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it in oral form at the

by JPS / Varda Books
it in oral form at the time) and by the writings of the Jewish philosopherinterpreter Philo of Alexandria (died about 45 C. E.). The forerunners and leaders of the Renaissance and the Reformation (fourteenth- fifteenth centuries), and especially Martin Luther and William Tyndale (sixteenth century), made use of Latin translations of the classic Jewish commentators Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and Kimhi (eleventh- thirteenth centuries), whose works were imbued with the direct knowledge of the Targums. Luther was greatly indebted to Nicholas of Lyre ( 1270 - 1349), who had adopted Rashi’s exegesis for his Latin Bible commentary. Rashi’s influence on all authorized and most unofficial English translations of the Hebrew Bible becomes evident when Tyndale’s dependence on Luther is considered. Tyndale is central to many subsequent English translations: the King James Version of 1611, the (British) Revised Version of 1881 - 1885, the American Standard Version of 1901, and especially the Revised Standard Version of 1952. Alongside the close, literal method of Bible translation, the earliest Jewish translators were also influenced by the widely held view that, along with the Written Law (torah she-bikhtav), God had given Moses on Mount Sinai an Oral Law (torah she-be‘al peh) as well; so that to comprehend God’s Torah fully and correctly, it was essential to make use of both. Thus, when a translation of the Hebrew Bible into the Judeo-Arabic vernacular was deemed necessary for Jewry in Moslem countries toward the end of the first millennium, the noted philologian, philosopher, and community leader Saadia Gaon ( 882 - 942) produced a version that incorporated traditional Jewish interpretation but was not based on word-for-word translation; at the same time, it was a model of clarity and stylistic elegance. The present version is in the spirit of Saadia. With the growth of Christianity in the first century, the Church adopted the Septuagint as its Bible, and the Septuagint was translated into the languages of the various Christian communities. As Greek began to give way to Latin in the Roman Empire, it was only a matter of time before a Latin translation of Scripture became the recognized Bible of the Church. The Church father Jerome (c. 340 - 420) produced the official Latin version. Drawing on Jewish tradition and consulting Jewish teachers, he achieved what came to be known as the Vulgate, the Bible in the language of the common people. The Vulgate, the Bible of European Christianity until the Reformation, is clearly the most significant Bible translation after the Septuagint. With the rise of Protestantism in Europe, scholars within this movement set themselves the task of making the Bible available in the various xxii

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it in oral form at the time) and by the writings of the Jewish philosopherinterpreter Philo of Alexandria (died about 45 C. E.). The forerunners and leaders of the Renaissance and the Reformation (fourteenth- fifteenth centuries), and especially Martin Luther and William Tyndale (sixteenth century), made use of Latin translations of the classic Jewish commentators Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and Kimhi (eleventh- thirteenth centuries), whose works were imbued with the direct knowledge of the Targums. Luther was greatly indebted to Nicholas of Lyre ( 1270 - 1349), who had adopted Rashi’s exegesis for his Latin Bible commentary. Rashi’s influence on all authorized and most unofficial English translations of the Hebrew Bible becomes evident when Tyndale’s dependence on Luther is considered. Tyndale is central to many subsequent English translations: the King James Version of 1611, the (British) Revised Version of 1881 - 1885, the American Standard Version of 1901, and especially the Revised Standard Version of 1952. Alongside the close, literal method of Bible translation, the earliest Jewish translators were also influenced by the widely held view that, along with the Written Law (torah she-bikhtav), God had given Moses on Mount Sinai an Oral Law (torah she-be‘al peh) as well; so that to comprehend God’s Torah fully and correctly, it was essential to make use of both. Thus, when a translation of the Hebrew Bible into the Judeo-Arabic vernacular was deemed necessary for Jewry in Moslem countries toward the end of the first millennium, the noted philologian, philosopher, and community leader Saadia Gaon ( 882 - 942) produced a version that incorporated traditional Jewish interpretation but was not based on word-for-word translation; at the same time, it was a model of clarity and stylistic elegance. The present version is in the spirit of Saadia. With the growth of Christianity in the first century, the Church adopted the Septuagint as its Bible, and the Septuagint was translated into the languages of the various Christian communities. As Greek began to give way to Latin in the Roman Empire, it was only a matter of time before a Latin translation of Scripture became the recognized Bible of the Church. The Church father Jerome (c. 340 - 420) produced the official Latin version. Drawing on Jewish tradition and consulting Jewish teachers, he achieved what came to be known as the Vulgate, the Bible in the language of the common people. The Vulgate, the Bible of European Christianity until the Reformation, is clearly the most significant Bible translation after the Septuagint. With the rise of Protestantism in Europe, scholars within this movement set themselves the task of making the Bible available in the various xxii
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Varda Books - 1-59045-077-9


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