Jewish sources of authority

For many Jewish people, sacred texts are the most important sources of authority - the Written Torah (Bible) and the Oral Torah (rabbinic tradition). The most important texts today are the Tenakh and the Talmud. The word 'Torah' can be used in different ways. It can mean the whole of the Tenakh, the first five books, or the whole of Jewish teaching.

The Tenakh

The Tenakh consists of 24 books. These books are also found in a different order in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. There are three sections to the Tenakh. The Torah (five books of Moses) is the most important section. The Torah contains the Ten Commandments, along with other religious principles or rules, such as the Nevi'im (Prophets) and the Ketuvim (Writings). The Midrash is a collection of various commentaries on the Tenakh by ancient and early medieval rabbis.

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The Tenakh consists of 24 books. These are split into three sections, namely the Torah, the Nevi’im and the Ketuvim.