Athetotheist wrote: ↑Tue Jul 18, 2023 10:50 pm The word “torah” means “law”. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon … v/wlc/0-1/
Law is only one of the meanings. From your source, it is “law, direction, instruction”.
Let’s see what Jews have to say on what the Torah means:
In ancient times, the word “torah” wasn’t a proper noun at all, or even necessarily a Jewish word — it was simply a Hebrew word that meant instruction and could refer to something as simple as a parent’s directive to a child.
The Hebrew word torah literally means direction or instruction. The root, yod-resh-hey (ירה), originally likely meant to throw or shoot an arrow. The noun torah is rendered in a causative conjugation, which is just a way of saying that it literally means to cause something (or someone) to move straight and true. A torah is therefore something that directs, having connotations of offering strong and virtuous guidance.
The word Torah literally means “instruction”—meaning some sort of guidance in life.
The Torah, or Jewish Written Law, consists of the five books of the Hebrew Bible – known more commonly to non-Jews as the “Old Testament” – that were given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai and include within them all of the biblical laws of Judaism. The Torah is also known as the Chumash, Pentateuch, or Five Books of Moses.
The word “Torah” has multiple meanings, including a scroll made from kosher animal parchment, with the entire text of the Five Books of Moses written on it; the text of the Five Books of Moses, written in any format; and the term “Torah” can mean the entire corpus of Jewish law. This includes the Written and the Oral Law.
In its broadest sense, Torah is sometimes used to refer to the vast library of Jewish text. More specifically Torah usually refers to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books make up the story of the Jewish people. These ancient stories touch upon science, history, philosophy, ritual and ethics. Included are stories of individuals, families, wars, slavery and more. Virtually no subject was taboo for Torah. Running through these stories is the unique lens through which the Jewish people would come to view their world and their God.
Yes, one of the definitions of Torah is law, but it is much larger than that. In the strict sense, it is just the 5 books of Moses. Yet in these books, it obviously contains more than laws, but also history, narrative, genealogies, poetry, etc. In the widest sense, it contains all the written and oral traditions of the Jews.
The problem is a translation issue. When they created the Septuagint, the translators had to pick a Greek word for Torah. They chose nomos. This unfortunately does not fully capture what Torah means. But it was the only Greek word that came close. Nomos was carried into the New Testament to refer to the Torah as well.
The translators of the Septuagint (LXX) when translating the Torah (specifically the five books of Torah) translated the Hebrew word Torah as “nomos” 200 out of the 220 times that it is found in the Pentateuch.
English readers of the Bible have been stifled by our understanding of the Torah when we simply view it as “law”.
Bruce points out that Hakham Shaul uses “nomos” in four ways.
– The Law of G-d
– Torah specifically the Pentateuch
– The “Tanakh”
– The Oral Torah
Missing from Bruce’s explanations are other meanings of the Hebrew word “Torah.” For example, Torah also means…
– Choq (supra-rational laws)
– Mishpat (judgments, specifically from a Bet Din)
– Divine teachings, revelation of the Divine will
– Prophetic moral exhortations
We cannot read this list as being exhaustive. The concept of “Torah” is by far more far reaching that any simple definition.
In light of these distinctions, it is unfortunate that the ancient Jewish translators of the Scriptures (i.e., the Septuagint) chose to use the word “law” (i.e., nomos) for the word Torah, since this can lead to essential misunderstanding about the meaning of the Torah.
What do you think the law means?
I would say that the law of Moses means what it says and doesn’t mean what it doesn’t say, and it doesn’t say that divorce was allowed because anyone’s “hearts were hard”.
As I argued above, the Torah is much more than a set of legal documents. More properly, it is instructions and guidance from a large body of Hebrew tradition.
It’s like the difference between traffic laws and a car manual. Christians commonly view it as strictly to be the former. Instead, I argue it should be more viewed as the latter.
But who said it?
“Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: “This is what the Lord commands: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.” (Numbers 30:1-2)
Of course Moses said it. And it’s also obvious Jesus expounded on it.
Another addition to the law of Moses, violating the law’s command not to add to it.
Jews have been doing this all the time. Strictly speaking the Torah is just the 5 books of Moses. But the Torah has expanded to the entire Hebrew Bible and also into the Mishnah and Talmud and oral traditions.
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.”There’s probably a lot more to that verse than anyone can imagine.
What’s the bare minimum it should be taken to mean?
There is no other way to God except through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the way to the Father. Jesus alone is the truth. Jesus is the source of all life.