You'll find this translation useful if you're looking for a Tanach that's richly and authentically Jewish, literal and at the same flowing and poetic, and beautiful to both eye and ear. Would you suggest this as a primary or a secondary Bible? The AST is ideal as a primary Bible to carry around and read from on a regular basis. At the same time it doesn't feature the New Testament, so you may end up toting two Bibles around - unless you have them both as apps, in which case all you need is your phone. How's this version's relationship with the Jewish people, and with Judaism?
This translation will bring you closer to the Jewish people, and significantly enhance your appreciation for traditional Judaism. A small example of how this Bible will deepen your acquaintance with traditional Judaism is how, at the end of each of the books of the Torah, it says chazak, chazak, v'neet'chazeyk! This rousing cheer is traditionally said by Jewish people upon completion of each book of the Torah.
Another small example is how the books of Isaiah, Malachi, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes conclude on a low note, so a positive verse from earlier in the chapter is appended to the end so the readings always end on a high note. Who's the publisher, and when did it come out? This Bible was first published in by Artscroll, an Orthodox Jewish publishing company that has been so successful in revitalizing American Jewish religious life that its impact has sometimes been called the "Artscroll revolution".
Artscroll's books are especially popular with ba'alei teshuvah - Jews returning to the faith - and with Christians desirious of learning more about Judaism. Along with Artscroll's prayerbook which we highly recommend and Talmud series, the Artscroll Tanach is one of their most popular works. Who translated it, and what's their story? The primary translator and editor was Rabbi Nosson Scherman, who was aided by Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz with whom he founded Artscroll in , and two other Rabbis.
One need only read Rabbi Scherman's introduction to the AST to sense his spiritual depth and richness.
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His gift for expressing spiritual concepts with flowing poetic beauty and crisp lucidity is almost overwhelming. Watch the video review for examples. Is it more word for word, or thought for thought?
Complete Jewish Bible (Updated)
The AST is a very literal translation. Technically speaking, it's a "formal equivalent". Not only is it very word for word, it also carries over the grammatical patterns of the Hebrew original into the English sentence structure. What's surprising is how this translation still flows and is easy to read, in contrast with other literal translations that can be stiff and hard to follow.
Artscroll Stone Edition Tanach: Review from a Messianic Perspective
An exception to this otherwise literal translation is the Song of Songs, which is embellished as an allegorical description of God's relationship with Israel according to Rashi's interpretations, with the actual text discreetly tucked away in the footnotes. Watch the video review for examples of Hebrew syntax in the English and allegorical interpretations of Song of Songs. How are Hebrew names written?
Personal names are written in their traditional Anglicized form.
Geographical names are also written in their traditional Anglicized form. For instance, Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, and Babylon. How are Hebrew book names written? In the English-only version, both the traditional Anglicized forms and an Ashkenazi transliteration of the Hebrew forms are written side by each. In this construct Hebrew words are written with a compromise between the Sephardi and Ashkenazi pronunciations. The more proper Sephardi vowels are used, but "t" on the end of words is written as "s", following the Ashkenazi pronunciation of consonants.
How are the names and titles of God written? How are key words rendered? Acharit ha'yamim is translated end of days, chag as festival, chesed as kindness, chukah as decree, chukat olam as eternal decree, emet as truth, emunah as faith, hasatan as the Satan, matzot as matzos, mikra kodesh as holy convocation, mishpat as ordinance, mo'adim as appointed festivals, pesach as pesach-offering, shabbaton as rest day, sheol as the grave, sukkot as sukkos, tahor as clean or uncontaminated, tamei as contaminated, teruah as shofar blasts, torah as as Torah, totafot as ornament, tzedakah as charity, tzitzit as tzitzis, and kippod as hedgehog.
How are the Messianic prophecies interpreted? Watch the video review for an in-depth discussion of how the verses predicting the Mashiach's coming are interpreted in the AST, why traditional Judaism is actually very "Messianic", and why Orthodox Jews have a better idea than most Christians of what the world will look like after Messiah comes! What does it have for notes, appendices, and extras?
Each book opens with a soaring one-page summary anthologizing its storyline and salient points in viscerally poetic, Scherman-esque fashion. Seriously, this Bible is worth it just for the book introductions. Succinct notes at the bottom of the page explain traditional interpretations of verses from an anthology of sources. For extra commentary, you can order the Chumash - containing only the five books of Moses. Artscroll also offers individual books with extensive commentary on each book of Scripture that come with our recommendations for anyone desirous of understanding Scripture from a Jewish perspective.
A table listing the special readings for the fast and feast days is included at the front, along with the sweeping overview already mentioned. Appendices include visual timelines of world history from Adam until the Second Temple era, family tree charts from Genesis and Exodus, graphics explaining how various offerings were processed, illustrations of the Kohen Gadol's vestments, the Tabernable, and the Third Temple, and nifty maps of Israel.
The English-only edition also includes a page 'Tanach at a glance' section at the end, summarizing the happenings and main messages of every chapter. Watch the video review to see these features for yourself. Does it also have the Hebrew text? The original Hebrew text is included along with the English translation.
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