A New Bible Translation, and the Enduring Legacy of the Old Ones https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/religion-holidays/2022/10/a-new-bible-translation-and-the-enduring-legacy-of-the-old-ones/

October 25, 2022 | Yosef Lindell
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In his review of a new edition of the Hebrew Bible, produced by the Orthodox Israeli publishing house Koren, Yosef Lindell puts it in the context of Jews’ previous renditions of the sacred text in English:

In 1845, Isaac Leeser, the Philadelphia-based communal leader and writer, lamented Jewish reliance on “a deceased king of England, who was certainly no prophet, for the correct understanding of the Scriptures,” yet these words were written in the introduction to his own King James-inspired translation. In 1881, Michael Friedlander published the Jewish Family Bible, which amounted to the King James minus the Christology.

It was only in the latter half of the 20th century that wholly new translations appeared. Between 1962 and 1985, JPS published a new translation (NJPS) with a team of academic scholars working more or less from scratch. It was meticulously researched and more concerned with Modern English idiom than word-for-word equivalence with the Hebrew—less “formal” and more “functional,” as scholars often put it. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s The Living Torah broke new and rather different ground in the 1980s with its Orthodox approach and colloquial style (yom ha-sh’vi’i, the seventh day, sometimes became “Saturday”). Meanwhile, ArtScroll’s 1996 Stone Edition Tanach sought word-for-word correspondence.

The new [Koren] translation is completely reimagined, reads smoothly, and is not unlike the NJPS in its willingness to depart from literal translation. It is the work of a team of translators and academic reviewers, and it is particularly notable that other than the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (who translated the Pentateuch) and Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb of the Orthodox Union, all the other translators are women, including Jessica Sacks (Jonathan Sacks’s niece). Also of note, Will Lee, professor emeritus of English at Yeshiva University, served as the literary editor. The result is a crisp, contemporary, and thoroughly readable translation.

Read more on Jewish Review of Books: https://jewishreviewofbooks.com/american-jewry/12556/from-king-james-to-koren