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The Commentators' Bible: Exodus: The Rubin JPS Miqra'ot Gedolot Hardcover – September 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The JPS Commentators Bible is one of the most useful resources I now have in my library. It opens the door to the wisdom of the classic commentators to Jewish students of all levels of Hebrew fluency. The translations are fluid and accessible, and this important work represents an invaluable invitation to join the centuries-long conversation of Torah commentary and interpretation.  I eagerly await the completion of the remaining volumes of The Rubin JPS Miqra’ot Gedolot.”—Rabbi Dan Levin (Temple Beth El, Boca Raton, Florida)
(Rabbi Dan Levin 2015-01-27)

“Anyone who is unfamiliar with medieval commentary, or who is unable to study the commentators in the original Hebrew, will find The Commentators’ Bible a worthy addition to their book shelves. Carasik has done a real service making this material available.”—The Reporter
 
(The Reporter)

“The importance of this volume cannot be overestimated—for the first time, we have a responsible translation of the miqra’ot gedolot . . . that is accessible to those without great facility in Hebrew.”—Jbooks.com
(Jbooks.com)

From the Publisher

As the November 2005 issue of the Reporter notes: "Anyone who is unfamiliar with medieval commentary, or who is unable to study the commentators in the original Hebrew, will find 'The Commentators' Bible' a worthy addition to their book shelves. Carasik has done a real service making this material available."
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Product Details

  • Series: Commentators' Bible
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: The Jewish Publication Society; Bilingual edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0827608128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0827608122
  • Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 9.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Carasik teaches Biblical Hebrew at the University of Pennsylvania and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and is the weekday Torah reader at Congregation Kesher Israel in Center City Philadelphia. He has a bachelor's degree from New College (Sarasota, Fla.), bachelor's and master's degrees in Jewish studies from Spertus College in Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Bible and the ancient Near East from Brandeis University. His weekly Torah Talk podcast is available through his web site and in the iTunes Store.

Michael's newest book is The Bible's Many Voices, a book meant to break through the "Biblical English" barrier and give general readers a "listener's guide" to what this amazing 1,000-year collection of literature actually says, as a book of history and literature. Send your questions about the book to manyvoices@earthlink.net.

He's also the creator of the Commentators' Bible -- an English-language version of the traditional Jewish Torah commentaries. Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers are already available. Deuteronomy is forthcoming in 2015, and work on the Genesis volume is underway.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on February 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Compiled by Michael Carasik, a teacher of Bible at the University of Pennsylvania, Miqra'ot Gedolot (or "large format bible") is now available in an understandable English edition. It was first published 500 years ago (the second edition was published in 1525 by Rabbi Yakov ben Hayyim) as the "Rabbinic Bible." The format is a Hebrew text from the bible in the middle of the page. On top of this Hebrew box is a Targum, or translation(s) in English; surrounding the passage are medieval commentaries from Rashi (RAbbi SHlomo ben Yitzhak, 1040-1105, Northern France), Rashbam (RAbbi SHmuel Ben Meir, 1085-1174, grandson of Rashi, Northern France) , Ibn Ezra (Rabbi Avraham ibn Ezra, 1089-c1164, Muslim Spain/Italy/France/England), and Nachmanides / RambaN (RAbbi Moshe Ben Nahman, 1195-c1260, Spain/Israel) in new, more understandable, English translations. Other commentators are included when appropriate, including "Masorah (or c1000 traditions)", Bekhor Shor (12th Century France), Rabbi David Kimhi (RaDaK, c1160-c1235, Provence), Hizkuni, Gersonides/Ralbag, Abarbanel (15th Century Inquisition/Spain/Portugal, Italy), and Sforno (Italy, 1470-1550). Abarbanel provides the main question. The biblical passage is translated using BOTH the 1917 (Old JPS) and 1985 (New JPS) JPS English translations, since great scholars wrote them in each period, and nuggets of insight can be derived from each one, even if they are not parallel. The beauty of reading medieval commentaries on Exodus is that they find connections and contradictions that lay readers in English may miss from the more modern bibles. Also, since the commentators lived at different times in different circumstances, the reader can see how the biblical passage spoke to various scholars over time. It also is more raw than the Hertz bibles' (U.K.Read more ›
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52 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Berel Dov Lerner on July 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When I first read about this "translation" of Mikra'ot Gedolot, I thought to myself: it can't be true. Chavel's English translation of RaMBaN's (Nachmanides) commentary on Shemot (Exodus) alone contains 626 pages of text. How in the world could all of that plus the other classical commentaries plus the original biblical text in Hebrew plus two translations of the biblical text all fit into a 349 page volume? The answer is that they don't. Just by checking the sample page available on the JPS website, I immediately saw that much of Ibn Ezra was missing. For all I know, this may be a very useful volume. However, if you think that it really offers translations of all the materials that appear in a real Mikra'ot Gedolot - think again.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. C. Lader on March 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This new translation of Miqra'ot Gedolot - Exodus is wonderful. The format is easy to read, the translations are very accessible, and the page of commentaries comes alive for those who are (yet) unable to read the original in Hebrew. This translation opens up a whole new world for the student of Torah and Bible - hearing the voices of the commentators respond to each other... and now the reader is invited to join the conversation. Looking forward to all five books of Torah.. and beyond.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Grandma the Scholar on March 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I bought the book on the recommendation of my brother and boy am I glad I did! I always wished I could read all the commentaries surrounding the basic text in the Bible, but my Hebrew isn't up to it and my Aramaic is non existant. This book has solved my problem. It is fascinating and deepens the reader's understanding of Exodus.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Weiss on March 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is by far my favorite Torah commentary yet! It includes the original Hebrew text and two English translations, which are useful for understanding words with multiple meanings. The commentaries are excellent. While they are edited to exclude most of the notes on the grammatical structure of the text, they provide incredible depth to the meaning of the text and fill in a great deal of background from midrash. This is the text I use when I teach a Torah study class for adults.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr R M. Siegfried on June 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
About 20 years ago, Judaica Press started working on an English translation of the Mikra'ot Gedolot Chumash (Torah text in book format). They got as far as Breishit and Shmot (Genesis and Exodus) when they stopped largely because they didn't sell as well as expected. I have all five volumes that Judaica Press published and while they are good, they have their own flaws: the translations of the commentaries are in digest form and you have to search a little bit to find Rashi, Ramban and so on.

Michael Carasik has taken a different approach and each page is easy to read and to follow. While the critics who have complained that it is heavily abridged are correct in this assessment (which Carasik freely concedes), he manages to hit the key points in the commentaries; it would be an even larger job to translate and publish ALL the commentaries appearing in the Hebrew versions of Mikra'ot Gedolot. And while it would be nice to have ALL of Ramban's commentaries, these are easily found elsewhere, in Judaica Press's classic translation or the newer Chumash with Ramban's commentaries published a few years ago by Artscroll. But for the English-speaking audience without significant Hebrew-language skills, this book is pretty good, albeit not perfect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas R. Bean on March 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the first Commentator's Bible I have owned and used in my Torah study. I was extremely pleased with the easy accessibility to the thoughts and discussions of our famously erudite rebbe's of previous generations. Their insights and discussions, although years apart, appeared as if they were all in the same room discussing the parshot. This book has helped me gain deeper understandings in my weekly study of the Torah. I wish their was one for Vayikra and Devarim.
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