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an engaging and efficient

by JPS / Varda Books
an engaging and efficient layout that enables readers to move quickly from one language to another, and a format that contemporary English speakers will find familiar. This edition is not meant for ritual use, and it thus omits some synagogue-related features. It meets only the traditional rabbinic standards (halakhah) for formatting a study Bible, which are less stringent than those for ritual texts. And this is not an academic Bible. We did not pack the page with details of interest to scholars alone. Type Design. Our type design emphasized clarity, reducing the ambiguity common in older editions. We crafted and placed vowels and accents with an eye to making reading—and correct pronunciation— easy. 8 Language Alignment. Chapter divisions, while not an organic part of the text, provided a regular way to correlate the text with its translation, for we regularly aligned the two columns at the start of each chapter. Matching within one verse at the bottom of each page also helped keep the two columns in near alignment. Prose Paragraphing. In the absence of standard paragraphing, 9 we adopted a dual layout approach. While showing where paragraph breaks appear in the Leningrad Codex, 10 we paragraphed the Hebrew per contemporary English paragraphing practice. 11 That is, we arranged the prose into logical units according to its plain meaning, as judged by our translators. Advantages of this approach are: ( 1) English readers can more easily grasp the Hebrew prose when it is arranged in familiar units of thought; and ( 2) paragraph correspondence of the two languages greatly aids the reader’s movement between text and translation. Poetry Layout. Traditionally, scribes could lay out a biblical poem any way they saw fit, so long as they placed a gap (blank space) somewhere within each line. The gaps stood for pauses that amplified the rhythm, meaning, and beauty of the recited poem. Now instead of gaps we have used line breaks, in the manner of poetry in more recent centuries. By inserting a line break between poetic phrases—where the 8 Similarly, we replaced BHS’s vestigial use of the archaic rafé symbol with better-known means of showing unusual vocalization. 9 According to an ancient rabbinic teaching, paragraph breaks give us a chance to reflect while pausing between topics and issues (Sifra I: 1.9). But masoretic notes do not address paragraph breaks, nor does rabbinic law recognize one authoritative paragraphing pattern. In fact, no two Bible manuscripts or printed editions agree with regard to paragraphing. 10 Traditionally, the Hebrew Bible has two types of breaks: within a line (setumot, closed), and starting a new line (petuh. ot, open)—the latter suggesting a greater shift in content. Like many Bible printers, we have used the letters samekh (for setumot) and peh (for petuh. ot) as markers to show paragraph breaks in the source manuscript. 11 For the sake of column alignment, on a couple of pages we kept the Hebrew text closed up. xiv

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an engaging and efficient layout that enables readers to move quickly from one language to another, and a format that contemporary English speakers will find familiar. This edition is not meant for ritual use, and it thus omits some synagogue-related features. It meets only the traditional rabbinic standards (halakhah) for formatting a study Bible, which are less stringent than those for ritual texts. And this is not an academic Bible. We did not pack the page with details of interest to scholars alone. Type Design. Our type design emphasized clarity, reducing the ambiguity common in older editions. We crafted and placed vowels and accents with an eye to making reading—and correct pronunciation— easy. 8 Language Alignment. Chapter divisions, while not an organic part of the text, provided a regular way to correlate the text with its translation, for we regularly aligned the two columns at the start of each chapter. Matching within one verse at the bottom of each page also helped keep the two columns in near alignment. Prose Paragraphing. In the absence of standard paragraphing, 9 we adopted a dual layout approach. While showing where paragraph breaks appear in the Leningrad Codex, 10 we paragraphed the Hebrew per contemporary English paragraphing practice. 11 That is, we arranged the prose into logical units according to its plain meaning, as judged by our translators. Advantages of this approach are: ( 1) English readers can more easily grasp the Hebrew prose when it is arranged in familiar units of thought; and ( 2) paragraph correspondence of the two languages greatly aids the reader’s movement between text and translation. Poetry Layout. Traditionally, scribes could lay out a biblical poem any way they saw fit, so long as they placed a gap (blank space) somewhere within each line. The gaps stood for pauses that amplified the rhythm, meaning, and beauty of the recited poem. Now instead of gaps we have used line breaks, in the manner of poetry in more recent centuries. By inserting a line break between poetic phrases—where the 8 Similarly, we replaced BHS’s vestigial use of the archaic rafé symbol with better-known means of showing unusual vocalization. 9 According to an ancient rabbinic teaching, paragraph breaks give us \\"a chance to reflect while pausing between topics and issues\\" (Sifra I: 1.9). But masoretic notes do not address paragraph breaks, nor does rabbinic law recognize one authoritative paragraphing pattern. In fact, no two Bible manuscripts or printed editions agree with regard to paragraphing. 10 Traditionally, the Hebrew Bible has two types of breaks: within a line (setumot, \\"closed\\"), and starting a new line (petuh. ot, \\"open\\")—the latter suggesting a greater shift in content. Like many Bible printers, we have used the letters samekh (for setumot) and peh (for petuh. ot) as markers to show paragraph breaks in the source manuscript. 11 For the sake of column alignment, on a couple of pages we kept the Hebrew text closed up. xiv
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