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Catholic Dictionary




The first five books of the Bible taken collectively, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, written about 1400 to 1300 B.C. The name may be traced to Origen (A.D. 254). A decision of the Biblical Commission (June 27, 1906) stated that Moses was the principal and inspired author of the Pentateuch and that the books were finally published under his name. But in 1948 the secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission acknowledged that "today there is no longer anyone who questions the existence of sources used in the composition of the Pentateuch or who does not admit the progressive accretion of Mosaic laws due to the social and religious conditions of later times.