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

Other Translations

The 20th century witnessed another major Jewish translation into German that took a decidedly different approach to the entire enterprise of Bible translation. This version grew out of a collaboration between the philosophers Martin Buber (1878–1965) and Franz Rosenzweig (1886–1929) (see “The Bible in the Jewish Philosophical Tradition,” pp. 1948–75). The resultant text, begun before World War I but completed only after World War II and the Holocaust, did not read like anything else in German literature—and this was precisely the point. The Bible was a product of an ancient society, chronologically and geographically far removed from 20th century Europe. In order to experience it in an authentic way, the reader needed to be transported, as it were, back into antiquity. For those without the knowledge of Hebrew, precisely the audience for a Bible translation, the best way to do this was to experience a modern language text that sounded, looked, and functioned as much as possible like the ancient original. Reading Buber‐Rosenzweig was not intended to be an easy task, but the rewards—in terms of discovering many literary and theological features otherwise obliterated through translation—were well worth the struggle, at least for some.

By the time Buber‐Rosenzweig appeared in its entirety, most of European Jewry, including the Jews of Germany, had been destroyed. A similar, though not identical circumstance occurred in connection with Yiddish translation, in that perhaps its most notable achievement did not appear until well after the high point of Yiddish cultural and linguistic dominance. In this case it was one individual, Solomon Bloomgarden—better known by his pen name Yehoash—who was responsible for the text. Beginning in 1910, he published his version in serialized form, revising and perfecting it until he died in 1927. It was the eve of World War II, however, before his work appeared as a whole. By that time, Yiddish had lost or was soon to lose its prominence as a living language.

Jews had been preparing Yiddish translations long before Yehoash's time. But Christians, or more precisely Jews who had converted to Christianity, were also active in thisfield during the 19th century. Supported by the British and Foreign Bible Society, among others, such individuals produced Yiddish‐language Old Testaments compatible with Christian theology that missionary societies distributed widely throughout Eastern Europe and among immigrant Jewish communities in the West. Together with Yiddish versions of the New Testament, these Yiddish Bibles were intended to provide the Good News in an attractive and accessible format. Bible Society records indicate that such theological motivations were accompanied by the desire to raise the quality of Yiddish from jargon to a standardized, recognized language.

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Oxford University Press

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