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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

Early Modern Translations

Two and a half centuries later, it was to Luther, or at least to the language of Luther, that the Jewish intellectual Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1796; see “Post‐medieval Jewish Interpretation,” pp. 1900–1908) turned. He was not happy with the simpler German used in Jewish Bible translations and, more generally, in Jewish society. He looked to language, in this case the higher form of German thatprevailed in cultured circles, as a means to bring his fellow Jews into closer contact with German society, its ideas and ideals. To achieve this end, he adopted the language, but not the theological outlook or presuppositions, of Luther. Only Jews, Mendelssohn argued, could produce a proper version for Jews. Moreover, in common with Saadia Gaon and the Ferrara Bible, Mendelssohn's text at first circulated in Hebrew characters. From his perspective, it was a singular mark of success that the Mendelssohn translation was soon thereafter printed in German script, facilitating for Jews even greater familiarity with that language and for Christians a firsthand acquaintance with an elevated Jewish view of Scripture.

Successive editions of Mendelssohn's translation bear witness to a growing market that he both reflected and stimulated. The rise of Reform and neo‐Orthodox communities among German‐speaking Jews was a further impetus to the preparation and publication of biblical versions in German and Judeo‐German or Yiddish. While Orthodox constituencies favored renderings that adhered to traditional Jewish sources, others were receptive to editions that incorporated the fruits of the new, critical schools then taking hold among Protestants. Increased sales also resulted from the packaging of some editions as family Bibles.

Mendelssohn's efforts, like those of many translators before and after him, resulted in a translation that in effect brought the biblical text to the contemporary reader. For Mendelssohn, this movement from antiquity to the modern world served to acquaint both Jews and non‐Jews with traditional Jewish interpretation in a style that was already familiar to Christians and, it was hoped, in which cultured Jews would also immerse themselves.

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