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?

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    In Christian terms, these first five books are sometimes called the Pentateuch (Greek, five books).
    – TRiG
    Jun 14, 2011 at 15:56
  • Near-duplicate: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/7278.
    – msh210
    Jun 14, 2011 at 15:59
  • I'm closing this as out of scope.
    – msh210
    Feb 29, 2012 at 16:52
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    @msh210 Why is this out of scope but the dupe isn't?
    – Seth J
    Jun 8, 2012 at 11:46
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    @msh210 This shouldn't have been closed. For goodness's sake, it has 13 upvotes. "Out of scope"? You guys are turning this into a site where only (quite educated) Jewish people can post questions about Judaism. Others need a ledge to stand on, and that ledge may fall a bit outside of Judaism per se. Letting those people in is far worth the (negligible) costs to the "purity" of admissible questions--which is already kind of a ridiculous idea when you think about it. [/rant]
    – SAH
    Aug 20, 2014 at 22:37

2 Answers 2


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. Jun 14, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2011 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? Apr 19, 2014 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.)

  • Taam Tachton doesn't combine the verses...
    – Double AA
    Jan 25, 2016 at 21:31

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