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The Torah: The Five Books of Moses

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,690 ratings  ·  114 reviews
The Torah is the essence of Jewish tradition; it inspires each successive generation. The current JPS translation, based on classical and modern sources, is acclaimed for its fidelity to the ancient Hebrew.
Hardcover, 394 pages
Published January 1st 1992 by The Jewish Publication Society (first published -500)
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 ·  1,690 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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Jan 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-east, ancients
I'm an atheist, but religion fascinates me, primarily as a manifestation of culture. I read the Torah as I would any ancient text, and found it an amazing and instructive document of nation-building. From the most pragmatic--laws and norms, historical lessons--to the most spiritual--a genesis story, a spiritual justification, a historical and cultural sense of the nation, what is the meaning of being human, what the limits, what the goals, what the good and bad relationships--, countless questio ...more
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: atheists
Recommended to Charlaralotte by: God (via Moses). It was a very long speech.
Shelves: read-in-2007
Scared the heck out of my parents during the couple weeks I was reading this baby. Oh, I read the Large Print edition. Much easier on the eyes.

From a literary perspective, it was in dire need of a good editor. I mean, every time God tells Moses something, we get the complete text of his speech. Then, we get the exact same text again when Moses tells everyone what God said. REDUNDANCY. Could have really tightened this piece up to make the plot move much swifter.

Had problems liking anyone in this
David M
I've seen the Torah/Pentateuch classified as an epic, but to me the genre seemed much less straightforward than in Homer. After Exodus, what story there is often gets lost in endless demographic info, rules for hygiene, and of course constant threats by god to kill everyone.

All this has something to do with the forging of a collective identity in the desert. The making of a people is an extremely cruel and arduous process, and YHWH is not very helpful in this respect. He offers only brute domin
Julie Davis
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually have the audio files of the entire NIV Bible read by David Suchet from the library - 83 hours (and 14 minutes). No Kindle stuff, but I've got many Bibles in various translations around the house as well as three in my Kindle library. So.

I'm here for David Suchet who, four chapters into Genesis, is helping me hear details I hadn't noticed before. Part of that is doubtless because I've not read the NIV translation before. However, it is equally due to the fact that listening to a book
Aug 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Great job, God!
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2012
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Pretty weird. Pretty boring. I️ would recommend everyone of any religion read it sometime before they die.
Özge Kurbetoglu
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I am Muslim, I've read the holy Quran now finished the Torah then I will be continuing with Psalm and Bible as well. Firstly I need to say that as a pillar of Islam, we have to believe all the holy books that were revealed by Allah.
In our belief( Islam) the 3 books were changed by people thats why the last one Quran was revealed and Allah has given a promise that he is going to save it until the doomsday (nobody will dare to change it)

After these informations, my evaluation about the Torah is
Aug 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
Genesis: In which God creates the world, and then destroys it, because, you know, it wasn't quite right. But at no point does he actually change or improve anything about it.

Exodus: In which God terrorizes and slaughters the Egyptians because he seems to prefer the Israelites a bit more, for whatever reason.

Leviticus: In which God makes his culinary and interior design tastes known to the "Chosen People."

Numbers: In which Yaweh, the Most High One, and part-time war general, takes roll call. Als
Brad keil
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the beginning and basis of all Western culture and literature. The book of Genesis is the richest and most complex writing humans have ever done.
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
It was pretty good, but the sequel didn't even come close. ...more
Cemal Can
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though overabundant at times, aptly placed commentary elucidated the text the way it has not been done before; because it is fresh, full of new historical evidences and scholarly research. The reading experience is fluid and allusive resonances of the words of the original Hebrew scrupulously kept in order to show the links and the web of intertextuality that is carefully interwoven throughout the whole five books. Splendid and a truly remarkable achievement of an objective and erudite writer. M ...more
Brad Allen
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
I must confess that I haven't read the whole thing. Most of the stuff you've heard of happens in the first book, Genesis. I read a bunch of that at my Bar Mitzvah. I did the section where the main character (G-d) told Abraham, his biggest fan, to kill his own kid. Messed up. It reminds me of the time that Don Shula told me to burn down my neighborhood to prove how much I like the Dolphins.

It's not clear what G-d was going for here much of the time. I think the book is supposed to convey some s
Feb 17, 2008 added it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Western civilization
Recently a friend asked me if I ever skimmed when reading a book; I have to say that the book of Numbers really demands some skimming! I think you'd have to be so devoted to the sacredness of scripture to read every word in the Torah that you could compete with an Orthodox rabbi. Having naturally read these five books as part of the OT before, I thought it would be fun to read a self-contained translation of these scriptures as the Jewish Torah - sort of a companion to the Koran or the Gospels. ...more
Michael Jones
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this has seriously become my most worn-out resource for preparing sermons on my shelf! Generally, I use the computer Bibles to prepare sermons, but whenever I am getting into the first five books, I take the time to go out and sit and soak up this book for the passage I'm using. It often captures the Hebrew poetry and gives many new insights.

I occasionally disagree with this choice of words, and occasionally he misses things that I would think are important, so 4.5. This book is a tremendous thi
Donna Crupi
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was going to add 'The Bible.' But then it came to which one. If you don't know, the Torah is the Old Testament and the common ground for Judeo-Christian-Muslim world.

Simply put, it's the greatest story ever told. And it is retold on a weekly basis in synogogues and churches, and mosques around the world. It is the moral compass used to teach ethics. It is the foundation for our value system. The impact of this book is immeasurable and incomprehensible. Yet it is profoundly felt by all, whethe
Lin Mill
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Lin by: Rabbi
Everything is G-dliness, G-dliness is Everything.

G-d created the world from the Letters of the Torah.

If you want to know what is happening in the world this day ... read the Torah parsha for this day, the day is woven from the Torah portion.

Such insight to what we are experiencing every day.

Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
For all of you that think you know your bible. Don't take it for granted - really take the time to read this. ...more
I read the Torah. It was good. Cannot give a rating because Adonai is watching me!!
Erica Clou
The Torah is also the first five books of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, the Pentateuch. From Wikipedia: Bereshit/Genesis (בְּרֵאשִׁית, literally "In the beginning"); Shemot /Exodus (שִׁמוֹת, literally "Names"); Vayikra/Leviticus (ויקרא, literally "And He called"); Bəmidbar/Numbers (במדבר, literally "In the desert [of]"); Devarim/Deuteronomy (דברים, literally "Things" or "Words")."

I'm not going to rate or review holy books, but I will mention a few things mostly for my own reference i
Benjamin Stahl
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well that's the Torah. The first part of the Holy Bible. I actually read this years ago but stopped around the fourth book, Numbers. And look, while it's undeniable this text - even the Good News Bible translation which I read myself - gets pretty hard-going, the text as a whole was very, very good. Genesis and Deuteronomy were the best as they were the most straight-forward, without the insane details that make up most of Exodus, some of Numbers and all of Leviticus. Reading in modern times abo ...more
Oren Mizrahi
Feb 05, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew Fairweather
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
A few caveats before I begin—I can’t help but feel that I lack the religious education to fully appreciate the text, so I’m kind of out at sea most likely. My interpretation is that of an atheist—whatever value such a reading might have is doubtful, I’m sure, but one of my quarantine goals was to read the bible so here goes nothing.

There’s an interesting sweep of movement to the text which was interesting to behold. This is the story of humankind ensnared in knowledge, language—a truism perhaps,
Jeremi Doucet
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
What a peculiar piece of fiction... Still, I'll try to piece together this classic story -- supposedly written by some guy called Moses.

The first character introduced is a dude named 'God'. Now, he's pretty cool: he creates the universe and Earth and everything in seven days! Well done! What we quickly notice though, is that this guy is quite the jokester, as you'll soon see. He creates Adam from dust, then takes one of Adam's ribs to create a woman: Eve. But God is just playin'; he's the almigh
The Old Testament is the only book of scripture I have not read straight through. My 90 year old mother has done so several times. I decided I needed to follow in her footsteps. It is slow going but I finished Deuteronomy this past week. I didn't know how to document it for Goodreads but found this entry and it works! I do wish I could count them as 5 separate books for my reading challenge. ...more
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Genesis has some fine myths and fairy tales, rivaling the Norse and Greek in content if not in style. There is no humor in here, very little irony and the poetry feels stale.

The Torah is mostly interesting in a meta way, it does not give wisdom directly, but pondering the specific kind of ignorance that characterized the Israelites is informative.

None of the Jewish scripture in the bible except Syrach and Solomon, seems written to give wisdom. Instead it is built up out of myths, fairy tales and
Simon deVeer
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
Unless Moses wrote about himself in the third person and had knowledge of events after his death, this book was not written by Moses. It is more accurate to say it a collection of documents written by anonymous people than the divinely inspired word of God transmitted through Moses. These human opinions are often at odds with the laws of nature, the rights of man, and at numerous times contradict even themselves failing to provide a cohesive ethics. What follows is an inconsistent ambiguous dogm ...more
Sep 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this in addition to reading my bible. It really gave me more information and more background of what I was reading. It helped me understand what was going on better. You can read it and not read your bible that is how detailed it is, but I advise reading after you have read the chapters or that day's reading on your bible then reading the chapter in this book that coincides with what you've read. Great book! ...more
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
I just want to clarify that I did not actually read this translation. I needed a way to put that I read the first five books (Torah/Pentateuch) so they would count as a book for my goodreads' 2013 goal. I also finished them months ago but since I don't remember when, I'm just setting the date to today. ...more
Clara Roberts
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really liked reading this English translation by Jewish scholars. The book said that they translated from the Hebrew to English. I felt that this translation gave some cultural context to the first five books of the Bible.
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