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The Five Volumes
by Wayne Blank
The five books originally formed a single scroll, as they still do in Hebrew manuscripts. When they were divided into five sections, or books, is unknown, however it is reasonably certain that it was at, or before, the writing of the Septuagint, from which the descriptive book names, or titles, were taken by the Greek translators.
Later Scriptures refer to the Pentateuch as The Law, or The Book of the Law. It has always been at the beginning of the Bible, not only because its events occurred first, but because it formed the rationale for the rest of the sacred books. It revealed the Who, what, where, why, and when of it all, in the period from the Creation, to the Exodus and entry into the Promised Land.
Moses has been generally accepted by Jewish and Christian tradition as the compiler of the Pentateuch, using all of the ancient records, written and oral, available to him. Hence, they are also known as the Book of Moses, or the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Books of Moses. The only exception are the few verses that record his death, which were added by a later writer, perhaps Ezra.
Moses certainly had the training, having been raised amidst the long-established Egyptian Civilization. His education involved 40 years in the luxury of the Pharaoh's palace (to learn how to lead and govern), followed by 40 years out in the Sinai (to learn how to survive during the Israelite's wilderness years) under his father-in-law Jethro .
If the Bible were a house, the Pentateuch would be the foundation from which everything else is built. It is the natural and logical beginning of any Christian Bible Reading Plan.