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The Jewish Study Bible: Featuring The Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation Hardcover – January 4, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 267 customer reviews

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Hardcover, January 4, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Serious students of Judaism will want to have a copy of this outstanding and surprisingly affordable study Bible, which stands in the tradition of Oxford's great study Bibles. Using the Jewish Publication Society translation, the books of the Jewish canon are presented in their traditional order: Torah (the five books of Moses); Nevi'im (the major and minor prophets); and Kethuvim (the other writings). Leading Jewish scholars introduce each book and offer extensive sidebar commentary, discussing the views of ancient and modern rabbinic scholars. In addition, the volume provides two dozen scholarly essays on different aspects of interpretation: the Bible's use in various periods in Jewish history, in the liturgy, in the Dead Sea Scrolls. There are essays on biblical languages, canonization, textual criticism, philosophical and mystical traditions, and biblical poetry. This landmark volume is at once serious and accessible, and spans the spectrum of Jewish thought.
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"Serious students of Judaism will want to have a copy of this outstanding and surprisingly affordable study Bible, which stands in the tradition of Oxford's great study Bibles."--Publishers Weekly, Religion Bookline

"The Jewish Study Bible encompasses a monumental assembly of critical learning and acumen, representing the achievement of an entire generation of Jewish scholars. The commentaries are not only erudite but purposeful and theologically alert. A heroic undertaking, brilliantly conceived and executed with panache."--Jacob Neusner

"Another superb holiday gift, especially appropriate for non-Orthodox Jews, is The Jewish Study Bible from Oxford University Press, which finally stands alongside the many verse-by-verse commentaries for Christians. This work also is recommended for serious-minded Christian readers."--Associated Press

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 2181 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (January 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195297512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195297515
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (267 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I held back from submitting a review until I had worked my way through this hefty volume (or rather, its original material, as I was very familiar with the translation), so I might as well address some of the issues raised in the meantime.

At least some of the earlier reviewers seem originally to have been under the impression that the base text of this commentary was the Jewish Publication Society translation of 1917 (and not happy to find out that it wasn't). That translation (JPS or JPSV for short) was itself a de facto revision of the British Revised Version of 1885, carried out under the direction of (and largely the work of) Max L. Margolis, a distinguished critical scholar. (He had a known distaste for organized religion, which probably helped him ignore objections from some of his supposed colleagues in the Rabbinate.) It *was* the base text in the Soncino Bible Commentary, and the second edition of the Hertz Pentateuch, used in Synagogues for decades, and for a series of commentaries on specific books, published by the JPS itself. The Old JPS "Holy Scriptures" in its black-bound small format was for me, as for many other Jewish readers in the United States (and elsewhere), the primary introduction to the Bible. (For further details, the essay on Jewish Bible translations in the present volume may be consulted.)

The 1917 text was reprinted in larger format in 1955, with what may be called (out of courtesy) a "distinctive" orange binding, but a very attractive blue dust jacket. It retained the original title of "The Holy Scriptures according to the Masoretic text: A new translation with the aid of previous versions and with constant consultation of Jewish authorities," although it wasn't "new." Both versions often can can be found used.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've always been a fan of the TANAKH Translation of the Hebrew Bible (aka Old Testament), but have been unable to find a volume that had study notes for the entire translation. The Jewish Publication Society (copyright holder of the TANAKH) has nice Commentaries on the individual books of the Torah (plus Jonah and Esther), but these cover only the books mentioned and are too unwieldy for everyday use.
Oxford Univ. Press has produced a great single-volume work that is beautifully typeset and easy to read. Each book has an engaging introduction and helpful sidebar notes and commentary provided by reputable Jewish scholars. These notes are organized as thought units, not as random facts and definitions. Although the TANAKH does not break down the text into subunits with section heads, the scholars providing the notes do this in a non-obtrusive manner. I find this to be a very respectful way to treat the Scripture text. (Many Christian study Bibles intrude upon the text in such a willy-nilly manner it can be hard for even a serious Bible-reader to know where the Scripture ends and the "commentating" has begun.)
The volume concludes with 200-pages worth of essays: 7 on Jewish interpretation of the Bible; 8 on the Bible in Jewish life and thought; and 9 on backgrounds for reading the Bible (some of which are adaptations of essays found in Oxford's Annotated Bible). Like most study Bibles, the Jewish Study Bible has a timeline to help the reader get an approximate sense of when key biblical events occurred. What's nice about the JSB is that it also has a Chronological Table of Rulers listing rulers not directly referenced in the Bible; this helps the reader better place those that are.
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Format: Hardcover
This study Bible contains the Jewish Publication Society's "Tanakh" translation of the Jewish scriptures [the Old Testament to Christians], together with extensive notes. The notes reflect modern scholarship, also indicate how a passage has been interpreted throughout the long history of Judaism and how a passage is used in Judaism today. Frequently, the notes give alternatives to the meanings presented in the translation. While the notes are far more extensive than in ecumenical study Bibles [such as the New Oxford Annotated Bible and the HarperCollins Study Bible], they serve only as a bare introduction to the vast wealth of Jewish commentary on the Bible.
The JPS translation, like all Jewish translations, adheres to the Masoretic (traditional) Hebrew text used in the Jewish liturgy. Most Christian translations substitute readings from other sources (such as the Greek Septuagint translation and the Dead Sea Scrolls) when they are thought to be more accurate than the Masoretic Text.
This study Bible does not pretend that, in places, other sources may reflect the original form of the text. The notes -- both to the Study Bible and the translation -- suggest possible alternate readings from other sources.
A long section of articles in the back of the Study Bible provides an introduction to Jewish interpretation and use of the Bible throughout the ages.
While it is impossible for any one-volume work to do more than scratch the surface of Jewish Bible scholarship throughout the ages, the Jewish Study Bible provides an introduction for Jews, and others who are interested in Judaism, to Jewish Bible study. It is definitely worth buying by those who do not have the time (or the money) for a multiplicity of volumes.
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