The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English, The Jewish Bible: Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures -- The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text: Torah * Nevi'im * Kethuvim, Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible: A Guide to the Background Literature, A Concordance to the Septuagint: And the Other Greek Versions of the Old Testament (Including the Apocryphal Books) (Greek Edition), Mikra: Text, Translation, Reading, and Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English,
"JPS has taken every opportunity to rewrite messianic passages despite the command in Devarim not to augment or diminish G-d's written Torah! ..., but where this translation differs from that of the Septuagint in passages commonly applied to Yeshua they fail to give notice of the variance. May HaShem have mercy!" An Amazon Reviewer
Development of Hebrew Text:
The extant Hebrew text is commonly called the Masoretic, to distinguish it from the text of the ancient versions as well as from the Hebrew text of former ages. This Masoretic text does not present the original form but a text which within a certain period was fixed by Jewish scribes as the correct and only authoritative one. The Hebrews, like Phoenicians and Moabites, separated the words by a point or stroke, but these signs do not seem to have been used regularly. Jewish tradition mentions several passages in which the separation of words was regarded as doubtful. The difference between ancient and modern texts consisted in that the former were written without vowels and accents. The Hebrew writing, like Semitic writing in general, was essentially consonantal; vowels were not written, or the vocalization and the division of words, verses, and sections kept pace with the settlement of the text. During this entire period to the close of the Talmud the sacred text was without vowels and other points; connected and mutually dependent were pronunciation and the division of words. The latter must have been finally settled at this period. The sign of division was the small space between words.
The division into verses is by no means contemporary in origin with the vocalization, but much earlier. The verse division depends in poetry upon the parallels, and in prose upon the division of sentences and clauses. Certainly, the latter were not marked in oldest times; in poetical texts the members may have been distinguished either by space or by breaks of the line. Earlier than the division into verses is that into larger or smaller sections; these were more necessary for the understanding of the Scriptures and for their reading in divine worship. Perhaps some of them were in the original text. The sections of the law were at least Pre-talmudic; for they are mentioned in the Mishnah and frequently in the Gemara; in the latter they are traced to Mosaic origin. (condensed from Schaff-Herzog)
Translation, A Sacred Task:
The sacred task of translating the Word of God, as revealed to Israel through the lawgiver, prophets, psalmists, and sages, began at an early date. This tradition is certain that the primary object of translating the Bible was to minister to a need nearer home. Upon the establishment of the Second Commonwealth under Ezra and Nehemiah, it became imperative to make the Torah distinct, and giving sense through the means of interpretation, that the Word of God might be understood by all the people. The Rabbis perceived in this activity of the Sopherim the origin of the Aramaic translation known as the Targum, first made orally and afterwards committed to writing, which was necessitated by the fact that Israel had forgotten the Hebrew language, and spoke the idiom current in a large part of western Asia. The historical necessity for translation into other tongues was repeated with the dramatic changes in Israel's surviving career. It is just sufficient to point to the Greek translation of the Scriptures, or the Septuagint. When the great majority of the Jewish people came under the scepter of Islam, an Arabic translation was taken by an Egyptian Rabbi, the Gaon Saadya ben Yuseph. Recently, the German translation by Mendelssohn et al, at the dawn of a new Jewish advance in Europe, when most of those settlers came into closer contact with their neighbors, speaking a German dialect. These translations are all historical products, closely connected with Israel's wanderings among the nations, within the great developing events that phased out of mankind history.
There is an ancient Jewish adage regarding translating the Scriptures, "One who translates a verse literally is misrepresenting the text, but one who adds anything of his own is a blasphemer." Modern translators of the Bible continue to echo, in more sophisticated debate, the dilemma of this ancient bit of wisdom. In the customary approach to translation, scholars come across the same Hebrew root word in different contexts and then choose one of many possible English synonyms. The literal method of translation seeks to convey an exact sense of the words and the structure of the original language, while the paraphrase, or "dynamic equivalent" method, purposely recasts the essential "thought" of the original into the natural idiom and flow of the second language. The problem is that an overly naÔve literalism easily becomes nonsense, while "recasting thought" can end up obscuring or even altering the richness of the original text.
It is certain that opinions were divided as to the desirability of such undertakings, of this task of translation, it would be a misconception to think that there were no misgivings about it. While Philo and the Alexandrian Jews considered the translation of the Septuagint (Seventy) an inspired work, the Palestinian Rabbis, later in Jamnia, discredited the Septuagint, seeing that the Torah could never be adequately translated. One major motivation for the discussions held at Jabneh (Jamnia) in 90 AD was to discredit the LXX obscure references to the Messiah, and to stick to the essential Hebrew text that preserve Judaism after second Temple destruction. There are enough indications that such translations were not all of a desirable nature. However, it is evident that the people at large approved of such translations, in view of the eagerness with which they were undertaken by the Diaspora.
TANAKH' Ancient Translations:
The first and most ancient translation of the Hebrew Bible, is the Septuagint (the Seventy, LXX), according to the tradition of the Alexandrian Jewry. The Septuagint precedes the 'Massorah' Hebrew text, established in the sixth century AD, by almost a thousand years. The Septuagint text is quoted by New Testament writers, and accordingly is the canonical book of the Orthodox, Eastern and Oriental, used also in the Roman church was a translation adopted in the Latin Church.
According to New Advent Encyclopedia; "Many textual corruption, additions, omissions, or transpositions must have crept into the Hebrew text between the third and second centuries BC and the sixth and seventh centuries of our era; the manuscripts therefore which the Seventy had at their disposal, may have been better, in places, than the Masoretic manuscripts," since the Septuagint follows word-divisions different from the Masoretic text.
Translation into English:
Out of a handful of immigrants from Central Europe and the East who saw the shores of the New World, or even of England and her colonies, Jewish believers have grown under Providence both in numbers and importance, constituting now the greatest section of Israeli Diaspora living in one country. English became the major spoken language among Jews only since WWII. Before then, Jews in English-speaking countries were still part of an immigrant culture to a large extent, they could either understand the Hebrew Bible in original language or, were still not fully versed in English. Many translated Bibles and prayer books from before the Holocaust were still in Yiddish, even those published in countries like the United States. Nahum M. Sarna, the professor emeritus of biblical studies at Brandies University, agreed. "It's extremely useful conveying, to those who don't know Hebrew, the sense of the original," said Sarna, who worked on the Jewish Publication Society's revised translation. However, he then added that he considers the JPS' work by a large assembled group of Hebrew and Semitic language scholars over few decades the most scholarly. That JPS text is considered the standard English translation by most Jews today.
New JSP Translation:
When the JPS set out to prepare this edition of the Tanakh, it assembled a roaster of Jewish biblical scholars who chose to go for the full disclosure wrt the many translation difficulties that the Hebrew Bible throws at its readers, with footnotes to draw the readers attention. Preceded by a concise, by adequate preface that tells the story of the traditional text ('Masoretic Text'). However, this version (unlike the Old Testament) has no sub-headings, no detailed annotations (explanatory notes), and no punctuation where the text is incomplete.