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In its present arrangement this contains 40; Josephus arrived at 22 artificially, in order to match the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, by means of collocations and combinations borrowed in part from the Septuagint.
The actual publication of the entire Mosaic code, according to the dominant hypothesis, did not occur until the days of Esdras, and is narrated in chapters viii—x of the second book bearing that name.The only division marked off clearly by intrinsic features is the legal element of the O. The Torah, or Law.—Until the reign of King Josias, and the epoch-making discovery of "the book of the law" in the Temple (621 B.C.), say the critical exegetes, there was in Israel no written code of laws, or other work, universally acknowledged as of supreme and Divine authority.Since the traditionalists infer the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch from other sources, they can rely for proof of an early collection of these books chiefly on Deuteronomy, xxxi, 9-13, 24-26, where there is question of a book of the law, delivered by Moses to the priests with the command to keep it in the ark and read it to the people on the feast of Tabernacles.