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Encyclopedia > Jewish English Bible translations

Jewish English Bible translations are modern English Bible translations that include the books of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) according to the masoretic text, and according to the traditional division and order of Torah, Nevi'im, and Ketuvim. The efforts of translating the Bible from its original languages into over 2,000 others have spanned more than two millennia. ... A number of Old English Bible translations were prepared in mediaeval England, translations of parts of the Bible into the Old English language. ... The age of Middle English was not a fertile time for Bible translations but saw the first major translation that of John Wyclif. ... Early Modern English Bible translations are those translations of the Bible which were made between about 1500 and 1800, the period of Early Modern English. ... There are many attempts to translate the Bible into modern English which is defined as the form of English in use after 1800. ... There are many attempts to translate the Bible into modern English which is defined as the form of English in use after 1800. ... 11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum This article discusses usage of the term Hebrew Bible. For the article on the Hebrew Bible itself, see Tanakh. ... 11th century Targum Tanakh [תנ״ך] (also Tanach or Tenach) is an acronym that identifies the Hebrew Bible. ... The Masoretic Text (MT) is the Hebrew text of the Tanakh approved for general use in Judaism. ... Torah (תורה) is a Hebrew word meaning teaching, instruction, or law. ... Neviim [נביאים] or Prophets is the second of the three major sections in the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible). ... Ketuvim is the third and final section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). ...


Jewish translations often also reflect traditional Jewish interpretations of the Bible, as opposed to the Christian understanding often reflected in non-Jewish translations.

Contents


Lack of centrality

In general, English Bible translation has been less central and not as widespread among Jews as among Christians (the latter having produced dozens of modern translations and versions in English along with sets of initials to distinguish them). This is partially due to the fact that English became the major spoken language among Jews only in the era since the holocaust. Before then, even Jews in English-speaking countries were still part of an immigrant culture to a large extent, which meant that they could either understand the Hebrew Bible in its original language to a certain degree or, if they required a translation, were still not fully comfortable in English. Many translated Bibles and prayer books from before the holocaust were still in Yiddish, even those published in countries like the United States. The efforts of translating the Bible from its original languages into over 2,000 others have spanned more than two millennia. ... There are many attempts to translate the Bible into modern English which is defined as the form of English in use after 1800. ... The Jewish languages are a set of languages that developed in various Jewish communities, in Europe, southern and south-western Asia, and northern Africa. ... Concentration camp inmates during the Holocaust The Holocaust was Nazi Germanys systematic genocide (ethnic cleansing) of various ethnic, religious, national, and secular groups during World War II. Early elements include the Kristallnacht pogrom and the T-4 Euthanasia Program established by Hitler that killed some 200,000 people. ... 11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum This article discusses usage of the term Hebrew Bible. For the article on the Hebrew Bible itself, see Tanakh. ... Concentration camp inmates during the Holocaust The Holocaust was Nazi Germanys systematic genocide (ethnic cleansing) of various ethnic, religious, national, and secular groups during World War II. Early elements include the Kristallnacht pogrom and the T-4 Euthanasia Program established by Hitler that killed some 200,000 people. ...


A further reason that English Bible translation is less central to Jews than Christians is that often, those Jews who study the Bible regularly still do so, to a greater or lesser extent, in its original language, as it is read in the synagogue. Even those who require translations often prefer a bilingual edition.


Nevertheless, Jewish translations of the Bible to English have become far more widespread, especially since the 1980s, and been made available in numerous complementary versions and styles. This article lists many Jewish translations with short descriptions (and sometimes with links to fuller, in-depth articles about specific translations).


Isaac Leeser translation

The first Jewish translation of the Bible to English was the 19th century effort by Isaac Leeser.


Jewish Publication Society translations

The translations of the Jewish Publication Society of America (JPS) have become the most popular English translations of the Hebrew Bible. JPS has published two such translations. The Jewish Publication Society of America was founded in Philadelphia in 1888 to provide the children of Jewish immigrants to America with books about their heritage in the language of the New World. ...


Old JPS (1917)

The first JPS translation was completed in 1917, and was based on the scholarship of its day; its literary form was consciously based on that of the King James version. The Old JPS translation is used in a number of Orthodox Jewish works published before the 1980s, such as the Pentateuch and Haftaroth edited by J. H. Hertz and the Soncino Books of the Bible series. The Jewish Publication Society of America Version (JPS) of the Jewish Bible (i. ...


New JPS

The 1917 translation was felt to be outdated by the 1950s, and a new effort developed that involved cooperation between numerous Jewish scholars from a variety of denominations. Their translation of the Torah was started in 1955 and completed in 1962. The entire Tanakh was finally published in one volume in 1985, and a bilingual Hebrew-English version appeared in 1999 (also in one volume). The translation is usually referred to as the "The New JPS version", abbreviated NJPS (it has also been called the "New Jewish Version" or NJV). 11th century Targum Tanakh [תנ״ך] (also Tanach or Tenach) is an acronym that identifies the Hebrew Bible. ... The New Jewish Publication Society of America Version of the Jewish Bible (i. ...


The translators of the new JPS version were experts in both traditional Jewish exegesis of the Bible and modern biblical scholarship. The translation attempts in all cases to present the original meaning of the text in a highly aesthetic form.


The New JPS translation is used in the official Torah commentary of Reform Judaism, and in the official Torah commentary of Conservative Judaism. This translation recently was most recently used in The Jewish Study Bible (Oxford University Press). Reform Judaism can refer to (1) the largest denomination of Judaism in America and its sibling movements in other countries, (2) a branch of Judaism in the United Kingdom, and (3) the historical predecessor of the American movement that originated in 19th Century Germany. ... Conservative Judaism, also known as Masorti Judaism, is a modern denomination of Judaism that arose in United States in the early 1900s. ...


Living Torah and Nach

Perhaps the first Orthodox translation into modern English was The Living Torah by Aryeh Kaplan (New York: Moznaim Publishing, 1981 [2nd edition]). It was later supplemented by The Living Nach in the same style (by Yaakov Elman and others) after Kaplan's death. The Living Torah is available online. Aryeh Kaplan (1934 - 1983) was a noted rabbi and author, who had a background in both physics and Judaism. ...


Though Rabbi Kaplan's translation claims to present a straight translation of the text, it many cases it actually intersperses the translation with later rabbinic commentary and Jewish law. This characteristic is shared by some other Orthodox translations, such as Artscroll (see below).


Judaica Press

Another Tanach available online is The Judaica Press Complete Tanach with Rashi's commentary. [1] Rashi Rashi (February 22, 1040 – July 17, 1105) is the acronym of Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac (or: Shlomo Yitzchaki). ...


Artscroll Tanach series

Mesorah Publications is an Orthodox Jewish publisher of Bible translations, rabbinic literature and Jewish prayerbooks. Their Stone Edition of the Chumash (Torah) and Stone Edition of the Tanach (also called the Artscroll Tanakh) have become very popular in the Orthodox Jewish community, and are in use by some non-Orthodox Jews as well. It is considered by many Orthodox Jews to be the best of the English translations. Orthodox Judaism is the stream of Judaism which adheres to a relatively strict interpretation and application of the laws and ethics first canonized in the Talmud (The Oral Law) and later codified in the Shulkhan Arukh (Code of Jewish Law). It is governed by these works and the Rabbinical commentary... ArtScroll is an imprint of translations, books and commentaries from an Orthodox Jewish perspective published by Mesorah Publications, Ltd. ...


Their translations has been criticised by a few Modern Orthodox scholars, e.g. B. Barry Levy, and by non-Orthodox scholars for mis-translating the text. The dispute comes about because the editors at Mesorah Publications consciously attempted not to present a straight translation of the text, but rather to smooth out differences between the plain meaning of the text and later interpretations of the text by medieval bibical commentators such as Rashi. More severe, however, is that the lack of scholarship by the editors is accused not only of misrepresenting the plain meaning of the text, but even its rabbinic interpretation. Rashi Rashi (February 22, 1040 – July 17, 1105) is the acronym of Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac (or: Shlomo Yitzchaki). ...


Torah translations

Because the Torah is read in a yearly cycle in the synagogue, there are many Jewish translations of the Torah only (without Nevi'im and Ketuvim). Neviim [נביאים] or Prophets is the second of the three major sections in the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible). ... Ketuvim is the third and final section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). ...


Fox

Everett Fox has translated the Torah and the book of Samuel for Schocken Press. Presumably more books will follow. Inspired by the German translation prepared by Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig, it is a highly accurate translation which tries to preserve both the poetic sound of the Bible and as much literality as can be done within English. Everett Fox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Martin Buber (8 February 1878 - 13 June 1965) was a Jewish philosopher, translator, editor, and pedagogue, whose work centered around the ideals of religious consciousness, interpersonal relations, and community. ... Franz Rosenzweig (1886 - 1929) was one of the most influential modern Jewish religious thinkers. ...


Robert Alter

Alter's translation of the Torah keeps an an eye on style and biblical poetics. Robert Alter is a Biblical scholar, and a professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1967. ...


References

  • B. Barry Levy. Our Torah, Your Torah and Their Torah: An Evaluation of the ArtScroll phenomenon in Truth and Compassion: Essays on Religion in Judaism, Ed. H. Joseph et al. Wilfred Laurier University Press, 1983.

External links

  • Online Jewish translation of the Bible With Rashi's commentary by The Judaica Press at chabad.org

 
 

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