- Hardcover: 2400 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (October 17, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199978468
- ISBN-13: 978-0199978465
- Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.8 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 393 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Jewish Study Bible: Second Edition 2nd Edition
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From the Publisher
Q&A with the Editors
Q: What led to the decision to revise the Jewish Study Bible?
A: It has been ten years since the first edition of JSB was published. During that time our knowledge of the Bible and of ancient Israel has advanced tremendously. At the same time, a new generation of scholars has entered the field, with fresh approaches to the study of the Bible. We wanted to build on our very successful first edition by introducing our readers to new knowledge and new approaches.
Q: How extensive are the revisions?
A: They are very extensive. Many books of the Bible have entirely new annotations / commentaries, by new authors, and all have been revised to reflect new scholarship. The essays have been revised, some by new authors. In addition, many new essays on a wide variety of topics have been added, ranging from topics such as the calendar to the place of the Bible in American Jewish culture.
Q: What has changed in research in Biblical Studies since the publication of the first edition?
A: We now have a much broader and sophisticated appreciation of how the Bible came to be the Bible, and how its various parts were re-shaped and interpreted in ancient times. Much current emphasis is on the Persian and Hellenistic periods, when the biblical canon and its earliest interpretation were developing. The history and archaeology of these periods have given us a firmer grasp on how Jewish identity was being formed. This, in turn, helps us to better understand the development of the biblical text and its message for the audiences of those times. We recognize that there were multiple Jewish communities with differing views on certain matters, and we are sensitive to the many voices reflected (or suppressed) within the biblical books. Finally, even when scholars recognize that biblical books are composite and have a complex editorial history, it is valuable to examine the final form that an editor imposed upon them, and what this final form may mean.
Q: Where do you see Biblical Studies heading in the next 10 years?
A: We are neither prophets not children of prophets (Amos 7:14). It is likely that further archaeological discoveries will help us better understand certain passages and institutions. Perhaps the debate raging about dating biblical literature will be resolved, and we will be able to better understand biblical books in their historical contexts. Finally, it is important to remember that Jewish participation in mainstream biblical scholarship began only half a century ago, and it is likely that in the coming decade Jewish scholars will find new ways of integrating classical Jewish sources with critical approaches.
From the previous edition:
''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
''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
''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
''This is an essential acquisition for every library and an indispensable addition for every Jewish home. It has been needed for a long time.'' --Nahum M. Sarna, Judaica, Florida Atlantic University
''The Jewish Study Bible is a major accomplishment. It provides accessible essays from the full gamut of Jewish scholarship, and a running commentary that draws liberally from both traditional and scientific perspectives.'' --Lawrence A. Hoffman, Liturgy, Worship and Ritual, Hebrew Union College
"First published in 2004, The Jewish Study Bible is a landmark, one-volume resource tailored especially for the needs of students of the Hebrew Bible. It has won acclaim from readers in all religious traditions... The quality of scholarship, easy-to-navigate format, and vibrant supplementary features bring the ancient text to life... The Jewish Study Bible, Second Edition, is an essential resource for anyone interested in the Hebrew Bible." --Jewish Media Review
"Each essay is informed, informative, and written by an authority on the subject being analyzed. Taken altogether, the essays provide a nearly exhaustive picture of all the topics basic to understanding the Bible and its background. An extremely useful resource... Highly recommended." --CHOICE
About the Author
Adele Berlin is Robert H. Smith Professor of Hebrew Bible Emerita at the University of Maryland.
Marc Zvi Brettler is Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University.
Top customer reviews
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Navigation is the key problem--not severe, perhaps--but a problem. To access a book within the Bible is relatively easy through the "go to" feature. But accessing a chapter within any book requires tapping on a chapter number appearing at the head of each book. So far so good. Lo and behold: a footnote window pops up with the text of the beginning of the chosen chapter. Then one has to swipe/scroll down to the bottom of that footnote window (sometimes a significant distance) and finally, tap a "Go to footnote" line at the bottom. That sends you to the "footnote," namely, the chapter number you originally tapped. A whole lot of unnecessary tapping and scrolling. Even if the "Got to footnote" link was at the top of the footnote window instead of the bottom, at least one wouldn't have to scroll all the way to the bottom and it would make the whole process a lot quicker.
Here's more "lo and behold": the same edition on my Kindle Android phone app does not have this problem!!!!! You first navigate to the book of the Bible you want, where you find the list of chapter numbers--as on the Kindle device. Tapping on a number does not release a footnote window, instead, tapping sends you directly to the beginning of the chapter in question. WHICH IS HOW IT SHOULD WORK ON THE KINDLE DEVICE TOO. (sorry for the yelling) I understand that the footnote technique might have been an easy way to provide access, but, really. .. .
Finally, another navigation nightmare: The famous Kindle white button at the bottom of the screen (when invoked through swiping or tapping)
Pretty much useless for a book this size!!! There are thousands of pages from the beginning of the Bible to the end. Trying to navigate from one chapter to another one, watching the pages go by, is like tightrope walking. You find yourself 12 books of the Bible the wrong way--with barely a move of your finger. Way too fast. AND too difficult to control. Then if you slip accidentally --ever so slightly-- you're at a completely different part of the Bible.
Surely, there must be a sane way to navigate using the button, with a better breakdown by, say, book and chapter. --instead of the front cover and the back cover. . In this day and age, kind of disappointing or worse.
That said, I'm always able to get where I want, sooner or later. And, compared to the hard copy of this edition, which I also own, and which has very thin hard-to-navigate pages, the Kindle navigation takes about the same time, or even less. But I'm glad I've got a copy on my Kindle device. Even with the needlessly complicated means of accessing text.
The barebones of the JSB has remained the same. The Jewish Publication Society (JPS) 1985 translation has remained the same. The introductions to the books of bible are virtually unchanged, but the notes have been revised. According to the second edition's preface, "over one-third" is new. This means we have updated scholarship, new voices, and more importantly in this last category, new voices that include women and Israeli scholars. In the first edition, some essays are simply revised essays from the New Oxford Annotated Bible, but in this one, the editors sought completely new essays on the same topics while asking for revisions of previous ones. Likewise, new essays are added — such as the additions of "Reading Biblical Narrative" and "Reading Biblical Law" to the stand alone essay of "Reading Biblical Poetry."
One new essay of note is "Gender in the Bible"(2177–84) by Marc Zvi Brettler. Brettler is a co-editor of the volume, the Dora Golding Professor at Brandeis University, and the author of numerous scholarly works examining the Jewish Scriptures (including serving as co-editor on Amy Jill Levine's The Jewish Annotated New Testament, also by Oxford). He notes the difference between "gender" ("enacted") and "sex" ("biological"). No doubt this differentiation will concern some, but Brettler is able to show easily why it needs to be. Even a woman can share the (en)action of a man (masculinity) — and the bible's idea of masculinity often changes based on perspective. In once sense, masculine means warrior while in another time, masculine meant a devoted student. "The diversity of models should not be surprising, since the Bible is a complex work with multiple perspectives on many issues."
When it comes to specific roles, Brettler breaks down the language to show that while ancient Israel and Judaism was indeed male-centric, it was not exactly patriarchal. Nor was it homogenous. Women did have specific roles, but in some portions of Scripture, women shared in roles usually thought to be the sole domain of men (for instance, Brettler points out the Nazarites and prophets). This doesn't mean Brettler is a wild-eyed liberal, nor given to exaggeration of Scripture. His attention to the verse rather than later culturally influenced readings is made readily apparent when he explores the masculinity of God. He does, in all fairness, give time to scholars who disagree with him, but in the end maintains the explicitness of the bible. "Gender is central to one's identity and should be immediately evident. Males should act and look like males, and females should act and look like females, and both genders should worship a masculine God" (2184). This section in particular is prefaced with a warning that "all religions...change over time" (2182). We are not told what to think, only what the facts are in determining how we think.
Each essay is based on solid scholarship that remains within the biblical realm. Of note, Jon Levinson's introduction to Bere's*** (Genesis) ends with, "if J, E, P, and various equally anonymous sources and redactors are its human authors, nothing ensures that God is not its ultimate Author" (10).
My only issue with the bible is the cover. I am going to heavily use this one and I am fearful I will damage the white hardcover. JSB1 had a dust jacket and rough, dark colored cover. JSB2 lacks the dust jacket (thankfully) but has a white glossy cover. The quality of the book, however, is one that will last over time. The pages are thin (use an India marker) but so are most bible pages. (If this bothers you, note there is a kindle version.) JSB2 is set up a lot like JSB1, with the text in the upper portion, next to the spin, surrounded on the left/right and on the bottom by notes. Also included are the JPS 1985 translator's notes. Throughout the various books, you will find charts and smaller maps to help guide the reader in understanding what is happening in the text and notes. Also include are full color maps like you would find in other bibles. This is a scholar's bible, but it is a adherent's book as well.
I have looked, but in vain, for a better study bible for those interested in engaging the Jewish Scriptures as Jewish. Granted, the Christian writings are mentioned, as are the rabbinical sages and both alongside critical scholarship. It does not exclude ecumenical inquiry, but it is the most useful when one is trying to determine how one portion of the text is seen by Jews. This is a great benefit, to be sure, to Christians and Muslims, scholars and theologians, if they are going to interpret the "Old Testament" as a Jewish document first. It is an intellectually stimulating study bible that must be on the desk of every serious student of Scripture.
I don't speak Hebrew (yet), so I can't tell you how accurate the translation is - all I can say is that, of all the various translations of the Bible I've read and all the ones that I own, in both English and French, the JPS one is the one which finally got through to me. The standard JPS Tanakh was great - the upgrade to the "Study" version was a revelation.
One thing that does annoy me is the commentary's numerous references to non-Jewish Bible and non-Jewish translations (mainly NSRV) which leaves me with an impression that, even though this is a Jewish Bible, its target audience consists largely of liberal Christians. I personally fail to see how references to the Gospels bring anything to the table. But it's not like it gets in the way, either.
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