 at 16:00
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    @MonicaCellio: There are many different "Christian" translations of the Torah in English, and most of them did not pass through Greek or Latin on the way. Some did use the Greek LXX or Latin Vulgate as a reference or sounding board because of their historical perspective on translating the original Hebrew, but basically all modern respected translations are based on Hebrew scholarship. – Caleb Oct 26 '11 at 13:05
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    Ecclesiasticus, i.e. Ben Sira, is mentioned in the Talmud. Was it at one point canonical in Judaism? – david brainerd Apr 19 '14 at 3:21

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.)

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  • Taam Tachton doesn't combine the verses... – Double AA Jan 25 '16 at 21:31

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