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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:42 pm  Favorite English translation of the Torah? Reply with quote

Let me get this out of the way: Yes, of course it's better to read the Torah in Hebrew. But some of us aren't going to be reading fluent ancient Hebrew any time soon!

So what's your favorite translation of the Torah?

I vote for Everett Fox's The Five Books of Moses. I suspect it gives as much a 'feel' for the Hebrew as possible in a clear English translation. And I love that he uses Hebrew names: nothing against Anglicized names, but I want to read about Yosef, not Joseph.

I only wish Fox gave us as much commentary as the Etz Hayim chumash or the Jewish Study Bible. Sad
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 11: Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:23 am

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Jayhawker Soule wrote:

cnorman18 wrote:
How many times have we been told that we can never really understand the Torah until we learn to read ii in the original language?

Repeating an erroneous statement makes it no less erroneous, especially since "learn to read it in the original language" covers everything from the Bar Mitzvah boy to the Biblical Hebrew scholar. In fact, the person who learns to read it in the original language is threatened with a far more insidious translation error: he or she will read a word or phrase and think "I know what that means" rather than "I know what that has come to mean" or "I know what we currently think that means" or ...

You read a pericope in the original and let me read Sarna, Alter, and Berlin. Unless you are a substantial scholar of philology and Biblical Hebrew, I simply do not accept that you will exit the study with a superior understanding. To insist otherwise would be in my opinion remarkably naive.

The reason for 'sanctifying' the Hebrew is not because it magically imparts greater understanding, but because it is the source to which we must always be able to return and re-evaluate as our understanding of language and its culture improves. But trust me on this: I've studied Torah with native Israelis and here is no substitute for modern scholarship and commentary ...

... and, of course, none of this makes Sarna's comment above any less true.

The bolded remark is essentially what I meant, JS. I never said that being able to read Hebrew means that one can discard scholarship and commentary. Never entered my mind.

I'm not here to find reasons to argue, nitpick or quibble. I agree with you. Okay?

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