"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

Q & A: Is There an Accurate Translation of the Jewish scriptures?

June 21, 2011

in Judaism:,Rabbi Tovia Singer,Tanach (Old Testament),The Torah

Question: 

I am a Reform Jew and I occasionally find myself in debates online with Evangelical Christians about the nature of the Bible, and what is actually being said. Your site has become a very valuable resource for me, and I am interested in studying the Bible more closely. Since there are so many badly, or intentionally mistranslated versions of the Bible out there, I was wondering if you could tell me what you feel the most accurate English translation of the original Hebrew is?

Answer:

Because the Hebrew and English language belongs to two different language families, accurately rendering the Jewish scriptures into the English language is never an easy task, and a literal word-for-word English translation would produce a Bible that would be difficult to read. A good translation must be accurate and readable – that is, it must reliably replicate the meaning of the text without sacrificing its readability.

The best translation of the Jewish scriptures is the Judaica Press Tanach series. Rabbi Avraham J. Rosenberg has provided in his lucid translation a remarkably accurate rendition of the Jewish scriptures. It comes in about 30 volumes and it not only contains a translation of the Messoretic text, but of the great Jewish commentators as well. It will cost you a few hundred shekalim for the whole set, but it is a life-long investment and well worth the price.

Yours,
Rabbi Singer

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