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Catholic Dictionary




The body of civil, moral, and religious legislation found in the last four books of the Pentateuch and traditionally ascribed to Moses. The foundation of this law is the Decalogue (Exodus 20), and its center is the Book of the Covenant (Exodus 20-23). The civil legislation is mainly in Exodus (18-23), and Deuteronomy (16-26). The moral laws are in Exodus (20-23), supplemented by Leviticus (11-20) and Deuteronomy (5). The religious and ceremonial precepts are in Exodus (25-30) and especially Leviticus (1-27). Compared with similar law in other nations of that time, the Mosaic code is vastly superior by reason of its strong monotheism, its proclamation of God as the only source and final sanction of all laws, and from its summation of the whole law in the love of God and of neighbor.